January 29th, 2009

(no subject)


How About a Payroll Tax Stimulus?

For a similar amount of money, we could give workers $1,500.

Congress and the Obama administration seem near to deciding the details of an economic stimulus package. Unlike the efforts of President Ronald Reagan and President George W. Bush, who also inherited declining stock markets and shrinking economies, this package is heavily weighted toward direct government spending, transfers to state and local governments, and tax changes that have virtually no effect on marginal tax rates.

Today the Reagan tax cuts are widely viewed as successful. Opinions on the longer-term effects of the Bush tax cuts are more diverse, but the short-term effects of the 2001 and 2003 cuts are generally credited as having been well-timed.

And what of the plan being put forward now? As crafted, it is unlikely to produce the desired results. For a similar amount of money, the government could essentially cut the payroll tax in half, taking three points off the rate for both the employer and the employee. This would put $1,500 into the pocket of a typical worker making $50,000, with a similar amount going to his or her employer. It would provide a powerful stimulus to the spending stream, as well as a significant, six percentage point reduction in the tax burden of employment for people making less than $100,000. The effects would be immediate.


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  • bispo

Sox pitch Obama-themed cap

President Obama may be unwilling to give up his own well-worn White Sox cap, but a new Obama-themed design may inspire fans to upgrade theirs.

Pending approval from the White House, the White Sox are planning to release a new version of its hat featuring Obama's "O" logo from last year's presidential campaign. If the team gets approval, the New Era cap would be made available on the team's Web site, Whitesox.com.

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misc. | Michelle Obama

Vice-President hosting Superbowl Sunday

Vice President Biden is making quick use of his new digs. He will host a Super Bowl party this Sunday at the vice presidential residence . . . at the Naval Observatory. It’s unclear who will attend. But Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) will be there with his wife, Grace.

Nelson scored an invite from Biden after running into him yesterday in the Capitol when he was there to swear in New York’s new Senator, Kirsten Gillibrand, according to a source.

Maybe it was the personal invite, but Nelson will be at Biden’s party even though the biggest American sports game of the year is being played in his home state.

Biden’s Sunday gathering starts at 6 p.m. and the dress is casual, the source said.

SOURCE: Politico

Damn it. I wanna score with Biden. An invite, I mean.
movies | Impish Fräulein2

GOP House Member To Rush Limbaugh: Back Off

Rush Limbaugh is taking heat from all sides for his comments about hoping President Obama's administration is a failure. Bill Bennett disagreed with his fellow conservative and said Limbaugh was wrong to say he wishes Obama will fail. Now Politico reports that Republican House member Phil Gingrey has a message for Limbaugh: back off.
"I think that our leadership, Mitch McConnell and John Boehner, are taking the right approach," Gingrey said. "I mean, it's easy if you're Sean Hannity or Rush Limbaugh or even sometimes Newt Gingrich to stand back and throw bricks. You don't have to try to do what's best for your people and your party. You know you're just on these talk shows and you're living well and plus you stir up a bit of controversy and gin the base and that sort of that thing. But when it comes to true leadership, not that these people couldn't be or wouldn't be good leaders, they're not in that position of John Boehner or Mitch McConnell."
Media critic Michael Wolff thinks Limbaugh is just being played by Obama:
Right now Rush is being played. The Obama dinner with conservative columnists, shortly before his inauguration, was as much about excluding Rush as coddling the columnists. Not only did the conservatives fawn, but Rush fumed. It got under his skin. Indeed, the rumor that he might in fact be there (likely coming from the Obama camp), and then his evident lack of an invitation, highlighted the slight. He's tried to make it out to be a political point ever since, but mostly he sounds like a guy who's hurt he didn't get invited to the hot party.



Totally agree with Wolff.

One Nation, Under Blackberry

So there's been a lot of change in Washington.

Historic events.

We now have a president ... with a BlackBerry.

A BlackBerry hand-held device.

It's been called BlackBerry One.

I'd like to call it something else: a "teachable moment."

Given the crowds on the Mall for the inauguration, I think it's pretty safe to say that lots of people admire President Obama. Many are trying to heed his example. They're volunteering. They're befriending people whose views may differ from their own. They're shopping at J. Crew.

The eyes of America are on this man. And most Americans seem ready to do just about anything he wants them to do.

So perhaps he can set one more example for us to follow ... and lead us out of BlackBerry temptation. He can usher in not just a new era of responsibility but a new era of responsible BlackBerrying.


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Peanut Corporation of Shijiazhuang

Peanut Corporation of Shijiazhuang

You'd think the Peanut Corporation of America was headquartered in China. They discovered salmonella twelve times over the past two years at a Georgia plant, yet they chose to ship out contaminated peanut butter regardless. Sounds a lot like the Chinese dairy company Sanlu that knowingly sold melamine-laced milk powder. In both cases, kids died. In both cases, the regulators were none the wiser. U.S. food processors aren't required to submit lab test results to the FDA. Even when the results may warn of an outbreak that could kill people. Neither are Chinese food processors.

China's system is broken, and so is ours.
There are eerie similarities between the two. Hamstrung regulators, where agencies lack the budgets and the legal mandate to enforce quality control. Callous companies that refuse to police their own products -- even when it could prove fatal to consumers. And a population in the dark and at risk.
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Peanut Plant Had History of Health Lapses

The plant in Georgia that produced peanut butter tainted by salmonella has a history of sanitation lapses and was cited repeatedly in 2006 and 2007 for having dirty surfaces and grease residue and dirt buildup throughout the plant, according to health inspection reports. Inspection reports from 2008 found the plant repeatedly in violation of cleanliness standards.

Inspections of the plant in Blakely, Ga., by the State Agriculture Department found areas of rust that could flake into food, gaps in warehouse doors large enough for rodents to get through, unmarked spray bottles and containers and numerous violations of other practices designed to prevent food contamination. The plant, owned by the Peanut Corporation of America of Lynchburg, Va., has been shut down.
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Salmonella Was Found at Peanut Plant Before

The Georgia food plant that federal investigators say knowingly shipped contaminated peanut butter also had mold growing on its ceiling and walls, and it has foot-long gaps in its roof, according to results of a federal inspection.

More than 500 people in 43 states have been sickened, and eight have died, after eating crackers and other products made with peanut butter from the plant, which is owned by the Peanut Corporation of America. More than 100 children under the age of 5 are among those who have been sickened.
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Jobless Claims For Americans Hit All Time Record

The number of people receiving unemployment benefits has reached an all-time record, the government said Thursday, as layoffs spread throughout the economy.

The Labor Department reported that the number of Americans continuing to claim unemployment insurance for the week ending Jan. 17 was a seasonally adjusted 4.78 million, the highest on records dating back to 1967.

A department analyst said that as a proportion of the work force, the tally of unemployment recipients is the highest since August 1983.

The total released by the department doesn't include about 1.7 million people receiving benefits under an extended unemployment compensation program authorized by Congress last summer. That means the total number of recipients is actually closer to 6.5 million people.

Meanwhile, the tally of Americans filing new jobless benefit claims rose slightly to a seasonally adjusted 588,000 last week, from a downwardly revised figure of 585,000 the previous week.

That's close to the 26-year high of 589,000 reached in late December, though the labor force has grown by about half since then.

The Labor Department's report comes as large corporations from virtually all sectors of the economy are announcing massive layoffs.

Starbucks Corp. on Wednesday said it would cut 6,700 jobs. The coffee company also said it would close 300 underperforming stores, on top of 600 it already planned to shut down.

Time Warner Inc.'s AOL division is cutting up to 700 jobs, or about 10 percent of the online unit's work force. And IBM Corp. has cut thousands of jobs in its sales, software and hardware divisions in the past week, without announcing specific numbers.

Boeing Co., Pfizer Inc., Home Depot Inc. and other U.S. corporate titans also have announced tens of thousands of job cuts this week alone.

Companies have announced more than 125,000 layoffs in January, according to an Associated Press tally.


fleur de lis

Stimulus: To Spend or Not to Spend?

Economists are engaged in a fiscal feud over Obama's spending plan and how much of a boost it will give the recession-wracked economy
By Michael Mandel

As the House of Representatives prepares for a Jan. 28 vote on the $825 billion Obama fiscal stimulus bill, politicians want to know: How much does boosting government spending or cutting taxes help the private sector? Can massive fiscal stimulus, as Obama is calling for, create jobs and increase economic output?

You might think these simple questions would have clear answers. Remember, macroeconomists have been studying the U.S. economy for decades. After all this time, we should have some general agreement on the size of the "multiplier"—that is, whether an extra dollar of government spending leads to gross domestic product, or GDP, going up by more than one dollar, or less than one dollar. To put it another way, it's essential to know whether the Obama economic package will stimulate the private sector or actually drain resources away from the rest of the economy.

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Both sides have plenty of theoretical firepower. The pro-stimulus camp has three main reasons why the multiplier might be large—i.e., significantly greater than 1:
• First, they say the credit crunch makes it difficult for households and businesses to borrow, leaving a hole that must be filled by the government.

• Second, rigidities in the economy make it hard for businesses and workers to shift quickly from contracting sectors such as home construction to expanding areas such as health care, making it necessary for government to provide support for demand.

• Finally, government intervention can boost business and consumer confidence, improve their expectations about the future, and stop a recession from turning into a death spiral.
On the other hand, the anti-stimulus economists also have reasons why fiscal stimulus might not be effective—i.e., why it may have a multiplier of less than 1:
• First, they point to "crowding out"—the idea that government spending may actually draw resources away from the private sector, even when unemployment is high.

• Second, taking on a lot of debt now may weigh down the economy in the future.

• Third, anti-stimulus economists are worried about wasteful spending.
In the end, this near-depression is likely to be a transformative event for macroeconomics. We are going to have a mammoth fiscal stimulus package this year—and in all likelihood, more in the near future. And when we see what happens, we may finally settle some of the disputes that have bedeviled economics for 80 years. And who knows—we may get the next Keynes as well.

Mandel is chief economist at BusinessWeek. His new textbook, Economics: The Basics, was recently published by McGraw-Hill.
Source (BusinessWeek)

I believe in balance (there's much room and reason to be skeptical of many expenditures within the $819 billion recovery plan), but in calling into question the very idea that government spending can be stimulative, this article exemplifies "fake balance," the presentation of two arguments as though they have equal validity for the sake of (fake) balance. In my opinion, those economists (in the minority) who believe all government spending is wasteful hold onto their beliefs largely for ideological reasons, i.e. FreeMarket=Good/Government=Bad, no additional thought required. There's simply no reason to put all your faith in the free market and none of it in government, and vice versa.

To the first point of government-stimulus skeptics, government spending won't "crowd out" private sector resources; there's no fucking crowd right now, 'cause 1.7 million people in construction and manufacturing just walked the fuck out the door and they don't appear to be coming back anytime soon. If the private sector isn't inviting them back, it's time for government to invite them back. To the second point, yes, absolutely, taking on a lot of debt now may weigh down the economy in the future, but we can manage debts more effectively with a strengthened economy if we stimulate production and demand now; besides, are we expected to leave 4 million Americans to rot at home while they "seek" the jobs the private sector fails to provide? For how long should we let this happen? One, two, three, four years? To the third point, of freaking course, government can be wasteful, but that government can be wasteful is not sufficient justification for a priori rejection of any and all government spending, especially when a majority of economists support it.

Related Links:
For Many Economists, Stimulus Falls Flat (CBS News)
Economists slam Barack Obama's stimulus package (Telegraph, with the double entendre)
Assessing the Macro Economic Impact of Fiscal Stimulus 2008 (Mark Zandi)
Reese Witherspoon
  • shibato

~ 6.5 Million People Jobless

Record Number of Americans Receiving Jobless Benefits

WASHINGTON — The number of people receiving unemployment benefits has reached an all-time record, the government said Thursday, and more layoffs are spreading throughout the economy.

The Labor Department reported that the number of Americans continuing to claim unemployment insurance for the week ending Jan. 17 was a seasonally adjusted 4.78 million, the highest on records dating back to 1967. That's an increase of 159,000 from the previous week and worse than economists' expectations of 4.65 million.

As a proportion of the work force, the tally of unemployment benefit recipients is the highest since August 1983, a department analyst said.

The total released by the department doesn't include about 1.7 million people receiving benefits under an extended unemployment compensation program authorized by Congress last summer. That means the total number of recipients is actually closer to 6.5 million people.

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I was going to include a picture of people lined up for job fairs, but it was just too depressing. :(
  • cindel

We bout to throw dem bows We bout to swang dem thangs

There's about to be a what? Girlfight!

HARDBALL: Dems Threatens GOPers Who Oppose Stimulus

Democrats are planning to aggressively target vulnerable Republican Senators on the stimulus package passed by the House Wednesday night without any GOP support.

Greg Sargent has the ad -- here's the version targeting Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley:

The ads will be sent widely to the press later this morning by the coalition funding them, which includes Americans United for Change, MoveOn.org Political Action, AFSCME and SEIU.

The spot shows some arresting images of the recession -- chained up factories, empty warehouses -- and features Obama talking about our dire economic times and his economic package, an effort to harness Obama's popularity to push the plan at a time when Republicans are training their fire on House Dems, rather than the White House.

Along with the ads, Democrats will run campaigns in their districts an official tells Politico. The White House plans to release state-by-state job figures so we can put a number on what folks voted for an against, an administration aide added. It's clear the Republicans who voted against the stimulus represent constituents who will be stunned to learn their member of Congress voted against [saving or] creating 4 million jobs.

  • Current Music
    Poker Face
  • Tags

New York Man Claims He Was Fired For Being A "Vegetarian Homo"

This is a bizarre one.

PacificoRyan Pacifico, a straight, married Calyon in the Americas trader, says he was fired from his job for a minor infraction following prolonged anti-gay slurs from his boss over his vegetarian diet.

Said Pacifico: "It was bizarre."

The NY Post reports: "'You don't even eat steak, dude. At what point in time did you realize you were gay?' the suit quotes beef-loving boss Robert Catalanello as saying... Catalanello did everything he could to make Pacifico uncomfortable - including only ordering hamburgers and pepperoni and sausage pizzas for the weekly team lunches. 'I'm only ordering burgers. If you don't eat meat, too bad. I don't care,' he's quoted as saying... The boss chose a steakhouse as a site for a team building dinner, and another broker suggested they go someplace else because Pacifico was a vegetarian. 'He was like, 'What's wrong with you? We're going anyway,'' Pacifico recalled. When a coworker asked what Pacifico would eat, Catalanello said, 'Who the f- - - cares? It's his fault for being a vegetarian homo.'"

Pacifico is suing his former employer for unspecified "compensatory, emotional, physical and punitive damages."


Some straight men really...puzzle me.
' jules
  • schmiss

Happening right now

Illinois Abuzz as Blagojevich Set to Make His Case

For a trial that has at times seemed sleepy in the absence of its star defendant, the promise that Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich would deliver a closing argument in his impeachment trial before the Illinois State Senate had the capitol buzzing Thursday morning.

With the proceedings scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. local time, spectators packed the Senate gallery in anticipation of possibly seeing, for the first time in the state’s history, the removal from office of a sitting governor. A line of people stretched down the corridor, waiting to get in.

“It’s a big event,” said Robert Hackman, 57, a retired mail carrier who had come to the chambers hoping to see Thursday’s proceedings but had to leave for a part-time job. “I don’t expect him to resign or anything. I don’t think he’s done much more than any other politician. They all scratch each other’s back.”

Thursday’s session is to open with the prosecution’s closing argument. Then the governor will make his statement, which is expected to last 90 minutes. He will not give sworn testimony or be subject to cross-examination by prosecutors or legislators; his remarks will be in response to the prosecution’s closing. The prosecution will then make a rebuttal, after which the senators will deliberate Mr. Blagojevich’s fate.

After boycotting the trial for three days, Mr. Blagojevich announced Wednesday that he wanted to address the Senate on Thursday.

“He wants to make a closing argument,” said Lucio Guerrero, the governor’s spokesman, on Wednesday. Mr. Guerrero said he was uncertain when or precisely why Mr. Blagojevich had chosen to attend the trial, which he has repeatedly denounced as unfair and fixed.

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It's gonna be like this IRL:

Queen Francoise


Joe Biden photoshoot, June 1986
Our contributing photojournalist Jill Krementz has now had a long career photographing some of the most distinguished actors, directors, playwrights, authors and political figures in this country. The inauguration of President Barack Obama and Vice President Joseph Biden reminded her of the time in 1986 when she photographed the Bidens in Wilmington, Delaware. From her archive.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic
With daughter Ashley

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cthulhu for president, why choose a lesser evil?
  • biichan

WSJ: Defacto Republican Leader, Ramblin' Rush Limbaugh, Proposes His Own Stimulus Plan

My Bipartisan Stimulus
Let's cut taxes, as I want, and spend more, as Obama would like.

by Rush Limbaugh, age 58

There's a serious debate in this country as to how best to end the recession. The average recession will last five to 11 months; the average recovery will last six years. Recessions will end on their own if they're left alone. What can make the recession worse is the wrong kind of government intervention.

I believe the wrong kind is precisely what President Barack Obama has proposed. I don't believe his is a "stimulus plan" at all -- I don't think it stimulates anything but the Democratic Party. This "porkulus" bill is designed to repair the Democratic Party's power losses from the 1990s forward, and to cement the party's majority power for decades.Keynesian economists believe government spending on "shovel-ready" infrastructure projects -- schools, roads, bridges -- is the best way to stimulate our staggering economy. Supply-side economists make an equally persuasive case that tax cuts are the surest and quickest way to create permanent jobs and cause an economy to rebound. That happened under JFK, Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. We know that when tax rates are cut in a recession, it brings an economy back.

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RDJ - Ent Week Dec 2009

The French are striking

Huge crowds join in French strikes

Huge crowds have taken to the streets in France to protest over the handling of the economic crisis, causing disruption to rail and air services.

Unions said 2.5m workers had rallied to demand action to protect wages and jobs. Police put the total at 1m.

President Nicolas Sarkozy said concerns over the crisis were legitimate and the government had to listen and act.

He will meet union and business leaders next month to discuss what programme of reforms to follow this year, he said.

Overall, the government estimated that a quarter of the country's public sector workers had joined the action, which was called by eight major French unions. The unions put the figure higher.

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cthulhu for president, why choose a lesser evil?
  • biichan

HuffPo: GOP still suffers from James Bond Villain Syndrome

GOP Telegraphs Econ Strategy: We Told You So

Senate Republicans telegraphed their political strategy surrounding the stimulus Thursday, saying that if the economy continues to tank over the next several months, they'll be in position to say, in effect, 'We told you so.'

Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) and nine other Republicans spoke with reporters Thursday afternoon following their House colleagues' unanimous rejection of President Obama's stimulus package Wednesday evening.

"They can cram down a stimulus package without Republican support," said Kyl, "but if that happens, then when, as we believe, in six months or so, when the American people say, 'Wait a minute, we're not better off. In fact, we're worse off than we were six months ago. Who is responsible for this and what can be done to fix it?' Republicans then are going to be in a position to say, 'We didn't have the input in this and that's why it didn't work.'"

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barack eye

Pay attention, bbs. This is how to NOT feed the trolls....

Pelosi Ignores Limbaugh: "I Don't Speak To That"

At a press conference, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi proudly touted the stimulus package passed by the House without Republican support. Asked about Rush Limbaugh's campaign against the plan, she responded, "I don't speak to that. I am the Speaker of the House. I don't get into that," she responded.

As for bipartisanship, the Speaker
said, "I didn't come here to be partisan, I didn't come here to be bipartisan. I came here, as did my colleagues, to be nonpartisan, to work for the American people, to do what is in their interest."


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  • deyoyo

Officials: Army suicides at 3-decade high

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Suicides among U.S. soldiers rose last year to the highest level in decades, the Army announced Thursday. At least 128 soldiers killed themselves in 2008. But the final count is likely to be considerably higher because 15 more suspicious deaths are still being investigated and could also turn out to be self-inflicted, the Army said.

A new training and prevention effort will start next week. And Col. Elspeth Ritchie, a psychiatric consultant to the Army surgeon general, made a plea for more U.S. mental health professionals to sign on to work for the military.

"We are hiring and we need your help," she said.
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cthulhu for president, why choose a lesser evil?
  • biichan

The Hill: We'll find a way to make them pay and steal our money back!

Senate banking chairman: Confiscate Wall St. bonuses

Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) has vowed to use all legal means available to confiscate Wall Street bonuses paid out at the end of last year.

Dodd, the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, told reporters that he would press the Treasury Department to recoup the more than $18 billion in Wall Street bonuses paid out after one of the worst years in stock market history.

The White House said Thursday that President Obama had one word in reaction to a report from the New York state comptroller that Wall Street firms paid nearly $20 billion in bonuses — "outrageous."

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Obama was appalled by the report, and planned to address it during a meeting with new Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.

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Democrats Among Stimulus Skeptics

Republican criticism of the stimulus package that the House will vote on tonight has focused on its soaring price tag, but some Democrats on Capitol Hill and other administration supporters are voicing a separate critique: that the plan may fall short in its broader goal of transforming the American economy over the long term.

President Obama, who promoted the $825 billion package at the Capitol yesterday, says the proposal serves two functions -- creating jobs and stimulating the economy in the short term, and laying the groundwork for overhauls in energy, health care and infrastructure that would be felt for decades. But some administration supporters say that while they appreciate Obama's intent, the two goals are competing with each other, and that the package could end up missing both targets.

In testimony before the House Budget Committee yesterday, Alice M. Rivlin, who was President Bill Clinton's budget director, suggested splitting the plan, implementing its immediate stimulus components now and taking more time to plan the longer-term transformative spending to make sure it is done right.

"Such a long-term investment program should not be put together hastily and lumped in with the anti-recession package. The elements of the investment program must be carefully planned and will not create many jobs right away," said Rivlin, a fellow at the Brookings Institution. The risk, she said, is that "money will be wasted because the investment elements were not carefully crafted."

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  • biichan


Dem Senator Blasts Post: 'Absolutely Absurd'

Byron Dorgan, a member of the Senate Democratic leadership, blasted the Washington Post editorial board as "absolutely absurd" Thursday for its objection to the 'Buy American' provision of the stimulus package.

"'Buy American' sounds patriotic, but paying more than necessary for steel diverts resources that could create jobs in other industries. Worse, it raises the prospect of retaliation against American exporters by U.S. trading partners," opined the Post.

"The Washington Post, as is their usual trademark, suggested this is protectionist," said North Dakota's Dorgan. "We're a country with a 700 billion dollar trade deficit. It's absurd for somebody to suggest we're protectionist. It's absolutely absurd. They must not have understood that we've got about a $2 billion dollar a day deficit in trade. That's hardly protectionist."

The Post warned that the provision -- which is strongly opposed by the Chamber of Commerce and other organizations that represent multinational corporations -- could start a trade war.

"The United States started one such trade war in 1930, when it enacted a tariff increase that prompted European retaliation -- thus helping turn a bad recession into the Great Depression. Better to learn from this history than to repeat it," offered the editors.

"You mean like the French wanting to make sure that their stimulus promotes jobs in France? Well, that's what the French are doing," responded Dorgan.

"On an emergency basis, since when has it become inappropriate for countries to care about whether what they're doing is creating jobs inside their country? I mean, that's a Byzantine proposition fostered by the editorial writers and a few multinational companies that don't necessarily have any interest in creating jobs here."

Dorgan predicted that the 'Buy American' provision, which requires companies to use American materials when possible, would remain in the stimulus bill.


Americans pissed that 93 yr. old man left to freeze to death

Ah, good, I am not the only one!

Freezing death of Mich. man in house sparks anger

By DAVID EGGERT, Associated Press Writer David Eggert
Jan 28, 6:58 pm ET

BAY CITY, Mich. – When neighbors went inside Marvin Schur's house, the windows were frosted over, icicles hung from a faucet, and the 93-year-old World War II veteran lay dead on the bedroom floor in a winter jacket over four layers of clothing.

He froze to death — slowly and painfully, authorities say — days after the electric company installed a power-limiting device because of more than $1,000 in unpaid bills.

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Source: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5jWfXNyJfkN3J1S5Hxdra4nTXgdeAD960F4BG0

(no subject)

Economists slam Barack Obama's stimulus package

The line from Barack Obama and Joe Biden is that all economists agree with a stimulus package to expand government spending. So they won't have been happy to see a full page advertisement in today's New York Times disagreeing, signed by around 200 academic economists, including three Nobel prize-winners.

According to Mr Biden: "Every economist... from conservative to liberal, acknowledges that direct government spending on a direct program now is the best way to infuse economic growth and create jobs."

Barack Obama said earlier this month that: "There is no disagreement that we need action by our government, a recovery plan that will help to jumpstart the economy."

But the economists who signed the advert, funded by the Cato Institute in Washington DC, say that: "we the undersigned do not believe that more government spending is a way to improve economic performance. More government spending by Hoover and Roosevelt did not pull the United States economy out of the Great Depression in the 1930s. More government spending did not solve Japan's "lost decade" in the 1990s."

They propose instead that: "To improve the economy, policymakers should focus on reforms that remove impediments to work, saving, investment and production. Lower tax rates and a reduction in the burden of government are the best ways of using fiscal policy to boost growth."

This is a message that, over on this side of the Pond, Gordon Brown should also listen to - but won't.

Source here
Full PDF of the ad here

But could 85% of female history major undergrads really be wrong? Sounds like these guys need a history course!

"Straight Power" Facebook Group Creates Fear Among Parents & Students

The Facebook discussion is dated Nov. 13, but it wasn’t brought to Jackie Kittrell’s attention until Jan. 13, when a friend showed it to her son Conrad Honicker, a junior at West High School. The group: W.A.S.P., aka We Are Straight People. The topic: “gay kids at school.” A typical post from the discussion: “At west high school the GSA [Gay Straight Alliance] is getting on my nerves, they are banning phrases such as ‘thats so gay.’”

The post that really caught Kittrell’s attention: “f---ing fagots sucking dick and what not. we need assassinate conrad. ... just needs to f---ing choke to death on a ...”


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barack eye

The article makes mention of Bush's previous blocking of certain research...

Study: Stem Cells Reverse Paralysis in Rats

Transplanted adult stem cells have been found to reverse paralysis associated with spinal cord injuries in lab rats, a new study finds.

The study, headed up by Miodrag Stojkovic, deputy director and head of the Cellular Reprogramming Laboratory at Centro de Investigacion Principe Felipe in Spain, involved transplanting so-called progenitor stem cells from the lining of rats' spinal cords into rodents with serious spinal cord injuries.

The rats recovered significant motor activity one week after injury, Stojkovic and his co-authors wrote in the Jan. 27 early online edition of the journal Stem Cells.

Spinal cord injury, for which no therapy currently exists to undo the damage, is a major cause of paralysis. Up to 400,000 people in the United States are estimated to live with these injuries, according to the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation. Most spinal cord injuries are caused by vehicle crashes and falls, and most of those injured are males.

The researchers say the new rat results "open a new window on spinal cord regenerative strategies."


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Bailout is not free money?

Glacier Bancorp decides against accepting bailout money

Glacier Bancorp of Kalispell is among 20 banks nationwide that have decided against accepting federal bailout money, after applying for the aid.

The banks are concerned about hidden strings and government interference.

After Congress approved the $700 billion bailout in October, the government gave banks only a few weeks to decide whether they wanted to take part in the government investment program.

Many applied to get a foot in the door, and then changed their minds as details emerged.
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Second Long Island bank turns down bailout money

A second Long Island bank has turned down money from the U.S. Treasury Department's controversial program to take out equity stakes in healthy banks and help bail out troubled financial institutions.

Hauppauge-based Smithtown Bancorp, parent of the Bank of Smithtown, said Friday that it "will not be participating" in Treasury's Troubled Asset Relief Program, begun in late fall to help loosen tightened lending markets and aid institutions that suffered significant losses after investing in toxic assets.

The Bank of Smithtown's decision comes a week after Westbury-based New York Community Bancorp, parent of New York Community Bank, said it had decided against participating in the TARP program.

Both banks said that although they had been approved for funding - $37.8 million in Bank of Smithtown's case and $596 million in New York Community Bank's case - they had sufficient capital, and they also objected to some of the strings attached to the money.

Chief among the objections was limitations on dividend payments the banks accepting TARP money could make. Banks have also taken issue with other restrictions, such as on bonuses for employees and executive compensation.

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Banks that have said 'no thanks' to US bailout

The following banks have announced they no longer planned to participate in the government-sponsored bank bailout program:
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HuffPost Breaks Another Bailout Story: Reform Groups Demand Investigation!

HuffPost Breaks Another Bailout Story: Reform Groups Demand Investigation!

On Monday, The Huffington Post broke an eye-opening story about special interests trying to buy influence in Congress. I wanted to give an update.

First, for those who missed it, recipients of our taxpayer-funded bailout money such as Bank of America and AIG joined anti-union activists and corporate executives to discuss funneling "hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars" to groups and "vulnerable" senators to influence the outcome of the Employee Free Choice Act.

"If a retailer has not gotten involved in this, if he has not spent money on this election, if he has not sent money to [former Sen.] Norm Coleman and all these other guys, they should be shot. They should be thrown out their goddamn jobs," [Home Depot co-founder Bernie] Marcus declared."

In the wake of Monday's Huffington Post story, thousands of new people joined Change Congress's "donor strike" where small-dollar donors are leveraging the clout gained in the 2008 election and are giving politicians a choice: You can have our money or special-interest money, but you can no longer have both.

If you haven't already joined the strike, please join us here.Collapse )

Blago Removed

Live on Hardball, they reached 40 votes in no time. It's looking to be unanimous.

ETA: Final vote was 59-0. Thanks, cindel No thanks to Chris Matthews for not shutting up about Blago's charisma. Who am I kidding, it's fabulous.

Oh, and apparently they're voting again under ~procedure~ to make it official.

Sauce: My tv

cthulhu for president, why choose a lesser evil?
  • biichan


Obama Allies Use Limbaugh To Hammer GOP On Stimulus

Key Democratic groups are launching a series of radio advertisements on Friday designed to tie Republicans to Rush Limbaugh and put pressure on GOP Senators to support the stimulus package.

MoveOn, Americans United for Change, AFSCME and SEIU are releasing the spots in three states with Senate Republicans who could potentially switch party lines on the stimulus vote: George Voinovich in Ohio, John Ensign in Nevada, and Arlen Specter in Pennsylvania. The ads are designed to drum up support for the president's economic recovery package. But they do so in somewhat of a round-about manner, not just touting the jobs that could be created from the bill but tying Republicans to some of Limbaugh's most caustic and controversial anti-Obama comments.

NARRATOR: Listen to what Rush Limbaugh said about President Obama's Agenda and his Jobs Package.


NARRATOR: The Obama Jobs bill overwhelmingly passed the House.... But not one Republican voted yes. Every Republican member of the House chose to take Rush Limbaugh's advice. Every Republican voted with Limbaugh....and against creating 4 million new American jobs.

We can understand why a extreme partisan like Rush Limbaugh wants President Obama's Jobs program to fail....but the Members of Congress elected to represent the citizens in their districts?... that's another matter.

The radio ads come a day after a the same group of progressive organizations put out television spots with images of shuttered factories returning to their former glory as a way of urging Republican support for the stimulus. Beyond the message, the targets were different as well: Susan Collins and Olympia J. Snowe of Maine; Judd Gregg in New Hampshire; Chuck Grassley in Iowa and Lisa Murkowski in Alaska.

An official with Americans United For Change, a progressive group that works closely with Democratic leadership in Congress, said the radio ads would run tomorrow until the first cloture vote on the stimulus took place in the Senate. The specific stations will be WTAM in Cleveland, KXNT in Las Vegas, KKOH in Reno and KYW in Philly.

"[The ads] draw a clear line for the Senators," said an official with the group. "House Republicans played politics - they put their Senate colleagues in the crosshairs."

You can hear the ad for yourself at the SAUCE

ONTDP First Ever Friending Meme

Pick some questions to answer, or make up your own!

  • Current Mood
TB - Grumpy old men
  • mykaa

Construction signs warn of zombie apocalypse

Hackers change public safety message

AUSTIN (KXAN) - Austin drivers making their morning commute were in for a surprise when two road signs on a busy stretch of road were taken over by hackers. The signs near the intersection of Lamar and Martin Luther King boulevards usually warn drivers about upcoming construction, but Monday morning they warned of "zombies ahead."

"I thought it was pretty funny," said University of Texas sophomore Jane Shin, who saw the signs while driving down Lamar Bouelvard with friends Sunday night. "We wondered who did it."
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' jules
  • schmiss


Obama Eyeing GOP Senator For Commerce, Would Give Dems 60-Seat Majority

There is a strong possibility that Barack Obama will ask Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH) to serve as his Secretary of Commerce, Democratic Senate aides tell the Huffington Post.

The move would fill a vacancy that has lingered since Gov. Bill Richardson withdrew his nomination. And provided that Al Franken emerges victorious in the Minnesota recount, it would give Democrats in the Senate a 60th caucusing member, as New Hampshire's Democratic governor John Lynch would appoint Gregg's replacement.

Asked for a response, White House spokesman, Bill Burton, in an email to the Huffington Post, said the "president hasn't made a pick yet."

The potential of Gregg leaving the Senate will almost certainly set off an intense lobbying effort from his fellow Republican senators to persuade him to turn down the Commerce post. Already, a GOP operative writes in to say: "No way that Gregg takes it."


Barack, you magnificent bastard.

Gregg should take it, a cabinet post is easier than running for re-election in '10.

Prop. 8 campaign can't hide donors' names

Proposition 8 proponents' complaint that a California campaign-finance disclosure law has led to harassment of same-sex marriage opponents failed to sway a federal judge, who refused Thursday to throw out the law or shield donors' names.

"If there ever needs to be sunshine on a particular issue, it's a ballot measure," U.S. District Judge Morrison England said after a one-hour hearing in his Sacramento courtroom.

A lawyer for the Prop. 8 campaign said it would ask an appeals court to modify or overturn the law, which requires disclosure of all contributors of $100 or more.

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It's a long article but important info inside..



Obama is a two-faced liar. Aw-RIGHT!

Republicans are right. President Barack Obama treated them like dirt, didn't give a damn what they thought about his stimulus package, loaded it with a bunch of programs that will last for years and will never leave the budget, is giving away money disguised as "tax refunds," and is sneaking in huge changes in policy, from schools to health care, using the pretext of an economic emergency.

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K-Box caricature

Politics and superhero comic books: Like chocolate and peanut butter ...

In his review of Dark Avengers #1, Brian Hibbs of The Savage Critic(s) says what I've been thinking for a while now about the emerging disconnect between Marvel Comics' "realistic" superhero universe, versus the ACTUAL reality of America right now:

I'm not afraid of the dark!

So this is my theory, and it may be wrong.

Marvel has been very good, maybe especially amazingly good about judging the zeitgeist when it comes to their recent big events. CIVIL WAR and SECRET INVASION were both pretty prefect distillations of the nation's feelings at the time of their initial publication, and that's why they resonated so well with the comics audience, and sold so well. That's what pop comics are supposed to do, of course: reflect ourselves back at us so we can know ourselves better. One can argue this is a tradition that goes back to the start of Marvel, as well: what else are most of the original Marvel characters but perfect pictures of America's fears of the Bomb, the commies, the generational changes between "the 50s" and "the 60s"?

So my theory is this: Marvel (and Bendis, one presumes) really really thought that Obama was going to lose the presidency. Maybe this is from liberal self-loathing; maybe it was just playing the odds -- hell, even here in liberal pinko San Francisco, there's very few of my peers who thought the black guy REALLY had a chance.

Storylines are planned months ahead of time, of course. And once you start something down a certain path, it really is hard to change that path in a group-planning environment.

Because I'm not sure how to otherwise really explain DARK AVENGERS #1 coming out the day after the inauguration of our 44th president. Tonally, it's completely wrong. Here's a man who, in his first week, has strengthened the Freedom of Information Act; is doing his initial interviews with "the Muslim world" trying to show them that America is not their enemy; is shutting down Gitmo.

And in DARK AVENGERS #1 a loathsome and insane enemy takes over super-heroic security of the country, installing twisted parodies of some of our favorite heroes as though they were the real thing, and is ruling based on fear and blackmail and psychosis.

Well, fair enough that I have a few conservative friends who might argue that IS the undercurrent of America '09, but I think they're fair from the majority opinion this time around.

I don't want this to become a big political debate or anything, but the dissonance between watching our President speak, and the workings of America in the Marvel universe is pretty breathtaking -- it's like going to the opera and finding out tonight's selection is the Sex Pistol's greatest hits!

So, yeah, I think they were betting on McCain winning this thing. Could be wrong, but that's my theory and I am sticking with it for the moment.

Of course, the possibility that Hibbs is overlooking is my theory that Marvel's writers and editors are actually much more politically conservative than they make themselves out to be - or indeed, perhaps even than they believe themselves to be, since they like to pat themselves on the back for their supposedly "liberal" attitudes so often - given the fact that Dark Avengers writer Brian Michael Bendis recently defended the "superhero" qualifications of unrepentant mass-murdering psychopath Norman Osborn - a.k.a. Spider-Man's arch-enemy, the Green Goblin - by comparing him favorably to Joseph McCarthy and Dick Cheney, because in Bendis' own words, "You'd get more accomplished because they don't have the same piles of neuroses and moral quandaries that our 'heroes' wrestle with."