Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Headlines - Tuesday June 12

$3.3 billion to fund congressional operations, but you can't have health care.....
Thanks, Dubya. Thanks banksters!
Why is the financial pain limited to the 99%? Wall Street pay has declined, but it's fair to see that most Americans would gladly live on their income level, even in it's current state. Our failure to address this problem only reinforces the argument that neither party represents middle class America. Bloomberg:
The average American family lost 38.8 percent of its wealth from 2007 to 2010, with the biggest losses concentrated among households with the most assets tied to their homes, a Federal Reserve study shows.

Median net worth declined to $77,300 in 2010, an 18-year low, from $126,400 in 2007, the central bank said in its Survey of Consumer Finances. Mean net worth fell 14.7 percent to a nine-year low of $498,800 from $584,600, the central bank said today in Washington.

I already think the pro-life fanatics are creepy, but stuff like this just takes it to the next level:

A socially conservative majority dominating the Michigan House hopes to impose new regulations on abortion providers and mostly prohibit the practice after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

A House committee on Thursday advanced a three-bill package to the floor requiring abortion clinics to be licensed surgical centers, imposing new requirements for disposing of the remains of aborted fetuses and making it a crime to coerce a woman into terminating a pregnancy.

One of the bills includes a ban on late-term abortions for unborn children 20 or more weeks developed, with a narrow exception when the mother's life is at risk, said the bill sponsor, Rep. Deb Shaughnessy, R-Charlotte.

The legislation does not allow late-term abortions in cases of rape, incest or fetal defect, such as a missing brain or spine.

It doesn't matter what trimester of pregnancy a woman is in, if the fetus doesn't have a spine and brain, it isn't a baby. It never was a baby. It was a biological mistake. I can't think of anything crueler or creepier than a bunch of religious nuts forcing a woman to carry a brainless pile of cells to "term."

These people are very, very sick.


Meanwhile, to let you know what kind of state Kentucky here is where I live, the two UK students who hung President Obama in effigy last fall got precisely zero indictments from a grand jury, because there's not a grand jury that can be empaneled in the Commonwealth here that would ever see any reason to charge anyone with hanging a black President in effigy for anything.

The grand jury dismissed charges of second-degree burglary, theft by unlawful taking and disorderly conduct against Hunter Bush, 21, and Joe Fischer, 22, a UK senior, lawyer Fred Peters said Tuesday.

University of Kentucky police found the effigy on the Wednesday before Election Day hanging from a tree on the Lexington, Ky., campus.

UK President Lee Todd immediately called a news conference to denounce the incident, calling the act "deplorable" and "abominal." "We've done many, many things to increase diversity," Todd said. "I know this is not a reflection of this institution."

Bush and Todd were arrested the next day. UK police said the two men told them the act was in response to news reports that an effigy of Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin had been hung in California.

Material used to make the effigy, including clothes, was stolen from a fraternity house, leading to the burglary and theft charges. Neither man was a member of the fraternity.

The disorderly conduct charge was for the actual hanging of the effigy. Peters said the charge clearly violated the First Amendment.

So yeah, nothing to see here, no trial necessary, was just a prank, the real racists are the folks trying to criminalize this clearly first amendment "protected vile speech", yadda yadda amen. Hey, let's have everyone in America do this, then we can all join in the fun of yelling FIRST AMENDMENT, BITCHEZ while we have a good laugh.

Try to burn the American flag or a Bible in this country however, well our conservative friends (and more than a few Democrats) had no problem wanting to criminalize that by changing the Constitution or by law.

Moving on.

Politically, Lexington is a strongly liberal downtown core surrounded by repug freakazoid suburbs. The criminal justice system in town, however, is a throwback, with a chief prosecutor who thinks he's Wyatt Earp. If a grand jury doesn't indict you, it's because Ray Larson doesn't want you indicted.

I share Zandar's dismay, but in addition to widespread racism there's some individual blame to be laid here.

And of course the free speech argument is bullshit. If someone had hanged Smirky/Darth in effigy in Boston Common in 2003, the good liberal courts there would ship the person to Guantanamo themselves.


Justice Department is suing Florida after the state disregarded the federal government's request to suspend its voter purge campaign. In a letter to the Florida Secretary of State, Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez argues that Florida is violating the National Voter Registration Act and the Voting Rights Act. "Please immediately cease this unlawful conduct," Perez writes. The full text of the letter is available HERE.


Pay for chief executives has skyrocketed over the last two decades, and a new study found that the way executives use their wealth has a direct impact on how their companies operate. "Unfrugal" CEOs — those who spend their massive salaries on luxury goods — aren't more likely to commit fraud in their personal business dealings. Their companies, however, are more likely to commit fraud, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research:

However, as predicted, we find that unfrugal CEOs oversee a relatively loose control environment characterized by relatively high probabilities of other insiders perpetrating fraud and unintentional material reporting errors. Further, cultural changes associated with an increase in fraud risk are more likely during unfrugal (vs. frugal) CEOs' reign, including the appointment of an unfrugal CFO, an increase in executives' equity-based incentives to misreport, and a decline in measures of board monitoring intensity.

The study also found that companies run by free-spending CEOs are "significantly more likely" to make bad business decisions that lead to bankruptcy. But this shouldn't be shocking: at some of America's biggest companies, executive compensation is barely tied to the performance of the business.


Representative Jason Chaffetz, a Republican (duh) from Utah, has a lot in common with his fellow Republicans, given that he thinks that fixing the deficit is a very, very important issue, but! not so important that we should be willing to cut defense spending or let the Bush tax cuts expire to get the job done. See, to Representative Jason Chaffetz, the deficit is a very specific level of important that necessitates raising the retirement age to 72, but does NOT require the expiration of the Bush tax cuts. In an op-ed over at The Hill called "Washington Has a Spending Problem, Not a Revenue Problem," Chaffetz patiently explains that if we'd all just be willing to pitch in and sacrifice a little — you know, retire at 72, privatize Medicare, limit government assistance to Poors, that sort of thing — we can protect the interests of oil companies and rich people AND fix the deficit!



Oh HI, what were those pro-genocide anti-woman mass-murdering abortionists up to this weekend? Nothing much! Just using a quaint mix of "facts" and "reason" to explain (AGAIN) that morning after pills (a.k.a, "the so-called morning after pill," a.k.a. "morning after abortion pills," a.k.a "a shot of estrogen," a.k.a. "abortive pills") do not actually cause abortion. This is because there is no embryo for the pills abort, a fact supported by "the latest scientific findings" which, among other things, show that the pills work by delaying ovulation so that sperm can't fertilize an egg to create an embryo. The fact that "science," "expert opinion," and "facts" show that the morning after pill does not cause an abortion, to the New York Times, means that:

"Religious conservatives are losing one of their primary arguments for trying to ban the morning-after birth control pill that can prevent pregnancy if taken within days after sexual intercourse. They and their political allies have long contended that the pills work by aborting an embryo at the earliest stages of development."

You stupid liberals, bringing FACTS to an IDEOLOGY fight! If an "abortion" means "removing an embryo or fetus from the body in which it has taken up residence" then no, the morning after pill does not cause abortion. But! Since abortion now means "anything a woman does to control her own reproductive capabilities," then according to Donna Harrison over at the National Review Online, OF COURSE the morning after pill is TOTALLY an abortion:



Mitt Romney's presidential campaign isn't backing off the candidate's claim that America needs fewer teachers, firefighters, and police officers. Instead, former New Hampshire Gov. John Sununu (R), a top Romney campaign surrogate, backed Romney's call this morning, telling MSNBC that changes in technology and population shifts have made layoffs of teachers and public safety officials necessary.

Romney's original comments left little room for interpretation. President Obama "says we need more firemen, more policemen, more teachers," Romney said Friday. "Did he not get the message of Wisconsin? The American people did. It's time for us to cut back on government and help the American people." But to Sununu, the comments highlighted a "real issue" that showed Romney's "wisdom," he told MSNBC's Chris Jansing today:

SUNUNU: Let me respond as a taxpayer, not as a representative of the Romney campaign. There are municipalities, there are states where there is flight of population. And as the population goes down, you need fewer teachers. As technology contributes to community security and dealing with issues that firefighters have to deal with, you would hope that you can, as a taxpayer, see the benefits of the efficiency and personnel that you get out of that.

JANSING: But even if there's movement to the suburbs, teachers and policemen are needed somewhere.

SUNUNU: But I'm going to tell you there are places where just pumping money in to add to the public payroll is not what the taxpayers of this country want.

JANSING: Do you think that taxpayers of this country want to hear fewer firefighters, fewer teachers, fewer police officers, from a strategic standpoint?

SUNUNU: If there's fewer kids in the classrooms, the taxpayers really do want to hear there will be fewer teachers. [...] You have a lot of places where that is happening. You have a very mobile country now where things are changing. You have cities in this country in which the school population peaked ten, 15 years ago. And, yet the number of teachers that may have maintained has not changed. I think this is a real issue. And people ought to stop jumping on it as a gaffe and understand there's wisdom in the comment.


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