Thursday, March 31, 2011

Another thought on the TSA screenings

Understanding the violence of the right-wing

A generous offer

Loving the Reagan

Republicans loved them some Ronald Reagan - here's why

The Republicans brainwash you...

Republicans want you to believe that public sector workers earn so much more than workers in the private sector, but do they ever examine the facts? Nah.

Explaining the TSA

What Christmas ia all about

Late Night Political humor

"A study found Equador, Venezuela and Colombia have the most well-endowed men in the world. The study was conducted by TSA screeners at JFK's International Terminal." - Jimmy Fallon

"House Speaker John Boehner says President Obama should have clearly outlined his exact plans before bombing Libya. Apparently it's only Iraq where you don't have to do that." - Jay Leno

"Seventeen days after Newt Gingrich insisted President Obama should establish a no-fly zone over Libya, he's complaining that Obama established a no-fly zone over Libya. It's the same as Newt's policy on adultery. He can't make up his mind." - Jay Leno

"Sarah Palin visited Israel. As if the Jews have not suffered enough." - Jay Leno"

Stupid presidents, smart presidents, white presidents, black presidents - doesn't work! What this country needs is a crazy Third World dictator. And Donald Trump has what it takes to be that. He's already got a plane with his name on it, solid gold buildings, a harem…" - Lewis Black"

Donald Trump came out as a birther, which is Republican for, 'I'm running for president.'" - Lewis Black"

A problem for our military in Libya is that they can't tell the rebels from Gadhafi's military. The U.N. has now declared that the war be fought as 'shirts vs. skins.'" - Conan O'Brien

"We now have wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya. They call it a 'theater' of war but this is a multiplex." - David Letterman??

Jay Leno: Michele Bachmann says she will launch her Presidential campaign in either Massachusetts or New Hampshire as soon as she figures out which is which. There could be some eligibility problems for her. She has her birth certificate, but nobody can produce her high school diploma.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Bernie Sanders - America's 10 Worst Corporate Tax Slackers

Click here for the Daily Kos article that includes this data

1) ExxonMobil made $19 billion in profits in 2009. Exxon not only paid no federal income taxes, it actually received a $156 million rebate from the IRS, according to its SEC filings. [Note: Our post last April reported that ExxonMobil was owed $46 million by the IRS.]

2) Bank of America received a $1.9 billion tax refund from the IRS last year, although it made $4.4 billion in profits and received a bailout from the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department of nearly $1 trillion.

3) Over the past five years, while General Electric made $26 billion in profits in the United States, it received a $4.1 billion refund from the IRS.

4) Chevron received a $19 million refund from the IRS last year after it made $10 billion in profits in 2009.

5) Boeing, which received a $30 billion contract from the Pentagon to build 179 airborne tankers, got a $124 million refund from the IRS last year.

6) Valero Energy, the 25th largest company in America with $68 billion in sales last year received a $157 million tax refund check from the IRS and, over the past three years, it received a $134 million tax break from the oil and gas manufacturing tax deduction.

7) Goldman Sachs in 2008 only paid 1.1 percent of its income in taxes even though it earned a profit of $2.3 billion and received an almost $800 billion from the Federal Reserve and U.S. Treasury Department.

8) Citigroup last year made more than $4 billion in profits but paid no federal income taxes. It received a $2.5 trillion bailout from the Federal Reserve and U.S. Treasury.

9) ConocoPhillips, the fifth largest oil company in the United States, made $16 billion in profits from 2007 through 2009, but received $451 million in tax breaks through the oil and gas manufacturing deduction.

10) Over the past five years, Carnival Cruise Lines made more than $11 billion in profits, but its federal income tax rate during those years was just 1.1 percent.

Hey - let's beat our school children into better grades!

Posted on Gawker - read more by clicking HERE.

Hamilton Nolan — Did you know that in 20 hick states of our great union, it's still cool and A-OK for school officials to take your child into the dreaded "office" and administer stern thwacks to their bottom with some sort of wooden beating-stick, in order to teach them the difference between right and wrong (for example, violence is "wrong")? Yes, well. It is so. Might this be stupid?

GE wants more...

From Susie Madrak and Crooks and Liars.  Read more by clicking HERE...

Last week, the New York Times reported that, despite making $14.2 billion in profits, General Electric, the largest corporation in the United States, paid zero U.S. taxes in 2010 and actually received tax credits of $3.2 billion dollars. The article noted that GE’s tax avoidance team is comprised of “former officials not just from the Treasury, but also from the I.R.S. and virtually all the tax-writing committees in Congress.”

After not paying any taxes and making huge profits, ThinkProgress has learned that General Electric is expected to ask its nearly 15,000 unionized employees in the United States to make major concessions.

Update on education in Washington D.C.

A great post from RSS at Daily Kos - I grabbed the whole thing, but here is the LINK in case you want to follow that blog.

As the Washington, DC, Board of Education announces it will be looking into news that schools former Chancellor Michelle Rhee rewarded as high performers showed suspiciously high levels of wrong-to-right erasure patterns on test sheets, Rhee is lashing out:

"It isn't surprising," Rhee said in a statement Monday, "that the enemies of school reform once again are trying to argue that the Earth is flat and that there is no way test scores could have improved ... unless someone cheated."

No, Michelle. Flat-earthers follow faith, not evidence. Just as you are doing by trying to cast this as your reform or no reform, good guys and bad guys, evidence be damned. Let's review: Noted enemy of school reform McGraw-Hill, which scores the test sheets, flagged the pattern. Fringe left publication USA Today investigated it—unlike your administration, which conducted only the most cursory investigation and that belatedly. And academics at Arizona State University, Georgetown University, and Western Michigan University agreed that the pattern called for thorough examination.

Dana Goldstein explains why things like this are exactly what we can expect from high-stakes testing:

Campbell’s Law states that incentives corrupt. In other words, the more punishments and rewards—such as merit pay—are associated with the results of any given test, the more likely it is that the test’s results will be rendered meaningless, either through outright cheating or through teaching to the test in a way that narrows the curriculum and renders real learning obsolete.

In the era of No Child Left Behind, Campbell’s Law has been proved true again and again. When the federal government began threatening to cut off schools’ funding if they did not achieve across-the-board student “proficiency” on state reading and math exams, states responded by creating standardized tests that were easier and easier to pass. Alabama, for example, reported that 85 percent of its fourth-graders were proficient in reading in 2005, even though only 22 percent of the state’s students demonstrated proficiency on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, the gold standard, no-stakes exam administered by the federal government.

Simultaneously, instances of outright cheating were rising nationwide.

The idea of improving education is a good one. It's just that today's "education reform" movement is variously educationally bankrupt, corrupted by Wall Street money and privatization fever, and defined by Michelle Rhee's fame-seeking flat-earth approach. Before we can effectively improve education, we have to reform the "reform" movement.

Monday, March 28, 2011

New Florida Law Pays Teachers Based on Student Performance

From Susie Madrak on Crooks and Liars. 

Back when I was in sales, I did lead development. That meant I had to locate a company that needed our consulting services, had the money in the budget to pay for it and actually wanted to meet with a salesperson. I got paid for setting up the appointments, and got a bonus if the salesperson closed the deal.

One of the first questions before taking a business development job always was, are my incentives based on things outside my control? I learned early on not to even consider working in a place where my commission was contingent on whether or not the salesperson closed the deal. "If you developed a good lead, the deal should close," one sales manager argued with me. Uh uh. Sales people screw up the close all the time, thus blowing up my commission. So that was a major issue.

And that's also why paying teachers on the basis of how the students perform is one of the stupidest, most insidious ideas the policy morons have ever concocted. Rather than address the very real issues of poverty and learning disabilities, they'd rather play with gimmicks like this "Student Success Act":

    Reporting from Jacksonville, Fla.— Florida Gov. Rick Scott has signed a far-reaching teacher merit-pay bill that will overhaul how teachers across the state will be evaluated and paid.

    The law creates an evaluation system that relies heavily on student test score data to judge teacher quality. For new teachers, it also creates a performance-based pay system and ends tenure-like job protections.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

More on the stupid birthers

Those who are trying to make hay of the suspicion that President Obama was not born a U.S. citizen are building steam.  For whatever reasons - perhaps they wish to build their bona fides that they are as stupid and ignorant as the rest of the right-wing - the noise is increasing.  Crooks and Liars has a great post on this along with a scan of the actual birth certificate.  Follow the link below...

Crooks and Liars

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Debtors' prisons still exist?

From the Wall Street Journal...

Some lawmakers, judges and regulators are trying to rein in the U.S. debt-collection industry's use of arrest warrants to recoup money owed by borrowers who are behind on credit-card payments, auto loans and other bills.

More than a third of all U.S. states allow borrowers who can't or won't pay to be jailed. Judges have signed off on more than 5,000 such warrants since the start of 2010 in nine counties with a total population of 13.6 million people, according to a tally by The Wall Street Journal of filings in those counties. Nationwide figures aren't known because many courts don't keep track of warrants by alleged offense. In interviews, 20 judges across the nation said the number of borrowers threatened with arrest in their courtrooms has surged since the financial crisis began.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Top 6 Political Hot Messes of 2010

Conan O'Brien on Newt Gingrich

"Newt [Gingrich] says he cheated on two of his wives because he was too consumed with love for his country. Apparently he misunderstood the phrase, 'Please rise for the Pledge of Allegiance.'"
---Conan O'Brien

Another lying Republican

Another lying Republican - is there any other kind?

Don Hassee - another Republican moralist

John Stossel shows his ignrance

What the hell is she talking about?

Notice anything missing from this image? Like facts? Information? A fucking clue as to what she's talking about? I'm a progressive and am disappointed with Obama, but I have no clue about her gripe here - can you offer me some help?

While you are getting hosed...

Despite reporting over $5 billion in profits from its domestic operations, the American multinational conglomerate General Electric -- headquartered in Fairfield, CT -- paid nothing in income taxes . "In fact, G.E. claimed a tax benefit of $3.2 billion."

Source - The Progress Report 3/25/2011

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

She's NOT a witch and she's off to Washington - video

This video is a little dated, but you're not THAT old.  And it's kind of funny.

What TSA screening is coming to - video

This humorous video in in Japanese, but you don't need to understand the words to get the humor - and the point.

Protest sign

CNN has gone nuts

CNN has lost its edge - posted here is an image of the front page of the Fox News site and the simultaneous front page from CNN.  As for me, I'm watching a whole lot more MSNBC these days than CNN.  Even Morning Joe is preferable to the crap CNN's American Morning is dishing up.

(click on the image if you wish to magnify.)

Anchor Baby (click image to view larger)

The3 mere idea has the Republicans running scared, but there's plenty of precedent for being accepting...

Barack Obama on Tim Pawlenty

"Tim Pawlenty is not here---he’s hard on the campaign trail. To be honest, I think the American people are going to have some tough questions for Tim. Specifically: who are you and where did you come from? Which is okay---two years into my presidency and I’m still getting those questions."
---President Obama at the Gridiorn Dinner

The ignorance of tea partiers on display

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Mind control does not work on teabaggers - cartoon

The "Wankin Bankers" - an Irishman's take on the economic times.

Good words - Socialism

"Socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires." 
--John Steinbeck

How should I travel?

Mantras for the recession - cartoon

Where's thee money going?

ACLU continues lawsuit over FISA

If you are a progressive and you are NOT a member of the ACLU, you should really consider it....

From: ACLU Communications
Sent: Monday, March 21, 2011 12:46 PM
To: ACLU National Staff
Subject: VICTORY! ACLU Challenge to Bush Wiretapping Law Reinstated

VICTORY! Court Says Plaintiffs Can Challenge Bush Wiretapping Law

In a huge victory for privacy and the rule of law, a federal appeals court today reinstated our landmark lawsuit challenging the FISA Amendments Act (FAA), a statute that gives the executive branch virtually unchecked power to collect Americans' international e-mails and telephone calls.

The ACLU filed the lawsuit on behalf of a broad coalition of attorneys and human rights, labor, legal and media organizations whose work requires them to engage in sensitive and sometimes privileged telephone and e-mail communications with colleagues, clients, journalistic sources, witnesses, experts, foreign government officials and victims of human rights abuses located outside the United States.

A federal district court dismissed the case in August 2009, ruling that the plaintiffs did not have the right to challenge the new surveillance law because they could not prove that their own communications had been monitored under it.

But with the support of law professors, the NYC Bar Association, the Reporters' Committee for Freedom of the Press and many others, we appealed that decision to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.

Today, the appeals court reversed the lower court decision, finding that the plaintiffs have standing to challenge the law even though they cannot show to a certainty that the government is acquiring their communications. According to today's ruling, "the FAA has put the plaintiffs in a lose-lose situation: either they can continue to communicate sensitive information electronically and bear a substantial risk of being monitored under a statute they allege to be unconstitutional, or they can incur financial and professional costs to avoid being monitored. Either way, the FAA directly affects them."

In a statement today, ACLU Deputy Legal Director Jameel Jaffer said:

"The government's surveillance practices should not be immune from judicial review, and this decision ensures that they won't be. The law we've challenged permits the government to conduct dragnet surveillance of Americans' international communications, and it has none of the safeguards that the Constitution requires. Now that the appeals court has recognized that our clients have the right to challenge the law, we look forward to pressing that challenge in the trial court."

© ACLU, 125 Broad Street, 18th Floor, New York, NY 10004

Monday, March 21, 2011

Understanding Libertarian (teabagger) philosophy...

How does America treat it's employees?

Rant on TSA Travel Terror

Bill Maher on Glenn Beck and Teabaggers

YouTube video, but embedding is disabled...

Click this LINK to watch.

Good Words on incentives

"Conservatives say if you don't give the rich more money, they will lose their incentive to invest. As for the poor, they tell us they've lost all incentive because we've given them too much money."
  --George Carlin

Renaming the tebaggers

Cartoon - where lies the intelligence?

Why does Congress vote more benefits for the wealthy?

American distribution of wealth

Another large oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico

A huge, 100 mile long oil slick is reaching the shore line in Louisiana.

Read more HERE.

Good words on inequality in the U.S.

From Gunch on Reddit...

No one has gone to jail for crashing the world economy, torture or unconstitutional wiretaps. There is however room in our jails for people who share files or smoke pot. This is not a justice system. It is an exploitation system.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Good words on airlines

"Airlines are considering charging for reclining seats. Also, your scrotum now counts as a carry-on bag."
---Stephen Colbert

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Libyan war

The war started a few hours ago - the U.S. launched missiles against key Libyan targets while France and England began fly-overs in the eastern part of Libya - then this breaking news...

Under the guise - video

U.S. attacks Libya

The following quote is from an anonymous poster on Reddit.

Today the US shot 119 Tomahawk missiles into Libya. At a cost of $575,000 Per missile the total cost is $68,425,000. Or 8.425 Million more than NPR receives in a year. (self.politics)

Good words on the economic climate in the U.S.

A new radio spot paid for by the Koch brothers extols the spirit of cooperation that led unionized workers at Harley-Davidson to take a pay cut for the good of the company. What it doesn't mention is the $6.5 million paycheck the company's CEO handed himself that year.
--Cory Doctorow on Boing Boing

What do teachers make?

I Love You Rachel Maddow - video

John Stewart - Wisconsin

"I gotta say that's impressive how polite Wisconsinites remain in the face of an explosive, emotional situation. Seriously, dude. Fumble your order in a New York City Starbucks and watch how quicky the shit hits the fan."
---Jon Stewart

What your state does well

Sanctity of marriage

Igor - come

Where the U.S. can cut spending

Bill Maher on Republicans

"It turns out that the Republican budget that they submitted for next year slashes funding for the agency that issues tsunami warnings and organizes responses to the tsunami. In their defense, Republicans say that tsunamis are just a theory. They are not a real threat like ACORN, the Black Panthers, NPR, and math teachers in Wisconsin."
---Bill Maher

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Good Words on nuclear energy

"Increasingly, nuclear power is also promoted because it is safe. Which it is -- except, of course, when it is not. Chances of a major disaster are tiny, one in a hundred million. But in the event of a statistically improbable major disaster, the damage could include, say, the destruction of a city or the poisoning of a country. . . . [A]s we are about to learn in Japan, the true costs of nuclear power are never reflected even in the very high price of plant construction."
-- Anne Applebaum, in her WaPo column today,

lifted from Down with Tyranny

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A fair commentary on education in the U.S.

From the New York Times. Read more by clicking on the link.

March 13, 2011

From the debates in Wisconsin and elsewhere about public sector unions, you might get the impression that we’re going bust because teachers are overpaid.

That’s a pernicious fallacy. A basic educational challenge is not that teachers are raking it in, but that they are underpaid. If we want to compete with other countries, and chip away at poverty across America, then we need to pay teachers more so as to attract better people into the profession.

Until a few decades ago, employment discrimination perversely strengthened our teaching force. Brilliant women became elementary school teachers, because better jobs weren’t open to them. It was profoundly unfair, but the discrimination did benefit America’s children.

These days, brilliant women become surgeons and investment bankers — and 47 percent of America’s kindergarten through 12th-grade teachers come from the bottom one-third of their college classes (as measured by SAT scores). The figure is from a study by McKinsey & Company, “Closing the Talent Gap.”

Changes in relative pay have reinforced the problem. In 1970, in New York City, a newly minted teacher at a public school earned about $2,000 less in salary than a starting lawyer at a prominent law firm. These days the lawyer takes home, including bonus, $115,000 more than the teacher, the McKinsey study found.

West Wing - A Presidential put down - and where is Obama?

Kucinich Rallies Wisconsin - video

Wisconsin Democrats are not allowed to vote

This is no joke...

Sen. Fitzgerald: Email re: Senate Democrat voting privileges in standing committees

From: Sen.Fitzgerald
Sent: Monday, March 14, 2011 3:52 PM
To: *Legislative Senate Republicans
Subject: Senate Democrat voting privileges in standing committees

Dear Members,

With the return of the Senate Democrats this weekend, questions have arisen regarding Democrat members’ participation in Senate standing committee public hearings and executive sessions.

Please note that all 14 Democrat senators are still in contempt of the Senate. Therefore, when taking roll call votes on amendments and bills during executive sessions, Senate Democrats’ votes will not be reflected in the Records of Committee Proceedings or the Senate Journal. They are free to attend hearings, listen to testimony, debate legislation, introduce amendments, and cast votes to signal their support/opposition, but those votes will not count, and will not be recorded.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact my office.

Thank you,

Scott Fitzgerald
Senate Majority Leader
13th Senate District

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The TSA lied - they are storing some of the body scans. SURPRISE!!

Source -

Department of Homeland Security sued for storing full body scanner images

* November 6th, 2010 2:10 am PT

 We’ve all been told that the whole body scanners are being implemented for our own good. We’ve been assured that our misapprehensions were unfounded. Body scanners penetrate clothing to provide a highly detailed image so accurate that it has been likened it to a virtual strip search. Technologies vary, with millimeter wave systems capturing fuzzier images, and backscatter X-ray machines able to show precise anatomical detail.

During Department of Homeland Security hearings, Janet Napolitano assured the Congress (and this writer who was present at the hearing) that all images collected by the full body scanners are not stored, cannot be stored and are discarded as soon as they're viewed. Just last summer the Transportation Security Administration claimed that "scanned images cannot be stored or recorded." Privacy advocates (including yours truly) cried foul. Turns out, they were right. Yet again we’ve been lied to by the government. Of course, as usual, the official take is that we were bamboozled for our own good.

Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the United States Marshals Service to obtain information about the agency's use of full body scanners for courthouse security. EPIC pursued the case in federal court, EPIC v. Department of Justice, Case No. 10-1157.

EPIC lawsuit against the Department of Justice

In the course of that litigation, EPIC has obtained an admission by the agency that a single machine has stored "approximately 35,314 images" of the full body scans of courthouse visitors over a six month period. It turns out that the U.S. Marshals Service had surreptitiously saved tens of thousands of images recorded with a millimeter wave system at the security checkpoint of a single Florida courthouse. EPIC also obtained a representative sample of the images stored by the devices.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

The radical right wing - our new terrorist threat

Five people in the Fairbanks area were arrested Thursday by state and federal law enforcement on charges connected with an alleged plot to kidnap or kill state troopers and a Fairbanks judge, according to the Alaska State Troopers.

Francis "Schaeffer" Cox, Lonnie Vernon, Karen Vernon, Coleman Barney and Michael Anderson are accused of conspiring to commit murder, kidnapping, and arson, as well as weapons misconduct, hindering prosecution and tampering with evidence, according to trooper spokeswoman Megan Peters in a written statement late Thursday.

More on Wisconsin from Daily Kos...

It's becoming increasingly obvious that the Republican rescission of bargaining rights in Wisconsin was a pyhrric victory for the plutocrats, as it has energized not only labor activists, but folks from all across the political spectrum who are beginning to see the true colors of the Republican Party. As E.D. Kain wrote in Forbes yesterday (yeah, Forbes):

Governors like Scott Walker, Rick Scott, and Jan Brewer are riding on the coattails of the Tea Party, but they’ve become blind to the dangers of their radical policies.
In Wisconsin, Democrats are already promising to step-up recall efforts. But the recalls are only a small part of what is likely going to be a huge anti-Republican backlash across the nation, as working Americans finally realize what that party actually stands for: an playing field heavily tilted toward the rich and powerful, toward corporate power, and against worker rights.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Michael Moore's call for support in Wisonsin

Punishing public workers in Wiconsin

The amount of hate that Republicans have toward public workers simply doesn't seem rational.  If I worked as a teacher in Wisconsin, I'd be looking for a new job.  I don't stay where I'm not wanted.

The following is from the Mother Jones Blog - click on the link to read more.

On Wednesday night, Republicans in Wisconsin's state senate rammed through a retooled version of Governor Scott Walker's controversial "budget repair bill" with the 14 senate Democrats still in hiding in Illinois. The senate bill eliminates collective bargaining rights for most public-sector unions, a provision that has labor leaders and protesters up in arms. But there's another explosive provision in the bill that's received little attention: The bill authorizes state officials to fire any state employee who joins a strike, walk-out, sit-in, or coordinated effort to call in sick.

According to an analysis (PDF) of the Senate bill by Wisconsin's Legislative Fiscal Bureau (LFB), the legislation gives state officials the power to fire workers during a "state of emergency" declared by the governor under several conditions. If a state employee misses three working days without an approved leave of absence, that's grounds for being fired. State workers can also be dumped if, according to the LFB's analysis, they participate in a "strike, work stoppage, sit-down, stay-in, slowdown, or other concerted activities to interrupt the operations or services of state government, including mass resignations or sick calls."

Why we have unions

(I ripped the following from another web site, but I'm not providing the source - it's not a site that most of you will want to visit.)

Before unions, before collective bargaining, before the standard week and overtime, before labor laws of any sort, when it was perfectly acceptable to put 11 years old boys down in a coal mine 6 days a week, this was the kind of shit that spawned the labor movements here and around the world and the thing that corporatist republicans have been fighting to kill since day fucking one. All of the this shit we take totally for granted was once the strict domain of socialist, radicals and communist and every fucking step of the way there was some "Conservative" fucktard telling anyone who would listen that implementing these things would kill their profits, kill their industry and kill the country,,,,,they were wrong EVERY FUCKING TIME.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Very well said

From the J-Walk blog.

I've said much the same stuff in this blog over the years I've been posting - just never so eloquently...

Phil Zuckerman explains: Why Evangelicals Hate Jesus.

Jesus unambiguously preached mercy and forgiveness. These are supposed to be cardinal virtues of the Christian faith. And yet Evangelicals are the most supportive of the death penalty, draconian sentencing, punitive punishment over rehabilitation, and the governmental use of torture.
Jesus exhorted humans to be loving, peaceful, and non-violent. And yet Evangelicals are the group of Americans most supportive of easy-access weaponry, little-to-no regulation of handgun and semi-automatic gun ownership, not to mention the violent military invasion of various countries around the world.
Jesus was very clear that the pursuit of wealth was inimical to the Kingdom of God, that the rich are to be condemned, and that to be a follower of Him means to give one's money to the poor. And yet Evangelicals are the most supportive of corporate greed and capitalistic excess, and they are the most opposed to institutional help for the nation's poor -- especially poor children.
They hate anything that smacks of "socialism," even though that is essentially what their Savior preached. They despise food stamp programs, subsidies for schools, hospitals, job training -- anything that might dare to help out those in need. Even though helping out those in need was exactly what Jesus urged humans to do.
In short, Evangelicals are that segment of America which is the most pro-militaristic, pro-gun, and pro-corporate, while simultaneously claiming to be most ardent lovers of the Prince of Peace.

His theory:

Religion is one big Rorschach test. People look at the content of their religious tradition -- its teachings, its creeds, its prophet's proclamations -- and they basically pick and choose what suits their own secular outlook. They see in their faith what they want to see as they live their daily lives, and simultaneously ignore the rest. And as is the case for most White Evangelical Christians, what they are ignoring is actually the very heart and soul of Jesus's message -- a message that emphasizes sharing, not greed. Peace-making, not war-mongering. Love, not violence.

Supply-siders sing a one-note tune...

The conservatives are delusional when it comes to believing that wealth trickles down. It is a widely accepted fact that, since the decline of American manufacturing, what keeps America ticking (financially) is the appetite of its citizens for consumer products.  In other words, when we go shopping and buy stuff, we feed our economy. We have an economy that is driven by demand rather than supply. At least for the middle class. Supply side economic policies push more money into the hands of the wealthy and it stays there - it doesn't trickle anywhere.

This leads to the logical conclusion that redistributing wealth is going to improve the economy - the middle class gets more money, spends more money and this drives the economy. Why are so many middle class Americans voting Republican?  I can't explain it, but it is not in their own best interests.

The following post from Alter-net illustrates how this worked during the Great Depression of the 1930s.  You can read more by clicking on the link.


AlterNet / By Larry Beinhart

The Astonishing Stupidity of Not Raising Taxes on the Rich When Budgets Are Tight

History shows that when spending is cut -- in the name of balancing the budget -- recessions immediately follow.
March 1, 2011

The current economy is routinely and universally referred to as the worst recession since the Great Depression.

It makes sense, therefore, to look back at government tax and spending policies during the Depression and what the results were.

1932 -- Hoover raises the top tax rate from to 25 to 63 percent.

1933 -- Roosevelt comes into office. He begins spending at the same time that new tax hike comes into effect. The Depression bottoms out.

1934 -- Recovery begins. The GNP rises 7.7 percent, unemployment falls to 21.7 percent.

1935 -- New government spending on public works and rural electrification. A push to strengthen labor and raise wages. New taxes through the creation of Social Security.

The GNP grows another 8.1 percent, and unemployment continues to fall.

1936 -- The top tax rate is raised again. This time to 79 percent.

GNP grows a record 14.1 percent; unemployment falls even further.

1937 -- Roosevelt is afraid of deficits! He cuts spending for 1937.

There's a new recession. It continues for a year.

1939 -- The U.S. borrows, resumes deficit spending, this time on a military build-up. The recession ends.

1941 -- America enters World War II.

Violence against violence - feat. Glenn Beck

Don't discriminate against the gays

Bristol Palin pulls out

Our messed up thinking - chart

U.S educational levels seems to be falling father and farther behind that of other developed nations around the world. There are probably several reasons for that, but two among them include: the religious dogma that underlies a belief that the world is only 6,000 years old, and; the number of poor people in this country is skyrocketing and it's a known fact that poverty leads to lower educational levels.  Just my thoughts, anyway...

Then radio talk-show host - cartoon

Don't tread on me - cartoon

A great post on where our education is headed

From Gawker...

America’s Classrooms: Crowded, Broke, and Run by Poors
__Hamilton Nolan

Remember a few years back how all the people who care about children went on a whole kick about smaller class sizes? They were all, "Smaller class sizes are the key to educational success," blah blah, passing laws.

Yes, well, new strategy: larger class sizes. Packing lots more kids into one classroom fits in better with our nation's current economic strategy, "Not Having Money to Hire More Teachers." After decades of diminishing class sizes, averages are creeping back upwards now, and states across the country are loosening their class size laws. Detroit has a proposal on the table that would allow 60 kids in high school classes! Zany!

And in the midst of all this, America's most American state (Texas, duh)—where class sizes are rising and education budgets are facing a multi-billion dollar shortfall—has an $830 million education funding check from the federal government that it hasn't cashed yet. Why? Because the governor, Rick Perry, wants to take that money and use it elsewhere in the state budget, rather than putting it all towards schools. And Democrats in Congress are like, ummm, no, you have to use this education money for education. Which is, of course, a grievous offense against states' rights:

Katherine Cesinger, a spokeswoman for the governor, went further. "It's outrageous that someone from Washington would attempt to dictate how a state, especially one as economically competitive as Texas, should spend money," she said in an email message.

Here's to hoping Rick Perry sticks to his guns on this issue until the end of September, at which time, the WSJ says, Texas would lose this money entirely. That'll show the bastards not to try to force an economically competitive state to fund its own public schools!

At least we can all celebrate the fact that professors at public universities got zero raises this year. Cut off the head of the educated liberal elite and the body will die! Penalize all teachers, to death!

Rachel Maddow - Scott Walker's union busting history - video

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Ronald Reagan on Unions

The king of modern Republicans has a few words to say about unions - before he did some union-busting of his own *think air-traffic controllers).  Do these idiots know how hypocritical they are and not care, or are they too stupid to even see it?

Go to the 7 minute mark for his comments on unions.

The right-wing seems to have a lot more nuts who turn violent than liberals do. When was the last time you saw one of us going after one of them in a violent manner?

Matt Damon's about face

Once a strong supporter and campaigner for the current president of the U.S., he's feeling a lot different, like so many of us...

Yeah - and then there's this...

I'm a strong advocate of getting out of Iraq and Afghanistan completely.  And I'm not alone.  From the NY Times Op-Eds today...

The $110 Billion Question
Published: March 5, 2011

When one looks across the Arab world today at the stunning spontaneous democracy uprisings, it is impossible to not ask: What are we doing spending $110 billion this year supporting corrupt and unpopular regimes in Afghanistan and Pakistan that are almost identical to the governments we’re applauding the Arab people for overthrowing?

20 Lies (and counting) as told by Gov. Walker of Wisonsin

Russ' Filtered News examines some of the lies told by Wisconsin's Governor Walker and provides links to resource materials authenticating the claims.  One of my favorites...

Walker: Public employees are more richly compensated than their public sector counterparts.

The truth: According to the Economic Policy Institute, wages and salaries of state and local employees are lower than those for private sector employees with comparable earnings determinants such as education and work experience. State workers typically are under-compensated by 8.2% in Wisconsin.

Canada to Fox News - "Stay Home."

There's nothing stopping Fox News from opening an affiliate in Canada.  Oh yeah - except one thing - you can't lie in news broadcasts in Canada.


Fox News' Lies Keep Them Out of Canada
By Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Reader Supported News
01 March 11

As America's middle class battles for its survival on the Wisconsin barricades - against various Koch Oil surrogates and the corporate toadies at Fox News - fans of enlightenment, democracy and justice can take comfort from a significant victory north of the Wisconsin border. Fox News will not be moving into Canada after all! The reason: Canadian regulators announced last week they would reject efforts by Canada's right-wing Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, to repeal a law that forbids lying on broadcast news.

Canada's Radio Act requires that "a licenser may not broadcast ... any false or misleading news." The provision has kept Fox News and right-wing talk radio out of Canada and helped make Canada a model for liberal democracy and freedom. As a result of that law, Canadians enjoy high quality news coverage, including the kind of foreign affairs and investigative journalism that flourished in this country before Ronald Reagan abolished the "Fairness Doctrine" in 1987. Political dialogue in Canada is marked by civility, modesty, honesty, collegiality, and idealism that have pretty much disappeared on the US airwaves. When Stephen Harper moved to abolish the anti-lying provision of the Radio Act, Canadians rose up to oppose him fearing that their tradition of honest non-partisan news would be replaced by the toxic, overtly partisan, biased and dishonest news coverage familiar to American citizens who listen to Fox News and talk radio. Harper's proposal was timed to facilitate the launch of a new right-wing network, "Sun TV News" which Canadians call "Fox News North."

Harper, often referred to as "George W. Bush's Mini Me," is known for having mounted a Bush-like war on government scientists, data collectors, transparency, and enlightenment in general. He is a wizard of all the familiar tools of demagoguery; false patriotism, bigotry, fear, selfishness and belligerent religiosity.

Harper's attempts to make lying legal on Canadian television are a stark admission that right-wing political ideology can only dominate national debate through dishonest propaganda. Since corporate profit-taking is not an attractive vessel for populism, a political party or broadcast network that makes itself the tool of corporate and financial elites must lie to make its agenda popular with the public. In the Unites States, Fox News and talk radio, the sock puppets of billionaires and corporate robber barons, have become the masters of propaganda and distortion on the public airwaves. Fox News' notoriously biased and dishonest coverage of the Wisconsin's protests is a prime example of the brand of news coverage Canada has smartly avoided.

Wiping out the unions....

I'm not sure, but I think I remember something from my history classes as a young man. I just can't place it. Something about wanting to wipe out unions like the Republicans are doing throughout the mid-west of the U.S. But what was it? What could it be - some other nation perhaps? Some other leader? There must be a parallel between Scott Walker and his friends with some other leader in some other nation at some other time?

Oh yeah - now I remember...

Here's the link to the article.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

CNN is going down the tubes

Since I've retired, I've spent quite a bit of time watching news on TV. It's not unusual for me to check on the news 2 or 3 times a day - never for very long, but just to see what the headlines might be. And for the longest time, my station of choice was CNN - I thought their newscasts were balanced and fair - but not anymore.

CNN's interviews are just opportunities for whatever politician they have on to offer up his/her insane views without any challenge whatsoever.  The news people are either totally uninformed, unprepared or just unwilling to challenge outright lies and misleading data, and seldom are opposing views given equal time.  There must be a market for these talking-heads segments wherein the "experts" that are invited on are allowed to shout at each other, but I, for one, do not like it.  I want to see reasoned, fact-based debate.

And I think I'm not alone.  The following clip is from Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State...

“In fact viewership of al Jazeera is going up in the United States because it’s real news. You may not agree with it, but you feel like you’re getting real news around the clock instead of a million commercials and, you know, arguments between talking heads and the kind of stuff that we do on our news which, you know, is not particularly informative to us, let alone foreigners,” she added.

More news on the TSA - from Texas

I don't typically post information regarding proposed legislation at the state level - too often any such bills are unsupported and even more often, they are designed to incite emotional reactions. Lots of these bills are posted online and it is not hard to find them spoken about on blogs, but then the legislation goes nowhere.

I suspect the following post is of that nature - but it supports my own take on airport screening, and I think there is legal standing for this inn the constitution.  I wish somebody would take this to the Supreme Court for review - even with the conservative court, based on their ruling within the past few days over the right to free speech in the Westboro Baptist Church case, I think that they'd rule that the TSA screenings are unconstitutional.

Texas Legislation Proposes Felony Charges for TSA Agents
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Written by: Michael Maharrey

cross-posted from the Texas Tenth Amendment Center

Rep. David Simpson (R-Longview) introduced a package of bills into the Texas House of Representatives on Tuesday that would challenge the TSA’s authority in a number of ways. The first bill, HB 1938, prohibits full body scanning equipment in any Texas airport and provides for criminal and civil penalties on any airport operator who installs the equipment. The second bill, HB 1937, criminalizes touching without consent and searches without probable cause.

HB 1938 reads in part:

(b) An airport operator may not allow body imaging scanning equipment to be installed or operated in any airport in this state.

(c) An airport operator commits an offense if the operator fails to comply with Subsection (b).

(d) An airport operator who commits an offense under Subsection (c) is subject to a civil penalty in an amount not to exceed $1,000 for each day of the violation.

HB 1937 includes the following:

(3) as part of a search performed to grant access to a publicly accessible building or form of transportation, intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly:

(A) searches another person without probable cause to believe the person committed an offense; and

(B) touches the anus, sexual organ, or breasts of the other person, including touching through clothing, or touches the other person in a manner that would be offensive to a reasonable person.

(f) …. An offense under Subsection (a)(3) is a state jail felony.

Both bills empower the Texas Attorney General to bring suit in court.

The TSA will likely challenge such a law, but the Texas legislature stands on solid ground. Local governments control airports and no enumerated power in the Constitution gives the federal government the authority to regulate them. Under the Tenth Amendment, airport operation falls under state jurisdiction.

TSA regulations allow for passengers to refuse the body scans, but they must instead submit to an intrusive full-body pat down. This package addresses both issues. The HB 1938 legislation addresses the physical installation of full-body scans, and HB 1937 addresses the problematic constitutional issues of TSA security screening procedures. Random full-body scans and pat downs in the absence of probable cause arguably violates the Fourth Amendment.

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated…

A heartfelt Thank You

Why are we at war and what is the cost?

NATO forces killed nine children yesterday in Afghanistan.

Our troops murdered nine children as they collected firewood for their homes.

We butchered nine children.

Now imagine that one or more of them were YOUR children.

We are killing children and our troops are dying - and for what?  Tell me what we have accomplished.  Explain why those nine children had to die because I don't get it. And the cost of the war is what, in part, is bankrupting our nation.  It is time to bring our troops home.

The link below will take you to a video that is a little dated, dealing more with the Iraq war than that war in Afghanistan, but it is nonetheless relevant to today.  Think about it.

Support the Troops By Bringing Them Home

Rachel Maddow - reasoned examination of our current national debates

The following clip is long - 26 minutes.  I wasn't going to watch it all, but I got hooked.  Rachel's arguments are calm, reasoned and supported by strong data. So different from the biased, unsupported debate coming from so many on the far right and the ignorant drivel from news stations like CNN (which is rapidly losing most of its credibility in my book). Rachel covers a wide range of topics including updates on the anti-union movements in the mid-west, the role of Democrats in our country, and the class warfare being waged in the U.S. This is well worth your time.

Internal terrorism

George Carlin quote

"Republicans would love to make this a the­ocracy and have America be a kind of Taliban state. But they can do only what they can do, and that leaves room for fuckers like me. I love this country. I love that I get to talk like this."
     -CEORCE CARLIN (October 200S)

The birther queen - video

Think the birthers (those who would deny that Obama was born in the U.S.) aren't stupid, crazy or racist?  Here's a mash-up of their queen...

There was this debate...

There was this debate, before an audience, on the added value that the Catholic Church brings to society. After the debate, the viewing audience was polled as to who won the debate. As you can see - the Catholic church did not improve it's image - nor will it any time its activities are studied carefully by reasonable people.

George Bush threatened with arrest

Bristol Palin as the Flying Nun - cartoon

Bristol Palin, the paragon of moral virtue, flies around the country instructing us on proper moral virtue.

Ricky Gervais reads the book "Noah"

In keeping with my sense that people who believe in the Bible as a literal retelling of God's story are delusional, and with an enjoyment of all things humorous, here is a great comedic sketch from Ricky Gervais...

The screwing of Americans - cartoon

Hey, Republicans

A little contest for you...

Teabagger vs. jihadist - can you sort out their belongings?

Dick Cheney's Health Care

Dick Cheney says, "No health care for you!"