Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Headlines - Wednesday July 4


I implore all of you to read this piece from Vanity Fair on Mitt Romney's finances and Bain Capital's slimeball financial trickery. It's astonishing.

I'll just share one excerpt here:

[The] Romneys were reported to have invested at least $1 million in Elliott Associates, L.P., a hedge fund specializing in "distressed assets." Elliott buys up cheap debt, often at cents on the dollar, from lenders to deeply troubled nations such as Congo-Brazzaville, then attacks the debtor states with lawsuits to squeeze maximum repayment. Elliott is run by the secretive hedge-fund billionaire and G.O.P. super-donor Paul Singer, whom Fortune recently dubbed Mitt Romney's "Hedge Fund Kingmaker." (Singer has given $1 million to Romney's super-pac Restore Our Future.) 
And here are 99 more things you need to know.

Just before the midnight deadline on July 1st, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie vetoed $7.5 million in family planning funding which would have funded mammograms, pap smears, cancer screenings, and birth control.

It wouldn't have funded abortions, and it wouldn't have forced the state budget into the red. He vetoed it just because.

Democrats in the state had tried to restore money for social services but Christie wasn't having it. All said he vetoed $7.5 million into women's clinics, refused to return $66 million in energy tax revenue to cities, and vetoed a proposal to beef up tax credits for the working poor after slashing them previously in 2010.

As Robin Marty reports, the $7.5 million proposed would have come from the over $500 million budget surplus the state is projected to have. Those funds will instead go to increase the state's cash reserves.

Christie offered the following response

The budget I signed reverses irresponsible funding decisions, establishes funding levels based on realistic and responsible revenue assumptions and increases our surplus. I am unwilling to surrender the gains we have made to establish fiscal responsibility in the state budget.

"I am unwilling to surrender the gains we have made to establish fiscal responsibility in the state budget."

Translation: I am willing to surrender the health of others to further my political career.

The state is expecting a $500 million budget surplus thanks in part to increased taxes on the working poor, but Christie refused to sign only $7.5 million into law which would have primarily benefited the same working poor people he raised those taxes on. You know, so he can rubber stamp a $500 million surplus with his name on it. $492.5 million just doesn't have the same ring to it.

To say that Chris Christie is a dick would be an understatement.


After Michigan Governor Rick Snyder unexpectedly vetoed three separate Republican-sponsored bills aimed at suppressing the vote, Michigan House Speaker Jase Bolger responded to critics of the bills by citing ACORN as a grave threat to the integrity of elections.

via Eclectablog

It is not unreasonable to expect that people handling voter registrations should receive some basic training," Ari Adler, Bolger's spokesman, said in a statement. "People who believe they are registering to vote should have confidence in the process so they know their registrations are being handled properly. Antics by unscrupulous groups such as ACORN have proven that protecting the voter registration process is vital if we hope to preserve the integrity of ballots cast by every eligible voter.

Congress voted to defund ACORN nearly three years ago and the organization officially shut its doors two years ago.

Because the organization was damaging the integrity of the vote? No.

Because James O'Keefe and Andrew Breitbart selectively edited a video of O'Keefe visiting an ACORN office while dressed up as a pimp.

Someone close to Bolger should tap him on the shoulder and remind him that even Glenn Beck eventually stopped beating the dead ACORN horse.


Fun fact: In 1986 Ronald Reagan signed into law one of the most expensive mandates in the history of the nation, the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act. This act mandated that hospitals provide emergency room care (the most expensive care there is) to the uninsured. The results of this mandate have been expensive. Uninsured care makes up about 55% of hospital costs, and those costs are passed on to insurance companies, WHO IN TURN PASS THEM ON TO THEIR INSUREDS IN THE FORM OF HIGHER PREMIUMS. In addition, the government – federal and state – reimburse hospitals about 50% of those costs using our tax dollars.


FoxNation carried the piece about Anderson Cooper opening up and stating that he's gay. That bit of news prompted the following comment from a conservative reader.

Well I don't get into personal attacks. I'm a Conservative. I lean toward the facts.
The Facts are if you attracted to others of the same gender, you are a homosexual. Age doesn't matter.

Cooper – Sandusky. Same thing. They both are attracted to people of the same gender.

It's stuff like this that keeps reminding me that stupid can't be fixed. If one is of the belief that there is no difference between homosexuals and child molesters then I imagine that there is not much one could say to dissuade the idiots from their bigoted and ignorant views. I've wasted too much precious time 'debating' matters of this sort with homophobic, racist morons. It's just not worth the effort. It's best to simply call them out, ignore their continuing rants and then use the voting booth to elect public officials willing to enact legislation that prevents the scum from infecting a civil society beyond what they already have.

Anyone who can say with a straight face that conservatives "lean toward the facts" and there is no difference between a gay man and a child molester is not worth the spit they so deserve.


Anti-tax movement region of Colorado hit by fires, begs for federal help (duh)


In the dark of the night, the Republicans launch another attack in the war on women:

North Carolina's Republican-controlled state legislature voted Monday night to override Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue's veto of a state budget that strips money from Planned Parenthood.

The same lawmakers overrode Perdue's veto and moved to defund Planned Parenthood last year, but a judge blocked the provision, arguing that a state can't single out a particular health provider. This time around, lawmakers found a way to sidestep legal challenges by not specifically naming Planned Parenthood in the budget. Instead, the bill prevents the state's Health and Human Services department from contracting with "private providers" of family planning services—effectively, but not explicitly, singling out Planned Parenthood.

Planned Parenthood of Central North Carolina, one of the state's two Planned Parenthood providers, estimates that it will lose $200,000 as a result of the new budget. Because no state money is used for abortion services, the funding cuts will affect the clinic's ability to provide affordable birth control, cancer screenings, pap smears and other services for low-income women in the state.

So while Republican governors are actively avoiding implementing ACA, House Republicans are working to make sure it can not be implemented, all Republicans are screaming for repeal with no plan to replace it and basically screwing 50 million Americans, NC Republicans walk back a previous commitment to women's health and throw low income residents out on the street.

Anyone anywhere who votes Republican, registers as a Republican, or calls himself a Republican is quite simply a sociopath. They know what they are aiding and abetting and don't deserve the benefit of the doubt anymore.


There's a lot of scuffling and howling about Jan Crawford's explanation of how Chief Justice Iscariot came to the decision he did last week. I, for one, am quite sanguine about the prospect for our Republic now that a substantial minority of the justices of the Supreme Court has decided to combine the wisdom of the afternoon drive-time talk show with the fundamental emotional stability of a kindergarten. Among other things, she's awfully kind to Anthony (Weather Vane) Kennedy, which makes me suspicious of exactly who her sources were.

Because this is a holiday week, let's enjoy some inadvertent hilarity:

Some of the conservatives, such as Justice Clarence Thomas, deliberately avoid news articles on the court when issues are pending (and avoid some publications altogether, such as The New York Times). They've explained that they don't want to be influenced by outside opinion or feel pressure from outlets that are perceived as liberal.

"Influenced by outside opinion"? Thomas's wife was running a lobbying shop against the Affordable Care Act, and Scalia went duck-hunting with Dick Cheney more here.


The Navy decided not to use a cardboard cutout of a Muslim woman for target practice, reports the Virginian-Pilot, which first published a photo of the target last week. The hijab-wearing, gun-toting woman was part of a new training range for Navy Seals at Virginia Beach. Both her image and the Quran verse on the wall behind her have been removed after the Council on American-Islamic Relations wrote a letter to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on Friday, stating the target "sends a negative and counterproductive message to trainees and to the Muslim-majority nations to which they may be deployed."


Women of Brooklyn, New York, State Senator Marty Golden (R) wants to turn you into proper ladies fit for employment.

As part of a summer series on career development directed at his female constituents, Golden is hosting a taxpayer-funded event called "Posture, Deportment and the Feminine Presence" on July 24. Golden promises to teach Bay Ridge women "the art of feminine presence," which includes tips on how to "sit, stand and walk like a model" and "walk up and down a stair elegantly":

Golden defended the workshop as simply a way to help women get jobs in a tough market. Countering this justification, State Sen. Liz Krueger (D-Manhattan) told City & State:

"Rather than passing legislation such as the Fair Pay Act to assist women in the workplace, the Senate Republicans appear to be offering career advice on posture and how to act feminine," said Krueger, who hosted the Senate Democrats' forum on issues affecting women in the workplace in May. "Perhaps this would be appropriate on Mad Men, but not in New York in the 21st century."

Golden was the only Brooklyn senator to vote against New York's same-sex marriage law.

Update: Golden's website has deleted the above quotes from the event page.


Are you having a bad day? Well, unless you "accidentally" shot a hobo through the eye, your day is not as bad as that of North Carolina state Rep. Becky Carney, Democrat of Mecklenburg, who lobbied all her colleagues to kill the environmental catastrophe that is fracking, but then was the accidental deciding vote legalizing fracking in the state. Oh man. Remember the poor Palm Beach Jews who voted for Pat Buchanan and elected George W. Bush? This is like that but with earthquakes and water burning like it's the Cuyahoga River.

Carney pointed out that she has voted against fracking in the past, and said she spent the day lobbying other Democrats to uphold the veto of Senate Bill 820.

"And then I push the green button," she said.

Just after the vote, Carney's voice could be heard on her microphone, saying "Oh my gosh. I pushed green."



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