Saturday, November 19, 2011

Saturday Stuff

Clearly, the UC Davis campus police here have a very different definition of what constitutes a threat than I do – bastards (more here, including calls for the resignation of Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi from the entire UC Davis faculty)…


…and oh yeah, I seem to recall learning about compassion, justice and basic human decency apart from what Former Senator Scumwad believes about suffering in the “Christian” tradition – have fun outpolling “someone else” in the Repug presidential candidates show, Little Ricky; does that count as another form of “suffering” also?…

…and the importance of the issue cited in this video should be self-explanatory – should be…

…and this song ran around in my head as I watched the despicable events unfold at UC Davis, particularly the line at the end about sending out the boys in blue – I supposed it also fits for the registered Dems/independents who decided not to vote the Tuesday before last, and no, I’m not going to stop “beating the drum” over that (sorry, no video).

Friday, November 18, 2011

Friday Stuff

Don’t be freaked out by the “frozen face” of former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich here – God, I wish he was in the Obama Administration (and in a related vein, as they say)…

…and “start spreading the news” indeed…

…”Worst Persons” (State rep Josh Byrnes of Iowa tries to call the unemployed “lazy,” parroting “Goodhair” Perry of course – nice try, asshat; a trio from Fix Noise get the runner-up for propagating the lie I noted earlier that the White House shooter was tied to the “Occupy” movement – I guess we’ll be trying to debunk this crap for as long as we’ve had to do the same thing about Al Gore supposedly saying he invented the Internet and Bob Casey, Sr. being denied the right to speak at the ’92 Democratic convention supposedly because he was “pro life”...sigh; but Moon Unit Bachmann really takes it for claiming that she supposedly hasn’t had gaffes during the presidential campaign…no, I’m serious, she actually said that – um, does this count too?)…

...and I just have one question; didn’t somebody make a movie out of this (I heard of having a “bang-up time,” but this is!).

Friday Mashup (11/18/11)

  • I’ll be honest – though I of course support Patrick Murphy for PA Attorney General, I wasn’t sure what issue (or issues) he was going to run on. Well, as the Bucks County Courier Times noted in its “Thumbs Up” section today here…
    To former Bucks County Congressman Patrick Murphy for the child safety measures he’s proposed in the wake of the Penn State child sexual assault scandal.

    That still-unfolding mess centers on former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, who faces 40 counts of sexually assaulting eight boys over a 10-12 year time line. In addition to Sandusky, two college officials face prosecution for allegedly covering up the attacks and lying to a grand jury. While not charged, legendary football coach Joe Paterno and the university president have been fired.

    Murphy’s proposal has four parts: establishing a secure, statewide criminal intelligence database for sex crimes against children; adopting stricter mandatory reporting laws; eliminating the statute of limitations on the sexual assault of children; and expanding and strengthening Child Advocacy Centers across Pennsylvania.

    Murphy’s comprehensive approach deserves state lawmakers’ attention; in particular, his proposal for a mandatory reporting law. Fortunately, legislation already exists that would obligate anybody who witnesses a sex crime involving a child to report what they saw immediately. If nothing else, this measure needs to be on the books. It’s unconscionable that state law does not now require a witness to such an abominable act to do the right thing.
    And for those looking for parallels to the Penn State and Archdiocese of Philadelphia scandals, this tells us the following…
    Both are managed by male dominated-hierarchies. Both are revered by millions of people. And both allegedly dealt with accusations of sexual abuse of children internally, without going to law enforcement authorities.

    To many victims’ advocates, commentators and others, the parallels between this week’s allegations about how Penn State dealt with reports of sex abuse and decade-old revelations about sex abuse in the Roman Catholic Church are uncanny.

    “It is really a striking and almost identical factual pattern that has emerged in the Catholic Church cases and at Penn State,” says Jeffrey Anderson, a lawyer who has represented hundreds of American abuse victims in lawsuits against the Catholic Church.

    “The only difference is that two people have been fired at Penn State who were in revered positions,” says Anderson. “That’s in contrast to every diocese in the U.S where a cover-up has been revealed.

    “Not one bishop, archbishop or cardinal has been fired or disciplined.”
    Maybe not, but there has been progress, as noted in the Philadelphia Inquirer story from here…
    Investigating clergy sex abuse in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia was an exercise in frustration for the 2005 grand jury.

    It identified 63 current and former priests credibly accused of molesting minors and lambasted the hierarchy for an "immoral cover-up" of the alleged crimes.

    Yet no one was indicted.

    The reason: Pennsylvania's statute of limitations had expired on assaults dating back to the 1960s, '70s, and '80s. "We surely would have charged them," the hamstrung panel wrote, "if we could have."

    Since then, laws have changed - enough to crack open the church door to five criminal indictments.

    (In February) following a new grand jury's recommendations, the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office charged two priests, a defrocked priest, and a parochial-school teacher with raping and sodomizing two altar boys in the 1990s.

    Even more surprising was the indictment of Msgr. William Lynn. Once Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua's secretary for clergy, he was charged with two felony counts of child endangerment for allegedly putting known abusive priests into contact with minors. Lynn had been excoriated at length in the 2005 grand jury report for similar actions, but was not charged.
    The Inquirer story also tells us that the new language in the endangerment law “won’t hold up” in court against Lynn (we’ll see).

    No sane person would ever believe that the Penn State and Catholic Church scandals were positive in any way. But as long as the Penn State scandal has occurred anyway, kudos to Murphy for proposing steps to deter such a scandal from ever occurring again (hopefully to prevent one also, but we’ll see), particularly ending the statute of limitations (opposed by the new head of the Philadelphia archdiocese, of course, as noted here).

    Also, in the matter of the Penn State scandal, I thought this was a good post (h/t Atrios).

  • Next, I know I recent opined on Dr. Earl Tilford in the Courier Times about Iran and Syria, but it looks like former Bushie “Blow ‘Em Up” Bolton propagandized on that subject also here...
    While we should have long since been pursuing regime change against the Assad family tyranny (in Syria), the unhappy reality today is that ousting Assad—or even aiding the dissidents with U.S. military force—is not something we should entrust to Barack Obama. The stakes are too high, the opposition too formidable, and the risks too great to allow him to exercise the commander-in-chief responsibilities in a possible confrontation with Iran. To paraphrase Donald Rumsfeld, we go to war with the president we have, and the incumbent is not fit for duty in the Syrian theater.
    Got that? To take out Syria, we need to go after Iran. Hell yeah! U-S-A! U-S-A!

    In response, I give you the following from that noted political pragmatist, George W. Bush, here (removing my tongue from my cheek)…
    In order to express his contempt for the institution of the United Nations, (Dubya) revoked the ambassador to the U.N.’s Cabinet rank and then gave the job (with a recess appointment) to Bolton, the world’s angriest mustache. Bolton has so little respect for the U.N. that he refuses to even admit that it exists. (He also supports the removal of ten stories from the U.N. building. Despite this, he is on no terrorist watch lists that I know of.)

    He is best known, among people who don’t spend their spare time endlessly rescreening Pamela Geller’s TV appearances on YouTube, as the guy who once angrily hurled a stapler at an underling’s head, just one of many examples of his incredibly unprofessional behavior.

    He eventually turned out to be too much of a right-wing true believer for even the Bush administration, and by the end of Bush’s second term, Bolton and his ousted neo-con allies were sniping at their president in the press. “I don’t consider Bolton credible,” Bush said, which probably caused Bolton to contort his mustache into a comical frowny shape. (What was the president’s first hint that his U.N. ambassador wasn’t credible? His creepy, flirty relationship with Pamela Geller?)
    “The world’s angriest mustache” – a veritable laff riot (and here is another Bolton gem).

  • Further, I should say something about last week’s Area Votes in Congress writeup even though the House decided not to take up space and do nothing was not in session (here).

    In addition to voting to overturn Net Neutrality rules (failed), Pat Toomey was also responsible for the following…
    Republican economic plan. Voting 40-56, the Senate on Thursday defeated a 28-point Republican jobs bill that would, in part, institute a balanced-budget amendment; reduce the top corporate and individual tax rates from 35 percent to 25 percent; repeal the 2010 health law and the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial regulation bill; bar the federal government from regulating greenhouse gases associated with global warming; close an array of tax loopholes that benefit the wealthy and others, and give presidents a line-item veto. The plan was offered as an amendment to HR 674 (above).

    A yes vote backed the GOP plan.

    Voting yes: Toomey.

    Voting no: Carper, Casey, Coons, Lautenberg, and Menendez.

    Clean-air rules repeal. Voting 41-56, the Senate on Thursday defeated a measure (SJ Res 27) that sought to nullify the Environmental Protection Agency's newly implemented Cross-State Air Pollution Rule. The rule limits emissions from coal-fired power plants in 27 states that contribute to smog and soot pollution in downwind states.

    A yes vote was to nullify the rule.

    Voting yes: Toomey.

    Voting no: Carper, Casey, Coons, Lautenberg, and Menendez.
    And I think that deserves a viewing of the following video once more...

    Oh, and I wonder if Toomey ever met with this person (though I’m sure I know the answer…here is a link to his Senate web site that was supposed to show a “slew” of constituent meetings based on the TP post, but I couldn’t find them...Update: And more Toomey deficit peacockery (word?) is on display here).

  • Continuing, Fix Noise told us here that the individual who fired two shots at the White House was from the Occupy movement (wrong!). However, that didn’t stop Laurene Pierce, President of the College Republicans at University of Texas, from supposedly joking about it here – particularly unfunny when you consider this.

  • Finally, I give you the following on OWS (with the latter topic leading a bit into this one)…
    Many of the people at Occupy Bucks County were the same people who participated in Occupy Doylestown last month: Democratic activists, Quakers, practiced protesters. They carried signs that said “People before profits,” “We R the American Dream,” “Name 1 corporation that ever earned a Purple Heart.”

    Among the new faces on Thursday was Jesse Goodrich, a 60-year-old retired engineer from Souderton. He said he found out about the rally through and joined because “I’d like to be counted in one of millions of voices that have to be heard by Congress. The Republican Party does not speak for me.”

    “They don’t speak for anyone but themselves,” Jean Mallock added.

    Mallock, a 57-year-old unemployed mechanical assembler and forklift driver from New Britain Township, said she joined the rally — her first, she said — because she “believes it’s time for the common people to have a voice. Our government is controlled by millionaires and billionaires. The middle and lower classes have no power.”

    Salaries are dropping and work conditions are getting worse, Mallock said, “and the Tea Parties and Republicans in Congress are blocking attempts to improve the situation.”
    And from here…
    Is the American Dream dying?

    For Barbara Likens it is.

    “I have children. My children are in their 20s. And I know they aren’t going to have the lifestyle that I’ve had. I’m blessed that my children are working, but my husband has not been working for three years. My husband works in the IBM mainframe universe, which is a dying art. It’s hard for him to find work. There are just not a lot of jobs out there and a lot are being outsourced. It’s about the American dream dying,” said the Lower Makefield resident.

    She, like many who rallied at the Trenton Makes Bridge on Bridge Street in Morrisville as part of the “We Are the 99 percent” day movement on Thursday are appalled by the greed demonstrated by the wealthy and the lack of leadership from Congress with the economy.

    With days until the Nov. 23 statutory deadline for the Congressional supercommittee to unveil its deficit reduction plan to trim at least $1.2 trillion over the next 10 years, Americans are taking to the streets. They are encouraging the committee to think about the working class, and less about the remaining 1 percent when formulating cuts.

    “I do believe that those who have, in many cases, want to hold on to what they have,” Likens said. “That’s not to say that’s true of all. I mean, you have millionaires coming out saying, ‘I want to pay more taxes.’ Maybe it’s time that our elected officials listen to that. The underlying issue is greed. The best sign I’ve seen at a rally is: ‘Live the Golden Rule — Do unto others.’ And this day and age, many of us are too selfish to do that. I went and broke up with Bank of America because there were two executives who were getting $12 million for leaving, while that bank was laying off 30,000 people. That’s just not right.”
    In spite of that, I give you the following from the Courier Times (a boneheaded “Thumbs Down” which, I suppose, had to balance out their smart “Thumbs Up” for Patrick Murphy)…
    To the bedraggled Occupy forces in cities across the nation who are defying official orders to pull up stakes, fold up their tents and give the public spaces they’d commandeered back to the public. In some cities the Occupy protesters have tangled with police, leading to arrests and injuries.

    The Occupiers made their point weeks ago. Their camps since have turned into tented slums that are attracting homeless people and criminals — if not rats. They’re a blight and they need to go. Said one judge in ordering the Occupiers to leave: People have a right to assemble, but not a right to camp out on public property. See ya.
    I would first say in response that protests are supposed to be inconvenient; even with that said, the various Occupy groups around the country have given thought to this matter, with many applying for permits to peaceably protest. Here is a site providing information on how to do so in California.

    (Also, let it be known that the “Occupy” movement helped people at The Daily Tucker here, even though that hack site has had not one good word to say about them. On top of that, I think this is another indirect endorsement of the group.)

    However, after reading this, I have to admit that I’m concerned about the future of the group also. I have a feeling this is a minority opinion, but I believe the Occupiers are going to have to coalesce a bit more and become something of a political force, fielding candidates in local elections to start (I would love to see some “Occupy” candidates go after the “Bush Dogs” in Congress, but that may be too big of an initial step).

    Yes, politics is a dirty, seamy business. Yes, the deck would be stacked against an “Occupy” candidate. Yes, there will probably be some “impurity” entered into the movement as a result. But like it or not, that is how you effect change for real in this country.

    I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: the Repugs as they are now constituted represent virtually nothing that I believe in, but in 1964, they were flat on their backs in terms of presidential politics (I’m talking about the movement conservatives). However, they organized, getting their acolytes into academia, graduating law schools and ultimately into politics, to say nothing of into broadcasting and organizing through direct mail. It took them 16 years to kick off the ruinous conservative ascendancy, but they did it (helped in no small part by the candidate they were looking for at long last). And we are definitely the worse for it.

    I don’t know if it will take that long for “Occupy” to become a political force (I hope not), but that is surely the next step. If we can’t get people into voting booths clicking those levers in accordance with the principles of the “Occupy” movement as whole, then it will all be for nothing.

    Update: OK, I like where this is going (and big-time kudos to Ted Deutch for this).
  • Thursday, November 17, 2011

    Thursday Stuff

    This happened on this date 38 years ago – compared to the clown parade of supposed Republican presidential candidates we have now, Tricky Dick looks like FDR (we would find out about “obstructing justice,” of course)…

    ...and I wonder if Joe Biden realizes how prescient he was in this speech about Internet freedom – and more importantly, I wonder how committed he is to backing up these great words (more here)…

    …also, happy birthday to PA’s Republican U.S. Senator…

    …”Worst Persons” (Bill Orally opens his pie hole about the “Occupy” movement, and hilarity ensues; “Goodhair” Perry goes cherry picking for quotes – I disagree with Keith saying that Number 44 was talking about the government, but I still think Obama makes a good point, though what has happened has more to do with greed than laziness; but Roger (“Lord Voldemort”) Ailes gets it for literally making stuff up about the Constitution, realizing his core audience will be too dumb to know the difference)…

    Update 11/18/11: Not surprisingly, John Cole nails it on the "lazy" thing here...
    Here’s how it works - Obama says something, Republicans completely lie about it, the media notes the lie is catching on without ever actually calling it a lie, the Democrats have to waste resources and respond to the lie, Republicans double down, this sucks the life out of everything else for a couple week, and in ten years this will be conventional wisdom that Obama called Americans lazy, just like Al Gore claimed to invent the internet and the rest of the bullshit that wingnuts have adopted as received truths (snow in November refutes climate change, the more you cut taxes the more government revenue you raise, if a bombing campaign does not make people like you it means you didn’t bomb hard enough or your targeting was off, liberals lost Viet Nam, waterboarding isn’t torture, etc).
    Uh, yep.

    …and I wish I had a nickel for every video I’ve ever seen beginning with somebody leaving, for what it’s worth.

    Wednesday, November 16, 2011

    Wednesday PM Stuff

    I apologize to every living, breathing, multiplying life form in the entire universe for devoting a speck of time whatsoever to the human mistake that truly is Pat Buchanan (h/t Atrios), but I want to take the almost bile-inducing bigotry of what he says in this clip (sound only) and say something about it that might not come immediately to mind.

    As Roman Catholic parents in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia who have occasion to come into contact with school-age kids attending classes with the young one (the “teenage one” just about now), Mrs. Doomsy and I have taken what is called “safe environment” training so that we have a much better idea to look out for occasions where kids could fall prey to sexual predators (of course, the need for such training is a whole other topic I don’t intend to get into now). And one of the points that is made loud and clear in the training is that homosexuality, statistically speaking vs. heteros, has nothing to do with the abuse scandal and gays do not pose this type of threat to kids (or much of any type as nearly as we can see).

    That is one of the reasons why Buchanan is flat, dead wrong (though he actually does start to make a bit of sense until he gets to about 1:00, and then the metaphorical wheels completely fall off – to do something in response, read this - more here)...

    ...and on a somewhat less serious, but still important, note, I give you this (tells you just what some of the Bushies are up to now, and it also tells you how little Scalia and Thomas of The Supremes care about even the appearance of a conflict of interest)...

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

    ...and oh yes, they're all still out there, and as much as I'd like to ignore them, I really can't (here)...

    ...and with all of this other stuff, I'm kind of in the mood for a silly bit of fluff like this.

    Wednesday Mashup (11/16/11)

  • I guess this is good news for former pizza guy Herman Cain – the Repugs' non-jobs agenda staggers on…
    Earlier this year, the USDA made an attempt to bolster the nutrition guidelines for the federal school lunch program. Under the new guidelines, for instance, school lunches would be limited to one cup of starchy vegetables a week and the ability of schools to count tomato sauce on pizza towards their fruit and vegetables requirement would be scaled back. But House Republicans, in a new spending plan unveiled yesterday, have done away with those changes:

    The spending bill also would allow tomato paste on pizzas to be counted as a vegetable, as it is now. The department’s proposed guidelines would have attempted to prevent that.

    The changes had been requested by food companies that produce frozen pizzas, the salt industry and potato growers. Some conservatives in Congress have called the push for healthier foods an overreach, saying the government shouldn’t be telling children what to eat.
    Yeah, it looks like we got another “big gumint” plot on our hands to encourage our kids to live healthier lifestyles – what do you expect from our Kenyan Muslim Socialist pre-zee-dint?

    And speaking of Number 44, I give you the following (here)…
    This year, the Federal Government released updated Dietary Guidelines for Americans, providing a science based roadmap for individuals to make healthy choices, and emphasizing the importance of good nutrition and an active lifestyle. We adapted the food pyramid to a new design MyPlate to encourage balanced meals. And our Healthy People 2020 initiative incorporates childhood obesity prevention in its goals for increasing the health of all Americans.

    Across our country, parents are working hard every day to make sure their kids are healthy, and my Administration is committed to supporting families in their efforts. During National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, we recognize the outstanding work our businesses, communities, and families are doing to help us meet our responsibilities to our children. I urge all Americans to help us meet our goal of solving the problem of childhood obesity within a generation.
    Not surprising I guess that President Obama is getting pushback here from the acolytes of The Sainted Ronnie R, who once proclaimed ketchup as a vegetable (here).

  • Next, it looks like “Wall Street Scott” Brown is asking for bids sending out invitations to his Christmas party (for $25 grand a plate, as noted here).

    “Ho, ho, ho” indeed.

  • Further, I give you the return of Dr. Earl Tilford of the Center for Vision and Values to the Op-Ed page of the Bucks County Courier Times here (last we checked, Dr. Earl was doing his whole “Ooga Booga!” bit over a potential U.S. attack from Venezuela – too funny).

    And you may be shocked to realize that he’s telling us about more countries threatening war against the U-S-A, U-S-A, U-S-A!!! (no, I don’t like Iran either and they very definitely remain a threat, but as far as I’m concerned, Former President Highest Disapproval Rating In Gallup Poll History tied Obama’s hands when dealing with that gang of thugs by waging his war of choice in Iraq)…
    The ultimate nightmare resulting from the naïve stupidity behind any policy allowing Tehran to obtain nuclear weapons may manifest itself in an alliance between Iran and its religious kindred state Syria…
    Ummm…as noted here, Iran is predominantly Shiite, and as noted here, Syria is predominantly Sunni (talking about Muslims, of course).

    Just sayin’ (talk about "naive stupidity")…

  • Further (again), do you remember here from about three years ago, when a certain Repug presidential hopeful said the following…
    In (the case of former Dem Connecticut Senator Chris Dodd), he is the largest single recipient of money from Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. Barack Obama was No. 2. The fact is that to have Dodd preside over writing this bill, I think, is absolutely disgusting. I am appalled that Harry Reid appointed him to sit in there. But it is the nature of politics up there right now. And I think it’s very, very bad for the country.
    And do you remember when it came out that Baby Newton Leroy Gingrich scored a nice little 300 grand for shilling about “the benefits of the Freddie Mac business model”?

    Well, it turns out that that $300,000 was really about $1.6 million (here).

    And according to this poll, he’s leading the field of GOP presidential candidates.

    Once more, too funny.

    Update 11/17/11: And I guess one of the perils of being the front runner is that people pay more attention to you and find out stuff like this.

    Update 11/20/11: So much fun watching Baby Newton Leroy fade out here (though the life forms in that audience would do us a favor if they slithered back under their respective rocks too).

  • Also, I was going to tear into former Bushie Marc Thiessen’s latest defense of water boarding here, but I thought T Bogg did a better job here, so I’ll merely provide the link instead.

  • Finally, it looks like Mikey The Beloved journeyed overseas to visit our troops, which is commendable actually (here).

    Well, to a point – we are talking about Mikey The Beloved, remember…
    Back in 2009, President Obama ordered a U.S. troop surge of 30,000 to Afghanistan after the war’s top commander at that time, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, suggested options ranging from 40,000 to 60,000 additional fighters.

    “Ultimately, the president made a decision,” Fitzpatrick said. “Unfortunately, the troop levels the generals were provided were approximately half of their request, risking mission failure.
    You want to talk “mission failure,” Mikey? Read this, telling us, among other things, that Number 43 “short-change(d) Afghanistan” because of his debacle in Iraq, and I don’t recall hearing a peep of protest from our wet noodle PA-08 rep at the time (of course, Mikey, and all the other Congressional Repugs, take their marching orders from these cretins in a related vein).

    Also, on the subject of Mesopotamia, I give you the following from five years ago…
    Once again, Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick has displayed a stunning lack of backbone in his recent decision to waffle on his support of George W. Bush’s war. Since before even being elected to Congress, Fitzpatrick’s toed (sic) the Republican Party line on the war, kowtowed to his Washington, D.C.-based masters and supported this war that has needlessly claimed thousands of American lives.

    Now the Congressman wants us to believe that he thinks the President has made crucial mistakes and that a new strategy is needed? Where was Fitzpatrick while these mistakes were being made? He was dutifully hailing the president as bold and principled and turning a blind eye to the growing disaster which is his and Bush’s war.

    Fitzpatrick has exposed his main weakness for the voters of Bucks County to see. He is not a leader; he lacks conviction and he is stereotypical of what is wrong in politics. Now that a majority of the American people have found the nerve to speak out against his war, our congressman has decided that it is in his political favor to take a new stance. Amazingly, Fitzpatrick still has no new ideas on how to end American embroilment in Iraq; he pays lip service to the voters while remaining content to watch American lives thrown away, like so much garbage.
    It’s also interesting to me that Mikey The Beloved is so keen to speak up with an opinion on President Obama’s management of the Afghan and Iraq wars, when the cat got his proverbial tongue apparently on the question of Rummy as Bushco’s defense secretary here.

    And on the subject of looking after our veterans (as I noted previously), let it be known that Mikey voted against a combat pay raise here and voted against a bill guaranteeing pay to our military in the event of a government shut down here (and I’ll keep pointing that out for as long as I have to until Mikey admits that he was wrong).

    Visiting our troops was a good thing, Mikey. Now, get the hell back here and help pass the Obama jobs bill so we don’t have any more “mission failure” on the economy.

    Update 11/17/11: And I don't know if Mikey voted for this mess or not, but he probably did since he was a co-sponsor.
  • Wednesday AM Stuff

    I thought Rachel Maddow did a great job last night of providing a historical context to the “Occupy” movement, as Keith Olbermann did in his Special Comment also (good job on Rachel’s part to link back to Mario Savio, along with typical logical commentary from Robert Reich)…

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

    …and it’s time to change things up musically a bit here – happy belated birthday to ‘60s icon Petula Clark, who once engaged in this at-the-time controversial moment with fellow singer Harry Belafonte, recounted in the fine documentary “Sing Your Song” on HBO.

    Tuesday, November 15, 2011

    Tuesday Stuff

    I give you K.O.'s Special Comment tonight on NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his cruel, stupid and ultimately pointless rousting of the Occupy protesters earlier this morning...

    …and I’m sure that, were he still living among us as a flash-and-blood human being, he would have been in Zuccotti Park at some point – in light of Keith’s comment, I can think of no more appropriate tune than this one.

    Tuesday Mashup (11/15/11)

  • It’s only been one week since our horrific local elections, but true to form, I give you the following from Simon Campbell here…
    “(Gene Dolnick) should have had the grace to pack his bags on Election Day instead of causing a needless controversy,” said Campbell, who is pushing for the board to consider outsourcing district bus service.
    Indeed, Simple Simon’s latest outburst has to do with another scheme that will eventually bite Pennsbury taxpayers in the metaphorical butt, as noted here from last month…
    Board members…launched into an often heated discussion about the pros and cons of hiring a consultant at a cost of $13,750 plus expenses to explore the possibility of subcontracting bus service.

    Board member Linda Palsky called it “a foolish expenditure” because district officials only need to contact neighboring districts to see if they are satisfied with their outsourced transportation services.

    Dolnick said since the first vote he has had a chance to speak with parents who have told him their main concern is the district providing safe transportation by having control of its operations.

    The board president joined Vice President Gary Sanderson, Wayne DeBlasio, Howard Goldberg and Palsky in voting against the hire. Campbell joined with Allan Weisel and Kathleen Zawacki in voting for it. Greg Lucidi abstained.
    So, the next time this issue comes up under the new board, Sanderson, DeBlasio and Goldberg will oppose, but Campbell, Weisel, Zawacki and new members Cridge and Kosmorsky will favor it. So say hello to Pennsbury bus privatization, like it or not.

    Want to know how that’s working out elsewhere? Read this, including the following…
    "I want to know how you expect us to do more with less when you all voted against schools?" said taxpayer Sara Wiley, speaking to lawmakers. "You voted for charters and vouchers, and that takes money away from us."

    Other taxpayers said they'd rather pay for transportation than face larger class sizes or more teacher layoffs.
    The story comes from Franklin Township in Indiana, which debated a “plan to indirectly charge parents for transportation,” with “parents (having) until Aug. 2 to pay the nonprofit Central Indiana Educational Service Center $475 per child for bus transportation for the 2011-2012 school year.”

    So you can bet that when the privatization scheme comes around again in Pennsbury, we, as school district taxpayers, will be told that we have to pay for it or else class sizes will grow and teacher layoffs will occur. And regardless of how we feel about it, it will pass under Campbell’s board anyway.

    And on the subject of outgoing school board president Gene Dolnick’s decision not to push for a new contract with the district’s support staff union (the “controversy” alleged by Simple Simon), the Bucks County Courier Times opined as follows today (here)…
    Pennsbury voters should be pleased that this will happen; that among Gene Dolnick’s last official decisions as school board president is to give voters the respect they deserve.
    I think that’s a really cowardly slam at Dolnick, who, as nearly as I can tell, has done nothing but give Pennsbury voters “the respect they deserve” throughout his career in public life.

  • Next, this post from The Hill tells us the following…
    We typically give an immediate sigh of relief when we throw out our waste. Out of sight, out of mind. However, that isn’t necessarily the end of the story.

    Every one of us generates approximately four pounds of waste per person per day. That amounts to Americans generating 243 million tons of paper, plastic, metal, glass and other waste annually. Of that, we typically recover and reuse 34 percent of what we discard.

    This November in celebration of America Recycles Day, we encourage you to think twice about what’s in your waste bin. We all know that recycling is good for the environment, but did you know it could help the economy?

    Increased use of recycled materials improves U.S. manufacturers’ energy efficiency, which makes them more competitive and helps protect U.S.-based jobs. The latest recycling economic impact study done by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources reports that the Ohio recycling industry “generates $22.5 billion in direct sales, employs more than 100,000 people and accounts for $650.6 million in state tax revenues.”
    Interesting to consider all of this, particularly since, as noted here, California recycles about 80 percent of its glass, particularly bottles, but by comparison, the rest of the country recycles glass at a rate of about 25 percent.

    Of course, according to the food and beverage industry (noted here), bottle bill programs are expensive to operate (not sure how that rates higher than trying to reduce our carbon footprint in an effort to fight the climate crisis, which is ultimately what this is all about, but there you are…incidentally, the linked story tells us that Oklahoma recycles about 4 percent of its beverage containers, though there is a bill pending to improve that). The states with a high return rate typically place a deposit on bottles, usually about five cents.

    This tells us about container deposit legislation in other states – no word on any such legislation pending in our beloved commonwealth of PA, nor any nationally, though I believe we are definitely due for that.

  • Further, it looks like former Bushco speechwriter Mikey Gerson haz a sad (here)…
    WASHINGTON -- In 2009, Notre Dame University set off months of intra-Catholic controversy by inviting a champion of abortion rights to deliver its commencement address. When the day arrived, President Obama skillfully deflated the tension. He extended a "presumption of good faith" to his pro-life opponents. Then he promised Catholics that their pro-life convictions would be respected by his administration. "Let's honor the conscience of those who disagree with abortion," he said, "and draft a sensible conscience clause, and make sure that all of our health care policies are grounded not only in sound science, but also in clear ethics, as well as respect for the equality of women."

    Catholics, eager for reassurance from a leader whom 54 percent had supported, were duly reassured. But Obama's statement had the awkward subordinate clauses of a contentious speechwriting process. Qualifications and code words produced a pledge that pledged little.

    Now the conscience protections of Catholics are under assault, particularly by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). And Obama's Catholic strategy is in shambles.
    Not really – as noted here from last February…
    WASHINGTON -- (AP) The government has replaced a Bush-era rule that became a flash point in the debate over abortions, clarifying that doctors and nurses have a long-standing federal right not to participate in the procedures.

    Federal laws for years have forbidden discrimination against health care professionals who refuse to perform abortions or sterilizations, or to provide referrals for them on religious or moral grounds.

    The regulation, instituted in the last days of the Bush administration, was supposed to strengthen those protections by adding a requirement that institutions that receive federal money certify their compliance with the so-called conscience laws, so that money could be cut off if the law wasn't being followed.

    That regulation was quickly challenged in federal court by several states and medical organizations, in part over concern that its overly broad wording also could be used to refuse birth control, family planning services and a variety of other services.

    The Obama administration announced a year ago that it planned to repeal the regulation, and it did so on Friday after months spent reviewing 300,000 comments from the public on both sides.

    In its place is a new rule that retains just the federal conscience protections for abortions and sterilizations, along with a provision that spells out how health workers who feel they were discriminated against can ask the government to enforce that law.
    I still have a low opinion of so-called “conscience” provisions (which have created horror stories such as one noted here), since I believe it is the job of a health care provider to do his or her job on the basic of medical necessity, not whether or not they personally object to a procedure, type of remedy or course of treatment. But in typical fashion, Number 44 attempted to find a middle ground of sorts on this issue, coming up with what is arguably a wise alternative.

    Oh, and by the way, Obama’s approval among Catholics in September was 50 percent according to a Gallup poll from here (no link to actual Gallup results, though). And Gerson’s “shambles” rhetoric is typical from a pundit hack also responsible for this.

  • Finally (and sticking with our current president), it looks like former Super Bowl-winning quarterback Joe Theismann isn’t a fan, as it turns out, based on this item…
    (Theismann) told The Daily Caller that he is dissatisfied with President Barack Obama’s job performance.

    Theisman (sic) said he believes in “free enterprise” and that the federal government needs to “support businesses and not penalize them with regulations.”
    OK, Joe, I’m throwing a flag for Illegal Propagation Of Wingnuttery – half the distance to the goal line (it’s “theater of the mind,” people). And what exactly are these supposedly onerous “regulations” anyway?

    Like this, for example?

    And this is from a guy who also brought us this item (here)…
    “The word ‘genius’ isn't applicable in football. A genius is a guy like Norman Einstein.”
    Time to punt, Joe.
  • Monday, November 14, 2011

    Monday Stuff

    “Worst Persons” (Flush Limbore gets the “bronze” for claiming that the Keystone XL Pipeline would create “tens of thousands” of jobs...yep, that Hillbilly Heroin sure is kicking in today; U.S. House Repug Spencer Bachus, head of the House Financial Services Committee (of course), gets the runner-up for his little insider trading maneuver while the economy was flat lining in 2008; but Bachus’s fellow Repug Allen West takes top “honors” for claiming that no, he wasn’t in some otherwise-all-white, anti-gay, restricted motorcycle gang during the 2010 election...but now he says he REALLY WAS AFTER the immortal words of Max Bialystock in “The Producers,” “just say ‘oops’ and get out,” unless you’re afraid to leave your house, Congressman)...

    ...oh, and by the way, naughty word alert on this one – only one occurrence though (um, what was the name of the band and the CD again?).

    Monday Mashup (11/14/11)

  • I give you the latest chapter of “Unpacking The Crazy” with Mann Coulter (here, with an appropriate response from Media Matters here, on the supposed “sexual misbehavior” of former Obama senior advisor David Axelrod):
    - Axelrod lives in Illinois with Chicago Mayor Richard Daley.

    - Sheila O'Grady is “close” to Axelrod, and while chief of the Illinois Restaurant Association after being Daley’s chief of staff, she supposedly found the “dirt” on Repug presidential candidate Herman Cain on behalf of Cain accuser Sharon Bialek.

    - Oh, and did I mention that Bialek and Axelrod lived in the same apartment building?
    If this is “sexual misbehavior,” then I’m the Marquis de Sade (and rest assured that I’m not).

  • Next, it’s time for a big pile of steaming glibertarian crap from Tyler Cowen in the New York Times (here, about the “Occupy” movement of course)…
    In the future, complaints about income inequality are likely to grow and conservatives and libertarians won’t have all the answers. Nonetheless, higher income inequality will increase the appeal of traditional mores — of discipline and hard work — because they bolster one’s chances of advancing economically. That means more people and especially more parents will yearn for a tough, pro-discipline and pro-wealth cultural revolution. And so they should.

    It remains to be seen how many of us are up to its demands.
    Oh yes, receiving taxpayer-funded handouts after turning our economy into a casino and utterly crashing it took place because of “discipline and hard work.” Please…

    In response, allow me to point out how those supposedly lazy Occupy DC protesters were, in Cowen’s view, not working hard enough I guess when they were run into by a car (here). And I suppose the Occupy Denver protesters weren’t working hard enough either when they faced down tear gas and rubber bullets (here...and as noted here, people of color in poor neighborhoods in this country are pretty much “occupied” already).

    And for good measure, I give you this from none other than Alan Grayson, who tells us exactly why the “Occupy” protesters are protesting anyway (Grayson being someone who once toiled in the hallowed halls of academia, a place from which Cowen’s world view of real people has apparently calcified beyond repair…wonder what the millions noted by Grayson would say to Cowen and his trite bromides about hard work?).

    Update 11/16/11: I wonder if the folks noted here were "working hard enough" for Cowen?

  • Continuing, I should note that there was a time at this blog when I followed the doings of former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi (I couldn’t keep up too much with world news as things turned out), but as noted here, he stepped down as PM last weekend (as noted here, he lost in 2006 to center-left candidate Romano Prodi, though, as I recall, Prodi flamed out pretty quickly and Berlusconi was returned to power).

    And for the occasion, I thought it was a good idea to revisit this post, where Silvio promised to abstain from sex until the 2006 general election and once called himself “the Jesus of politics” (as well as promoting his “fishy” entrepreneurial success). Also, Berlusconi tried to demonize gypsies (typical playbook for European politics I guess) and put the army to work picking up trash, sucking up to his best bud Dubya all the while as noted here.

    If nothing else, Silvio kept things interesting, so I guess he deserves credit for that (more fun is here, including the stuff about Silvio and Tessa “Little Pincushion” Jowell – si bene, bene…).

  • Finally, Repug U.S. House Rep Darrell Issa, head of the House Oversight Committee, and Sen. Charles Grassley have said that “heads will roll” over the “Fast and Furious” operation that went wrong in Arizona (here).

    I’m not really going to comment on the clownhall piece, but I only mean to point out that, while the murder of border patrol agent Brian Terry was tragic, there is more to the story (“Fast and Furious” was an operation to flood guns into Mexico from the U.S. to see how the guns were used by Mexican gangs, though the operation apparently got messed up to the point where the guns could not be traced, and one of them was used to kill agent Terry…a typical right-wing overreaction is here).

    Apparently, a similar operation to “Fast and Furious” called “Wide Receiver” (love the names) was concocted by Bushco, though their sycophants have been spinning it to make it sound as if it also took place under the current administration (here), to the point where the accusation has been made that the Obama Administration pretty much allowed Terry’s murder to happen so they could use it as an excuse for passage of common-sense gun laws, a monstrous accusation even for Fix Noise (here).

    I believe this article provides some interesting background on the battle raging between the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and the NRA; basically, as wrongheaded as “Fast and Furious” and “Wide Receiver” may have been, the interference from the NRA didn’t leave the agency many other options to try and slow down the murderous trafficking of guns in this country, particularly along the Mexican border.

    Meanwhile, Congress hasn’t confirmed anyone to head the Bureau of AT and F in six years (ATF acting director Kenneth E. Melson and Arizona U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke were forced out over “Fast and Furious”), and the agency’s budget hasn’t been increased since 1972. And we hear nothing about successful operations by the ATF (yes, they do occur).

    That tells you just how loud the NRA’s money (and influence) talks (oh, and by the way, Mr. President, veto this gift to the gun nuts with extreme prejudice, if you please).

    Update: And by the way, the beat goes on.
  • Sunday, November 13, 2011

    Sunday Stuff

    I love it when the Teahadists rip each other off – when the OWS protesters start doing this to each other, let me know, OK? And yes, CNN, you are truly dopes for going along with this (“Newt-mentum,” bitches! And by the way, the beat goes on)...

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

    ...and now, time for the melodic, easy listening sounds of Papa Roach.