Thursday, March 31, 2011

Is the scent of comeback in the air?

From the New York Times:
Bill Moyers’ retirement from weekly television last year may not last long. He has received preliminary approval for a major grant to return to PBS with a half-hour show with the working title “Something Different With Bill Moyers.”

The Carnegie Corporation of New York, in an announcement this week on its Web site (the release has since been changed to remove references to Mr. Moyers), said its board had voted to give Mr. Moyers’ production company a $2 million, 29-month grant for the show.

Susan King, the foundation’s vice president of external relations, said the program was conceived as a venue for bipartisan debate of major issues of the day, like education reform and immigration. She cautioned, however, that even though the grant has been approved by the board, it is not yet final.
We hope that we will see Mr. Moyers again, soon. His intelligence has been sorely missed on the Tube.

Your Daily Cenk Shot

Cenk talks with Judson Phillips founder of the Teabagger Nation. Good luck making sense of the Teabagger's ideas.

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Damnable anti-business Democrats

The Great Orange Stan has proof of the price Wall St pays for electing Democrats.

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h/t AmericaBlog

Louie the Louse Gohmert was a judge

Before he was elected to Congress from the 1st District. If his current record is any indication, he was so batshit crazy that he was unqualified for any judiciary position. Witness his current theory about President Obama's secret plot to take over the United States.

Seems to me anybody convicted of anything in Judge Louie's court has grounds for reversal because Judge Louie presided.

Two for Thursday

From the pen of Pat Oliphant

From the pen of Tom Toles

click pic to big

Republican/Teabaggers still aiming for government shutdown

And the negotiations continue with the the Republican/Teabagger position being that the country must accept all their positions. The Democrats still continue to negotiate as if the other side would meet them somewhere in the middle. The Republican/Teabaggers who know better continue push for a shutdown of the government and a second dip in the Recession with a very real possibility of a Depression this time.

Updates on Libya

Libya’s foreign minister, Moussa Koussa got the hell out of the country and the CIA has gone in. No word on how many mercenaries they brought with them, but if the past is any indicator, we need only get a bunch drunk and naked and they can chase the Libyan Army into the sea.

Analysts say Foreign Exchange derivatives must be regulated.

And as for Alan Greenspan saying this is a bad idea, well that is just crazy Uncle Al talking out his ass again. Why listen to someone whose advice created the disaster in the first place.

Bankster, you have a friend in Justice

No matter how deeply you were involved in mortgage fraud, AG Holder has no intention of spoiling your ill gotten lifestyle. Those guys tending your garden and cleaning your pool are another story. If they aren't here one hundred per cent legal, they can expect the full might and majesty of the Federal Government on their little brown asses.
The TRAC group1 at Syracuse University gets information from the Justice Department under the Freedom of Information Act, then analyzes it and makes it available online as an interactive database. Here are some interesting findings:

More than half of all Federal filings (54%) were for immigration crimes. Then came drug cases, at 16%. Everything else? 30%.

There have been more than 2,000 prosecutions for mortgage fraud since the federal government began tracking these actions in the 2008 fiscal year. How many of these 2,000-plus prosecutions involved the bank executives and others who were responsible for a computerized, systematized foreclosure fraud spree by the big banks? None.

Remember: The sheer number of fraudulent foreclosure activity by banks was so great that an Attorney General Task Force representing all fifty states has been formed to handle it, yet there have been no federal prosecutions of bankers. By contrast, there were more than 1,000 prosecutions after the savings and loan scandal of the 1980's, which had a much smaller financial impact.

And here's another way to look at the government's immigrant fixation: There have been more felony prosecutions for immigration under the first two years of the Obama administration than there were during the entire Presidencies of President Clinton and the first President Bush -- a period of twelve years.

No wonder other forms of crime aren't being pursued rigorously enough.
Just as in college sports the perennial powerhouse schools play a few patsies in the beginning, so it has been with the Dept of Justice. Unlike college sports, the Dept of Justice has no intention of moving up in class.

Rickie Lee Jones

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Lawrence O'Donnell calls Rand Paul a liar

And has all the proof any sane person could want or need.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Nobody front runs Warren Buffett.

From Bloomberg:
David Sokol, once a candidate to succeed Warren Buffett as the head of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRK/A), resigned after helping to negotiate the acquisition of a company whose shares he had purchased.

Sokol, 54, bought about 96,000 Lubrizol Corp. (LZ) shares before recommending the company as a takeover target, Buffett, Berkshire’s chairman and chief executive officer, said today in a statement. Buffett said he didn’t ask for the resignation and that Sokol’s stock purchases were legal.
Not sure if you can belive that last sentence, but Sokol was one dumb greedy bastard.

Some people will eat any animal that moves

Which is your business if you do, just don't shoot the dog. But having shot a particular animal, you don't put it out for sale.
Earlier this month, acting on a tip, DHEC health inspectors found bags of chilled raccoon meat in a cooler at a Gadsden convenience store near Eastover in lower Richland County and told the owner to get rid of them.

“This is not something we see even on a rare basis,” said DHEC spokesman Thom Berry, who in his 28 years with the agency could not recall a single time raccoon meat was found in a store cooler.

Raccoon meat is not properly certified by state and federal meat inspectors as being safe for humans to eat, Berry said.

Raccoons are known carriers of the rabies virus, though not all raccoons carry the virus.

Berry said when inspectors made a second visit to the store, the raccoon meat was still on the premises. Inspectors told the operator to put bleach on it and throw it in the trash.
This could explain much about South Carolina politics.

A definition of Shared Sacrifice

If passion paid the bills, Bernie would have cut the deficit in half.

Its tough living on $176K plus perks & bennies

So a fund raising effort for Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI) will be held next week featuring the worlds smallest orchestra playing the worlds smallest violins. The audience will be requested to weep piteously for the struggling young Teabagger.

The Republican Business Model

From the pen of Ben Sargent

click pic to big

When Koch Poodle Scott Walker was elected

He made a big deal of rejecting Dept. of Transportation funds for high speed rail. Now he is asking the DoT, please may I have the money now? Theoretically the funds would be for rail transport in Wisconsin. However given the Koch Poodle's history he would probably divert it to the Koch Brothers to repay their extra expenses on his behalf.

Jon Stewart explains foreign policy analysis

This segment is not for the squirmish.

The Daily Show
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North Carolina votes to ban Free Enterprise

Because the North Carolina State Assembly has a soft spot in their hearts for corporate monopolies and the the money they spread around.
The Republican-dominated North Carolina State Assembly this week approved a bill that would prohibit communities from upgrading their internet access, forcing individual municipalities into a private monopoly of managed broadband services by companies like Time Warner and Comcast.

Both firms have been restricting the amount of bandwidth users can consume, even though bandwidth itself is not a tangible, meter-able commodity.

The bill, which was heavily supported by telecom giant Time Warner, comes on the heels of several communities successfully launching their own fiber-optic broadband programs. One program in Wilson, North Carolina, called Greenlight, even features speeds up to 100 Megabits-per-second (Mbps) at a lower price than its corporate competitors.

That's because Greenlight is a public utility, instead of a profits-making scheme, that places access and quality of service above harvesting dollars off customers. Instead of focusing on margins or how to impose fees on metered bandwidth use, they're able to focus on simply providing the best the Internet has to offer.

Prior to the arrival of Greenlight, most Internet users in Wilson only had access to 7 Mbps speeds, at a much higher price than the public utility's plans. For about the same price as the slower connection, Greenlight users get access to 20 Mbps speeds, with options to upgrade to 100M.
It is cheaper to buy lawmakers to ban the competition than it is to compete. The North Carolina Republican/Teabagger Party, handmaiden of Very Big and Generous Business.

Republican/Teabaggers continue their march to Recession

Because nothing says patriotism like badly damaging the economy to score a few chimerical political points.
An extended federal government shutdown could devastate the U.S. economy by dealing a blow to Americans' confidence, experts said Tuesday.

If lawmakers cannot reach agreement on a bill to fund the government by April 8, a broad array of federal programs will come to a halt. Although most shutdown plans remain classified, during the last major federal government shutdown in 1995, certain health services were shut down. Court cases were delayed. And federal workers were furloughed. This time around, some fear low-income families will miss crucial government payments. But there is another consequence that could make all of those challenges far worse: The economy could slip back into recession.

Already, Americans face a host of economic woes. The unemployment rate remains high. Home prices are still falling, aggravating a widespread foreclosure crisis. Oil prices are rising, pushing transportation costs steadily higher and tearing precious resources from the economy.

In this context, a prolonged federal shutdown would drain Americans' confidence in their government, hobbling spending, borrowing and investment -- and pushing the economy toward recession, said Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody's Analytics.
Republicans are suffering such a severe case of Obama Derangement Syndrome that they would willingly do untold damage to the country they say they love (words are cheap) to try and hurt President Obama.


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Wisconsin court repeats terms of injunction clearly

From the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel
For the second time in less than two weeks, a Dane County judge Tuesday issued an order blocking the implementation of Gov. Scott Walker's plan to curb collective bargaining for public workers.

Dane County Judge Maryann Sumi said that her original restraining order issued earlier this month was clear in saying no steps should be take to advance the law. The GOP governor's administration did so after the bill was published Friday by a state agency not named in Sumi's earlier temporary restraining order.

"Further implementation of the act is enjoined," Sumi said.

"Apparently that language was either misunderstood or ignored, but what I said was the further implementation of Act 10 was enjoined. That is what I now want to make crystal clear."

She warned that those who violate her order could face court sanctions.
The response from the Republicans was delivered by an Assistant Attorney General.
But outside the courtroom, Assistant Attorney General Steven Means said the legislation "absolutely" is still in effect.
In effect he said, Fuck you judge. Time for Her Honor to start throwing some folks in jail for contempt.

Your Daily Cenk Shot

Cenk brings us up to date on the latest criminal activities of the current Governor of Florida, with some help from Alan Grayson.

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Your Dylan Dally Moment

Dylan and Neil Barofsky parse TARP.

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Proof of Newticle's irrelevence

While preaching to the choir, Newticles let loose with this inspired gem of idiocy that is solid gold, take it to the bank proof that Mr Gingrich has no idea what he is talking about.
Newt Gingrich warned churchgoers on Monday that an unholy (semi-holy?) combination of Islamic theocrats and secular atheists could seize control of the United States within decades.
And yea, when that shall come to pass, so shall the fiery torch lie down with the can of gasoline in, arm in arm in peace.

Why Doesn't Your Website Condemn Violent Rhetoric?

This was John Kyl's question to Farhana Khera, the executive director of Muslim Advocates. This of itself would hardly be newsworthy given the standard of Republican/Teabagger bigotry that has been raised in Congress. Curiously the answer for the Muslim Advocates is exactly the same as John Kyl would give if you asked about his website. What makes this troubling is Sen. Kyl's long history of racial bigotry and fearmongering. Given their respective histories, the role of interviewer and interviewee should have been reversed.

On, Wisconsin! On, Wisconsin!

The Incredible Shrinking Package

Or how the company increases revenue without increasing the price of an item. Sometimes it is easy to see and sometimes they use a lot of tricks but either way you cost goes up and your value goes down. The NY Times has a neat look at how they do that.

A feel good headline

But if the prosecutors are from Holder's Dept of Justice there is no way in hell they will ever get to a prosecution.
Shares in oil major BP (BP.L) fell 2.0 percent on Tuesday after a media report that the company's managers may face manslaughter charges following the Gulf of Mexico oil spill and an analyst downgrade.

U.S. prosecutors are considering whether to pursue manslaughter charges against BP managers for decisions made before the explosion on the rig that killed 11 workers and caused the biggest offshore spill in U.S. history, a report from Bloomberg said, citing people familiar with the matter.

BP has admitted mistakes in the run-up to the rig blast but has denied accusations that it was "grossly negligent", a charge that could add tens of billions to the final bill it pays for the disaster.
Somebody knows how to put up a good tease.

Now that Donald Trump is a birther

It is only right and fair that, if he wants to be president, he produce his birth certificate, right? Well, The Donald did so for Newsmax which made a copy available online. There is only one small problem, the form provided is not an official New York City birth certificate. Turns out it is a hospital souvenir and not the official Health Department certificate. Ooops! Based on the way he combs his hair, anthropologists are combing the world to determine where he actually was born.

Why we need Elizabeth Warren and the CFPB

As she organizes the bureau, setting up its rules and procedures, she also had her people put together a presentation on the Great Mortgage Fraud for the 50 Attorneys General working on that investigation.
The nation's five largest mortgage firms have saved more than $20 billion since the housing crisis began in 2007 by taking shortcuts in processing troubled borrowers' home loans, according to a confidential presentation prepared for state attorneys general by the nascent consumer bureau inside the Treasury Department.

That estimate suggests large banks have reaped tremendous benefits from under-serving distressed homeowners, a complaint frequent enough among borrowers that federal regulators have begun to acknowledge the industry's fundamental shortcomings.

The dollar figure also provides a basis for regulators' internal discussions regarding how best to penalize Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citigroup and Ally Financial in a settlement of wide-ranging allegations of wrongful and occasionally illegal foreclosures. People involved in the talks say some regulators want to levy a $5 billion penalty on the five firms, while others seek as much as $30 billion, with most of the money going toward reducing troubled homeowners' mortgage payments and lowering loan balances for underwater borrowers, those who owe more on their home than it's worth.
This action by the CFPB will no doubt infuriate the Republican/Teabaggers and cause them to double down on their efforts to destroy anything of value in government. Pity we don't have a president who can fight back.

Imagine Tom Donahue saying something like this

From Raw Story:
Hiromasa Yonekura, chairman of the Japan Business Federation, said the influential lobby would not fight the government if it decided to shelve a plan to lower the corporate tax rate, which at around 40 percent is among the highest in the industrialized world.

Economics Minister Kaoru Yosano suggested last week the government should reconsider the planned tax cut of 5 percentage points from April to prioritize spending on reconstruction and prevent the country's already massive debt pile from growing.

"I don't mind if the government skips cutting the corporate tax rate," Yonekura, who is also chairman of Sumitomo Chemical, told a regular briefing in Tokyo. "Instead I want the government to move swiftly in its recovery efforts."
In this country, people like Tom Donahue would be whining about how tax cuts would aid the recovery.

Has John Stewart reached the end of his rope?

Find out in his latest segment, "I Give Up!

The Daily Show
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Murphy Can Has Congress

And he needs your help to do it.

Campaign Headquarters

Raw Story interview

Some Bluesday Music

with Otis Spann on piano

Monday, March 28, 2011

No Reverse Robin Hood

Details here

When corporations leave town

New word for today - Anomaly

The new definition of Anomaly is when a Dept of Defense supplier fucks up their product when they try to cut corners.
The Enhanced Combat Helmet, made of a durable, lightweight plastic, was expected to begin reaching soldiers and Marines by early fall. However, a recently discovered production “anomaly” will likely push back fielding to the first quarter of fiscal 2012...

The helmet has been in development for about two years and is made of a plastic known as ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene. Reilly stressed that although it is a plastic, the material is stronger than what is now in the field.

Four companies submitted five helmet prototypes made with the material in 2009, but all failed testing. In a second round of tests starting last year, two prototypes from Costa Mesa, Calif.-based Ceradyne Inc. passed, but one was the standout.

This helmet was then cleared for low-rate production, and that’s when the “anomaly” was discovered. During production, the company altered the helmet’s curing process, Reilly said, upping the temperature to dry the paint faster. This may have caused a drop in performance during tests, Reilly said, although he declined to say how exactly the helmet was underperforming. There may be other contributing factors, Reilly said, and testing was ongoing.
Anomaly, when you absotively, posolutely can not afford to say tried to cut expenses to raise profits.

Your Dylan Dally Moment

Dylan talks with the last adult in Congress, Sen. Bernie

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Republican/Teabaggers taking aim at geezers

In the form of every seniors favorite Geezers United organization AARP. As the most effective senior advocacy organization, the Republican/Teabaggers want to defang the organization before they begin their fight to dismantle Medicare and Social \Security.

Talk to your parents and grandparents and be sure and remind them that the best way to keep America strong is to

Trash Conservatives, Not Social Security.

What went wrong with The Kabul Bank?

Pretty much what every bank failure entails, they made bad loans to unreliable people. The problem in Kabul was that the borrowers were part of or related to the power elite in Afghanistan.
When a brother and nephew of an Afghan vice president wanted to build up their fuel transport business, they took out a $19 million loan from Kabul Bank. When a brother of the president wanted to start a cement factory, he took out a $2.9 million loan; he also took out $7.9 million for a luxury townhouse in Dubai. When the bank’s chief executive officer wanted to invest in newly built apartments in Kabul, he took almost $18 million.

The terms were hard to beat: no collateral, little or no interest. And repayment optional, at least in practice.
Things are so bad it looks like they will have to kill this golden goose and create another, theoretically with proper safeguards on place. HEY! You over there! Stop laughing!

I hope somebody records it

Elizabeth Warren and Jamie Dimon will be speakers at an event sponsored by The US Chamber of Commerce Corporate Welfare. Oh, to be hearing from the Last Honest Person in DC and the King of Wall St Thieves.

Obama's My Lai Moment

The Rolling Stone is out with a major piece from Mark Boal on the actions of 3rd Platoon Bravo Company of the 5th Stryker Brigade, the "Kill Team".
Early last year, after six hard months soldiering in Afghanistan, a group of American infantrymen reached a momentous decision: It was finally time to kill a haji.

Among the men of Bravo Company, the notion of killing an Afghan civilian had been the subject of countless conversations, during lunchtime chats and late-night bull sessions. For weeks, they had weighed the ethics of bagging "savages" and debated the probability of getting caught. Some of them agonized over the idea; others were gung-ho from the start. But not long after the New Year, as winter descended on the arid plains of Kandahar Province, they agreed to stop talking and actually pull the trigger.
They are accused of a handful of murders but "the heat of the battle" had nothing to do with their actions, they killed for the thrill. And the Pentagon has begun throwing the enlisted men under the bus to protect the officers.

How long can we let this shitty little war destroy our values and our Army for nothing?

Quote of the Day

We have a deficit problem. It has to be addressed, but it cannot be addressed on the backs of the sick, the elderly, the poor, young people, the most vulnerable in this country. The wealthiest people and the largest corporations in this country have got to contribute. We've got to talk about shared sacrifice.
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-VT, responding to the shameless tax situations of major corporations.

It ain't easy being Willie

Some fans will do anything to meet you. Take for example, County Judge Becky Dean Walker in whose court Willie's pot bust will be tried.
In a lengthy telephone conversation, Bramblett, 78, said that when the legendary singer/songwriter swept through his county in November of last year and got busted, he received an unambiguous message from the judge: Get Willie in here.

County Judge Becky Dean Walker, he said, refused to allow Nelson a plea-by-mail, which is typical for misdemeanor marijuana possession cases in some Texas counties.

"She said to me: 'You ain't letting him plead by mail, 'cause I'm not accepting that,'"' Bramblett explained. "I said to her, 'Why?' And she said, ''Cause I want to meet Willie Nelson.'"
The judge is demanding a song along with the fee for Wllie's punishment.

The New York Times likes the Book of Mormon

And its reviewer,Ben Brantly, thinks you will too.
This is to all the doubters and deniers out there, the ones who say that heaven on Broadway does not exist, that it’s only some myth our ancestors dreamed up. I am here to report that a newborn, old-fashioned, pleasure-giving musical has arrived at the Eugene O’Neill Theater, the kind our grandparents told us left them walking on air if not on water. So hie thee hence, nonbelievers (and believers too), to “The Book of Mormon,” and feast upon its sweetness.
So don't be a Moroni, hie thee to the Eugene O'Neill Theater.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Big Brother - Republican/Teabagger role model

Paul Krugman examines the recently developed paradigm of Republican/Teabaggers through the experience of William Cronon. He considers its effect on intellectual curiosity and discourse, things as inimical to Republican/Teabaggers as sunlight to vampires. And he warns us that we should stop this trend before it goes too far. I agree.

Where is Peter "The Dumbest King In Congress" King when we need him?

A fine example of the radicalization of a non-Irish group is on display in Iowa. When the local sheriff planned to hold an anti terrorism drill involving white supremacists, a flood of phone calls and e-mails from said white supremacists forced the sheriff and the school districts to cancel.
Pottawattamie County Sheriff Jeff Danker said he sent three deputies to the Treynor schools as a precaution, but classes were held without any problems.

"During the last 24 hours, the Treynor school system has received threats to their employees and buildings due to the planned 'active shooter' exercise," county officials said in a statement.

"After consultation with the Treynor school district and the Pottawattamie County Sheriff's Office, we have jointly decided to cancel the exercise due to these threats which we must consider viable. The Pottawattamie County Sheriff's Department is now actively investigating the threats."

Kevin Elwood, superintendent of Treynor school district, said the schools received about 100 emails from across the United States, as well as some angry phone calls.

He said one caller left a particularly disturbing voice-mail message.

"They basically indicated that if we went through with this type of a drill that potentially that type of an incident could become a reality in our school district," Elwood said.
Yo! Big Dumb Pete! Here is your investigation, right here!

And right in the backyard of the current "Second Dumbest King in Congress"

Sunday classics

No wonder Republican/Teabaggers want to defund it

The IRS recently released numbers that show the number of audits performed on high wealth citizens increased by 75% last year.
In 2009, the Internal Revenue Service announced plans to unleash a new enforcement unit called the Global High Wealth Industry, the goal being to better investigate the complex finances of America's wealthiest taxpayers.

They weren't kidding.

Recently released IRS statistics indicate that the federal government increased their audits of America's richest taxpayers -- those with incomes above $10 million -- by 75 percent last year. Nearly one in five -- 18.5 percent -- of America's richest households dealt with an audit. In 2009, the Global High Wealth Industry's first year of operation, the IRS audited only one in ten of America's richest taxpayers.

Complex tax evasion has become an increasing problem in recent years, with popular strategies including conversion of income into capital gains and stashing cash in Swiss banks.

Audit rates also increased among some lower income brackets, but none so much. The second highest audit increase was among the second highest income bracket: those reporting incomes of $5M-$10M. They saw a 55 percent increase in their audit rate, totaling 11.6 percent. High, but much smaller than the increase experienced by the $10M-plus bracket.

Audits rate for those with incomes between $1-$75K remained largely the same
Much better than the Bushovik deflection of audits toward the lowest earners.

How to waste $Billions

First you go to war against a stone age opponent and when they develop improvised mines against your troops you call on hundreds of overpriced and undercapable contractors to charge you $Billions for counter technology that doesn't work.
In February 2006, with roadside bombs killing more and more American soldiers in Iraq, the Pentagon created an agency to defeat the deadly threat and tasked a retired four-star general to run it.

Five years later, the agency has ballooned into a 1,900-employee behemoth and has spent nearly $17 billion on hundreds of initiatives. Yet the technologies it's developed have failed to significantly improve U.S. soldiers' ability to detect unexploded roadside bombs and have never been able to find them at long distances. Indeed, the best detectors remain the low-tech methods: trained dogs, local handlers and soldiers themselves.
But the best methods don't make anyone rich so just keep those glitzy high tech solutions coming in and we will keep throwing good money after bad.

Anybody using Firefox 4 yet?

When posting I get this popping into the text when I include a link.
Anybody know how to stop it? It doesn't happen every time and the insertion point seems very random.

Whyy AT&T sucks but you still pay through the nose for it

When you lobbyist is the baddest son of a bitch on the block, even regulatory agengies bow down to you. And the NY Times has a look at that bad boy and how he works.

The Internet isn't Vegas.

Vegas is a small town but the Internet is world wide and like an elephant, it never forgets. And the NY Times has a feature article on the kind of disaster you can expect when children expose themselves to other children.

Signs of human life in Oregon

Oregon has an unemployment rate of 10.2% after adding almost 10,000 jobs in February. There are still many people in Oregon that have been out of work for more than a year and a half. But even if there were only 2 people still out of work for that long the state legislature deserves praise for passing extensions of benefits for the long term unemployed.
By unanimous vote, the House passed Senate Bill 637, which would allow the state to draw additional federal unemployment money through the end of the year. There are currently 11,876 people participating in the federal extended benefits program, according to the Oregon Employment Department. With the legislation, officials estimate about 50,000 out-of-work Oregonians would qualify by the end of the year.

Under a plan approved by Congress in December, the federal government will pick up all the costs.

The House also endorsed Senate Bill 638, which offers an additional six weeks of state benefits to Oregonians who have been out of work for more than 99 weeks and have exhausted all other benefits, including the federal extensions.

Officials say they plan to contact the estimated 17,500 Oregonians who could be eligible. The Employment Department will spend up to $30 million from the unemployment insurance trust fund to pay for those benefits.

The bill passed, 49-9, but not without emotional debate.
What decent people do to help their neighbors. You could almost call is a christian act.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

A Sunday Redemption Song

If you don't put a thief in jail

The odds are overwhelming that he will steal again as soon as possible. Steve Benen illustrates this with a Tale of Two Scotts.

R.I.P. Geraldine Ferraro

You were the the first female vice presidential candidate and the last intelligent woman to seek that office.

Bob Herbert's last column in the New York Times

And he leaves us with a column decrying a country that has lost its soul.
So here we are pouring shiploads of cash into yet another war, this time in Libya, while simultaneously demolishing school budgets, closing libraries, laying off teachers and police officers, and generally letting the bottom fall out of the quality of life here at home.

Welcome to America in the second decade of the 21st century. An army of long-term unemployed workers is spread across the land, the human fallout from the Great Recession and long years of misguided economic policies. Optimism is in short supply. The few jobs now being created too often pay a pittance, not nearly enough to pry open the doors to a middle-class standard of living...

The U.S. has not just misplaced its priorities. When the most powerful country ever to inhabit the earth finds it so easy to plunge into the horror of warfare but almost impossible to find adequate work for its people or to properly educate its young, it has lost its way entirely.
Thirty years ago Ronald Reagan said it was morning again in America. Well, thanks to St. Ronnie most of us missed noontime but we all get to see the sun racing to the horizon.

Bob Reich spotlights Republican/Teabagger lies

The ones they have been telling for thirty years while those thirty years have been proving that they are lies.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor was in town yesterday (specifically, at Stanford's Hoover Institute where he could surround himself with sympathetic Republicans) to tell this whopper: "Cutting the federal deficit will create jobs."

It's not true. Cutting the deficit will creates fewer jobs. Less government spending reduces overall demand. This is particularly worrisome when, as now, consumers and businesses are still holding back. Fewer government workers have paychecks to buy stuff from other Americans, some of whom in turn will lose their jobs without enough customers.

But truth doesn't seem to matter. Republicans figure if their big lies are repeated often enough, people will start to believe them.

Unless, that is, those big lies are repudiated – and big truths are told in their place.
Bob is also annoyed at the lack of Democratic pushback against the Republican/Teabagger lies. Perhaps we would all be better served by screaming outrage.

Arizona a gun dealers paradise

If it isn't the Mexican drug gangs coming over to replenish their small arms stockpiles, it's the whackdoodles who think every newborn should have their very own pink or blue pistol to cuddle in the cradle. And one of those whackdoodles is pushing a bill allowing guns in all public entertainment venues without metal detectors.
Already the bellwether of radical policy, the Arizona legislature is now poised to outdo other GOP-led states in the competition for most extreme gun legislation. Yesterday, a House panel approved a bill to let anybody bring their guns into “public establishments” and “public events.”

While current law allows public agencies to declare buildings as gun-free zones by “putting a sticker on the door,” SB 1201 will allow public buildings to keep guns out “only if there are metal detectors at each entrance with a security guards.” Without those measures, which can cost over $100,000, anyone may bring in their own gun.

Under the bill, “public establishments” and “public events” include buildings owned or leased by the state (including courts and libraries) and events conducted with a license or permit from a public entity. While the law exempts events or facilities that serve alcohol — making them provide “gun lockers” if they want to ban guns — events without alcohol would likely have to allow firearms without restriction. Such public places would include “major events such as Arizona Cardinals and Phoenix Suns games or rock concerts.” Or, as one major concert promoter noted, “Sesame Street Live” and “Disney On Ice”:
Because everyone knows that nothing protects the public like a shootout in a full house.

Name that hater

Leonard Pitts has an interesting quiz for those who think they know religions. He has taken four quotations from religious texts and asks the reader to identify whether the quotation is from the Bible or the Quran. All or none is also a choice here. See how well you do.
• “. . . Wherever you encounter [non-believers], kill them, seize them, besiege them, wait for them at every lookout post . . .”

• “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.”

• “If your very own brother, or your son or daughter, or the wife you love, or your closest friend secretly entices you, saying, ‘Let us go and worship other gods’ . . . do not yield to him or listen to him. Show him no pity. Do not spare him or shield him. You must certainly put him to death.”

• “Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man, but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.”
You can read his column to find the answers.

A new take on an old tune

Friday, March 25, 2011

Bob Herbert to leave the New York Times

This is a sad day. Bob is a staunchly progressive writer whose columns were clear, accurate and always made his point. He is the second progressive columnist to leave in recent weeks. In the meantime, Bobo and Douchhat show no signs of moving.

We wish Bob Herbert every success in his next endeavour.

Your Dylan Dally Moment

Matt Miller and Dan Dicker lay out some hard facts on oil speculation.

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Talk about being screwed!

First your boss and best friend usurps your conjugal rights. Then, as part of his "attempt" to help you, post adultery, he sets you up for indictment while he walks, scott free.
Doug Hampton, the former senior aide to Senator John Ensign, Republican of Nevada, was indicted on Thursday for violating a one-year lobbying ban, an unexpected development in a case that only became a subject of a federal criminal investigation after Mr. Hampton himself accused his former boss of instructing him to ignore the lobbying ban.

Mr. Hampton is accused of repeatedly contacting Mr. Ensign’s office in 2008 and early 2009 to seek assistance for two Nevada companies that the senator had helped him get lobbying jobs with, after Mr. Ensign was caught having an affair with Mr. Hampton’s wife.

Mr. Ensign, who announced earlier this month that he will not seek re-election in 2012, remains the subject of a Senate Ethics Committee investigation for his handling of the matter. Mr. Ensign’s lawyers have said that he is no longer the subject of a criminal probe, but a Justice Department official would not confirm on Thursday that the probe has ended.
Who is the Justice Dept trying to fool? Hampton is a little fish and Ensign is a big fish. Hampton hasn't got a chance because that is how Holder rolls.

Thud! Dead, Thud! Dead, Thud! Dead....

March 25, 1911 at 4:45 PM 146 women and girls lost their lives because there were no laws for work place safety and no union rights to fight for them. The owners who locked the exit doors were acquitted of any wrong doing and eventually paid $75 per victim in compensation, $10,950 total.


More information here.

And The Rude Pundit explains if you still don't get it. SFW

Tax Breaks is our most important product

Long ago progress and the manufacturing of tangible assets were the prime efforts of General Electric. Nowadays their primary efforts are in the fields of offshoring jobs and tax avoidance. In fact, the GE tax avoidance department is currently the gold standard of such efforts in the trans-national corporate world.
The company reported worldwide profits of $14.2 billion, and said $5.1 billion of the total came from its operations in the United States.

Its American tax bill? None. In fact, G.E. claimed a tax benefit of $3.2 billion.

That may be hard to fathom for the millions of American business owners and households now preparing their own returns, but low taxes are nothing new for G.E. The company has been cutting the percentage of its American profits paid to the Internal Revenue Service for years, resulting in a far lower rate than at most multinational companies.

Its extraordinary success is based on an aggressive strategy that mixes fierce lobbying for tax breaks and innovative accounting that enables it to concentrate its profits offshore. G.E.’s giant tax department, led by a bow-tied former Treasury official named John Samuels, is often referred to as the world’s best tax law firm. Indeed, the company’s slogan “Imagination at Work” fits this department well. The team includes former officials not just from the Treasury, but also from the I.R.S. and virtually all the tax-writing committees in Congress.
And they are leading the pack in calling for reductions in corporate taxes. They already have the individual tax payer paying the GE share of taxes, what more do they want?

Who better to trash the Constitution than a Constitutional scholar?

And we have seen this in President Obama's embrace and institutional codification of the worst of the George W Cheney's offenses against our foundation document. As a student of the Constitution he knows better than most which elements stand in the way of unfettered power and has probably dreamed of ways around them. In keeping with that spirit he has taken another step to take down the Constitution.
The Obama administration has created a new policy that allows investigators to waive Miranda warnings for domestic-terror suspects, even when there is not an "immediate threat," a report said Thursday.

The rule was revealed by an FBI memorandum obtained by The Wall Street Journal. It says that in "exceptional cases," investigators can hold suspects without informing them of their rights.

The policy applies where investigators "conclude that continued unwarned interrogation is necessary to collect valuable and timely intelligence not related to any immediate threat."

A 1966 Supreme Court ruling said that law-enforcement officials must notify suspects of their right to remain silent and have an attorney present for questioning. Another decision, 1n 1984, gave law enforcement the ability to question suspects for a limited time without a Miranda warning where public safety was at stake.

The 1984 exception has been used to justify interrogating domestic-terror suspects for hours without reading them their rights.

With the new rules, that exception has been significantly expanded.
Step by step we dismantle what has protected us so well all these years. And far too many people think it is a good idea.

Always be careful what you put in an e-mail

Because it will never be safe from public disclosure. Just ask Indiana deputy prosecutor Carlos F. Lam. His e-mail to Koch Poodle Scott Walker has lost him his job.
An Indiana prosecutor and Republican activist has resigned after emails show he suggested Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker stage a fake attack on himself to discredit unions protesting his budget repair bill...

The Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism discovered the email among tens of thousands released to the public last week following a lawsuit by the Isthmus and the Associated Press.

"If you could employ an associate who pretends to be sympathetic to the unions' cause to physically attack you (or even use a firearm against you), you could discredit the unions," Lam said in his email.

"Currently, the media is painting the union protest as a democratic uprising and failing to mention the role of the DNC and umbrella union organizations in the protest," he continued. "Employing a false flag operation would assist in undercutting any support that the media may be creating in favor of the unions."

Lam resigned from his position after the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism published an article about his email.
Let us never forget that this is being done by a person in a position of responsibility. We can only wonder what the irresponsible Republican/Teabaggers are up to.

How's that austerity thingee working for ya?

Paul Krugman looks at the results of recent economic decisions by various governments in the face of the economic crisis discovers that the "Confidence Fairy" has turned out to be just another confidence man.
Portugal’s government has just fallen in a dispute over austerity proposals. Irish bond yields have topped 10 percent for the first time. And the British government has just marked its economic forecast down and its deficit forecast up.
Ooops! But the evidence of other countries should convince the wise solons of DC to drop auterity and tackle the real problems facing us, right?
A serious fiscal plan for America would address the long-run drivers of spending, above all health care costs, and it would almost certainly include some kind of tax increase. But we’re not serious: any talk of using Medicare funds effectively is met with shrieks of “death panels,” and the official G.O.P. position — barely challenged by Democrats — appears to be that nobody should ever pay higher taxes. Instead, all the talk is about short-run spending cuts.

In short, we have a political climate in which self-styled deficit hawks want to punish the unemployed even as they oppose any action that would address our long-run budget problems. And here’s what we know from experience abroad: The confidence fairy won’t save us from the consequences of our folly.
But the confidence man is getting rich stealing everything we have worked for.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

It's Official Now

Simon & Garfunkel sing The 59th St. Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge Song

Thursday Night Music

A song with no title by some guys from Texas.

Your Dylan Dally Moment

Dylan and guests examine the Koch Brothers, spawn of a man who became rich working for Stalin and co-founded the John Birch Society. Following in their father's footsteps, the kids are now emulating the Russian Oligarchs.

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Maniac Governor LePage stole candy from children

And now he wants to repeal child labor laws so he can steal their youth as well. Because every state with unemployment over 8% needs to increase the labor pool to keep those dirty old workers from asking for real wages.

Republicans are abetting a possible terrorist attack

It has been obvious for sometime that the Republican/Teabaggers would like to see a terrorist attack on the US so they can shout and holler it was all the Democrats fault. Sadly the current Democratic administration has shown itself to be more capable than you average Republican/Teabagger. There is one area where the Republican/Teabaggers may successfully aid the terrorists.
Lt. Gen. Robert Gard is the star of a series of radio ads targeting Republican leaders in the House and Senate for supporting "deep cuts to the U.S. Government's signature nuclear security program to remove highly enriched uranium and other dangerous nuclear materials from countries in the former Soviet Union and other unstable regions around the world."

Gard is a veteran of the Vietnam and Korean wars and a top official at Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, a nonpartisan group (with center-left lean) focused on reducing the spread of nuclear weapons and other threats.

The Center and its sister group, the Council For A Livable World, say the House budget proposal cut Obama's 2011 request for the Energy Department's National Nuclear Security Administration by more than $600 million, nearly a quarter less than what the president requested. And the current short-term budget resolution, which is keeping the government open while lawmakers duke it out over a long-term spending plan, cuts the current White House request for the NNSA by $551 million. Republicans have agreed to the short-term bills only if they include billions of dollars in cuts from the 2010 budget.

The cuts are dangerous, Gard told reporters today. And they don't make any sense considering the GOP's gung-ho national security rhetoric. He wants the Republicans to restore the NNSA funding now -- and to leave it alone in the future.
If only the Republican/Teabaggers had any concern about anything beyoud blaming Democrats.

Today from the Department of Duh!

The New York Times tells us that Muammar el-Qaddafi, Africa's answer to the Kentucky Colonel, made his Billions in shady deals and they have the news story to prove it. Well Duh! He is an African dictator in an oil rich country, how else is he expected to make his fortune?

Can we clone Tony Weiner?

Larry & Tony talk Healthcare and Libya

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Dana Milbank
agrees with me about Anthony Weiner

Hooray! The comic relief has arrived

The Queen of Batshit Crazy has announced that she is running for president.
She hasn’t officially declared her candidacy, but during an interview with ABC News in Iowa, the tea party darling and staunch conservative Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Batshit Crazy) sure sounded like she was itching for the nation’s top job.

“I’m in for 2012,” Bachmann told Jonathan Karl, “in that I want to be a part of the conversation… But I haven’t made a decision yet to announce, obviously, if I’m a candidate or not, but I’m in for the conversation.”

CNN reported Thursday that Bachmann was forming a presidential exploratory committee and, citing one anonymous source close to her, added that she would announce her bid for the Republican nomination around June.
Given her slim resume (mangling history, inspiring fact checking) we can only hope her speeches are without script to maximize the entertainment value.

Despite a 2 in 5 chance of catching Teh Gay in Hollywood

The Westboro Phelps Clan plans to picket Elizabeth Taylor's funeral. How much better this world would be if Fred Phelps just came out of the closet.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Double Cenk shot tonight

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Jimmy the Pimp O'Keefe has $50K past due

Having scored big points from Jimmy's pimped out videos, Andy Breitfart is too cheap to pony up for the bills, so Jimmy is forced to do some public begging.Maybe he can get a special appropriation from Congress for services rendered.

Maniac Governor wants business friendly Dept of Labor

Despite never asking business to be more labor friendly to his citizens. This and other changes are the result of an anonymous fax he had sent to his office.

Pity poor Harold Rogers

He toils 28 years in Congress on the Appropriations committee shipping pork to his district. When it finally comes his turn to be the Chairman of the committee, a position that would allow him to make every voter in his district a millionaire, his party is crying poor and slashing every expenditure in sight. Or as Harold puts it,
I ran to be head chef, but I wound up taking charge of the latrines,” said Mr. Rogers, 73, whose panel’s members now sometimes refer to it as the Disappropriations Committee.
Timing is everything.

Looks like a good idea

And will probably earn the sneers and disparagement of the DC power structure. Nevertheless, Lakhdar Brahimi and Thomas Pickering have presented a proposal for a negotiated settlement in that shitty little war in Afghanistan. The key element is that now is the time to begin negotiations for the benefit of all sides.
Neither side of the conflict can hope to vanquish the other through force. Meanwhile, public support in Western countries for keeping troops in Afghanistan has fallen. The Afghan people are weary of a long and debilitating war.

For their part, the Taliban have encountered resistance from Afghans who are not part of their dedicated base when they have tried to impose their stern moral code. International aid has improved living standards among Afghans in areas not under Taliban control. That has placed new pressure on the Taliban, as has an increasing ambivalence toward the Taliban in Pakistan.

The stalemate can be resolved only with a negotiated political settlement involving President Hamid Karzai’s government and its allies, the Taliban and its supporters in Pakistan, and other regional and international parties. The United States has been holding back from direct negotiations, hoping the ground war will shift decisively in its favor. But we believe the best moment to start the process toward reconciliation is now, while force levels are near their peak.

For the insurgents, the prospects for negotiating a share of national power are not likely to improve by waiting until the United States withdraws most combat forces by the end of 2014; on the contrary, the possibility that Americans might find a way to maintain an enduring military presence past 2014 suggests that perhaps the only way they can truly get the Americans out is with a negotiated settlement.
Neither side will find themselves in a better position than now to find a mutually acceptable end. And it is a safe bet that neither side has sense enough to see it.

Bank of America is still insolvent

And even a most sympathetic Federal Reserve was unable to approve the plan for a dividend increase by the 3rd quarter. So, without changing their financial status, BAC is going to rejigger their proposal, put some lipstick on the pig, if you will, to try and fool the Feds. It just might work.

Republicans, the Pre-Enlightenment Party

After the Republican Party ran a campaign based on the simple slogan, "Jobs, jobs, jobs", Raw Story highlights the 6 (so far) things deemed more important than jobs since the new Congress opened. You already know what they are, they were highlighted on The Ed Show last night and before the Republicans actually do anything about jobs, there will be more to join the original six.

...a crazy third world dictator.

Lewis Black comes out in support of Donald Trump.

The Daily Show - Back in Black - Trump 2012
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R.I.P. Elizabeth Taylor

You had a hell of a run.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Good thing there were no hostiles nearby

TPTB sent a pair of Ospreys, along with a lot of other hardware, to rescue the pilot of the downed F-15. One Osprey recovered the pilot and the other was there as backup in case the first one crapped out, as is their wont.

Your Daily Cenk Shot

Cenk and John Nichols discuss the joys of union busting from a Republican standpoint.

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An American's Song

At home and abroad

A pair of toons from

Mike Lukovich

and Stuart Carlson

click pic to big

Haley makes his first move

Both the Washington Post and the New York Times have puff pieces on Haley Barbour, ex-cheerleader, current bigot and full time bull goose asshole, as part of his testing to see if the public would buy a Piece of Shit like him for president. While the competition for their votes may be fierce on the Republican side, Haley probably has the racist voters in his bag.

R.I.P. Pinetop Perkins

Joe Willie Perkins 7/7/1913 - 3/21/2011

One US jet down

Fortunately the crew is safe and the F-15 is old enough that it was paid for.

The continuing segregation in our schools

The subject of Bob Herbert's column today is something that is no longer legal but continues anyway.
Educators know that it is very difficult to get consistently good results in schools characterized by high concentrations of poverty. The best teachers tend to avoid such schools. Expectations regarding student achievement are frequently much lower, and there are lower levels of parental involvement. These, of course, are the very schools in which so many black and Hispanic children are enrolled.

Breaking up these toxic concentrations of poverty would seem to be a logical and worthy goal. Long years of evidence show that poor kids of all ethnic backgrounds do better academically when they go to school with their more affluent — that is, middle class — peers. But when the poor kids are black or Hispanic, that means racial and ethnic integration in the schools. Despite all the babble about a postracial America, that has been off the table for a long time.

More than a half-century after the landmark Brown v. Board of Education school desegregation ruling, we are still trying as a country to validate and justify the discredited concept of separate but equal schools — the very idea supposedly overturned by Brown v. Board when it declared, “Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal.”

Schools are no longer legally segregated, but because of residential patterns, housing discrimination, economic disparities and long-held custom, they most emphatically are in reality.
And none of the people who can solve this problem want to be part of the solution. Perhaps the increases in economic segregation being fostered by Republican/Teabaggers will produce some trueracial integration as more and more whites sink into poverty.

Leave no corner of the earth unspoiled,

Pity the poor northern rockhopper penguins. Even living on the God forsaken Tristan da Cunha islands, one of which is called Inaccessable Island, is not far enough away from humanity to escape the shit we can dump into the oceans.
Thousands of endangered penguins have been coated with oil after a cargo ship ran aground and broke up on a remote British South Atlantic territory, officials and conservationists said Tuesday.

The shipwreck also threatens the lobster fishery that provides a livelihood to one of the world's most isolated communities.

The Malta-registered MS Olivia was grounded on Nightingale Island in the Tristan da Cunha chain last week. The ship had been traveling from Brazil to Singapore and contained 1,500 tonnes (1,650 tons) of crude oil and a cargo of 60,000 tonnes (66,000 tons) of soya beans.
A group of islands in the middle of No Fucking Where are despoiled by a ship that isn't even going there.

Another fucking war!!

Jon Stewart discusses the situation in Libya.

The Daily Show
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Arizona GOMP passes paranoid anti abortion bill

Based on a Republican/Teabagger talking point and lacking any evidence to support it, The Arizona Grand Old Misogyny Party passed a bill making it illegal to have or cause an abortion based on the sex or race of the fetus. Not that it ever happens, but if it does, boy oh boy is someone in for big trouble in Arizona. Bigger than just being in Arizona.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Your Daily Cenk Shot

Cenk examines the Republican Blame Game that no Democrat can win.

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Your Dylan Dally Moment

Dylan promotes a documentary about 146 women who died 100 years ago for union rights and worker safety. Mach 25, 1911 Triangle Shirt Waist Fire.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

And now, the rest of the story

When CIA shooter Raymond Davis was released after paying the blood money to the families, we wondered what else went with the deal. After all, the families had been under a lot of local pressure not to take the money. Firedoglake has a post on what else the families got in return for their agreement. And this does not include the sweeteners for the government.

Wisconsin has a judicial election on April 5

The contest will determine the balance of the Wisconsin Supreme Court. The incumbent judge, a Republican/Teabagger is a real piece of work. Aside from being a standard Conservative judge who prefers corporate interests to real people, he doesn't believe in conflicts of interest.
As the deeply divided state Supreme Court wrestled over whether to force one member off criminal cases last year, Justice David Prosser exploded at Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson behind closed doors, calling her a "bitch" and threatening to "destroy" her.

The incident, revealed in interviews as well as e-mails between justices, shows fractures on the court run even deeper than what has been revealed in public sniping in recent years. Problems got so bad that justices on both sides described the court as dysfunctional, and Prosser and others suggested bringing in a third party for help, e-mails show.

Prosser acknowledged the incident recently and said he thought it was becoming public now in an attempt to hurt him politically. Prosser faces Assistant Attorney General JoAnne Kloppenburg in the April 5 election.

He said the outburst came after Abrahamson took steps to undermine him politically and to embarrass him and other court conservatives.

"In the context of this, I said, 'You are a total bitch,' " Prosser said.

"I probably overreacted, but I think it was entirely warranted.
The man is not fit to be on a country club House committee much less a high court. Support the Democratic candidate by volunteering or sending money.

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