Saturday, June 30, 2012
But not all Nelson's are related
But they can still sing together.
Friday, June 29, 2012
The family that sings together
Might be those Nelson's from Texs.
Thursday, June 28, 2012
Ah'll be back!
Willie has another hit
With a few friends on April 20.
Mike Pence still can't out dumb Loonie Louie Gohmert.
But that is not for want of trying. Today, in response to the SCOTUS decision, Mike topped his most famous effort of comparing a Baghdad bazaar to an Indiana Farmers Market.
In a closed door House GOP meeting Thursday, Indiana congressman and gubernatorial candidate Mike Pence likened the Supreme Court's ruling upholding the Democratic health care law to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, according to several sources present.Right, because everyone knows that upholding this law will kill 3000 people easily. Pence was once considered a front runner for governor in Indiana. Perhaps if they let the cornstalks vote.
Mittens promises to repeal Obamacare.
He is so ashamed he was the Father of Obamacare. The fact that he did something good for "the little people" and Gentiles violates his Mormon upbringing.
It's a dogs life.
If Dana Milbank can see it
And see it clearly enough to write a column that even a Republican/Teabagger can understand, but probably won't.
“Here in the House,” Speaker John Boehner announced after meeting with his caucus Wednesday morning, “Republicans are going to continue to stay focused on jobs.”When Fux Nooz asks pointed questions, you have to wonder how much more than usual the Orange Boner is drinking.
It’s true. Technically, House Republicans are focused on jobs: Eric Holder’s and President Obama’s. They want to put both men out of work.
Tying up this administration is Job One for the opposition party, and never more so than this week. Republicans have been awaiting with giddy anticipation a Supreme Court decision Thursday that they expect will overturn Obamacare, the signal achievement of Obama’s presidency. “If the court does not strike down the entire law, the House will move to repeal what’s left of it,” Boehner vowed.
At the same time, Republicans decided to dedicate Thursday to a spectacle on the House floor: voting to hold Holder, the attorney general, in contempt of Congress for declining to hand over certain documents related to the Operation “Fast and Furious” guns program on the Mexican border.
Fox News Channel’s Chad Pergram asked Boehner (R-Ohio) whether he thinks “the American public is buying the narrative that you’re here to talk about jobs, when in the next 24 hours . . . everything emanating from the House floor is about contempt of Eric Holder?”
“We’re going to continue to focus on jobs,” Boehner repeated.
The New American Exceptionalism
The one where we grant exceptions to our sanctions against a country that doesn't really deserve them and wouldn't have them without a lunatic opposition party in Congress.
The Obama administration is expected to extend exceptions on Iran financial sanctions to China and Singapore, perhaps as early as today, sources said.Sanctions are just for show when they have more holes than Swiss Cheese.
"There should be an announcement today," on China, Iran's top buyer of crude, and Singapore which buys fuel oil from the OPEC member, said one of the sources, who works in the government. Earlier this month the administration granted exceptions to India and six other economies. Japan and 10 EU countries got the exceptions in March.
Wall St. haz a sad
Or at least they are trying to pretend they do as Insurance Co. stocks are in decline as a result of the latest SCOTUS ruling on ACA. Why is not sure as the Insurance Co.s stand to intake Millions of new customers which will pad the bottom line even if the margins decline a bit.
In afternoon trading, the stocks of most major insurers — including Aetna, UnitedHealth, Cigna and Humana — were down 2 percent to 5 percent. WellPoint, which has a big presence in the individual market in states like California, was down more than 6 percent.This is the time to push for the insurance comapnies worst nightmare, Single Payer.
Some exceptions were the insurers that focus on Medicaid plans, like Molina Healthcare and Centene, which rose nearly 4 percent after the Supreme Court largely kept intact the law’s expansion of Medicaid.
The insurance stocks’ decline surprised Robert Laszewski, a health care industry consultant, who said that the law was a known quantity and the result of extensive deal making between industry players and politicians. “So that reaction boggles my mind,” he said.
Even if the health care law was not what insurers wanted, he said, it means that the bargain they struck will prevent the passage of more liberal options that the industry hates even more. “We’re not going to have the public option,” he said. “We’re not going to have a Canadian-style system.”
So when the SCOTUS upholds a law
Someone as totally bat shit crazy as Michele Bachmann declares that is the work of "activist judges".
“It really is a turning point in American history,” Bachmann told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. “We will never be the same again. … For my mind, this is clearly unconstitutional. There is no basis in the Constitution for the government to have this level of history-making expansion of power.”If you can make sense of that quote more power to you. For years the Republicans have yelped about "activist Judges" when a judge would overturn one of their shitty little un-Constitutional laws. And now The Queen of the Batshit Crazy has given away the game. "Activist judge" simply means one who rules according to law and not the way she wants.
“I urge people to read the dissent that was read from the bench by Justice Kennedy and joined in by Justices Alito and also Scalia,” she continued. “Because that opinion said very clearly that this was an activist court that you saw today. What they did was not just uphold Obamacare, this Supreme Court rewrote Obamacare in line with its own designs. So this is an even more far-reaching decision than anyone had expected or imagined.”
Well, when you are the Biggest Bank
It is only fair that you have the biggest losses when you get you nuts caught in a salad shooter.
The losses from JPMorgan’s botched derivatives trade may reach $9 billion, nearly five times the amount announced in May, the New York Times reported Thursday.Sure they are big enough to take this loss, but there is one important point to remember. These losses were not from a trading unit prepared to take risks. These losses were generated by the unit charged with mitigating losses. Brand all those BSD with a L on their foreheads.
The Times quoted an unnamed source as saying a report generated in April showed that in a worst-case scenario the losses from the trade could reach $8-9 billion, but said some regulators expect something closer to $6-7 billion.
Last week the CNBC business news network had also said the final losses would not exceed $6-7 billion, given that the company had moved quickly to unwind the position.
The Insurance companies have spoken
And they graciously granted the Dread Chief Justice Roberts leave to take one for the team in support of Obamacare. They were not about to lose all those new customers just for some stupid ideology.
The Supreme Court on Thursday left standing the basic provisions of the health care overhaul, ruling that the government may use its taxation powers to push people to buy health insurance.Knock down the expansion of Medicaid because it could take away customers that would come with the rest of the deal. Regardless of the details of this decision, the truly sad part is that Clarence won't be getting his Blow Job of Triumph from Ginny tonight.
The narrowly delineated decision was a victory for President Obama and Congressional Democrats, with a 5-to-4 majority, including the conservative chief justice, John G. Roberts Jr., affirming the central legislative pillar of Mr. Obama's presidency.
Chief Justice Roberts, the author of the majority opinion, surprised observers by joining the court's four more liberal members in the key finding and becoming the swing vote. Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, frequently the swing vote, joined three more conservative members in a dissent and read a statement in court that the minority viewed the law as “invalid in its entirety.”
The decision did significantly restrict one major portion of the law: the expansion of Medicaid, the government health-insurance program for low-income and sick people, giving states more flexibility.
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Some say she is an acquired taste
But that is only if the innocence of Victoria Williams is totally alien to you.
Nobody likes Mittens response on Immigration
And when nobody includes Rush The Talking Pig, Head of the Party whose candidate you are, that is not good for your future.
Rush Limbaugh had some harsh words for Mitt Romney on Tuesday, over the candidate's response to the Supreme Court's immigration ruling...Rush really has no cause to bitch. He could have picked a better candidate.
On Tuesday, Limbaugh expressed his frustration with Romney's reaction, calling it "tepid" and a "red flag" for the campaign. The radio host declared that "Mitt Romney blew it" with his response.
"The Romney campaign was not ready for primetime on this illegal immigration Arizona decision," Limbaugh insisted
It takes two to tango
Martin Bashir marvels over Queen Elizabeth shaking the hand of a former IRA leader and wonders why Congress can't do so. He fails to grasp that both parties must decide to choose the right path if they are going to walk together. We are still waiting for the Republicans to make that choice.
Texas GOP platform is 4square against Critical Thinking
Because the Texas GOP leadership was tired of losing arguments to roadkill.
Rules are made to be followed
And all too often, rules are simply something to be avoided at best and ignored at worst. One area of abuse has been the Republican/Conservative use of tax exempt organizations in political fund raising. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has decided to take a close look at some of the shenanigans,
Mr. Schneiderman issued a wide-ranging subpoena on Tuesday to executives at a foundation affiliated with the chamber, seeking e-mails, bank records and other documents to determine whether the foundation illegally funneled $18 million to the chamber for political and lobbying activities, according to people with knowledge of the investigation.We wish the AG "Good Hunting" and hope it is not just another snipe hunt like the Great Mortgage Fraud Cover Up.
The investigation is also looking at connections between the chamber’s foundation, the National Chamber Foundation, and another philanthropy, the Starr Foundation, which made large grants to the chamber foundation in 2003 and 2004. During the same period, the National Chamber Foundation lent the chamber $18 million, most of it for what was described as a capital campaign.
In a complaint filed last year with the attorney general, watchdog groups asserted that the loan had been used to finance lobbying for “tort reform” legislation in Congress and to run issue advertising in the 2004 presidential and Congressional campaigns, most of it against Democrats.
A spokeswoman for the chamber declined to comment, as did a spokesman for Mr. Schneiderman.
Mr. Schneiderman’s investigation is the first significant one in years into the rapidly growing use of tax-exempt groups to move money into politics. The biggest such groups, including Americans for Prosperity, which is backed by the billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, and Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies, which was founded by Karl Rove and other Republican strategists, are expected to spend hundreds of millions of dollars this year on issue advertisements against candidates to sway the outcome of the presidential and Congressional elections.
Historical Quote of the Day
The Constitution guarantees protection to property, and we must make that promise good. But it does not give the right of suffrage to any corporation.The true friend of property, the true conservative, is he who insists that property shall be the servant and not the master of the commonwealth; who insists that the creature of man's making shall be the servant and not the master of the man who made it. The citizens of the United States must effectively control the mighty commercial forces which they have themselves called into being.Theodore Roosevelt, Osawatomie, Kansas August 31, 1910
This should scare the daylights out of every Virginian
Private industry, having failed to save money,provide any rehabilitation and keep inmates secured in every level from maximum security to halfway houses, now wants a shot at failing with sexually violent offenders.
The nation’s second-largest private prison company says it expects Virginia to make a decision by next month on its bid to expand and operate the state’s detention facility for sexually violent predators who have completed their prison terms.Virginia is asking for a painful and expensive failure, GEO Group will be looking at a profitable venture.
“In Virginia, we submitted an unsolicited proposal for the management of the state’s sexually violent predator treatment facility involving approximately 250 beds,” said GEO Group Senior Vice President Jorge Dominicis during a company earnings call last month. “The state has decided to move forward with this process and is expected to make a contract award by July 1st of this year.”
The detention and treatment of sex offenders represents a growing business opportunity for GEO and its competitors, who hope to score lucrative contracts from state officials looking to keep predators off the streets.
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
Will the stupid ever stop?
In support of Gay Pride, the makers of Oreo cookies put a picture of an Oreo with rainbow layers of filling. Like setting a match to a long string of firecrackers, the hate mongers came out to express their outrage that their favorite cookie had gone gay Buzzfeed has posted some of the shit.
George Takei's Facebook page has a response.
Time to put out the Garbage
From the album of the same name, with the ever tasty Shirley Manson.
The Hollow Man
Not having had to show anything in the primaries, most people thought Mittens was running a cagey campaign. Now we find that Mitt actually has nothing to show.
If you wrote Mittens a big check last weekend
The rest of us are pretty sure that Mittens told you what he was going to do and it pleased you. There is no doubt it would scare the rest of us, Which is probably why Mittens has said nothing to those of us he wants vote for him.
I know that politicians have been bought before, but I have never seen one sell a look at his campaign positions.
Hot enough to warm a Republican's heart
Of course if you are trying to bring something up from absolute zero you are going to need more than 7.2 trillion degrees even if you did use pure gold to achieve it.
“RHIC first collided gold ions at its full energy capacity in July 2001,” wrote Brookhaven physicist Paul Sorensen in an email to TPM. “That would be the first time that record setting temperature was ever achieved. The later dates reflect the long process that was required to actually ascertain what the temperature was. For that reason, the date when an analysis finally was able to determine the temperature can be somewhat ambiguous.”Still no Higgs Bos'uns Mate but perhaps if they collided two of the densest elements on earth, Republican brains, they might get what they are looking for.
“We have actually been producing such high temperature events for the past decade at RHIC,” added nuclear physicist Gene Van Buren, also via email.
In fact, even though the official record was hit back in 2001, there’s a high probability that 2.4-mile underground ring that makes up the RHIC produced an even hotter temperature by a few degrees in April of this year by colliding heavier uranium nuclei (the centers of uranium atoms).
“Uranium nuclei are shaped like American footballs so when they collide tip-on-tip, they can create an energy density that is larger than with gold collisions,” explained Sorensen. “It will take some time however to actually ascertain what the temperature was for those Uranium collisions.”
What to do?, What to do?
Once upon a time
Cities and other local government entities were able to move the expense of needed projects of their books by setting up special agencies that could issue bonds to pay for them. The bonds would be paid by receipts with a guarantee from the government that no one expected to be invoked. Well, now with the Republicans moving heaven and earth to keep the economy in a state of depression, the poop has hit the propeller.
In a number of communities, especially in New Jersey, Michigan and Washington State, local officials have recently scrambled to work out fiscal emergencies caused by guarantees and similar promises. Hoboken dodged a bullet last year, for instance, when a buyer was found for a bankrupt hospital whose debt the city had guaranteed. Buena Vista, Va., narrowly missed a creditor foreclosure of its city hall and police building, after a park authority failed to repay the bonds for a golf course.
In other places, bond guarantees have been time bombs, causing problems too severe to be solved in a workout. Stockton may be headed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy this week after pledging taxpayer money to backstop authorities’ debts for a hockey arena and other showcase buildings. Scranton, a faded former coal center, touched off a full-blown debt crisis this month, losing access to the capital markets when its City Council refused to honor a taxpayer guarantee for a parking authority’s bonds.
Residents of Pennsylvania’s capital, Harrisburg, recently learned from a forensic audit that their city’s fiscal woes could be traced to a guarantee issued in 1998, for the bonds of a trash incinerator project. Every few years after that, the authority running the project issued more bonds, and the city guaranteed those as well.
The audit showed that the authority had been selling new bonds for the cash to pay its older bonds — saving unwitting residents from having to honor their guarantees for a time, but blowing up their debt from the incinerator to an impossible $310 million. That’s more than three times what residents owe on the city’s own bonds.
Harrisburg tried unsuccessfully to declare bankruptcy last year but was blocked by the state. It is widely expected to try again.
Jews evacuate illegal settlement on stolen land
But they are only moving a little way off to a larger settlement on stolen land.
The moving trucks arrived here on Tuesday morning while the men were in the middle of morning prayers, their heads covered by prayer shawls, and so began the first peaceful evacuation of a Jewish settlement from the occupied territories in memory.We have to understand that Benny "Bugsy" Netanyahu is not giving up his Lebensraum program, just ding a fast shuffle to confuse the watchers.
More than 100 employees of Israel’s Defense Ministry, in neon-yellow vests, helped families pack books and diapers and then carried boxes to the brick path behind the 33 apartments in the neighborhood known as Ulpana that were declared illegal because they sit on private Palestinian land. The families moved quietly, though not willingly, to temporary homes down the hill that the Defense Ministry had constructed over the last 21 days, resentful of losing homes they love but grateful that the government had agreed to build 10 times their number in this sprawling religious settlement near Ramallah.
Monday, June 25, 2012
Back when Folk Music was a major genre
Mimi & Richard Farina were royalty in the world of folk musicians. After Richards. death, Mimi did little recording, but became active in human rights issues until her death in 2001. Nowadays most people don't even know she was the sister of Joan Baez.
From a concert in Sing Sing in 1972
If no one tells him what to say
Martin Bashir explains why Mittens has no answer on immigration. No one has told him what the proper position is with real voters.
Dare not speak the unspeakable.
But don't you know, Tom Tomorrow named the unnamable this week, and her little sister.
Pennsy GOP leader admits to voter suppression.
“Pro-Second Amendment? The Castle Doctrine, it’s done. First pro-life legislation - abortion facility regulations - in 22 years, done. Voter ID, which is gonna allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania, done,” Turzai said at this weekend’s Republican State Committee meetingInnocent enough except that Romney stands no chance unless they keep Democratic voters from the polls. Another state for Holder to sue.
Tired of all the shit coming down?
Just put on your happy feet and dance.
The Municipal billboard.
With the Republicans still successfully choking the economy, many towns are looking to naming rights and ad placement on municipal property to pay the bills.
It is far from clear whether corporate logos will be painted on Baltimore’s fire engines any time soon. Officials in Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake’s administration have expressed doubts about whether the proposal would generate enough money to keep even one fire company open.
But in exploring the option, Baltimore is joining dozens of other financially struggling cities, transit systems and school districts around the country that are trying to weather the economic downturn by selling advertisements, naming rights and sponsorships to raise money.
Such marketing schemes have long been used by sports teams and some arts organizations. But now, straphangers in Philadelphia buy fare cards blazoned with ads for McDonald’s and ride the Broad Street Line to AT&T Station (formerly Pattison Station), where the turnstiles bear the company’s familiar blue and white globe.
KFC became a pioneer in this kind of unconventional ad placement earlier in the downturn, when it temporarily plastered its logo on manhole covers and fire hydrants in several cities in Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee after paying to fill potholes and replace hydrants.
The drawback is your name is on it when it falls apart again. But if police cars looking like NASCAR racers is what it takes, maybe people will realize what Republicans are doing.
Once again activist judges trample on states rights
And as expected it was the wrecking crew of the Dread Chief Justice Roberts with his scurvy gang, Alito, Kennedy, Scalia and the Cabin Boy Thomas whoabused the Constitution like a Bishop with an altar boy.
Citizens United dramatically loosened the restraints on corporate involvement in political campaigns. It also set strict new limits on what's considered "corruption or the appearance of corruption" when it comes to restricting money in politics.And so the wrecking crew of The Dread Chief Justice Roberts sails off into the sunset, once again having made the world safe for corruption and influence peddling.
After Citizens United, statutes on corporate money fell in many other states. But not in Montana. There, the state's high court ruled that a flat ban on corporate political spending was justified, based on Montana's history of extensive, corporate-financed corruption in state government, back in the decades around the turn of the 20th century.
The U.S. Supreme Court wasn't interested in that history. In an unsigned opinion Monday, it said there can be "no serious doubt" that Citizens United applies in Montana.
A breakdown of where your tax dollars go.
Bet you can't guess who gets 53% of it.
And how come Aljazeera has to tell us this? Are we now dependent on foreigners to learn the truth about ourselves?
George Will confirms reason behind Holder attacks.
George stepped up from being his usual pompous twit self to reveal the real reason behind the attacks on Attorney General Holder.
“Finally, Mr. Holder himself has made himself obnoxious to Republicans by saying, unlike the Supreme Court, that voter ID laws constitute voter suppression — that is if you have to present when you vote a photo ID the way you have to present a photo ID to get into Attorney General Holder’s Justice Department.”If only the AG had let the Republican/Teabaggers suppress the vote, he could have avoided all this ill (George) will.
We are victims of the Refuseniks
And, as Paul Krugman points out, there are sizable elements of this group in all the major economies. In the US they are called Republicans and in Europe they are a mixed bag of financial heavy hitters. What they have in common is a refusal to do what is needed to rescue the wobbly world economies.
Among economists who know their history, the mere mention of certain years evokes shivers. For example, three years ago Christina Romer, then the head of President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, warned politicians not to re-enact 1937 — the year F.D.R. shifted, far too soon, from fiscal stimulus to austerity, plunging the recovering economy back into recession. Unfortunately, this advice was ignored.The Very Special People are trying to ruin us and the rest of us are allowing them to live so they can do it.
But now I’m hearing more and more about an even more fateful year. Suddenly normally calm economists are talking about 1931, the year everything fell apart.
It started with a banking crisis in a small European country (Austria). Austria tried to step in with a bank rescue — but the spiraling cost of the rescue put the government’s own solvency in doubt. Austria’s troubles shouldn’t have been big enough to have large effects on the world economy, but in practice they created a panic that spread around the world. Sound familiar?
The really crucial lesson of 1931, however, was about the dangers of policy abdication. Stronger European governments could have helped Austria manage its problems. Central banks, notably the Bank of France and the Federal Reserve, could have done much more to limit the damage. But nobody with the power to contain the crisis stepped up to the plate; everyone who could and should have acted declared that it was someone else’s responsibility.
And it’s happening again, both in Europe and in America.
Sunday, June 24, 2012
As seen at recent Romney rally
Original from Total Farker dave1y
Who knew Paul played catcher?
Happy Birthday Jeff Beck
You don't look a day over 68.
How to get rich on $175,000 a year
That $175K is what your beloved member of Congress makes for their services. However, that service gives the access to some of the most precious insider information available and levies no penalty for using it to make lots of money.
One-hundred-thirty members of Congress or their families have traded stocks collectively worth hundreds of millions of dollars in companies lobbying on bills that came before their committees, a practice that is permitted under current ethics rules, a Washington Post analysis has found.The one area of Congress where bipartisanship still remains. And they will fight every effort to make them honest citizens.
The lawmakers bought and sold a total of between $85 million and $218 million in 323 companies registered to lobby on legislation that appeared before them, according to an examination of all 45,000 individual congressional stock transactions contained in computerized financial disclosure data from 2007 to 2010.
Almost one in every eight trades — 5,531 — intersected with legislation. The 130 lawmakers traded stocks or bonds in companies as bills passed through their committees or while Congress was still considering the legislation. The party affiliation of the lawmakers was almost evenly split between Democrats and Republicans, 68 to 62.
In the food chain, you always need "guppies"
That school of food fish that fattens up the top predators. In modern day America, the workers have gone from being a leg of the tripod that American prosperity stood on to a school of guppies that the corporate top echelon feeds on. Apple, despite much PR is a good example of this new corporate structure.
Last year, during his best three-month stretch, Jordan Golson sold about $750,000 worth of computers and gadgets at the Apple Store in Salem, N.H. It was a performance that might have called for a bottle of Champagne — if that were a luxury Mr. Golson could have afforded.Mr. Golson and others should be happy, they make much more than the people who make the items they sell. And the management thanks you all very much.
“I was earning $11.25 an hour,” he said. “Part of me was thinking, ‘This is great. I’m an Apple fan, the store is doing really well.’ But when you look at the amount of money the company is making and then you look at your paycheck, it’s kind of tough.” ...
Worldwide, its stores sold $16 billion in merchandise.
But most of Apple’s employees enjoyed little of that wealth. While consumers tend to think of Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino, Calif., as the company’s heart and soul, a majority of its workers in the United States are not engineers or executives with hefty salaries and bonuses but rather hourly wage earners selling iPhones and MacBooks.
About 30,000 of the 43,000 Apple employees in this country work in Apple Stores, as members of the service economy, and many of them earn about $25,000 a year. They work inside the world’s fastest growing industry, for the most valuable company, run by one of the country’s most richly compensated chief executives, Tim Cook. Last year, he received stock grants, which vest over a 10-year period, that at today’s share price would be worth more than $570 million.
First it was Hawaii, now Nebraska is a foreign country
While trying to defend the indefensible facts of Mitten's Bain Capital shipping jobs overseas, intellectual lightweight Ed Glllespie accused the Obama campaign of sending jobs to the newly created sovereign nation of Nebraska.
Gillespie said that he was “not aware” if companies tied to Bain shipped jobs overseas, before adding, “what happened in the story as near I can tell is that the reporter confused the notion of outsourcing.” “Now a lot of American companies outsource, they outsource domestically,” he said, noting that the Obama campaign outsources jobs to Nebraska and CNN contracts out video editing projects.Does this mean I can fly my old 48 star flag again?
Mittens peddling his ass to Big Dollar "Donors"
And all the Republican/Teabagger money trying to buy a piece of the Romney administration is on hand. One noted participant is Karl Rove of Crossroads GPS who was busy not-coordinating with the Romney people.
They schmoozed with Mitt Romney at a barbecue cookout at the Olympic Park, pressing him on labor regulations and the threat of a nuclear Iran as downhill skiers performed midair flips behind them.If Mittens wins, which ones will end up screwed because he oversold hos Presidential IPO?
They rubbed elbows with Beth Myers, who is running Mr. Romney’s vice-presidential search, in the packed lobby bar of the Chateaux at Silver Lake, over $15 glasses of Scotch.
And they mingled with Mr. Romney’s wife, Ann, during an intimate “Women for Romney victory tea,” held on an umbrella-shaded patio in this resort town.
The Romney campaign, whose fund-raising prowess has defied assumptions about President Obama’s financial advantages, offered wealthy donors and bundlers an extraordinary level of access to the candidate, his staff members, advisers and family this weekend at a three-day retreat that even seasoned political contributors said dwarfed previous presidential powwows.
Mr. Romney’s political operation seemed to all but shut down and relocate to the mountains of Utah. At least 15 senior campaign figures flew in for what blue-blazered guests from Texas, North Carolina and New York dubbed Republicanpalooza, delivering briefings on the effectiveness of Mr. Romney’s and Mr. Obama’s commercials and spinning them through the latest polling data, which they said showed the race as a dead heat.
“Everybody was completely accessible,” said Anthony Scaramucci, a New York financier and Romney fund-raiser who said the candidate took the time to warmly greet and thank him by his nickname, Mooch, at a dinner on the first night of the retreat.
Saturday, June 23, 2012
You know what chaps my ass?
When you tube has cuts from a bands albums that sound great but all the live vids of the band have crappy audio. Enjoy the sound of Davina & the Vagabonds properly produced.
Was Bain Capital the original Vampire Squid?
With apologies to Matt Taibbi, it is hard to read about Bain Capital always managed to remain standing, with all the money, when companies it owned collapsed in ruin.
Toward the end of Mr. Romney’s tenure, Bain bought Anthony Crane, a crane rental company, which then acquired a slew of smaller competitors, financed by debt. But a building slowdown hit the company hard, and it filed for bankruptcy in 2004, wiping out $25.6 million from Bain’s investors, along with $9.5 million from Bain employees. The firm, however, collected $12 million in fees over the life of the deal.If a bankruptcy trustee could only clawback $1.5 Million, that Bain had some juice. But when you can't lose for winning,what can you expect?
Bain officials maintained they still lost money on Crane because it also cost them $5.1 million in carried interest that they otherwise would have garnered from gains in the rest of the fund.
When Bain bought a troubled chain of maternity stores called Mothercare in 1991, its investors put $1.24 million into the deal. Bain repositioned the company and upgraded its merchandise, but the stores still struggled. Bain offloaded the chain in 1993 at a total loss, and the new owners put it into bankruptcy. Bain still collected $1.5 million in fees while it owned the company, bankruptcy records show.
In the case of Cambridge Industries, Bain first acquired a stake in the manufacturer of plastic automotive parts in 1995. Bain employees personally invested $2.2 million, according to bankruptcy records, alongside $15.7 million from outside investors.
Bain immediately collected $2.25 million from Cambridge as a transaction fee for investing in the company. Cambridge then acquired several companies in rapid succession, and each time, Bain earned 0.75 percent of the purchase price as a transaction fee. The rest of Bain’s $10 million in fees came through advisory fees and payments for a debt refinancing completed by Cambridge in 1997.
By then, interest payments from the company’s expansion were outstripping operating income. As part of the refinancing, aimed at lowering interest payments, Cambridge repaid $17 million it owed to a debt fund run by Bain. This involved paying it a $2 million prepayment penalty.
Cambridge was finally forced into bankruptcy in 2000, when Bain declined to provide the company with an infusion of capital needed to fulfill a major new order, according to former company officials. During bankruptcy proceedings, lawyers for some of Cambridge’s creditors leveled scathing criticism at Bain, zeroing in on the fees extracted while they said Cambridge was insolvent, as well as the prepayment to Bain’s debt fund.
Eventually, Bain settled the dispute by paying $1.5 million to the bankruptcy trustee.
Pity the poor Burger King
According to Joe Nocera, if you thought the food was bad you should check out the owners. The King in the ads had more humanity. And yes, Bain Capital was involved for a while.
It’s just about being a dick.
Bill Maher highlights a few fools and then explains how to be a Conservative.
I am fortunate
While I live in the last town before farm country, my water supply from Lake Erie and supplied by a county wide water authority. Beyond me people depend on groundwater wells. Up to now the biggest problem was the location and condition of the septic field. And then along came the frackers. Fracking creates a lot of very polluted water than must be either trucked to a treatment plant or re-injected into a deep well (unless you are in Pennsylvania where the Teabagger government will let you dump it anywhere). In theory this works fine. In practice there are a lot of problems developing from ignorance, carelessness or neglect.
Abrahm Lustgarden lays out the details in Propublica.
Friday, June 22, 2012
Pat does the title cut from her blues album
Done live somewhere in 2001.
What the hell, its the first summer weekend so here is some Grace Potter and The Nocturnals
What we can learn from the Mafia
We, the people, can learn a lot so that we can recognize the frauds that mob bosses and banksters are running on us. More of us are becoming familiar with the "bust out" as we become familiar with Mittens career. Now Matt Taibbi educates us to another run on our tax dollars.
But this just-completed trial in downtown New York against three faceless financial executives really was historic. Over 10 years in the making, the case allowed federal prosecutors to make public for the first time the astonishing inner workings of the reigning American crime syndicate, which now operates not out of Little Italy and Las Vegas, but out of Wall Street.Will some hot shot DA looking to make a name for himself go after this mob?
The defendants in the case – Dominick Carollo, Steven Goldberg and Peter Grimm – worked for GE Capital, the finance arm of General Electric. Along with virtually every major bank and finance company on Wall Street – not just GE, but J.P. Morgan Chase, Bank of America, UBS, Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns, Wachovia and more – these three Wall Street wiseguys spent the past decade taking part in a breathtakingly broad scheme to skim billions of dollars from the coffers of cities and small towns across America. The banks achieved this gigantic rip-off by secretly colluding to rig the public bids on municipal bonds, a business worth $3.7 trillion. By conspiring to lower the interest rates that towns earn on these investments, the banks systematically stole from schools, hospitals, libraries and nursing homes – from "virtually every state, district and territory in the United States," according to one settlement. And they did it so cleverly that the victims never even knew they were being cheated. No thumbs were broken, and nobody ended up in a landfill in New Jersey, but money disappeared, lots and lots of it, and its manner of disappearance had a familiar name: organized crime.
In fact, stripped of all the camouflaging financial verbiage, the crimes the defendants and their co-conspirators committed were virtually indistinguishable from the kind of thuggery practiced for decades by the Mafia, which has long made manipulation of public bids for things like garbage collection and construction contracts a cornerstone of its business. What's more, in the manner of old mob trials, Wall Street's secret machinations were revealed during the Carollo trial through crackling wiretap recordings and the lurid testimony of cooperating witnesses, who came into court with bowed heads, pointing fingers at their accomplices. The new-age gangsters even invented an elaborate code to hide their crimes. Like Elizabethan highway robbers who spoke in thieves' cant, or Italian mobsters who talked about "getting a button man to clip the capo," on tape after tape these Wall Street crooks coughed up phrases like "pull a nickel out" or "get to the right level" or "you're hanging out there" – all code words used to manipulate the interest rates on municipal bonds. The only thing that made this trial different from a typical mob trial was the scale of the crime.
The Coward of the Commonwealth
We know he won't debate Elizabeth Warren now see how he avoids talking about any real issues.
What more do you need?
PK and The Privatized Prison
PK follows up on the NY Times expose of New Jersey's corporate prison halfway houses. The Times showed how bad they are and PK shows us why privatization never works.
The horrors described are part of a broader pattern in which essential functions of government are being both privatized and degraded...So it doesn't work. Why, you might ask, do our fearless leaders do this?
But if you think about it even for a minute, you realize that the one thing the companies that make up the prison-industrial complex — companies like Community Education or the private-prison giant Corrections Corporation of America — are definitely not doing is competing in a free market. They are, instead, living off government contracts. There isn’t any market here, and there is, therefore, no reason to expect any magical gains in efficiency...
But the main answer, surely, is to follow the money. Never mind what privatization does or doesn’t do to state budgets; think instead of what it does for both the campaign coffers and the personal finances of politicians and their friends. As more and more government functions get privatized, states become pay-to-play paradises, in which both political contributions and contracts for friends and relatives become a quid pro quo for getting government business. Are the corporations capturing the politicians, or the politicians capturing the corporations? Does it matter?In the end your tax dollars are turned into private profit that they won't even share with the workers who make it possible. And the same story applies to any other public service that someone wants to "privatize", a fancy term for stealing from the public treasury.
We have met the enemy and he is Norquist
Rmuse has a post at Politicususa that makes a cogent argument that signing King Norquist's tax pledge violates the oath of office for Republican legislators.
A solemn promise or agreement to do or refrain from doing something that is a formally affirmed statement is regarded as an oath or pledge. Every member of Congress takes an oath of office and pledges to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.” It is treasonous then, to also pledge an oath to a domestic enemy of the United States government whose stated purpose is not to “abolish government, but to drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub,” because “our goal is to inflict pain.” It is incredible, but a majority of Republicans have signed a solemn pledge to assist Grover Norquist in his drive to “inflict pain” and drown the government in a bathtub regardless the consequences to the United States or its people...Aren't these the kind of people we are supposed to be waterboarding in Gitmo?
The Republicans’ adherence to Norquist’s pledge have already had profound effects on the economy, and particularly last summer when they refused to take a balanced approach to deficit reduction and it inspired S&P to issue the first credit downgrade in America’s history. S&P were very specific in their reasons for downgrading the stellar credit rating and they particularly cited Republicans’ intransigence on ending the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy. The nearly catastrophic events sent America precariously close to its first credit default, and demonstrated that Norquist’s intention to drown the government is a serious threat, and it is important to note that although Norquist is the architect of ‘the pledge,’ he would not wield enormous power without his army of anti-tax Republicans. It is stunning that Republicans are so intent on doing obeisance to Norquist that they cannot see the need for the government to bring in revenue, but that is the peril of signing a pledge to a lobbyist who holds no government office and is intent on drowning the government.
Thursday, June 21, 2012
An oldie but a goodie
With a really awful video.
Mittens steals ad copy from Maggie Thatcher
And Martin Bashir explains why that is an ill omen for the future.
While touring Illinois, Mittens bypasses Freeport, Ill.
Among other things, Freeport is home to Sensata Technologies, for the time being.
When Romney made stops in Janesville and Dubuque Monday, he was just up the road from the town of Freeport, Illinois.And Freeport is never going to see Mittens. Way too dangerous even with a brain dead media.
But Romney did not stop in Freeport, a town that like Janesville and Dubuque has been hard hit by trade and fiscal policies that encourage corporations to shutter US factories and ship jobs overseas—and that has been even harder hit by speculators who buy up factories, strip the assets and close them.
On the day Romney was busing across the region, employees of Freeport’s Sensata Technologies plant gathered in front of the factory with handmade signs that read:
“Romney! Stop Bain Outsourcing to China”
“Mitt Romney Save Our Jobs”
“Romney: Instead of talking about JOBS, just don’t ship MINE to China”
The Sensata Technologies plant, which has been on the forefront of producing state-of-the-art automotive sensors, was owned by Texas Instruments, and then by Honeywell, before being sold in 2010 to Sensata Technologies Holding, N.V, a firm based in the Netherlands but majority-owned by Bain Capital. Bain, the private equity firm that Mitt Romney helped to develop and that continues to make him a very rich man, has since consolidated ownership of Sensata.
The workers at the plant wanted Romney to make a slight detour on his bus trip and take a look at the devastation being caused by Bain’s machinations at a plant where many of them have worked for more than thirty years.
The plant’s operations are rapidly shrinking as Sensata moves to outsource work from Illinois to China.
“This used to be a very high-volume plant and now it’s pretty much a ghost town…and by the end of the year it will be a ghost town”, Sensata employee Cheryl Randecker told local reporters.
This Summers Blockbuster!
Mormon Douchebags admits wanting to destroy the US.
Republican/Teabaggers often reveal teasing bits of their plan to destroy the United States but we never see one come right out and reveal his plan to do so. On Hardball w/Chris Matthews Rebulican/Teabagger and Mormon Douchebag Sen. Mike Lee revealed just that.
Lee’s amendment would require all tax increases by passed by a super majority of Congress, two-thirds of each house, which makes it virtually impossible to raise taxes. This is especially of interest to the wealthy and corporations. That particular provision is similar to the anti-tax amendment passed in California which killed that state’s finances. Lee’s amendment would also require spending levels to drop to the 1966 level, which would be catastrophic to all Americans. The 1966 level was $134.4 billion, compared to $3.5 trillion in 2010. To get back to 1966 levels, Social Security and Medicare would be cut by 25% and many other programs and departments would be wiped out or watered down to the brink of uselessness, even national security. The nightmare gets worse actually. Because Lee would be writing these cuts and requirements into the Constitution, the American people would lose the power to overrule them by electing different people. In other words, even if America voted to give 100% of government control to Democrats, we would be forced to always live under conservative rule.Osama bin Laden could not have come up with a better plan to destroy the US. On the other hand, Rebulican/Teabagger and Mormon Douchebag Sen. Mike Lee is very proud of himself.
Romney camp works to fashion a national lie.
Because everybody know the darky in the White House can't be allowed any success, the Romney minions have been going from stste to state to get their governors on the same message, to the point of telling Governor Medicare Fraud in Florida to shut up about good jobs numbers there. Needless to say, Mittens minions have denied this. Still it is curious that all the RepublicanTeabaggers have a similar lie to tell.
There will always be some tension between the political calculations of the Romney campaign and individual GOP governors.Given the resolute obstruction of the Republican caucus to anything the President might do, there might be a grain of truth but they can't afford to admit that.
Romney’s campaign is premised on the idea that President Obama’s economic policies are not working in the country. But in some swing states — Florida, Michigan, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin — the trend line on unemployment is headed downwards.
In Ohio, unemployment is down to 7.3 percent, numbers that both Gov. Bob Kasich (R) and the Obama campaign have been touting. But when May unemployment numbers came out, Kasich was more pessimistic. "Headwinds from Washington don't help, and I remain concerned about our future progress,” he said.
In a recent CNN interview, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) said Obama’s stimulus did “help us in the short run” but “think of how much better we’d do if we had President Romney.” Unemployment in the state is at 5.6 percent.
“We’re the comeback state in the United States,” Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) said recently; unemployment there has fallen from 14.2 percent in August 2009 to 8.5 percent. But, he added, “our comeback is being slowed down by the mess in Washington.”
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R), who just won a recall election in part on a message of economic optimism, told reporters last week that “obviously voters feel better if the economy is better” and “one of the beneficiaries of that might be the president,” even if he doesn’t “deserve” credit.
Headline of the Day
Topless Protest Spices Up Psychic Pig's Feeding Time
From the NY Times:
A topless protest by Ukraine's Femen women's rights group livened up feeding time for Ukraine's Euro 2012 psychic pig, Funtik, as soccer fans waited to see who he would choose to win Thursday's quarter-final.The pig was unruffled and chose Portugal.
Ukraine's tournament mascot had been dozing in his pen in temperatures of 30 C but stirred and got up when he heard the familiar sound of the gate opening for his afternoon meal.
Funtik is daily given two bowls to eat from, each marked by the national flag of two teams playing each other at the finals. Those who have faith in his psychic powers say the bowl he eats from first will prove to be the winner on the night.
But even before a fan zone steward could bring in his food - a bowlful each for Portugal and the Czech Republic who clash in Warsaw - an activist for Femen barged into the pen.
Olexandra Nemchinova, 31, following the pattern of previous Femen bare-breast protests, threw off her blouse to reveal the words 'Fuck Euro 2012' on her torso and began shouting slogans denouncing the tournament being co-hosted by Ukraine and Poland.
Stewards led Nemchinova out of the pen and handed her over to the local police.
The group carries out topless protests to highlight the growth of the sex industry in Ukraine and has targeted the championship - which it says feeds sex tourism - and UEFA president Michel Platini.
The evils of Privatization
Gail Collins gives us her take on the scorge of our times, Privatization. Despite a lame joke, she points out the habitual failure of the process but throughout she fails to declare the sole true purpose, to direct funds for the common good into the pockets of a few as profit. And along the way, the politicians who make it happen get their usual "doggie treats".
Summer is here
Good time to celebrate the sights and sounds of our favorite season.
Damned Conservative Judicial activist judges
Once again they reached out to torture and abuse the law in a way that would make a Syrian jailer proud. This time they have screwed about 90,000 pharmaceutical representatives of their right to overtime pay by accusing them of almost doing what would disqualify them. And then the 5 Whores of the Apocalypse declared, "Close enough!"
In a 5-4 decision issued this week in Christopher v. SmithKline Beecham Corp., the Supreme Court, in its eagerness to reach a result favoring the pharmaceutical industry over its employees, abandoned the legal straight and narrow for some very sketchy shortcuts. The case concerned the application of overtime protection to medical detailers, also known as pharmaceutical representatives, employees who visit physicians and promote prescription drugs. If the detailers are “outside salesmen,” they are exempt employees and are not entitled to overtime pay.Lucky Clarence going to get a blow job this month, if Ginny can find the time.
Ignoring the plain meaning of key words, the “ordinary usage” which Justice Antonin Scalia elsewhere has claimed to favor, the court declared medical detailers to be outside salesmen because—even though they never make a sale of pharmaceuticals to anyone—they come as close to selling as the law governing their industry allows. The best the court could do in terms of identifying sales that these supposed salesmen make is to find that the detailers induce “non-binding commitments” from physicians to prescribe the drugs their pharmaceutical companies are promoting or marketing. The court found that the fact the detailers almost get commitments from these physician “gatekeepers”—without whom no one could sell the prescription drugs being promoted—is enough to treat the “transaction” as a sale. Whew, talk about bootstrapping and judicial activism! A justice could get a hernia with that kind of lifting!
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
Life in Hell will end July 13th
Which is a Friday. Matt Groening has decided to end the strip after 30 years with the last new strip was released last Friday. Matt still has a full plate thanks to this initial effort. We wish him continued success.
click pic to big
This weeks Linda
It is impossible to pick the peak of Her career, but the mid 70's gave us a truckload of great songs from Ms Linda.
Another sign the Inmates are running the asylum
Notorious car thief and strong arm extortionist Darryl Issa called his gang together and voted to hold AG Holder in Contempt of Congress. This is no big deal as most of the country feels the same way about the Republican controlled House, thanks in part to the efforts of said Darryl Issa.
Stranger than Truth!
R.I.P. Victor Spanetti
This is an easy one
Which region of the world has the most millionaires? If you said North America, you are flat out wrong. Having shipped most of our industrial base over there, the region with the most millionaires is Asia. And as Mittens and the people who support him were so important in that industrial exodus, it would be nice to know how many are sending him financial support through Adelson and the US Chamber of Commerce and other corporate "people" thanks to Citizens United.
Just in time for the elections
With the Republican/Teabaggers having cut off most state aid from the federal government and state revenues still not recovered from the Bush Depression, the next round of layoffs at the local level should hit the economy just in time for the election.
Government payrolls grew in the early part of the recovery, largely because of federal stimulus measures. But since its postrecession peak in April 2009 (not counting temporary Census hiring), the public sector has shrunk by 657,000 jobs. The losses appeared to be tapering off earlier this year, but have accelerated for the last three months, creating the single biggest drag on the recovery in many areas.It is almost as if everything is going according to plan.
With the economy expanding, albeit slowly, state tax revenues have started to recover and are estimated to exceed prerecession levels next year. Yet governors and legislatures are keeping a tight rein on spending, whether to refill depleted rainy-day funds or because of political inclination.
At the same time, costs for health care, social services, pensions and education are still rising. Fourteen states plan to resolve their budget gaps by reducing aid to local governments, according to a report by the National Governors Association and the National Association of State Budget Officers.
So while the federal government has grown a little since the recession, and many states have recently begun to add a few jobs, local governments are making new cuts that outweigh those gains. More than a quarter of municipal governments are planning layoffs this year, according to a survey by the Center for State and Local Government Excellence. They are being squeezed not only by declining federal and state support, but by their devastated property tax base.
The last man eligible
That is the apparent position of Ron Paul, the Ultima Paultard, towards Social Security Insurance. He is good enough to collect it but all the rest of you can go to hell.
“Are you on Social Security,” The Huffington Post’s Sam Stein wondered. “Do you get Social Security checks?”Remember kids, if your name is not Ron Paul you don't deserve any government services.
“I do,” Paul replied.
“You just told younger generations that they should wean themselves off of this social contract but you haven’t done it yourself,” Stein noted. “You’re not the wealthiest man in Congress, I’m not saying that. But you have enough means to take care of yourself in retirement. Shouldn’t you provide an example?”
“No,” Paul said. “I think the programs are so designed, just as I use the post office too. I use government highways. I do that too. I use the banks. I use the Federal Reserve system.
Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Senate achieves new low
Tonight the Senate voted 33 to 66 to kill an amendment restoring $4.5 Billion to SNAP and to pay for it by trimming the Guaranteed Profit of crop insurance companies from 14% to 12%. Can't blame it all on the Republican/Teabaggers, 22 Democrats dishonored themselves including several who are retiring and had nothing to lose.
Does politics require disreputable people or does it make them?
Twenty years in the business
And only now are you hearing what she can do.
Like the Man in the Iron Mask
Mittens is providing no clues as to who he is or where he stands on any issues as he runs around the country ostensibly telling everyone who he is and where he stands.
MA Sen. Nudie now to be known as Senator Yellow
It seems the poor delicate flower won't debate Elizabeth Warren because his unmeetable demands were not met. Gee, who could have seen that coming?
Republican Sen. Scott Brown’s terms for debating Democratic nominee Elizabeth Warren at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute in Massachusetts were rejected Tuesday, a move that prompted Brown to pull out of the event altogether.And he did not want MSNBC to sponsor the debate. Their cameras never show his good side like they do at Fux. One thing we now know, when he posed nude for Cosmo in his younger days, his hands were over his crotch to hide the lack of nuts that continues to this day.
The Kennedy Institute rebuffed the Brown campaign’s demand that Vicki Kennedy, widow of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy and president of the institute named in his honor, pledge to not make any endorsement throughout the Senate race.
“This non-endorsement pledge is unprecedented and is not being required of any other persons or entities. To us, such a pledge seems inappropriate when a non-media sponsor issues a debate invitation,” Kennedy Institute chief operating officer Lisa McBirney and chief of staff Christopher Hogan wrote in a letter released Tuesday.
Republican/Teabagger jobs policy explained
Now some may consider the source and not take it seriously, but the Wonkette is not wrong with its facts, they are simply deservedly disrepectful of their subjects. And in this case disrespect is all the Republican/Teabaggers should get.
They basically take regular legislation, include provisions to give money to rich people, then add “jobs” to the title. They looooove saying “job” in front of TV cameras, in this, the hardest of economic times, which also happens to be an election year.Got that? The Republican/Teabaggers will destroy 1.9 Million real jobs for a pipeline to be built by a Canadian company with a horrendous spill record that will require few jobs after the initial construction. But there will be lots of spot work for cleanup crews. If this is too much to remember, use this simple review.
So when presented with a bill that saves 1.9 million transportation jobs and purports to create another million, you might be thinking the JobJobJob Party of Jobber Jobs would be all over it. You might be thinking that because you are a rational human, which the aforementioned JobJobJob Party of Jobber Jobs is not. They want their Keystone XL oil pipeline, and they’ll toss 1.9 million jobs in the garbage if they don’t get it.
The bill we doth speak of, dear reader, is the $109 billion transportation and infrastructure bill that was passed by the Senate months ago, because that is the house of Congress not in the grips of an angry horde that learned its accounting skills from counting out 50 ears of corn to a bushel.
The House has until June 30 to pass and reconcile a matching bill to save those previously mentioned gazillion jobs — and Republicans are holding firm to their threat that they won’t do it unless approval for the Keystone pipeline is built in, a move that has prompted officials to declare the bill, to use a technical term from the Hill, “dead.”
A moment of review.Simple, as I said.
Transportation jobs reportedly at stake: ~2.9 million
Number of jobs created by the Keystone pipeline: ~4
Number of shits Republicans give: 0
Pat, tell me you're joking
Reaganomics is working
As the Bush Depression drags on, thanks in no small part to the efforts of the Republican caucus in Congress, it is not just the unemployed who are suffering. After years of little or no wage increases, employers find themselves in a position to cut wages and hours and benefits in an effort to maintain profits.
“I’m looking for something else, anything else,” she said. “More hours. Better pay. Actual benefits.”And in an election year with the Republican/Teabaggers having decided on a campaign of pure unadulterated lies, the future looms darkly ahead of us.
These are anxious days for American workers. Many, like Ms. Woods, are underemployed. Others find pay that is simply not keeping up with their expenses: adjusted for inflation, the median hourly wage was lower in 2011 than it was a decade earlier, according to data from a forthcoming book by the Economic Policy Institute, “The State of Working America, 12th Edition.” Good benefits are harder to come by, and people are staying longer in jobs that they want to leave, afraid that they will not be able to find something better. Only 2.1 million people quit their jobs in March, down from the 2.9 million people who quit in December 2007, the first month of the recession.
“Unfortunately, the wage problems brought on by the recession pile on top of a three-decade stagnation of wages for low- and middle-wage workers,” said Lawrence Mishel, the president of the Economic Policy Institute, a research group in Washington that studies the labor market. “In the aftermath of the financial crisis, there has been persistent high unemployment as households reduced debt and scaled back purchases. The consequence for wages has been substantially slower growth across the board, including white-collar and college-educated workers.”
The Shrill One throws down with Colbert
And leaves him speechless at the end.
A distaff musical interlude
Lisa Koch turns to music to vent some of her justifiable anger at the morons, meatheads and dickwads of the Republican right, beginning with her variation of a Tammy Wynette classic, "Hands Off My Clam"
It's a little late to be concerned.
In theory the Congress has oversight of the many spy agencies operated by the US government. In reality the Congress has not got a clue what they are up to. Occasionally some will try to find out, as Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Mark Udall (D-CO)did recently with the NSA.
In a letter (PDF) recently sent to Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Mark Udall (D-CO), the National Security Agency’s (NSA) Inspector General explains that he cannot provide an estimate of how many Americans the agency has spied on, because doing so would “would itself violate the privacy of U.S. persons.”Good luck with that, everybody knows how much fun it is to read other people's mail, in any form.
That letter was first obtained by reporter Spencer Ackerman at Wired. It claims that even attempting to produce an estimate of how many Americans the agency has spied on is “beyond the [Inspector General's] capacity,” and that “dedicating sufficient additional resources would likely impede the NSA’s mission.”
Inspector General I. Charles McCullough concludes his letter by claiming that he “firmly [believes] that oversight of intelligence collection is a proper function of an Inspector General,” adding that he will “continue to work with you and the Committee to identify ways that we can enhance our ability to conduct effective oversight.”
While it’s not surprising that an NSA official would simply refuse to respond to any and all questions from Congress — they typically do — it is unusual for the agency to claim that a basic oversight function like estimating how many Americans have been spied on is effectively too great a task for them to even attempt, and may actually be beyond the purview of the Inspector General.
“All that Senator Udall and I are asking for is a ballpark estimate of how many Americans have been monitored under this law, and it is disappointing that the Inspectors General cannot provide it,” Wyden told Ackerman. “If no one will even estimate how many Americans have had their communications collected under this law then it is all the more important that Congress act to close the ‘back door searches’ loophole, to keep the government from searching for Americans’ phone calls and emails without a warrant.”
FUCK THE NSA.
Monday, June 18, 2012
Several Years later Pat Boone gave it the white shoe treatment
But Ivory Joe Hunter was the one who wrote and had the first hit with this great tune from 1949. A lot of others covered it over the years.
Stand back, everybody!
Tom Tomorrow gives us a taste of the Republican/Teabagger enthusiasm for Mittens. You have been warned.
Hey Mittens! Someone is following you.
Courtesy of MoveOn.org
A Blunt Parody
For the Republican/Teabagger cementheads in the Michigan State Legislature.
See, everything is connected
Halfway to where Part 2
Yesterday the New York Times introduced most of us to the industrial halfway house. In theory it is rehabilitation for profit. In fact, the quest for profit eliminates any benefit for the inmates. Part 3 will complete the tale tomorrow.
Happy Birthday Sir Paul.
Has it really been that many years since you first wanted to hold our hands?
Sunday, June 17, 2012
Has the leopard changed its spots
Or is he just another Token?
The Southern Baptist Convention, a denomination born in 1845 in defense of slavery and a spiritual home to white supremacists for much of the 20th century, is poised to elect its first African-American president.Good luck to him, even if he does embrace their unchristian policies.
The Rev. Fred Luter Jr., 55, a New Orleans pastor who got his start preaching on the streets of the Lower Ninth Ward, is expected to be the only candidate for office on Tuesday when Southern Baptists gather here for their annual meeting.
“That I can be president of the largest Protestant denomination in the country is unbelievable,” Mr. Luter said in an interview last week after one of his trademark cadenced sermons that drew “amens” from the predominantly black congregation...
Dwight McKissic Sr., pastor at the predominantly black Cornerstone Baptist Church in Arlington, Tex., is one of those who reacted sharply to Mr. Land’s remarks, although he is a harsh critic of Mr. Obama himself on social issues. Mr. McKissic is both elated by the prospect of Mr. Luter’s ascension and guarded about its ultimate meaning. “The fact that his color is not a hindrance to his election is a wonderful thing,” he said. But he added that the presidency was largely ceremonial and that he longed “for the day when a person of color is named to head” one of the powerful boards or a major seminary.
PK explains the Greek Financial Fiasco
And yes, the Euro is the culprit and it is worse than the austerians would have you believe. Then again, the austerians would have you believe it is not their fault. Will anyone over there come to their senses in time?
Hi-Yo Gioacchino Rossini
So much more than the Lone Ranger came out of this short piece to affect our young lives back in the middle of the 20th century. In fact in concert with the Barber of Seville, Rossini wrote much of the music that molded young Americans then.
Romney wants to start war with Iran All By Himself
Beyond the fact that the United States has no reason whatsoever to begin a war with Iran, Romney's assertion is flat out illegal. There is only one response.
The Beatification of St Dimon
From the pen of Stuart Carlson.
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And read Matt Taibbi's take on this farce.
Thet know we can't stop them
So, despite a lot of pious mouthings of sincere sounding platitudes, America's corporate CEO's are continuing to help themselves to undeserved piles of their companies profit while denying those who actually created the profit.
Despite a lot of noise from shareholders and a few victories at big names like Citigroup and Hewlett-Packard, executive pay just keeps climbing.Between appointing their BFF's to the Board and writing the rules in their favor, there is not much chance of controlling their greed short of a major realignment of the tax code. Curious how they invested so much more in their workers and plants when the top marginal rate was above 50%.
Yes, some corporate boards seem to be listening to shareholders, particularly on contentious issues like the seven-figure cash bonuses that helped define hyperwealth during the boom. Since the bust, corporate America on the whole has moved to tie executive pay more closely to long-term performance by skewing executive paychecks more toward restricted stock, which can’t be sold for years.
But rewards at the top are still rich — and getting richer. Now that 2011 proxy statements have been filed, the extent of executive pay last year has finally become clear. Median pay of the nation’s 200 top-paid C.E.O.’s was $14.5 million, according to a study conducted for The New York Times by Equilar, a compensation data firm based in Redwood City, Calif. The median pay raise among those C.E.O.’s was 5 percent. (The full list is available here.)
That 5 percent raise is smaller than last year’s. But it comes at a time of stubbornly high unemployment and declining wealth for many ordinary Americans. Even corporate pay experts say that this is hardly the kind of change that will quell anger over the nation’s have-a-lots by the have-lesses, particularly in an election year.
Halfway to where
One of the new business models in the Prison-For Hire business is the halfway house.
After decades of tough criminal justice policies, states have been grappling with crowded prisons that are straining budgets. In response to those pressures, New Jersey has become a leader in a national movement to save money by diverting inmates to a new kind of privately run halfway house.Just like a real prison but without the security. The savings from that lack must be very large if Gov. Doublewide is involved in this.
At the heart of the system is a company with deep connections to politicians of both parties, most notably Gov. Chris Christie.
Many of these halfway houses are as big as prisons, with several hundred beds, and bear little resemblance to the neighborhood halfway houses of the past, where small groups of low-level offenders were sent to straighten up.
New Jersey officials have called these large facilities an innovative example of privatization and have promoted the approach all the way to the Obama White House.
Yet with little oversight, the state’s halfway houses have mutated into a shadow corrections network, where drugs, gang activity and violence, including sexual assaults, often go unchecked, according to a 10-month investigation by The New York Times.
Perhaps the most unsettling sign of the chaos within is inmates’ ease in getting out.
R.I.P. Rodney King
Now you may find the peace denied you in life.
Holy Shit! This May Explain Republican/Teabaggers.
From the Raw Story:
In the classic Star Trek episode “Mirror, Mirror,” several members of the Enterprise crew inadvertently exchange places with their counterparts from an evil mirror universe.At the least this would explain the repeated appearences of Newtron Gingrich, as the evil mirror universe keeps sending him to us because he is too much for them.
Now two theoretical physicists have hypothesized that something like that may really be happening — at least with neutrons.
According to Science Daily, Zurab Berezhiani and Fabrizio Nesti of the University of l’Aquila in Italy analyzed experimental data obtained by a French research group which “showed that the loss rate of very slow free neutrons appeared to depend on the direction and strength of the magnetic field applied. This anomaly could not be explained by known physics.”
Berezhiani’s proposed explanation for the anomaly is that there is a parallel world made up of mirror particles, and that every neutron has the ability to transition into its invisible twin and then back again, oscillating between the two worlds every few seconds.
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