The TSA has launched an investigation of employees at their Orlando field office after learning of an office board game being played to mock gays, women and minorities.
The board, resembling the TV game show "Jeopardy," includes categories such as "pickle smokers," "our gang" and "creatures," which sources said were names used by managers for gay men, African-Americans and lesbians. A photograph of the board was sent to CNN. The Transportation Security Administration confirmed the investigation in a written statement but did not elaborate on when the board was in use, where it was displayed or how it was used. "Following a referral from DHS Office of the Inspector General, TSA's Office of Inspection is conducting an ongoing investigation at the Orlando Field office," the statement said.
It's unclear how the game was played or whether the various categories represented points scored for singling out the targeted groups to harass them with extra security screening procedures. Everybody feel safer now?
The Obama administration is accelerating the deployment of new defenses against possible Iranian missile attacks in the Persian Gulf, placing special ships off the Iranian coast and antimissile systems in at least four Arab countries, according to administration and military officials.I wonder what prompted this move and the publicity around it.
About the only thing that is missing is Seymour Hersh's 53rd warning that war with Iran is imminent.
How often does one see the Senate's leading Fascist and only Socialist join together in a highly contentious and high profile vote? If you were watching yesterday, you did. The Senate rejected Obama's somewhat squirrelly hopes for a deficit reduction commission. Needing 60 votes to avoid a filibuster, the bill only drew 53. Liberals like Bernie Sanders, Jeff Merkley, Sherrod Brown, Daniel Akaka, Sheldon Whitehouse, Chris Dodd, Roland Burris, Tom Udall, Maria Cantwell, Frank Lautenberg, Ben Cardin and Jack Reed opposed it because they knew it was a way for conservatives to gut Social Security and Medicare without leaving their bloody fingerprints at the crime scene. Meanwhile, arch obstructionists like DeMint, Sam Brownback, Jeff Sessions, Chuck Grassley, the two lunatic fringe maniacs from Oklahoma, John McCain, Jon Kyl, John Ensign, Miss McConnell and Richard Burr were afraid it might lead to higher taxes on their wealthy backers.
In the end it was a coalition of 23 mostly progressive Democrats and 23 mostly extreme right Republicans voting to kill the proposal-- for opposite reasons-- while corporate shills from both parties backed it. Obama is determined to push ahead with an advisory panel within the Executive Branch tasked with coming up with the same crappy proposals the bipartisan anti-working family Establishment is demanding. Remember, it is accepted wisdom Inside the Beltway that Republicans are allowed to run up gargantuan deficits with tax cuts for the wealthy and unfunded wars which can then be left for Democrats to clean up and get blamed for, helping elect Republicans who will run up more deficits for all the wrong reasons.
The post is accompanied by the following chart, which Matt Yglesias designed and explained back in June 2009.
David Leonhardt has a nice article breaking down the sources of the growth in the budget deficit. Since Leonhardt works for The New York Times rather than USA Today, they didn't see fit to illustrate his article with a pie chart, but I made one myself.
- "The first category - the business cycle - accounts for 37 percent of the $2 trillion swing."
- Second, Bush-era legislation "like his tax cuts and the Medicare prescription drug benefit, [that] not only continue to cost the government but have also increased interest payments on the national debt."
- Third, "Obama's main contribution to the deficit is his extension of several Bush policies, like the Iraq war and tax cuts for households making less than $250,000 [...] 20 percent of the swing."
- Fourth, "About 7 percent comes from the stimulus bill that Mr. Obama signed in February."
- Fifth, "only 3 percent comes from Mr. Obama's agenda on health care, education, energy and other areas."
In other words, the very high deficits are not Obama's fault according to any normal way of assessing political blame. That said, large deficits aren't a moral failing that we need to hold someone accountable for. Rather, they're a potential future practical problem that will have to be solved.
Potential future problem. You wanna know how to prevent deficits from becoming a future problem? Pass legislation that will expand the economy and create jobs: strong health care reform, massive infrastructure stimulus, massive subsidies for renewable energy, restoring Clinton-era tax rates, slashing the trillions in waste at the Pentagon.
Hey, look: all the things that will create jobs, revive the economy and eliminate the deficit are liberal policies!