February 19th, 2009


GOP Fighting For Money From Stimulus They Opposed

GOP Fighting For Money From Stimulus They Opposed

House Republicans, as a group, may take great pride in the goose egg they offered President Obama's stimulus package. But now the unanimous opposition is struggling to bring that money home.

Republicans will be working hard to make sure the money they opposed ends up benefiting their home districts,
highlighting the political tightrope they walk in this economic crisis. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is watching House Republicans -- and reading local media -- closely and is only too happy to highlight any happy talk about a stimulus Republicans voted against.
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Michelle Obama Entertains Kids At The White House In Celebration of Black History Month

WASHINGTON — Foot-stomping music filled the East Room of the White House on Wednesday as first lady Michelle Obama hosted nearly 200 schoolchildren for a Black History Month celebration featuring Sweet Honey in the Rock, an award-winning female a cappella ensemble.

Mrs. Obama seemed a bit surprised when the sixth- and seventh-graders from three local schools said yes, they knew slaves helped build the White House, that President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation upstairs in a bedroom named for him, and that the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil rights leaders met in the building with Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson to discuss the end of segregation.

"So you guys know your history. That's a good thing," she said. "That means your parents and teachers are doing their jobs."

Mrs. Obama encouraged them to look beyond the names in the history books and to "think about the extraordinary people who live in your own world," like parents, grandparents and teachers, "all those folks who play important roles in black history and American history every single day."

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i heard this was the first of its kind and so was inviting the children of the white house staff :D
  • turi

Carol Carter and her Racist Emails: Still as Classy as Ever...

Carol Carter and her Racist Emails: Still as Classy as Ever...

Remember Florida Republican State Committeewoman Carol Carter of Hillsborough County, the GOP funny woman who sent out this knee-slapper of racist email?

I'm confused.
How can 2,000,000 blacks get into Washington, DC in 1 day in sub zero temps when 200,000 couldn't get out of New Orleans in 85 degree temps with four days notice?

Well, she's back and wants her old job that she resigned from back. Oh, and she's still mad that someone leaked her emails, but not sorry for the content.

At the local party meeting this week, Carter continued the "sorry you found out" apology tour, saying:

Shop TLA Video
Please accept my deep and sincere apologies. I was wrong to have shared any such materials even with a few.
Hmmm, not sorry for the horrendously insensitive and racist content? Just that you shared it? Nice. But she goes on:
The media frenzy that happened was beyond my comprehension, and in the heat of the moment I e-mailed a resignation.
To those of you who leaked to the media, I'm ashamed of you.
That's right, email leakers and evil media forces- Carol is ashamed of YOU!
Carter has tried unsuccessfully to rescind her resignation, but said she would run again in the March election set to pick her replacement. Because you just can't get enough Katrina jokes and no one can deliver them quite like Carol Carter.


The Race to Replace Rahm

What do you want in a congressman?

By Ben Joravsky

February 19, 2009

If it were up to me, there wouldn’t be a special election to fill Rahm Emanuel’s vacant seat in the Fifth Congressional District. As I see it the electorate in the Fifth should lose its voting privileges for at least one election, having already sent to office a future felon (Dan Rostenkowski), a right-wing Republican (Michael Flanagan), and a certifiable lunatic (Rod Blagojevich).

But it’s not up to me, is it? The law requires a special election, and before he was ousted and embarked on his media tour, former governor Blagojevich set March 3 for the primaries and April 7 for the general.

So here’s what we’ll do. Before you can decide which candidate to vote for, it might just be a good idea to think about what you want in a congressman. By my count there are at least six distinct political types who wind up in Congress: outsiders, insiders, wonks, celebrities, legacies, and citizens. For the benefit of voters in the Fifth District—as well as everyone else who has to consider the next regularly scheduled elections—let’s take them one by one.

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Probably kind of a deadly combination of tl;dr and inside baseball but I thought some of you guys might be interested in who's looking to move into your mean boyfriend's old office, plus it could be kind of an interesting window into the shitfest that is Chicago politics if you have time to kill.

GOP poised to leap on spending abuses in stimulus

GOP poised to leap on spending abuses in stimulus

Republicans are preparing to pounce on any wasteful spending in the $787 billion stimulus package as they refocus their criticisms of a measure whose success could hurt their 2010 election prospects.

President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats also promise rigorous oversight, including a new Web site to help people track various projects funded by the massive bill. But the two parties will reap different political rewards if they find waste or abuse, which is virtually inevitable when the government tries to spend so much money so fast, authorities say.
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GOP governors rift over stimulus

GOP governors rift over stimulus

While Barack Obama’s stimulus package faced nearly unanimous Republican congressional opposition, it also exposed an unmistakable fault line among the 22 GOP governors, several of whom took high-profile positions in support of the $787 billion plan.

The governors’ rift was ostensibly about the economic recovery plan, but there was another high-stakes conflict behind the scenes, marked by two competing visions of a new Republican Party represented by two governors who may face off in the 2012 GOP presidential primary.

On the one side is South Carolina’s Mark Sanford, the chairman of the Republican Governors Association, who refers to the spending package as “a tremendous mistake.”

“The spending plan will prove to be an absolute disaster,” Sanford said in an interview. “The bottom line is that it’s horrible.”

On the other is Florida’s Charlie Crist, the popular first-term governor who appeared on stage with Obama last week to urge passage of the stimulus.

“I support the stimulus plan because, number one, we need it,” Crist told Politico. “Florida sends an awful lot of tax dollars to D.C. and we ought to get some of it back.”
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UBS: American Investors' Identities To Be Revealed

UBS: American Investors' Identities To Be Revealed

The curtain is being peeled back on the infamous secrecy of Swiss banks.

The largest bank in Switzerland, UBS, agreed Wednesday to reveal the names of wealthy Americans whom the authorities suspect of using offshore accounts to evade taxes.

The change in policy is the result of UBS' admitted role in conspiring to defraud the Internal Revenue Service. As part of the agreement, the bank will pay $780 million in damages, and also close all offshore accounts of its American clients.

It is not clear how many names will be divulged, but the Feds have been looking into roughly 19,000 accounts, according to the New York Times.

The deal could mark the end of Swiss banking as we know it, as many offshore clients may no longer trust the anonymity of the country's banking system.

Prosecutors suspect that UBS helped its American clients hide $20 billion from the government, or about $300 million a year in taxes, from late 2002 to 2007. UBS has admitted that some of its employees "participated in a scheme to defraud the United States"

I wonder if the list will contain famous names or politicians...

Indians targetted in Melbourne (australia)

Indians told to keep low profile

Jewel Topsfield
February 19, 2009

INDIAN students will be taught not to speak loudly in their native tongue or display signs of wealth such as iPods when travelling on trains at night, as part of a strategy to crack down on violent robberies.

Robberies in Melbourne's western suburbs jumped by 27 per cent last financial year. Police estimated almost a third of victims were of Indian appearance.

A special police group has been formed to combat the robberies amid fears that some are racially motivated and that Indian international students are soft targets because they carry iPods and laptops on trains late at night.

The Federation of Indian Students of Australia says Melbourne, which has about 33,000 Indian international students, may no longer be seen as a safe destination.

Inspector Scott Mahony, of Brimbank police, said it was crucial to stop Indian students becoming victims and address their mistrust of police.

"They need to make sure they walk through a well-lit route, even if it might be longer, and they are not openly displaying signs of wealth with iPods and phones, and not talking loudly in their native language," Inspector Mahony said.

" We do believe there are some where the victim is targeted because of Indian appearance."

Dayajot Singh, who helped organise a protest last year over attacks on Indians, said Indian students should be taught crime prevention as part of their university induction course. "They should be taught that if you go on public transport in this country, people don't talk loudly, they talk in a low voice. If you talk loudly it could be taken as violent behaviour. It's different cultural behaviour speaking loudly to each other is not taken offence to in India."


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Is it just me, or do you think the recent (seeming) rise of racial motivated attacks are linked to the Economic Meltdown? 

Jake G -  Moving beauty

Obama And Michelle Ask Progressive Groups For Help Driving White House Agenda

At a private White House cocktail reception last night for leaders of major progressive groups, Barack Obama and his wife Michelle appealed to these leaders and signaled that their groups would play a key role in driving the big progressive changes at the heart of the White House’s legislative agenda, an attendee tells me.

The message was that these groups would be valuable as a kind of progressive outside “echo chamber,” as the attendee puts it.

The party — which was organized by top Obama aide Valerie Jarrett — signals that the White House is moving forward with efforts to build coordination with outside progressive groups in order to drive the White House’s message and beat back its foes. As I reported recently, Jarrett is at the center of those efforts.

Obama didn’t give a talk, and the President, Michelle, and Joe Biden mingled informally with various groups of progressive leaders. The message, the attendee adds, was that “it’s very clear that there will need to be an echo chamber and a way for groups on the outside to build the case for big progressive legislation.”

“The gist was, `We’re gonna need people out there telling the story of the stimulus and telling the story about how much we need big health care reform and clean energy and green jobs,’” the attendee says.

Among those on the guest list: Labor leaders Jimmy Hoffa, Gerry McEntee and Andy Stern, MoveOn’s Eli Pariser; Sierra Club’s Carl Pope; Planned Parenthood’s Cecile Richardson; and Joe Solomonese of Human Rights Watch.

Word of the gathering first leaked out when Ben Smith posted Andy Stern’s Twitter saying he’d just been at the reception.

This is a key development for progressive leaders; more soon.



meredith [grey's anatomy]
  • germli

Michael Steele, lol.

Steele: GOP needs 'hip-hop' makeover

Ralph Z. Hallow
Thursday, February 19, 2009

Newly elected Republican National Committee Chairman Michael S. Steele plans an “off the hook” public relations offensive to attract younger voters, especially blacks and Hispanics, by applying the party's principles to “urban-suburban hip-hop settings.”

The RNC's first black chairman will “surprise everyone” when updating the party's image using the Internet and advertisements on radio, on television and in print, he told The Washington Times.

Having been elected to the job that the Bush White House and its political guru, Karl Rove, once denied him, Mr. Steele is running the show his way. To those who claimed he can't make the trains run on time, he has this message: “Stuff it.”

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I went a little crazy with the bold and tags (hush) but enjoyed reading this article. Steele amuses me.
  • turi

Naked Greek Men Come Together for Obama

Naked Greek Men Come Together for Obama


Barack Obama and Pope Benedict have been celebrated by a fusion of nearly naked men (and a couple of women) atop a hill near the Acropolis in Athens:

"The work was inspired by fusionism which is an art form that combines abstract painting and choreographed performances. It is part of an art marathon. The plan is that one artist will be sent to a different country every year for the next 42 years to exhibit their work and create discussion on how art can make the world a better place. But it has not been easy for Dave. He said it took several days to create and plan the performance particularly the choreography, to make sure the picture fitted together properly. There was also a fair bit of re-touching when his art work got smudged. Dave said: 'This is really hard. Then it's the performance you have to plan and the painting... So I start at 8am and I'm still here.'"


More on WBC in UK: Fred Phelps & Shirley Phelps-Roper have been banned from entering the UK

Anti-gay preachers banned from UK

A father and daughter from a US church which has preached hatred of homosexuals, have been banned from entering the UK.

Fred Phelps and his daughter Shirley Phelps-Roper from the Westboro Baptist Church had urged protests against a play being put on in Hampshire.

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BBC Source.

Edit: Additional sources at The Telegraph, The Times, Reuters, The Guardian and The Independent.
  • dwer

Live by the recall

die by the recall...

New Orleans’s new congressman Joseph Cao (R) stated that he would vote for the economic recovery package. But he didn't. Now he may face a recall.

Congressman Joseph “Anh”Cao, a Republican, who defeated William “Bill” Jefferson is facing a recall petition because of his vote on the Barack Obama stimulus package. The recall has been initiated by a group of ministers. […]

One elected official, State Representative Juan A. LaFonta, Democrat of District 96 told Bayoubuzz that he does not know about the existence of the petition but that he would sign it. … “People are starving and Cao needs to represent the people of the district”, LaFonta said.

Sauce wants accountability

PM welcomes Obama to Parliament Hill

Prime Minister Stephen Harper greeted U.S. President Barack Obama on Parliament Hill just before noon Thursday for a short working visit between the two leaders.

Obama, on his first foreign trip since taking office, shook hands with Harper after arriving by motorcade for a welcoming ceremony at the Centre Block rotunda shortly after leaving the Ottawa International Airport.

The president waved to a cheering crowd of an estimated 1,500 people who had gathered in front of Parliament Hill hoping to catch a glimpse of the U.S. leader.

Obama had been greeted by Gov. Gen. Michaëlle Jean after Air Force One touched down around 10:30 a.m.

Obama and Harper are meeting privately for about 10 minutes before a meeting and working lunch with their staff teams. The president and the prime minister will then hold a joint news conference at 2:45 p.m. ET.

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Source: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2009/02/19/obama-visit.html

There is also live streaming CBC coverage at the source, as well as an itinerary for the day. WELCOME TO CANADA, MR. PRESIDENT! :)

Reese Witherspoon
  • shibato


7-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong has his stolen trek bicycle back, and Twitter and Facebook may have helped crack the case.

Armstrong alerted his 140,000 Twitter followers to the theft on Sunday, and four days ago a good Samaritan found it and turned it over to police in Sacramento, Ca.

"They recovered the bike!" Armstrong said on Twitter. "Don't have details yet but it's apparently on it's way here. Thanks to the Sacramento P D for the help!"

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tbh, it's cool that this turned into a community effort a-la 4Chan, but I think it's kind of Big Brotherey, too


We're Stepping Out of the Darkness...

Reversing Bush Position, U.S. Now Supports U.N. Measure Condemning Discrimination Based On Sexual Orientation»

unitednationsweb.jpgLast December, France and the Netherlands co-sponsored an unprecedented U.N. declaration calling for a worldwide decriminalization of homosexuality. Sixty-six countries signed the nonbinding declaration, including most of Europe, Japan, Australia and Mexico. However, the United States joined China, Russa, the Vatican and members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference in refusing to support the measure.

U.S. allies and human rights groups criticized the Bush administration’s position as it stood “in contradiction with America’s long tradition as a defender of human rights”:

– [France’s human rights minister Rama] Yade and the Dutch foreign minister, Maxime Verhagen, said at a news conference that they were “disappointed” that the United States failed to support the declaration.

– “The Bush administration is trying to come up with Christmas presents for the religious right so it will be remembered,” said Scott Long, a director at Human Rights Watch.

But as with a number of other important issues, the new Obama administration has come with a change in attitude and a new position. At preparations for the U.N.’s so-called “Durban Review Conference” on racism and xenophonia in Geneva, the U.S.offered support for a proposal to condemn “all forms of discrimination and all other human rights violations based on sexual orientation”:

The Czech Republic on behalf of the E.U., with the support of New Zealand, the United States, Colombia, Chili on behalf of the South American states, the Netherlands, Argentina and a few others, took the floor in support.

While the measure faced resistance and eventually failed, U.N. Dispatch’s Mark Leon Goldberg notes, “Still, it’s relieving to see that the United States is now back on the side of the enlightened on this issue of basic human rights.”

  • bispo

Headline of the Day: President Hunts for "BeaverTail," Gets "ObamaTail" Instead

It's a deep fried Canadian pastry: "BeaverTail."

Created by the grandmother of Grant Hooker -- who along with wife Pam own the BeaverTail franchise -- BeaverTails have been around since 1978, and are heralded by the city of Ottawa as a local treat. The BeaverTail is made with whole-wheat flour and cooked in canola oil. Toppings include cinnamon sugar, raspberry jelly or grated cheese.

After his meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper today the President went on the hunt for BeaverTail. (More on the substance of the visit HERE.)

"I am looking for a BeaverTail," the president said at Byward Market, an old farmer's market.

But he was presented by BeaverTail staffer Jessica Milien with something else: A new pastry created by the Hookers last month -- the ObamaTail.

The ObamaTail is a cinnamon sugar BeaverTail topped with a whipped cream "O," a maple "O." and a chocolate "O."

Later, the President remarks that Ottawa weather reminded him of Chicago. He noted there were differences, however, and one Canadian noted there are no BeaverTails in Chicago.

"And there are no beaver tails," the President agreed.

The President said he ate some of the ObamaTail.

"It was very large," he said.
  • bispo

Video: President, Please! N-Word Substitute Catching On

A non-profit organization dedicated to the abolition of “the N-Word” and its replacement with the word "President" may actually be making some linguistic headway in the wake of Barack Obama's victory. According to a borderline-Comedy Central segment on "NY1," some black residents in Harlem have been substituting President for the N-Word in everyday slang. (A NY1 rep confirms, "That was not at anytime a news story on NY1, nor is the person in the piece a NY1 employee.")

Nevertheless, it's still pretty amusing, and you've got to feel for the struggling hip hop artists if this thing catches on. As one young rapper puts it, "It's a struggle out here, man. Nothing rhymes with President, know what I mean? It's multi-syllabic."

  • bispo

The Catholic Crusade Against a Mythical Abortion Bill

The U.S. Catholic Church's crusade against the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) has all the hallmarks of a well-oiled lobbying campaign. A national postcard campaign is flooding the White House and congressional offices with messages opposing FOCA, and the Catholic bishops have made defeating the abortion rights legislation a top priority. In the most recent effort to stop the bill, Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia sent a letter to every member of Congress imploring them to "please oppose FOCA."

There is only one hitch. Congress isn't about to pass the Freedom of Choice Act because no such bill has been introduced.

At a time when the United States is gripped by economic uncertainty and faces serious challenges in hot spots around the globe, some American Catholics are finding it both curious and troubling that their church has launched a major campaign against a piece of legislation that doesn't exist and wouldn't have much chance of becoming law even if it did. To many critics, it feels like the legislative equivalent of the the Dog That Didn't Bark.

The campaign against FOCA, which would essentially codify the Roe v. Wade decision by saying the government can't place limits on abortions performed before viability, began shortly after Barack Obama's election in November, at the annual general meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). In a unanimous decision, the bishops voted "to mobilize the resources of the USCCB, dioceses and the entire Catholic community" to oppose the Freedom of Choice Act.

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  • bispo

Megyn Kelly: ‘Addressing Racial Ills…Strikes Fear Down The Spines Of Many Conservatives’

Speaking to the Justice Department in honor of Black History Month yesterday, Attorney General Eric Holder said that “we, average Americans, simply do not talk enough with each other about race.” When it comes to discussing race, he said, the U.S. is “essentially a nation of cowards.” He said that the Department has “a special responsibility,” and that as long as he is Attorney General, the Department “must — and will — lead the nation to the ‘new birth of freedom’ so long ago promised by our greatest President.”

Apparently, the notion that the DOJ might “lead the nation” in protecting and upholding justice greatly alarmed Fox News’ Megyn Kelly. Interviewing Juan Williams this morning, she declared that “addressing racial ills…strikes fear down the spines” of conservatives:

KELLY: He said they [the department] has a special responsibility in addressing racial ills. That — that strikes fear down the spines of many conservatives in this country, because they don’t want the Justice Department taking us back to the day when they get heavily involved in things like affirmative action, and things like voter registration rights. […]

WILLIAMS: What you will see I think is more aggressive enforcement in terms of existing civil rights laws. And that was the fear that the existing civil rights laws were not being enforced by the Bush justice department.

KELLY: Well a lot of people thought that the Bush Justice Department sort of got us back to the point where we were — we were being reasonable.

Watch it:

Part of conservatives’ “fear,” according to Kelly, is that Holder would change the DOJ’s focus on voting rights. “The Bush administration was all about voter fraud, some of the Democrats more about voter registration rights,” she said. She’s right: As former head of the DOJ’s Voting Rights section Joseph Rich detailed, under Bush the DOJ “notably shirked” its traditional duty of protecting minority voting rights:

It has notably shirked its legal responsibility to protect voting rights. From 2001 to 2006, no voting discrimination cases were brought on behalf of African American or Native American voters. U.S. attorneys were told instead to give priority to voter fraud cases, which, when coupled with the strong support for voter ID laws, indicated an intent to depress voter turnout in minority and poor communities.

Even after Bush’s DOJ made “voter fraud” a “top priority,” between October 2002 and September 2005, just 38 cases of voter fraud were prosecuted nationally — “and of those, 14 ended in dismissals or acquittals, 11 in guilty pleas, and 13 in convictions.” Yet, according to Kelly, diverting resources to a crime that exists only in the right wing’s imagination is entirely “reasonable.”

  • bispo

We <3 Our Canadian Brotha and Sista's too

Today, President Obama arrived in Canada, his first foreign trip since taking office. Already, the trip is a stark departure from the Bush years. U.S. presidents have traditionally made their first trip abroad to Canada. President Bush, however, broke with tradition and headed south to Mexico.
Already, there’s been a noticeable difference in the way the Canadian public has received the two presidents. Bush was wildly unpopular in Canada. Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who supported the Iraq war (and later admitted it was a mistake), was lambasted by Canadians as supporting “Harper-Bush” policies. Not surprisingly, Bush’s visits to Canada spurred massive protests:
Thousands of protesters marched on Parliament Tuesday, rallying against President Bush’s visit and the U.S.-led war in Iraq. Twelve people were arrested after scuffling with police on the fringes of the peaceful demonstration.”
– “But with thousands of protesters expected to demonstrate against Mr. Bush, the White House decided to cut short his visit to Ottawa and travel to Halifax instead.”
Early Crowds Await Obama,” the Toronto Star reads today. “American flags are being hung up around Ottawa in preparation” for Obama’s visit, reports the Ottawa Citizen. Some of the stories today:
– “Small groups of people gathered in the pre-dawn gloom on Parliament Hill in hopes of catching a glimpse of [Obama]. Not even a snowfall could deter diehard fans of the popular U.S. leader.”
– “With stars and stripes flapping in the wind, enamoured Canadians will line the streets of the capital today trying to catch a fleeting glimpse of U.S. President Barack Obama.”
– “Bus trips have been organized in Montreal, Kitchener and Toronto. Hotel rooms are booked, Facebook groups are buzzing and websites have sprung up to give visitors all the latest information. … All of this for U.S. President Barack Obama.”
Bush’s unpopularity endures well past the end of his tumultuous presidency. “When George W. Bush makes one of his first post White House speeches in Calgary, [he] will be greeted by a special welcoming committee — protesters determined to voice their displeasure with his eight-year reign and the subsequent fallout,” the Calgary Herald reported this week.
UpdateCNN's Ed Henry updates his Twitter from Canada:
@edhenrycnn Along motorcade route, one handmade sign said, "After God, It's Obama". Sharp contrast from protests here in Bush years

California Legislature Passes Budget

Article:State Legislature passes emergency budget plan:/c/a/2009/02/18/MNCM160B0E.DTL
Article:State Legislature passes emergency budget plan:/c/a/2009/02/18/MNCM160B0E.DTL

State Legislature passes emergency budget plan

Matthew Yi,Wyatt Buchanan, Chronicle Sacramento Bureau

Thursday, February 19, 2009

(02-19) 07:37 PST Sacramento -- After five days of Capitol arm-twisting, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Senate Democrats secured a breakthrough GOP vote this morning that gave the necessary two-thirds majority to their plan to save the state from what they warned was impending financial ruin.

The Legislature began voting at 3:40 a.m. on a package of 33 bills to close a $41 billion budget deficit through June 2010 - a record shortfall resulting from a faltering state economy and the collapse of the housing and banking markets. By 6:55 a.m., both houses of the Legislature had passed the plan.

"I'm absolutely delighted about the budget passing and the great job the Legislature has done," said Schwarzenegger moments after the vote. "This is a historic budget."

The governor is expected to sign the bills Friday.

The Senate had been one GOP vote short until Sen. Abel Maldonado, R-Santa Maria (Santa Barbara County), changed his mind to support the budget plan, but only after Schwarzenegger and legislative leaders agreed to his demands.

"I know there will be dire political ramifications for me, but I know the ramifications for the people of California would be more dire (without this budget)," said Maldonado. "This budget is about shared pain and shared sacrifices."

The 33 bills include $15 billion in spending cuts, $11.4 billion in borrowing, $12.8 billion in taxes and about $2 billion of federal funds from the federal stimulus package that President Obama signed on Tuesday.

The tax increases - 1-cent on the dollar sales tax, vehicle license fee and a slight increase in the state income tax - had been the primary reason why the plan could not garner enough Republican support in the Senate to push it over the required two-thirds majority.

Maldonado's demands included the removal of a proposed 12 cents a gallon gasoline tax, suspending hikes in pay and per diems for lawmakers when the state is facing budget deficits, and a ballot measure in June 2010 that asks voters whether they want open primaries.

"It was not easy to decide to support the budget, Maldonado said. "I would have liked to see someone else vote for this budget. But during these difficult times I've decided to step up to the plate."

Also supporting the plan were Republican Senators Roy Ashburn of Bakersfield and Dave Cogdill of Modesto. Cogdill was the Minority Leader ousted Wednesday by his fellow Republican senators because he supported an earlier plan that called for $14.4 billion in tax hikes.

Department of Finance director Mike Genest, said the vote happened "just in the knick of time." He acted quickly to send emails to state agencies this morning telling them not to halt the 276 state funded public works projects that Schwarzenegger ordered stopped because the state was running out of cash.

Before adjourning, Assembly Speaker Karen Bass told legislators: "Members, we all cast some difficult votes today... But we took those votes to prevent the State of California from going off the cliff."

Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, cautioned after the vote that this was not a time for a celebration.

"It is a time to take great pride in our imperfect institution," Steinberg added. "If we can solve the largest deficit in state history, we can tackle anything."

The Legislature's action came three months after Schwarzenegger declared a fiscal emergency and called on legislators to convene a special session to solve the state's financial crisis. After grueling negotiations and stalled talks, the governor and legislative leaders finally agreed on a compromise plan to close the deficit last week.

The Legislature began voting on the plan late Saturday but stalled when the main budget bill failed to get the required three Republican votes in the Senate. Then-minority leader Cogdill was the lone Republican to vote yes. Afterward, Ashburn agreed to provide the second GOP vote - but only if a third GOP Senator stepped forward.

From that point on, the squeeze was on to find the one final GOP vote. Several times, the whole deal appeared as if it might come undone. On Wednesday, after GOP senators ousted Cogdill, they replaced him with Sen. Dennis Hollingsworth, R-Murrieta (Riverside County), who said he wanted to start from scratch and negotiate a "no-tax-increase budget."

Schwarzenegger said he would not start over.

"I hate taxes," the governor said, adding that the state's shortfall could not be closed without them.

"If you think you can do this budget without any revenue increases then you have a big math problem," Schwarzenegger said Wednesday.

Also Wednesday, U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer warned that a failure by California's lawmakers to agree on a new spending plan could jeopardize federal stimulus funds for education and transportation. She called the state's $41 billion budget shortfall the "crisis of a lifetime."

Boxer, speaking in Sacramento, said she had a detailed telephone conversation with State Controller John Chiang about the state's latest fiscal picture.

"When I got off the phone with him, my hands were shaking for what lies ahead if we don't get one vote," Boxer said.


It's finally over, guys.  I really commend the three Republicans who decided to support this budget. 

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  • bispo

Google Earth Shows U.S. Drones at Pakistani Base?

Don't take a Senator's word for it. Old Google Earth satellite photos, dug up by the News of Pakistan, show U.S. drones, parked on a Pakistani runway, back in 2006. The paper ID's the robotic planes as massive Global Hawk drones -- unlikely, the shape's all wrong. More likely, the aircraft found at coordinates 27 degrees 51 minutes North, 65 degrees and 10 minutes East are Predator drones.
Google Earth no longer shows the planes at the airfield, "built by Arab sheiks for falconry trips," according to the Times of London. But the 2009-edition images do show several new buildings -- including what appears to be a hangar, big enough for several Predators.
Pakistani blogger Teeth Maestro, for one, is not at all pleased by what he sees. His latest headline: "Drones parked in our own backyard, to Bomb our own People."
dont get me started

Rush Limbaugh: They.Must.Be.Stopped.

Some excerpts from a Rush Limbaughs show: Or 'this is what were up against'

CALLER: Rush, it's such a pleasure to speak with you. I am so honored. I have to say, I am so incredibly frustrated with these liberal Democrats who want to change our free market system, that same system that has made our country what it is. And in comparison, our country is so young compared to all these European countries and all these socialist systems that have proven not to work. Why do they want to squelch us and ruin us?

RUSH: Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. It's a great question, but you say it's been proven not to work. For who does it not work?

CALLER: It doesn't work for the people. The people... I mean, how many people have come here? You know, our country had been booming and growing and we've helped other countries.

What makes you think... I'm serious here. What makes you think that any of this being done here is for the people? I mean, when you look at what's being done here, how in the world can you say it's being done for the people?

CALLER: Well, look at California. It's completely going bankrupt. It is bankrupt. They have all that natural gas, all that oil under there, and how did we let it happen? How did the environmentalists get so much control that they have money sitting there under the ground that they cannot touch because of some endangered fish?

RUSH: Well, now, that's a question that is worthwhile because the answer to that -- and having a full answer and knowledge of the answer to the question -- would help prevent it again in the future if we are able to secure our birthright back. The answer to that is fairly lengthy. It took many, many years for that to happen, and there are many elements.
It took a Republican Party afraid to stand up. The left lives this stuff each and every day. We live in the free market; they live in government and oppression. They live in the area of denying freedom; we live in the area of expanding it and practicing it. They use government to enforce their desires; we don't. We try to reduce the size.

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Rush Limbaugh Sauce is Gross
&#39; jules
  • schmiss


Everyone Has Their Price -- Grandstanding GOP Governors Are Taking The Stimulus Money

Yet another anti-stimulus GOP governor, who had been hinting previously that his state would be turning down cash, is now accepting the money.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who co-wrote an op-ed piece with South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford about all the things that were wrong with the bill, has now informed the White House that he'll accept the money. (By the way, Sanford is taking some of the money, too.)

Perry is, however, leaving the door open to not taking all of it, as he doesn't want to spend money that would expand existing social programs, and thus trap him into having to continue the increases later on with state money. Perry's spokeswoman said that they are studying the aid package "line by line to determine what is in the best interest of Texas taxpayers."

  • bispo

John Gibson Compares Eric Holder To Monkey With Bright Blue Scrotum

At the end of a long and pointless conversation between two Fox News reporters covering a zoo escape, John Gibson compared Attorney General Eric Holder to a monkey.

A monkey escaped from the Woodland park Zoo in Seattle and despite the fact that authorities are "taking this very seriously," Julie Banderas and Harris Faulkner were not, cracking jokes about the monkeys' bright blue scrotum.

At 2:48, they toss to John Gibson who complains that he can't get away with saying "bright blue scrotum" on the radio then follows that up by saying, "We were talking about Eric Holder today on the radio and his bright blue scrotum."

Skins - Because he&#39;s a fun sponge


Some of you may have caught this last night on AC360. The Gerg, bb Roland Martin, and token black Republican Ron Christie discussed the NY Post racist cartoon controversy. Watch the BS fly from Christie's side. I mean, you know you've embarrassing yourself when you not only completely disregard historically racist imagery, but also play the "WHY DO YOU HAVE TO SEE RACISM EVERYWHERE" card and not only make Roland but the Gerg laugh in your face.



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Real American Hero

Folks in Steubenville, Ohio, were excited to learn that their own hometown hero Frank McGee won not only the Silver Star for his bravery during the Korean War, but that he would be immortalized in a comic book dedicated to war heroes.

The excitement soured when “Heroic Comics” #81 came out early in 1953, containing the story about how a wounded Cpl. McGee saved his platoon from machine-gun wielding North Korean soldiers on Hill 528.

The story was mostly accurate except for one thing – it portrayed McGee as white.

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soap&amp;skin 2012
  • automat

The stimulus bill: How Much Would Jesus Spend?

Conservative group counters stimulus with Jesus in TV ad

Apparently the AIP thinks Jesus wants 9 million people to lose their homes.

After watching liberal allies of President Barack Obama flood the airwaves in support of the stimulus bill, a conservative third-party group is countering with a provocative new commercial using Jesus Christ to emphasize the scale of the $787 billion package.

The American Issues Project, which briefly aired a TV spot in last year's presidential race, will go up on Friday with a TV spot that marks the dollars spent with the passage of time.

Suppose you spent $1 million every single day starting from the day Jesus was born — and kept spending through today,” says the announcer as an image of the three wise men flashes on the screen. “A million dollars a day for more than 2,000 years. You would still have spent less money than Congress just did.

According to Chris LaCivita, an AIP consultant, they are spending just under $1 million on the ad, which will be aired on national cable.

The 60-second ad also singles out an eyebrow-raising statement made by Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) on the Senate floor.

“Let me say this, to all of the chattering class that so much focuses on those little tiny, yes, porky amendments — the American people really don’t care,” Schumer said.

Then, echoing one of Obama’s signature campaign slogans, the announcer asks: “Is this change you can believe in?” Collapse )


USC Student Claims Homophobic Religious Intimidation By Frat

A student at the University of Southern California has requested an Interfraternity Council investigation coordinated by the IFC Judicial branch over incidents in which he says he was questioned about his homosexuality and relationship with God by members of the Alpha Gamma Omega fraternity during Spring Rush 2009. The student, Isaac Ahn, describes the incidents as follows:

"AGO Brother #1 and I were talking about how the bid process works. He asked me about my relationship with God. I told him I learn things every day, among other things. He further questioned me by asking what I learned. He said something about my involvement in the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender Assembly and how that wouldn’t work well with being in AGO. I told him I never was in GLBTA. He asked me if I was gay. I said yes. He asked me how that factored into my relationship with God. I explained how it used to be a struggle and how it isn’t anymore. He said that people base their relationship with God on their relationship with other people.

"AGO Brother #2 came into the conversation and took me to his room. He closed the door and proceeded to tell me how he struggled with his sexuality since he was a child. He asked me about my relationship with God. I told him what I told AGO Brother #1. He told me that he entered the fraternity a “broken man” and how the fraternity has helped him to improve. He also said that the fraternity is not affirming of homosexuality, because they are Christians and follow the scripture. He also said that since tomorrow is bid night, they want to know how my relationship with God is. He asked me what my thoughts were. I said that I wanted to leave. He wanted to show me out the back door so no one could see me leave but I said no. I grabbed my umbrella from under the couch in the common room where people were “worshipping” and left."

Ahn has also demanded an apology from the fraternity brothers involved, acknowledgement of the incident, and action from the frat to prevent the situation from happening again.


Completely off-topic, but whenever I hear about USC all I can think of is this.


The Brain Behind Will & Grace Writes Great Piece on Gay Parenting. "LOL WHERE DID U GET UR KIDS?"


I'm different. I'm a gay. And I'm a husband. And I am a dad of future twin girl presidents, Rose and Evan. Yes, Evan is the name of my daughter and Evan is also typically a boys name. But that's very now. All the kids with kids are doing it. Go to the park. Call out the name Charlie or Billy. See who looks up. It will surprise you. But that has nothing to do with anything. You should just know.


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Oh, ignorant straight people.  You slay me.  He's a better man than I because I would've gone all Lafayette on his ass.

(no subject)

Second Man Arrested in Murder of Gay Pennsylvania Army Vet


Last week I posted about the murder of Pennsylvania Army veteran Michael Goucher, whose body was found in a wooded area southeast of Scranton, Pennsylvania after being missing for a week. 

Freemore Shawn Freemore, a 19-year-old who told police he and Goucher had met on the internet, had sex once and then met for a second encounter the night Goucher was killed, was arrested for the murder. 

Freemore says Goucher refused and got out of the car where Freemore stabbed him, forced him into the woods, and stabbed him more than 20 times. Freemore confessed that he buried the body and then drove Goucher's car to where it was discovered and threw his clothes into the woods. 

Seagraves "Ian Seagraves was arraigned Wednesday before Mountainhome Magisterial District Judge John Whitesell on charges of murder, aggravated assault, criminal conspiracy, robbery and fabricating or tampering with physical evidence. Seagraves has a MySpace page, on which he describes himself as a 'hard core Juggalo.' Monroe County crime experts say some Juggalo members are involved in gang activity. His page says, 'if you dont know, i am kind of crazy since i got out of jail doin 21 months. i hear voices that tell me to kill people, hallucinate, get dillusional sometimes...schitzophrenia runs in my family and i think i caught it early..' His MySpace name is 'ThrOwt Stabba' and his page says he is on probation for 18 months."

A clip of Goucher's uncle and aunt, who raised him from the age of 14, below... 




FBI locates financier R. Allen Stanford in Virginia

FBI locates financier R. Allen Stanford in Virginia

The Texas billionaire is served civil papers in an SEC case accusing him of running an $8-billion investment scam. No criminal charges have been filed.

FBI agents tracked down billionaire R. Allen Stanford at the Virginia home of an acquaintance Thursday and served him with legal papers in a civil case accusing him of orchestrating an $8-billion investment scam.
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Stanford whistleblowers had concerns since 2005

For Mark Tidwell and Charles Rawl, former employees who filed a whistleblower lawsuit against Texas billionaire Allen Stanford's financial empire, the alarm bells first rang in May 2005, when some clients got a letter from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Tidwell and Rawl's concerns that Stanford was falsifying the returns of about $8 billion in certificates of deposit were eventually heeded by the SEC, which on Tuesday accused Stanford in a civil complaint of "massive ongoing fraud."

But at the time, the SEC inquiry came out of the blue, Tidwell and Rawl told Reuters in an interview at a law office in Houston on Thursday.

Clients "just got this FedEx package from the SEC," said Tidwell, 40, who was a Stanford senior vice president before he left the company in 2007, along with Rawl.

"We asked what it was about and they assured us that it was just a routine inquiry, it was not any big deal, do not be alarmed,"
Tidwell said.
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