One of the school assignments that kids in the neighborhood are getting is three question worksheets for them ask their parents parents about 9/11. One sheet asked parents what they remember from the day. Another asks what they think are the three most important consequences of 9/11. Here are the answers I gave to that one:
1. An unnecessary war with Iraq.
2. Loss of civil liberties.
3. The growth of anti-Muslim prejudice and discrimination.
Scott Van Duzer, the one who gave Obama the bear hug and set records for donating blood, is being set upon by the forces of darkness.
Today it's bad Yelp reviews, tomorrow it's a countertop inspection.
Bill Frist is getting a divorce from his wife, Karyn. I hope it won't destroy Barney Frank's marriage.
Obamacare Has Saved Consumers $2.1 Billion | Regulations in Obamacare set up a program to review insurance rate increases and instituted an 80/20 rule, requiring insurance companies to spend no more than 20 percent of consumer premiums on profits and administrative costs. And since September 2011, insurance providers have had justify premium rate increase of more than 10 percent for individual and small group markets. Consumers have saved an estimated $1 billion on their insurance premiums as a result of rate review, and 13 million Americans received $1.1 billion in rebates last year from the 80/20 provision.
According to a new report by the Economic Policy Institute, the wealthiest 1 percent of American households had a net worth 288 times as large as the median household wealth of $57,000 in 2010. This constitutes a huge increase from 1962, when the ratio was 125-1:
Since 1983, nearly three-quarters of the growth in total household wealth went to the top 5 percent, while the bottom four-fifths of American households saw their wealth decrease:
This is yet another indication of the explosion of income inequality that has occurred over the last few decades, as more and more of the country's income and wealth traveled to the richest Americans. This is detrimental to America's economic success because, as EPI explained, "wealth makes it easier for families to invest in education and training, start a small business, or fund retirement." Wealth also makes it easier to cope in a financial emergency.
In what is surely the most scandalous case of presidential technology bafflement since that one time when George HW Bush asked some polite questions about a UPC scanner at a trade show, the leader of the Free World was "befuddled" when trying to dial a number on a phone handed to him by a campaign aide in Port St. Lucie, Florida. The Moonie Times' Dave Boyer has the shocking details:
On the campaign trail, President Obama is constantly talking about the importance of technology, but he met his match in an iPhone Sunday.
The president had stopped at a campaign office in Port St. Lucie, Fla., to thank volunteers. Then, for the cameras, Mr. Obama was supposed to call two campaign workers who were out working on his behalf.
But when White House trip director Marvin Nicholson handed the president his personal iPhone, Mr. Obama couldn't get it to work. A reporter who witnessed the scene said the president looked "befuddled."
"It's not clear he knows how to dial on an iPhone," the reporter wrote in a pool report.
Finally, Mr. Obama said, "Oh, I got to dial it in. Hold on, hold on. I can do this. See, I still have a BlackBerry."
The wingnutosphere dutifully reported the President's embarassing failure, noting the amusing irony of the supposedly hip, tech-savvy Obama struggling with an iPhone, which everyone knows is ridiculously user-friendly, and mostly using the photo reproduced above. Which is pretty clearly not a picture of an iPhone.
(We cannot verify, because we are really lazy, whether the phone in the photo is the phone that actually gave Obama trouble. But this photo accompanied the Moonie Times story, which definitely said "iPhone" over and over. Also, we've always felt kind of bad about George Bush and that supermarket scanner story, which we pedantically correct whenever we hear it. Really, it's on Snopes, people. )
For the first time since FDR used his polio-ridden legs to kick the Germans and Japanese in their fascist asses (the Italians, too, but nobody really cares about them when we talk World War II), Democrats have an advantage on foreign policy. This is problematic for the Romney campaign, because a Democrat is in office, and they are Republicans, and they would like to not talk about foreign policy at all.
How better to deal with this issue of two wars, various bombings, global economic uncertainty and all the rest than to just dismiss it out of hand? (Protip: there is no better way, try it the next time you cheat on your spouse. Totes effective.)
"It doesn't surprise me that they're raising foreign policy because it's another distraction from the Administration's terrible economic record," [Romney foreign policy advisor Robert] O'Brien told BuzzFeed. "They're going from one shiny object to the next."
Hahahaha, the entire country of Afghanistan is a shiny object! I'm sure that is comforting to all the people who live there and still deal with random roadside bombs. Shiny roadside bombs.
Of course, the Romney campaign cannot leave foreign policy as a stupid thing people talk about to distract from Romney's winning message, no! Romney himself is a foreign policy guru.
Krugman: GOP Menu: Obstruct and Exploit Link
Absent - Notable Forced Rape defender and leading voice of Hate Group American Family Association Bryan Fischer will not be presenting at this year's Value Voter's Summit. You may recall that last year Fischer took to the podium to denounce The Willard Mechanism in general and Mormonism in particular as being un-American and something that the Founding Fathers would not give First Amendment Rights. Oops! (TPM)
What happened to pasta and canned tuna?
As you're probably aware if you paid any attention to the Republican convention, the Romneys were once burdened with the hardship of eating pasta and canned tuna on a dinner table that was supposedly an ironing board. Even if you did believe that (if you really did you're terribly gullible), Ann Romney walked-back the implication yesterday on Meet The Press.
"Mitt and I do recognize that we have not had a financial struggle in our lives," Ann Romney said in an interview with Mitt Romney that aired on NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday. "But I want people to believe in their hearts that we know what it is like to struggle. And our struggles have not been financial, but they've been with health and with difficulties in different things in life."
Difficulties in different things in life?
Sure, everyone has difficulty with some aspect of their life, but financial struggle exacerbates all else.
People dealing with financial struggle have to worry about having enough money to go to the grocery without buying Ramen. Having the money to afford healthcare. Having the money to fix your car or afford new clothes. Having the money to afford education for your children. Having the money to avoid the life-shortening stress that comes with worrying about money nearly every day.
The Romneys have no clue what any of that means. Ann Romney has never had to worry about providing for her children. They have trust funds. And to them, eating canned tuna and pasta is a novelty. To millions of other Americans it's an essential staple.
Everyone has difficulty in their personal relationships and within their family structures, but not everyone has their difficulties compounded by financial struggle.
Paul Ryan was for the defense cuts he did or did not vote for before he was against the defense cuts he did or did not vote for.
Do you follow? Me neither.
SEAN HANNITY (FOX NEWS, HOST): Alright. How much are we getting the first year and how much are we getting the second year? How much is in defense? And how do we hold future congresses accountable to what you're doing today?
RYAN: Right, right, that's a good question. So, $21 billion right away for the first fiscal year. Then it's about $46, I think, that's off the top of my head, for the second fiscal year. How much out of defense in the first fiscal year will be $9 billion from what we call the security accounts. That's not just defense. That's all security. The Homeland Security, National Security. And then $2 billion to $4 billion the next year. So, the cuts on defense are — were minimized quite a bit by the most recent agreement John Boehner reached.
That was Paul Ryan in August of last year.
Here's Paul Ryan yesterday.
O'DONNELL: Right. A trillion dollars in defense spending, and you voted for it!
RYAN: No, Norah. I voted for the Budget Control Act.
O'DONNELL: That included defense spending!
RYAN: Norah, you're mistaken.
The "agreement John Boehner reached" is the agreement wherein John Boehner claimed he acquired "98 percent of what [he] wanted." Paul Ryan voted for that agreement. Ryan would detail the cuts to defense spending to Sean Hannity shortly after a final agreement was reached.
Norah O'Donnell was clearly not mistaken, and Paul Ryan is a terrible liar.
It was not without consequences to the economy, but it's amusing that the Republicans are still suffering from the rope-a-dope President Obama pulled on them last year with the Budget Control Act.
I can only imagine the knots Republicans will twist themselves into next year as they try to pretend they didn't vote for a blueprint that included the imminent expiration of the Bush Tax Cuts. They may not live it down until the next election.
Rand Paul tried to get away with the "Obama has grown the size of government" lie on national television, with Paul Krugman seated across the table from him. Smart!
PAUL: The thing I don't understand is that your arguing that the government sector is struggling. Are you arguing that there are fewer government employees under Obama than there were under Bush?
KRUGMAN: Of course. That's a fact. That's a tremendous fact.
PAUL: No, the size of growth of government is enormous under president Obama.
KRUGMAN: If government employment had grown as fast under Obama as it did under Bush, we'd have a million and a half more people employed right now — directly.
PAUL: Are there less people employed or more people employed now by government?
ThinkProgress noted that there are 600,000 fewer government employees under President Obama than under George W. Bush. Much to my chagrin, of course. Unemployment would be lower if this wasn't the case. But it's hilarious how married to their fiction some of these tea party Republicans are. If they would be rational for just one second, they'd notice the size of government, they'd notice how the individual mandate came from the Republicans, they'd notice that the economy is growing. They don't see any of it because they're blinded by their own bullshit.