Search This Blog

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Rick Scott screws disabled kids then attends a Special Olympics photo op

Rick Scott, governor of Florida is set to announce deep cuts to funding for developmentally disabled children in Florida. Par for the course for Scott who doesn't give a shit about most people. But he's then set to attend a Special Olympics photo-op afterwards. What a guy. One could argue that he is developmentally disabled, especially in the compassion department not to mention being utterly tone deaf.

The full story here.

Robert Reich - Is a double dip recession on the way?

It might as well be even if the numbers don't show it. He argues that GPD normally spikes considerably after a deep recession or worse because it had fallen so far. That's not happening now. At best GDP will be in the high 2% range this year. Reich argues that at this point in a recovery it should be somewhere between 4-6%.

Why aren't Americans being told the truth about the economy? We're heading in the direction of a double dip -- but you'd never know it if you listened to the upbeat messages coming out of Wall Street and Washington.

Consumers are 70 percent of the American economy, and consumer confidence is plummeting. It's weaker today on average than at the lowest point of the Great Recession.

Consumer confidence is plunging but CEO confidence is higher than it's been since 2002. There are two Americas and 95% of the country inhabits the one that isn't confident.

Hourly wages are dropping as are housing prices while gas and food prices have been soaring These are not good signs. The White House doesn't want to sound an alarm and the republicans just want to cut, cut and cut,

Washington, meanwhile, doesn't want to sound the economic alarm. The White House and most Democrats want Americans to believe the economy is on an upswing.

Republicans, for their part, worry that if they tell it like it is Americans will want government to do more rather than less. They'd rather not talk about jobs and wages, and put the focus instead on deficit reduction (or spread the lie that by reducing the deficit we'll get more jobs and higher wages).

Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys - Sittin on top of the World

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Jamie Dimon, JP Morgan CEO - a little humlity would be a good thing.

Jamie Dimon, CEO of JP Morgan threw a hissy fit at a U.S. Chamber of Commerce event today, complaining about the cost of financial reform. New regulations of derivatives markets 'would damage America'. SAY WHAT!! Haven't you done enough damage already.

"Corporate America is in very good shape. It's well-financed, it's well-funded," he said. "The consumer is spending ... housing is better than it was." Dodd-Frenk, the financial reform bill would create a "huge cost' and make things "even more complicated."

Everything is just great again in Jamie Dimon's world. Maybe housing in the $10 million plus market is doing just fine. New housing starts hit an all time low last month. Housing prices have dropped for seven consecutive months and the only reason foreclosure rates are down is because banks are being more careful about the paperwork.

And as for making things "even more complicated", isn't that what got us into this whole mess in the first place? All those credit default swaps were so sophisticated and complicated that they couldn't possibly fail.

What about the $4 trillion loss in homeowner equity, or the 30% losses in public worker pension funds aided and abetted by the politicians who loosened funding rules to let Wall Street get their grubby fingers on them?

The economy might be doing fine in corporate America that checked in with record profits for the last quarter but down on Main Street life isn't getting any easier.

In Dimon's world things are going great but he's pissed that he and his ilk might not be able to go back to the casino with the same reckless abandon because Wall Street may have someone looking over their shoulders, making sure he plays by rules not of his choosing. He's pissed that he may not be able to borrow taxpayer guaranteed funds from the Fed at less than 1% interest and use them to roll the dice again.

In his world, the 'Great Recession' never really happened and if it does happen again he's 'too big to fail' so he and his company will be okay. It's that very mindset that everything is just peachy again will guarantee it does happen again without adequate safeguards. He's no better than a newly sober drug addict after another relapse who thinks he can stay sober without any help.

Show a little humility, Mr. Dimon and Main Street America may not look at you with such a jaundiced eye.

Supreme Court says 'tough shit' to innocent man after 14 years on Death Row

John Thompson spent 14 years on Death Row in Louisiana because prosecutors hid exculpatory evidence including a blood test that proved his innocence. Thompson was eventually acquitted and was awarded $14 million in damages against the District Attorney who happens to be Harry Connick Sr., father of the famed jazz singer of the same name. During Connick's tenure there have been 36 cases of prosecutorial misconduct, 19 of which were overturned.

The award was appealed and made it to the Supreme Court which, as usual was split in q 5-4 vote and as usual, the powers that be won out.

Remember during Justice Roberts' confirmation hearings he famously said he sees himself as an impartial umpire, calling balls and strikes. It's become absurdly predictable who's going to throw all strikes and who's not. The prosecution always throws strikes, the accused never, same with corporations and workers and so on.

Amazing aerial photographs

Koh Pannyi, Thailand

34 more here.

Duelling Elvises - The original - Jailhouse Rock

Elvis Costello - Everyday I write the book

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Republican lemming economic policy

Odds are we're heading for a government shutdown on April 8. The Republicans will not budge on deficit negotiations and there's no reason for the Democrats to give them what they want. They aren't serious about deficit reduction that actually makes any economic sense. The government will have to raise the debt ceiling above it's current level of $14.3 trillion or the government has to stop functioning.

The Republicans have shifted the goalposts once again and now insist on a Balanced Budget Amendment as a condition for raising the debt ceiling. Sounds reasonable on paper but for the Republicans, defense is off the table, as is any tax increase or even reform of corporate taxes so companies like GE and Exxon might actually have to start paying taxes.

The math doesn't add up. The Amendment wants to cap spending at 18% of current GDP. Spending is currently running at 25% of GDP. To achieve that goal $1.6 trillion out of a spending request of $3.83 trillion. Take out defense at $895 billion and interest on the debt at $251 billion and your left with cutting $1.6 trillion out of $2.7 trillion or almost 60% of all spending including social security, medicare and medicaid.

The modest $61 billion in cuts that the Republicans has been proposing will result in the loss of 700,000 jobs and cut annual GDP by at least 1.5% according to Goldman Sachs. Change that $61 billion cut to $1.6 billion and the economy will crash and burn. The Republicans can spew their bullshit about government spending not creating jobs and not contributing to the economy from now until the cows come home but it's one big lie.

They have obviously decided that they will come out smelling like roses in the event of a government shutdown. They tried this under Clinton and got their asses kicked for their trouble. Four months ago, around the time of the election they might have been able to get away with it but in this short period their brand of radical extremist policies has been taking a beating. People in states such as Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Florida, Georgia, Arizona and others are seeing this first hand. The polling currently shows that the newly elected governors of those first four states in the list would all take a solid beating if the elections were re-held today.

According to them it's all the fault of those greedy public union employees and the high corporate tax rate that was paid by only one out of the entire Fortune 500. That was CVS and I wouldn't be surprised if their entire tax department had either been fired by now or at best read the riot act.

This chart shows where the real problem is.

 What stands out is the precipitous decline in tax revenues as a percentage of GDP since 2000.  The first decline was from the Bush tax cuts, the only time in American history that a tax cut has been enacted while simultaneously paying for a major war which Iraq/Afghanistan turned out to be.  When Clinton left office revenues were a little more than 20% of GDP and spending was at 18%.

The Bush tax cuts exposed the Republican economic theology of the 'trickle down' theory that cuts will actually generate more tax revenue as a fantasy.  It didn't hold true in the Reagan tax cuts either.  From 2001 to 2005 as the tax cuts took hold revenue slid 4% of GDP.  The rise in the next few years was due more to a rising stock market and the housing bubble than anything else but that 2% rise was wiped out in the first two years of the recession.  For 2011, tax receipts are expected to hit a low of 14% of GDP.  Even if spending can be cut to 18% of GDP (which it can't) it will still fall 4% short of a balanced budget.

The projected closing of the gap in the above chart is a best case scenario and assumes the Bush tax cuts expiring in two years as they are currently set to do.  As long as the Republicans refuse to touch the defense budget and refuse to consider any tax increases or reform of corporate tax loopholes and tax credits, the gap will at best close marginally as the economy presumably recovers slowly.

Worse yet are some of the unintended potential consequences of some of the GOP cuts should they pass.   The $750 million cut for low income pregnant women and infants, for example will more than likely lead to more premature and difficult births resulting in increased hospitalization costs borne by the taxpayer, negating any potential savings

The dual myths that lower corporate taxes and lower taxes for the wealthiest Americans lead to more job growth  has become a theology that is being proved empirically wrong.  One need look no further than the case of General Electric which pays no taxes yet exports jobs and is now intent on squeezing more wage and benefit concessions out of its unions which will have the same net effect as a tax increase on the middle class which is already feeling the pain of the recession far more acutely than the rich and large corporations.

Poll after poll shows shows that the average American is far more concerned with the economy and jobs than with the budget deficit  In Washington neither the politicians nor the punditocracy seem to understand that.  It's a class war disguised as an incoherent economic policy with enough platitudes to have bamboozled enough voters in the last election  Voters in Wisconsin are learning this very quickly  As long as the Democrats stand their ground a government shutdown will hurt the Republicans far more considering the extent of their overreach just in the past couple of months.

Idiot of the day

If you smuggle a US Military unmanned surveillance drone into the U.S. best not to try sell it on Ebay.

Jon Stewart - "I Give Up"

He captures the insanity that has taken hold in a few minutes better than any pundit can.

For those who don't have 4 minutes to spare watching the video here is the short version.

Republicans say we've got budget deficits because of all those greedy public union workers.
But GE didn't pay any taxes on $14.2 billion in profits and they shipped 20% of their jobs overseas in the past 9 years.
Republicans say US corporation's can't create jobs because they pay 35% of profits in taxes.
Except that two out of three of the top 500 corporations paid no taxes last year
Obama to the rescue says we can't let corporations ship jobs and profits overseas and not have them pay taxes.
Obama hires Jeff Immelt as chairman of his outside panel of economic advisers. Immelt was the CEO of General Electric.
WE'RE FUCKED!!! I'm with Jon Stewart on this one. I GIVE UP!!!

Fox turns a joke into a conspiracy

There are no standards at Fox. Fact: Barak Obama and Bill Ayers paths crossed during Obama's time as a community organizer back in Chicago. Ayers was a member of the Weathermen Underground and was responsible for planting a couple of bombs in the early 1970's. No one was killed in the bombings and Ayers spent a couple of years as a fugitive. He wasn't charged after illegal acts by the FBI forced government prosecutors to drop all charges. He subsequently entered the academic world and was chosen as Chicago's citizen of the year in 1997 for his work on an organization where he was a board member with Obama. There is no evidence that there was any contact outside the Chicago Annenberg Challenge which raised about $50 million for public school reform in Chicago.

Previously in 1996 Ayers had hosted a small gathering in his house when Obama announced his candidacy for State Senator. Walter Annenberg, the founder of TV Guide who founded and funded the Annenberg Challenge was ironically part of Pres. Reagan's famous 'kitchen cabinet' of advisers.

This didn't stop the GOP from going into full attack mode during the 2008 election. Sarah Palin must have used the phrase 'palling around with terrorists' a hundred time and all sorts of conspiracies exaggerating their relationship became standard fare. One of the wackiest conspiracies was that Ayers had ghost written Obama's book "Dreams of my Father."

Jack Cashill, a prolific conspiracy nut has written about this. A republican Congressman even hired an Oxford professor to prove the theory but that turned out to be a dud. In 2009 Ayers joked that Michelle Obama asked him to ghost write 'Dreams of my Father' and that set off a new frenzy about the theory. A few days ago Ayers, while on camera was asked about the claim. He jokingly answered yes and told the questioner if he (the questioner) could prove it he would split his share of the royalties with him.

Obviously the right are severely deficient, Fox in particular, having previously fallen for satirical stories as the truth.

This has set off a new round of frenzy, with Fox obviously not giving up.

Irritable Liberal Syndrome is one year old

I started this blog on the advice of some friends and launched the blog on March 25, 2010.  My first post was during the final days of the debate about the Affordable Care Act more commonly known as health care reform. A watered down version of the original intended bill passed with fierce resistance from the GOP which precipitated an assault on the bill that is still ongoing.

The Republicans knew they didn't have the votes to stop it but put forward amendment after amendment to try to slow it down or kill it. My favorite amendment was to deny convicted sex offenders free Viagra, one of the few sensible amendments. The irony was that the Republicans chose Se. David Vitter (R-LA) to propose it. If you recall, Vitter survived a scandal about his propensity for frequenting brothels in both Washington DC and New Orleans. It was rumored his particular perversion got him the sobriquet, Vitter the (I'll leave the rest of it to your imagination).

He survived and gave a humble statement to the media with his forgiving wife by his side.

It's been fun but it's also a grind cranking out about 1,100 posts in that time. Readership has grown slowly, a lot slower than I had hoped for but I guess that is par for a crowded blogging world, especially in the politcical arena. They say most blogs don't last more than a couple of months. I have, thanks to my readers and friends who have encouraged and helped me.

I don't plan to stop and hope my readership continues to grow. In these current times there is no shortage of material. As an old Chinese curse goes, 'may you live in interesting times'.

I hope you enjoy my posts. I include a fair amount of irritability, some humor and a lot of music videos, music being one of my true loves which started when I was about 9 years old and my parents, for some unkown reason bought be Jailhouse Rock by Elvis. I heard that wailing sax and was hooked forever. I have no idea why my parents bought the record for me, I certainly didn't ask them to.

I always appreciate reader comments and if you feel inclined, click on an ad once in a while so I can make a few dollars every once in a while.

If there is one thing that gives me pleasure is that my blog is read all over the world despite being largely about American politics.

Thank you one and all and here's to another year of irritable blogging.

Monday, March 28, 2011

From the police blotter files

Jon Stewart on Governor Hypocrisy - dead on as usual


Corporate America has become Mr. Creosote of 'The Meaning of Life'

Last week, the New York Times reported that, despite making $14.2 billion in profits, General Electric, the largest corporation in the United States, paid zero U.S. taxes in 2010 and actually received tax credits of $3.2 billion dollars.
ThinkProgress has learned that General Electric is expected to ask its nearly 15,000 unionized employees in the United States to make major concessions.

This year, 14 unions representing more than 15,000 workers will negotiate a new master contract with General Electric. Among the major concessions GE has signaled that it will ask of union workers is the elimination of a defined contribution benefit pension for new employees, a move the company has already implemented for its non-union salaried employees. Likewise, GE is signaling to the union that it will ask for the elimination of current health insurance plans in favor of lower quality health saving accounts
More here.


After another money-losing year, Bank of America Corp. got the upper hand with Uncle Sam in 2010.

The Charlotte-based bank had no federal income tax expense for a second straight year and actually reported a tax “benefit” of nearly $1 billion. Also, the bank’s billions in accumulated losses could reduce its taxes in future years, a tax expert said.

“Bank of America takes its role as a corporate citizen very seriously, and pays taxes in accordance with all applicable laws and regulations,” bank spokesman Jerry Dubrowski said.

Carrying forward losses from a previous year is IMO, a legitimate tax benefit that can often help smaller business stay afloat during tough times but then to tack on an additional $1 billion is obscene. $1 billion also happens to be the amount the GOP wants to cut from Head Start, one of the most successful programs for helping pre-school low income kids get a better start in life. A recent study of 600 kids in California showed every $1 spent on Head Start saving $9 down the road including increased earnings, employment, and family stability, and decreased welfare dependency, crime costs, grade repetition, and special education.

How much greed and gluttony will satisfy these corporate giants. When is enough enough, when they have devoured everything and bled everyone dry. They have beoome Mr. Creasote of Monty Python's the meaning of life. Warning, extremely gross.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Insane private footage of the tsunami in Japan

The power it unleashed is incredible.

Tish Hinojosa - By the Rio Grande

Paul Krugman on the perils of austerity

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.

What do these events have in common? They’re all evidence that slashing spending in the face of high unemployment is a mistake. Austerity advocates predicted that spending cuts would bring quick dividends in the form of rising confidence, and that there would be few, if any, adverse effects on growth and jobs; but they were wrong.

It’s too bad, then, that these days you’re not considered serious in Washington unless you profess allegiance to the same doctrine that’s failing so dismally in Europe.

Right again as usual.

A blog from an old friend in South Africa

An old friend, Maurice Smithers from South Africa has a new blog about live in Johannesburg, in particular two suburbs called Yeoville and Belleview which used to be an old Jewish neighborhood in a previous lifetime and has now become a rough and ready melange of a new South Africa with all its assets and problems.

Pay a visit and show some appreciation for a good man who is still fighting the good fight.

Another Day in Yeoville

A significant judicial election in Wisconsin on April 5

When the truth is known, no amount of unlimited campaign financing can or should make a difference. Hopefully we will see that in an election for a seat on the Supreme Court of Wisconsin that is up for grabs on April 5. Judge David Prosser the incumbent is defending his seat because his ten year term is expiring.

As Governor/Dictator Scott Walker's chief baggage handler on the court he was already in trouble, with Walker's approval ratings plummeting and with a riled up protest movement.

He' in even more trouble now with this ad airing against him.   30 years, when Prosser was the District Attorney of Outagamie County a mother went to him to file a complaint about a priest that had been abusing her two children.  Instead of investigating, Prosser went to meet with the Bishop.  The incident was covered up and the priest was transferred to another community where the abuse continued.  Here's the ad currently running in Wisconsin. 

That's not Prosser's only problem. He recently called another female judge a 'total bitch', threatening to destroy her. While that may not lose him any votes among the teabag hard core GOP contingent it doesn't help him amongst independents.

His campaign had already been scurrying around like cockroaches trying to distance him from his statement in December during the primary when he said, ""Our campaign efforts will include building an organization that will return Justice Prosser to the bench, protecting the conservative judicial majority and acting as a common sense compliment [sic] to both the new [Republican] administration and legislature."

That was before Walker released his budget and his assault on public unions that has everyone in Wisconsin so riled up. Now hi campaign is trying to emphasize Prosser's judicial impartiality and non-partisanship, despite having previously characterized union workers as thuggish tapeworms infecting the intestinal tract of society.

There is also the vote for changing the ethical standards for judge in Wisconsin. He voted with the conservative majority to remove the requirement that judges recuse themselves from a case involving a campaign contributor. That rule was conveniently written by poewrfu corporate lobbyists who needs as many friends on the judiciary as they can get.

Thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court's Citizen's United decision allowing unlimited and anonymous campaign donations those same lobbying groups who are now soliciting unlimited campaign donations from Wisconsin business leaders.

The letter says;

Dear Wisconsin Business Leader,

The government worker unions are openly attempting to overturn the November elections, buying an activist majority on the Wisconsin Supreme Court, and grinding our democracy to a halt because Governor Scott Walker has refused to raise taxes to balance the budget. [...]

Click here to make a generous corporate contribution to counter their efforts. Donations are unlimited and undisclosed. [...]

WMC IMC will mount a statewide TV ad campaign to educate the public about Justice Prosser’s common sense approach. And, we will educate the public about Kloppenburg’s radical agenda, and how the union bosses want her to stand in the way of reform.

Please, give today. Our business climate is at stake.

Prosser's opponent in the election, Assistant Attorney General JoAnne Kloppenberg has been under attack from the Prosser forces for judicial experience. If Prosser is the paradigm for 'judicial experience' any sane person should prefer inexperience.

America has been undergoing a class war for the past 30 years or so. The rich have been winning as evidence by the Republicans penchant for screaming "class warfare" whenever the subject of the alarming widening gap of income inequality comes up. Democrats and the left immediately shrink away when tagged with the 'class warfare' tag. When Gov. Scott Walker revealed his budget after taking office all hell broke loose in Wisconsin. Democratic legislators fled the state to avoid allowing Walker a quorum to pass the budget and outraged public union workers took over the state Capital for a couple of weeks the lines were drawn. None of Walker's intentions were made public in his campaign which only helped fuel the anger.

The issue of removing collective bargaining right fir public union workers was only the tip of the iceberg. In a previous post I listed 10 other ways Walker is screwing the people of Wisconsin. Chief among them is giving himself the power to sell off state owned public utilities to the private sector without any bidding, public oversight or even c=allowing the public interest to be considered. His refusal to accept $810 in Federal funding for high speed rail caused a Spanish company to pack up and close it's Milwaukee plat costing 250 jobs. An assault on wind powered project has caused a projected wind power farm in Green Bay to close down and has scared off billions in future investments.

Class warfare has broken out into the open in America and Wisconsin is ground zero. The first salvos in this war on the electoral front will be the judicial election on April 5. The numbers of voters negatively affected by this war far outnumber the voters who are positively affected by the Prosser/Walker camp. Unlimited money used to perpetuate lies as we saw in the 2010 elections can fool a lot of people most of the time but when those voters are made aware of the lies, all the money spent defending the interests of the few can be negated. After all, the Koch brothers have are allowed as many votes as those of one couple besieged by the war against the middle and lower income classes. A defeat for David Prosser can and musts be the first victory for the underclass. With the spotlight on Walker's duplicity April 5 can be a turning point.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Hannity spends 2 nights asking why Obama hasn't shown his birth certificate

Here's an extract from one of the shows.

HANNITY: Do I think he was [born in America]? Yes. Do I think this is odd that they won't produce the birth certificate? It's beginning to get odd to me.


BENKIE: Yeah, but why not produce it? It's so easy. Here it is -- on TV, on billboards, whatever. Why not just bring it out? Why not show it?

DANIELS: It's shown time and time again. Do we trust the Hawaiian authorities or not? I don't understand this. There is a problem here. There's something going on here, that people keep talking about this birth certificate, and there's a significant amount of people believe in it.

HANNITY: Why haven't they just produced the certificate?

DANIELS: They have! They've shown it! You can go see it -- anybody can go see it, just like you can go see a copy of --

HANNITY: That's not true!

BENKIE: That's not true. It's never been out.

HANNITY: Because they've never allowed anybody to see it. That's the point.

BENKIE: It's never been out.

HANNITY: It's never -- see, you're agreeing with me that it's odd.

BENKIE: It is odd. It's very odd.

What a bunch of fucking brain dead lying idiots. For those like almost every Republican idiots and thousands of others I give you this. He fucking released in in 2008. Here's the proof. Shut the fuck up already.  That a supposedly legitimate news organization can churn out this level of crap on a continuous basis when a simple google search can answer the question in a couple of seconds says everything you need to know about the state of political discourse in America today

Gingrich: Sarkozy led on Libya because he wasn't filling out NCAA brackets

Newt Gingrich is known as one of the intellectual giants of the Republican party. His flip flop on Liibya and the sunsequent waffling to explain it has already generated all the wrong kind of headlines for him.

He's obviously one who believes any publicity is good publicity. There can be no other reason for his latest venture into world of idiocy.

Wisconsin Republicans defy the rule of law

Republicans always trumpet the inviolable rule of law. A court recently ruled the insanely punitive budget that screws public workers and allows the governor to hand over state owned utilities to the private sector without bids or oversight purely on the governor's discretion violated state government procedures so a judge ruled against the budget becoming law.

Turns out the rule of law only applies when it benefits Republicans because the state Republicans made it law, defying a court order and a judge's ruling. Just another example of the dictatorship that currently rules Wisconsin.

Willie Nelson gets sentenced for pot bust: He's got to sing a song in court

In November last year Willie Nelson was caught with about 6 ounces of pot. In Texas they are normally tough on pot smoking. One unlucky soul in Tyler Texas who unfortunately wasn't Willie Nelson got sentenced to 35 years in prison for possesion, not even dealing, about four ounces of pot. That's more than some murderers and rapists get, reminding us of the insanity of the 'War on Drugs'.

Willie is an American treasure, who among other things is reputed to have smoked pot in the White House. Willie is also synonymous with pot and should have a nationwide exemption from possessing or smoking pot.

Fortunately for Willie, Hudspeth County Attorney C.R. "Kit" Bramblett, who openly calls Nelson his "favorite artist." reduced the charge to three ounces which makes it a misdemeanor with a $100 fine and $278 in court costs. The fine can normally be mailed in but in Willies' case they made an exception. Instead he has to show up in court and perform "Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain."

Alson Krauss

Friday, March 25, 2011

Corporate Profits hit an all time high: Recovery stumbles

Corporations reported an annualized record profit of $1.68 trillion based on fourth quarter returns. Job growth is sluggish and the real estate market is moribund. 7.5 million lost jobs since the start of the recession still haven't come back yet the Republicans want to give even more to corporations and take it all pout on the middle and lower income earners.

When is enough, enough. Never, according to Republicans. Corporations shouldn't have to pay any taxes and be free of all regulations because, you know, they create jobs, except they don't.

Corporate profits steadily increased last year as companies continued holding onto record amounts of cash and other liquid assets while cutting costs, laying off workers and wringing more productivity -- defined as the amount of output that comes from an hour of work -- from remaining staff, even as the recession eased.

At the same time corporations are sitting on a record $1.6 trillion in cash that they aren't investing, Giving them more tax breaks, as every GOP dominated state is intent on doing won't bring back jobs, it will just allow these corporations to garner even more profits and sit on even more cash. Meanwhile, all the austerity measure at all levels of government will bring more pain to the middle and lower earning classes and in the end these glorious corporate profits will start to slide severely as demand for their products gets throttled by a tapped out population.

The big 'job creation' lie lives and becomes embedded in policy because too few Democrats stand up to the lie.

In a related article, the New York Times lays out how GE, with all its resources and lobbying efforts has gamed the tax system to a point where they no longer pay taxes no matter how much they earn.

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.

While G.E.’s declining tax rates have bolstered profits and helped the company continue paying dividends to shareholders during the economic downturn, some tax experts question what taxpayers are getting in return. Since 2002, the company has eliminated a fifth of its work force in the United States while increasing overseas employment. In that time, G.E.’s accumulated offshore profits have risen to $92 billion from $15 billion.

It's a lengthy article but well worth reading. It illustrates everything that is wrong our current economic situation. Capitalism works best when the maximum number of people feel that they have a stake in its success. For huge swathes of the population it feels as though they are sinking or at best treading water. Current Republican fiscal policy only wants to increase the pain of those falling by the wayside while showering even more benefits on the wealthy few. It isn't sustainable in any way shape or form.

If there is any hope it's that GOP overreach and the real pain it inflicts, such as we're seeing in states like Wisconsin and Michigan and elsewhere will, as it has in Wisconsin arouse enough people to wake up and stop believing the lies and bullshit about the economy. After all, the Koch brothers and all their billions have as many votes as the average couple, struggling to survive.

New Order - Love will tear us apart

One of the great songs from the punk/new wave era. Sadly, life was too much for Ian Curtis, the musical genius behind the band who took his own life at 24.

Why CNN ever hired the idiot Erick Erickson is beyond me

It's not just that he's right wing, he's also an incoherent idiot.

There is not in any way, shape, or form any rational explanation for the United States engaged in Libya to do nothing except for one I can think of — Barack Obama's re-election.

Suddenly Obama can look Presidential again — all through manufacturing the need for American involvement where there was no need. Barack Obama wants to be re-elected. The best playbook for his re-election is that of Bill Clinton. But Clinton had a government shutdown and Kosovo. In the absence of either, Barack Obama must manufacture them. And he has.

But it's all the women's fault.

ERICKSON: This is just silly. I mean, back-seat driving by the women, and they're gonna get Barack Obama lost. What is it with Barack Obama caving to the women? I mean, now we know who rules his personal life. I guess Michelle is firmly in charge as well, if Barack Obama is going to cave that easy to three women in his administration over what to do with Libya.

Bo Diddley from The Legends of Rock N' Roll

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Newt Gingrich - for 'no fly zone' before he was against it

Gingrich is a shameless douchebag. There is no other way to explain this.

Gingrich a couple of weeks ago:

Exercise a no-fly zone this evening. … We don’t need to have the United Nations. All we have to say is that we think that slaughtering your own citizens is unacceptable and that we’re intervening.

Gingrich today:

I think that two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is a lot. I think that the problems we have in Pakistan, Egypt — go around the region. We could get engaged by this standard in all sorts of places. I would not have intervened. I think there were a lot of other ways to affect Qaddafi. I think there are a lot of other allies in the region we could have worked with. I would not have used American and European forces.

It's the old Groucho Marx ploy, "Whatever it (Obama does) is, I'm againsst it." And the media still take him seriously.

Sarah Palin - too great to be President

As she plummets in the polls showing her run at the Presidency would be a huge flop her many admirers on the right have elevated her to Goddess, claiming that being President is too demeaning for her. There will always be that delusional sector of the population that will worship and adore her. My prediction is that it will continue to shrink.

Elizabeth Taylor dead at 79. A true Hollywood icon

Her body of work never quite matched her fame despite Cleopatra but she epitomized the glamor of Hollywood. She collected husbands along the way with her marriage to Richard Burton being one of the ultimate Hollywood marriages though neither were American.

For me it all fell apart when she married Sen. John Warner and John Belushi did his infamous skit of Taylor chowing down on some Southern Fried chicken, choking on a chicken bone in the process. After that, I could never look at her without seeing Belushi chocking on that bone.

Lewis Black - A Donald Trump dictatorship

Black's occasional appearances on The Daily Show are something to be savored. Last night Black weighed in on a Donald Trump presidential campaign. Brilliant.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Must watch TV: Rachel Maddow - It;s not about the budget

Tax breaks for the wealthy - tax increases for the rest including a tax increase for the blind in Georgia.

Wisconsin Republicans do care about public employees jobs

WI. State Senator Randy Hopper is one of 8 GOP Senators targeted for recall. He only won election after a recount gave him a victorious margin of 163 votes. Current polls show him losing a recall election by 11 percentage points. He's also best buds with gov. Scott Walker.

Perhaps we're being a little hard on Hopper. He is, after all, doing something positive for Wisconsin's public employees, or at least one of them. In his 2010 campaign, he claimed he knew how to create jobs. Seems like he's correct.

Valerie Cass was hired Feb. 7 as a communications specialist with the state Department of Regulation and Licensing. She is being paid $20.35 per hour. This is mighty generous in a state that both Walker and Hopper consider to be so broke they have to screw public employees and everyone else except corporations that got huge tax breaks. It's so generous in fact that the job is now paying $11,000 a year more than was being paid to the previous person in the job.

One more thing. Valerie Cass is Hopper's new girlfriend, 19 years younger than him and is the reason for Hopper's impending divorce. Bow if Hopper started treating the rest of Wisconsin's public employees like his girlfriend, he might not be looking at being out of a job come recall election time.

American Family Association supports Qaddafi

The American Family Association (AFA) has always been on the extreme right of even most right wing organizations. Bryand Fischer, their most visible spokesman has frequently proved his virulent anti-gay and anti-Muslim feelings with comments such as equating gay sexual acts as the equivalence of domestic terrorism and that gays should be disqualified from all public positions.

He's found a new ally in Qaddafi. Latching on to Qaddafi's absurd claims that drug addled Al Qaeda operatives are behind the Libyan resistance he's now claiming that the 'no-fly zone' is aiding and abetting Al Qaeda.

It's no wonder that the AFA has been designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center but that hasn't stopped people like Newt Gingrich funneling money to them or potential GOP Presidential candidates Tim Pawlenty and Mike Huckabee from appearing regularly on their radio shows.

Buying into Qaddafi's delusions is a new low even for Fischer but then nothing has ever stopped him from delving into the gutter before.

Punk in Africa screens at SXSW

Punk under the African Sun in the land of Apartheid.

Paul Krugman defends Elizabeth Warren

Last week, at a House hearing on financial institutions and consumer credit, Republicans lined up to grill and attack Elizabeth Warren, the law professor and bankruptcy expert who is in charge of setting up the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Ostensibly, they believed that Ms. Warren had overstepped her legal authority by helping state attorneys general put together a proposed settlement with mortgage servicers, which are charged with a number of abuses.
And Republicans were clearly also hoping that if they threw enough mud, some of it would stick. For people like Ms. Warren — people who warned that we were heading for a debt crisis before it happened — threaten, by their very existence, attempts by conservatives to sustain their anti-regulation dogma. Such people must therefore be demonized, using whatever tools are at hand.
Given Ms. Warren’s prescience and her role in shaping financial reform legislation — not to mention her effective performance running the Congressional panel exercising oversight over federal financial bailouts — it was only natural that she be appointed to get the new consumer protection agency up and running. And it’s hard to think of anyone better qualified to head the agency once it goes into action.
The fact that she’s so well qualified is, of course, the reason she’s being attacked so fiercely. Nothing could be worse, from the point of view of bankers and the politicians who serve them, than to have consumers protected by someone who knows what she’s doing and has the personal credibility to stand up to pressure.

Paul Krugman pulls no punches here.

More positive proof that Republicans are hypocritical lying sacks of shit. Protect the bankers at all costs and screw the consumer in doing so. Krugman is right that Obama must use this battle to expose the mindset of Republicans. Sadly, he can't expect full support from all Democrats on this issue.

The people who were right about the financial crash have been marginalized by the media and mainstream Washington thought, just as the Iraq war skeptics were correct but were marginalized themselves.

Top 6 things Republicans believe are more important than creating jobs

* Curtailing abortion rights

* Defunding Planned Parenthood

* Defunding NPR

* Investigating American Muslims

* Declaring English the only official language

* Reaffirming the "In God We Trust" motto

More here.

Pinetop Perkins - passed away today at 97.

He started smoking when he was 9, battled alcoholism into his 80's and ate at McDonald's every day but he never stopped playing until the Good Lord took him away today at 97.

Glenn Beck lets his ignorance spew

GLENN BECK: Madison is just the beginning, AFL-CIO chief Richard Trumka told a union rally in Annapolis on Monday. Madison is just the beginning; you ain't seen nothing yet, he says. The message? Angry schoolteachers and the unions are the same. Join us April 4th, 2011, a day to stand in solidarity with working people of Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana, and a dozen other states, where well-funded right-wing corporate politicians are trying to take away the rights that Dr. King gave his life for.

Wait, wait, hold it, just a second. Dr. King lost his life for collective bargaining for the public unions, really? Did you know that? 'Cause -- that -- we have to update our history books, because I didn't know that. Did you know that?

PAT GRAY: I personally didn't. (Laughs)

BECK: Thank you for that.

GRAY: I didn't know that. I - I was - I'm a little confused, I guess, 'cause, yeah, I thought it had something to do with civil rights, but it was a union deal?

What a fucking idiot. King was in Memphis to help public workers unionize when he was shot. Beck has the nerve to try to claim that he is continuing Martin Luther King's heritage.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Frank Gaffney: idiot and supreme paranoid

Frank Gaffney is the go-to person for Muslim fearmongering. In a sane world he would be institutionalized under a regimen of powerful anti-psychotic drugs. Instead he is allowed and encouraged to talk drivel about how America is about to fall under Sharia Law and Islamic domination. Witness his drivel today.

What I find particularly concerning is the prospect that what we might call the Qaddafi Precedent will be used in the not-to-distant future to justify and threaten the use of U.S. military forces against an American ally: Israel.

... I am praying that Barack Obama and his anti-Israel troika of female advisors will not take us all down a road that seems ripe for another, ominous application of this precedent, with truly horrific repercussions – for Israel, for the United States and for freedom-loving people elsewhere. A Congress that was effectively sidelined by Team Obama in the current crisis had better engage fully, decisively and quickly if it is to head off such a disastrous reprise.

If you have the stomach for it you can read more here.

Right Wing uses nuclear crisis in Japan to attack renewable energy

Their idiocy will never cease. Wind energy sometimes kills birds and sometimes people fall off roofs installing solar energy panels...and nothing bad ever happens to nuclear plants. Since when did these people care about wildlife?

Media Matters has the full rundown here.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Republicans vote for a tax increase for 87% of businesses in anti-Abortion bill

Republican ant-tax fervor has its limits when it comes to a woman's right to choose. House Speaker John Boehner claims that he and his party do want to raise taxes on anyone because the American people have demanded that politicians stop all tax hikes, especially when it comes to corporations and millionaires. Their fervent war against women trumps that promise.

The House Ways and Means Committee is about to throw that commitment out the window by creating what is in effect a tax increase on 87% of America's companies in their "No taxpayer funded abortion" bill. The bill will shortly make it's way out of committee and will undoubtedly pass in the GOP dominated House. The bill will “prevent women from using itemized medical deductions, certain tax-advantaged health care accounts or tax credits included in last year’s health care law to pay for abortions or for health insurance plans that cover abortion.”

Even economic conservative Grover Norquist was “concerned” that the policy, “however well-intentioned or virtuous,” would “mask a net tax increase.”

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) had this to say about the proposed bill:

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: This is nothing short of a tax increase, I mean we have to call it exactly what it is. The Republicans are proposing a tax increase on all women because in their anti-women legislation H.R.3, they would take away the tax benefit from all small businesses if their health insurance offers abortion coverage which 87 percent of them do. So essentially they are saying if you are a small business owner and you offer your employees insurance and that policy covers abortion, then you will not be able to benefit from the tax credits that the Affordable Care Act allows you and also that you can already take by offering insurance to your employees.

It’s outrageous. The Republicans are maintaining and proponents of this legislation are maintaining that all they are doing is codifying the status quo and prohibiting federal funding of abortions. This legislation goes much further. It reaches deep into the personal lives of all American women, of all small business owners and twists the Republican nose into the business of people who need insurance and also small business owners who want to provide coverage for their employees.

Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) told ThinkProgress that this is both a war on the “reproductive health of American women and men,” because “if a man was to buy an insurance policy that included a provision that might cover abortions, he would not be able to participate in the exchanges that are being set up.” “This is the most ridiculous, frivolous, but also mean-spirited anti-health care legislation that we’ve seen,” she added.

Today's brand of fanatical Republican (which covers about 95% of the party) have no shame, decency or common sense. From proposing the 'uterus police' in Georgia to allowing the IRS to audit abortion costs, to the narrowing of the definition of rape they will stop at nothing to restrict a woman's right to choose even if it violates their most basic principle of not raiding taxes.

Nothing is inviolate to their fanaticism, even their core economic principles. Love the fetus and hate the baby has become a core principle as evidence by their slashing of a nutrition program for low income pregnant women and infants.

Maybe there is some hope.

Appropo the previous post lamenting the fact that people had better wake up and start smelling the roses comes this letter from a Tea Party husband to her schoolteacher wife.

I'm sorry.

I am a conservative husband, belong to the Tea Party and I voted for John Kasich. I have been married to a Cleveland teacher for almost 14 years and my vote let her down.

I apologize:

For letting people tease you about having the summer off and not asking them to thank you for the tough days ahead that begin in early August. I know for a fact you work more hours in those 10 months than many people do in 12. All those hours are earned.

For complaining that my Sunday is limited with you because you must work.

For making you think you have to ask permission to buy a student socks, gloves and hats.

For not understanding that you walk through a metal detector for work.

For leaving dirty dishes in the sink [when you awoke] for your 4 a.m. work session. I should know you have to prepare.

For thinking you took advantage of the taxpayers. Our governor continues to live off the taxpayer dole, not you.

For counting the time and money you spend to buy school supplies.

For not saying "thank you" enough for making the world and me better.

I love you.

One of the right wing knocks against schoolteachers who seem to be the villains du jour in America is that they are paid more than workers in the private sector and also get the sort of benefit packages even a CEO would envy. A schoolteacher must have a college degree and many have advanced degrees as well. When schoolteachers' salaries are compared to to workers in the private sector with similar education levels the story changes and teachers earn comparatively less than their counterparts with the same education in the private sector.

As Mark Twain said, "There are lies, damned lies and statistics".

The trade-off for teachers and prospective teachers is relatively lower salaries but health benefits and the security of a pension when they retire. While public pensions (and others as well) are hurting and underfunded, it's not because of the greed of teachers and other public employees or the fact that their benefits are too generous but because public employee pensions alone lost almost a trillion dollars in the economic downturn. In some states such as New Jersey pensions are also underfunded because politicians such s former Republican governor Christie Todd Whitman chose to exempt cities and other government bodies from funding their penion liabilities to pay for tax cuts. Now public employees are being punished for Wall Street's profligacy and tax policies of their politicians.

In fits and starts, a sleeping giant, the average American is waking up and they have a lot more votes than the elites who are the beneficiaries of recent government policies.

New Hampshire cuts cigarette taxes, cuts health and education funding as well

I think I'm starting to suffer from outrage fatigue. The mind boggles at the insanity. Nothing makes sense anymore. Cutting cigarette taxes will lead to more consumption which will lead to more health cots but cuts in health will mean less health services so who will bear the burden, the suffering taxpayer naturally.

It's becoming more and more obvious the Republicans are acting out some Ayn Randian ideology and don't really give a shit about solving the real problems that exist currently.

Americans had better wake up and smell the fucking roses soon or we're all going to be fucked.

GOP bill to force IRS to audit abortions

Under a GOP-backed bill expected to sail through the House of Representatives, the Internal Revenue Service would be forced to police how Americans have paid for their abortions. To ensure that taxpayers complied with the law, IRS agents would have to investigate whether certain terminated pregnancies were the result of rape or incest. And one tax expert says that the measure could even lead to questions on tax forms: Have you had an abortion? Did you keep your receipt?

In testimony to a House taxation subcommittee on Wednesday, Thomas Barthold, the chief of staff of the nonpartisan Joint Tax Committee, confirmed that one consequence of the Republicans' "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act" would be to turn IRS agents into abortion cops—that is, during an audit, they'd have to detemine, from evidence provided by the taxpayer, whether any tax benefit had been inappropriately used to pay for an abortion.

This country, or at least part of it has gone completely fucking insane. And there I thought the GOP hated the IRS, I guess not.

Newt Gingrich - Obama fixated on NCAA basketball

What a jerk. Obama goes on ESPN to pick his selections for the NCAA basketball tournament and Newt Gingrich, who is fixated on adultery, accuses him of neglecting the country's business because of basketball.

Ann Coulter - 'Radiation is good for you'

Coulter will say anything for publicity. She's the ultimate blond bimbo publicity whore but this is absurd.

Phil Ochs - What are you figthing for?

The images are outdated in this video but the message isn't.

A couple of sad passings in the music world


Jet Harris, bass guitarist of The Shadows, the English version of the Ventures and the original backing band for Cliff Richard. my first rock and roll hero, before he found religion. As a you kid I saw them a few times in South Africa before the music boycott isolated the country from music. I supported the boycott, although as a huge music fan I also suffered.


Ferlin Husky had a voice that was perfect for country. Although not as well known as some of his contemporaries he sold millions of records and helped popularize country on TV to widen it's appeal.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Minnesota GOP want to make it illegal for people on welfare to have cash

This isn't a joke.

On March 15, Angel Buechner of the Welfare Rights Committee testified in front of the House Health and Human Services Reform Committee on House File 171. Buechner told committee members, “We would like to address the provision that makes it illegal for MFIP [one of Minnesota’s welfare programs] families to withdraw cash from the cash portion of the MFIP grant – and in fact, appears to make it illegal for MFIP families to have any type of money at all in their pockets. How do you expect people to take care of business like paying bills such as lights, gas, water, trash and phone?”

House File 171 would make it so that families on MFIP – and disabled single adults on General Assistance and Minnesota Supplemental Aid – could not have their cash grants in cash or put into a checking account. Rather, they could only use a state-issued debit card at special terminals in certain businesses that are set up to accept the card.

You would think someone on assistance might want to look for a job and maybe they would need to take a bus to get to apply for the job. If these morons had their way that would be impossible. And then they accuse the opposition of class warfare.


Have the Republicans gone too far?

The answer is obvious but they have previously paid no price for pushing the envelope of their twisted vision for the future of America. That could change over the next few months.

In Wisconsin, recall petitions are already underway for 8 GOP State senators in seats that Democrats have often held. Most of the recall petitions have reached 45-50% of the needed signatures 15 days into the 60 day time limit. While recall petitions are also underway for 8 Democrats in Wisconsin momentum is clearly on the Democrats side, something even the Republicans in Wisconsin have admitted.

Bear in mind that many of the action passed by Gov. Scott Walker and the Republicans were never mentioned in the 2010 campaign. While the Public Union issue has been front and center Walker's scheme to 'sell' off state energy assets without bidding or oversight will become a large part of the recall campaigns. Bear in mind the numbers of people negatively affected by Walker's decree far outnumber those who benefit, other than delusional and clueless Teabaggers.

In Michigan, the state constitution allows for the governor to be recalled six months after taking office. His even more insane move to declare 'fiscal martial law' and in effect become dictator as well as his tax plan to hit seniors and low income households will waken a sleeping giant.

The numbers are on the Democrats side and it will show once the insanity of the right truly hits the light of day. Interesting times ahead for sure.

Vaginas versus Republicans

What the new Financial Martial Law in Michigan means

Michigan's widely reported 'Financial Martial Law' bill, soon to be signed into law by teabagging mannequin Rick Snyder, is portrayed by leftists as another salvo in the ongoing Republican war against teachers and public sector unions. I find that conclusion overly linear and too simplistic. This legislation – which allows the Governor to declare financial emergencies and appoint individuals or corporations to serve as city managers with the power to dissolve local elected councils and nullify employment contracts for public servants – is the first step in an effort to do away with municipal and local government altogether in favor of quite literally having private enterprises replacing government and contracting out its functions to the lowest bidder. How beautiful it will be: Wackenhut cops and local jails, Waste Management goons collecting trash, utilities sold off to Aqua America and Exelon, tax assessments mailed to homeowners from a financial services boiler room in Bangalore, and municipal employees of all types fired and replaced by temps from Manpower, Inc.

Full article here.

Sen Mike Lee (R-UT) - Child labor laws unconstitutional

Tea Party favorite Lee claimed that child labor laws are unconstitutional in a Youtube lecture. Seeing that the GOP are hellbent on destroying public education we might as well put those indolent kids of people who can't afford private schooling to work. I hear the coal mines are hiring again.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Devotchka - How it ends

What GOP controlled states are doing - widening the income gap

Shared paid excludes the wealthy and corporations but hurts everyone else, especially public education. We know about Michigan and Wisconsin. In Georgia taxes are being lowered for the wealthy while basics like food will be subject to sales tax for the first time ever.

In all cases the excuse is budget shortfalls but this is a big fat lie but the tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy wipe out any potential savings. The result is average citizens will spend less and ultimately budget shortfalls will only increase.

Thinkprogress has the complete rundown.

Marcy Kaptur (D- OH) doesn't mince her words

Remember Rich Iott, the GOP clown who lost because he liked to run around in a Nazi SS uniform and thought there was nothing wrong with that. It helped Marcy Kaptur hold her district a lot easier than she might have otherwise. We can be grateful for that. Here she is calling out the Republicans for budget cuts that would cost thousands of jobs while allowing the big Wall Street Banks and the oil companies get away without paying much if anything in taxes.

The top 6 banks on Wall Street earned $51 billion and paid 11% in taxes. Exxon earned $9 billion in one quarter while BP earned $5 billion in a quarter and neither company paid a penny in taxes. She rightly asks how we can balance a trillion dollar deficit when these companies feel no pain at all.

Bill Maher - New rules on income inequality

Republican lunacy in Michigan - screw everyone except corporations

Michigan has had more than its fair share of problems over the past few years. The result was Republicans were swept into power in last years elections. Enter their new governor, Rick Snyder to the rescue.

He began by doing something that should be talked about a lot more and that is strategic tax increases to reduce deficits. With the support of the GOP controlled state legislature he did just that, passing a tax increase that will increase state revenue by $1.7 billion, going against every Republican credo. Except that virtually all the tax increases are on senior citizens and low income earners. Seniors will now pay almost 5% in taxes on pensions, something they had previously been exempted from. The Republicans also eliminated a $600 child tax credit as well as the earned income tax credit creating a situation where low income people in Michigan will now pay a higher tax rate than the wealthy.

In the same bill the |Republicans slashed corporate taxes by 86% costing the state about $2 billion so the net result is an increase in the state deficit of about $300 million. This poses a very simple economic problem. Corporations don't grow and invest because they necessarily pay less taxes but because demand increases. With $1.7 billion less to spend and a relatively moribund economy how are Michigan's corporations going to grow?

For Snyder and his merry band of reverse Robin Hoods this was only the beginning. They also made Snyder king and emperor. The state legislature passed a law creating a 'fiscal martial law' which would allow the governor to void any state contracts including collective bargaining agreements. The bill will also allow the governor to place any city, town or educational body under a fiscal emergency and dismiss all elected officials and dissolve the entity. Theoretically Snyder can dismiss all elected officials in a city such as Detroit and even dissolve the city itself. He can then appoint an administrator who can be from the private sector and in essence privatize an educational system or even a city. He can also terminate any contract that any of these entities including the state have entered into.

Never mind the constitutional aspects of such a law, it could lead to a situation where no company would enter into any sort of contract with a government entity in the state for fear that it could be unilaterally terminated due to a 'fiscal emergency' that the governor can declare.

The rampant idiocy governing the Republican Party these days is quite amazing. If there is anything to smile about it's that the party has and is exhibiting a remarkable ability to overreach and the backlash is and will be considerable.

If there is anything to be hopeful about, it's that the law will more than likely be thrown out in court although with the courts these days one can never be entirely sure of anything.

Think Progress has more on the situation in Michigan here.

Eddie Cochran - Summertime Blues

Glenn Beck suggests God caused tthe quake because he is mad at us

Now that we don't have Jerry Fallwell around Glenn Beck has stepped into the void to claim that natural disasters are the result of God being angry at how we are behaving. Natural disasters have happened all through history. Does that mean that God is always pissed at us about something.

Has it occurred to Beck that he might just be part of the problem spreading hate and ignorance from his cocoon of paranoia.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Glenn Beck makes light of the nuclear problem in Japan by lying about Chernobyl

Beck took the opportunity to attack the 'anti nuke' movement by dismissing the potential danger of radiation poisoning from the stricken reactors in Japan. While it's not clear how much damage has been done it appears quite obvious that the reactors are far from being stabilized and the whole situation could get a lot worse.

From his show:

GLENN BECK: The UN says the worst nuclear disaster in human history is Chernobyl. The UN says 4,000 people died because of that. That's the "I hate nukes" people that have adjusted that number. Stu, what are the confirmed dead in -- from Chernobyl? Was it 40?

STU BURGUIERE: Uh, I believe it was - estimates ranged between about 55 and 70.

BECK: Okay. Many of those were in the stage that, God forbid, we now start to head towards in Japan. Those were the people that went in and did the work on the containment facility.

BURGUIERE: Yeah, the vast majority. There were some, children, unfortunately afterwards who drank contaminated milk and passed away. You've got to believe that Japan is not treating their citizens like the Soviet Union did, and feeding children contaminated milk.

BECK: Correct.

The numbers Beck ia quoting are the immediate deaths attributable to the Chernobyl meltdown. Because over 600,000 people fled the area to all corners of the Soviet Union which soon dissolved it has been impossible to undertake any comprehensive studies of the aftermath but even the U.N. estimate is considered ridiculously low. Other estimates run into the hundreds of thousands. A fairly comprehensive study in Belarus suggests 93,000 deaths and another 270,000 cancers.

In Japan comprehensive studies were done after the atom bombs fell. These studies showed huge amounts of cancers that manifested themselves long after the bombs fell.

I'll bet Glenn Beck has never heard of 'depleted uranium' or where and how it's used and what the results are. The Iraqis certainly know. Modern military weapoms use depleted uranium in the tips of shells and bullets to help penetrate armor. It's proponents claim it poses no additional dangers. The people of Fallujah, where some of the fiercest battles of the Iraq war were fought will tell you differently.

Infant deaths in the hospital in Fallujah went from 1% in 2002 to 24% in 2009. Most of the infants that died within seven days of being born showed severe deformities. Additionally, severe disabilities are commonplace in the infants that survive their first week. This has occurred wherever there was heavy fighting in Iraq to the point where women who lived through the fighting are advised not to have children. Neither America nor NATO have ever acknowledged the dangers of depleted uranium weaponry.

Monday, March 14, 2011

War against women pt 2 - Iowa woman jailed for thinking about an abortion

Ms. Taylor became light-headed and fell down a flight of stairs in her home. Paramedics rushed to the scene and ultimately declared her healthy. However, since she was pregnant with her third child at the time, Taylor thought it would be best to be seen at the local ER to make sure her fetus was unharmed.

That's when things got really bad and really crazy. Alone, distraught, and frightened, Taylor confided in the nurse treating her that she hadn't always been sure she'd wanted this baby, now that she was single and unemployed. She'd considered both adoption and abortion before ultimately deciding to keep the child. The nurse then summoned a doctor, who questioned her further about her thoughts on ending the pregnancy. Next thing Taylor knew, she was being arrested for attempted feticide. Apparently the nurse and doctor thought that Taylor threw herself down the stairs on purpose.

More here.

The war against women, Virginia edition

A new tactic by Republican governors is to use "emergency powers" to pass anti-choice legislation. In Virginia its being used to force abortion clinics to be regulated in the same way as hospitals which perform the full range of operations. The use of emergency powers will allow the governor, Bob McDonnell to write the regulations and have them become law within 280 days with no review.

The requirements and the retrofitting that would be required will be so expensive that at least 17 or 21 abortion clinics in the state will be forced to close.

For avid readers of the blog, you might remember McDonnell publicly railed against the stimulus, refusing to accept any funds from it despite a state deficit of over $1 billion. After secretly accepting the stimulus bailout he went on Fox to boast about how conservative fiscal management had closed the deficit without mentioning the fact that the budget deficit he closed was equal to the amount of stimulus funds he quietly took.

Aren't emergency laws for things like actual emergencies instead of for furthering a political agenda. Apparently not.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Grateful Dead Live - Maggies Farm

How to save capitalism, more tax breaks for oil companies

Joe Barton, chairman of the House Energy Committee believes that ending oil company tax credits would destroy capitalism as we know it. Forget the fact that current Republican policies aim to destroy the middle class which also happens to be an essential ingredient of a vibrant capitalist society. You can give corporations all the tax breaks in the world but without a vibrant middle class that feels positive about the future, who is going to buy their goods and services.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Blazing a trail to the 19th Century in Missouri

Child labor laws. Who needs them. SB 222 in Missouri will do away with ll child labor laws. We're not going to educate them so we might as well make them useful.

# children under the age of 14 no longer being limited in being able to work;

# children being able to work during the school term without a permit;

# 16-year-old children being able to work in hotels and motels without restriction on hours;

# the removal of restrictions on employing 16 year olds and requirements regarding obtaining certification and permits for children to work;

# the elimination of authority of the Director of the Division of Labor Standards to oversee employers of children;

# the removal of an evidentiary presumption that any child under the age of 16 present at a place where labor is employed is employed there.

The problem wth Newt Gingrich

Bear in mind, Newt is almost as bad as Donald Trump when it comes to threatened runs for president. He talks up the possibility every four years for the ego and/or money boost. He just never follows through. But now he apparently is. And this time, not only is he running, but he's already chosen his vice presidential running mate: God.

TPM explains why Gingrich can never be a real candidate in the sense that they poll more than one or two percent at best. The infidelity is the killer as the piece says but he epitomizes the sleaze and ideological purity that beset the GOP in the Clinton and Buuh years.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Georgia GOP Raises taxes on Girl Scout Cookies, lowers them for foreign corporations.

That's today's GOP for you. To overcome a state budget shortfall they're going to start taxing food. No-one taxes food in the U.S. It hits low income people especially hard. At the same time they want to lower taxes on foreign corporations.

So they are willing to break their 'no tax increases' pledge to hit the most needy who I have to assume are not 'Real Americans' to them. Disgusting.

Full story here.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

GOP fiscal "sanity" - literally piosonous

The White House asked for $29 million for poison control centers. The GOP thinks that $2 million is more than enough. The $27 million in savings wouldn't fill a quarter of the penny jar in the Federal budget.

Cut's have consequences though and this one does as well. Poison centers ar already losing local and stat funding sm many will either close or merge.

57 Poison control centers handle about 4 million calls a year. On average about 75% of those calls are resolved with treatment advice by phone with no further action. Without the poison control centers the first option will be a costly visit to the emergency room with the taxpayer picking up the tab in many cases. A call to a poison center costs about $30-$40 each.

A study in the Journal of Medical Toxicology estimated that the poison centers saved the State of Arizona alone $33 million a year. Louisiana eliminated its centers in the 1980s but restored them when it realized how much money they saved. The cost to a state like Arizona alone exceeds the entire savings to the budget.

Quite obviously, no thought was given to either the problem or the solution by the GOP other than it being a little more read meat to appeal to the brain dead ideologues of the Tea Party persuasion.

Then again, more people will die prematurely without the poison control centers reducing the burden on Social Security so there may be some method to their madness,