March 28th, 2009


The Economist already thinks Obama is failing.....

Learning the hard way

HILLARY CLINTON’S most effective quip, in her long struggle with Barack Obama for the Democratic nomination last year, was that the Oval Office is no place for on-the-job training. It went to the heart of the nagging worry about the silver-tongued young senator from Illinois: that he lacked even the slightest executive experience, and that in his brief career he had never really stood up to powerful interests, whether in his home city of Chicago or in the wider world. Might Mrs Clinton have been right about her foe?


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(no subject)

Angry Catholic's Email Threat to Gay Connecticut Lawmakers Revealed


Last week I posted about a Catholic man who was arrested after sending a threatening email to two gay Connecticut lawmakers.

Kane The legislators, state senator Andrew McDonald, and state representative Michael Lawlor, were instrumental in the state's same-sex marriage battle, but the threats made by Kane were over a church oversight bill that would have altered the legal, financial, and administrative structure of local parishes, giving local parishioners more control. Catholics turned out to protest the bill in mid-March, after a push from local Bishops. At least one newspaper saw Catholics using this as an excuse to exercise their anger over the state's same-sex marriage decision, targeting the two gay lawmakers.

The content of the email from Kane was revealed in court today, Fox 61 reports. Kane wrote:

"You better hope myself and other Catholics don't find out where you live, cause there's hell to pay for your attack on the church. (expletive) off. God hates gay sex."

Earlier reports by the New Haven Advocate that the threats were specific death threats and contained the word "kill" may have been misreported, Fox 61 told Towleroad. The lawmakers reportedly received thousands of emails from around the country.


(no subject)

Tyler Perry: The Controversy Over His Hit Movies

''Madea Goes to Jail'' has grossed more than $75 million to date, but is its creator reinforcing stereotypes? And even if he is, how do you weigh that against the good he's doing? Inside black America's secret culture war



If you happened to buy a ticket to Tyler Perry's Madea Goes to Jail without knowing what you were getting into, you might think you'd stumbled onto a cheery comedy about an overgrown granny with anger-management issues. A black Mrs. Doubtfire, say, with car chases and reefer jokes. You'd never suspect that you had strayed into the midst of a culture war — one that's been simmering inside the African-American community since before blackface. ''I loved working with Tyler Perry, but he's a controversial, complicated figure,'' says Viola Davis, who costarred in Madea Goes to Jail and recently snagged an Oscar nomination for Doubt. ''People feel the images [in his movies] are very stereotypical, and black people are frustrated because they feel we should be more evolved. But there are very few black images in Hollywood, so black people are going to his movies. That's the dichotomy. Tyler Perry is making money.''

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James K. Galbraith's new piece in Washington Monthly

James K. Galbraith, the son of famous economist John K. Galbraith, and of the Paul Krugman/Dean Baker axis of "liberal economists," gives a list of solutions (and some good explanations) about the current financial crisis.

There is a really good video of Galbraith HERE that will not embed. It's what the screencap is from.

No Return to Normal

Why the economic crisis, and its solution, are bigger than you think.

By James K. Galbraith


The deepest belief of the modern economist is that the economy is a self-stabilizing system. This means that, even if nothing is done, normal rates of employment and production will someday return. Practically all modern economists believe this, often without thinking much about it. (Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said it reflexively in a major speech in London in January: "The global economy will recover." He did not say how he knew.) The difference between conservatives and liberals is over whether policy can usefully speed things up. Conservatives say no, liberals say yes, and on this point Obama’s economists lean left. Hence the priority they gave, in their first days, to the stimulus package.

But did they get the scale right? Was the plan big enough?

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Shirley Animated

Doctor acquitted in Kansas for performing late-term abortions

In a trial watched closely by activists on both sides of the abortion debate, Dr. George Tiller, the Kansas physician accused of performing illegal late-term abortions, was found not guilty Friday. The jury of three men and three women deliberated for less than an hour.

Tiller has been targeted by antiabortion politicians, legal officials and activists for years, but this was the first time he faced a jury.

When the court clerk announced the first of the 19 verdicts, Tiller, 67, squeezed his eyes shut for a moment. It was the only reaction he showed.

Spectators in the courtroom were silent when the first not-guilty verdict was read. Most of them were affiliated with the antiabortion group Operation Rescue. Some bowed their heads in disappointment. Some wept.

A few minutes later, Tiller was escorted out of the courtroom by a sheriff's deputy, who held tightly to the cuff of Tiller's sport coat. A cordon of uniformed and plainclothes officers planted themselves between Tiller and the spectators.

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Real life out-Onions The Onion: KFC launches its own infrastructure repair project

What is wrong with our culture? I look at this pic and think .. OH NO THEY DIDN'T!!

KFC's proposal: First pot pies, now potholes
KFC wants to help patch the nation's potholes

Tribune staff report

Everybody needs a little KFC. But maybe not Chicago.

The fast-food chain has sent off a letter to the nation's mayors, offering to patch their potholes for free. The company will leave behind a stenciled brand on the patch informing people the road has been "Re-Freshed by KFC."

"In honor of our "Fresh Tastes Best" campaign, we want to come and Re-"Fresh" your roads!" KFC president Roger Eaton says in the letter. "Every patched pothole comes with the Colonel's very own stamp of approval."

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The KFC press release is HERE, has some pretty wacky language right out of Idiocracy.

Obama Admin, Holds International Talks On Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement

A not-so-private PC

26 March, 2009, 11:33

The personal computer may soon be not-so-private, with the U.S. and some European nations working on laws allowing them access to search the content held on a person's hard drive.

President Obama's administration is keeping unusually tight-lipped on the details, which is raising concerns among computer users and liberty activists.

Almost everyone today owns a music player and a laptop. But what if the Government decided to allow itself to access these personal devices for no specific reason whatsoever?

Read more

In extreme secrecy from the public, the Obama administration is hammering out an international copyright treaty with several other countries and the European Union.

Under the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), governments will get sweeping new powers to search and seize material thought to be in breach of copyright.

More bad news about the tanking economy.

7 States See Unemployment Rate Top 10%
  • Michigan: 12%
  • South Carolina: 11%
  • Oregon: 10.8%
  • North Carolina: 10.7% (highest on record)
  • California: 10.5%
  • Rhode Island: 10.5% (highest on record)
  • Nevada: 10.1%
  • Georgia: 9.8% (highest on record)
WASHINGTON — Double-digit unemployment rates hit more states in February, with North Carolina and Rhode Island seeing their rates hit record highs.

The U.S. Labor Department's report, released Friday, showed the terrible toll the recession, now in its second year, is having on workers and companies alike.

Seven states have unemployment rates that topped 10 percent last month. That's up from four states in January.

"It's spreading like wildfire," said Richard Yamarone, economist at Argus Research.

The U.S. unemployment rate, released earlier this month, rose to 8.1 percent in February, the highest in more than 25 years. Economists predict the national jobless rate will have climbed to 8.5 percent in March when the government releases that report next week. It will probably hit 10 percent by year end even if the recession were to end later this year, they said.

Michigan's jobless rate climbed to 12 percent, the highest in the country. South Carolina registered the second-highest at 11 percent and Oregon came in third at 10.8 percent.

North Carolina came in fourth with an unemployment rate of 10.7 percent, the highest there on records dating back to 1976. California and Rhode Island tied for fifth place at 10.5 percent each. That was an all-time high for Rhode Island. The seventh state with a jobless rate above 10 percent was Nevada at 10.1 percent.

Georgia's unemployment rate rose sharply to 9.3 percent, also a record high. Earlier this week Shaw Industries Group Inc., the world's largest carpet maker, said it would close two plants in the state and lay off about 600 workers.

Layoffs in manufacturing, construction and retail sectors hard hit by the housing collapse are common threads running through the higher unemployment. Another thread: difficulties faced by states, such as South Carolina, Michigan and Rhode Island, to lure new types of companies to help cushion the loss of manufacturing jobs and retrain laid-off factory workers for other kinds of employment.

Joblessness continued to be the worst in the West, home to California and other states badly battered by the housing bust, and the Midwest, where the troubles of U.S. automakers has been sorely felt.

Currently 5.56 million people are drawing state unemployment insurance, the highest on records dating back to 1967 the federal government reported Thursday. The crush has exhausted unemployment funds in California, New York and elsewhere, forcing them to tap the federal government for money to keep paying benefits.

Rising unemployment means lost revenue for already squeezed states.

"It's a vicious cycle," said Michael Williams, dean of Touro College's Graduate School of Business. States are forced to cut back services at a time when people need them the most. "What about health care? What about education?" he wonders.

All told, Friday's report found that 49 states and the District of Columbia saw their unemployment rates move higher in February from the previous month. Only Nebraska recorded a slight drop. Its jobless rate dipped to 4.2 percent.

Wyoming once again had the lowest unemployment rate, 3.9 percent.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said the recession could end this year, setting the stage for a recovery next year only if shaky financial markets are stabilized.

To brace the economy, the Fed has slashed a key bank lending rate to an all-time low and has embarked on a series of radical programs to inject billions of dollars into the financial system.

The Obama administration's $787 billion stimulus package includes money that will flow to states for public works projects, help them defray budget cuts, extend unemployment benefits and boost food stamp benefits. The administration also is counting on programs to prop up financial companies and reduce home foreclosures to help turn the economy around.

Companies are cutting jobs and other costs to survive the recession. Sales and profits have been hurt as consumers have hunkered down. That's caused the economy to shrink. Analysts believe the economy will keep on shrinking through the first six months of this year.


So if you need a job..... move to Wyoming or Nebraska!

obiden does it for the lulz
  • nanet

Volunteering: Not Just For Hippies Anymore

Passed by the House of Representatives with a 321-105 margin, HR 1388: the Generations Invigorating Volunteerism and Education Act, dubbed the “GIVE” act, would require the US government to develop a plan to implement a “mandatory service requirement for all able young people”.

Already males ages 18 through 25 living in the U.S. register with Selective Service to keep records in the event Congress and the President authorize a draft.  What is the purpose of the service requirement under the GIVE act?

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Note: I don't agree with this article, but it seems to be making the conservative blogosphere go crazy with worry. So I'm wondering what ONTD_P's take on it is, and if you can debunk some of the rumors that are flying around about it. Because, come on, the comparisons to Hitler Youth? A BIT MUCH, WOULDN'T YOU SAY?

ETA: It looks like the 6104 section that even requires a committee to investigate 'mandatory' service has been removed in the version of the bill that's going to the Senate.
  • nrchst

(no subject)

Tens of thousands protest G20 summit
Police on high alert ahead of gathering of international leaders

LONDON - Tens of thousands of people marched across central London Saturday to demand jobs, economic justice and environmental accountability, kicking off six days of protest and action planned in the run-up to the G20 summit next week.

More than 150 groups threw their backing behind the "Put People First" march. Police said around 35,000 attended the demonstration, but there were large gaps in the line of protesters snaking its way across the city toward Speaker's Corner in Hyde Park.

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Newsweek puts Paul Krugman on the cover

CONCERN TROLL?? I think not!

Obama’s Nobel Headache

Paul Krugman has emerged as Obama's toughest liberal critic. He's deeply skeptical of the bank bailout and pessimistic about the economy. Why the establishment worries he may be right.

Evan Thomas

From the magazine issue dated Apr 6, 2009

Traditionally, punditry in Washington has been a cozy business. To get the inside scoop, big-time columnists sometimes befriend top policymakers and offer informal advice over lunch or drinks. Naturally, lines can blur. The most noted pundit of mid-20th-century Washington, Walter Lippmann, was known to help a president write a speech—and then to write a newspaper column praising the speech.

Paul Krugman has all the credentials of a ranking member of the East Coast liberal establishment: a column in The New York Times, a professorship at Princeton, a Nobel Prize in economics. He is the type you might expect to find holding forth at a Georgetown cocktail party or chumming around in the White House Mess of a Democratic administration. But in his published opinions, and perhaps in his very being, he is anti-establishment. Though he was a scourge of the Bush administration, he has been critical, if not hostile, to the Obama White House.

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NEWSWEEK piece online here:
the hives

Good Luck Mr.President!

Prospect of Barack Obama show causes UK to clear its decks

With an entourage of 500 staff, an armour-plated limousine and a fleet of decoy helicopters, America's new president will arrive for his first visit to Britain amid huge razzmatazz on Tuesday for the G20 summit. But it will be his closed-door meetings with world leaders that are likely to prove the most significant of the trip.

Britain will get its first chance to see Barack Obama this week when a White House cavalcade - complete with armoured limousines, helicopters, 200 US secret service staff and a six-doctor medical team - sweeps into the UK.

Obama will fly into London for his first visit to the UK as president of the United States on Tuesday to take part in the G20 summit in the capital's Docklands area. He will not be travelling light.

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