Sunday, March 6, 2011

Headlines - Sunday March 6

Funny Lent Ecard: I believe I'm getting closer to God by spending a few weeks not eating M&M's.

Filming wildlife in West Africa, a National Geographic cameraman keeps the camera rolling as a wall of sand swallows the entire crew.


Sure, they said they cared about creating jobs. But that was while they were running to take back their country from secret Muslim Kenyan socialists who want to kill your grandma and make your kids eat vegetables. Now that they're in control, jobs have taken a back seat to the issues that matters most in America: denying health care to low-income women.

And they'll shut down the whole damn government to do it. Via the Minnesota Independent.


When you hear health insurers complain about the burdens and the lost revenue they'll be facing under the Affordable Care Act, keep this story in mind.


Rachel Rising Need proof that there is hope for the future because liberalism is on the rise? Rachel Maddow tops Beck in viewers in the crucial 25-54 advertising demographic. In fact, 31% of her audience comes from that age demo, while for Beck it is just 21%.


Obama has a sad - Jeb Bush, the water-head son of an asshole and future family franchise heir, refused to give President Carebear the photo-opp he sought: "But unlike Charlie Crist, whose public embrace of Obama haunted him throughout the 2010 campaign, Bush wasn't about to suffer from the same photo opp. He kept a safe distance from Obama during their introductions, offering him a firm handshake and a pat on the arm." (The Ticket)

The New York Times helps David Koch do a little image repair. It actually seems to be part of a media tour, because Koch also told a Boston Globe reporter he has "no relationship with the governor and didn't directly support him."

Of course you didn't "directly support" him --
that's what Americans for Prosperity is for. They directly support Walker. Plausible deniability -- it's what astroturf organizations are all about.

The big takeaway here; Koch feels politically damaged, because he's practically become a brand name for shady, back-room deals and corporate ownership of elected politicians. You don't try to fix what you think ain't broke.
Digby: How to force a false confession


This, from Kevin Drum:

 I'd just like to second Jane Hamsher, Mark Kleiman, Glenn Greenwald, and everyone else who's appalled at the way we're treating Bradley Manning. If he's guilty of a crime, then try him and sentence him. Until then, as Mark says, "This is a total disgrace. It shouldn't be happening in this country. You can't be unaware of this, Mr. President. Silence gives consent."

Of course, Obama's silence on Bush era torturing - his wish to "look forward" and sweep it all under the carpet -  also comprises consent, and makes him a criminal accessory after the fact along with everyone in his administration who goes along with this policy.

All of which is the primary reason I will not support Obama's campaign for re-election. "Silence gives consent".


We should all give thanks to Gerald Allen of the Alabama state senate for protecting his citizens from the encroachment of Sharia Law. Even though there have been no documented cases of Sharia Law being used in a United States court, the threat is coming!

There are no cases on record of attempts to have Sharia recognized by courts in the state of Alabama, but that did not prevent a Republican state senator from introducing a bill this Thursday to ban its use.

""It's not about what's happening right now," Senator Gerald Allen explained to the Anniston Star. "I'm thinking about 10 years down the road, 20, 30, 40." [...]

When asked during an interview to define Sharia, however, Allen was unable to do so. He said that the wording in his bill had been drafted by his legislative staff, but a source on the staff acknowledged that their definition of Sharia had been lifted from Wikipedia.

I don't mean to diminish the infinitely useful entity known as Wikipedia, but are you kidding me? We're now opening virtual encyclopedias to draft legislation? If you cannot even define what it is you are against, why are you trying to legislate it?

The Pro Life Party
The Republicans will nest themselves inside your uterus. But just make sure you're never poisoned. The latest Republican budget cut:
Eliminating nearly all the money for poison control centers would save $27 million — not even a rounding error when it comes to the deficit. Yet it is so foolish that it perfectly illustrates the thoughtlessness of the House Republican bill to cut $61 billion from the budget over the next seven months.

The nation's network of 57 poison control centers takes four million calls a year about people who may have been exposed to a toxic substance. In three-quarters of all cases, the centers are able to provide treatment advice that does not require a visit to a hospital or a doctor, saving tens of millions of dollars in medical costs.

Again, it's appropriate to repeat the maxim: Republicans believe life begins at conception and ends at birth.


Rethink Afghanistan War (Part 4): Civilian Casualties


Attention American internet consumers: You. Are. Getting. Screwed. "HONG KONG residents can enjoy astoundingly fast broadband at an astoundingly low price. It became available last year, when a scrappy company called Hong Kong Broadband Network introduced a new option for its fiber-to-the-home service: a speed of 1,000 megabits a second - known as a "gig" - for less than $26 a month. ... In the United States, we don't have anything close to that. But we could. And we should. ... Verizon, the nation's leading provider of fiber-to-the-home service, doesn't offer a gig, or even half that speed. Instead, it markets a "fastest" service that is only 50 megabits a second for downloading and 20 megabits a second for uploading. It costs $144.99 a month. That's one-twentieth the speed of Hong Kong Broadband's service for downloading, for more than five times the price.


Right wing dismisses White House report on women's rights


Child Molester Is Castrated in Plea Deal


Surely it's all a simple rounding error mistake. This new study may not be perfectly accurate but the Big Pharma claims of $1.3 billion per product is surely overstated. Slate:

For years the government has sought to make brand-name drugs cheaper and more widely available to the public. It has tried and failed to limit to a reasonable time period various patent and other "exclusivity" protections. Or it's tried and failed to negotiate volume discounts on the drugs that the feds purchase through Medicare. Every time, the pharmaceutical lobby has used its considerable wealth and political clout to block any government action that might trim Big Pharma's profits, which typically amount to between one-quarter and one-half of company revenues. And just about every time, Big Pharma has argued that huge profit margins are vitally necessary to the pharmaceutical industry because drug research and development costs are so high.

The statistic Big Pharma typically cites (see, for instance, this PhRMA video on how Mister Chemical Compound becomes Mister Brand-Name Drug) is that the cost of bringing a new drug to market is about $1 billion. Now a new study indicates the cost is more like, um, $55 million.


Tax free rape

Despite early signs of the archdiocese maybe doing the right thing and cooperating, it now appears as though they are doing what the Catholic church always does. If a single person is found guilty, someone needs to prosecute the management of that archdiocese and send them to prison. This is sickening.


A well written, easy to understand primer about how the rich have soaked us over the past 30 years:


Several examples show this. First, a good part of the money the rich save from taxes is then lent by them to the government (in the form of buying US Treasury securities for their personal investment portfolios). It would obviously be better for the government to tax the rich to maintain its expenditures, and thereby avoid deficits and debts. Then the government would not need to tax the rest of us to pay interest on those debts to the rich.

Second, the richest Americans take the money they save from taxes and invest big parts of it in China, India and elsewhere. That often produces more jobs over there, fewer jobs here, and more imports of goods produced abroad. US dollars flow out to pay for those imports and so accumulate in the hands of foreign banks and foreign governments. They, in turn, lend from that wealth to the US government because it does not tax our rich, and so we get taxed to pay for the interest Washington has to give those foreign banks and governments. The largest single recipient of such interest payments today is the People's Republic of China.

Third, the richest Americans take the money they don't pay in taxes and invest it in hedge funds and with stockbrokers to make profitable investments. These days, that often means speculating in oil and food, which drives up their prices, undermines economic recovery for the mass of Americans, and produces acute suffering around the globe. Those hedge funds and brokers likewise use part of the money rich people save from taxes to speculate in the US stock markets. That has recently driven stock prices higher: hence, the stock market recovery. And that mostly helps – you guessed it – the richest Americans who own most of the stocks.

As Paul Krugman likes to say, "we don't have a spending problem, we have a revenue problem".


Grief's depths:

Meghan O'Rourke follows it down.


Jurassicpork: You're Blowing it, Mr. President. 


The Secret Service has closed an inquiry into an incident in which a 10-year-old Atlantic City boy allegedly telephoned a threat to the Presidential Library of former President George W. Bush near Dallas, Tex.

No charges will be filed.

Secret Service spokesman Bob Novy said Friday that his agency considers the matter closed. He declined to comment on the content of the call placed earlier this week.

Citing "sources," NBC10 said the fifth-grader allegedly left a voicemail message with the library saying he would kill former President Bush.


"Armed Palace" is right - that fucker Walker is a dictator different from Gaddafi only in degree. "Wisconsin state Representative Nick Milroy (D), the lawmaker who was tackled last night while trying to enter the Capitol building in Madison, said in a statement Friday that both he and the law enforcement officers involved in the incident had acted aggressively, but that "no harm was done." He did, however, have some harsh words for what he calls the "armed-palace environment created by Gov. Walker." "


It would be a lot easier to deal with both the teabaggers and their groupies in the Village if more people acknowledged who and what they really are.


I'm wondering when people are going to recognize that not only is the Tea Party socially conservative and uhm ... racially uncomfortable, their antipathy to taxes and government actually stems from those attitudes. It's not a coincidence or even a sympathetic constellation of various positions on the issues. They don't like government because they believe that government should not protect and support people they don't like.

It's not even a matter of not liking the constitutional principle of "majority rule, but protect the minority" because they think it's undemocratic. When they are in the majority, they resent the protection of the minority, to be sure. But when they are in the minority they equally resent majority rule. The "principle" is simply that they believe they are superior and more deserving and that people they don't like, whether they are in the majority or the minority, do not deserve to have any say in how the world is organized. They just do not believe their opposition is legitimate in any way. It's not really any more complicated than that.

Later, Digby makes the same point on teabagger demands for forced birth:

I think it's adorable that so many of our Village scribes continue to insist that the "new conservatives" are just a bunch of fiscal hawks trying to cut the fat, but it's wishful thinking. they are the same old same old, and as I wrote in the previous post, the reason they are fiscal hawks is the same reason they are social conservatives: to stop people they don't like (in this case pregnant women who want to exercise their constitutional right to abortion) from doing things they don't like.

Have you talked to your Democratic neighbors today?


We're sure Walker's fealty to the Kochs has nothing to do with this..."The state Office of Energy Independence would be eliminated, as would mandates for state agencies to use less gasoline, under Gov. Scott Walker's two-year budget plan. ... The work done by the Office of Energy Independence will be shifted to the state Department of Administration as part of a streamlining initiative, the governor's office said in its budget proposal. "Increasing government efficiency" is the reason for the move, said Cullen Werwie, Walker's spokesman. ... The office has been responsible for coordinating federal energy-related allocations to the state, including those under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. That includes the biggest award of federal dollars in the country for operators of vehicle fleets to buy alternative-fuel vehicles." (We remain confused and confounded over the logic of trashing the energy-saving efforts in order to save money.



Via If you commit a felony, using the "I didn't know it was against the law" defense won't work. Unless you are a Supreme Court Justice. Then it works great.

Clarence Thomas, a freaking Supreme Court Justice, breaks a federal law that got Bill Clinton and Martha Stewart in deep hoohah and would get any other person in this country thrown in the slammer. But he'll get off scot-free because he's Clarence Freaking Thomas.

Thomas' behavior raises three obvious questions, the answers to which are all inter-related: Why is it likely that no consequences will be visited on a Supreme Court justice who has committed a series of criminal offenses? Why is this story not a full-blown scandal?
And why is Thomas such an insufferable prick and still has yet to be shown his ass on a platter?


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