Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Nowadays that someone is our government

But Linda sings it the way the Gershwins meant it.

This one has them all

From the pen of Pat Oliphant

click pic to big

Interview with Scott Olsen

He does well for a victim of attempted police murder.

It's a gamble

But states hungry for any kind of new or increased revenue are turning to gambling as a means of fleecing their citizens without taxing the corporations or the wealthy.
Even as unemployment remained high and the economy dragged, players in many states responded. Of the 43 states with lotteries, 26 saw revenue grow in traditional games in the last fiscal year, with total sales up 3 percent to $56 billion, according to La Fleur’s. Ticket sales in at least 17 of those states set records, according to data compiled by Bloomberg, and several states are on track to hit all-time highs this year.

Many states are considering expanded gambling as well. Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick signed legislation Nov. 22 authorizing as many as three resort casinos in his state, while officials in Georgia and Florida are weighing similar proposals. Interstate gambling online is barred by federal law. Washington, D.C., and other jurisdictions are looking at launching Internet poker within their boundaries. At least 28 states have considered lottery or gaming-related bills since 2010 to close budget gaps, according to data from the Washington-based National Conference of State Legislatures.

Overall, states got an average 2.4 percent of revenue from lotteries and other forms of gambling in 2009, according to a report last year from the Albany, New York-based Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government.
And soon everybody will be rich beyond their dreams.

Some things are growing in America

But you need the heart of a Republican to be glad of why.
Millions of American schoolchildren are receiving free or low-cost meals for the first time as their parents, many once solidly middle class, have lost jobs or homes during the economic crisis, qualifying their families for the decades-old safety-net program.

The number of students receiving subsidized lunches rose to 21 million last school year from 18 million in 2006-7, a 17 percent increase, according to an analysis by The New York Times of data from the Department of Agriculture, which administers the meals program. Eleven states, including Florida, Nevada, New Jersey and Tennessee, had four-year increases of 25 percent or more, huge shifts in a vast program long characterized by incremental growth.
And to think, Newticles wants the kids to work for their meals rather than get their parents working again.

Some still refuse to accept that it is over

It being the greatest foreign policy disaster ever foisted on the American public, George W Bush's Private War in Iraq. And because some people won't let go, we have our Vice President "Joe Plugs" Biden in Baghdad trying to get the Iraqis to ask for US Army trainers.
Iraq’s prime minister indicated on Wednesday that he was open to the eventual return of American troops as trainers, underscoring that the United States is likely to be involved in this country’s security even after the last soldiers depart in the coming weeks.

“No doubt, the U.S. forces have a role in providing training of Iraqi forces,” said Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki after meeting Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., who is here to mark the withdrawal and to inaugurate a new phase in ties between the United States and Iraq...

Mr. Biden reaffirmed that the two countries would maintain a “robust security relationship,” adding that it was up to the Iraqis to decide “what you think that relationship should be.” He and Mr. Maliki agreed to set up a committee to plan security cooperation.

“We will continue our discussions with your government over the substance of our security arrangements, including areas of training, intelligence and counterterrorism,” he said.
If Iraq needs trainers, let them hire themselves some Blackwater Boys. The mercenaries are mostly ex-US military so they can train on any weapons systems the Iraqis may choose. And no one cares if some mercs get blown up or shot by Iraqis.

Bankster games not worth as much as they claim

Many people have felt that the credit and risk activities of the big Banksters have not provided anywhere near as much value to the economy as claimed by those selfsame Banksters. Now a report from Bank of England backs up what so many have believed.
In a paper for the VoxEU think tank, the Bank's executive director for Financial Stability, Andrew Haldane, and economist Vasileios Madouros claimed British and U.S. national accounts have significantly overestimated the "value added" provided by financial services firms before and since the crisis began.

The essence of their argument is that in calculating gross domestic product, government statisticians give far too much weight to banking activity that merely involves creating and bearing risk in lending and asset holdings.

Under the current system, the paper points out that the value added ascribed to U.S. financial intermediaries was as much as $1.2 trillion last year -- some 8 percent of GDP and a fourfold increase in its share of GDP since World War Two. In Britain the equivalent in 2009 was even higher at 10 percent.

To justify those huge gains, the economists argue that the productivity of bank capital and staff would need to have soared too -- in part justifying the huge rises in pay and bonuses. But the precipitous collapse of many of these banks in 2007 and 2008 questions whether the scale of those efficiency gains was anything more but smoke and mirrors.
So the values were grossly overinflated and we are still deleveraging the economy. The pain of the Depression has just begun.

Police riot in Philly and LA

But find that no one else wants to join in. So they cleared out the OCCUPY sites in those cities and arrested a few people for practice but had to put away all their fun toys unused. They violated the First Amendment right to assembly of those who were there so that people could enjoy their right to assembly.

Now is the time for OCCUPY to begin the occupation of peoples minds. Not with a continuous occupation of a public space but with a constant stream of assemblies public and private to educate people and give voice to their feelings. A few friends in your home, a group of like minded people in your church or a collection of the curious in a public hall. Now is a good time for people to talk about what they have seen, what they feel, what they want and what they can do.

The state can crush assemblies in public but they can not kill ideas spread in private.


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Rakoff Decision explained by Taibbi

The decision by Judge Rakoff not to sign off on the latest Citibank/SEC settlement is a really big deal. Matt Taibbi explains why.
That line, “a cost of doing business imposed by having to maintain a working relationship with a regulatory agency,” is one of the more brutally damning things you’ll ever see a judge write. Rakoff is saying that these fines are payoffs to keep the SEC off the banks’ backs. They’re like the pad that numbers-runners or drug dealers pay to urban precinct-houses every month to keep cops from making real arrests. That's what he means when he refers to "maintaning a working relationship." It's heavy stuff.
Heavy stuff indeed!

Deportation, it's not just for immigrants anymore

Sure you think you are safe because you are a US citizen. Ha! That isn't good enough if you aren't white enough. Got a funny accent? Got to go. Or maybe ICE is just having a bad hair day and you are the one they need to pick on to get over it. Whatever the reason, the evil minions of ICE are arresting and deporting more US citizens than ever before.
A Minneapolis man was arrested and illegally detained for 43 days by federal immigration agents who sought to have him deported even though he is a U.S. citizen, according to a lawsuit filed recently in federal court in Minneapolis.

Federal agents arrested Anthony A. Clarke during a late-night raid in 2008 at his sister's house in Columbia Heights, then shuttled him back and forth between a Sherburne County jail and an unidentified detention facility in South Dakota, the suit says.

The case is thought be the first federal suit of its kind in Minnesota, and it appears to follow a national pattern. A recent study at Northwestern University found thousands of cases in which U.S. citizens were arrested in error and held for deportation. Collectively, they raise disturbing questions about the tactics of immigration agents and the adequacy of checks and balances in a parallel court system overseeing the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency.
Nobody can stop them so what do they care. If they nab you that is evidence enough to ship you to another country.

The sum of all his efforts

Martin Bashir has a perspicacious summing up of the Herminators campaign.

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

Don't criticize the Merchants of Death

When you do they will turn on you like a stepped on snake.
A Marine sergeant who received the Medal of Honor from President Barack Obama last September for saving 36 comrades has sued his previous employer, a major weapons manufacturer, for defamation, the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.

Details weren't released at the time of the original lawsuit in June, the Journal added, but Dakota Meyer filed an amended complaint on Monday in which he accuses BAE Systems of retaliation after he criticized the company for selling sniper scopes to Pakistan that he said were better than what U.S. soldiers got.

"We are taking the best gear, the best technology on the market to date and giving it to guys known to stab us in the back," Meyer wrote to his supervisor, according to the lawsuit. "These are the same people killing our guys."

Meyer says he later tried to return to a job with an earlier employer but was spurned when his BAE supervisor made false claims about a drinking problem and that he was "mentally unstable."
Why are we doing business with BAE? The major qualification for most of their sales is the size of their bribe.

We knew the banks were screwing active duty sevicemembers

But the illegal foreclosures seemed limited to a small number, still bad but they were making restitution. Now it looks like the number is more like 5000 and the illegal action carries a prison sentence for the perps.
This mostly involves violations of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, in particular the restriction on foreclosing on active duty military while they are overseas. The scandal has led to an extreme degree of restitution from the banks, which have been camo-washing their reputations by providing settlements of up to $117,000 per wrongful foreclosure. The banks know they are severely exposed by illegal foreclosures on members of the military. In fact, violations of the SCRA carry with it potential sentences of up to a year in prison.
Dave Dayen is on this at FDL.

Money well spent?

You be the judge, it's your tax dollars being spent.

Bluesday from Texas

Texas men thought they owned the blues. Until Texas women came along and kicked their asses. Like this.

Just another way to die in Shitholeistan

Being an Afghan is no way to go through life. And just to show there is no god, another way to die has been added to the already long list that afflicts the people of that benighted country.
As targeted killings have risen sharply across Afghanistan, American and Afghan officials believe that many are the work of counterintelligence units of the Haqqani militant network and Al Qaeda, charged with killing suspected informants and terrorizing the populace on both sides of the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.

Military intelligence officials say that the units essentially act as death squads and that one of them, a large group known as the Khurasan that operates primarily in Pakistan’s tribal areas, has been responsible for at least 250 assassinations and public executions.

Another group, whose name is not known, works mainly in Afghanistan and may be responsible for at least 20 killings in Khost Province over the summer alone, including a mass beheading that came to light only after a video was found in the possession of a captured insurgent. The video shows 10 headless bodies evenly spaced along a paved road, while their heads sit nearby in a semicircle, their faces clearly visible.
The least we can do is bring our troops home and let them go back to the traditional ways of killing each other.

It isn't insider trading when the Treasury Secretary does it

And when that Secretary is Hank Paulson and he is speaking to a group of hedge fund managers, five of whom once worked for Hank at Goldmine Sachs, well there is nothing to see here. Let's just move along now.

Your money or your life!

This famous command of highwaymen throughout the English speaking world has now been adopted by certain companies in the pharmaceutical resale field.
A new trend in pharmaceutical sales has raised concerns over ethics and patient safety, as companies buy up critical cancer drugs in short supply and attempt to resell them at huge markups.

Rather than operate by the dark of night on street corners, these drug dealers work in broad daylight using fax, phone and email to deluge hospitals with offers.

Experts say the so-called “gray market” is not illegal and could even be poised to surge further after President Barack Obama issued an executive order that tried to fix the problem, but may have just opened a larger loophole.

“These are a number of very small firms that have popped up out of nowhere. Most of them are relatively new,” said Thomas Smith, director of palliative medicine at Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions.

“It happens in every other market, we just don’t expect it to happen in pharmaceuticals for cancer treatment,” he told AFP.

More than half (56 percent) of the 549 hospitals surveyed by the non-profit Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) earlier this year said they received daily solicitations from gray market vendors “to purchase medications no longer available through the manufacturer or usual wholesaler.”
Once again the private sector proves to be more effective, at making profits where none are deserved that is.

The Pillsbury Joe Boy censors the truth

Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough had the control room bleep out the one time Ann Coulter spoke the truth. The offending word, she called The Old Fart McCain a douchebag. Truer words were never spoken. Along the way, Ann of Green Pustules also revealed why she supports Mittens for president.
Coulter is backing Romney, who she says is now a true conservative because “he’s flopped to my positions.”
It is not known how many of those positions can be found in the Kama Sutra.

Where are you going?

Monday, November 28, 2011

Six months after Pima SWAT cops murder a Marine

The diligent investigation of the in-house investigation has found nothing but spin to show why the cops were there in the first place. Or as the family's attorney puts it.
"During this investigation, extremely little evidence, if any, was found to raise even a suspicion that Jose Guerena was involved in any possible drug trafficking ring," the notice says.

Scileppi said the fact that Guerena had been fired at 71 times and hit 22 times was "grotesque," and "almost a caricature of an overly excited group of poorly trained law enforcement agents."
Good thing he wasn't white or some cop would be in deep trouble.


From the pen of Pat Oliphant

A country of rugged individualists

And rugged individualists can handle whatever comes their way. Just ask Tom Tomorrow.

This much we do know

24 Pakistani soldiers are dead. The rest of it is a lot of 'You started it, nuh-huh you started it'. What is clear is that the longer we stay in Shitholeistan the more people will die, for no good reason.

Barney Frank to retire

After 16 elections, he is not ready to take on a new district. This could be a problem because the Massachusetts Democratic Party is not the brightest bunch around and has a lot of place holders that might get first nod. We hope not.

Here come da judge! Here come da judge!

United States District Court judge Jed Rackoff has thrown out another SEC sweetheart settlement, this time with Citicorp. This time it looks like he is serious.
The judge, Jed S. Rakoff of United States District Court in Manhattan, ruled that the S.E.C.’s $285 million settlement, announced last month, is “neither fair, nor reasonable, nor adequate, nor in the public interest” because it does not provide the court with evidence on which to judge the settlement.

The ruling could throw the S.E.C.’s enforcement efforts into chaos, because a majority of the fraud cases and other actions that the agency brings against Wall Street firms are settled out of court, most often with a condition that the defendant does not admit that it violated the law while also promising not to deny it.

That condition gives a company or individual an advantage in subsequent civil litigation for damages, because cases in which no facts are established cannot be used in evidence in other cases, like shareholder lawsuits seeking recovery of losses or damages.

The S.E.C.’s policy — “hallowed by history, but not by reason,” Judge Rakoff wrote — creates substantial potential for abuse, the judge said, because “it asks the court to employ its power and assert its authority when it does not know the facts.”

Judge Rakoff also refers at one point to Citigroup as “a recidivist,” or repeat offender, which has violated the antifraud provisions of the nation’s securities laws many times. The company knew that the S.E.C.’s proposed judgment – that it cease and desist from violating the antifraud laws – had not been enforced in at least 10 years, the judge wrote.
The last settlement he threw out was over a pitifully small sum for the crime involved. This time he is going after a major point of abuse, the non admission/denial of guilt. If he can force the SEC to require one or the other, the evidence will become part of the record and give a better sense of how sweet the settlements really are. Judge Rakoff is now officially in the crosshairs of the corporate state.

R.I.P. Lana Peters, nee Svetlana Alliluyeva Stalina

No one can choose their parents.

Paul Krugman won't tax your imagination

But he does have a pair of targets for reasonable taxation that would do much to decrease the deficit and restore the economy.
How about making increased revenue an important part of the deal?

And I don’t just mean a return to Clinton-era tax rates. Why should 1990s taxes be considered the outer limit of revenue collection? Think about it: The long-run budget outlook has darkened, which means that some hard choices must be made. Why should those choices only involve spending cuts? Why not also push some taxes above their levels in the 1990s?

Let me suggest two areas in which it would make a lot of sense to raise taxes in earnest, not just return them to pre-Bush levels: taxes on very high incomes and taxes on financial transactions.
And because he knows there is no value in taxing your imagination, he explains clearly how these propositions will work. Reality can be a comfort.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Two brothers and two sisters

One cool tune.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Joy Kills Sorrow

A fact and a good name for a group.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Traditional Thanksgiving Music

In an updated version, Arlo sings his signature tune and story.

R.I.P. Officer Obie. You never needed pepper spray to do your job.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Tonight when the Great Turkey visits my house

This is what I want. Such stuff as dreams are made on.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

And now for Bluesday

Taj Mahal: Vocal, Dobro
Johnny Lee Schell: Guitar
Jon Cleary: Piano
Larry Fulcher: Bass
Tony Braunagel: Drums
Mick Weaver: Hammond B-3 organ

Thanksgiving Break begins today

I will be back on Nov. 28. Until then hopefully nothing horrible will happen and I can enjoy some time with my family and old friends. I hope you will, too.

Drive safely.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Imelda May & the Boys havin fun on the BBC

If you don't follow the news

You are still more likely to be better informed than regular Fux News watchers. Fairleigh Dickinson University ran a poll and the results were very sad.
The poll — which asked New Jerseyans where they find news and information about current events — found that Sunday morning news shows are the most informative, while Fox News actually leads people to be less informed than those who consume no news at all.

The poll focused partly on popular uprisings in Egypt and Syria. Asked whether the people of Egypt successfully topped Hosni Mubarak’s regime, 49 percent of Fox News viewers answered “yes” — the lowest on the scale — while 68 percent of NPR listeners answered in the affirmative, the highest on the scale.

Those who watch The Daily Show with Jon Stewart performed well on the questions. Sixty percent of Daily Show viewers correctly answered that opposition forces in Syria have not yet toppled the government, second only to NPR. Forty-five percent of Fox News viewers answered “no.”

“The (poll’s) results show us that there is something about watching Fox News that leads people to do worse on these questions than those who don’t watch any news at all,” said Dan Cassino, a political science professor at Fairleigh Dickinson and an analyst for the poll.
"Something about watching Fox News" he says. How about their outright lying to their listeners when they don't ignore news of value? Keep polling FDU, you'll get it sooner or later.

Bernie schools Blitzer

But as you can see in this video, the Blithering Beard of Bad Cable News remains clueless.

No more Halloween parties for Steven J Baum PC

One of New York's largest foreclosure mills will be shutting down due to lack of business. Not that there is a slowdown in foreclosures, just that all his clients have dropped him.
Steven J. Baum PC, one of the largest law firms specializing in home foreclosures in New York state, is shutting down after losing business from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

The Baum firm notified government entities, including the New York State Department of Labor, that it planned mass job cuts, it said in an e-mailed statement today. Earl Wells, a firm spokesman, confirmed that it’s closing.

This month, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the mortgage- finance companies operating under U.S. conservatorship, dropped Steven J. Baum PC from their lists of law firms eligible to handle foreclosures. Home-loan servicers including Bank of America Corp. (BAC) and Ally Financial Inc. also stopped using the firm, which last month agreed to pay the U.S. $2 million and change its practices to resolve a probe of faulty foreclosure filings.

“Disrupting the livelihoods of so many dedicated and hardworking people is extremely painful, but the loss of so much business left us no choice but to file these notices,” Steven J. Baum, who owns the firm, said in the statement.
Quel dommage! Where will they go next Halloween?

Let the lawsuits begin

This is the first one I have heard of and I hope it won't be the last.
The lawsuit, filed today by Julio Jose Jimenez-Artunduaga and Heather Carpenter, claims the police violated protesters’ Constitutional rights against unlawful detention and arrest and used excessive force after the Oct. 15 demonstration.

Carpenter, 23, a Citibank account holder from Port Jefferson on New York’s Long Island, decided to close her account in frustration after being notified that the bank was imposing a $17 monthly fee unless she maintained a balance of $6,000, according to the lawsuit.

She said in court papers that she and other protesters, including Jimenez-Artunduaga, joined a demonstration inside the branch at 555 LaGuardia Place in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village.

According to the complaint, Carpenter left the branch after closing her account and began filming demonstrators as they interacted with police. An unidentified officer arrested Carpenter, saying, “You were inside with everybody else. You have to come with me,” according to the complaint.

When she questioned officers and showed them the receipt for her closed account, Carpenter said Jimenz-Artunduaga approached police. Officers dragged the two of them into the bank vestibule, where Jimenez-Artunduaga was kicked in the back of the knee, knocked to the ground and handcuffed, the couple alleged. They were both arrested after the incident, the plaintiffs said in the complaint.
Bloomie and his goons have an interesting new crime: Entering a Bank branch during business hours. This should help boost the arrest quotas.

Who needs names for the Republican candidates

From the pen of Ben Sargent

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Last US General in Iraq predicts turmoil

You know because after our troops have left the Iraqis will be forced to determine their own post-Saddam state.
“Al-Qaeda will continue to do what it’s done in the past, and we expect that it’s possible they could even increase their capability,” he said. Meanwhile, Shiite militias based mostly in the south will pursue their efforts to expand their capabilities, Austin said.

“There’s likely to be setbacks, some tough times in the days ahead,” he told journalists at a briefing at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. “As we leave, we can expect to see some turbulence in security initially.”
One of those No Shit Sherlock statements that serve no useful purpose. It does make the speaker fell better though.

Super Congress fails with a mousy little squeak

After spending crucial time trying to make a bad deal even worse, it appears that the Republican/Teabaggers are in their own little way, just as stupid as the Democrats. While the Democrats were perfectly willing to cut their own throats by offering up Social Security and Medicare, the Republican/Teabaggers would not let them because it would raise taxes. Now we should be able to look forward to cuts in defense spending. It won't happen because one thing these douchebags are good at is protecting the place of their Merchants of Death at the governments golden tit.

Newt to unveil plan to destroy Social Security

And being an old fart, his plan is a rehash of an old failure.
Republican presidential contender Newt Gingrich wants to give younger workers the option to choose private retirement accounts as an alternative to Social Security.

"It would be a voluntary choice. Keep the current system if you want to, or have a savings account," Gingrich said Monday at Rivier College in Nashua.
Because Wall St. and the markets are very safe places for your life savings. Better he should offer everybody a young, good looking new spouse to support them in the sunset years. It worked for Newt. Folks might not live as long, but boy oh boy would they be happier.

Rep. Deadbeat Dad says #OCCUPY is anti-american

Instead of joining in with all these strange people who call themselves the 99%, everybody's favorite fly-by-night father thinks they should do what he did. Stand up like a man and take your kids child support to pay for a European vacation with your current bimbo. That's what a real American would do.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The New European Romantics

They are the target of Paul Krugman today and he serves them a heaping helping of Princeton Professorial snark. Mind you, they deserve it, a boring, cruel bunch, the lot of them.
Last year, for example, the bank affirmed its belief in the confidence fairy — that is, the claim that budget cuts in a depressed economy will actually promote expansion, by raising business and consumer confidence. Strange to say, that hasn’t happened anywhere.
Tenured academics can be so cruel.

An ode to travel down Mexico way

A novelty tune from 1945

Say "Hello in there!"

Family and friends can slip away as easily as memories when you get old. Do your part, say Hello in there.

One of my favorite Peter Pan characters

From the pen of Stuart Carlson

The Croc

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Bare knuckles international banking

It isn't pretty, it isn't ethical and it may or may not be legal but how can you refuse the offer? Consider the actions of BNP Paribas as it tries to convince bondholders to take a haircut on Greek bonds. Many are balking at the deal because they have credit default swaps in place to cover their bets.
The International Swaps and Derivatives Association agrees. The group, which represents the industry and is largely controlled by big banks, says anyone who doesn’t like the offer can walk away. “If a payment is missed, trigger the C.D.S. and be made whole,” the group said on its Web site...

Contrary to what the I.S.D.A. says, the BNP Paribas bankers have been telling bond holders that their credit insurance may not pay off down the road, because after the restructuring is completed, the terms of the old debt might be changed, these money managers said.

Normally, investors would shrug off such an argument.

But the warnings from BNP Paribas carried weight, the money managers said, because of one of the officials who was making them. She is Belle Yang, a BNP specialist who also happens to serve on a powerful I.S.D.A. committee. The panel, the “determinations committee” for Europe, decides what constitutes a “credit event” in Greece or elsewhere on the Continent.

This is the committee that will likely rule that the Greek deal would not constitute a default. That is because the restructuring would be “voluntary.” Some investors who were counting on their credit insurance would be out of luck.

In the meetings, the investors said, Ms. Yang identified herself as a member of the committee. That itself was unusual, because the names of I.S.D.A. committee members are normally kept confidential. The association doesn’t disclose them, and lists only panel members’ employers — 15 large global banks and financial services firms. Those institutions include Bank of America, BNP Paribas, Goldman Sachs, BlackRock and Pimco.

One of the money managers who attended the meetings said Ms. Yang’s presence seemed to raise a conflict. Ms. Yang works for BNP, which stands to profit from the restructuring. She is also on the I.S.D.A. panel, which will determine if credit default swaps pay off.

One of the money managers said he pointed out Ms. Yang’s dual role at a meeting.

“You’re on the determinations committee, your firm is earning a big fee and trying to scare me into tendering my bonds,” he said he told her. He said Ms. Yang replied: “No, I’m just trying to help tell you what could go wrong.
No Mafioso could say it better and I'll bet she even purred when she said it.

Want to kill a defense weapons program?

Fuhgeddaboutit! You can shoot them, poison them, dismember them, burn them and scatter the ashes across the country and they will still come back for more money. By way of example, Elizabeth Bumiller looks at the program that gave us that infamous Marine killer the V-22 Osprey.
As a joint Congressional committee appears paralyzed days from a deadline to agree on a plan to cut the nation’s deficit, the Pentagon remains vulnerable to forced reductions over the next decade that would slash its spending by $500 billion, on top of $450 billion in cuts already in the works — a total of more than 15 percent of its operating budget.

But as Mr. Panetta considers scaling back major weapons programs, the Osprey illustrates the challenges in downsizing the world’s most expensive military. The aircraft has survived after repeated safety problems during testing, years of delays, ballooning costs and tough questions about its utility.

Even Dick Cheney, when he was the defense secretary under the first President George Bush, could not kill it.

“Don’t bet against the Marines as budget warriors,” said Richard L. Aboulafia, an aviation analyst at the Teal Group in Fairfax, Va.
Taking Sec. Def. Panetta for a test ride is just one of the many ways the services protect their pet projects. And project protection is why they keep so many excess Generals and Colonels in the Pentagon.

If God were not dead

All the Republican/Teabagger candidates, who spent last night trying so hard to show they were holier than the next one, would never make it over the threshold of any house of worship before they found themselves burning in Hell. Sadly God is dead and those bozos are still spreading hate and misery across the land.

Ted Deutsch introduces amendment to over turn Citizens United

You can read the resolution in .pdf here.
Democratic Florida Congressional Rep. Ted Deutch has proposed an amendment to the Constitution of the United States outlawing corporate money in politics and ending so-called “corporate personhood”, according to Talking Points Memo.

If passed, the amendment would overturn the Supreme Court’s “Citizens United” decision, restoring caps on corporate election spending and rescinding the right of for-profit business interests to receive the same protections as citizens under the First Amendment.
Simply put, it says that the rights of the Constitution are for natural people and corporations are merely a construct for the benefit of people and do not share those rights. Good luck to Ted as he tries to get it passed by the paid for stooges in Congress.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Elizabeth Warren in the Sunday Times Magazine

Rebecca Traister has written a balanced piece about the next Senator from Massachusetts, highlighting what her supporters will expect and what she might not be able to deliver. But Ms Traister overlooks the skills that Dr Warren has developed as a Harvard professor and from her work in Washington. She will deliver much more than Sen. Nudie ever wanted to.

Swinging on a Saturday Night

But why would anybody grind a B3?

Will the ABA buy this plan or another more insidious one?

Chris Hayes reveals one plan from one Lobbying firm to attack #OCCUPY

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

Sure, the ABA said they didn't buy it, but who can believe a banker?

This sums it up very well

From Wonkette:
How did America’s heavily militarized security guards for the 1% spend the work week? Oh, just pepper-spraying sitting students in the face, macing old ladies, stomping peaceful protesters, yanking women around by their ponytails, destroying libraries and bloodying the faces of America’s citizens. You know, what they’ve dreamed of doing for decades.
How did your week go?

Here’s a petition imploring Barack Obama to stop the American police violence against the nation’s people.

Is the Internet the new radio?

Put your music out there for free and you will get fans. Get enough and they will buy your albums and tickets to your shows and make you a star. A simple business model that the traditional recording industry couldn't figure out but the up and coming musicians are keenly aware of.

Sort of like hearing new music on the radio like we did in the old days.

Republican/Teabagger presidential candidates good with money

With getting money that is. As Gail Collins points out, most of the Goat Rodeo entrants appear to have no visible means of support for the life styles they live.
Remember when Newt Gingrich claimed that the mortgage giant Freddie Mac paid him $300,000 for his advice “as a historian?” Thousands of young history majors who were resigned to a future in which they would pad out their $2,000-a-semester salaries as part-time adjunct lecturers with fulfilling careers in bartending suddenly were engulfed with new hope.

Unfortunately, it turned out that Newt’s income actually comes from running think tanks that help promote the corporate clients’ goals in the public sector. That may be a little harder for the youth of America to put their heads around. But, kids, if anybody asks you what you want to be when you grow up, say: policy guru.
Perhaps a better example is the Frothy One.
Some of the Republican candidates seem to have no visible means of support whatsoever — like Rick Santorum, who has seven kids. You would hate to think they were going without shoes just so Dad could continue his never-ending quest to break into the 5 percent range in the polls.

But, good news! Santorum made at least $970,000 in 2010, in all those mysterious ways unsuccessful Republican candidates for president seem to have of making money. Part of it came from being a commentator for Fox News, and part of it came from Santorum’s work at — yes! — a think tank.
There is good money in being a lying asshole and the Republican/Teabaggers have defined some of the most profitable.

2010 was a banner year for Republican/Teabaggers

Through their diligent efforts, they were able to add another 1 Million children to the class of Americans living in poverty.
The number of children in the United States considered poor rose by 1 million in 2010, the U.S. Census said on Thursday, with more than one in five of the youngest Americans now living in poverty.

"Children who live in poverty, especially young children, are more likely than their peers to have cognitive and behavioral difficulties, to complete fewer years of education, and, as they grow up, to experience more years of unemployment," the Census said.

In 2010, when the Census survey was conducted, 21.6 percent of children across the country were poor, compared to 20 percent in 2009.

That was mainly due to a rise in the number of children living below the federal poverty threshold, defined as an annual income of $22,314 for a family of four, to 15.7 million from 14.7 million in 2009.
Thanks to the effect of this on their learning and the quality of education available to them, this should ensure adequate numbers for the servant class at an affordable wage.

EXTRA: And let us not forget the "Near Poor", those people who have been almost fucked by the economy.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Outside money lines up for Sen. Nudie

As Sen. Scott Brown begins his campaign for re-election, the people he has served in his first two years are lining up to give him lots of money. That would be the people of Wall St. and the Connecticut Shore. The people of Massachusetts not so much.
“Senator Brown is a free-market advocate who believes that our strength as a nation comes from the ingenuity and hard work of its people,” read an invitation to a fund-raiser at a New Canaan, Conn., country club last week, that circulated among hedge fund and private equity executives. His Democratic opponent, the invitation noted, was all but certain to be the financial industry’s most prominent foe: “big government liberal Elizabeth Warren.”

Mr. Brown...has taken more money from the financial industry than almost any other senator: all told, more than $1 million during the last two years, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics.

Of the 20 companies that accounted for the most campaign donations to Mr. Brown, about half were prominent investment or securities firms like Morgan Stanley, Fidelity Investments and Bain Capital. His donors include such blue-chip names as Gary Cohn, the president of Goldman Sachs, and the hedge fund kings John Paulson and Kenneth Griffin.

Mr. Brown, in turn, has been an important ally at critical moments, using his swing vote in the Senate to wring significant concessions out of Democrats on last year’s financial regulation bill, including helping strip out a proposed $19 billion bank tax and weakening a proposal to stop commercial banks from holding large interests in hedge funds and private equity funds.
You would need a scope with the power of Mt Palomar to find what he has done for the Commonwealth, but not to worry. The rich folks think they can come in and buy the suckers again.

Wake up! It's Friday night

Let Grace Potter and the Nocturnals do it with a little Oo-La-La-la-la-la-la.

Comparative reactions

From the pen of Stuart Carlson

click pic to big

Not just a millionaire, he's a CEO as well

And another one of the richers to echo the sentiments of the Patriotic Millionaires for Fiscal Strength.
In a speech before the U.S. Council for International Business yesterday, Dow Chemical CEO Andrew Liveris joined the tax-me-more crowd, saying, “I can tell you the highest taxpayers, including me, should be paying more“:

“Come on, everyone over a certain threshold of money — and you can define what it is — but I can tell you the highest tax payers, including me, should be paying more,” Liveris said during a speech on Wednesday night…”Come on, we are underpaying for our future.”

CNN Money noted that “while his speech did garner applause a few times, his call to raise taxes was not applauded.”
Whew! He was lucky they didn't throw their croissants and petit-fours at him. On the good side, the accumulation of a thousand CEO's begins with one man.

Counting chickens before the eggs are laid

The Herminator got all weepy the other day just thinking about his inauguration. To be specific:
In an interview on Thursday with WMUR in New Hampshire, Herman Cain seemed to be holding back tears when discussing his wife holding the Bible at his inauguration. This might strike some people as odd, seeing as how he hasn’t been elected to the presidency, or any other public office — and indeed, not one single ballot has even been cast in the primaries yet.

The subject came up while Cain was discussing his wife’s potential role as First Lady. “I almost can’t say it,” Cain said, choking up a bit as he bowed his head. “Holding the Bible when I’m sworn in.”
Getting all choked up about that good woman still standing with him after all the skeevy things he has done. Or else thinking about those things coming out if he gets any closer to winning.

Ever see a currency commit suicide?

Keep an eye on the Euro. If the current Bright Lights in charge of the ECB have their way they will ride the Euro to the bottom rather than exercise the tools available to save it.
In his first speech as president of the European Central Bank, Mario Draghi complained Friday that Europe’s political leaders have been too slow to implement their own plan to address the sovereign debt crisis, and offered no hope he would come to their rescue by printing money.

Mr. Draghi, who took office at the beginning of the month, implicitly rejected calls for the E.C.B. to use its enormous financial resources to stop the upward creep of borrowing costs for Spain and Italy, which threaten their solvency and by extension the European and global economies.
Austerity, now and forever! What else is the ECB there for.

Mormons hire top ad agencies

The purpose is to sell their cult to the rest of America. All those years of sending out missionaries just didn't catapult the propaganda well enough so now they have to hire some professionals.
Top Mormon leaders had hired two big-name advertising agencies in 2009, Ogilvy & Mather and Hall & Partners, to find out what Americans think of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Using focus groups and surveys, they found that Americans who had any opinion at all used adjectives that were downright negative: “secretive,” “cultish,” “sexist,” “controlling,” “pushy,” “anti-gay.”
So the public has an accurate assessment of the Mormons and now they have to try and confuse you into believing something else. Best to hire pros for that, fresh faced kids just don't cut it anymore.

Teabaggers are fast learners

Well, the ones in Congress sure are. In the short time they have been in Washington they have learned the lessons of where the money is and how to suction it up as fast as possible, as well as any of Congresscritter.
"Business as usual," says Mary Boyle of good-government group Common Cause. "The lobbyists and other traditional Washington powers know that the newbies will learn fast that they need them, and their rolodexes."...

Among the biggest PAC donors to the tea party freshmen are familiar Washington faces, including Honeywell International, which led the way both in number of donations and overall money given. The top five corporate PACs that donated to these freshmen:

  1. Honeywell International, a Fortune 100 company best known for its defense manufacturing, made 52 donations worth at least $105,000
  2. The American Bankers Association, one of the major trade associations for the financial sector, made 31 donations worth at least $53,000
  3. Lockheed Martin, one of the biggest defense contractors in the country, with 30 donations for at least $28,000
  4. Koch Industries, the company run by conservative billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, made 29 donations worth at least $38,000
  5. The National Association of Realtors, a major trade group for real estate agents, with 29 donations worth $34,000
It's the people who vote for these Teabaggers who never learn.

Damn pesky neutrinos

If you remember, recently scientists found that neutrinos travelled at a speed faster than the speed of light, which is supposed to be impossible. Well, they checked their measurements and found a flaw that would account for that, or so they thought.
A new experiment appears to provide further evidence that Einstein may have been wrong when he said nothing could go faster than the speed of light, a theory that underpins modern thinking on how the universe works.

The new evidence, challenging a dogma of science that has held since Albert Einstein laid out his theory of relativity in 1905, appeared to confirm a startling finding that sub-atomic particles called neutrinos could travel fractions of a second faster.

The new experiment at the Gran Sasso laboratory, using a neutrino beam from CERN in Switzerland, 720 km (450 miles) away, was held to check findings in September by a team of scientists which were greeted with some skepticism.

Scientists at the Italian Institute for Nuclear Physics (INFN) said in a statement on Friday that their new tests aimed to exclude one potential systematic effect that may have affected the original measurement.

“A measurement so delicate and carrying a profound implication on physics requires an extraordinary level of scrutiny,” said Fernando Ferroni, president of the INFN.

“The positive outcome of the test makes us more confident in the result, although a final word can only be said by analogous measurements performed elsewhere in the world.”
Any other particle would behave the way it should, but those damn neutrinos got no respect for anything.

Colbert speaks out for the 1%

The 1% that is actually making sacrifices.

The Colbert Report
Get More: Colbert Report Full Episodes,Political Humor & Satire Blog,Video Archive

Krugman hopes the supercommittee fails

And so do we. If you don't know why, you must read his latest column.

Matt Taibbi supplies the comparison

In this case, he compares the crimes and the sentences of a mother of two who lied on a government food stamp application and several of the Wall St. Banksters who regularly commit fraud.
Apparently in this country you become ineligible to eat if you have a record of criminal drug offenses. States have the option of opting out of that federal ban, but Mississippi is not one of those states. Since McLemore had four drug convictions in her past, she was ineligible to receive food stamps, so she lied about her past in order to feed her two children.

The total "cost" of her fraud was $4,367. She has paid the money back. But paying the money back was not enough for federal Judge Henry Wingate.

Wingate had the option of sentencing McLemore according to federal guidelines, which would have left her with a term of two months to eight months, followed by probation. Not good enough! Wingate was so outraged by McLemore’s fraud that he decided to serve her up the deluxe vacation, using another federal statute that permitted him to give her up to five years.

He ultimately gave her three years, saying, "The defendant's criminal record is simply abominable …. She has been the beneficiary of government generosity in state court."

Compare this court decision to the fraud settlements on Wall Street. Like McLemore, fraud defendants like Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, and Deutsche Bank have "been the beneficiary of government generosity." Goldman got $12.9 billion just through the AIG bailout. Citigroup got $45 billion, plus hundreds of billions in government guarantees.

All of these companies have been repeatedly dragged into court for fraud, and not one individual defendant has ever been forced to give back anything like a significant portion of his ill-gotten gains. The closest we've come is in a fraud case involving Citi, in which a pair of executives, Gary Crittenden and Arthur Tildesley, were fined the token amounts of $100,000 and $80,000, respectively, for lying to shareholders about the extent of Citi’s debt.

Neither man was forced to admit to intentional fraud. Both got to keep their jobs.
Matt supplied the comparison, now the rest of us need to supply the outrage. Charles Dickens himself would have been unable to conceive of a grosser miscarriage of justice.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

It's not a bad world

Not while we can listen to these two lovely Canadian singers.

You know that Republican/Teabaggers are prize hypocrites

Martin Bashir talks about the Republican/Teabaggers latest efforts to violate State's Rights and invoke our inner Somalia.

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Your Dylan Dally Moment

Dylan helps Jack Abramoff sell his book and Jack offers up some good points on corruption in politics.

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OMG Republican/Teabaggers trust Newt with Nukes

Scary proposition, Newticles with access to the football. But the same people who trust Newt with neutrons won't let him anywhere near their womenfolk.

Quote of the Day

Because he is doing, and engaging in the exact kind of corruption that America disdains. The very things that anger the Tea Party movement and the Occupy Wall Street movement and everybody who is not in a movement and watches washington and says why are these guys getting all this money, why do they all become so rich, why do they have these advantages? Unfortunately Newt seems to play right into it.
Jack Abramoff, telling David Gregory that, yes, Newticles is one of the crooks that corrupt Washington. And who would know better than Jack?

h/t Juanita

R.I.P. Lee Pockriss

How can we ever forget your contribution to American culture?

The New York Times does frackin' Fracking

In a preview of Sunday's magazine, you can read all about the joys and sorrows of fracking. What it comes down to is simple. The frackers don't really know what happens down below. They won't tell anybody what kind of shit they put in the wells. They are sloppy, lazy and careless with the returned fluids from the wells and often fail to dispose of them safely or properly. And in the end, they aren't poisoning any rich people so who really cares.

Fussin', fightin' and feudin'

All the usual tensions between regular political Republicans and batshit crazy Teabaggers are acting against Republican chances to take over the Senate.
In a number of states where Republicans have been hopeful of picking up a seat, they are being hampered by some of the same dynamics that vexed their party in 2008, including trouble recruiting strong and experienced candidates, intra-party fighting, weak fund-raising and the very same anti-incumbent sentiment that also threatens Democrats.

Winning the Senate is tantalizingly within reach for Republicans, who have just 10 seats up for re-election, compared with the 23 that Democrats will defend next year, many of them in states where Democrats barely won in strong years for their party. Powerful national political trends continue to favor Republicans, especially in a weak economy.

But on a state by state basis, there are factors that give the Democrats hope and the Republicans pause. In states like Nebraska, tensions between the Tea Party movement and so-called establishment factions of the party threaten to roil the base. Florida and Pennsylvania have muddled Republican primary fields, with multiple candidates and no real standouts.
All this helps to protect the country from their radical stupidity. If you can please help them go at each other hammer and tongs.

Republican/Teabaggers violate the 10th amendment

And Gail Collins makes it clear to us what the NRA is trying to do to the country with the passage of HR 822.
There is a distinct cultural rift in this country between the people who feel safest when there are as few guns on the street as possible and the ones who believe that they aren’t secure unless they have a loaded gun around to protect themselves against evildoers. “As millions of American families can attest, there is no greater threat to our families than — the ability to protect,” said Representative Renee Ellmers, a Republican of North Carolina, flung into incoherence by the drama of the moment. What she pretty clearly meant to say was there was no greater threat than a crazed, knife-wielding zombie breaking through the doors of an unarmed household and trying to carry off the baby.

“We must protect our families,” she concluded.

Actually, the evidence suggests very strongly that a gun in the house will most likely be used to take out a relative. And guns in the house are not the subject of this bill anyway, since we’re talking about weapons being carted across state lines. So maybe the danger here is a crazed knife-wielding zombie breaking into the station wagon while the family is stopped for gas on the way to Disneyland.

Anyway, God wants everybody to be armed. “Mr. Speaker, rights do not come from the government. We are, in the words of the Declaration of Independence, endowed by our creator with certain unalienable rights,” said Representative Marlin Stutzman, an Indiana Republican.

Among these rights are life, liberty and a pistol in the glove compartment.
I hope this is clear. If you see someone from Florida, you can legally shoot them because they are a threat to you.

After your teeth are cleaned, go have a brew.

After learning that regular cleaning of the teeth and gums will reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke, now comes the study whose results we can really enjoy.
The second, though, is even more surprising. A massive meta-analysis of epidemiological data on alcohol and health, conducted by Italy's Fondazione di Ricerca e Cura, showed that moderate consumption of beer decreases drinkers' risk of heart disease by 31%, just as much as moderate consumption of wine. The Italian findings were based on data from over 200,000 people's drinking habits. The study found no benefit to consumption of spirits, which may indicate that something other than ethanol consumption per se is responsible for the health boost.

Other studies have demonstrated a link between good health and beer consumption, but this one is striking in the degree of the benefit.
Beer, unlike Republican/Teabaggers, is good for you in moderation.

Need a turkey recipe for next week?

I heartily recommend you give the Buffalo Fried Turkey a shot.

Extra Bonus: A safety video from William Shatner for all you Fry Daddys.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The local side of a national disgrace

The national disgrace is the huge amount spent on national "defense" and its heretofore unchecked growth at a time when the rest of the nation is wearing down and in need of repair and replacement. Bloomberg has focused on the local aspect of the pressure put and paid to Congress to keep up the wasteful level of "defense" spending in the town of Madison, Alabama. It is well worth reading if only to see what a miserable little shit Jeff Sessions really is.

When she found the sound

And she left no doubt that she had arrived.

The Public vs Private debate - Penn St style

For years Penn State, a publicly funded school, has avoided making information about the school and its football program public, as if it was a private institution. That may change soon for legal reasons.
Pennsylvania State University, after years of skirting public-school rules, may claim protection from liability under commonwealth laws that shield government entities, if it faces suits related to a child-sex scandal.

Moody’s Investors Service is examining the school’s relationship with the state to see whether claims of sovereign immunity apply, analysts said yesterday. Fallout from abuse charges against an assistant football coach and perjury accusations against two administrators led to the dismissal of Joe Paterno, the head coach, and Penn State’s president.

The commonwealth’s flagship state-supported school has successfully claimed to be exempt from freedom-of-information laws that apply to most public institutions, including competitors such as Ohio State University and the University of Texas. Penn State’s unusual position has for years shielded the school and its football program from public scrutiny.
Public vs Private, whichever is convenient at the moment or as long as we can get away with it.

About that smear of fruit on your pizza

Martin speaks out about the laughable Republican/Teabagger nutritional guidelines. Laughable if children's health were not involved.

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Secret Service goes off on a wild goose chase

After finding bullets that had been fired at the White House, the Secret Service searched the #OCCUPY DC camp. Turns out they might have had better luck at either RNC or NRA HQ.

A new outpost for the Empire

And this one doesn't involve any fighting, except for the occasional pub brawl over the sheilas.
President Obama and Prime Minister Julia Gillard of Australia announced plans on Wednesday for the first sustained American military presence in Australia, a relatively small deployment that is still a major symbol of American intentions to use regional alliances to counterbalance a rising China...

On his two-day visit, the president will fly north across the continent to Darwin, a frontier town and military outpost across the waters from Indonesia that will be the center of operations for the coming deployment. The first 200 to 250 Marines will arrive next year, with forces rotating in and out and eventually building to 2,500-strong, the two leaders said.

The United States will not build new bases on the continent but instead will use Australian facilities. Mr. Obama said Marines will rotate through for joint training and exercises with Australians and the American Air Force will have increased access to airfields in the nation’s Northern Territory.
Start out small and it will grow. It might be difficult if they keep referring to Darwin as a frontier city.

No wonder Republican/Teabaggers hate sex

They somehow confuse sex with work. Why else would the Wisconsin Republican/Teabaggers be proposing their latest legislative proposal?
Wisconsin is facing a jobs crisis. The state's official unemployment rate, down to 7.1 percent in January, has risen to 7.8 percent since Republican Gov. Scott Walker took office. But Walker and the GOP-led Legislature have a plan: First, they curtailed collective-bargaining rights and threatened to lay off government workers, including teachers, cops, and firefighters. Then Walker called a special jobs-focused session of the Legislature, which he dubbed "Back to Work Wisconsin," to pass even more "job-creating" laws. At the top of the jobs agenda? Gutting the state's sex ed standards and replacing them with abstinence-only education.

A bill launched during Walker's jobs session and nearing passage in the Legislature would repeal significant portions of the state law that requires schools to provide comprehensive, scientifically accurate, and age-appropriate sex ed...

"They say nothing's a bigger priority than the economy and jobs," says state Rep. Gordon Hintz, a Democrat who sits on the committee that will take up the repeal bill on Wednesday. "But the legislation that's actually passed has been the ultimate social agenda."
Why waste time in school learning this stuff when you can learn all you need to know in the schoolyard or from reading your father's porn.

When Scott Walker is finally removed from office he really should be prosecuted for criminal negligence of his duties..

Attention people of Philadelphia

The Second Mile Center located in your city is a legitimate charity organization that deals with former convicts;
The Second Mile Center, a nonprofit that provides jobs, training and support for former convicts, has been confronted with a drop in business and hostile customers, according to NBC. Philly locals have mistakenly blamed this local nonprofit for the shocking accusations being launched against the organization with nearly the exact same name, the Second Mile.
DO NOT CONFUSE THE TWO ORGANIZATIONS! One is an eastern Pennsy group that does good and the other is a western Pennsy kiddie trap run by that jock perv.

If you were one of the people who called the Philly group to yell at them, please call them back and apologize.

If I were a rich man, di-dee-di-dee-di-dee-di-dee-dum

I would tell everyone how I made my money if I were running for president. It only makes sense since the truth will come out anyway. And now poor Newticles is getting hammered in the press because he tried to bullshit his way past an inconvenient question.
In recent months, GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich has strongly criticized Freddie Mac and sister company Fannie Mae, as well as Democrats in Congress that he claims played a key role in the collapse of the housing market. And yet two former Freddie Mac officials recently told Bloomberg that Gingrich made between $1.6 million and $1.8 million in consulting fees from the mortgage company.

That amount is significantly larger than the $300,000 payment that Gingrich was asked about during a Republican presidential debate on Nov. 9.

The Freddie Mac officials also told Bloomberg that Gingrich was asked to build bridges with Capitol Hill Republicans and help sell the mortgage company's public-private structure to conservatives.
Who really believes that Tiffany & Co gives $500K credit lines to people who only make $300K?

Seems like money well spent

If you are one of the Merchants of Death.
The US Air Force has a new 30,000-pound bomb in its arsenal designed to penetrate targets buried deep underground, a spokesman said Tuesday.

The Air Force started taking delivery of the giant bomb, the “Massive Ordnance Penetrator,” in September, said Lieutenant Colonel Jack Miller.

Under an August 2 contract worth $32 million, the aerospace firm Boeing is due to produce eight of the giant MOP bombs to fulfil the Air Force’s “operational needs,” according to Miller.

The Air Force could not say how many of the conventional bombs have been delivered so far, but the MOP is seen as a weapon made for going after underground bunkers and tunnels in North Korea or Iran.

The MOP bomb, with more than 5,000 pounds (or nearly 2.5 tons) of explosives, is supposed to fit on a B-2 stealth bomber to strike at underground sites hiding weapons of mass destruction.
Then again, if you are the one paying the taxes, you might prefer using the money to pay for your kids teachers.

Republican/Teabaggers taking real shots at Obama

From the AFP:
A bullet has struck the ballistic glass of an exterior window of the White House and another round has been found nearby, News4, a local NBC affiliate, reported.

The news outlet said the Secret Service – the bodyguard detail charged with protecting the US president and other top officials — began investigating after an incident on Friday when gunshots were heard near the White House.
Looks like Rush and the other talking heads have the base pretty well fired up.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Bluesday Music Blogging

Getting down to basics with Bill Bill Broonzy

Why do rich folk hate democracy?

We all know about the generational hatred from those crazy, greedy krauts, the Koch Brothers. Last night Mayor Bloomie, another of Eastern European heritage, showed us that acquiring unspeakable wealth does not develop a taste for democracy. And now even little Mittens Romney, hardly wealthy by Republican standards, is practicing his disdain for the rights of Americans.
Harmon, a member of the OccupyColumbia movement that’s been staging a running protest outside the South Carolina state House for more than month, went to the Romney rally along with several other Occupiers who are military veterans in the hopes of protesting the VA privatization scheme. They wore their homemade t-shirts questioning the plan underneath bulkier outer shirts.

The Romney organizers seemed to be prepared for something to happen, Harmon said.

“They were actually asking people who were entering if they were with OccupyColumbia, which was strange,” Harmon said. “Once we were inside, they actually escorted in three different groups the other people I was with out. I managed to to stay in.”

When Romney’s remarks turned to health care, Harmon says she took off her outer shirt and exposed the homemade T-shirt underneath.

“I stood there peacefully until somebody came around and asked me to leave,” she said. Harmon said person kicking her out looked to her like a member of the campaign staff.

“They were pleasant enough,” she said. “There were two of them when they came.”
You can see in the picture the fearsome weapon she wore that scared the shit out of our otherwise Brave Little Mittens.

I wish I could help

From the pen of Tom Toles

click pic to big

Can the Sot-Weed be good for you?

After all those years of smoking it, scientists are finally getting around to looking at tobacco and studying the ways it can work for good.
The seeds are tiny as a flea and germinate like crazy. In less than a month, you can have a robust green crop that’s good for much more than smoking. You can grow vaccines in it. Extract protein from it. Make drugs from it...

Tobacco is often called the white mouse of the plant world, and Nicotiana tabacum has been turned inside out for study. The first studies of nicotine, in which researchers watched how a chicken’s leg twitched when exposed to the drug, were conducted in the late 1800s. They led to the discovery — and naming — of nicotinic receptors in the brain that play a key role in neurotransmitting.

The plant itself has relatively few genes, so it’s easy to manipulate to maximize any trait — low or high nicotine, faster maturity, slower burn rate, tougher leaves for finer cigar-wrapping.

It has a density of high-quality protein, and extracting, purifying and exploiting the value of that protein is where Hodge saw opportunity for Maryland growers. So a team of University of Maryland researchers also have been fooling with tobacco for the past several years.
And if their efforts pay off, the plant that made so many people rich while it made so many people sick may end up repaying the cost of those years.

The students will still support him

But President Obama has managed to suck the energy out of the many students who worked so hard for his election in '08. Many are trying to find their own jobs these days and finding that an economic depression can easily become personal.
Across this state — and in others where young voters were the fuel of the Obama organization, voting for him two to one over John McCain — the enthusiastic engine of the 2008 campaign has run up against the reality of a deadened job market for college students.

Interviews here and across the country suggest that most of his college supporters of 2008 are still inclined to vote for him. But the Obama ground army of 2008 is hardly ready to jump back into the trenches, potentially depriving Mr. Obama of what had been an important force in his victory.

Mr. Obama’s advisers, while acknowledging the shift, said they were confident that the loss of these workers would be negated by an influx of new students who have turned of voting age since 2008. Mr. Obama’s campaign manager, Jim Messina, said there had been eight million voters ages 18 to 21 registered since the last election, most of whom were Democrats.
The fact that many will still vote for him must be attributed to the horror show the Republican/Teabaggers are presenting as a presidential campaign.

Bloomie clears out Zuccotti Park

And declares that democracy is persona non grata in New York City.

Monday, November 14, 2011

The easiest way to find a pedophile

Just look for the man hired by the Catholic Church to investigate allegations of abuse.
A Catholic Church child safety co-ordinator who was in charge of investigating sexual abuse allegations was jailed for 12 months today for internet peadophile offences.

Christopher Jarvis, 49, a married father-of-four, investigated historic claims of child abuse, interviewing the victims when they were adults.

He was responsible for child protection at 120 churches and parish community groups for nine years.

He also, as a member of the Devon and Cornwall Multi-Agency Safeguarding Team, had access to police and social services information about victims of child abuse...

Police officers who traced him to his home in Plymouth, Devon, found more than 4,000 child porn images, mainly of boys aged 10 to 12, on his church-supplied computer and a memory stick when they raided the house in Penrose Road.
Pity the poor Catholic Church. It seems they can't win for losing.

Start off the week right

A little Louis Prima with Sam Butera and Keely Smith (Mrs Prima). The coolness and disdain she shows is part of the act.

Elizabeth Warren takes to the air

Her first ad for TV.

Be one with the Force.

We are the Many

The musical accompaniment to the APEC dinner.

Banksters still have to pay for their toxic assets

And not just the failed mortgages and their derivatives that they are carrying at full value until they can afford to charge them off. They also have to have a cushion to pay for the many settlements, judgements and fines yet to come for their criminal behavior. With that in mind, they are raising or adding new fees anywhere and everywhere they can.
Banks can still earn a profit on most checking accounts. But they are under intense pressure to make up an estimated $12 billion a year of income that vanished with the passage of rules curbing lucrative overdraft charges and lowering debit card swipe fees. In addition, with lending at anemic levels and interest rates close to zero, banks are struggling to find attractive places to lend or invest all the deposits they hold. That poses another $8 billion drag.

Put another way, banks would need to recoup, on average, between $15 and $20 a month from each depositor just to earn what they did in the past, according to an analysis of the interest rate and regulatory changes on checking accounts by Oliver Wyman, a financial consulting firm.

For consumers, the result is a quiet creep of new charges and higher fees for everything from cash withdrawals at ATMs to wire payments, paper statements and in some cases, even the overdraft charges that lawmakers hoped to ratchet down. What is more, banks are raising minimum account balances and adding other new requirements so that it is harder for customers to qualify for fee waivers.

Even the much-maligned debit usage charges have effectively been bundled into higher monthly fees on checking accounts. Bank of America abandoned its $5 a month debit card usage fee in late October amid a firestorm of criticism. Yet, it more quietly raised the cost of its basic MyAccess checking account by more than $3 a month earlier this year. Monthly maintenance fees now run $12 a month, up from $8.95.

Chase and Citigroup, which quickly distanced themselves from the debit card usage fee, ratcheted up the price of their entry-level checking products without the public relations nightmare. This month, Citigroup’s basic checking account jumped to $10 a month, up from $8. Chase raised the fee on its standard checking account to $12 a month in February; many of those customers were previously charged nothing at all.
Most banks can still make a profit without all this nickel and diming but the numbers won't impress anybody on Wall St and might not make enough to keep them out of bankruptcy when the judges hammer falls. But you knew this was coming, that's why you moved your accounts to a credit union, right?

How the NRA kills people

Not by the direct method of shooting people, they are too cowardly for that. No, the NRA kills people by enabling killers to get their hands on guns when communities would otherwise prevent it.
Under federal law, people with felony convictions forfeit their right to bear arms. Yet every year, thousands of felons across the country have those rights reinstated, often with little or no review. In several states, they include people convicted of violent crimes, including first-degree murder and manslaughter, an examination by The New York Times has found.

While previously a small number of felons were able to reclaim their gun rights, the process became commonplace in many states in the late 1980s, after Congress started allowing state laws to dictate these reinstatements — part of an overhaul of federal gun laws orchestrated by the National Rifle Association. The restoration movement has gathered force in recent years, as gun rights advocates have sought to capitalize on the 2008 Supreme Court ruling that the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to bear arms.

This gradual pulling back of what many Americans have unquestioningly assumed was a blanket prohibition has drawn relatively little public notice. Indeed, state law enforcement agencies have scant information, if any, on which felons are getting their gun rights back, let alone how many have gone on to commit new crimes.
Quietly and with great stealth, the NRA has been working to overturn or remove every law designed to protect people from criminals with guns. The right of the gun dealer to sell another piece trumps the safety and well being of citizens. They will not be happy until every whack job who just got out of prison can get enough hardware to wipe out your block.

Good news from Oakland

Scott Olson, the Marine vet that Oakland cops tried to kill, has been released from the hospital. He still has major therapy ahead of him but the prognosis is good.

Interesting news from the BLS

The constant repetition of the Republican/Teabagger talking point that regulations kill jobs has probably ingrained that lie into the public conscience. Unfortunately the Bureau of Labor that shows how much of a lie that point is.
In three straight recent weekly addresses, Republicans have asserted that “excessive government regulations” are keeping businesses from creating jobs.

On the contrary, recent government data proves that in the third quarter of 2010 only 0.4 percent of jobs were lost due to government regulations or intervention.

“With our economy struggling and red tape still piling up, these nuisances have become full-blown government barriers to job creation,” Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-VA) said in an early October video.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) asks executives to report the biggest reasons for layoffs. Data released last week showed that out of 1,870 layoffs, only six — or about 0.4 percent — in the third quarter of 2010 were due to “Governmental regulations/intervention.” That number dropped even further in the first two quarters of 2011.

By comparison, almost 35 percent of layoffs were due to business demand.
I say unfortunately because it comes too late to turn around the big lie. If only we could get people to see, as this report shows, that Republican/Teabaggers have killed more jobs in this country than anything the government has ever done.

Republican/Teabaggers always want to vouch for what works

Or should I say voucher for what works. Paul Krugman looks at the Mittens recent suggestion about replacing Veterans Health care with inadequate vouchers. He attempts to explain why Mittens or anyone would want to replace what has become the most successful health care delivery system in this country with a proven insufficient joke.
It’s literally a fundamental article of faith in the G.O.P. that the private sector is always better than the government, and no amount of evidence can shake that credo.

In fact, it’s hard to avoid the sense that Republicans are especially eager to dismantle government programs that act as living demonstrations that their ideology is wrong. Bloated military budgets don’t bother them much — Mr. Romney has pledged to reverse President Obama’s defense cuts, despite the fact that no such cuts have actually taken place. But successful programs like veterans’ health, Social Security and Medicare are in the crosshairs.
Paul does fall short of pointing out that the funds then spent on helping the public can then be diverted to a select few private pockets. Paul has always had trouble believing in the true evil of people in power.

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