The WWII Memorial in D.C. that Obama closed. Apparently he still refuses to explain why he hates Americas vets.
Because nothing else happened tonight.
The WWII Memorial in D.C. that Obama closed. Apparently he still refuses to explain why he hates Americas vets.
Because nothing else happened tonight.
Part the firstest: f*ck iGoogle. (Can anyone recommend another homepage I can customize? I’m on Firefox.)
Part the secondary:
Never doubt that these people care deeply about the vast swath of Americans who believe their every word! Never doubt it!
They know America will be destroyed if everyone can afford health care for their kids. Destroyed I tell you!
And, according to them, they’ll save us from health care, a dismal fate, and they are brave. Brave I tell you!
. . . the exclusive gyms available only to members of Congress have remained open throughout the shutdown. . . the House member’s gym is open. The House gym features a swimming pool, basketball courts, paddleball courts, a sauna, a steam room and flat screen TVs. . . . cleaning and maintenance has been performed daily throughout the shutdown. . . . the decision to keep the gym open came directly from Speaker Boehner’s office. Meanwhile, the staff gym available to Congressional staff has been closed. It also appears that the members gym in the Senate remains open on similar terms.
Notice that the staff gym is closed. Charming.
(If you need a giggle, google ‘Congressional gyms” as I just did and check out whose image dominates. If you guessed Paul Ryan, you would be wrong. It’s all selfies of tht body-proud camera hog and failed politician, Anthony Weiner. I guess he’ll live in image infamy, mostly without clothes.)
I’m listening to an Obama press conference. It’s been going on for a while and he’s answering a lot of questions.
He sounds like the man who ran for office in ’08. Clear, detailed answers. Solid explanations of how the economy works – at home and around the world. Utterly different from the usual sputtering defensive stance.
If the American people heard more like this, we’d be in a whole different place.
UPDATE: Just checking out Balloon Juice and they seemed to like it too. Plus they have links to vid and transcript.
ETA: Presser concluded. From this day forward, October 8th shall be known as National Pony Day in honor of President Obama’s stellar performance. Well, I’ll observe NPD, anyway. It was a tonic for any liberal who longed to see the Tea Party loons get kicked in the junk repeatedly. I’ll post a video and transcript when I can find one.
ETA: Transcript and video via WaPo here. Watch it and rejoice!
Here’s a bit of incomplete reporting on a recent “outrage-of-the-day” claimed to result from that damn Obama government shutdown – this is from National Review; for hyperbolic end-of-the-Republic rhetoric, visit less reliable outlets elsewhere where the sputtering abounds:
“With the government shutdown, many GS [government services] and contract priests who minister to Catholics on military bases worldwide are not permitted to work – not even to volunteer,” Schlageter wrote. “During the shutdown, it is illegal for them to minister on base and they risk being arrested if they attempt to do so.”
Why would that be? Surely there’s a reason but perhaps National Review simply ran out of space.
Let us board the way-back-machine and visit, for example, the Gingrich shutdown of 1995. Hundreds of thousands of Federal employees were furloughed. Many of them tried to get around the rules and work anyway; turns out they found themselves in a spot of trouble. Why was that?
It was pretty much for the same reason they would be in trouble now – subject to disciplinary action, criminal charges even, if they violate the rules*.
Allow me to quote an email from a family friend in DC who is a long-time Federal employee; he’s been locked out of his office since Tuesday:
. . . the General Counsel listed what would happen to us if we did any work during the shutdown, including up to two years of prison. . . I cannot find out what is happening with the grass roots grantees I work with in Latin America – much less process their next disbursement. I can’t even volunteer my time.
Ah, just like those Catholic priests! And here’s why – our friend goes on:
This is thanks to the Anti-Deficiency Act* which prohibits the government to spend money which hasn’t been appropriated and puts the fear of God into government supervisors.
The Anti-Deficiency Act was initially enacted – wait for it – in 1884. James Garfield was President. Major amendments occurred in 1950 and 1982. Any employee or supervisor who “knowingly and willfully” violates any of the law’s provisions can face punishments of up to $5,000 in fines and two years in prison, according to the GAO.
I don’t see any mention of the Anti-Deficiency Act in The National Review story but I’m confident it’ll be included in all those FOX News stories to follow.
From niece Kate who finds good things:
Ezra Klein yesterday (formatting added by Moe):
The House GOP’s debt limit bill — obtained by the National Review — isn’t a serious governing document. It’s not even a plausible opening bid. It’s a cry for help. In return for a one-year suspension of the debt ceiling, House Republicans are demanding:
- a year-long delay of Obamacare,
- Rep. Paul Ryan’s tax reform plan,
- the Keystone XL pipeline,
- more offshore oil drilling,
- more drilling on federally protected lands,
- rewriting of ash coal regulations,
- a suspension of the Environmental Protection Agency’s efforts to regulate carbon emissions,
- more power over the regulatory process in general,
- reform of the federal employee retirement program,
- an overhaul of the Dodd-Frank financial regulations,
- more power over the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s budget,
- repeal of the Social Services Block Grant, more means-testing in Medicare,
- repeal of the Public Health trust fund,
- and more.
It’s tempting to think that this is Boehner teaching his conference a lesson. They told him what they wanted, and he’s going to let them have it — good and hard. House Republicans are walking into the debt-ceiling negotiations with an opening bid that makes them look ridiculous. This looks like an Onion parody of what the House’s debt-ceiling demands might be. It’s a wonder it’s not written in comic sans.
From Bloombery News, this is something that’s been screamingly obvious, and widely known. It has, however, been barred from any examination of American health care reforms. Because Denial isn’t just a streetcar, it is a national state of mind.
Americans are dying sooner and living with more illnesses than residents of Slovenia and other less prosperous countries . . . the U.S. is getting a poor return on money it spends on health care.
. . . lose more years of life to heart disease, lung cancer, preterm birth complications, diabetes and more . . . than most of 34 other developed countries from 1990 to 2010..
The study comes from the famously socialist Journal of the American Medical Association.
The U.S. failed to keep up with other nations in improvements in health care despite spending most per capita . . . U.S. death rate fell to 27th place in 2010 from 18th place in 1990.
Anything here you didn’t already know about?
Like this one via cousin Liz (family day too?) – this is from her Facebook page where she says “Now it’s all coming together . . . “. So much for “Representatives’ being representative.
See, there is justice.
In his Wonkblog at The Washington Post today, Ezra Klein takes a look (great read) and notes that while McConnell weeps upon the sacred steps of the Senate decrying any changes to the rules (as did the Dems before him) and claims the filibuster to be a historical sacrament . . . well, here’s some real history:
The American system of government was built to protect minority voices, but the Founding Fathers explicitly rejected designing the Congress around a supermajority requirement. In Federalist 22, Alexander Hamilton savaged the idea of a supermajority Congress, writing that “its real operation is to embarrass the administration, to destroy the energy of government and to substitute the pleasure, caprice or artifices of an insignificant, turbulent or corrupt junta, to the regular deliberations and decisions of a respectable majority.”
VOTER ID: I have absolutely no problem with voter ID. My problem is with 1) making it difficult, and 2) rushing it. Voter ID? Not a bad idea. The way they’re doing it? That’s suppression.
NEW STUPID GOP MEME: “In 1962, six percent of Americans got federal entitlements. Now, it’s 35 percent.” Clever. Of course 1962 was before there was Medicare.
CYNICAL MUCH?: Our Congress Critters have made clear once again that they are incapable of acting, even to save the nation from the bullet they themselves aimed directly at 320 million Americans – the one that requires automatic spending cuts of $900 billion in January 2013. So, diversion is called for. Time for a shiny new thing. What to do? Why, pass a new bill, The Sequestration Transparency Act. A Nebraska newspaper describes it thusly: “having proven incapable . . . they now indignantly demand to know how the President plans to cut spending.” Not them, the President. Neat.
From The Hill just now . . . someone should take this gentleman into a quiet corner and calm him down. Maybe give him some milk and cookies.
Report: Rep. Steve King mulling bill to repeal everything Obama has signed
Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), an outspoken critic of just about everything President Obama supports, is considering introducing a bill that would repeal everything Obama has signed into law.
I was just reading my way around Under The Mountain Bunker (‘Come for the apocolypse – stay for the coffee’) and came upon this Tom Tomorrow panel.
A driver is stuck in a traffic jam on the highway outside Washington DC. Nothing’s moving. Suddenly, a man knocks on the window. The driver rolls it down and asks, “What’s going on?”
“Terrorists have kidnapped Congress! They’re asking for a $100 million dollar ransom. Otherwise, they’re going to douse them all in gasoline and set them on fire. We’re going from car to car, collecting donations.”
“How much is everyone giving, on average?” the driver asks.
The man replies, “Roughly a gallon.”
(Thanks to friend Jane.)
Members of Congress had a collective net worth of more than $2 billion in 2010, a nearly 25 percent increase over the 2008 total, according to a Roll Call analysis of Members’ financial disclosure forms
The surprise $5.00 debit card fee banks recently imposed on their customers is going away. Bank of American, Sun Trust, JP Morgan Chase and others are now trying to tiptoe off the front pages.
“We have listened to our customers very closely over the last few weeks and recognize their concern with our proposed debit usage fee,” David Darnell, the bank’s co-chief operating officer, said in a statement.
JPMorgan Chase & Co and Wells Fargo & Co last week decided to cancel test programs, while SunTrust Banks Inc and Regions Financial Corp said on Monday they would end monthly charges and reimburse customers.
For most Americans, the fee was a step too far from those ‘job creators’ who earlier wallowed in ugly, amoral behaviors screwing not just us but each other, and sent us into a four year trailspin of a recession that could take as long as a decade to repair.
This time, I think those ‘bankers’ peeked out their windows and were a bit frightened by what they saw. So I’ll call this a victory for Occupy Wall Streeters around the nation and around the world.
Thomas Friedman (forever the inspiration for the wartime Friedman Unit, or the F.U. for short), reminds us this week about one Citigroup transgression for which they’ve just been fined $285million (chump change these days), a transgression emblematic of the duplicitous and amoral behavior that hurt us all so badly.
. . . with one hand, Citibank sold a package of toxic mortgage-backed securities to unsuspecting customers — securities that it knew were likely to go bust — and, with the other hand, shorted the same securities — that is, bet millions of dollars that they would go bust.
According to the SEC complaint:
. . . Citigroup exercised “significant influence” over choosing which $500 million of the $1 billion worth of assets in the deal, and the global bank deliberately chose collateralized debt obligations, or C.D.O.’s, built from mortgage loans almost sure to fail. According to The Wall Street Journal, the S.E.C. complaint quoted one unnamed C.D.O. trader outside Citigroup as describing the portfolio as resembling something your dog leaves on your neighbor’s lawn. “The deal became largely worthless within months of its creation,” The Journal added. “As a result, about 15 hedge funds, investment managers and other firms that invested in the deal lost hundreds of millions of dollars, while Citigroup made $160 million in fees and trading profits.”
For decades we’ve let them indulge in the worst form of crony capitalism without the rule of law that should govern such institutions. Unbridled greed took hold. And it’s been destroying capitalism. It is anti-capitalist.
Friedman goes on:
. . . .what happened to us? Our financial industry has grown so large and rich it has corrupted our real institutions through political donations. As Senator Richard Durbin. . . bluntly said in a 2009 radio interview, despite having caused this crisis, these same financial firms “are still the most powerful lobby on Capitol Hill. And they, frankly, own the place.”
Our Congress today is a forum for legalized bribery. One consumer group using information from Opensecrets.org calculates that the financial services industry spent $2.3 billion on federal campaign contributions from 1990 to 2010, which was more than the health care, energy, defense, agriculture and transportation industries combined.
We can’t afford this any longer.
Indeed we cannot. We now stand witness to the destruction of what it took us 250 years to build.
I don’t see anyone with power stepping up, leaving it up to the people. And, no matter the tired 1960’s stereotypes the right is so enthralled with, that is why we have Occupy Wall Street.
It’s mere hours since I posted Uncle Jay and his delightful video mocking the House Calendar (from 2010), and here comes Majority Leader Cantor, of the United States House of Representatives with the official 2012 House Calendar. Looks like our congress critters are going to be in session a full 109 days. This is sadly par for the course and we know there’s no reason to work a little overtime.
Oh well, at least that means more cool CSpan programming.
We need to fix this or it’ll ruin us.
WASHINGTON — The top 1 percent of earners more than doubled their share of the nation’s income over the last three decades, the Congressional Budget Office said Tuesday . . .
In this report, the budget office found that from 1979 to 2007, average inflation-adjusted after-tax income grew by 275 percent for the 1 percent of the population with the highest income. For others in the top 20 percent of the population, average real after-tax household income grew by 65 percent.
By contrast, the budget office said, for the poorest fifth of the population, average real after-tax household income rose 18 percent.
And for the three-fifths of people in the middle of the income scale, the growth in such household income was just under 40 percent.
Thanks Earl and Gene