Tuesday, May 31, 2011

.@apple iHate Corporate Tax Dodgers: How Apple Avoids Paying its Fair Share #p2 #tcot


Effect of 401(k) Tax Changes Called Exaggerated from accountingtoday.com #p2 #tcot


women all over the planet are treated as less than human: Muslim girl Katya Koren, 19, 'stoned to death over beauty contest in Ukraine'


Mobius Says Fresh Financial Crisis Around Corner #p2 #tcot


fox in henhouse: Obama to nominate former energy executive for commerce secretary #p2 #tcot


Florida Gov. Rick Scott cuts $2million from at-risk women and children program #p2 #tcot


All six recall petitions against Wisconsin GOP approved while three against Dems put on hold #p2 #tcot


The closely-watched Chicago PMI index just cratered and the Case-Shiller index shows housing is in a double dip


Two AK Sovereign Citizens Lose Tax Case Which Allegedly Led To Plot To Kill Judge #p2 #tcot


asshole: Sen. Hatch: U.S. Can’t Afford To Renew Trade Assistance Because ‘We’re Broke’ #p2 #tcot


story of the Pentagon classifying cyber attacks by foreign nations as acts of war #p2 #tcot


Libya Lost $1.3 Billion on Options Trades Done with Goldman Sachs #p2 #tcot

from http://cryptogon.com/?p=22650

"The point to bear in mind, as Mr. Sloan brilliantly makes clear, is that as Goldman was peddling C.M.O.'s, it was also shorting the junk on a titanic scale through index sales — showing, at least to me, how horrible a product it believed it was selling."

Cain Keeps Spinning: ‘I Said I Would Not Be Comfortable,’ Appointing Muslims, ‘I Did Not Say’ I Wouldn’t Appoint One #p2 #tcot


Breaking News: Cellphones are possibly carcinogenic to human's, agency says

Breaking News Alert: Cellphones are possibly carcinogenic to human's, agency says
May 31, 2011 12:50:19 PM

An international panel of experts says cellphones are possibly carcinogenic to humans after reviewing details from dozens of published studies.

The statement was issued in Lyon, France, on Tuesday by the International Agency for Research on Cancer after a weeklong meeting of experts. They reviewed possible links between cancer and the type of electromagnetic radiation found in cellphones, microwaves and radar.

The agency is the cancer arm of the World Health Organization and the assessment now goes to WHO and national health agencies for possible guidance on cellphone use.

The group classified cellphones in category 2B, meaning they are possibly carcinogenic to humans. Other substances in that category include the pesticide DDT and gasoline engine exhaust.


For more information, visit washingtonpost.com

Friday, May 27, 2011

messed up: IL Catholic Charities Voluntarily End Adoption Services To Avoid Having To Not Discriminate Against Gays


.@gop Tom Coburn, on role in Ensign case: ‘I am proud of what I did’ - scumbag had his hands all over this too #p2 #tcot


Oklahoma Republican Sen. Tom Coburn, a close ally of former senator John Ensign (R-Nev.), on Thursday defended his actions related to the scandal that prompted Ensign to resign his seat, calling himself "proud" of the way he handled the situation.

Ensign abruptly resigned earlier this month following the release of a Senate Ethics Committee report alleging that the Nevada Republican broke federal laws by trying to hide an affair with Cynthia Hampton, Ensign's former treasurer and the wife of Ensign's close personal friend and former aide, Doug Hampton. Ensign's parents gave $96,000 to the Hampton family following the affair, a payment that the Ensigns have repeatedly characterized as a gift, but which the committee's report alleges was a severance payment that violated federal laws.

Coburn's name was mentioned repeatedly in the committee's 75-page report, which described the Oklahoma Republican and former Ensign roommate as an intermediary between Ensign and Doug Hampton as the two allegedly negotiated the terms of compensation in exchange for Hampton keeping quiet about the affair.

In a C-SPAN "Newsmakers" interview with The Washington Post's Lori Montgomery and the Associated Press's Andy Taylor, Coburn disputed the report's characterization of him as an intermediary between Ensign and Hampton.

"That's a totally inaccurate characterization of what happened," Coburn said in the interview, which is set to air Sunday. "I got a phone call one day from Hampton saying, 'Would you communicate a message to John?' And I said, 'I don't know. I'll call John and ask him if he wants me to.' I called John Ensign, and I said, 'Do you want me to?' And he said, 'Yeah.' And so, the story you hear is not an accurate reflection of what happened."

Coburn, who had worked to persuade Ensign to end the affair with Cynthia Hampton, had previously acknowledged that he had taken part in discussions between Ensign and Doug Hampton, although he has disputed that he was involved in negotiating the terms of any alleged settlement.

The Ethics Committee's report did not allege that Coburn was involved in any wrongdoing. But the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington has requested that the committee further investigate whether Coburn broke any rules by becoming involved in the negotiations.

Coburn said Thursday that he has already testified before the committee and has not had further contact with the panel.

"I have no worries," Coburn said. "What I did I would do exactly the same way again. We put two families back together, with multiple children and both marriages are stable right now. And what I did, I am proud of what I did and the way I did it. And there is nothing unethical in what we did. And the stories are just stories to be able to try to take away from what the real problems of our country are. I have no problems with what I did or how I did it."

While Coburn stated that the Ensign and Hampton families are "back together," according to the Ethics Committee report, Cynthia Hampton has since filed for divorce from Doug Hampton, has filed for bankruptcy and is in the process of moving to California to work for a Christian organization.

.@gop - do you really want to cut medicare benefits to veterans? 4 in 10 of recipients are vets #p2 #tcot

from http://votevets.org/pages/?id=0046 and http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/05/27/979794/-Midday-open-thread?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+dailykos%2Findex+%28Daily+Kos%29

Today, a coalition of groups, including VoteVets.org, which I support, released a new study on veterans and Social Security.  What the findings make clear is that when the far right talks about stripping down Social Security, or even privatizing it, it will absolutely hurt veterans and their families more than maybe anyone else.  After reading the facts below, I urge you to use share this page on Facebook and Twitter so you can spread the word to everyone you know.  We need to get facts like this spread around, so people know the stakes.

Here's just a few points from the report:

  • Social Security currently pays benefits to over 9 million veterans-about 4 in 10 veterans.
  • Over one-third of America's 54 million Social Security beneficiaries are either veterans or family members living with them, such as their spouses.
  • Of the 13 to 14 million veterans-or 6 in 10-who are not Social Security beneficiaries, the vast majority will become beneficiaries in the future.
  • The vast majority of the Active Duty community's 1.4 million members, 700,000 spouses and 1.2 million children, and the Total Selected Reserve community's 1.1 million members, 400,000 spouses and 650,000 children, are eligible for Social Security's disability and life insurance benefits if a service member becomes severely disabled or dies.
  • Indeed, approximately 771,000 veterans receive Social Security disabled worker benefits, averaging $1,100-$1,200 per month.
  • Social Security's young survivors' benefits are particularly important to the 4 in 10 active duty members who are married with children and the 1 in 20 who are single parents.
  • As of January 16, 2011, the number of American servicemen and women killed on active duty in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan was 5,860, leaving behind an estimated more than 4,000 children.

Again, please share this page with everyone you know.   It is so important that we get these facts out, so people reject any politician that talks about decimating Social Security.  Any move like that would severely and negatively impact so many of our veterans and their families.

ChristinePAC Raises Zero Dollars, Even With Gingrich Ally’s Help #p2 #tcot


.@gop friend of GW Bush Eddie Long Settles Gay Scandal, Proves The Power of Prosperity Ministry #p2 #tcot

from http://www.deathandtaxesmag.com/95951/eddie-long-settles-gay-scandal-proves-the-power-of-prosperity-ministry/

Homophobic minister Eddie Long settled out of court to resolve four men's accusations that he coerced them into sexual relationships. As always with Long and his ilk, money makes the world go 'round.

Much of the coverage surrounding Pastor Long's sex scandal has revolved around the allegations' gay angles, and with good reason: an anti-gay preacher man bedding young men qualifies as a hypocrisy of Biblical proportions. But the Long scandal is about far more than just sex. It's about one of America's other favorite pastimes: capitalism.

Long's political and cultural prominence are founded on a trifecta of popular concepts: Christianity, conservatism and capitalism. As he was cultivating ties to the right wing, including George W. Bush, and social conservatives who were eager to celebrate Long's gospel against gay marriage, Long was also exhorting a religion that blends Biblical scripture with bank statements, a movement called the prosperity ministry.

According to such gospels, those who believe in God — or, more specifically, believe that Jesus saves — will be rewarded with earthly delights, but only if they donate to their church and its pastors, a racket that allowed Long to rake in dough while peddling illusory salvation.

It's that very money, an undisclosed amount, that Long has now used to sweep away claims that he used his influence and texted muscle pictures to coax four separate men into compromising positions.

Of course Long would never make such an admission. His cowardly demeanor doesn't allow such things, even though he told his congregation at Georgia's New Birth Missionary Baptist Church that he would fight the charges and has now gone back on his word, preferring instead to hide behind dollar bills.

Turns out the Benjamins are more powerful than the truth, justice and even super-powered Jesus.

.@gop tax cut hypocracy: Mitch McConnell: Medicare To Be Part Of Debt Ceiling Deal #p2 #tcot


WASHINGTON -- The Senate's top Republican said Friday that lawmakers should not fear voter backlash for trying to pluck savings from Medicare as part of a debt-reduction effort because it will take a bipartisan accord to tackle the popular program.

Reuters reports:

[Mitch] McConnell said on Friday that the Medicare healthcare program will be part of any bipartisan agreement to reduce the U.S. deficit and increase the debt limit.

"Medicare will be part of the solution," McConnell told reporters, rejecting suggestion that his party may back off from changing Medicare after it became an issue that hurt them in a New York election this week.

The remarks from McConnell, R-Ky., were noteworthy because they came three days after a Democrat won a special House election in a heavily Republican district in upstate New York after accusing the GOP of wanting to kill Medicare.

Many Democrats have made clear that they intend to stick with that theme when they try to recapture the House and defend their slim Senate majority in next year's elections.

McConnell told reporters that he believes Washington will agree to "something significant" to curb the giant health care program for the elderly well before the 2012 election. He said trimming huge benefit programs like Medicare is the only way to find the savings needed to make a serious dent in the government's debt, a point on which budget experts on both sides concur.

"And the American people can decide whether they will want to punish both sides for having done that because it will take both sides to do it," he said.

Mitch McConnell: Medicare To Be Part Of Debt Ceiling Deal

Mitch Mcconndell Medicare Deficit Deal

WASHINGTON -- The Senate's top Republican said Friday that lawmakers should not fear voter backlash for trying to pluck savings from Medicare as part of a debt-reduction effort because it will take a bipartisan accord to tackle the popular program.

Reuters reports:

[Mitch] McConnell said on Friday that the Medicare healthcare program will be part of any bipartisan agreement to reduce the U.S. deficit and increase the debt limit.

"Medicare will be part of the solution," McConnell told reporters, rejecting suggestion that his party may back off from changing Medicare after it became an issue that hurt them in a New York election this week.

The remarks from McConnell, R-Ky., were noteworthy because they came three days after a Democrat won a special House election in a heavily Republican district in upstate New York after accusing the GOP of wanting to kill Medicare.

Many Democrats have made clear that they intend to stick with that theme when they try to recapture the House and defend their slim Senate majority in next year's elections.

McConnell told reporters that he believes Washington will agree to "something significant" to curb the giant health care program for the elderly well before the 2012 election. He said trimming huge benefit programs like Medicare is the only way to find the savings needed to make a serious dent in the government's debt, a point on which budget experts on both sides concur.

"And the American people can decide whether they will want to punish both sides for having done that because it will take both sides to do it," he said.


He added, "I don't think either side will have to worry about political fallout next year."

McConnell also reiterated his view that Medicare savings will have to be part of any deal between President Barack Obama and Congress to reduce the nation's huge and growing $14.3 trillion debt.

"Frankly if it were up to me, we'd be discussing Social Security as well," he said, mentioning another huge program for the elderly that politicians have long avoided discussing as a source of budget savings.

Republicans have demanded that as a price for their support for raising the government's debt limit, there must be an agreement to cut federal spending. Democrats have acknowledged that such savings will have to be part of a debt limit agreement, which the Obama administration says must be completed by early August.

McConnell wouldn't specify how he would change Medicare or how much savings he wants from the program.

dangerous hostage situation: McConnell: No debt limit increase without Medicare cuts #p2 #tcot

from http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/05/27/mcconnell-no-debt-limit-increase-without-medicare-cuts/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+TheRawStory+%28The+Raw+Story%29

WASHINGTON – Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell (KY) told reporters Friday that he will refuse to support a debt limit increase if Medicare cuts aren't attached to the legislation.

"To get my vote, for me, it's going to take short term [cuts, via spending caps]... Both medium and long-term, entitlements.," McConnell said, as quoted by TPM. "Medicare will be part of the solution."

Asked point blank whether he would vote against increasing the debt limit if Medicare isn't also cut, he responded, "Correct." McConnell didn't say whether he would filibuster such a bill, which may leave some room for it to pass without his support.

The minority leader rejected the notion that Republicans may back off the House-passed GOP plan to replace the program with a subsidies system, after losing an election in a heavily Republican New York district this week that was centered on Medicare.

McConnell's stance reflects that Republicans may see the debt ceiling debate as their best opportunity to scale back Medicare. The proposal to phase out Medicare is unpopular with the public and failed 40-57 in the Senate this week. Democrats have roundly rejected it.

Raising the debt ceiling doesn't poll well, but economists consider it vital to avoid a financial catastrophe. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner has said that Congress must increase the limit by August 2 or the U.S. would have to start defaulting on its obligations.

McConnell's remarks are likely to revive charges of hostage-taking from opponents of cutting Medicare. Vice President Joe Biden began negotiating this week with Congressional Republicans on what spending programs to cut in order to raise the ceiling.

The Patriot Act: When Truth Becomes Treason #p2 #tcot

from http://www.activistpost.com/2011/05/patriot-act-when-truth-becomes-treason_27.html

"... I was the second non-Arab American ever indicted on the Patriot Act. My arrest defied all expectations about the law."

Susan Lindauer
Wiki Image
Dissident Voice

Many Americans think they understand the dangers of the Patriot Act, which Congress has vowed to extend 4 more years in a vote later this week. Trust me when I say, Americans are not nearly frightened enough.

Ever wonder why the truth about 9/11 never got exposed? Why Americans don't have a clue about leadership fraud surrounding the War on Terror? Why Americans don't know if the 9/11 investigation was really successful? Why the Iraqi Peace Option draws a blank? Somebody has known the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden— or his grave—for the past 10 years. But nobody's talking to the people.

In significant part, that's because of the Patriot Act— a law that equates free speech with sedition. It's got a big agenda, with 7,000 pages of Machiavellian code designed to interrupt individual questioning of government policy. In this brave new world, free speech under the Bill of Rights effectively has been declared a threat to government controls for maintaining stability. And the Patriot Act has become the premiere weapon to attack whistle blowers and dissidents who challenge the comfort of political leaders hiding inconvenient truths from the public. It's all the rage on Capitol Hill, as leaders strive to score TV ratings, while their demagoguery as "outstanding leadership performance" on everything from national security to environmental policy.

Truth has Become Treason

But wait–Congress assures us the Patriot Act only targets foreigners, who come to our shores seeking to destroy our way of life through violent, criminal acts. Good, law abiding Americans have nothing to fear. The Patriot Act restricts its powers of "roving wiretaps" and warrantless searches to international communications among "bad guys." Congress has sworn, with hand on heart, it's only purpose is breaking down terrorist cells and hunting out "lone wolf" mad men.

That's what they told you, right? And you believed them? You trust the government. Well, that was your first mistake. With regards to the Patriot Act, it's a fatal one. Would the government lie to you? You betcha! And they have.

The Patriot Act reaches far beyond terrorism prevention. In my home state of Maryland, State Police invoked the Patriot Act to run surveillance on the Chesapeake Climate Action Network dedicated to wind power, recycling and protection of the Chesapeake Bay. They infiltrated the DC Anti War Network, suggesting the group might be a front for "white supremacists," and Amnesty International, claiming to investigate "civil rights abuses." Opponents of the death penalty also got targeted (in case they got violent).

Bottom line: truth tellers who give Americans too much insight on any number of issues are vulnerable to a vast arsenal of judicial weapons typically associated with China or Myanmar. In the Patriot Act, the government has created a powerful tool to hunt out free thinking on the left or right. It doesn't discriminate.

Anyone who opposes government policy is at risk

How do I know all this? Because I was the second non-Arab American ever indicted on the Patriot Act. My arrest defied all expectations about the law. I was no terrorist plotting to explode the Washington Monument. Quite the opposite, I had worked in anti-terrorism for almost a decade, covering Iraq and Libya, Yemen, Egypt and Malaysia at the United Nations. At the instruction of my CIA handler, I had delivered advance warnings about the 9/11 attack to the private staff of Attorney General John Ashcroft and the Office of Counter-Terrorism in August, 2001. FBI wire taps prove that I carried details of a comprehensive peace framework with Iraq up and down the hallowed corridors of Capitol Hill for months before the invasion, arguing that War was totally unnecessary.

I delivered those papers to Democrats and Republicans alike; to my own second cousin, White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card; and to Secretary of State Colin Powell, who lived next door to my CIA handler. Gratis of the Patriot Act, we had the manila envelope and my hand written notes to Secretary Powell, dated a week before his infamous speech at the United Nations. My papers argued that no WMDs would be found inside Iraq, and that the peace framework could achieve all U.S. objectives without firing a shot.

In short, I was an Asset who loudly opposed War with Iraq, and made every effort to correct the mistakes in assumptions on Capitol Hill.

Then I did the unthinkable. I phoned the offices of Senator Trent Lott and Senator John McCain, requesting to testify before a brand new, blue ribbon Commission investigating Pre-War Intelligence. Proud and confident of my efforts, I had no idea Congress was planning to blame "bad intelligence" for the unpopular War.

Over night I became Public Enemy Number One on Capitol Hill.

Read Full Article

terrible: US Senate and House vote to extend Patriot Act provisions; Obama expected to sign #p2 #tcot

from http://www.boingboing.net/2011/05/26/us-senate-approves-p.html

Update, 751pm ET: The House has approved a 4-year USA PATRIOT act extension, 250-153.

The US Senate voted today to extend three key provisions of the Patriot Act which were scheduled to expire tonight at midnight. The measure is now before the House for debate, and is scheduled to complete its work tonight. Civil liberties advocates charge that the provisions, in particular portions related to electronic surveillance and wiretapping, are a violation of the Constitution. If Congress approves the extension, it goes before President Obama, who is currently in Europe. Reuters reports that White House spokesman Nick Shapiro says the President will use "the autopen to sign" the bill quickly into law. The autopen is a machine that replicates his signature.

One of the three provisions, Section 206 of the Patriot Act, provides for roving wiretap surveillance of targets who try to thwart Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) surveillance. Without such roving wiretap authority, investigators would be forced to seek a new court order each time they need to change the location, phone or computer that needs to be monitored.

Another provision, Section 215 of the Patriot Act, allows the FBI to apply to the FISA court to issue orders granting the government access to any tangible items in foreign intelligence, international terrorism and clandestine intelligence cases.

The third provision, Section 6001 of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorist Prevention Act of 2004, closes a loophole that could allow individual terrorists not affiliated with specific organizations to slip through the cracks of FISA surveillance. Law enforcement officials refer to it as the "lone wolf" provision.

More at CNN.com.

Rainforest activists murdered in Brazil


Harvard Presents Free Courses with the Open Learning Initiative


Yale Rolls Out 10 New Courses – All Free


Thursday, May 26, 2011

Sheriff's deputy, 2 others arrested in Arizona human trafficking bust #p2 #tcot


Dems To Target Lugar, Heller In 2012 Over Medicare Votes #p2 #tcot


The Star’s editorial | Federal government must not skimp in rebuilding Joplin #p2 #tcot

from http://www.kansascity.com/2011/05/24/2901256/the-stars-editorial-federal-government.html

The people of Joplin need help in rebuilding their lives. As Kansas Citians have both a tradition of generosity and plentiful options for charitable giving, the likelihood is high that this city will do its share.

The Red Cross and Salvation Army are seeking money to support relief efforts. Heart to Heart International is seeking medical volunteers and help in putting together hygiene kits. Area businesses and churches are looking to help, as well.

But it hardly requires an expert to behold the devastation in Joplin and see that, while charitable resources are essential, private donors will not be able to fund all that is needed. Joplin needs new school buildings, a new power grid, massive work on its hospital. And that's only the beginning.

This brings us to a rather shameful debate now taking place in, of course, Congress.

To its credit, a key House panel has approved an additional $1 billion in federal relief money to respond to a spring of natural disasters. But as soon as cries for help were heard, lawmakers pounced on the chance to make partisan points.

House Republicans are starting to demand that disaster relief funds be balanced with cuts in other areas of federal spending, essentially using human tragedy to advance their political agenda. One suggestion is that we should cut a program encouraging the production of more fuel efficient cars, a program brought about by economic and long-term national security concerns.

Here's the big picture: If the United States is to the point at which helping disaster victims means cutting other needed programs, it's time to rethink the way we're running this country. Today, Americans have the lightest total tax burden they've had since 1958. One result of that low tax burden, and the resulting inadequate federal and state revenue, is that the Federal Emergency Management Agency faces a $3 billion shortfall. And that's before the Joplin bills arrive.

Overly optimistic projections during good times brought us to this point. Pandering politicians agreed to tax cuts that this country could not afford. But that's the past. Going forward, we must be able to agree it is un-American to scramble and bicker over priorities every time nature strikes.

This country was built on the ethos that we give a hand to those looking to bounce back. Helping Joplin rebuild is a shared responsibility, and adequate disaster response merits shared sacrifice.

Kansas City Star: Tornado response shows it's time to re-think the way we run America #p2 #tcot


photo essay: California's Jam-Packed Prisons


Senators hint at DOJ's secret reinterpretation and use of Section 215 of the Patriot Act #p2 #tcot


Sen. Wyden Decries “Secret Law” on PATRIOT Act #p2 #tcot


There’s a Secret Patriot Act, Senator Says #p2 #tcot


Patriot Act is worse than you think, senator says #p2 #tcot


Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio under fire #p2 #tcot from thinkprogress.org

Arpaio Under Fire

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio   relishes controversy and the national limelight that comes with it. With defiance, he confronted a Department of Justice (DOJ) civil rights probe and an FBI investigation into abuse of power allegations. Rather than cooperating with the agenc ies, Arpaio  took to the airwaves to accuse the Obama administration of taking sides against Arizona. Meanwhile, he continued to stuff inmates into his 150 degree "tent city" jails, cut their food intake , and even stopped  serving salt and pepper as part of a never-ending series of publicity stunts and dehumanizing gimmicks to convince taxpayers he was saving them money. Yet, it appears these controversial tactics are finally catching up to Arpaio and his office. His top aides have been accused of serious misconduct. A financial review of Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio's Maricopa County Sheriff's Office (MCSO) records revealed that his office misspent at least $99.5 million over the last eight years. And while Arpaio continues to deny any knowledge of illegal activities happening within his office, each day the evidence continues to mount against him.

CORRUPTION CHARGES: Following a six-month investigation triggered by a  63-page memorandum written by a former deputy chief who accused high-ranking employees of the MCSO of misconduct, mismanagement and criminal behavior, two of Sheriff Joe Arpaio's top deputies -- David Hendershott (who Arpaio previously referred to as his alter ego) and Larry Black -- were forced to resign. The investigation   found that Hendershott falsely tripled statistics, misused county resources, berated and intimidated employees, and abused his power. The investigation also accuses him of using taxpayer dollars to cover his personal legal fees. Last week, news broke that the U.S. Attorney's Office is also investigating allegations that the Maricopa County Attorney's and Sheriff's Office engaged in prosecutorial misconduct&n bsp; by knowingly filing charges against county Supervisor Don Stapley although the statute of limitations had expired. Stapley, who believes he has been the "target of a corrupt sheriff and county attorney," has delivered a letter to President Obama, pleading for the  DOJ to get behind the criminal investigation into the Sheriff's office. Around the same time news broke about Hendershott's dealings, a federal judge ruled that Arpaio's deputies violated the civil rights of two Latino men who were arrested without reasonable suspicion.

MCSO INCOMPETENCE: In September 2010, a financial review of Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio's Maricopa County Sheriff's Office records revealed that his office misspent at least  $50 million in taxpayer dollars on fishing trips and Disneyland vacations. It turns out that those estimates were just the beginning. Arizona budget officials recently discovered a second jail account which brings the total of misspent funds up to $99.5 million over the last eight years. County officials are struggling to figure out how to repay the misu sed detention funds, without financially hurting other county departments. "At this point, no one can say for sure where the money will come from, how long it will take to pay back or how it could affect other county operations," writes the Arizona Republic. Today, the Associated Press broke the news that three of Arpaio's own employees were arrested on drug and human trafficking charges. This past weekend, a local newspaper reported that the MCSO failed to adequately investigate more than 400 sex-crime cases over a two-year period. "Poor oversight and former Chief Deputy David Hendershott's desire to protect a key investigator from bad publicity led to delays for victims of serious crimes who waited years for the attackers to be brought to justice," reported the Arizona Capitol Times. ABC15 reported that "children who had the courage to come forward and say they were molested, raped or abused were simply ignored" by MSCO detectives. The conservative Goldwater Institute has long accused the MCSO of declaring unsolved crimes solved.

ARPAIO'S BLAME GAME: The investigation into Arpaio's top aides doesn't pin much blame on the sheriff. Yet, curiously, Arpaio himself asked his  political ally, Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu, to conduct it. Meanwhile, Arpaio's critics have called on the Sheriff to resign, arguing that he was either incompetent or complicit in the corruption and mismanagement that has plagued his office. Arpaio claims he is neither. He blames the misspent funds on a computer glitch and a "bookkeeping problem." Arpaio has also insisted that he had no knowledge of his employees' misconduct. "When you have responsibility for about 16,000 people that I'm responsible for and I believe in delegation, sometimes things slip by,  It's a big organization, lots of responsibility,"  reasoned Arpaio. "No one is perfect," he acknowledged at a recent press conference. His former employees suggest otherwise. Arpaio's former longtime chief financial officer Loretta Barkell claims that, over the course of ten years, she repeatedly warned both Arpaio and Hendershott that they could not use restricted jail funds to pay for the other functions they were going to. "The sheriff [Arpaio] waved his hand and said he was not a llowing the bean counters to manage his operations," stated Barkell. An unnamed detective  accused Arpaio of personally drafting a search warrant for a failed corruption investigation. Arpaio's Ex-Chief Executive Officer Tom Bearup was even more explicit. "Joe [Arpaio] knows everything that goes on," Bearup said. "Because I've been there. And I know that nothing goes on in that office without [Joe's approval]. Every policy he initialed. Anything major that happened, people would go and tell him, because they felt intimidated." And up until recently, Arpaio adamantly insisted that he is behind the steering wheel . 



House Democrats plan to call for large troop reductions, and possibly a complete withdrawal, from Afghanistan during floor debate on the Pentagon's 2012 budget this week. Progressive members have already filed multiple amendments on the defense authorization bill calling for troop reductions.

Top Congressional Democrats are joining Republicans in challenging President Obama's Israel policy . Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (R-MD) appear to think Obama is giving away too much, as they seemingly rejected Obama's calls that negotiations begin around the 1967 borders.

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), the ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee, is threatening to hold up all of President Obama's nominations until he gets more answers on a controversial Justice Department program that led to drug cartels acquiring more than 1,300 firearms from the U.S. "At worst, our own government knowingly participated in arming criminals," Grassley said.

The Justice Department will indict former Sen. John Edwards on charges that he violated campaign finance laws to cover up his extramarital affair during the 2004 presidential campaign. A source close to the investigation said Edwards is aware of the investigation and "could try to arrange a plea deal to avoid a trial."

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) is facing pushback from his own caucus after he said yesterday that any aid to tornado-ravaged Missouri must be offset by spending cuts. Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO), who represented the hard-hit city of Joplin when he was in the House, challenged Cantor, saying "This needs to be a priority," and Congress should act immediately to help his state.

Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) said yesterday that she is "going to vote 'no'" on Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-WI) budget . Joining GOP Sens. Susan Collins (ME) and Scott Brown (MA) in voting no, Snowe said she has "deep and abiding concerns about the approach on Medicare, which is essentially to privatize it."

Vice President Biden and congressional leaders left a meeting on the debt limit yesterday saying they were "confident" they would find $1 trillion in cuts before the U.S. faces default in early August. Biden has been leading the latest round of budget talks, which seem to be proceeding better than other rounds. He said tax increases have not been discussed yet.

And finally: President Obama and U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron teamed up to play ping pong against a pair of teenage students at a school in south London yesterday, only to lose "spectacularly." "For two men who pride themselves on their sporting abilities, the thought of taking on two schoolchildren at table tennis might have seemed like shooting fish in a barrel," -- "but no amount of back-slapping, 'high-fives' and competitive banter could prevent a trouncing."

Misconceptions and Realities About Who Pays Taxes #p2 #tcot

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

Misconceptions and Realities About Who Pays Taxes

By Chuck Marr and Brian Highsmith

"A recent finding by Congress' Joint Committee on Taxation that 51 percent of households owed no federal income tax in 2009 is being used to advance the argument that low- and moderate-income families do not pay sufficient taxes. Apart from the fact that most of those who make this argument also call for maintaining or increasing all of the tax cuts of recent years for people at the top of the income scale, the 51 percent figure, its significance, and its policy implications are widely misunderstood."

View the full report:
http://www.cbpp.org/files/5-26-11tax.pdf 9pp.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Exxon Ad Makes Gas Drilling Seem Simpler—and Safer—Than it Really Is #p2 #tcot

ExxonMobil has been running a series of ads aimed at assuring people that shale gas drilling is safe. One of those ads, a full-page spread in Monday's New York Times and Washington Post, shows what a well looks like as it extends more than a mile and a half beneath the surface. It includes a close-up of the layers of steel and cement that are supposed to protect the surrounding earth from the gas and fluids inside the well pipe.

The ad, which depicts a gas well in the Marcellus Shale, implies that these layers of protection extend all the way down the well. But in the vast majority of horizontal wells, they do not. An Exxon spokeswoman acknowledged that fact in an email.

"The ad is a graphic that compresses over a mile into 18 inches and the enlarged area depicts the casing layers protecting the fresh water aquifer," she said, adding that all of Exxon's Marcellus wells are surrounded by multiple layers of steel and cement near the surface.

The ad makes for a good moment to remind people that most states require multiple layers of casing for only a short distance underground, so they can protect shallow aquifers. After that, a well may have only one casing layer for a short way, and then no casing at all. Some wells run for thousands of feet through rock and dirt with no cement or additional steel barrier at all. Only at the very bottom are they again encased in protective cement.

Check out our gas well diagram to see which parts of a well are usually encased. The Exxon ad, while meant to be a simple summary of how a well is built, looks the same all the way down.

Even multiple layers of casing don't always protect drinking water sources. Casing and cement failures were responsible for most of the recent gas drilling accidents in the Marcellus Shale, as well as previous contaminations in Colorado and Ohio. Pennsylvania's Department of Environmental Protection recently issued its largest oil and gas fine ever to Chesapeake Energy after casing and cement failures on its wells allowed methane gas to seep into the water supply for 16 homes.

rest at http://www.propublica.org/article/exxon-ad-makes-gas-drilling-seem-simpler-and-safer-than-it-really-is

Assange: Obama looks to ‘put a chill across all investigative journalism’ #p2 #tcot


If the Obama administration's prosecutions of Pfc. Bradley Manning and a high tide of other journalists and whistleblowers are successful, the result will be "a chill across all investigative journalism," WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange told reporters Wednesday.

Speaking on a press call, Assange was joined by Daniel Ellsberg, a former military analyst who leaked the famed Pentagon Papers, which provided an impetus for the U.S. to end the Vietnam War. The two hailed Manning as a "hero" who may face a military court that is already convinced of his guilt.

Ellsberg and others specifically pointed to a recent statement by President Barack Obama, in which the commander-in-chief appeared to pronounce the soldier's guilt.

"He broke the law," Obama said in April.

"It was obviously grossly improper for the commander-in-chief to be saying that," Ellsberg said.

Ellsberg added that President Richard Nixon had made a similar statement in public about the release of the Pentagon Papers -- and that lawyers were able to use that statement to help deflect  his prosecution. The case against Ellsberg was ultimately dismissed due to governmental misconduct.

Assange added that if the Obama administration is successful in prosecuting WikiLeaks, Manning, whistleblowers or "other media outlets" with an expanded interpertation of the Espionage Act of 1917, it would ultimately "put a chill across all investigative journalism in the U.S." -- especially affecting the poignancy of national security reporting.

The Obama administration has come under heavy rhetorical fire for pursuing even more alleged whistleblowers than the Bush administration.

He lamented this potential outcome on the back of his suggestion that 2010 was "the most important year for journalism since World War II."

"Release of the cablegate material has resulted in the publication of over 10,000 stories in every newspaper around the world," Assange added, saying the disclosures "sparked off" the Tunisian revolution, which ultimately led into the wave of Arab uprisings that has rocked the middle east.

Assange also told Raw Story that the 10,000 stories figure was on the low end of WikiLeaks' estimation on the total press coverage they've inspired, and that the secrets outlet was continuing to distribute leaked U.S. State Dept. documents to a still-growing number of publications around the world.

Similarly, Raw Story has covered the WikiLeaks disclosures closely, breaking news pertaining to the U.S.-Israeli plan for regime change in IranU.S. business groups influencing Internet censorship laws overseas; and a plan to pressure E.U. lawmakers into accepting biotech crops, among others.

New Jersey Supreme Court Orders State To Restore $500 Million In Education Funding Stripped By Gov. Christie #p2 #tcot

The New Jersey Constitution requires the state to "provide for the maintenance and support of a thorough and efficient system of free public schools for the instruction of all the children in the State between the ages of five and eighteen years." Yet, because the state failed to meet this obligation in many of its poorest school districts, the state Supreme Court ordered New Jersey to stop underfunding those districts more than 20 years ago. In 2009, the court finally determined that the state had complied with its decades-old order, and ended much of its oversight of the state's education funding. Sadly, Gov. Chris Christie (R) almost immediately took this as a license to slash education funding for the poor.

Yesterday, however, the justices reminded Christie that he is not allowed to thumb his nose at the state constitution, and it ordered the state to restore $500 million that had been stripped from the state's most needy districts. As the court's official summary of the opinion explains:

[T]he State applied to this Court two years ago, asking to be relieved of the orders that required parity funding and supplemental funding for children in the so-called "Abbott districts" in exchange for providing funding to those districts in accordance with SFRA. The State persuaded this Court to give it the benefit of the doubt that SFRA would work as promised and would provide adequate resources for the provision of educational services sufficient to enable pupils to master the Core Curriculum Content Standards (CCCS). [...]

When the Court granted the State the relief it requested, it was not asked to allow, and did not authorize, the State to replace the parity remedy with some version of SFRA or an underfunded version of the formula. In respect of the failure to provide full funding under SFRA's formula to Abbott districts, the State's action amounts to nothing less than a reneging on the representations it made when it was allowed to exchange SFRA funding for the parity remedy. Thus, the State has breached the very premise underlying the grant of relief it secured with Abbott XX.

rest at http://thinkprogress.org/2011/05/25/christie-education-nj-supremes/

Illinois plans devastating cuts in disabilities services #p2 #tcot

Illinois is planning devastating cuts to services for individuals with physical, developmental and intellectual disabilities. These cuts target our most vulnerable citizens and are being sold as a way to balance Illinois' estimated $13 billion deficit. The truth is, these cuts are short sighted and will send us on a path of destruction.

Illinois ranks last in the nation for supporting citizens with disabilities in their home communities. Disability services that are the lifeline to more than 220,000 people with disabilities and their families have already experienced deep cuts and are hanging by a thread. In addition to funding reductions several critical programs are being eliminated and it's estimated that 3,052 direct care staff will be laid off as a result.

The budget has the wrong priorities and the process is flawed.

There are currently three budget proposals on the table, one each from the governor, the state House and the state Senate.

The House's estimate of revenues is about $1.1 billion lower than that from the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (CGFA), a bipartisan agency with a proven track record of making accurate revenue projections. Using CGFA's reasonable estimate of revenues could save critical disability programs.

The Senate's proposed budget disproportionately impacts individuals with disabilities by prioritizing programs that do not maximize taxpayer dollars.

The Governor's budget appropriates $30 million to state institutions and cuts community based services by $76.3 million even though numerous studies prove community services are safer, more effective and efficient. Four people can be served in a community setting for every one person in an institution.

Furthermore, the proposed budgets do nothing to address the backlog in payments owed to disability service providers. Some have been forced to shut their doors and others are on the brink of collapse because the state is six months behind in making payments.

rest at http://peoplesworld.org/illinois-plans-devastating-cuts-in-disabilities-services/

Snowe: House Republican budget 'a race to the bottom' #p2 #tcot

Olympia Snowe
Sen. Olympia Snowe is going to be a solid "no" vote on the House Republican budget, and has issued the strongest GOP condemnation of the proposal so far.
"I am going to vote no on the budget because I have deep and abiding concerns about the approach on Medicare, which is essentially to privatize it," Snowe told The Portland Press Herald on Tuesday.

She added that the House GOP budget's proposal to block grant Medicaid and let states decide how to distribute the funds was also troubling.

"The states are the great laboratories," Snowe said. "But we also have an overall obligation to serve specific populations under Medicaid. We don't want to encourage a race to the bottom."

Ouch. Good for Snowe for focusing on Medicaid as well as Medicare, as the cuts to that program could result not just in millions of people losing healthcare, but the loss of two million private sector jobs. States just can't afford that now.

Snowe joins fellow Mainer Sen. Susan Collins, as well as Sens. Scott Brown (R-MA), and Rand Paul (R-KY) in opposing the plan. In case you're curious, Paul is opposing it because it's not sufficiently extreme in its cuts. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (disgruntled R-AK) hasn't decided yet, saying she's "not so sure about the components of his [Ryan's] Medicare proposal."

Tea Party Pressuring Schools To Teach Constitution Using Controversial Right-Wing Group's Materials #p2 #tcot

America's kids don't know jack about the Constitution, and according to a national Tea Party group, the only way to save them is to have school's teach the nation's founding document with materials provided by a controversial conservative group whose founder is one of Glenn Beck's favorite historians.

Tea Party Patriots, the Georgia-based organization that counts around 1,000 chapters nationwide, is asking its members to pressure schools to teach the Constitution during Constitution Week in September, as they are required to do by a 2004 law. And when schools do teach the founding document, the group is suggesting that they use materials provided by the National Center for Constitutional Studies, a group that claims the country and Constitution were, "established by the hand of God."

NCCS's founder, W. Cleon Skousen, became a tea party favorite in recent years when Glenn Beck touted him on his program as an exemplary constitutional scholar. But Skousen's past is marred by accusations that his work is far from accurate, and at times rife with racism.

In 1982, critics derided one of Skousen's books, "The 5,000 Year Leap," as racist for describing African-Americans as "pickaninnies" and claiming that slave owners were the real victims of slavery. Last year, Princeton Historian Sean Wilentz described the book in The New Yorker as a, "treatise that assembles selective quotations and groundless assertions to claim that the U.S. Constitution is rooted not in the Enlightenment but in the Bible."

rest at http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/05/tea_party_pressuring_schools_to_teach_constitution.php?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+TPMmuckraker+%28TPMmuckraker%29

Accused Giffords Shooter Jared Loughner Ruled Not Competent to Stand Trial

Jared Loughner, accused of shooting Gabrielle Giffords and killing 6 people in a rampage in Tuscon this January, has been ruled mentally incompetent to stand trial by a federal judge today.

rest at http://news.firedoglake.com/2011/05/25/jared-loughner-ruled-incompetent-to-stand-trial/

Ed Schultz Should Apologize For Sexist Insult Against Laura Ingraham #p2 #tcot

schultzWhile discussing President Obama's response to the tornadoes that devastated Missouri on his radio show, MSNBC host Ed Schultz shifted into an attack on conservatives for focusing more on the cost of disaster relief than the desperate need for it. Schultz decided that the best way to mark that contrast would be to launch a personal attack on talk radio host and Fox News contributor Laura Ingraham after she criticized President Obama for continuing the Ireland leg of his European trip as disaster relief began. Ingraham critized the "tone-deafness" and the disconnect between "heartbreaking pictures and then President Obama lifting a glass of Guinness." But, she also emphasized she "didn't want to make too much of it." Schultz responded:

President Obama is going to be visiting Joplin, Mo., on Sunday but you know what they're talking about, like this right-wing slut, what's her name? Laura Ingraham? Yeah, she's a talk slut. You see, she was, back in the day, praising President Reagan when he was drinking a beer overseas. But now that Obama's doing it, they're working him over.

rest at http://thinkprogress.org/2011/05/25/ed-schultz-ingraham/

GOP Congressman Tells Televangelists U.S. Must Give Aid To Israel Or ‘Lose God’s Hand’ #p2 #tcot

Last weekend, Rep. Dan Webster (R-FL) appeared on "Good Life 45," a televangelist program based near his central-Florida district. At one point during the discussion, which was centered around ways to reduce government spending, Webster recalled that many of his constituents had asked about cutting foreign aid. Webster explained that the government cannot "get rid of all foreign aid" because that would endanger money for Israel.

Rather than making a policy-based argument to back up his firm belief in giving billions in foreign aid to Israel, Webster said the money is necessary to ensure "God's hand" stays with America. "I love giving money to Israel," Webster exclaimed. If we end the assistance to Israel, Webster continued, "we lose God's hand and we're in big trouble":

WEBSTER: I believe God's hand needs to be on this country.

HOST: That's right.

rest at http://thinkprogress.org/2011/05/25/dan-webster-israel-gods-hand/

Apollo Vets Are Not Happy Today - Obama's 2011 budget - no funds for Constellation essentially canceling the program


Column: Is Obama grounding JFK's space legacy?, By Neil Armstrong, Jim Lovell and Gene Cernan, USA Today

"President Obama's proposed 2011 budget did not include funds for Constellation, therefore essentially canceling the program. It sent shock waves throughout NASA, the Congress and the American people. Nearly $10 billion had been invested in design and development of the program. Many respected experts and members of Congress voiced concern about the president's proposal. Some supported the president's plan,but most were critical. The supporters' biases were often evident, particularly when there was a vested or economic interest in the outcome. Obama's advisers, in searching for a new and different NASA strategy with which the president could be favorably identified, ignored NASA's operational mandate and strayed widely from President Kennedy's vision and the will of the American people."

House passes amendment to defund medical schools that teach abortion #p2 #toct

Just how many bills banning government funding of abortion
does Rep. Virginia Foxxxxxxxxx think we need?

Not content to defund health care for women, the Republicans in Congress, who just can't stop obsessing about abortion, have now passed yet another bill, brought to us by the lovely Rep. Virginia Foxxxxxxxxx, to prohibit government funding of abortion. Only this one also bans medical programs that receive government dollars from even teaching students how to perform abortions. Because taxpayers shouldn't have their hard-earned dollars spent on training doctors to provide health care to women.

rest at http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/05/25/979252/-House-passes-amendment-to-defund-medical-schools-that-teach-abortion?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+dailykos%2Findex+%28Daily+Kos%29

Before Senate vote, faith leaders call House GOP budget ‘immoral’ #p2 #tcot

As the U.S. Senate gets ready to vote today on the recently approved House GOP budget, a handful of religious leaders from various denominations have spoken out against the budget because it "contains immoral cuts that would harm the most vulnerable." #

Catholic leaders, two dozen bishops of the Episcopal Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the United Methodist Church as well as members of the 100,000-plus online community Faithful America have issued letters and petitions stating that the budget lacks compassion and is an affront to Christian values. #

The Protestant Bishops' letter (pdf.) urges senators voting on the House budget proposal "to consider the human costs of massive cuts to social programs and come together across partisan lines to shape a budget that defends human dignity and basic economic security for all Americans." #

The letter questions the cuts to nutrition programs for mothers and infants (Women, Infants and Children) and cuts to Medicaid that "will hurt sick children, struggling families and seniors in nursing homes. Proposed changes to Medicare will break the promise that all American seniors get the healthcare they need by forcing them to buy private insurance without assuring that it is affordable." #

In a press release issued Tuesday by the Faith in Public Life, Christian leaders and religious groups denounced Republican Rep. Paul Ryan's federal budget plan as an affront to Christian values and theological teachings about caring for the poor and the vulnerable. #

The release adds that "the Ryan/Boehner budget fails any Catholic measure of social justice by carving out trillions in new tax cuts for the wealthy while achieving the bulk of its savings through cuts to programs for the poor and the middle class," according to Vincent J. Miller, the Gudorf Chair in Catholic Theology and Culture at the University of Dayton. #


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

.@gop Cantor Says Congress Won’t Pay For Missouri Disaster Relief Unless Spending Is Cut Elsewhere #p2 #tcot


Firefighters and rescue workers who arrived in Joplin, MO, found that the deadly tornado that hit the state Sunday had left a "barren, smoky wasteland" in its path. Rescue workers worked through more storms in an effort to find potential survivors, even as the death toll rose to at least 119. President Obama pledged full support to the state Monday, telling survivors, "We're here with you. We're going to stay by you."

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), however, said that before Congress approved federal funds for disaster relief, it had to offset the spending with cuts to other programs. The Washington Times reports:

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said Monday that if Congress passes an emergency spending bill to help Missouri's tornado victims, the extra money will have to be cut from somewhere else.

"If there is support for a supplemental, it would be accompanied by support for having pay-fors to that supplemental," Mr. Cantor, Virginia Republican, told reporters at the Capitol. The term "pay-fors" is used by lawmakers to signal cuts or tax increases used to pay for new spending.

In 2005, Republicans criticized then-House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX) for his willingness to fund relief in the wake of Hurricane Katrina by adding to the deficit. "It is right to borrow to pay for it," he said at the time, explaining that cuts could "attack" the economy.

Meanwhile, as Climate Progress reports, the government's tornado forecasting service faces cuts in the GOP Congress, including cuts to NOAA weather satellite that "could halve the accuracy of precipitation forecasts." Accurate and early forecasting is tremendously important, as "tornado deaths in the United States have gone from 8 per 1 million people in 1925 to 0.11 per 1 million people today — a trend largely attributed to early-warning systems fed by advanced meteorology and the introduction of Doppler radar."

If you would like to help with the relief effort, you can donate to the Red Cross here or AmeriCares here. CNN has more about ways you can help.

heartbreaking: photos of Joplin MO


OpenSecrets.org Lauded by Columbia Journalism Review for 'Exhaustive Reporting on Money in Politics' #p2 #tcot


report: Congress cannot simultaneously claim tax cuts for wealthy are affordable while Social Sec shortfall is dire fiscal threat #p2 #tcot

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

What the 2011 Trustees' Report Shows About Social Security

By Kathy Ruffing

"On May 13, the Social Security Board of Trustees issued its annual report on the program's financial status.  The trustees' report shows some mild deterioration in the program's short- and long-term outlook — a finding that was widely expected and well within the range of past revisions….

"[Of note, the] 75-year Social Security shortfall is only slightly larger than the cost, over that period, of extending the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts for the richest 2 percent of Americans (those with incomes above $250,000 a year).  Members of Congress cannot simultaneously claim that the tax cuts for people at the top are affordable while the Social Security shortfall constitutes a dire fiscal threat.  And the shortfall is well under half the cost over 75 years of making all of the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts permanent." 

View the full report:
http://www.cbpp.org/files/5-24-11socsec.pdf 8pp.

Friday, May 20, 2011

New York Attorney General Investigating Donald Trump's School #p2 #tcot

from http://gawker.com/5803833/new-york-attorney-general-investigating-donald-trumps-school

"The New York Times reports the state attorney general's office is investigating whether this constitutes illegal business practices.

[D]ozens of students have complained about the quality of the program to the attorneys general of New York, Texas, Florida and Illinois. The Better Business Bureau gave the school a D-minus for 2010, its second-lowest grade, after receiving 23 complaints. Over the last three years, New York and Maryland have told the company to drop the word "university" from its title, saying that using it violated state education laws. (The school was renamed the Trump Entrepreneur Initiative in 2010.)"

Scam: EducationConnection.com lures students to useless for-profit degrees lifelong debt #p2 #tcot

from http://gawker.com/5804015/senators-warning-dont-fall-for-the-ol-hot-girl-in-pajamas-trick

"As Sen. Dick Durbin explained yesterday, one high profile company which connects prospective students to career colleges, EducationConnection.com, lures students into the world of frequently useless for-profit degrees and punishing lifelong debt with commercials of young ladies lying in bed in their underwear, supposedly taking online courses. Would you like to have sex with this person? You would? Well here's $100k in loans for a couple of algebra CDs, now go arrange a study session with her!"

rest at http://gawker.com/5804015/senators-warning-dont-fall-for-the-ol-hot-girl-in-pajamas-trick

@comcastcares Tweet about FCC member’s new job at Comcast sets off firestorm from Congress #p2 #tcot

Comcast has absorbed a lot of criticism since its decision last week to hire Meredith Attwell Baker, a sitting member of the Federal Communications Commission.

But one critical remark really got under the company's skin.

When an employee of Reel
Grrls, a nonprofit educational program
in Seattle, sent a tweet questioning Baker's hiring after the commissioner voted to approve Comcast's mega-venture with NBC Universal, Comcast's reaction was swift and harsh.

The company cut off funding for Reel Grrls' summer camp, where 15 teenage girls learn documentary script writing, editing and filmmaking.

The reaction to the funding cutoff was also severe — and added to consumer advocates' criticism of Comcast. Some are trying to drum up a congressional investigation into whether Baker's new job pre­sents a conflict of interest. Baker had criticized the FCC's review of Comcast's joint venture with NBC Universal for taking too long and voted in favor of the merger in a
4 to 1 decision in January.

The apparent revolving door has been the fodder of satire and criticism by late-night TV comedians, newspaper editorials and consumer groups. And the move by Comcast to scrap funding for a small nonprofit for questioning Baker's appointment only shows how influential a giant media company can be, the critics say.

rest at http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/tweet-about-fcc-members-new-job-at-comcast-sets-off-firestorm/2011/05/19/AFZNiP7G_story.html?wprss=rss_congress

John Lithgow Performs Gingrich's Epic Press Release from Crooks and Liars #p2 #tcot


FLASHBACK: In 2003, Romney attacked coal jobs that “kill people” #p2 #tcot

MittRomneyRepublican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, like his fellow GOP contenders, supports unlimited coal and oil production and opposes cap-and-trade markets to limit greenhouse pollution. Romney calls cap and trade a "radical feel-good" policy that would have "devastating results for people across the planet." Last month, he told Fox News that the nation needed to "start drilling for oil" and to "use our coal resources" because "you have to have oil and gas to power America's economy."

But according to his standards, Romney himself used to be a "radical" environmentalist who supported clean energy policy and opposed a pollution-backed economy. Back in 2005, Romney told the Boston Globe he was "convinced" that cap and trade was "good business." It was his administration, in fact, that helped guide the development of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a cap and trade system in the Northeastern U.S. that has raised $860 million for energy efficiency and renewable energy programs.

In 2003, Romney fought to protect public health by supporting environmental controls on a Massachusetts coal plant that was responsible for dozens of premature deaths and 14,400 asthma attacks each year, according the Harvard School of Public Health. Announcing new regulations on the coal pollution, Romney said that he would "not create jobs or hold jobs that kill people":

I will not create jobs or hold jobs that kill people. And that plant kills people and PG&E has been given a notice to have it cleaned up by 2004 and they have thumbed their nose at the people of Massachusetts and Salem Harbor by not cleaning it up on time. So we're saying, clean it up on time, do the job in the community, invest in cleaning technology.

Watch it (via a minidoc by Vision for Salem):

rest http://climateprogress.org/2011/05/20/romney-coal-jobs-kill-people/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+climateprogress%2FlCrX+%28Climate+Progress%29

L.A. Times: Obama is throwing ‘the environment and public health under a bus’ to get reelected #p2 #tcot

The L.A. Times has delivered a blistering editorial that everybody in the White House should read:

In the 2012 campaign, environmentalists don't matter

That's the message President Obama is sending as the administration caters to smokestack and other industries.

Ouch. Here's the whole thing:

Shortly after his party's "shellacking" in the midterm election, President Obama ordered government agencies to ensure that new regulations took economic growth into consideration and that old ones be revoked if they "stifle job creation or make our economy less competitive." Five months later, it's becoming pretty clear what he meant: The environment and public health will be thrown under a bus for the sake of his reelection in 2012.

The latest victim of the administration's new political direction is a proposed Environmental Protection Agency rule to limit emissions from industrial boilers, which power oil refineries, chemical plants and other factories. The EPA indefinitely rescinded the proposal this week, citing Obama's January executive order on regulations and claiming that the agency hadn't had time to properly   address industry concerns about the rule since a draft was released in   September. The EPA first proposed a version of the boiler rules in 2004,  and it has had ample time and input to get it right by now.

Also put on a slow track by the administration are new rules on storing toxic coal ash,  an issue EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said she'd address in the wake of a disastrous Tennessee spill in 2008; earlier this month, EPA officials said they wouldn't get around to finishing the rules, which were expected by the end of last year, until at least 2012. The powerful coal industry scored another victory when the administration delayed an EPA guideline on mountaintop-removal mining last month.

In the calculus of presidential politics, environmentalists don't much matter in 2012. The economy is the top subject on Americans' minds, and Obama no doubt figures he can blunt criticism of his regulatory record and maybe corral some independent voters by cutting smokestack industries a little slack. Never mind that the economic calculus doesn't pencil out; according to EPA estimates, [PDF] the rule on industrial boilers would cost polluters $1.4 billion a year, but the value of its health benefits would range from $22 billion to $54 billion. And never mind that the rule would prevent up to 6,500 premature deaths each year.

rest at http://www.grist.org/politics/2011-05-20-la-times-barack-obama-environment-public-health-under-reelected