Thursday, June 30, 2011

Points of Interest 06/30/2011


The Village takes a vacation.
"The best thing the organizers could do to solve America's most pressing problems would probably be to encase the city of Aspen in an impenetrable dome on the last day of the festival, trapping all participants and attendees inside, forever."
Our debate, growing more stupid by the day.

Needed 231,000, got nearly 1.3 million.

Bachmann: Cease and desist, pert deux.

"So once again, just like in the government shutdown debate..."
"...Obama and the Democrats are fighting to get what the Republicans and the right-wing economic think tanks originally proposed they should do, and the GOP just keeps walking the goalposts to the right. If this comes down to the constitutional option, I hope everyone remembers that the Democrats have actually proposed doing exactly what the Republicans and the right-wing economists originally asked for."
"Not since the Gilded Age has a Supreme Court been so determined to strengthen the hand of corporations and the wealthy."

A well-oiled War Machine.

I like Campaign Obama better then Pragmatic Governance Obama.

Highlighed on Lawrence O'Donnell's Last Word feature last night, this editorial from middle America is on point regarding today's GOP.
"It's sad to see what has happened to the Party of Lincoln, and for that matter, the party of lesser mortals like George H.W. Bush of Texas, Bob Dole of Kansas and Jack Danforth of Missouri. No one ever would mistake them for liberals, but they were statesmen who put country before party.

Today we have the spectacle of smart, patriotic men and women putting their brains and integrity on ice to please a party dominated by anti-intellectual social Darwinists and the plutocrats who finance and mislead them."
“These risks,” the IMF said, “would also have significant global repercussions, given the central role of U.S. Treasury bonds in world financial markets.”

Chris Christie's 'successes' in New Jersey might be a lesson on how the pursuit of political power can make a party blind to the bigger picture.

"Halperin’s choice of words pales in comparison..."
" the fact that he’s offended by the president’s mild rebuke of political recklessness the likes of which American hasn’t seen in generations."
(Legitimately) slacking off, Senate bipartisanship edition.

"In every instance, conservative rulings received more coverage, longer articles, and better placement."

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Points of Interest 06/29/2011

If you haven't already, sign it. At this time, over 73,000 others have. #sharedsacrifice


"It's cheaper to fire a couple of workers then let a union vote succeed."

"Somalia has slightly higher standards than Wyoming and Nevada."
"A corporation is a legal person created by state statute that can be used as a fall guy, a servant, a good friend or a decoy," the company's website boasts. "A person you control... yet cannot be held accountable for its actions. Imagine the possibilities!"
Most fathers love their sons and will do anything for them.
"Interviews with a number of sources close to the Huntsmans reveal a powerful, ambitious father who has played a significant role in his son’s political rise at every turn—leaning on contacts, calling in favors, and, in several cases, lashing out at those he feels have slighted Jon Jr."
Once upon a time, we did work like this.

"And then there's the talk and opinion shows which no one ever pretends are news and factual."

"More than half of New Jersey residents say they wouldn’t back Governor Chris Christie for a second term..."
"...disapproving of his choices on a range of policy and personal issues, from killing a commuter tunnel to using a state-police helicopter to attend his son’s baseball game."
Simple: No Congressional recess, no recess appointments. Result: More obstructionism.

For your reading pleasure, I give you the Quadruple Bachmann:
Yeah, me too.
"Republicans are actively opposed to any ideas, even their own, that might help give the economy a boost. They are, however, equally enthused in support of ideas that are likely to hold the economy back.

I wonder why that is."

Some things are fail no matter where you are from, and they must be mocked. (via)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Points of Interest 6/28/2011

Sign it, already. #sharedsacrifice


Almost a regular Joe.

"The debate between shrill free traders and strident protectionists has become utterly irrelevant."
"In-market production or national champions? This is the kind of debate we should be having -- not the tired old debate between academic free traders and nostalgic protectionists. It is certain that transnational production, in some form, is here to stay -- and it is just as certain that nation-states, democratic or otherwise, will use their power to shape the pattern of transitional production by global corporations to advance their own domestic and foreign policy goals, at the expense of the free market, if necessary."
"A line has to be drawn somewhere; it should have been drawn last fall; but to concede now would effectively mean the end of the presidency."

"Indeed, in Texas’ case..."
"...Republicans have dominated state government for years, and never felt the need to cut off Planned Parenthood. The preventive health care organization hasn’t changed; its mission hasn’t changed; and its menu of health services hasn’t changed. The only thing that has changed is the radicalism of Republican Party."
"That's why they don't want state insurance commissioners having any more regulatory authority than they currently do, which is really precious little."

"In fact, access to justice – like access to elected office, let alone a pundit's perch – is becoming a perk just for the rich and powerful."

"America's unique hatred of finance reform."

"A lot of sunlight hits tall office buildings, only to go to waste."

"Relative to national economic trends, states that increased spending enjoyed on average:
  • 0.2 percentage point decrease in the unemployment rate
  • 1.4 percent increase in private employment
  • 0.5 percent real economic growth since the start of the recession
In contrast, states that cut spending saw on average
  • 1 percentage point increase in the unemployment rate
  • 2.1 percent loss of private employment
  • 2.9 percent real economic contraction relative to the national economic trend"
"In fact, they are just as wrong about this as they are about the relationship between marginal tax rates and overall economic growth."
"In the past 60 years, job growth has actually been greater in years when the top income tax rate was much higher than it is now."
"...the congressional GOP has decided it’s against their own ideas about helping the economy, which necessarily raises some awkward questions about their motivations."

"Again, what we’re seeing here are the limits of fact-checking..."
"...something we rediscover every cycle. Candidates, party committees and outside groups make false claims. Media fact-checkers go to work and debunk the claims. The candidates and groups go right on making them anyway. Reporters stop pointing out that they’re false."

Monday, June 27, 2011

Points of interest 06/27/2011

Of prime note - we celebrated grape_wifey's birthday over the weekend. Happy birthday, honey. I love both you and the fact that you'll always be younger than me.


"Nearly 10 percent of the world’s adults have diabetes, and the prevalence of the disease is rising rapidly."

"It really feels like the only job category showing growth in America right now is the "scams" category."

“You know, it’s bad enough trying to find 29 people..."
" don’t need to have 40 more to look for…They just had a major explosion. They could’ve killed every one of us … We were expendable that night, that’s my opinion … they didn’t care what they did with us.”
"[NJ Governor Chris Christie] appears to be fine with cutting back on education..."
"...and social spending out of supposed concerns for cost and is willing to deride public media as a relic of the Soviet Union, but does not seem to have the same qualms about subsidizing a giant corporate mall."
"A 30-year war for energy preeminence?"

God, I'm tired of political ads that flat-out lie.
A month later, fully employed, King appeared in a Romney ad, blaming the president for the fact that “no one is going to hire” him and he “can’t get a job.” He even told Facebook friends, the day after the filming, “Off to work for the day.”
"Inside Nancy Pelosi’s drive to win the House majority back for Democrats."

"But we could also be talking about 1991..."
"...when the consequences of vast, loan-financed overbuilding of commercial real estate in the 1980s came home to roost, helping to cause the collapse of the junk-bond market and putting many banks—Citibank, in particular—at risk."
"Has 'too big to fail' transformed into 'too big to challenge?'"

"Flake," idiot, lunatic, right-wing extremist...and now "Gay Rapist Clown Serial Killer."

"Economists have known for many years that many tax cuts are nothing more than spending by another name."
"They call such things “tax expenditures” and there are about $1 trillion worth in the tax code. Getting rid of many of them would have exactly the same economic benefits as reducing on-budget subsidies. Nevertheless, Republicans oppose eliminating tax expenditures unless other taxes are cut because any net tax increase would depress growth. The historical evidence, however, does not necessarily support this view."


Actual news headlines versus Fox News headlines.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Points of Interest 6/24/2011

Lots of stuff to carry us through the weekend....


"The secretary-general of the Apparel Industry of Shenzhen, Shen Yongfang, said..."
"...the region’s garment export industry used to sell more than 100 billion dollars worth of goods per year. Now, at the best, it can generate just a few billion."
Record flood season continues. (with pictures)

Irony, Israeli edition.
Shimon Peres is a skeptic about foreign aid: "Giving is problematic. We take money from poor people in rich countries and give it to rich people in poor countries. Aid sometimes creates corruption."
They're hoping that if they push that meme hard enough, it will take hold.

As "fruitless" as going after Clarence Thomas may be, there still might be some good that comes out of doing it.

Meet the real-world effects of denying Planned Parenthood the Medicaid funds necessary to treat low-income residents of Indiana.

Senator Rand Paul (R-Dumbass) and his latest dumbassery. (with video, just forward to the 2:55 mark)

And here I thought there wasn't any more room in the GOP primary clown car.

Singin' | go on | take the money and run
A report by China’s central bank found that thousands of Chinese government officials have smuggled billions out of the country and fled, mainly to the U.S., highlights "the corruption within a corrupt system".
"Government red tape" and "burdensome regulations" are bad, at least up until they can be used to promote a right-wing agenda.

Credit reporting system found flawed and subject to "mission creep": credit information being used for purposes other than lending.

"He put $9 million of his own money into the campaign, and then he has the company pay him back shortly after the election..."


The fun part of this is that the kids were just as enthusiastic about being in a limousine as they were to meet the President.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Points of Interest 6/23/2011


"The conversion of all questions of truth into questions of power has attacked the very heart of the distinction between true and false."

"It's also the ultimate 'green' way to create electricity because it uses waste heat to create electricity with no carbon dioxide."

I hear slave labor is really cheap. Why don't businesses use that?

Money can buy you a more agreeable Dick.
But there’s one other problem with his critique. As a long-time proponent of controlling health care costs, Gephardt has supported greater government intervention in the health sector and in 1994 proposed empowering the Secretary of Health and Human Services to establish “target rates of growth” for health costs that included the private sector (thus going further than the IPAB).
"Nurses are calling for a change in priorities because they have seen enough and want to stop the bleeding now."

"She's trying to look like June Cleaver..."
...but she actually looks like the T2 skeleton posing for a passport photo. You will want to laugh, but don't, because the secret of Bachmann's success is that every time you laugh at her, she gets stronger.
"Indeed, choosing a leader of the free world from the ranks of those who sport a self-serving incuriosity is a habit, like crash landings and cock-fights, best cultivated in strict moderation."

On the road again. Maybe. Not to Sudan. Also. Too.

Banksters and slumlords.

"Once a household or nation is burdened with stupendous debt loads and stagnating earnings, 'growing your way out of debt' is impossible."

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Points of Interest 06/22/2011


"My first choice is a strong consumer agency. My second choice is no agency at all and plenty of blood and teeth left on the floor."

Bachmann and other GOPers may be using taxpayer money to support Tea Party activities.
The money came from the Members' taxpayer-funded office accounts, despite House rules prohibiting the use of these funds for political activities. Bachmann's office insists the expense was a proper use of official funds.
Whistling past the submerged graveyard.
According to the authors, we are "at high risk for entering a phase of extinction of marine species unprecedented in human history." It's not just about overfishing or marine pollution or even climate change. It's all of those destructive factors working cumulatively and occurring much more rapidly than scientists had expected.
9/11, for fun and profit.
And Grassfire Nation is a company -- not a political action committee devoted to promoting conservative causes or candidates. It is a division of an Iowa company, Grassroots Action, which calls itself "the leader in building custom conservative action networks for organizations seeking to expand their impact through the Internet" and in getting "results that reach your bottom line."
"But in an unusual mid-month note to his investors..."
...Gross hammered the “anti-Keynesians” in both parties who believe “that fiscal conservatism equates to job growth.” The truth, he says, is just the opposite. “Fiscal balance alone will not likely produce 20 million jobs over the next decade. The move towards it, in fact, if implemented too quickly, could stultify economic growth.”
Politifact's fact-checking rates a "false."

"CBO: We’ll only have giant deficits if Congress wants giant deficits."
If Congress passes laws extending the Bush tax cuts without offsetting the cost, repealing the Affordable Care Act and its cost controls and protecting doctors from Medicare cuts without making up the savings elsewhere — the “alternative fiscal scenario” — the national debt will be totally out of control...
Any clue why this isn't a bigger story?
Many of the WikiLeaks US embassy cables reveal the naked intervention by our ambassadorial staff in the business of foreign countries on behalf of US corporations. From mining companies in Peru to pharmaceutical companies in Ecuador, one WikiLeaks embassy cable after the next illuminates a pattern of US diplomats shilling for corporate interests abroad in the most underhanded and sleazy ways imaginable.
We need to legislate with the deficit we had in mind, not the deficit we wish we had.
To put it in budgetary terms, the deficit we imagine comes largely from discretionary spending. The one we have comes partly from discretionary spending but mostly from everything else: tax rates, Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.
Senate kills job-creating bill.
But let’s be clear about what transpired yesterday: Republicans who’ve praised the Economic Development Administration for years voted in lock step to kill a measure that would have created jobs. They did so in part because they wanted to waste time on a bunch of irrelevant amendments and Harry Reid didn’t want to let them.


How to build and utilize an echo chamber.


If universal health care is good enough for soldiers, veterans, and prisoners, then why isn't it good enough for other Americans?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Points of Interest


Rocky start for Huntsman campaign.
“So far today, Huntsman campaign has gotten his name, phone number & address wrong. That’s a rough day in first grade.”
Rocky start for Gingrich campaign continues.
"People familiar with Gingrich's campaign spending say his fundraising has been weak since he launched his bid and that he has racked up large travel bills. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk openly about campaign inner workings."
"With Friends Like These"
"But we already know how many in the New Democrat coalition feel about an independent board to help reduce Medicare costs: during health care reform, several signed letters opposing its formation."
Oceanfront property.
"The sea-level is now rising faster along the U.S. Atlantic coast than at any time in the past 2,100 years, and this surge is linked to increasing global temperatures, an international research team reports."
"The Myth of the Lower Marginal Tax Rates"
"Altogether, in years when the top marginal rate was lower than 39.6 percent—the top rate during the 1990s—annual real growth averaged 2.1 percent. In years when the rate was 39.6 percent or higher, real growth averaged 3.8 percent. The pattern is the same regardless of threshold. Take 50 percent, for example. Growth in years when the tax rate was less than 50 percent averaged 2.7 percent. In years with tax rates at or more than 50 percent, growth was 3.7 percent."
Clarence Thomas, meet Abe Fortas.
"If this sounds familiar, it’s because America has seen this movie before. Indeed, the Thomas scandal is little more than a remake of the forty year-old gifting scandal that brought down Justice Abe Fortas. Like Thomas, Fortas liked to associate with wealthy individuals with potential business before his Court. And like Thomas, Fortas took inappropriate gifts from his wealthy benefactors."
"How states are rigging the 2012 election"
"These statutes are not neutral. Their greatest impact will be to reduce turnout among African Americans, Latinos and the young. It is no accident that these groups were key to Barack Obama’s victory in 2008 — or that the laws in question are being enacted in states where Republicans control state governments."


What's wrong with the US recovery, in a little over two minutes.