November 1st, 2009

Akuma River

Did they just shoot themselves in the foot or is this a good thing?

Ford Workers Reject Contract changes (October 31, 2009 - HuffPo - DEE-ANN DURBIN and TOM KRISHER)

DETROIT — Ford Motor Co. workers have overwhelmingly rejected contract changes that would have allowed the automaker to cut labor costs, leaving Ford at a disadvantage to its Detroit rivals as it continues its struggle to return to profitability.

The United Auto Workers union had given local unions until Monday to complete voting. But a person briefed on the voting said Saturday that the contract changes have been rejected by large margins. The person asked not to be named because the UAW hasn't announced the results yet.
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Akuma River

400,000 on FBI Terrorist Watch List!!! 1,600 added DAILY!

1,600 are suggested daily for FBI's list (November 01, 2009 - WaPo - Walter Pincus)

Number of names on terrorist watch list at 400,000, agency says

Newly released FBI data offer evidence of the broad scope and complexity of the nation's terrorist watch list, documenting a daily flood of names nominated for inclusion to the controversial list.

During a 12-month period ended in March this year, for example, the U.S. intelligence community suggested on a daily basis that 1,600 people qualified for the list because they presented a "reasonable suspicion," according to data provided to the Senate Judiciary Committee by the FBI in September and made public last week.

FBI officials cautioned that each nomination "does not necessarily represent a new individual, but may instead involve an alias or name variant for a previously watchlisted person."
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Conservatives Declared to Be Plumbers and Media Whores. Moderates Not Welcome

Conservatives To GOP: We Are All Joe The Plumbers

Democrats proclaimed on Sunday, that the GOP had become the party of Sarah Palin, Joe the Plumber and the ideological fringe after news broke that conservatives had purged a moderate Republican from a special election in upstate New York. And, in a sign of where the GOP psyche lies, some conservatives eagerly embraced the frame.

Taking to the Sunday show circuit, officials in the White House, close presidential advisers, and longtime Democratic strategists all framed the departure of Dede Scozzafava from New York's 23rd District race as a sign that the GOP had grown dangerously, ideologically exclusive.

Scozzafava felt compelled to drop out after many in her party chose to back Conservative Party nominee Doug Hoffman instead.

Valerie Jarrett, one of Barack Obama's closest confidants, declared that the Republican Party had become "more and more extreme and more and more marginalized."

David Plouffe, the man who managed the Obama campaign, insisted that the GOP was hanging up a sign saying: "No moderates need apply."

"I think more they're becoming a very motivated core, but a small core, about 23 percent of the country," he said during an appearance on "Meet the Press."

David Axelrod, Obama's chief communications strategist, told CBS' "Face The Nation" that the news from upstate New York "sends a clear message to moderates in that party that there's no room at the inn for them."

Longtime strategist James Carville may have summarized the talking point most succinctly when he told CNN's "State of the Union" that "Ronald Reagan's big tent just collapsed in upstate New York."
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The Biggest Tax Shelter Is in... Delaware??

USA Tops International Tax Haven List, Thanks To Delaware

The Government Accountability Office likes to point its finger at Luxembourg and the Cayman Islands for sheltering tax cheats. But according to the U.K.-based Tax Justice Network, the United States is the biggest tax shelter of 'em all, thanks to the great state of Delaware.

Delaware, says the Tax Justice Network, is "the most secretive financial jurisdiction in the world." That's based on an analysis of 60 financial jurisdictions according to level of secrecy and cooperation with foreign tax authorities.

Luxembourg comes in second, followed by the Switzerland, the Cayman Islands, and the United Kingdom.
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Golden Balls Lied and Stole To Make a Profit While America Burned: "Is All Legal!"

How Goldman secretly bet on the U.S. housing crash

In 2006 and 2007, Goldman Sachs Group peddled more than $40 billion in securities backed by at least 200,000 risky home mortgages, but never told the buyers it was secretly betting that a sharp drop in U.S. housing prices would send the value of those securities plummeting.

Goldman's sales and its clandestine wagers, completed at the brink of the housing market meltdown, enabled the nation's premier investment bank to pass most of its potential losses to others before a flood of mortgage defaults staggered the U.S. and global economies.

Only later did investors discover that what Goldman had promoted as triple-A rated investments were closer to junk.

Now, pension funds, insurance companies, labor unions and foreign financial institutions that bought those dicey mortgage securities are facing large losses, and a five-month McClatchy investigation has found that Goldman's failure to disclose that it made secret, exotic bets on an imminent housing crash
may have violated securities laws.

"The Securities and Exchange Commission should be very interested in any financial company that secretly decides a financial product is a loser and then goes out and actively markets that product or very similar products to unsuspecting customers without disclosing its true opinion," said Laurence Kotlikoff, a Boston University economics professor who's proposed a massive overhaul of the nation's banks. "This is fraud and should be prosecuted."

John Coffee, a Columbia University law professor who served on an advisory committee to the New York Stock Exchange, said that investment banks have wide latitude to manage their assets, and so the legality of Goldman's maneuvers depends on what its executives knew at the time.

"It would look much more damaging," Coffee said, "if it appeared that the firm was dumping these investments because it saw them as toxic waste and virtually worthless."

Lloyd Blankfein, Goldman's chairman and chief executive, declined to be interviewed for this article.
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GOP to Media: "We Do Have Ideas Regarding Health Care!! We Do... I Just Dont Remember Right Now"

Boehner On Lack Of GOP Health Care Bill: We Have 8 Or 9 Ideas

The Republican Minority Leader in the House was pushed on Sunday to explain just why the party had not introduced a counter-proposal to Democrat-led efforts to overhaul the health care system.

Rep. John Boehner's (R-Ohio) reply was to direct viewers to the GOP's House website, where they could "see our eight or nine ideas about how to make our current health care system better."

In a contentious interview with CNN's "State of the Union," Boehner insisted that the Republican Party would produce an actual piece of legislation that would be scored by the Congressional Budget Office.

"What I am hopeful for is to take these eight or nine ideas and put them together in a bill that is being scored right now by the CBO and presented on the House floor during this debate," he said.

But, when pressed, Boehner largely danced around the details. It has been more than 135 days since the GOP leadership in the House promised to produce an alternative health care bill for the American people to debate.

Boehner did offer some hints about what the bill would resemble. For starters, it would touch on the major points of Republican health care reform orthodoxy.

"We are trying to make the current system work better," he said. "We take a step-by-step approach by allowing people to buy insurance across state lines, by allowing small business and other groups of individuals to group together for the purpose of buying health insurance at lower costs like big business and unions can... We need to do something about junk lawsuits."

Perhaps more telling, a GOP health care reform effort, he said, would be defined by incrementalism. "We do not attempt to cover 46 million more Americans," he said. "We will cover millions more Americans but we won't attempt to do this. This is not affordable... what this is going to do is bankrupt America."

Kosovo honors Bill Clinton with statue

Large crowd of ethnic Albanians turn out to welcome ex-president


Many waved American, Albanian and Kosovo flags and chanted "USA!" as the former president climbed on top of a podium with his poster in the background reading "Kosovo honors a hero."

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Huh. I'm so accustomed to both sides of any conflict hating the US for mixing in, this kinda surprised me.
Shirley Animated

Why gay marriage, getting high, and going to Cuba will soon be legal

"I think this would be a good time for a beer," Franklin D. Roosevelt said upon signing a bill that made 3.2-percent lager legal again, some months ahead of the full repeal of Prohibition. I hope Barack Obama will come up with some comparably witty remarks as he presides over the dismantling of our contemporary forms of prohibition—laws that prevent gay marriage, restrict cannabis as a Schedule I Controlled Substance, and ban travel to Cuba. "You may now kiss the groom," perhaps, or—a version of the comment he once made about smoking pot—"I inhaled—that was the point."

Prohibition now is different from Prohibition then. When the 18th Amendment went into effect in 1920, it was a radical social experiment challenging a custom as old as civilization. Its predictable failure—the gross insult to individual rights, the impossibility of enforcement, the spawning of organized crime—came to an end when Utah, of all places, became the 36th state to ratify the 21st Amendment in 1933. Today prohibition is a byword for futile attempts to legislate morality and remake human nature.

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I couldn't find a good picture to fit all three things, so here's a bowl of buds.
  • Current Mood
cookie monster
  • capthek

This article brings up something that has been rolling around in my mind.

If unemployment is above 10% by the end of next summer, any arguments that the democrats averted a Great Depression 2 will largely be ignored. I think that the unemployment rate will peak at just over 10% in spring, but how far down will it get by around August and September when people are thinking about who they are going to vote for? That unemployment rate needs to get below 9% for the general public to feel like there has been any progress on the economy no matter what the stock market or GDP are. To me, that is the dividing line. If we have 8.9% the democrats may keep control of the house and senate, but if it is 9.1 they will lose. I know that those numbers are extremely close to one another to seem silly to make that much of a difference, yet numbers do have that power in peoples minds. What is your two cents?

A key figure in 2010 election: U.S. jobless rate

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&#39; jules
  • schmiss


NY-23: Scozzafava Endorses Owens

Republican state Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava has thrown her support to Democrat Bill Owens over the newly GOP-backed candidate Doug Hoffman in next Tuesday's special election, an 11th hour development that dramatically scrambles the political picture in the nationally-scrutinized race.

“In Bill Owens, I see a sense of duty and integrity that will guide him beyond political partisanship. He will be an independent voice devoted to doing what is right for New York. Bill understands this district and its people, and when he represents us in Congress he will put our interests first,” Scozzafava said in a statement.

“Please join me in voting for Bill Owens on Tuesday. To address the tough challenges ahead, we must rise above partisanship and politics and work together. There's too much at stake in this election to do otherwise.”

Scozzafava’s decision comes one day after she abruptly suspended her campaign -- and since then, the White House had been persuading her to come out in support of Owens. In addition, New York Democratic sources tell POLITICO that Attorney General Andrew Cuomo and state party chairwoman June O'Neill -- who she has a close relationship with -- also played a role in convincing Scozzafava to endorse Owens.

Owens needs to win over the lion's share of her moderate backers to have a shot at defeating Hoffman, the new GOP-backed candidate with strong support from the conservative grassroots. Her labor supporters are working to get out the vote for Owens.

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Full statement at the source. Delightful! Doesn't mean we'll win but it's nice to see the tea baggers nervous.

Mixed-race children may have genetic advantages

It's a wonderful, mixed-up world
Aarathi Prasad

Just two weeks ago in Louisiana, an American Justice of the Peace made international news for refusing to issue marriage licences to couples who were not of the same race. He said he had taken the decision because he believed that mixed-race children would not be accepted by their parents' communities. Whether this was genuine concern for a real social problem or was born of a more atavistic notion that there is something inherently, biologically wrong with mixing races, we can only speculate. Either way, his position was quite illegal, and his conduct is being challenged.

The sentiment, however, is one that is also shared much closer to home. Nick Griffin, the chairman of the BNP and a member of the European Parliament, has made his party's stance on mixed-race children clear. Miscegenation, he says, is "essentially unnatural and destructive", and mixed-race children "are the most tragic victims of enforced multi-racism". The BNP says that it does not, nor will it ever, "accept miscegenation as moral or normal".

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well, at least they're prepared for the zombie apocalypse...

Economy, Obama administration help fuel Kentucky militias' resurgence

Bob Resnick didn't believe all the right-wing militia conspiracy theories — the FEMA internment camps or the government coffins stockpiled for the day the feds declare martial law and round up dissenters. But they made him wonder.

Then America's economy tumbled and the nation elected Barack Obama, and the resulting chatter about socialist incursion, rampant gun control and a government takeover of health care made him fear where the nation was heading.

So the 43-year-old disabled Louisvillian searched the Internet for local militia groups that seemed to echo his misgivings.

“The way everything's going nowadays, if the economy tanks and they do declare martial law, and they do like California with all the riots and stuff, I'd like to know I've got a group I can be with so I'm not on my own,” he said.

After nearly a decade of decline, militia groups are seeing a resurgence in Kentucky and across the nation, fueled partly — according to militia leaders and watchdog groups — by the bad economy and Obama's election.

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We've had a number of these articles before, but this one gave some nice history, I thought. Plus it's my city. Which... sigh.

Also, WTF is this about being worried about "forced inoculations?" Are they afraid they're tainted with ~the AIDS~ or something?

Edited to add: I forgot the best part! The church they met - armed- in the basement of is called OLIVE BRANCH.

NY-23: The Smackdown!

Three Big Questions in NY-23

Let me declaim that the utterly fascinating special election in NY-23 has become nearly impossible to forecast. Special elections, with their low turnout, are intrinsically pretty difficult to predict. So are multi-candidate races. And certainly, races where there are substantial late-breaking developments -- such as the Republican candidate dropping out four days before the election and endorsing her Democratic rival -- present especial difficulties for forecasters. Here, you have all three of those circumstances, producing a perfect storm of uncertainty. Not only will I not be surprised if either Democrat Bill Owens or Conservative Doug Hoffman wins on Tuesday -- I will not be surprised if one of them wins by a substantial, possibly even double-digit margin.
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Local vs. National Conservative Grassroots

Although Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman can credibly claim to have become a "fan favorite" among conservative activists nationwide, the situation is somewhat different in NY-23 itself. According to reports filed with the FEC that cover contributions through October 14th, Hoffman had raised only $12,610 from among 23 itemized donations within NY-23. This contrasts with Democrat Bill Owens, who had raised $151,520 from 245 itemized contributions within the district, and (to a lesser extent) with Dede Scozzafava, who raised $36,100 between 58 donations.

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