Saturday, April 17, 2010

Saturday Stuff

Yep, Jon Stewart concludes this with the only imperative sentence the wingnuts deserve...

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Tea America
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...and I'm not sure what to make of this, but I liked the beat, so I'll give it an 8.5.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Friday Stuff

"Worst Persons" (Tucker Carlson - where has HE been, I wonder? - starts something called The Daily Caller, allegedly a conservative news blog...oxymoron alert!...after being dumped by a whole bunch of initials-for-names corporate media sites, and ends up hosting a bunch of the usual conservative suspects instead - some "news" here, you bet; K.O. resurrects his nightmarish Lou Dobbs impression to poke fun at the latter's "presidential candidacy" and Dobbs' allegations that his ratings were once actually decent; but Flush Limbore gets it yet again for blaming "85 miners" for the Massey Upper Big Branch disaster, when in fact those individuals were 50 miles away at another mine...wonder if he needs to fly to San Juan for underage hookers again?)...

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...and I don't know about you, but I'm kind of in the mood to let Captain Kirk and Joe Jackson kick-start the weekend.

Friday Mashup (4/16/10)

1) This New York Times story today tells us the following…

WASHINGTON — Porter J. Goss, the former director of the Central Intelligence Agency, in 2005 approved of the decision by one of his top aides to destroy dozens of videotapes documenting the brutal interrogation of two detainees, according to an internal C.I.A. document released Thursday.

Shortly after the tapes were destroyed at the order of Jose A. Rodriguez Jr., then the head of the C.I.A.’s clandestine service, Mr. Goss told Mr. Rodriguez that he “agreed” with the decision, according to the document. He even joked after Mr. Rodriguez offered to “take the heat” for destroying the tapes.

“PG laughed and said that actually, it would be he, PG, who would take the heat,” according to one document, an internal C.I.A. e-mail message.

By the way, I thought this TPM post provided a good timeline of the history of the CIA torture tapes in question, including the first request by Senate Intelligence Committee Ranking Democrat Jay Rockefeller in May 2005 to view “over a hundred documents” dealing with the interrogations (no month has ever been assigned to exactly when the tapes were destroyed in 2005; if that were ever to occur, I have no doubt that it would have been after Rockefeller’s request, which would thus implicate definitely Rodriguez and probably Goss also – for starters – on a charge of obstruction of justice).

And of course, as noted in the TPM post, U.S. House Intelligence Committee Repug Pete Hoekstra, along with Dem chair Silvestre Reyes, announced an inquiry in 2006 to look into the destruction of the tapes, though in the Murdoch Street Journal Op-Ed noted here, Hoekstra accused the Obama Administration of “endanger(ing) the security our nation has enjoyed because of interrogations and other antiterrorism measures implemented since Sept. 12, 2001” with its own investigation.

Typical Repug garbage…

And Goss “laughed” when he heard about the destruction of the tapes, huh? I guess I shouldn’t be surprised; as Wikipedia tells us here, Goss’s sense of humor leaves something to be desired…

Goss publicly declared his opposition to the creation of an independent 9-11 Commission (from a 2006 news story). A year later, he declined to open committee hearings into the (Valerie) Plame affair, saying: "Somebody sends me a blue dress and some DNA, I'll have an investigation."[14]

Ha, ha, ha (and by the way, give our best to “Dusty” Foggo, will you “PG”? - here).

(Also, just as I was about to post this, I saw this item from mcjoan at The Daily Kos…and I very definitely agree also that Obama cant keep falling back to that dont want to look backward defense if he expects to maintain any credibility this country still has for the rule of law, he and Holder will have to start turning over from pretty putrid rocks PDQ.)

2) It’s been a little while since I journeyed to the blog of Bucks County’s self-styled right-wing pundit J.D. Mullane, but I did so after taking some Pepto-Bismol just to make sure (here)…

ObamaCare places more than 30 million people into the health care system, creating shortage of about 150,000 doctors over the next 15 years. Just unplug grandma and reduce the surplus population.

By the way, I have a suspicion that this line about “150,000 doctors needed for ObamaCare,” or any variation thereof, is something that will ultimately be disproven long after it has become ingrained as part of corporate media “conventional wisdom,” right up there with Al Gore saying he invented the Internet and Bob Casey, Sr. supposedly not being allowed to address the 1992 Democratic National Convention because he was pro-life.

However, even if that charge contains a semblance of truth, there actually is something we can do about it; this post provides more details…

With a looming shortage of primary care doctors, 28 states are considering expanding the authority of nurse practitioners. These nurses with advanced degrees want the right to practice without a doctor's watchful eye and to prescribe narcotics. And if they hold a doctorate, they want to be called "Doctor."

For years, nurse practitioners have been playing a bigger role in the nation's health care, especially in regions with few doctors. With 32 million more Americans gaining health insurance within a few years, the health care overhaul is putting more money into nurse-managed clinics.

Those newly insured patients will be looking for doctors and may find nurses instead.

The medical establishment is fighting to protect turf. In some statehouses, doctors have shown up in white coats to testify against nurse practitioner bills. The American Medical Association, which supported the national health care overhaul, says a doctor shortage is no reason to put nurses in charge and endanger patients.

Nurse practitioners argue there's no danger. They say they're highly trained and as skilled as doctors at diagnosing illness during office visits. They know when to refer the sickest patients to doctor specialists. Plus, they spend more time with patients and charge less.

"We're constantly having to prove ourselves," said Chicago nurse practitioner Amanda Cockrell, 32, who tells patients she's just like a doctor "except for the pay."

This USA Today story from last month tells us about the evolving role of nurse practitioners in Ohio, Hawaii and Kentucky, and this tells us that legislation establishing the tasks and responsibilities of nurse practitioners passed the Maryland state house and senate last May (don’t know if it was signed into law or not).

I realize that, when it comes to closing ranks, no group of individuals outside of the Catholic Church is as proficient at doing this as doctors are. However, it is time that they ceded whatever “turf” is necessary in order to allow nurse practitioners to do their jobs on behalf of as many people as possible (and I’m not aware of federal legislation in this regard as opposed to the “patchwork” of measures originating in many states – something like this on a national front could be a good thing I’m sure).

Actually, I forgot that right-wing pundits could be as much of a “secret society” as either the AMA or the church, which might be one of the reasons why I haven’t found any conservatives who support an expanded role for nurse practitioners. I would guess that, if a group of people were tasked to perform “triage” when trying to “heal” all that was inflicted by people of Mullane’s ideological ilk, their work would never end.

3) Finally, in a story close to home in my beloved commonwealth, it looks like something that was presumed to be a new revenue stream isn’t going to “flow” after all (here - and as noted here, couldn't we have found a better consultant than somebody in Louisiana that ran jails and just changed its name?)…

The 311-mile route from Ohio to New Jersey has long been the free-ride northern equivalent of the Pennsylvania Turnpike, and it's used by thousands of long-haul tractor-trailers every day. Even setting toll booths far enough apart to exempt residents who use the interstate as a local road, the state expected I-80 tolls to amount to several hundred million dollars annually, and perhaps $60 billion over the next 50 years. That money was already earmarked for urgent highway and bridge projects across the state. There was also supposed to be money for mass transit. SEPTA, for example, was counting on $110 million a year.

Relying so heavily for critical revenue on I-80 tolls that had not yet been approved tells us Gov. Rendell and state officials were either supremely confident the Federal Highway Administration would sign off on the plan or else overtaken by a fit of wishful thinking.

In either case, the FHA said no, explaining that any money generated from I-80 tolls could only have been used to operate and maintain that particular highway. The feds recognized that Pennsylvania's application went far beyond that limited usage. That's too bad. Among all the highways and roads and bridges in the state that need work, I-80 gets beat up as much as any of them. Even if toll revenues were restricted, they would at least enable maintenance crews to keep that highway in shape.

People who live along the I-80 corridor and businesses that operate there are pleased with the federal decision. They and their lawmakers had lobbied hard against the toll plan even with the local exemption, warning of business flight and the diversion of traffic onto other roads.

Their victory, however, is the state's loss, and now Rendell and the Legislature are going to have to find another way to pay to maintain the state's transportation infrastructure.

I have to admit that I went back and forth on the idea of privatizing the PA Turnpike (I mean, could a third party actually do a worse job of maintaining it and padding its costs in the process?), but I wonder if those who were so quick to pan the idea are reconsidering given this latest setback (and trust me, I usually favor some kind of a municipal solution as opposed to “the magic of the marketplace,” but if there’s one place that needs a good de-lousing, it’s the PA Turnpike Commission).

And now, we have leaping into the budgetary void a certain Rick Geist of Altoona, PA, someone who is no doubt breathing a huge sigh of relief over the now-defunct plan to toll I-80.

What’s his brilliant idea, I wonder? Only this (from here)…

Rep. Rick Geist (R., Blair), the ranking Republican on the House Transportation Committee, offered his own ideas Wednesday, including adding tolls to the 50 miles of I-95 in Southeastern Pennsylvania, contracting out maintenance of entire highways or parts of them, and allowing counties and municipalities to raise revenue.

"It's time to get on with the business of fully funding Pennsylvania's transportation system," Geist said. "We can no longer afford to stand idly by as our transportation infrastructure deteriorates."

It is to laugh, my fellow prisoners.

So, as opposed to tolling about 300 miles of road near and dear to Geist’s district, he wants to toll 50 of perhaps the most heavily congested rush-hour miles in this state instead?

If anyone reading this has any familiarity with the construction of I-95 south through Philadelphia into Delaware and north into New Jersey, you know how ludicrous an idea this is.

I’ll tell you what; here is a map of Geist’s district. Pick out a numbered road, contact him, and tell him to stop being such a hypocrite and allow any one of those roads to be tolled and thus defray our transportation and infrastructure expense in this state (I won’t be greedy – I only suggest one road as opposed to two or three…or four or five).

And in other Altoona news, it looks like the authorities are closing in on those sling-shot vandals (here – hope they don’t have to clean out a gumball machine or two gathering the money for the reward).

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Thursday Stuff

David Cay Johnston had a really good take here on just how much those teabaggers are getting rooked, like so many of the rest of us, when it comes to tax policy in this country (the fact that a certain former mayor of Wasilla, Alaska is complaining loud and long on exactly the wrong note is your first clue)...

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...and I feel like this song describes where I live anymore, on a couple of different levels.

The Latest “Taxing” Nonsense From Mikey The Liar

(Note: I felt like I had to work the subject of the date into this post somehow.)

The Bucks County Courier Times printed a Guest Opinion this morning from the presumptive Republican nominee to challenge Patrick Murphy for the PA-08 U.S. Congressional seat this fall (the person Murphy beat in 2006 to obtain the seat in the first place)…

I am running for Congress in the 8th Congressional District and I don't need to tell anyone our nation faces both global and economic challenges unlike any we have seen in decades.

After spending two honorable and gratifying years in Congress, I remain proud of my efforts on behalf of the people in the 8th Congressional District, including my open door, constituent services, and writing bills that passed into law.
“My open door”? Seriously, Mikey? You think you’re supposed to get brownie points for being accessible? That was part of your job!

Yes, Mikey, when I contacted you from ’04-‘06, your office was prompt in responding, but that was more often than not negated by the fact that you basically disagreed with what it was that I was trying to communicate to you, or you told me some mealy-mouthed nonsense that contradicted your public actions (the Iraq war, tax cuts, etc…).

And I don’t know how many bills Mikey wrote that actually were signed into law, but this Wikipedia article tells us about that Delete Online Predators Act sham of his; it passed the House, but fortunately, it died in the Senate (though, if Mark Kirk of Illinois is elected to that body – God forbid – rest assured that he will try to reintroduce it)…

The bill was introduced on May 9, 2006 by Rep. Michael Fitzpatrick (R-PA) as part of the Suburban Caucus agenda. Along with co-sponsors, he spoke in favor of it. The Caucus' "Suburban Agenda" was shaped around the results of a January 2007 survey conducted by John McLaughlin [2]. McLaughlin focused on issues that could weaken the expected impact of midterm elections on the Republican hold of Congress in Suburban constituencies like Bucks County, Pennsylvania and Orange County, California. [3]
So the point of the bill, really, was to find a way to restrict social networking sites for the purposes of hindering or preventing online communications, organizing and fundraising on behalf of Democratic candidates, all disguised by Mikey as an effort to protect our kids.

And you’re not going to believe who tried to prevent this mess from passing the House…

On July 26, 2006, DOPA was brought up for debate and an immediate vote in the House. It was criticized by Rep. Edward Markey (D-MA) and Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI) for being hastily rewritten before its vote and did not get markup of a full House Committee.[4] The House of Representatives voted 410-15 (7 Not Voting), on a Roll Call vote, to pass the bill as amended.[5] The following day, the bill was received in the U.S. Senate and referred to the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee.

As a House bill, it was passed to the Senate for approval. The bill was not voted on by the Senate.
Yep, that would be the same Bart Stupak, the pro-sepsis, coat hanger abortion Dem from Michigan who is stepping down; at least he saw the folly of what Mikey was trying to do here, though he couldn’t stop it in the House anyway.

Continuing with Fitzpatrick…

I am running for Congress because it is imperative we pull ourselves out of this crisis with new leadership. I'm not certain; however, one voice in Congress is enough to stop the flood of bad legislation and spend-and-tax packages that are leaping like bullfrogs from the Obama administration desks in Washington. Congress has passed one of the most disastrous bills of all time by skirting usual procedures and using shady tactics and unprecedented arm-twisting to win over reluctant holdouts in Congress.
This is about as clear as mud, though of course it is full of the “red meat” that typically works the Repug base into a frenzy ("leaping like bullfrogs," huh? Who was the RNC flak who came up with that one, I wonder?).

Is Fitzpatrick referring to health care reform here? If he is, I’m not aware of “arm twisting” in the U.S. House (I’m sure it occurred, but proof from Mikey would be nice). The “Cornhusker Kickback” (which ended up being defeated before HCR was signed into law, by the way) and the giveaway to Mary Landrieu of Louisiana occurred in the Senate, not the House.


In three short years, Congressman Murphy has gone from a political novice, under the wings of Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Harry Reid, to a political echo. In that role, the congressman is an ineffective representative for our district.
Please read the information at the third bullet in this post to learn more about how this “echo” cast key votes against the Democratic Party because he believed it was in the best interests of his constituents.

In three short years, he's earned a reputation as being "out of touch," more liberal than the people he represents, inaccessible, and more often than not, declines to answer direct questions from the media.
Oooh, sounds like Mikey wants to play a fun new game – how many times can you try to scare voters by saying the word “liberal.”

Can I play?

Liberal Liberal Liberal Liberal Liberal Liberal Liberal Liberal Liberal Liberal Liberal Liberal Liberal Liberal Liberal Liberal Liberal Liberal Liberal Liberal Liberal Liberal Liberal Liberal Liberal Liberal Liberal Liberal Liberal Liberal Liberal Liberal Liberal Liberal Liberal Liberal Liberal Liberal Liberal Liberal Liberal Liberal Liberal Liberal Liberal Liberal Liberal Liberal Liberal Liberal Liberal Liberal Liberal Liberal Liberal Liberal Liberal Liberal Liberal Liberal Liberal Liberal Liberal Liberal Liberal Liberal Liberal Liberal Liberal Liberal Liberal Liberal Liberal Liberal Liberal Liberal Liberal Liberal Liberal Liberal Liberal Liberal Liberal Liberal Liberal Liberal Liberal Liberal Liberal Liberal Liberal Liberal Liberal Liberal Liberal Liberal Liberal Liberal Liberal

Do I win?

And that’s how seriously I take Mikey’s charge that Murphy “declines to answer direct questions from the media”…again, proof for such a charge would be nice (and the cranky rantings of the Courier Times editorial board who were unhappy about having to talk to former Murphy spokesperson Kate Hansen instead don’t count, by the way).


Unelected spokespeople usually speak for the congressman. Furthermore, in advance of one of the most life-changing votes held in recent history, he never held a real town meeting on the costly, controversial, confusing health care bill that is worrisome to a majority of Americans.
Murphy held tele-town hall phone calls on health care reform last summer…this is a recording…I’ve pointed this out at least a dozen times by now and ranting about Murphy not providing a forum for the Tea Klux Klan is waay past the point of being a tired talking point (Above Average Jane has more on that here).

Most outrageous of all is his knack for calling a tax increase, a tax "cut," and his ultra-liberal voting record, "fiscally conservative."
This tells us that the stimulus provided the largest middle-class tax cut in history (and Murphy voted for it).

Recently, the congressman ignored the fact that the current health care plan will add another trillion dollars to the national debt, when he labeled it "a tax cut for the middle class."
This tells us that the CBO projects $1.2 trillion in savings from health care reform through “the slower growth of premium tax credits in 2018 and the more aggressive indexing of the thresholds on excise tax on high-cost plans,” as well as “extending the payroll tax on unearned income and some other adjustments in the bill on minor revenue offsets. On the spending side, the bill contains stronger savings and efficiencies in Medicare Advantage.”

Back to Mikey…

It is urgent to unseat Congressman Murphy for all of the above reasons. He has not demonstrated a connection with his constituents, but remains tied to Obama Democrats who unloaded one of the worst bills in recent memory on the American people in the name of health reform - and a bill signed March 23 that will swamp future generations in unprecedented debt.
Oh, and speaking of “swamp(ing) future generations in unprecedented debt,” I found this in the comments thread, written by a Republican about his own party (and while it’s true that Fitzpatrick didn’t vote for either of the ruinous Bush tax cuts or Medicare Part D – blame Jim Greenwood for that – Mikey didn’t really do a whole hell of a lot to oppose them either).


We're resilient, however. We've survived many historic crises, but not without honest, intelligent, creative thinkers leading the way. At this time, we need representatives in Congress who are willing to say "no" to more debt and "no" to unbridled partisanship and "yes" to fiscal responsibility and accountability.
And by the way, on the subject of “fiscal responsibility and accountability,” Above Average Jane tells us the following among many other items in this great post about Mikey and Dubya’s Not-So-Excellent Iraq Adventure…

In 2005, Fitzpatrick voted against an amendment to provide $5 million to establish a select committee to investigate reconstruction efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan, including contracting procedures, protection against money laundering, and the allocation of contracts to foreign companies and small businesses. In October 2004, the International Advisory and Monitoring Board released an audit of the Bush Administration's management of Iraqi oil proceeds and other funds in the Development Fund for Iraq. Problems found involved hundreds of millions of dollars, numerous sole source contracts and missing and nonexistent contract files. The amendment was rejected, 191-236, Fitzpatrick voted no.
Back to Mikey…

Certainly, we need people in Congress who understand the magnitude of the problems we face and are capable of taking bold steps to improve health care for all Americans - without tearing into the system and driving up the cost of care. We can agree on the need for reform, but I disagree on the way this cumbersome, partisan bill was hustled through the Congress. We need to repeal those provisions and mandates of the health care bill that are overly burdensome to the taxpayer.
In response, let me say that I’m glad Fitzpatrick has apparently recovered from his bout with cancer. However, that does not automatically give him any insight into matters pertaining to health care, particularly when you consider the following (from here)…

  • He failed the mothers of children suffering from autism as these women advocated exploring whether or not vaccines could be responsible for this awful affliction (yes, I know the jury, literally and figuratively, is "out" on that, but he could have done more).

  • He “consider(ed)” supporting legislation to allow Medicare Part D recipients to buy drugs in bulk for less money, even though Medicare Part D wasn’t listed as an issue on his “Mike On The Issues” health care page back in '06.

  • He stated his support for adult stem cell research, which holds nowhere near the potential for curing life-threatening illnesses as embryonic stem cells.
  • Mikey concludes (mercifully)…

    Reasonable people know there are workable solutions to correct the flaws in the health care system, without gutting the system. But the Obama administration and its cohorts in Congress obviously were on a do-or-die mission that evolved from a political timetable of their own - and a certain arrogance.

    I would ask Patrick Murphy if he has a plan to redirect this nation, to cure some of the ills, or the courage to rise up in the hallowed Halls of Congress and tell his party leadership they embarked on a reckless and flawed mission?

    I think not, and that's why I'm running for Congress.
    (And by the way, I wonder if Mikey's usage of the phrase "reckless and flawed mission" is his way of trying to throw Patrick Murphy's opposition to Iraq back in his face by using the terminology in an altogether inappropriate context?)

    Speaking only for myself, there aren’t too many politicians out there who truly summon the bile from yours truly and generate such utter contempt quite the way that Mike Fitzpatrick does. Under the guise of a supposed moderate (long-time Bucks County guy, supposedly imbued with some “cred” for that reason as well as his Catholicism), he manages to concoct and propagate some of the most grotesque lies I’ve ever seen. And this is yet another example, proving once more that he has nothing constructive to offer to our political dialogue that would help us to solve the problems he either helped create or did nothing to try and solve while he held federal elective office.

    I said awhile back that I wished Fitzpatrick well with his health and his personal life, and I still do. I also said that he should never run for public office again.

    He should have listened.

    Update 5/20/10: This column from J.D. Mullane features another Mikey lie, this that Patrick Murphy “(doubled)…the national debt in four years.” As an astute commenter pointed out, “On May 21 2006 the national debt was $8,344,448,730, 993.01 today it is $12,984,666,665 ,110.57. That is not doubling” (source here).

    Wednesday, April 14, 2010

    Wednesday Stuff

    Somehow I don't think Sen. Mr. Elaine Chao would know a Kentucky "community banker" if he tripped over him (here); sorry the audio isn't better...

    ...and in response, we get this impassioned speech from a departing Senate Democrat (here); part of me wishes Dodd had stayed to fight some of the garbage hurled at him about supposedly cushy mortgage deals from Countrywide, sticking it in the metaphorical ear of the Op-Ed page of the Murdoch Street Journal, for starters, but I also can't blame him for saying "screw it" and walking away either...

    ..."Worst Persons" (Orly Taitz goes too far even for the teabaggers - shocking!; Sean Inanity tries to convince anyone who will listen that WWII-era British PM Neville Chamberlain was a liberal...waaay too funny; but Bill Orally gets it tonight for claiming that no one on Fix Noise said that you would go to jail if you didn't sign up for HCR...roll the tape!)...

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    ...and here's more indie fun for the kids - definitely my theme song some days (probably fits Billo better, though)...

    ...and oh yeah, I'm starting to wonder if a certain incumbent Repug Arizona senator is "losing it" here (Hayworth is a mess, I'll admit, but there has to be a better way to point that out than this ad).

    Wednesday Mashup (4/14/10)

    1) I think it’s safe to say that Andrew Ross Sorkin of the New York Times really stepped into the metaphorical doo-doo yesterday (kind of an appropriate transition from what I posted about here), alleging that Paul Krugman, for one, said something that he did not in fact say about wishing that Obama had nationalized the banks (here).

    But Sorkin said something else in his column that I want to focus on briefly also…

    And then there are the banks that have settled up with Uncle Sam, like Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Bank of America. We’ve gotten all our money back from them, along with several billion dollars in interest.

    I don’t have the ledger in front of me, so it’s possible that Sorkin could be technically correct here. However, to allege that we are now “square” with these corporate bad actors is truly a fairy tale; as Matt Taibbi tells us here about Goldman in particular…

    The bottom line is that banks like Goldman have learned absolutely nothing from the global economic meltdown. In fact, they're back conniving and playing speculative long shots in force - only this time with the full financial support of the U.S. government. In the process, they're rapidly re-creating the conditions for another crash, with the same actors once again playing the same crazy games of financial chicken with the same toxic assets as before.

    That's why this bonus business isn't merely a matter of getting upset about whether or not Lloyd Blankfein buys himself one tropical island or two on his next birthday. The reality is that the post-bailout era in which Goldman thrived has turned out to be a chaotic frenzy of high-stakes con-artistry, with taxpayers and clients bilked out of billions using a dizzying array of old-school hustles that, but for their ponderous complexity, would have fit well in slick grifter movies like The Sting and Matchstick Men. There's even a term in con-man lingo for what some of the banks are doing right now, with all their cosmetic gestures of scaling back bonuses and giving to charities. In the grifter world, calming down a mark so he doesn't call the cops is known as the "Cool Off."

    Taibbi’s stuff is excellently researched and I believe his insight is spot-on, though it’s all depressing in the end when you realize just how little has changed.

    2) Also, did you know that anyone who supports an increase in the minimum wage is a “useful (idiot) of charlatans, quacks and racists” ?

    Neither did I, until I read the following from Walter E. Williams at…

    Overall teenage unemployment stands at a record 25 percent while adult unemployment hovers around 10 percent. Also at a record high is the 50 percent unemployment rate among black teenage males. One might ask why teen unemployment, particularly that among black teens, is so much higher than adult unemployment. The answer is simple. One effect of a minimum wage law is that of discrimination against the employment of less-preferred workers. Within the category of less-preferred workers are those with low skills. Teens are disproportionately represented among such workers and are therefore more adversely affected by minimum wages. Black teens are disproportionately represented among teens with low skills and therefore share a greater burden of minimum wages.

    In response, I give you the following (here)…

    Compared to January 2010, some 308,000 more individuals were counted as being employed in the Current Population Survey. Of these, 104,000 (33.8%) were young adults between the ages of 20 and 24 and 64,000 (20.8%) were teens between the ages of 16 and 19.

    These figures are especially significant given that the percentage share of young adults within the whole U.S. civilian labor force is just 9.0%, while teens account for just 3.2% of all U.S. workers. Both percentage shares represent a slight increase over the all-time lows recorded in January 2010.

    The timing of the improvement for teens and young adults corresponds well with anecdotal data indicating that firms go through a 3-to-6 month adjustment period following a minimum wage increase regarding the primary effects of minimum wage increases upon employment levels. Since teens and young adults represent approximately half of all those who earn the minimum wage, the bottoming out of each age group's percentage representation within the entire U.S. workforce in the six months after the final of the recent series of minimum wage increases was to be expected.

    But then again, Williams, being a typical conservative, has a talent for manufacturing umbrage where there is no reason for it to exist, as noted here.

    3) This item also slipped by a few days ago from Ron Fournier of the AP, and I meant to get to it before now, but there you are (re: Baby Newton Leroy bashing our Kenyan Marxist president who won’t show us his Hawaiian birth certificate)…

    Calling him a terrible president, Gingrich accused Obama of running a "socialist, secularist machine." Speaking of Democrats, he quickly added, "They lie about" the so-called machine.

    As is often the case with political hyperbole from the left and right, Gingrich didn't support his accusation.

    Uh, excuse me?

    This has to do with that bogus Southern Conservative “Leadership” mess that happened over the weekend, Fournier. Somehow I don’t think anyone (with the possible exception of Max Blumenthal) from “the left” was in attendance.

    Oh, and proof of that accusation would be nice too.

    This, however, is just another instance of Fournier wankery, such as this one also.

    4) Finally, Joe Pitts, of all people, wrote the following today (here)…

    Many Americans have long called for a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution. However, the easiest way to balance budgets is to raise taxes—something that would be bad for families and bad for the economy. I recently joined as a cosponsor of a better idea—a Spending Limit Amendment that would hold federal government spending to one-fifth of the U.S. economy.

    Our average government spending since the end of World War II has stayed around 20 percent of gross domestic product. This level of spending allows for consistent economic growth in the private sector, as we have seen for the last six decades.

    We are currently on a path for government spending to account for over 40 percent of the total economy. This level of spending would require more than doubling the level of taxation. Clearly, this would hold back our dynamic economy and future job growth.

    As noted here, Pitts voted for the 2001 ruinous Dubya tax cut, and as noted here, he voted for another one in 2003.

    And to get an idea of just how ruinous those cuts were (along with the Iraq war), read this.

    And this idiot has the gall to try to lecture anyone who will read this mess on sound fiscal management (and by the way, to do something about kicking off Pitts’s retirement from public life, click here).

    Oh, and another thing – do you know who else voted for both the ’01 and ’03 tax cuts (I’ll give you a hint; he’s currently running for the U.S. Senate from PA).

    This guy, that’s who (and to make sure he doesn’t get a chance to do any more damage, click here).

    Tuesday, April 13, 2010

    Tuesday Stuff

    "Worst Persons" (Bill Orally, who once again is too gutless to do his dirty work himself, sends one of his stalker producers after Al Gore, and the result is a great big zero and predictably boring television; Virginia AG Ken Cuccinelli helps to further devolve his state, hanging out with teabaggers, faith healers, and now joining a climate change denial lawsuit against the EPA; but Flush Limbore gets it again for blaming unions for the Big Branch Mine disaster...and this is a welcome development, by the way...when in fact Massey Energy kept the UMWA out, thus exacerbating the mess even more - yep, that OxyContin is working its magic again, it seems)...

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    ...and to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the near-disastrous accident on board Apollo 13 (better to commemorate the day all three astronauts returned safely, I guess), I give you the following from a guy who was a friend of the group in last night's vid (and it seems that "13" hero Jim Lovell along with other space greats from that era aren't happy based on this).

    A Hidden Cost Of Our Food

    The following is from Brave New Films (here); I can recall a time when one of our broadcast networks produced a documentary (remember them?) called “Harvest of Shame,” and that shocked this country into action (those days are dust in the wind now, I guess).

    This may be it for posting today, by the way.

    Monday, April 12, 2010

    Monday Stuff

    Wow – just “wow” (and of course he’ll deny it)…to do something about it, click here…

    …and this story is pretty damn awful, but I don't know how else to deal with it at the moment except to put up this video (sorry I can't think of anything more constructive or possibly more violent in response, though I shouldn't be about that anyway I know)...

    …and this is pretty hilarious (like the shot at Leno – really got sick of the whole thing with him and O’Brien…and how the hell does Conan NOT end up on Fox? Another hat tip to Balloon Juice, by the way)…

    …and this goes out to Pope Benny (sorry, Your Holiness, but I’m with Ringo on this one).

    Monday Mashup (4/10/10)

    (I also put up some videos over here.)

    1) As noted here, In case anyone had thought that the wretched specter of Bushco somehow had not invaded the nuclear talks currently underway in Washington, D.C. (the largest gathering since the 1945 San Francisco meeting of individuals representing the member countries of the United Nations), well, think again…

    While Pakistan struggles to make sure its weapons and nuclear labs are not vulnerable to attack by Al Qaeda, the country is getting ready to greatly expand its production of weapons-grade fuel.

    The Pakistanis insist that they have no choice. A nuclear deal that India signed with the United States during the Bush administration ended a long moratorium on providing India with the fuel and technology for desperately needed nuclear power plants.

    And as noted here (from about four years ago)…

    India never joined the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), but it did develop nuclear weapons. The deal is being sold to the Congress and American people on the basis of strengthening relations with the world’s largest democracy, while the fact that it undermines the non-proliferation regime is being swept under the carpet.

    The deal with India also undermines US credibility in its efforts to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. Unlike India, Iran is a party to the NPT and has publicly renounced nuclear weapons. Iran is subject to inspection and monitoring by the international community, which could be strengthened. The US loses its ability to influence the Iranians by dealing in such an unprincipled manner with India. Certainly Iranian leaders have not failed to notice the double standards in the US application of its non-proliferation policies.

    Further, the nuclear weapons states that are parties to the NPT have obligations under the treaty to participate in ?good faith? negotiations to achieve nuclear disarmament. India has no such obligation. India gets all the benefits with none of the obligations. Iran gets none of the benefits and all the burdens. What does this say to the rest of the world?

    And by the way, a notable absentee from today’s nuke meeting is “Bibi” Netanyahu of our “ally” Israel, no doubt trying to avoid a confrontation over its own unconfirmed status as a nuclear power (and of course, Israel never signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation treaty either).

    2) Also, former Oregon Repug Senator Gordon Smith created the following fiction here about the efforts of FCC chair Julius Genachowski to reallocate TV station’s airwaves for wireless services…

    As part of the National Broadband Plan, Genachowski has proposed asking broadcasters to volunteer to give up some of their spectrum holdings in exchange for a cut of the auction proceeds.

    But Gordon Smith, a former Republican Senator from Oregon, says the plan is far from voluntary and broadcasters won't actually have a choice in the matter.

    "This sounds about as voluntary as Marlon Brando saying in the Godfather that he wanted either the guy's signature or his brains on the contract," said Smith in his keynote speech at NAB's trade show in Las Vegas

    In response, I thought this was a good article, including the following…

    “Spectrum allocation is always a contentious issue,” said Cedric Fernandes, VP of Technology, MobiTV. “We are somewhat indifferent, as we have enabling technologies that allow for the efficient distribution of mobile video over broadcast and/or 3G and 4G radio networks.”

    He means this in the context of keeping options open for his business, but the underlying point is more important: It doesn’t make a difference how video gets from point A to point B. What matters is an efficient use of the airwaves. A dynamic mix of one-to-one and broadcast programming, with cooperation from both sides, could be the best way to achieve that.

    For example, if Nielsen, wireless networks, app developers and other entities noticed that a significant number of viewers are watching a particular show over the internet, the show’s signal could eventually flip to over-the-air broadcast. If niche broadcast shows have fewer viewers in a given area, it could eventually change to internet and mobile data connections. Users wouldn’t even need to notice or care which way it’s delivered, so long as the same software played it back, which would be simple from a technical perspective.

    And as wireless data devices decrease in price and coverage increases, it should be possible for any household to access programming that’s only available on the internet or cellular data networks, even if it means connecting a cellphone to a television set.

    To me, that means that technological developments should be driving this whole discussion instead of threatening language from a hired gun to protect the “turf” of broadcasters worried about losing analog bandwidth.

    So how about somebody telling Smith to give a rest to his gangster-ish imagery and enter the 21st century instead (though, based on this, Smith has a history of obstructing consumer choice in this technological space already).

    3) Also, I give you Adam Nagourney of the New York Times with another concern troll, “oooh, those poor Dems are going to get it because this year is going to be just like the 1994 elections” columns here (with Marjorie Connelly)

    For Democrats, the biggest obstacle appears to be that they are once again working in the kind of environment that has historically proved toxic to the party in power. Mr. Obama’s favorability ratings, like Mr. Clinton’s in 1994, have slipped below 50 percent, almost invariably a bad harbinger for the party in power in midterm elections. Congress and the Democratic Party are today extremely unpopular, as they were in 1994.

    “Obama has done the same kind of overreach that Clinton did back then with the tax increases and the crime bill,” said Joe Gaylord, the (Newt) Gingrich adviser who directed the 1994 takeover strategy, and who is now advising Mr. Gingrich on a potential presidential run.

    To begin, President Obama signed into law the largest middle class tax cut in history with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (here). Also, Baby Newton Leroy and the brand of “values voter” reactionary Repugs that call the shot in that party now were pretty much an unknown commodity sixteen years ago, whereas they now have a record of wretched political failure they’re desperately trying to sweep under the rug (also, we in the lefty “blogosphere” – still hate that word – didn’t exist and there really was nothing whatsoever that responded to all of the corporate media garbage being foisted on us during the closing decade of the prior century and much of this first decade of the new one).

    And another thing – it is pretty much corporate media gospel that the health care reform law has galvanized those nutty “teabaggers” out there, though this Mother Jones article tells us why HCR might be the best present they ever got (what with most of them being white and elderly and all).

    4) Finally, I give you the following dreck here from former Laura Bush employee Andrew Malcolm…

    President Obama sneaked away from the media this weekend, reportedly to watch a daughter's soccer game, and then, like Tiger Woods, he returned to the golf course but with no one allowed to watch.

    (And by the way, I thought this was kind of a funny column about our presidents and golf.)

    See, Obama didn’t return to the course like Masters winner Phil Mickelson, or Lee Westwood or K.J. Choi.

    No, he returned like Tiger Woods.

    You get it?

    I thought this was a good comeback from Wonkette, albeit from a couple of years ago (and I can think of a really good way to use a nine iron at this moment that has absolutely nothing to do with the game of golf).

    Sunday, April 11, 2010

    And Now, A Word From Our Congressman

    This Op-Ed from Patrick Murphy appeared today in the Bucks County Courier Times...

    Despite signs across the country and here in Bucks County that the economy is on the mend, families everywhere are still hurting and need tax relief. That's why I'm proud to say that despite some misconceptions out there, taxes today are much lower than they were when President Obama first took office.

    Don't take it from me.

    President Reagan's domestic policy adviser, Bruce Bartlett, recently stated that, "Federal taxes are very considerably lower by every measure since Obama became president."

    Here's how.

    We're not out of the woods yet, but there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic - like the fact that 162,000 jobs were created last month. While years of fiscal policy in Washington and turn-a-blind-eye approach to Wall Street caused the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, we have begun to see positive economic signs across the country. Our economy is growing again: In the most recent quarter, it grew by 5.9 percent, the fastest rate in six years and a 12.3 percent turnaround in one year. Local banks, like the First Savings Bank of Perkasie, have increased lending. People who'd given up are actively looking for work, and businesses are starting to hire again.

    But let me be clear: Our work here is not done. I will continue to champion tax relief to help middle-class families get back on their feet and to help small businesses create jobs.

    Already this year, the average tax return is up nearly 10 percent - or $266 - from a year ago, due in large part to the tax cuts we passed to help struggling families weather the economic downturn. That's hundreds more dollars that families have to pay their bills and invest in their future.

    The Recovery Act passed last year was the largest tax cut in American history, putting more money in people's pocket to start a family, buy a home, start a business, or pay off loans. These investments laid a strong foundation for jumpstarting our economy and getting people back to work.

    The Recovery Act included more than a dozen benefits that taxpayers can claim when they file their 2009 returns, such as the Making Work Pay Tax Credit. More than 283,000 Bucks County families are getting this credit of $800 for married couples and $400 for individuals, in both 2009 and 2010.

    Taxpayers are also getting help paying for their kids' college expenses. More families and students are eligible for up to $2,500 in savings to help pay for college, and taxpayers can claim the credit for four years instead of two.

    And anyone who buys their first home before April 30, can get a credit of up to $8,000 to offset the cost, helping hundreds of thousands of folks, like Emma Adeho from Morrisville, purchase their first home. The credit also generated more than 300,000 construction jobs nationwide.

    I've also worked with Democrats and Republicans to pass property tax relief for seniors struggling on fixed incomes and to provide businesses with tax credits for hiring new employees. Perhaps most importantly, I worked to pass $40 billion in tax cuts to help small businesses offset the cost of providing health insurance to their employees. For the first time, small business owners like Joe Frederick in Doylestown can get a tax credit to help cover up to 50 percent of the cost of providing their workers with health insurance.

    As filing day approaches, I want to encourage all taxpayers to research the many new deductions and benefits they can collect. If you have questions or comments regarding a particular deduction or a question about your return, please contact my office for assistance at 215-826-1963.

    Another resource to help Americans better understand what tax benefits they are entitled to under the Recovery Act is an online interactive "Recovery Act Tax Savings Tool." By answering a couple of quick questions like your filing status and income, this step-by-step calculator allows you to view the tax credits and the amount for which you are eligible. It can be found at:

    I am proud of my record of responsibly cutting taxes for middle-class families in Bucks County, and rest assured I will continue to fight for you as we get our economy back on track.
    To contact Patrick Murphy, click here.