Saturday, September 03, 2011

Saturday Stuff

Last night on "The Last Word," Lawrence O'Donnell played this clip of the twin towers of the World Trade Center featured in a whole bunch of movies (more here) - hope you like it (I did - Vimeo's videos are usually fussy; hopefully this will cooperate)...

Twin Tower Cameos from Dan Meth on Vimeo.

...and I've had this bit of fluff in my "in" box for a little while, so I thought this was as good a time as any for it.

Friday, September 02, 2011

Friday Stuff

It takes a lot for me to get as angry with President Hopey Changey as I am now for the reasons described by Brian Beutler in this clip (background here) - we need a fighting Dem, but instead, what we apparently have is an African American version of Stuart Smalley (sorry Al...somehow I think this will at least partly overshadow The Great Jobs Speech scheduled for next week; part of me thinks he's so freaking desperate for any halfway decent news on jobs that he caved, but that definitely isn't an excuse)...

Update 9/3/11: I admire Robert Redford, but I'm not sure why the headline of this column is actually a question (kind of answers itself).

..."Worst Persons" (some idiot tries to spray paint his name in the vicinity of The Grand Canyon, another teabaggin' U.S. House rep wants Irene hurricane disaster funding to be offset - but God forbid they do that to any of their stinkin' tax cuts, but Mike Shaw of the Pima County, AZ Repug Party gets it for continuing to dig the proverbial hole over his gun promotion involving the weapon that damn near killed Gabby Giffords and did in fact kill several others...more great video editing from Current - one-year anniversary of the shooting, K.O. said)...

...and I have just one word to say in response to this clip of Ed Schultz going after Marco Rubio (with Alan Grayson at the end): GOOD! (more here)...

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...and in the midst of all of this lunacy, I found this item today which definitely gives me hope; given her act of kindness, I think it's appropriate to present this (one of my favorite tunes generally and definitely #1 from her in particular).

Bringing The Pain, Part 5

(Part 1 including the setup is here, Part 2 is here, Part 3 is here, and Part 4 is here.)


For anyone out there who thinks our glorious system of private insurance and our “ownership society” overall is so great, I would ask that you read the story of this lady who lost her job and had been unemployed for over three years, fighting like hell to obtain extensions of her unemployment (she was originally told that she only qualified for 26 weeks) and coverage for her health care costs. I wish her all the best, and I only wish I could do more (and here is another unemployment story).

In response, Repug State Senator Jim Lembke said that 99 weeks of unemployment benefits is “too much” and “enough is enough” here (like to see him have to file a claim for himself one day). Subsequent to this, the state unemployment rate hit 9.9 percent in April (here). Based on this, though, it looks like Dem Senator Claire McCaskill and Repug Senator Roy Blunt (shocking in the latter case) are at least trying to find out what's going on with customs enforcement, which, due to its apparent laxity, is costing jobs.


Conversely, this tells us that the “treasure state” is one of the ten best places to receive unemployment. This also tells us that the state’s unemployment rate was 7.7 percent in July (not great, but not bad either).

As far as industries doing well in the state, this tells us that biotech appears to be growing, but even though Dem Governor Brian Schweitzer said last year that “Montana is energy country,” the billion-dollar initiative noted here is expected to yield only 59 jobs.

On the federal government side, Dem Senator Jon Tester introduced the Hiring Heroes Act to fight veterans’ unemployment here. His same-party counterpart Max Baucus introduced a year-long unemployment benefits extension here last November (and as noted here, Baucus also had a chuckle over “Diaper Dave” Vitter crying poor mouth on that same subject).


This tells us that the state’s unemployment rate in July was 4.1 percent (not sure if that was the lowest rate in the country or not, but it’s pretty close). When it comes to jobs, this tells us that the state’s two senators, Repug Mike Johanns and “Democrat” Ben Nelson, expressed concern about the Keystone XL pipeline running through their state en route to Texas, but this tells us that the state’s governor, Dave Heineman, didn’t offer an alternative to rerouting the pipeline or call in the state legislature on the matter either.

And speaking of Nelson, he’s running for re-election next year against a Repug named John Bruning, who compared welfare recipients to raccoons here (yes, I know that doesn’t relate directly to jobs…not much else to report on other than the fact that work appears to be plentiful, which is great, but outside of Omaha, I don’t have a lot of information on what to do in the state after they “roll up the sidewalks” at night, if you know what I mean).

Update 9/7/11: More on the proposed pipeline here...


(I know we don’t have losing Repug U.S. Senate candidate Sharron Angle to kick round any more, but when it comes to employment, I still thought it was worth it to revisit this “golden oldie,” saying the unemployed were “spoiled”…ha ha, wingnut.)

This tells us that the state’s unemployment rate in June was 12.4 percent (ouch…amazing that Harry Reid was returned to the Senate last year with a number like that, but again, thanks to Angle and those zany teabaggers). Oh, and Dean Heller, the Repug appointed to fill out the Senate term of John Ensign, once said here that unemployment benefits were creating “hobos” (of course, he’s probably getting his talking points on this from the leader of his party, as noted here).

In addition, this tells us that “skilled” jobs frequently go unfilled in the state (guess it’s too “socialist” of a thought to invest in job training), and this tells us that teen unemployment in the state is 34.2 percent (wow – another HUGE story going thoroughly unreported is how much this wretched recession is creating what will probably be a permanent underclass of workers stuck in low-paying jobs…and the people responsible for turning our economy into a casino and thus causing this still can come and go as they please without wearing orange jump suits).

New Hampshire

As noted here, the state’s rate in July was 5.2 percent, below the national average of course. Also, this tells us how Dem U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen stood up for extending unemployment benefits, and this tells us how Shaheen and Repug Senator Kelly Ayotte are trying to get funding to staff a prison in the North Country (kind of sad when that’s actually a growth industry).

Also, based on this performance, it looks like Repug U.S. House Rep Charlie Bass knows his talking points on creating jobs, particularly green ones, but he doesn’t know much of anything else, making Annie Kuster a more viable alternative for residents of NH-2 come election time next year. And when it comes to Repug stupidity on jobs and the unemployed, I give you this from state representative Carol McGuire, who said that the state’s workers are “not worth the minimum wage” here (like to see her try to live on it, in a world where I was in charge and every day would be the first day of spring, as the song goes).

New Jersey

Based on this, it looks like Governor Bully is “staking his reputation on job creation.” Really? So, how it going?

How's this job creation faring so far? Poorly. According to the Federal Bureau of Labor statistics, seasonally adjusted NJ unemployment is now at 9.5%, unchanged from that of 12 months ago. The NJ Department of Labor reports in the last 12 months total NJ non-farming employment decreased by 16,300 jobs with a large decrease of 36,200 jobs in government employment. The largest asset of many New Jerseyans and one vulnerable to unemployment is housing. According to RealtyTrak, there are currently 60,430 New Jersey foreclosure properties. During the current year there have been 12,072 new foreclosure filings, but only 4,327 foreclosure sales. Without data specifically for NJ, the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices show that nationally home prices are back to their summer 2003 levels. Not a pretty picture.
And to portray the human cost of job loss, this tells us of a Rutgers study telling us that “unemployment is killing people” (sounds like required reading for the geniuses from both sides of the aisle, but especially the Repugs, in Washington). In addition, this tells us that the state is not projected to reach pre-recession employment levels until 2016.

On the positive side, this tells us that the state banned job ads that discriminate against the unemployed (shouldn’t be necessary, but it is, sadly). Also, Dem U.S. House Reps Frank Pallone and the great Rush Holt worked with U.S. Senators Frank Lautenberg and Bob Menendez to secure about $3 million in funding to keep the New Jersey Technical Center at Fort Monmouth open here.

So what has the “loyal opposition” done in response? This tells us that every U.S. House rep on the other side voted to privatize Medicare, with AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka telling us here that privatization is a bad idea for a few reasons, one of which being that it will do nothing to create jobs.

Update 9/28/11: I realize Governor Bully isn't so much at fault here as are the heartless zombies who cheered people losing their jobs (even though it's part of the lore of The Sainted Ronnie R), but I still thought I should note it anyway.

Update 8/8/14: And this is pretty damn disgusting too.

New Mexico

Like the state of Maine, it looks like this one is also dealing with the consequences of electing a teabagger as governor.

As noted here, Susana Martinez overstepped her authority when she fired two members and the executive director of Public Employee Labor Relations Board, as ruled by the state supreme court. She also vetoed a business tax increase that the state’s businesses actually lobbied for to shore up the state’s unemployment compensation fund here.

This tells us that the state’s unemployment rate was 6.7 percent in July. And as noted here, Dem U.S. Senator Tom Udall is scheduled to begin a “jobs tour” soon of the southern part of the state.

Also, as noted here, Udall said the following with two fellow Senators, Dem Jeff Merkley and Repug Rand Paul (file this under “blind squirrel finding the nut” in the latter case)…
We have urgent needs at home: high unemployment and a flood of foreclosures, a record deficit and a debt that is over $14 trillion and growing. We are spending $10 billion a month in Afghanistan. We need to change course.
Let’s not forget the fact that precious resources that can be used to rebuild this country are being diverted for fool’s errands in the name of oil (still, after all this time!).

And from here (in May, closer to home)…
The Bureau of Business and Economic Research at the University of New Mexico has new data that shows the state's unemployment rate may not return to pre-recession numbers for another six years.

"We are 49th among the states in terms of job growth. We've been at the bottom of the pack," explained Lee Reynis with UNM's Bureau of Business and Economic Research. It's taking longer for New Mexico to pull out of the recession, compared to other states. "We are lagging. We are lagging seriously," Reynis added.

There are many reasons to blame, but two big ones stand out. First, government hiring is slow because of funding crunches. Second, construction took a major hit as well. So men are expected to feel the impact more than women.

"The construction industry, we simply do not think will come back. They lost over 15,000 jobs," explained Reynis.

Lawrence Garland is a perfect example. He's been looking for a construction job for a year.

"My problem is that I'm pretty specialized and so it's even more difficult," said job seeker Lawrence Garland.

But it's not all bad news. Retail, manufacturing and leisure and hospitality industries are growing. We learned customer care provider “Sitel” is now hiring 120 positions to support its satellite TV and hotel chain clients. We spread the word and hopefully the hope.

"I think I may have a chance at getting a job. I hope," (job seeker Ronald) Desvigne said.
I hope so too – so much for the “land of enchantment.”

I’ll plan to continue this next week.

Update 9/10/11: And speaking of Martinez...

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Thursday Stuff

Hopefully back to posting tomorrow...

I could take or leave most of this from America's Finest News Source, but "Steve Hoyer" really delivers at the end (Also, is it monumentally petty and stupid that Boehner denied Obama the right to speak to the nation while a bunch of pretenders were busy tripping over themselves trying to fellate the memory of The Sainted Ronnie R next week? Yes, but seriously, what else can this president expect from this bunch? Once more, take a bow, all you numbskulls who voted these meat sacks into power once more)...

Obama Begs U.S. Not To Embarrass Him In Front Of French (Season 1: Ep 8 on IFC)

...and up until now "Lies of the Beautiful People" was probably my song of the year, but I think this just beat it.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Wednesday Stuff

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...and there were times when I got angry over Chuck Hagel, wondering why the hell he didn't tell off his own party more often, but at least he's basically doing that now (though of course he approved of the "catfood commission" - you can't have everything I guess - here)...

...and U.S. House Repug Randy Hultgren of Illinois talks a good game here, but let's see him actually sponsor legislation to overturn that horrific Citizens United ruling by Hangin' Judge JR and The Supremes; don't hold your breath (here)...also, don't wake our sleeping corporate media which refuses to cover this type of town hall push-back, or at least not provide any coverage I can see - rock-a-bye-baby...

...and if it's OK by you, I thought I'd give "mellow" the night off.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Tuesday Stuff

And now, ladies and gentlemen, I give you "Billo: The Opera" (here, for real - words truly fail)...

...and I heard this on the radio today while driving, and it was all I could do not to pull over and listen; it's the title track of a brand new album from Glen Campbell, who is suffering from Alzheimer's but was still able to perform this number written by Paul Westerberg, along with other tracks - typical soaring orchestration to accompany Campbell's still-somehow-after-all-these-years pristine video, but you don't need it for this - hacked just a tad at the end.

Tuesday Mashup (8/30/11)

  • Oh noes! It looks like our community organizer pre-zee-dint wants to “mobilize” all those lazy, spiritually deprived (or whatever that clown Stuart Varney said) poor people to launch his Marxist socialist revolution at long last!

    That’s what Fix Noise would have us believe anyway. However, when you actually read the linked story, what you find is this…

    oops, well whaddaya know? Fix Noise pulled the linked story and I can’t find it anywhere. C’est dommage!

    Well, I found another story about the “poverty tour” conducted by Tavis Smiley (one of the people who interviewed President Obama in the original Fix Noise piece) and Dr. Cornel West in which the “m” word is used as follows…
    Both Tavis Smiley and Cornel West have recently drawn flack from some within African-American communities because they criticized President Obama as not addressing poverty during his policy speeches and debates. While this may appear justified in light of recent conciliatory gestures to Republicans in Congress, Obama, to his credit, has fought consistently to extend unemployment benefits, to fund public health clinics, and to promote better nutrition for the schoolchildren of impoverished families.

    Billed as a Town Hall Meeting to air general community grievances, the event took place at the St. Andrew AME Church, located in poverty-stricken southwest Memphis.

    It opened with a call to prayer that foreshadowed the night’s topic with reference to the “hard-hearted” policies of past months, the result of tea-party Republican candidates’ election to Congress. In characterizing the recent debt-ceiling deal, Tavis Smiley listed the negative impact of: no extensions this time for unemployment benefits, no calls for new revenues, and no closing of tax loopholes for corporations. He reported that the initial consideration of cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security were put on the table not by Majority leader Boehner, but by President Obama himself.

    In short, he said, the deal was all “cuts-cuts-cuts,” with a questionable resolution by a 12-member Super-Congress that would supposedly determine, in draconian fashion, what Congress could not. According to Smiley, as a result of the debt-ceiling deal, things are about to get worse for many Americans.

    Addressing a near standing-room-only audience, the speakers were not there, however, to criticize President Obama’s performance, but to uplift, in the old Southern religious tradition, and to mobilize poor communities, those hit hardest by the current global economic crisis.
    So basically, one person’s scary-sounding “mobilization” is another person’s standing up for basic human rights.

    And on the subject of “mobilization”…well, it looks like Obama’s predecessor had a thing or two to say about it in a wholly other context (here, from 2007)…
    Acting on the good advice of Senator Joe Lieberman and other key members of Congress, we will form a new, bipartisan working group that will help us come together across party lines to win the war on terror. This group will meet regularly with me and my administration; it will help strengthen our relationship with Congress. We can begin by working together to increase the size of the active Army and Marine Corps, so that America has the Armed Forces we need for the 21st century. We also need to examine ways to mobilize talented American civilians to deploy overseas, where they can help build democratic institutions in communities and nations recovering from war and tyranny.
    Of course, had Former President Highest Disapproval Rating In Gallup Poll History decided to focus those efforts at home instead, we might all be in a whole other, better place right now.

    And one more thing – speaking of Fix Noise “opinion” as opposed to Fix Noise “news,” I thought this was curious (so I guess they’ll be no editorials on the climate crisis, among other topics).

  • Next, I give you more effete, well-kept, Ivory tower punditry from Larry Kudlow on Hurricane Irene here…
    Yes, the economic blow from Irene is noticeable, but it’s temporary. In fact, what makes this economic setback even less worrisome is that it occurred over a weekend. You really didn’t even lose two days of economic activity.

    Restaurants, retailers, baseball games and Broadway shows all shut down, but only for a short bit. And actually, there was a lot of consumer buying in the days leading up to Irene. People went to Home Depot and Lowe’s to find stuff to board up their windows with. They went to Costco for food. And they went to Wal-Mart and Dollar General for all sorts of things.
    There are times when it’s really hard to communicate my utter disgust with the wingnutosphere on their utterly and completely wrong “reporting” on an issue that has turned some people’s lives upside down in as catastrophic a manner as we can imagine. This is one of those times.

    As noted here...
    MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — Vermont awoke Monday to the aftermath of the storm that was Hurricane Irene with communities cut off, almost 50,000 customers without power, hundreds of roads closed, at least two deaths and the loss of a dozen bridges.

    Gov. Peter Shumlin called it the worst flooding in the state in a century.

    "We prepared for the worst and we got the worst in central and southern Vermont," Shumlin said Monday. "We have extraordinary infrastructure damage."

    Vermont Transportation Secretary Brian Searles said a half-dozen state-owned bridges and at least that many local spans were "gone."

    "Some of this can't be assessed because the water is still very high," he said. "Some will call for fixes that will take a while. We're going to need a lot of temporary bridges."

    Shumlin was touring the state in a National Guard helicopter with U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy.

    "We haven't seen flooding like this, certainly since the early part of the 1900s. The areas that got flooding are in really tough shape," Shumlin said.

    Historically, a flood from 1927 is considered to be Vermont's greatest natural disaster.
    Instead of belaboring the point that Kudlow is an utterly soulless corporate media shill, which is obvious, I’ll instead just link here and encourage one and all to provide whatever support you can to Irene’s victims (yes, it could have been worse, but let’s express gratitude that it wasn’t).

  • Continuing, I give you the latest from Repug U.S. House Rep Vern Buchanan of Florida here…
    One important action Congress should take when it returns in September is to pass a package of free-trade agreements that will generate thousands of jobs in Florida and elsewhere.

    The Obama Administration estimates that as many as 250,000 new American jobs could be created, if we adopt pending agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea.

    Unfortunately, these trade deals have been languishing in Congress for years, frozen by gridlock and partisan squabbling.
    (I wish the Obama-ites were a little quicker to embrace dumb stuff that, like, you know, creates jobs, instead of parroting Repug talking points.)

    It should also be noted how much Buchanan and his pals just love these crappy trade deals as long as they don’t contain trade adjustment assistance for workers in this country who come up short, as noted here (a lot of workers by my last count… what say you on this, by the way, Mikey the Beloved, as if I need to ask?).

    And as noted here…
    The extraordinarily high trade deficit is the direct result of America’s failed trade policies. For years, agreement like the North American Free Trade Agreement, and trade regimes such as the World Trade Organization have stifled the country’s competitiveness, allowed for millions of jobs to be offshored and gutted the nation’s manufacturing base.

    That much is evident in how the trade deficit is structured. On the year, the nation actually held a surplus of $148.7 billion in trade in services. The problem, however, lies in the fact that America’s deficit in goods was much, much larger - $646.5 billion, in fact.

    The trade deficit accounted for 3.4 percent of the nation’s total gross domestic product. If Republicans were serious about cutting into the budget deficit and paying down the national debt, an excellent way to start would be by reducing the nation’s trade deficit.

    America’s failed trade policies are responsible for more than half of the current national debt of $13 trillion.

    America has not held a trade surplus with the rest of the world since 1975. In the years since, the nation has run an overall deficit of $7.5 trillion.
    (I seem to recall our former U.S. House Rep Patrick Murphy telling us this over and over during the campaign last year, by the way. What a shame more people didn’t listen.)

    This stuff isn’t surprising from Buchanan, though – as noted here, it looks like he benefitted from a disproportionately high percentage of “undervotes” in his last election (I mean, we are talking about Florida here, so…)
    …while reporting on state certification of election results in Florida's 13th Congressional District in favor of Republican candidate Vern Buchanan, (CNN’s John) King stated that Democratic candidate Christine Jennings "is suing for a new election. She says thousands of voting machines in Sarasota County did not work properly."

    But King failed to note the actual evidence Jennings has cited in claiming that the machines "did not work properly." Ballots filed on electronic machines in Sarasota County contained a much higher percentage of undervotes -- no recorded choice for congressional representative -- than did absentee ballots in Sarasota County or ballots in other counties. The Miami Herald reported on November 9 that the Sarasota undervote was "nearly 12 percent," "the undervote rate for absentee ballots, cast on paper for fill-in-the-blank Optiscan machines, was about 3 percent in Sarasota," and the surrounding counties had "an undervote rate of less than 3 percent." As the weblog TPM Muckraker noted, a review in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune concluded that "[i]f the missing votes had broken for Jennings by the same percentage as the counted votes in Sarasota County, the Democrat would have won the race by about 600 votes instead of losing by 368."
    And as noted here..
    Though Rep. Vern Buchanan has yet to publicly comment on a watchdog group’s efforts to launch an FBI investigation into his past congressional campaigns, he has found time to sell his $4.49 million yacht, The Entrepreneur. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is now using that yacht sale to highlight the allegations surrounding the Florida congressman.

    On Wednesday, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (aka CREW) sent a letter to the FBI, asking that the Bureau launch a thorough investigation into Buchanan, R-Sarasota. Buchanan has long been dogged by rumors of campaign fraud and the release of a sworn deposition by one of his former business partners, Sam Kazran, further highlights the alleged improprieties.
    No wonder these clowns fought so hard for tax cuts on behalf of yacht owners (here – yes, I know it’s Texas and not Florida, but “birds of a feather” I always say).

  • Finally, it looks as if our beloved commonwealth is getting closer to enacting its own wretched voter ID law, as noted here (the Repugs bring us yet another “solution” in search of a problem)…
    Rather than tell a poll worker your name, House lawmakers have passed a bill that would require voters to show a government-issued photo ID along with their name and address.

    The bill will be taken up as early as next month when the state senate reconvenes.

    “I’m very concerned about it,” said Madeline Rawley of Doylestown, a member of the Coalition for Voting Integrity. “You’re putting up barriers that make it difficult for seniors, the disabled and young people.”

    Daryl Metcalfe of Butler County, chairman of the House State Government Committee sponsored House Bill 934, co-sponsored by Bucks County Republicans Paul Clymer and Scott Petri.

    Modeled after Indiana’s photo identification law, Metcalfe’s legislation would amend the Pennsylvania’s election code to require voters to present valid photo ID before voting. Current law requires identification for voters who appear to vote in an election district for the first time.
    Well, at least we can’t say we weren’t warned – as noted here, Metcalfe was making noises about this last March even though his “expert” from The Heritage Foundation couldn’t find any actual instances of voter fraud. Also, Metcalfe introduced an Arizona-style “illegal to be brown” law, protested a resolution to recognize October 2009 as Domestic Violence Awareness Month because “it has a homosexual agenda,” and he called Iraq and Afghanistan war vets “traitors” for opposing his energy policy (all here).

    The Courier Times story also tells us the following…
    (Secretary of the Commonwealth and a proponent of Metcalfe’s scheme Carol) Aichele said voter turnout in states such as Georgia, with strict photo ID laws, has increased across racial, ethnic and socio-economic lines.
    I don’t have any information on the Peach State, but as noted here, three studies all concluded that voter ID laws lower voter turnout.

    And as noted here...
    Voter fraud is virtually nonexistent in America, but this imaginary crime still serves to justify a wave of onerous new voter registration laws—often requiring a state-issued photo ID—that Republican legislators have rapidly spread across the nation. The implications for the 2012 elections are huge.

    “The overall idea is pretty obvious,” says Frances Fox Piven, author of three books outlining America’s unusually harsh and restrictive voting laws. “Both parties expect close elections in 2012, and if you peel off just a couple percentage points, you can determine the outcome.”

    Piven points to Wisconsin, where protests over a law passed earlier this year rendering public-employee unions toothless were followed by the imposition of a restrictive voter ID law by Gov. Scott Walker and Republican majorities in the state legislature. “We saw labor protests of unprecedented size and intensity over limiting their voice as workers,” Piven says. “And then [protesters] were greeted with a law to limit their power electorally, too.”

    With the corporate-funded American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) promoting voter identification, eight other states also passed restrictive new laws this year, bringing the total number of states with such laws to 30. Another 16 states have seen similar ID laws introduced in 2011. Only a veto in June by New Hampshire’s Gov. John Lynch (D) prevented the passage of a law using residency requirements to diminish the voting of, as the state’s House Speaker William O’Brien (R) described them, “liberal” students.
    Returning to the Courier Times story, I give you the following…
    Cost is also an issue. A Department of State analysis shows 99 percent of eligible voters already have an acceptable photo ID, and providing free photo IDs to every other eligible voter would cost just over $1 million.

    The House Appropriations Committee estimated the cost at $4.3 million next year while a House Democratic Appropriations Committee pegs the cost at $9.8 million.

    So Democrats and Republicans not only differ on the cost of change, but also on the merits of the bill.

    State Rep. Steve Santarsiero, D-31, voted against the measure. He calls the legislation a waste of money and “simply not necessary. The voter fraud House Republicans claim it will prevent is virtually non-existent in Pennsylvania. All we are doing here is disenfranchising tens of thousands of Pennsylvania voters.”
    Steve stands tall for us once again – to contact him (and to say thanks), click here.
  • Monday, August 29, 2011

    Monday Stuff

    Melissa Harris-Perry, sitting in for Rachel Maddow, gives us a recap of Irene's devastation (to help those most severely impacted, click here...Mrs. Doomsy and I felt sick over the flooding in Vermont in particular - kudos as always to Bernie Sanders...Moon Unit Bachmann is a dope, and Ron Paul wants to party like it's 1912)...

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

    ...and we're hardly innocent ourselves on the issue of food waste in this country, but I still thought this was an interesting story timed for the end of the Ramadan observance (I once heard someone say the threat of lawsuits is the reason why we dispose of food from buffets and such instead of donating it more often in the U.S., and the person who said this to me was someone who worked at a restaurant and a person who I don't consider a crank generally)...

    ...and oh yeah, with the 10th anniversary coming up, it looks like it's time for the "9/11" industry to kick into high gear once again, including T-shirt sales, even if it is for a good cause (and why would anyone outside of Fix Noise take Former President Nutball seriously here, still; by the way, note to Current - your video editing has been sloppy lately...clean it up)...

    Update 8/30/11: Ah, the hearty stench of jingoism and bigotry (here)...

    ...and as long as I'm on the subject of anniversaries, The Beatles played their last live concert at Candlestick Park in San Francisco on this day 45 years ago (the video below shows pics of the event...and speaking of the Fab Four, I can't wait to check this out).

    Bringing The Pain, Part 4

    (Part 1 including the setup is here, Part 2 is here, and Part 3 is here.)


    I have a question for the registered voters of this wondrous state: what the hell were you thinking exactly when you elected Paul LePage as governor?

    As noted here, he signed a bill easing restrictions on child labor, and as noted here (pretty much doing the bidding of those who financed him, of course), he favored repealing the state’s ban on the use of strikebreakers and eliminating unemployment benefits for strikers, and he also rolled back the state’s wage and tip sharing laws to comply with weaker federal standards.

    Oh, and who can forget this typical episode from LePage, where he ordered the removal of a 36-foot mural depicting the state’s labor history from the Department of Labor building (to show how petty LePage truly is, he also favored changing the name of one of the conference rooms from the “Perkins Room,” named to commemorate Frances Perkins, the crusading Secretary of Labor under FDR, to something more “business friendly”).

    There are actually sane Republicans still representing this state, though; as noted here, President Snowe met some honest-to-God unemployed people at a job fair, and she and Susan Collins supported extending jobless benefits here (earning them the eternal enmity of this crowd).

    Update 1 10/6/11: Given this item, all I can say is that, somewhere, “Chicken Lady” Sue Lowden is smiling, unfortunately (here).

    Update 2 10/6/11: God, is LePage a buffoon (here).

    Update 5/9/12: Same as it ever was - unbelievable (here).


    This tells us that the state’s unemployment rate was 7.2 percent in July (with a breakdown of June rates by county here – as noted here, Maryland ranks last in the nation in job growth, though affluent pockets of the state seem to be doing OK).

    And as noted here (concerning the March employment numbers)…
    “Maryland’s economy continues to grow as our state pulls out of this national recession. Thousands of Marylanders have entered the workforce since the start of the year and we recorded the largest monthly employment gain last month since the final month of President Clinton’s term,” (Maryland Governor Martin) O’Malley said then.
    As the story tells us, though, O’Malley was a bit more guarded about the May numbers, for what it’s worth.

    Also, this tells you of an individual who had an adventure with filing for unemployment in the state (apparently rescued because he knew someone in the state’s unemployment office). In addition, this tells us the following…
    Congressman Elijah Cummings hosted a town hall meeting this weekend at Howard Community College to reach out to those who need help but may not know where to find it.

    “It would be so sad for people to sit, thinking that there was nothing they can do, people losing hope. And at the same time, there are programs that exist to help them,” Cummings said.
    I respected Elijah Cummings anyway, but I especially do now after that story.


    This tells us of newspaper columnist Jim Kinney, who sought stories of unemployed people in the state in April; I hope individuals were able to communicate with him, or you can reach him now from an Email link accompanying the story.

    Also, this provides a discussion thread on the topic of people supposedly choosing unemployment over work (though someone is going to have to prove to me that this is a legitimate issue in light of this). This state (like many others, I’m sure) appears to suffer from a degree of economic anxiety that seems to persist despite a growing economy, as noted here from May.

    And when it comes to the politicians, this tells us that “Wall Street Scott” Brown single-handedly blocked an unemployment benefits extension last December, and this tells us of the highly questionable job record of a certain Republican presidential candidate who was once governor of this state (typical for a guy who gave us this “duuh!” moment also).


    This might be the biggest “job graveyard” of anywhere in this country. However, as noted here, though unemployment once reached the staggering level of 14.1 percent in 2009, it has been coming down since then, though it rose again to 10.9 percent in July (here).

    Former Dem Governor Jennifer Granholm said here in June 2010 that the failure of the Senate to extend unemployment benefits and state Medicaid aid was “devastating.” Of course, the wingnuts had a field day with Granholm, trying to propagate the lie that a tax hike led to a spike in Michigan unemployment here, to say nothing of some truly evergreen garbage from the right-wing media circus like this.

    So who is in charge of Michigan now with Granholm’s departure? Why, Rick Snyder, head of former lousy computer maker Gateway, who catastrophically slashed unemployment benefits here to a maximum of 20 weeks. And as noted here, Snyder implemented his “emergency manager” law, which of course is meant to (wait for it!) attack public sector unions and arbitrarily remove elected officials from office (Democratic officials primarily, of course).

    Want to do something about it? Click here to learn more about the recall effort against Snyder (we’re at least halfway there on the signatures required for recall – let’s keep the momentum going).


    The state recently experienced a government shutdown when the Republican legislature wouldn’t agree on a two-year budget plan with Dem governor Mark Dayton (here).

    As a result (as noted here)…
    The net loss of jobs in July was 19,800 (8,200 private sector jobs were added). Even with the shutdown, the state's unemployment rate remained substantially below the national rate of 9.1 percent.

    Most of the 22,000 state workers and 3,000 government contractors who were laid off during the 20-day shutdown have been called back to work. For public sector employment, the good news ends there.
    Also, as noted here, the state’s economy lost out on potentially $62 billion. One piece of good news, though, is that the state’s rate of 7.2 percent is still well below the national average.

    And when it comes to the politicians, this reminds us that Moon Unit Bachmann said that she hoped higher unemployment would help her campaign (nice). On the sane side, this tells us that Sen. Al Franken issued a statement of support on positive developments in the American Crystal Sugar lockout, which potentially affects 1,300 workers.


    This tells us how the state is “shedding jobs,” though hope is out there, somewhere (kind of a reach with a state that ranks last in so many categories, including child poverty, infant mortality, lowest median household income, highest teen birth rate, and highest rate of both obesity and STDs, as noted here…a bit tangential for the jobs issue, I know, but it’s hard to develop an economy with numbers like these).

    So what does governor Haley Barbour say about this? Well, he said here that some Medicaid recipients in his state drove BMWs (offering no proof, of course). And as noted here, the state’s two Repug senators, Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker, received an "F" for their antipoverty voting records in 2009 from the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law, voting against extending unemployment benefits, the Paycheck Fairness Act, an amendment to extend the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) jobs program, and ten other poverty-fighting bills that could have provided financial relief to their low-income constituents.

    Oh, and by the way (as noted here), the state’s unemployment rate in July was 10.4 percent (Barbour, Wicker and Cochran should each be summarily fired, to say nothing of that state’s U.S. House reps…I can dream, can’t I?).

    I’ll pick this up later, hopefully this week (I was planning to wrap this up by Labor Day, but I can tell you right now that that ain’t gonna happen).

    Sunday, August 28, 2011

    Sunday Stuff

    Here's a Sunday history lesson about "our plain duty" on Social Security (and kudos to Bernie Sanders for this, by the way - and a raspberry to "Goodhair" Perry for this)...

    ...and I hope everyone made it through the bad weather OK - from these parts, it's finally time to play this song (we may actually see the sun in an hour or so, believe it or not).