Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Headlines - Wednesday January 18


Andrew Sullivan: How Obama's Long Game Will Outsmart His Critics
Robert Reich: Free Enterprise on Trial
It was a big day in Wisconsin. Recall petitions were delivered to the capital -- a literal ton of them and accounting for more than one million signatures. A reporter for the Wisconsin State Journal says that the head of the Government Accountability Board (GAB) is having trouble finding workers to check the signatures, because one of the requirements is that the temps can't have signed the petition. That's how successful this petition drive has been. There are more such nuggets of info at WSJ's live blog of the filing, as well as a photo gallery here.
The AFA is outraged that cops told people to stop reciting from the Bible to a captive audience at the DMV: 
The two men were arrested for reading from the Bible to roughly 50 individuals waiting in line outside the DMV. A security guard told Mackey to stop, and when Mackey refused, a police officer was called and Mackey was arrested. Coronado and another church elder then asked the police officer what law Mackey broke, but instead of an answer, they were arrested as well. Lenny Esposito, president of Come Reason Ministries, argues that there was no legitimate cause for the arrest. Lenny Esposito "From a legal perspective, I think the officer mishandled the situation, and I don't know that he had grounds for arresting these individuals," he says. Officials say Coronado and Mackey could not preach on state property without a permit. But attorneys for the two men say the First Amendment rights of their clients were violated.
The men were charged with one misdemeanor count of creating a disturbance.
Borowitz: "Say what you will about Newt Gingrich, it takes a lot of guts to say the things he does without his white sheet on."
The latest ABC/Washington Post poll shows that only 13% of Americans approve of the job Congress is doing, while 84% disapprove. Keep in mind that 468 members of this Congress---all 435 in the House and 33 in the Senate---were elected in 2010, when only 41% of eligible voters approved of Congress enough to even cast a ballot. In other words, 59% of eligible voters disapproved of this Congress from the get-go. And it has been all downhill from there.
88,071 children were reportedly cut from the Medicaid rolls in Pennsylvania since August of 2011 because of stricter eligibility reviews. Also — if you have more than $2,000 in total assets, you're no longer eligible to receive food stamps. Really.

WTF is going on in Pennsylvania?


Via Greg Sargent, The Washington Post released the results of their latest poll today and found that, by a wide margin, more people now consider inequality to be a bigger economic problem than big government regulation.

What do you think is the bigger problem in this country — unfairness in the economic system that favors the wealthy, or over-regulation of the free market that interferes with growth and prosperity?

Economic unfairness : 55
Market overregulation: 35

Is this a sign that President Obama and the Democratic Party is winning the message war as a whole? Possibly. I think it is.

The idea that regulations are the ultimate job killers in this country is a well-entrenched idea which has faced little to no challenge from the corporate media and has only been challenged on a regular basis by the Democratic party in more recent years. President Obama is also the first president in modern history to regularly reject the idea that government is the problem in nearly every speech he makes.

If the trend continues, and the economy continues to improve as all indicators seem to suggest it will, the Republicans won't even have their used ideology of unchecked markets to run on.

That's not to say they won't run on it anyway, but it's going to afford them less and less traction going forward.


During yesterday's press conference wherein Mitt Romney admitted to paying a tax rate of only 15 percent, he also alluded to his other sources of income as "not very much."

According to a USAToday report published before the GOP primaries began, "not very much" actually comes out to be roughly $362,000 in speaking fees.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, a multimillionaire who recently joked about being unemployed, earned more than $362,000 in speaking fees over a year, financial disclosure forms released this afternoon show.

Romney, a former Massachussets governor, reported earnings from nine speeches between Feb. 26, 2010 and Feb. 20 of this year, when he collected a $42,500 check from Barclays Bank for an appearance in Washington, D.C. Barclays received $8.5 billion from the government's bailout of insurance giant AIG during the 2008 economic crisis, records show.

Mitt Romney earns more for one speaking appearance than the average American earns in an entire year, and today he said it was "not very much."

For an added dose of embarrassment, "not much" has been earned, in part, by speaking at banks that received federal bailout funds.

Why should Detroit go bankrupt but not Barclays? Does Mitt Romney secretly love bailouts?

Tune in next time for another episode of the Mitt Romney train-wreck.



Wikipedia has shut down all English language sites to protest SOPA and PIPA, the Senate version of the SOPA act. Though SOPA has been withdrawn, PIPA could still get a floor vote in the Senate on the 24th. And even though the DNS blacklist provision has been removed from both bills, there are still a number of ugly remnants, as explained by the EFF.

If you want a concrete example of why Wikipedia is reacting so forcefully to this legislation, which would essentially shut down a site if it hosted content that the rights holder asserted violated copyright, look at this picture I used in a post on Sunday. It's a scan from a 1944 issue of Life Magazine that is still under copyright. As you can see if you follow the link, Wikipedia has an elaborate rationale explaining why the use of that picture is fair use, and those reasons sound compelling to me. If they weren't compelling to Time/Warner, the copyright holder, Time/Warner could issue a DMCA takedown notice and Wikipedia would have to remove the offending content. As long as Wikipedia isn't making money from the use of the copyrighted material, is unaware of the infringement, and responds to the takedown notice, they can't be held liable for the infringement. In other words, sites like Wikipedia have "safe harbor" under current copyright law, but they face the threat of complete shutdown under the proposed new law, if they're a foreign site. That's what's so radical about this change, and why it's provoked this response by Wikipedia.

By the way, thanks to the 1998 extension of the length of copyright, Time/Warner will be able to have rights to that image until at least 2039. Copyright extension plus SOPA/PIPA shows how far we've come from the original purpose of copyright, which was to give authors rights over their creations during their lifetime to spur creativity.


"Hi, I'm Paula Deen! I used to make you salivate for Confederate Comfort Food. But now that those recipes have given me diabetes, God has opened the door for me to shill for Victoza, the diabetes medication I'm now taking, miraculously brought to Earth by Nova Nordisk!"


Jill: The Myth of Hard Work


Brad Blog: Gingrich's Religious Backers Accuse Santorum's Religious Backers of Voter Fraud and Rigging the Election at Weekend's Anti-Romney Pow-Wow in TX!


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