Thursday, November 29, 2012

learned nothing from election: John Boehner vows to attempt another debt limit hostage crisis #p2 #tcot


John Boehner during his weekly press conference on Thursday morning, vowing a repeat of the 2011 debt limit hostage crisis by saying that any increase in the debt limit will "have a price tag attached to it" and that he believes "any increase in the debt limit has to be accompanied by spending reductions that meet or exceed it."

The good news here is that there will only be another debt limit crisis if the White House and Congress want there to be one—and we've seen no indication that the White House wants one.

In 2011, most people assumed that congressional failure to raise the debt limit would automatically force default and financial apocalypse would soon follow. But as Yale Law Professor Jack Balkin argued, that was a bad assumption. If Congress were to fail to lift the debt limit, the administration would still have several options to avert catastrophe. One such option would be to essentially ignore the debt limit because it conflicts with congressional statues appropriating funds beyond that limit. Another option would be to mint a trillion dollar coin and deposit it in the Federal Reserve.

These wouldn't be ideal, although they are vastly preferably to a financial meltdown or rewarding GOP legislative terrorism. The best scenario would for Congress to simply raise the debt limit, especially given that Congress appropriated the funds and extended the tax cuts that caused us to run up against the debt limit in the first place. But if they don't do their job, the White House can use innovative legal strategies to manage the consequences. There's no guarantee that they will use those strategies, but the only reason for failing to deploy them is if they want to use the debt limit as a political tool to build support for spending cuts and tax hikes. Given how badly that strategy fared in 2011, they'd be making a huge mistake to try it again. The first few months of 2013 would turn into a replay of the summer of 2011—and nobody in their right mind should want to see that.

this is something to investigate about Susan Rice: Susan Rice May Have Major Financial Stake in Keystone Pipeline #p2 #tcot


Susan Rice, thought by many to be Obama's number one pick for Secretary of State, holds millions of dollars in investments in Canadian oil companies and banks with stakes in the  $7 billion Keystone XL Pipeline, according to apiece out today from OnEarth, a magazine published by the environmental advocacy group Natural Resources Defense Council. As head of the State Department, Rice would have ultimate authority in determining the fate of the pipeline, which would link northern Alberta's remote oil sands fields to Texas' Gulf Coast refineries.

The piece reveals that Rice has significant holdings (PDF) in more than a dozen Canadian oil companies and banks that would benefit from the growth of the Canadian tar sands industry and the construction of the controversial pipelineOnEarth's Scott Dodd finds that nearly a third of Rice's personal net worth—estimated in 2009 to be between $23.5 million and $43.5 million—is invested in Canadian oil producers, pipeline operators, and other energy companies including several with egregious environmental records on both sides of the border. Financial disclosure reports further show that Rice has between $300,000 and $600,000 invested in TransCanada, the company that is seeking the permit from the State Department to build sections of the pipeline from Oklahoma to the Canadian border.

"It's really amazing that they're considering someone for Secretary of State who has millions invested in these companies," Bill McKibben, founder of the activist groups and Tar Sand Action which have organized protests against the Keystone XL project, told OnEarth.

The decision on whether to build the pipeline was delayed in 2011 when the State Department ordered a review of alternate routes to avoid cutting through an ecologically sensitive section of Nebraska. This saved Obama the political cost of having to make a decision on the controversial project in an election year. The Keystone XL decision could be one of the first tasks of the new Secretary of State in 2013.  

rest at


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

.@glennbeck - what a douche: Glenn Beck Pees In a Jar, Drops an Obama Toy in It, and Calls It Art #p2 #tcot


Glenn Beck, the conservative, television producer, radio host and political commentator, showed off a mason jar of his own pee that he dropped a dashboard bobblehead figurine of Obama into — reportedBuzzFeed

The stunt is supposed to use art to illustrate freedom of speech in America. The controversial media figure, whose supporters praise as a constitutional defender of "traditional" American values and critics decry as a conspiracy theorist, was commenting on an art exhibit that features a painting of Obama as Jesus on the cross:


The painting prompted Beck to wear a beret and speak with a fake French accent while introducing his own controversial art creation. The Tea Party darling claims the urine is real, and he is reportedly selling his piece of work for $25,000. 

Here's what the piece looks like:

Beck added that if the work is sold he'll produce a new one using First Lady Michelle Obama as the subject. 

A Twitter reaction:

What do you think? Did Glenn Beck go too far at exercising his First Amendment rights?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Democratic Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. resigning from Congress - jail time likely


Unemployment Insurance Kept 2.3 Million Americans Out Of Poverty Last Year


America's unemployment insurance program is not as robust as those in many industrialized nations, but the program that is speeding toward massive reductions if Congress doesn't extend it before the end of the year still kept more than 2 million Americans out of poverty in 2011. According to the National Employment Law Project, which is calling on Congress to re-authorize the federal unemployment compensation program before the end of the year, unemployment insurance kept 2.3 million out of poverty, cutting the number of Americans who were entered the ranks of poverty last year in half:

Were it not for unemployment insurance, the increase in the number of Americans living in poverty would have doubled over the last year. (While the number of people in poverty grew by 2.3 million from 2010 to 2011, unemployment insurance prevented an additional 2.3 million Americans from joining their ranks.)

Unemployment insurance is generally handled by the states, but because long-term unemployment was exacerbated during the Great Recession, Congress enacted the Emergency Unemployment Compensation program in 2008. If the federal program isn't extended by the end of the year, 2 million Americans could lose unemployment benefits, and another 1 million will join them in the early part of 2013. More than 500,000recipients lost benefits earlier this year because of the way the program is administered and because Congress reduced eligibility for it.

Republicans have pushed against past extensions of the program, arguing that it creates a culture of dependency on federal benefits that reduce the incentive to find work. But the federal program requires workers to search for jobs, and studies have shown that recipients look harder for jobs than those who don't receive benefits. Meanwhile, in industrialized nations, there is no proof that more generous unemployment insurance programs lead to higher levels of employment: Greece's unemployment rate, for instance, has soared even though it has one of the least generous programs in the world, while Israel boasts both a generous unemployment program and a falling unemployment rate.

American Banks Actually Are Lending Again—to Europe


Right Wing Invents New Bengahzi Conspiracy Theory: Top U.S. Intel Official Is A Liar


The Republicans' new focus of attack in the faux "Benghazi-gate" scandal is Director of National Intelligence (DNI) James Clapper, claiming that he lied about the source of changes to talking points on the Benghazi attack given to U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice.

Yesterday, a DNI spokesperson debunked accusations made by Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and other Republicans that the White House changed Rice's Benghazi talking points, saying that it was the intelligence community that made the "substantive" changes to the talking points. Moreover, former CIA head David Petraeus and other top intelligence officials have said there was no politicization of the process and that the talking points were not altered to minimize the role of extremists but to reflect the best intelligence at the time.

McCain appeared to accept the new information but wondered why Clapper and other DNI officials did not provide this information during closed door hearings last week. And now that all their earlier attacks on Rice have fell apart, Republicans and conservative media figures are directing their attacks at Clapper, a George W. Bush appointee:


Homeland Security Has Spent $430 Million on Radios Its Employees Don’t Know How to Use

Getting the agencies responsible for national security to communicate better was one of the main reasons the Department of Homeland Security was created after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

But according to a recent report from the department's inspector general, one aspect of this mission remains far from accomplished.

DHS has spent $430 million over the past nine years to provide radios tuned to a common, secure channel to 123,000 employees across the country. Problem is, no one seems to know how to use them.

Only one of 479 DHS employees surveyed by the inspector general's office was actually able to use the common channel, according to the report. Most of those surveyed — 72 percent — didn't even know the common channel existed. Another 25 percent knew the channel existed but weren't able to find it; 3 percent were able to find an older common channel, but not the current one.

The investigators also found that more than half of the radios did not have the settings for the common channel programmed into them. Only 20 percent of radios tested had all the correct settings.

The radios are supposed to help employees of Customs and Border Patrol, the Transportation Security Administration, the Coast Guard, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Secret Service, and other agencies with DHS communicate during crises, as well as normal operations.

DHS officials did not immediately respond to questions from ProPublica about what effect the radio problems could have on how the agency handles an emergency.

The $430 million paid for radio infrastructure and maintenance as well as the actual radios.

In a response letter to the report, Jim H. Crumpacker, the Department of Homeland Security's liaison between the Government Accountability Office and the inspector general, wrote that DHS had made "significant strides" in improving emergency communications since 2003. But he acknowledged that DHS "has had some challenges in achieving Department-wide interoperable communications goals."

The recent inspector general's report is the latest in a string of critical assessments DHS has received on its efforts to improve communication between federal, state and local agencies. The Government Accountability Office reported in 2007 that the Department of Homeland Security had "generally not achieved" this  goal.

DHS has assigned a blizzard of offices and committees to oversee its radio effort since 2003, which the inspector general's report claimed had "hindered DHS' ability to provide effective oversight."

Also, none of the entities "had the authority to implement and enforce their recommendations," the report concluded. Tanya Callender, a spokeswoman for the inspector general, said the current office overseeing the effort hadn't been given the authority to force agencies to use the common channel or even to provide instructions for programming the radios.

The inspector general recommended DHS standardize its policies regarding radios, which DHS agreed to do. But it rejected a second recommendation that it overhaul the office overseeing the radios to give it more authority.

"DHS believes that it has already established a structure with the necessary authority to ensure" that its various agencies can communicate, Crumpacker wrote in his response letter.

Boehner Reverses Course, Promises To Repeal Obamacare Through ‘Oversight’ #p2 #tcot


After President Obama's decisive re-election, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) starkly admitted that "Obamacare is the law of the land." Facing backlash from fellow Republicans and critics of the landmark health reform law, the Speaker's office softened that stance, asserting that "full repeal" still remained the GOP objective. But with the Supreme Court's decision to uphold the bulk of the law, Democratic control the Senate, and President Obama's victory, some have wondered what — if any — recourse Republicans have at the federal level to undo Obamacare.

On Tuesday, Boehner explained how, exactly, Republicans would go about dismantling the law in an op-ed on In his piece, Boehner contends that House Republicans will conduct "vigorous oversight" of the law's implementation in an effort to neuter its provisions:

The tactics of our repeal efforts will have to change. But the strategic imperative remains the same. If we're serious about getting our economy moving again, solving our debt and restoring prosperity for American families, we need to repeal Obamacare and enact common-sense, step-by-step reforms that start with lowering the cost of health care. [...]

Congress has a constitutional responsibility to conduct thorough oversight of the executive branch, and congressional oversight will play a critical role in repealing Obamacare going forward.

Over the past couple of years, I have noted there are essentially three major routes to repeal of the president's law: the courts, the presidential election process and the congressional oversight process. With two of those three routes having come up short, the third and final one becomes more important than ever.

Vigorous oversight of the health care law by the House can be expected and, in fact, is already under way. The House Ways & Means Committee recently issued a subpoena directing that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services turn over any and all information regarding how taxpayer dollars have been used to promote Obamacare.

"Oversight," as Boehner uses it, is basically a code word for obstruction. This isn't exactly surprising — after the election, ThinkProgress reported that the GOP would still try to stall Obamacare implementation through a combination of holding up the law's funding for Americans' insurance subsidies and statewide insurance exchanges, Republican governors' refusals to expand their states' Medicaid pools, and GOP efforts to repeal Obamacare's revenue sources and cost-containment measures, such as its taxes on large medical device manufacturers and the Medicare Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB).

Although Boehner does not mention any such specifics in his op-ed, in the absence of a way to fully repeal the law, these are the types of provisions that the GOP will most likely conduct their "oversight" on. But recent polls have shown that public support for repealing Obamacare is plummeting, making such GOP tactics a waste of time at best and bad policy for Americans' health and financial security at worst.

Investors’ Business Daily: federal deficit has fallen faster over the past 3 years than than in any other time since demobilization from World War II #p2 #tcot


Source: IBD


Wow, this is a rather surprising data point: "From fiscal 2009 to fiscal 2012, the deficit shrank 3.1 percentage points, from 10.1% to 7.0% of GDP."

It is even more surprising when you consider its source is the usually conservative Investors' Business Daily! Here is a longer excerpt:

Believe it or not, the federal deficit has fallen faster over the past three years than it has in any such stretch since demobilization from World War II.

In fact, outside of that post-WWII era, the only time the deficit has fallen faster was when the economy relapsed in 1937, turning the Great Depression into a decade-long affair.

If U.S. history offers any guide, we are already testing the speed limits of a fiscal consolidation that doesn't risk backfiring. That's why the best way to address the fiscal cliff likely is to postpone it.

Yet more proof that the fiscal cliff is a manufactured crisis of minimal importance.


U.S. Deficit Shrinking At Fastest Pace Since WWII, Before Fiscal Cliff
Investors Business Daily, 11/20/2012

Breaking News: Gaza Cease-Fire to Begin Shortly, Egypt's Foreign Minister Says

Breaking News Alert
The New York Times
Wednesday, November 21, 2012 -- 12:48 PM EST

Gaza Cease-Fire to Begin Shortly, Egypt's Foreign Minister Says

The cease-fire, announced with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. Eastern time.

Read More:
620 Eighth Ave.
New York, NY 10018

Copyright 2012 The New York Times Company

Malkin Attacks Union 'Thugs' and Black Friday Strikers - looks out for poor millionaires and stands up to union thugs. shut up. #p2 #tcot


Malkin Attacks Union 'Thugs' and Black Friday Strikers

Click here to view this media

Ah yes... somebody's got to look out for those poor, oppressed millionaires and billionaires and stand up to those evil union thugs and Occupy protesters: Malkin Reacts to Union Protests: 'People Need to Understand That Big Labor Thugs Don't Have Workers Best Interests at Heart':

Unions are now flexing their muscle, targeting ports, airlines, and stores just as holiday travel and the shopping season kick into high gear. Adding to that, billionaire George Soros is reportedly urging people to join anti-Walmart protests on Black Friday, even if they don't work for Walmart. Critics claim it's all part of a massive effort to unionize Walmart's 1.4 million employees nationwide, which could bring in billions in union dues.

According to Michelle Malkin, these strikes aren't about protecting workers, but are about protecting entrenched big labor power. During an appearance on Your World, Malkin called the protests a "toxic combination of these left-wing activist groups funded by George Soros … along with a rag tag group of Occupiers across the country who've been fomenting this kind of agitation for agitation's sake for more than a year now."

She stressed, "People really need to understand that these big labor thugs do not have workers interests at heart."

How many people think this hateful woman would ever put up with the conditions or the wages of those who are working these jobs at Walmart? She's got that wingnut welfare coming in which pays quite a bit more than those minimum wage workers make and she's more than happy to help Fox attack them in yet another day in upside down land on GOPTV.


@gop @speakerboehner - did not learn anything from election - John Boehner: Let's gut Obamacare in deficit reduction #p2 #tcot


John Boehner
John Boehner: Repeal? Yeah, we're still doing that.
It's the "law of the land," declared House Speaker John Boehner about Obamacare, telling Diane Sawyer that the election settled that. Of course, his spokesperson walked that back faster than the tea bagger caucus in the House could get to the phones, saying Boehner "remain committed to repealing the law, and he said in the interview it would be on the table."

To prove just how committed he is to ignoring the will of the voting public and to making sure that millions of Americans don't have access to affordable health insurance, Boehner writes this op-ed in his hometown paper. In it, he explains how they're going to try to repeal it now: by gutting it.

The president's health care law adds a massive, expensive, unworkable government program at a time when our national debt already exceeds the size of our country's entire economy. We can't afford it, and we can't afford to leave it intact. That's why I've been clear that the law has to stay on the table as both parties discuss ways to solve our nation's massive debt challenge.
And if you think Rep. Darrell Issa's Oversight Committee has been a massive waste of taxpayer dollars with its endless investigations of  the Obama administration, you ain't seen nothing yet.

Over the past couple of years, I have noted there are essentially three major routes to repeal of the president's law: the courts, the presidential election process and the congressional oversight process. With two of those three routes having come up short, the third and final one becomes more important than ever.

Vigorous oversight of the health care law by the House can be expected and, in fact, is already under way.In other words, nothing's changed by the real gains Democrats made in this election and the Republican House's agenda hasn't changed one bit. It's going to be another two years of nothing but obstruction, abortion, and Obamacare repeal.

That'll go over well with voters in two years.


Where’s the News?: World Bank Warns Globe is Could be Cooked by 2060


Run a google search of "World Bank" and "climate change" and you'll discover that this month the World Bank released a major study predicting a global "cataclysm" if world-wide temperatures increase by a predicted four degrees celsius (that's roughly 8 degrees fahrenheit).  

But the articles reporting that information, at least here in the US, will be almost entirely business magazines like Bloomberg/Businessweek, or Forbes.  Check the New York Times, and you won't find the story, at least so far, and it's already at least four days old. The Washington Post had the story on Monday, but it was tucked away in its business section, which is how it was treated by most publications that bothered to report on it. The one exception to this covereage pattern is USA Today, which on Nov. 19 ran a short piece on the World Bank report in its news pages.

Is the news that the World Bank is predicting catastrophe for billions of people and for life on this entire planet a business story?

Certainly not!

Any idiot could tell you, speaking objectively, that the so-called "Fiscal Cliff," an entirely political crisis in which Republicans in Congress have decided to threaten to crash the US economy by cutting $600 billion from the federal budget while raising taxes on everyone  unless Democrats agree to cut Social Security and Medicare spending and to extend a decade of extraordinary tax cuts for the wealthy, is a minor story compared to a report that the earth is headed towards climate disaster this century unless dramatic action is taken to reduce the pace of global warming caused by the rapacious burning of fossil fuels. Yet it's the "Fiscal Cliff" crisis that is getting page one play, and not just on one day, but every day.

The truth is, when I talk to business leaders, economists and stock market analysts in my "other" role as a business reporter, they tell me that they aren't really worried about the country going over that "cliff."  The common refrain -- and the reason you don't see the stock market already plunging to half its value in anticipation -- is that this is a political game in Washington, all for public consumption by the masses, and that in the end, there is no real cliff, and no will in either party to push the country over one...

LinkedIn Experiencing Extended Outage


LinkedIn has confirmed it's experiencing an outage this morning, first spotted via reports on Twitter, sites like, and our own tests. The outage seems to have started around 25 minutes ago, and the website is now either directing users to a "Bad Gateway" page or asking users to login before failing.

The "bad gateway" page states the following:

"The server encountered an unexpected condition which prevented it from fulfilling the request. Please double-check the URL (address) you used, or contact us if you feel you have reached this page in error."


More Americans Will Use Food Stamps For Thanksgiving This Year Than Ever Before


More Americans will use food stamps to buy their Thanksgiving dinner this year than ever before, according to a new reportfrom the nonprofit government watchdog group The Sunlight Foundation.

[PHOTOS: Presidents Pardoning Turkeys, Meeting Dinner]

The Food Stamp Challenge, which challenges higher-income families to live as if they are on food stamps, estimates that a person on food stamps has a budget of about $1.25 per meal. In other words, a family on food stamps must buy an entire meal per person for less than the cost of an average cup of coffee.

Usage of food stamps among low and no-income families has spiked since the collapse of the U.S. financial system four years ago. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, average participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or food stamp program, has increased 70 percent since 2007. And economists have warned that usage of food stamps won't go down until unemployment improves.

[SANTORUM: Only Buy USA-Made Christmas Gifts]

This Thanksgiving, 42.2 million Americans will be on food stamps, according to the Economic Policy Institute. This is roughly the size of the populations of California and Connecticut combined.

Not surprisingly, feeding millions of Americans isn't cheap. The cost of the SNAP program last year reached $72 billion, the highest to date, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

[ENJOY: The U.S. News Collection of Obama Cartoons]

Those costs are a source of major contention in Congress, which stalled on a bundle of legislation known as the farm bill this summer because it could not agree how much money should be spent on food stamps. The farm bill, which directs the nation's food policy, devotes about 80 percent of its budget to the food stamp program.

call it like it is: Those Republicans attacking Susan Rice over Benghazi are full of shit


The ridiculous Republican claim, made by the likes of John McCain and his buddy Lindsey Graham, among others, is that Ambassador Rice misled the American people by claiming on the Sunday talk shows that the attack was a spontaneous incident rather than a terrorist attack.

But as I wrote the other day, it's desperately partisan Republicans vs. Obama, the CIA, and the facts. Rice was only saying what she was being advised to say by the intelligence community. The talking point changes weren't politically motivated and reflected caution, which is really the sort of thing one wants and expects from those tasked with figuring out what the hell's going on around the world. A new report by CBS News backs this up:

CBS News has learned that the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) cut specific references to "al Qaeda" and "terrorism" from the unclassified talking points given to Ambassador Susan Rice on the Benghazi consulate attack - with the agreement of the CIA and FBI. The White House or State Department did not make those changes.

There has been considerable discussion about who made the changes to the talking points that Rice stuck to in her television appearances on Sept. 16 (video), five days after the attack that killed American Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens, and three other U.S. nationals.

Republicans have accused her of making misleading statements by referring to the assault as a "spontaneous" demonstration by extremists. Some have suggested she used the terminology she did for political reasons.

However, an intelligence source tells CBS News correspondent Margaret Brennan the links to al Qaeda were deemed too "tenuous" to make public, because there was not strong confidence in the person providing the intelligence. CIA Director David Petraeus, however, told Congress he agreed to release the information -- the reference to al Qaeda -- in an early draft of the talking points, which were also distributed to select lawmakers.

"The intelligence community assessed from the very beginning that what happened in Benghazi was a terrorist attack." DNI spokesman Shawn Turner tells CBS News. That information was shared at a classified level -- which Rice, as a member of President Obama's cabinet, would have been privy to.

An intelligence source says the talking points were passed from the CIA to the DNI, where the substantive edits were made, and then to FBI, which made more edits as part of "standard procedure."

People like John McCain should know better, and maybe do know better

How The Worst Drought In Half A Century Is Causing Millions To Go Hungry


More than 17 million of America's food insecure households could go hungry this Thanksgiving, and they might have a harder time finding a warm meal, as food banks that distribute to food pantries, soup kitchens and emergency shelters rely on ever thinning supplies.

The shortage is a result of a severe, lingering drought that has depleted midwest crops, sending prices higher for food staples like meat, vegetables, and fruit. According to Reuters, the higher food prices have meant the U.S. government buys fewer commodities, purchases originally intended to support agriculture prices and reduce surpluses. The unintended result means government donations to food banks, a major source of their inventory, have fallen by more than half:

Government commodity purchases through The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) fell by more than half to $352.5 million for the fiscal year ended September 30, from $723.7 million three years earlier, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. [...]

Government commodities once made up 28 percent of the food flowing through the Feeding America network, which includes about 90 percent of U.S. food banks and provides food for about 37 million people during the year. This year those commodities account for 17 percent, Feeding America said.

Mediation Fails As Hostess Slides Towards Liquidation


Hostess Brands' hedge fund and private equity owners will seek permission to shut the company down after failing to strike a deal with a striking union yesterday.

Hostess, which filed for bankruptcy on Friday, first asked for approval to lay off its more than 18,000 employees and liquidate on Monday, but U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert Drain pushed for a last-ditch mediation session yesterday, with himself as mediator. But Hostess, which is owned by private equity firm Ripplewood Holdings and features hedge funds Monarch Alternative Capital and Silver Lake Partners as lead creditors, said the session was "unsuccessful."

Newspaper disciplines copy editor for adding 'allegedly' to 'Obama was born in Hawaii'


The Montana Independent Record disciplined a copy editor for changing a line in an Associated Press story to read "Obama was allegedly born in Hawaii."

The change appeared in the Sunday edition of the Helena newspaper in an AP story about President Barack Obama's visit to Asia. The line in the Independent Record read: "The Asia trip underscores Obama's efforts to establish the United states as an Asia-Pacific power, a worldview defined by 21st century geopolitics but also by Obama's personal identity as America's first Pacific president. Obama was allegedly born in Hawaii."

Retired AP staffer Tom Laceky, who worked in the Helena bureau for 28 years, pointed out the addition of "allegedly" in a letter to the editor on Tuesday.

"'Allegedly born in Hawaii?' As if there is any doubt? That right-wing notion has been so thoroughly discredited that only Donald Trump and assorted other loonies still cling to it. Neither the AP nor -I hope - The Independent Record belongs in their company," Laceky wrote.

Another reader also wrote in to share their disappointment with the edit of the AP piece.

In an editor's note, the newspaper wrote that it was a "poor attempt at humor and a poor decision" and that "those responsible have been disciplined":

CNN Host Exposes GOP’s Hypocrisy On Benghazi


Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX) appeared on CNN Wednesday morning to press his case against U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, the target of Republican criticism for initially claiming that the Sept. 11 attacks on Benghazi were inspired by spontaneous protests to an anti-Islamic video. Burgess joined 97 House Republicans in opposing Rice's potential nomination to replace Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State, even though her public statements about the incident originated from unclassified talking points provided by the intelligence community.

Host Soledad O'Brien challenged Burgess' opposition to Susan Rice, noting that Republicans had supported Condoleezza Rice's nomination as Secretary of State in 2005, despite the Bush administration's role in the massive intelligence failures that led to the Iraq war. Burgess struggled to explain the contradiction. He initially claimed that the media was far more critical of Bush's intelligence failures than Obama, but when O'Brien laughed away that claim, he told her to take up the question with Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC), both of whom supported Condoleezza but now oppose Susan:

O'BRIEN: I have asked others before how this does not compare, the Susan Rice issue, to the Condoleezza Rice issue on weapons of mass destruction. She was also wrong when she was the national security adviser, right? … Fast forward three years in 2005 when she was up to be secretary of state, it was Lindsey Graham who was furious that the Democrats were pushing back. It was Sen John mccain who were furious that the Democrats were pushing back on Condoleezza Rice to be Secretary of State. She was wrong on weapons of mass destruction. How is this different?

BURGESS: The difference is the scrutiny provided by our free press in this country. Condoleezza Rice was exposed to withering criticism by the press. I don't see that happening now. Maybe I've missed something in the talking points, but I don't see that happening. ….

O'BRIEN: So you're confusing me there for a moment. When you say the scrutiny on the press — are you saying five days after comments of weapons of mass destruction, you feel like the media was picking apart Condoleezza Rice? I don't think that's true, Sir. Most people say that's not the case. It took a long time. …. Hey, I'm all about scrutiny. I guess I like consistency, too. You were not calling for more scrutiny and you weren't saying that the fact that Condoleezza Rice was wrong on weapons of mass destruction was going to damage her credibility as secretary of state. Again, McCain and Lindsey Graham were supporting that. It seems contradictory to me.

BURGESS: You'll have to take that up with Senator McCain and Senator Graham.

Watch it:


Volunteer or Donate to Help a Child Stay Warm this Winter


Looking for a way to "pay it forward" this holiday season? Give the gift of warmth to a child in need by supporting Dorger McCarthy Group's annual coat drive and holiday party for children whose families are currently living in homeless shelters. Coats and volunteers are needed for this annual event, which happens Dec. 8. Email to sign up to volunteer.

I see @gop 's rage over bengazi and raise you 31 deaths under Bush from 2002 - 2008 Shut up already. #p2 #tcot


Why Senator McCain needs to shut up about Ambassador Rice - this guy chose Palin for crying out loud


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Gov Walker, Wisconsin is still waiting for the 250,000 jobs you promised

Almost immediately after President Obama and Sen. elect Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) handily won the state of Wisconsin with a strong show support of minorities and young voters, Gov. Scott Walker (R-Koch) found himself concerned over the strain on volunteer poll workers, then declared, "It'd be much better if registration was done in advance of election day. It'd be easier for our clerks to handle that. All that needs to be done." Well, easier for his career in politics maybe.  This is a typical Walker-deflection, bringing the public eye away from his own failings, so that he can posture himself for a presidential run.








Poll workers volunteer because they believe in the right to vote, which is evident by their volunteer status. Unless, Walker thinks they're doing it for laughs.

Just to highlight how absurd this is, Walker will have no issue pushing this through with Republicans in control of the State legislature. This type of political gymnastics has all happened before with Walker's assault on Collective Bargaining, his finagled jobs numbers, etc.  If Walker is concerned over the strain of Wisconsinites, perhaps he should vet his own job record, which is lacking. It's funny how having a job in an economy such as ours, takes the strain out of volunteer work. It's just not 'ha ha' funny.

Walker ran on a moderate platform of job creation but has failed miserably on his promise to create 250,000 jobs during his first term. In September, JSOnline reported, "The monthly survey shows 500 fewer jobs in August than when 2012 began. That puts the rough total of jobs created since Walker took office at 27,311. That leaves about 222,689 jobs to go, with a little more than two years left in his term."

 The state's 40-year old law that allows citizens to register to vote on Election Day is now on the table, because apparently Walker has nothing better to do, than to talk to the strain off of a poll workers — who are there because they want to be there.

influential conservative group released a copyright reform memo that was so smart it had to immediately disavow it

A Friday afternoon policy memo is not normally the sort of thing that gets one's heart racing, but "Three Myths About Copyright Law and Where To Start To Fix It" was an exception. It offered a bracing attack on the conventional wisdom about intellectual property that's dominated Congress for decades mounted a vibrant defense of competition, and advocated regulation aimed at consumers rather than incumbent copyright owners. Even more amazing was the source. The memo went out on the letterhead of the Republican Study Committee—an organization of House Republicans who think the House Republican caucus isn't insanely conservative enough—under the names of Rep. Jim Jordan and executive director Paul Teller.

It was an exciting moment for copyright reformers, who were surprised and delighted to find these new conservative allies. But a moment was all it was. By Saturday, Teller hadalready retracted the memo, claiming it "was published without adequate review" and needed to be "approached with all facts and viewpoints in hand."

Common sense suggests there were other reasons for the retraction. Derek Khanna, a tech-savvy young Republican staffer who came to Washington with Sen. Scott Brown before shifting to the RSC to work primarily on cybersecurity and government oversight issues, is clearly well-versed on the subject. He simply lacked the authority to enact a change in position on a topic dominated by powerful interest groups with a ton of money. Khanna's supervisors seem to have paid too much attention to the merits of the memo and not enough to the larger politics when vetting it. According to Mike Masnick at TechDirt, when news of the memo filtered out to the Motion Picture Association of America and Recording Industry Association of America, those organizations "went ballistic and hit the phones hard, demanding that the RSC take down the report." They won.


You'd think that Goldman Sachs — the mega-bank that took $10 billionof taxpayer money — would show a little bit of humility in the wake of the financial crisis. You'd be wrong.

In an interview with CBS News, Lloyd Blankfein, the Goldman CEO who famously said he was doing "God's work," said that Social Security benefits must be cut by raising the retirement age and Medicare and Medicaid must be "contained" as well:

PELLEY: Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid?

BLANKFEIN: You can look at history of these things, and Social Security wasn't devised to be a system that supported you for a 30-year retirement after a 25-year career. … So there will be things that, you know, the retirement age has to be changed, maybe some of the benefits have to be affected, maybe some of the inflation adjustments have to be revised. But in general, entitlements have to be slowed down and contained.

PELLEY: Because we can't afford them going forward?

BLANKFEIN: Because we can't afford them.

Let's get something clear. Blankfein made these comments in the context of what should happen in budget negotiations related to the debt. Social Security does not add one penny to the deficit. And it's fully solvent until 2033 — it would be fully solvent well into the 22nd century if we simply lifted the payroll tax cap.

Watch it:

Did Hacker Group Anonymous Stop Karl Rove from Hijacking Election?

The 2012 presidential election kind of looked rigged from the get-go.

Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted had installed an untested, unapproved software patch for ballot counting just a week before the election. When various groups protested to the courts, Husted responded that the software patch ran outside of the federally-approved voting machinery. Therefore, it did not need testing and did not to be reviewed by the state election commission. The courts went along with him.

A few days later, the international hacker group Anonymous released a video. In it Anonymous warned that they were monitoring all the computers of Fox News analyst and Republican chief fundraiser Karl Rove. Anonymous warned Rove personally to not interfere with the election results.

That made sense. This was because Craig Unger warned Americans about the possibility of electioneering in his book, Boss Rove. That is where Unger argued that Rove's software hackers hijacked the Ohio election results at 11:14 pm EST in 2004. That was when the Ohio vote-tallying computers all went offline. When they came back up, the vote counters had switched thousands of votes in favor of Senator John Kerry to President George W. Bush's column.

Then, during election night in 2012, it was suddenly Unger's story all over again—almost. This time the Ohio, statewide, vote-tallying computers went down at 11:13 pm EST. That was thirteen minutes after voter analyst Karl Rove had begun to throw his 30-minute tantrum live on Fox News. Rove was angry that the Fox analysts had called the Ohio election in favor of President Obama at 11:00 pm EST. During his rant, Rove went into a detailed analysis about how that part of the yet uncounted voter—25%—would throw the election to Romney. And then, bingo—

The Ohio computers went down in the middle of Rove's rant. But when they came back up there was no change in the vote. Obama still led. Rove looked even more perplexed. He then argued for another 15 minutes that Romney could still win Ohio. Finally, Rove conceded that perhaps Romney might lose the state.

Newark, New Jersey Mayor Cory Booker Challenges Twitter User to Live on Food Stamps

Newark, New Jersey Mayor Cory Booker (D) challenged a right-wing Twitter user on Sunday to try to live on food stamps for a week or a month, reports

The Twitter user goes by the handle of @MWadeNC and describes herself as a "Daughter of the American Revolution (DAR), fighting against any and all forms of socialism/communism.. Army Veteran, Army Daughter, Army Wife."

The challenge came after Mayor Booker quoted the Greek historian Plutarch on "An imbalance between rich and poor is the oldest and most fatal ailment of all republics."

Hostess Blames Bankruptcy on Unions, Company Executives Pocket Huge Bonuses

Hostess Brands announced last week that it would go out of business and blamed the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union, who recently threatened a strike.

This storyline was parroted by conservative anti-union media outlets. The Wall Street Journalwrote: "The union that brought the 85-year-old baker of Twinkies and Wonder Bread to its knees." used the headline: "The Demise of Twinkies? Yes, It's True. Parasitic Unions Kill Their Hosts (or, in this case, Hostess)."

However, Hostess [and the conservative media] failed to mention that the 85-year-old company gave its executives pay raises earlier this year when it declared bankruptcy for the second time. reports that the salary of the company's chief executive Greg Rayburn tripled from $750,000 to about $2.5 million, and at least nine other executives received pay raises ranging from $90,000 to $400,000.

On Monday, a bankruptcy judge "asked whether he should preside over mediation" between the two parties. Hostess and the union have agreed to mediation, which would avoid the bankruptcy.

Bargaining talks will begin today, but if they fail, then the liquidation of the company will go forward on Wednesday.

Hostess had planned to request that the judge approve a plan to shut down the company and pay $1.75 million in bonuses [$7,400 to $130,500 each] to the executives who already received pay raises earlier this year.  The union opposes those bonuses.

Hostess previously declared bankruptcy back in 2004 and was taken over by the venture capitalist company Ripplewood Holdings in 2009 for $130 million, reports