Saturday, January 21, 2012

Saturday Stuff

So South Carolina, a state that insists on electing Republican politicians who give them absolutely nothing (except maybe the back of the hand - more on that here) voted for Baby Newton Leroy (the "Not Romney" of the moment, apparently) decisively in their presidential primary. They must be so proud.

And while I’m hardly a fan of Dr. Paul, I have to admit that this is a first-class evisceration…

…and former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich tells us once more why the catastrophic Citizens United ruling from The High Court of Hangin’ Judge JR (handed down two years ago today) matters here…

…and witness the jackbooted thugs carrying out the bidding of the corpocracy, doing what they do best, and that is to try and utterly erase free speech for all but the "one percent" (here and here)…

…and in addition to Etta James, Johnny Otis passed recently also (and he kept good company, as you can see).

Friday, January 20, 2012

Friday Stuff

God, what a corporatist stooge, even for a Republican…

…“Worst Persons” (Kentucky Guv Steve Beshear gives Dems a bad name by submitting a budget with six figures worth of cuts primarily to education, but $43 million for a Bible-themed amusement park is apparently sacred, pun intended; Baby Newton Leroy – having himself an absolutely banner 24-hour news cycle, it should be noted – gets the runner-up for criticizing Obama for shutting down a portion of Mouse-Land in Florida, which has been done before by…oh, let’s just say THREE OF OUR FIVE MOST RECENT REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTS; but Dr. Keith Ablow gets the top nod for some truly hilarious commentary on Gingrich’s…well, let’s just call it his alleged “charisma”…”hey, Sri Lanka, slide that pretty little booty o’ yours on over to the U.S., why dontcha”)…

...and sticking with K.O. (and in a lot more serious of a vein), tomorrow marks the second anniversary of the utterly scandalous Citizens United ruling authored by the truly wretched High Court of Hangin’ Judge JR; here is Keith’s Special Comment from two years ago on the subject, filled with all of the urgency that this subject deserves…

…and RIP Etta James (I went back and forth between this and “At Last” – I would have been covered either way).

Mikey's "TRAIN In Vain" And Other Follies, Part 2

(Part One including the setup is here.)

Continuing with our PA-08 U.S. House Rep’s supposed legislative “achievements”…

Encouraging Entrepreneurship and Growth

HR 1070 – Small Company Capital Formation Act of 2011
HR 1965 – Community Bank Resource Improvement Act
HR 2930 – Entrepreneur Access to Capital Act
HR 1070 lets companies sell $50 million in securities in a public offering without having to register with the SEC, exempting “a certain class of securities.” HR 1965 increases the number of shareholders permitted to invest in a community bank before it must register with the SEC. Also, HR 2930 is intended to increase “access to capital” presumably for the purposes of job creation.

I’ll be honest – I checked these out and I can’t find anything wrong, though I am suspicious of course. The intention of all of these bills (apparently) is to speed up the process by which capital is acquired for startups and to encourage “crowd funding” as opposed to “angel investing,” getting around the SEC’s reporting requirements. I have a feeling that this is a recipe for trouble, but again, I don’t know enough to stand in the way on this (more on crowd funding is here).

Another piece of legislation Mikey touts is as follows…
HR 2940 – Access to Capital for Job Creators Act
This was sponsored by supposed GOP “young gun” Kevin McCarthy of California, again, intended to hasten access to capital on behalf of those “job creators” the GOP claims to love. However, I think the following should be noted about this from here…
Vote 4: Executive compensation: The House has rejected an amendment sponsored by Rep. Brad Miller, D-N.C., to the Access to Capital for Job Creators Act (H.R. 2940). The amendment would have required businesses soliciting capital from private, non-accredited investors to disclose their bonus compensation structures and any golden parachute severance packages for company officials. Miller said the requirement would protect investors from unwittingly having their investments increase executive compensation. An opponent, Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said "the SEC has no authority to regulate the compensation of executives at private companies," and the requirement "would fail anyone's cost benefit analysis" of its economic impact. The vote, on Nov. 3, was 190 yeas to 234 nays.
Oh, I get it now – all of these bills are intended to allow executives at these startups that supposedly now will flourish to claim any degree of compensation that they want outside of any reporting requirements that may exist as stipulated in existing or future legislation. Clever.

Well, we’ll see about this, won’t we?


Controlling Government Spending and Deficit Reduction

Supported a House of Representatives ban on all earmarks, which had come to signify the permissive spending culture in Washington.
Yeah, Mikey and his pals like to ride the little earmark “hobby horse” in the name of supposed fiscal austerity, but as noted here, earmarks really aren’t all that big of a deal when it comes to federal spending. And as noted here, the teabagger caucus took in $1 bil in earmarks in 2010.

(By the way, in the matter of earmarks, even though this involves the Senate and not the House, I think it should be noted from here that the Senate Repugs blocked the 2010 Omnibus Spending Bill because it contained nearly $2 billion in earmarks that the Senate Repugs asked for themselves – too funny.)
H Res 22 – Voted to cut House budget by 5% (and Mikey voted for a 11% cut on top of that; that's a total of 16 percent for those of us playing along at home)
However, in the matter of supposed fiscal austerity, this tells us that the House Speaker scored a hefty raise in his expense account, and I can recall not a word of protest from Mikey The Beloved.
H Res 38 – Roll back current gov’t spending to 2008 or before
That sounds nice too, until you realize that it would give unprecedented authority to “flim-flam man” Paul Ryan (noted here in the second bullet).
HR 2 – To reduce new spending by $2.6 trillion over 10 years
As noted here, though, government spending has helped create jobs, not hinder job growth (of course, this is coming from the political party that continues to sit on President Obama’s jobs bill, so this doesn’t surprise me at all).
HR 1 – Continuing Appropriations Act for 2011, which eliminated $100 billion in federal spending for the remainder of FY 2011
It should be noted from here that that includes underfunding operation of the IRS, among other agencies of government (more here – another attempt to remove those supposedly pesky, “job-killing” regulations that would let the GOP’s “small business” constituency get away with more and more nonsense).
H. Con Res 34 – would reduce federal spending by $5.8 trillion in 10 years
As noted here…
H.Con.Res. 34 is yet another example of GOP magical thinking — cut federal government spending and the debts and deficits will go away! We also know that cutting government spending on education and infrastructure programs makes jobs go away too.
Uh, yep. And finally (for now)…
HR 2560 – Cut, “Crap” and Balance Act
(Mikey’s mailer, by the way, incorrectly notes the bill number as 2562, for what it’s worth).

As noted here…
The federal budget could very well be reduced to defense spending, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and national debt interest and absolutely (nothing) else - assuming that revenues actually reached 18% (and that's happened under two of President Bush's, and none of President Obama's budgets – note: the cuts would be enacted if revenues reached the 18% limit). If not, then even more cuts would be necessary. Based on FY 2010 revenue - and remember it would take a 2/3 vote to increase revenue under these Amendments - the budget would be operating closer to 14% of GDP, meaning that the budget would have faced a cut of about $1.5 trillion, or a 42% budget cut across every single program, including Medicare and Social Security.

Also, cutting $1 trillion yearly from the federal budget would have a devastating impact on the economy, which would likely reduce the GDP, both lowering the funding cap and reducing tax revenues, forcing further cuts, lowering the GDP further. Such an amendment could trigger a downward spiral that would almost certainly result in the gutting of most of the nation's entitlement programs.

This amendment would also largely trigger elections moot, and that's something that all but the hardest core Republicans should be opposed to, regardless of whether one agrees with current Democratic policies or not.

This amendment would enshrine in the Constitution right wing conservative economic doctrine, ensuring that conservatives could implement their agenda of cutting the budget and cutting taxes by a mere majority vote, but would require moderates and liberals to meet a virtually unattainable goal of 2/3 vote in both Houses to implement any of their policy goals, or to even undo anything Republicans might have done when they were in power. It would effectively ensure that Republicans control government, even if they lose elections. Only an overwhelming election of Democrats, ensuring a 2/3 majority in both Houses could undo this arrangement.
Fitzpatrick also voted in favor of and cosponsored a bill to send a Balanced Budget Amendment to the states (H.J. Res 2), something else that will pass state legislatures when pigs fly.

In response, click here to support Kathy Boockvar (with some news about Kathy’s candidacy here).

Oh, and by the way, Courier Times, we always knew you were Mikey’s PR service (this appeared online yesterday). Do you now have to accept advertising on his behalf paid for by taxpayer funds too?

Update 1/27/12: And here is more on Cut, "Crap" And Balance.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Thursday Mashup (1/19/12)

  • You could cut the stoo-pid with a knife in this editorial in the Bucks County Courier Times today. But before I comment on that, I have to provide some background.

    As this Philadelphia Inquirer article tells us, Pennsbury (Bucks County) High School student Ashley Zauflik suffered a devastating injury when she was run over by a bus in 2007, requiring the amputation of her left leg below the knee (the bus driver was found to be negligent). A jury awarded her $14 million last December; she deserves all of that and more.

    Here’s the problem, though; a 1978 state law caps the amount that governments, including school districts, can pay out – the liability limit is $500,000.

    Now, back to the Courier Times editorial...
    That’s not right and everybody knows it, including state Reps. John Galloway, D-140, and Steve Santarsiero, D-31, whose legislative districts include the Pennsbury School District. Together, the pair want to replace the law with what they’re calling Ashley’s Law. It’s not exactly clear what the new law would mandate; they’re still doing the research. But the goal is clear.

    “We want to determine whether the current cap is antiquated and whether insurance that is affordable to school districts and municipalities could allow innocent victims with catastrophic injuries, like Ashley, to recover without significantly burdening taxpayers,” Santarsiero said of the pending legislation.

    To that end, the lawmakers have asked the Pennsbury School Board to support their effort and not hide behind the state law they believe should be reformed. Said Galloway, “Pennsbury should ... call for the insurance company to do the right thing.”

    So far, board members are unwilling to do that, saying instead that the matter is out of their hands.
    Well people, seriously now, what else did you expect with Simple Simon Campbell and his minions now in charge?

    Oh, and speak of the devil…
    School board member (Campbell) also speaks his mind and has a suggestion for the “two fearless johnny-come-lately crusaders”
    Take a slow boat back to the UK, if they’ll have you, you maniac – continuing…
    …Encourage the outsourcing of busing as a way for school districts to “offload liability risk.”

    Campbell makes a good point. The district would not be in the position it is in and neither would Ashley if a private company, which would not be protected by a liability cap, were running the bus service. But just looking into the issue has raised a ruckus in Pennsbury — such is the power of unions.
    Oh sure, Bucks County Courier Times Op-Ed board; just kick the Pennsbury school bus drivers to the curb, if you will, and replace them with “scabs.” Why, it’s not as if we’re entrusting them with anything that’s actually important – only the safety of our kids!

    And as far as whether or not privatizing bus service actually saves money, read this post, particularly the first bullet, to see that it has everything to do with bleeding taxpayers in Pennsbury dry and trying to break another public employee union, a stated goal of a gambler like futures trader Campbell (and nothing to do with helping Ashley Zauflik either, unfortunately).

  • Next, it looks like Baby Newton Leroy had a hissy fit here over the following from the 1,252,324th Republican candidates’ debate…
    Hours before the debate, ABC News and The Washington Post released interviews with Marianne Gingrich in which she alleged Gingrich asked for an "open marriage" before their divorce.

    Marianne Gingrich told The Washington Post that a day after he husband told her about his affair with Callista Bisek in May 1999, the former House speaker delivered a speech titled "The Demise of American Culture" to a group of Republican women in Pennsylvania.

    "How could he ask me for a divorce on Monday and within 48 hours give a speech on family values and talk about how people treat people?" Marianne Gingrich said in her interview with the Post.

    Gingrich said the story was false.
    Yeah, well, he would wouldn’t he (here is more fun with Baby Newton Leroy).

    Also, I don’t think there’s been a lot of attention paid to the fact that conservative casino mogul (and former “Freedom’s Watch” sugar daddy) Sheldon Adelson has been bankrolling Gingrich’s anti-Romney movie; here is more on that, and here is a prior post on Adelson.

    Seems like every time the Repug candidates emerge from the GOP “clown car” for these spectacles, they’re one short. Wonder if it will be only three next time, with Gingrich the odd man out?

  • Finally, I give you true hilarity here (on Obama and his supposedly “job-killing” decision on the Keystone XL pipeline)…
    …today is the day that Obama increased the amount of energy we need to import from places like the Middle East and Venezuela; today is the day that he crushed hundreds of thousands of US jobs. He did it because he can't be bothered to do ANYTHING, except campaign.

    Today is the day he morphed from President Do-Nothing to President Hypocrite.

    He did it by killing the XL Keystone pipeline which would bring a million barrels per day of North American oil to US refineries, create at a minimum 200,000 jobs and open up the US heartland for domestic development of oil- and the millions in jobs and domestic GDP it would create.
    I think the video from here puts that “200,000” claim in its place.

    It would actually be funny if it weren’t so utterly pathetic.
  • Thursday Stuff

    Here’s news about what we can do to protest that godawful Citizens United ruling on Saturday, the two-year anniversary of the atrocity from the High Court of Hangin’ Judge JR…

    …and Rachel Maddow tells us just how far out of any semblance of “the mainstream” the Repugs are on the latest attempt at “personhood” legislation…

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

    …also, K.O. talks to Dem Senator Ron Wyden about the PIPA and SOPA fight; Wyden was “out there” a bit on the Paul Ryan/Medicare scam recently, but he’s usually spot-on concerning the issues that matter, and he is again here – and man, has my opinion of Chris Dodd fallen off the proverbial cliff; can’t believe he’s the same guy who once duked it out with Bill Orally in defense of Daily Kos – try collaborating with Reddit, Wikipedia, Google etc. on anti-piracy legislation instead of trying to cram this garbage down our metaphysical throats…

    …and speaking of technology, I thought this was a good tune for the occasion.

    Tuesday, January 17, 2012

    Tuesday Stuff

    “Worst Persons” (this idiot in the Kansas state house named Mike O’Neal wishes for a Biblical curse on President Obama – love to see the Secret Service test out new methods of interrogation on this clown; Willard Mitt Romney takes second place for not answering a question from Clayton Holton, an 80-pound man suffering from a form of muscular dystrophy, about whether or not he would personally arrest someone for using medical marijuana, and also blowing off Holton in the process…what’s that expression, “plus ca change”?; but Greyhound Bus Lines driver Donald Ainsworth takes the top “prize” for harassing “Occupy” bus riders during a stop in (of course) Texas en route to an “Occupy” event in DC (it’s 2012, asshat, not 1912, not that your conduct would be permissible in that year either)…

    …and speaking of birthdays (were we?), this little number goes out to this guy (sorry, no video).

    Monday, January 16, 2012

    Monday Stuff

    Hat tip to Atrios here (“School House Rock” was fun, but somehow I don’t think they covered this; a diversion from the 4,286th Republican debate tonight)...

    Conspiracy Theory Rock by fruittreeofwisdom

    ...and with sleet in the forecast in these parts, I hear “The Sound of Winter” rapping, rapping at my chamber door, as it were.

    Sunday, January 15, 2012

    Legacy Of A Dream, 2012

    President Obama issued a proclamation here in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and this post from 2006 concerning Dr. King is every bit as timely now as it was then.

    Also, here is an excerpt from a speech given by Dr. King at the Barratt School in Philadelphia in 1967.