Archive for August, 2011
This would be the headline in the UK tonight:
Obama to Boehner: Tell me what to do and I’ll do it.
Republicans are laughing their ass off at wimp shit Obama tonight:
Yo, Obama – what’s so hard about saying OK, forget the joint session of congress I asked you to convene on September 6. I don’t need your approval to move my agenda forward. I’m going to hold a press conference in the Oval Office on the 6th anyway.
Why is that so hard Obama?
Yo? Obama? Anyone home?
Republicans stare you down and you cave every time.
If you have two minutes and 20 seconds to spare, I suggest this super-charming video called “Back to the Start” with Willie Nelson signing Coldplay’s “The Scientist.”
The film was commissioned by Chipotle to “emphasize the importance of developing a sustainable food system” (a worthy cause) so you’ll see a bit of product placement but the video is so sweet it doesn’t matter.
Notice the darling way the animals are drawn.
(Via. H/t Beth.)
I thought Jon Huntsman might be a bit saner than his fellow whacked-out GOP presidential candidates, but I guess not:
2012 GOP presidential hopeful Jon Huntsman is releasing an economic plan today that is as bad for the middle-class — and as nutty — as any proposed by his rivals. It would pay for a half-million-dollar tax break for the richest 0.1 percent of Americans with tax increases on the middle-class and new taxes on seniors, veterans, and poor families.
In an apparent attempt to eclipse all previous Republican giveaways, including the disastrous Bush tax cuts, Huntsman would drop the marginal rate paid by the richest Americans by more than a third to 23 percent –a lower rate than rich people paid during the Coolidge and Hoover Administrations or any time since. He would also eliminate all taxes on all capital gains and dividend income — the primary forms of income for the wealthiest Americans.
How is it we are at a place where millionaires can run for president and say, with a straight, unashamed face, that they’re going to raise our taxes and cut theirs? How in the world has that come to be acceptable? Oh, wait. I know. I guess we sheep have thoroughly accepted the BS (put out by corporations and the rich) that the “job creators” need lower taxes so they’ll create a whole bunch of new jobs, right? So how low do corporate taxes and taxes on the rich need to go before they start creating all those jobs? I mean, we’ve been waiting ten years already.
Oh, and see below for more on how corporations and their CEOs are suffering under the weight of our “high” tax rate.
This would be our Tweet of the Day:
Here is the article Nouriel linked to:
It has become a bipartisan article of faith in some quarters that the income tax on U.S. corporations must be lowered.
But for many large U.S. companies, the burden of U.S. taxation pales in comparison with what they pay their chief executives, according to a study released Wednesday by the Institute of Policy Studies, a liberal think tank.
Of last year’s 100 highest-paid corporate executives in the United States, 25 earned more in pay than their company recorded as a tax expense in 2010.
Those 25 firms reported average global profits of $1.9 billion. Among the 25 were Verizon, Bank of New York Mellon, General Electric, Boeing and eBay.
“These individual CEOs are being rewarded for presiding over companies that dodge taxes,” said Chuck Collins, one of the study’s co-authors and a senior scholar at the Institute of Policy Studies.
For example, Bank of New York Mellon paid its chief executive Robert Kelly $19.4 million last year, while the company got $670 million in what amounted to a tax refund, according to the report.
The rich sure have gotten their money’s worth when it comes to their lobbyists. The system is rigged to give them every break imaginable. I mean, how in the world did We the People end up giving the Bank of New York Mellon $670 million?
And then there’s this:
Verizon, for instance, saw the equivalent of a $705 million refund in 2010 because it deferred paying taxes on the bulk of its income to future years. The company’s total tax bill from 2010 was about $2.5 billion. The delay in tax payments allowed the firm to make investments in the nation’s technology infrastructure, a company official said.
“Verizon fully complies with all tax laws and pays its fair share of taxes,” its spokesman, Robert A Varettoni, said.
But Scott Klinger, a co-author of the report, said the ability of corporations to push off tax bills is unfair. Ordinary Americans “don’t get to just defer our taxes until next year or 2030 or whenever they come due,” he said.
My point exactly, because D.C. doesn’t work for “ordinary Americans” anymore. The rich have curried such favor with Washington that they’re actually staying within the law (that their lobbyists wrote, no doubt) when they get these amazing breaks. That has got to change.
This is just sad. Hope and change = smoke and mirrors:
Solyndra, a renewable energy firm that became the darling of the Obama Administration, shut the doors to its California headquarters today, raising fresh questions from the administration’s critics about political favoritism in the federal loan program.
The manufacturer of rooftop solar panels opened in 2005 and in 2009 became the Obama administration’s first recipient of an energy loan guarantee — a $535 million federal commitment that helped minimize the risk to venture capital firms that were backing the solar start-up. Obama made a personal visit to the factory last year to herald its bright future.
ABC News and the Center for Public Integrity’s iWatch News first reported on questions about the choice of Solyndra for the loan in May after the Department of Energy disclosed it was being forced to restructure its loan package for the company, which was showing early signs of financial distress. One of Solyndra’s major investors was George Kaiser, an Oklahoma billionaire who raised between $50,000 and $100,000 for Obama during the 2008 election.
Don’t talk to me about doing anything to Social Security or Medicaid or Medicare until crap like this stops happening:
The Financial Times is very touchy about people cutting and pasting their content so I apologize for not putting a little blurb up here. Just read the first three short paragraphs. It’s enough to make you scream. (On the other hand, defense contractors and warlords are partying.)
This is an interesting factoid:
A license to drive a New York City taxi is not only worth more than its weight in gold, investing in a yellow cab has been more lucrative than the yellow metal.
The chart of the day shows the cost of a New York City taxicab license has increased more than 1,000 percent since 1980. The individual ‘medallion’ — the transferable aluminum plate found on the hood of all cabs — sold for $678,000 in July, according to data compiled from the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission, up from $2,500 in 1947.
New York taxi medallion prices rose about eight percent annually between 1980 and 2011, outpacing inflation, gold, oil, and home prices.
No wonder those guys drive like maniacs. They’ve got to get you there fast so they can take on other passengers; you have to move a lot of people to make that humongous fee pay off.
I’m still in the process of educating myself about the ramifications of the proposed merger of AT&T and T-Mobile. I tend to be strongly against consolidation because I think competition is a good thing, but on the other hand, I am also very pro-union and the Communications Workers of America is enthusiastically in favor of the deal.
Anyway, if any of you are in the same position, fyi, here’s a statement from the CWA as to why they want the merger to go through.
Oh, and here’s the argument against it from the Department of Justice.
I love this sly move:
President Obama plans to propose his new jobs plan in a prime time address to a joint session of Congress on Sept. 7, a week from today.
That’s also the same night as a scheduled debate among the Republican candidates who would like to replace Obama — and both are currently set to start at 8 p.m., eastern, on Wednesday.
Check out this new shirt (for girls ages 7 – 16) that J.C. Penny is peddling:
In other words, hey young girls, being pretty is all that matters.
Poor kids. I would hate to grow up in the environment young girls are growing up in today. Be thin. Be beautiful. Be sexy. Period. And what if you happen to be born with a body that isn’t any of those things?
Remember way, way, way back when, at the start of the war on Iraq, when Bush decided to send National Guard troops there and there was buzz about how those folks might be needed here? Well, that scenario has come to pass, in Vermont, in the wake of the flooding from Hurricane Irene:
Eight helicopters on loan from the Illinois National Guard were expected to arrive Tuesday night in Vermont to help the Vermont National Guard deliver food, medicine, water and other supplies to 13 Vermont towns cut off from the rest of the state in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Irene.
The outside helicopter support is needed because all six of the Vermont Guard’s Black Hawk helicopters are still in Iraq, where they and 55 Vermont soldiers are wrapping up a yearlong hospital transport mission, said Lt. Lloyd Goodrow, spokesman for the Vermont Guard.
So, the “Always Ready, Always There,” Vermont National Guard is in Iraq on a “hospital transport mission.” Again, our priorities are all screwed up.
Break time folks…time to check out this recipe for bacon wrapped eggs. Think about the possibilities, like adding some smoked salmon and/or capers; sausage, an assortment of herbs; unusual cheeses; tomatoes; beets; kippered herring.
I love this.
This would be what Ohio Republican Representative Steve Chabot did on August 22nd at one of his town hall meetings:
Ohio Republican Congressman Steve Chabot had police seize a citizen’s camera after he tried to record one of Rep. Chabot’s answers at a tax payer financed town hall meeting.
Congressman Chabot took his citizen camera ban to another level by having on duty Cincinnati police officers enforce this policy. At the end of the meeting, the police confiscated two video cameras. As you can see from the video above the police told citizens that the no filming policy was to protect the constituents, which makes absolutely zero sense.
Excuse me? Chabot demonstrated an utter lack of understanding of (1) the Constitution of the United States of America, and (2) the concept of a town hall meeting. Town hall meetings are supposed to be a place where there is a free exchange of ideas and opinions. A town hall meeting, held by a representative who is paid by the citizens of the United States and who works for the citizens in his district (i.e. he’s beholdent to them, not vice versa) cannot prohibit someone from filming him, on taxpayer financed property in a public forum.
Some of our elected representatives are beginning to think they’re little kings or dictators, not public employees who work for We the People.
Anyway, I hope little-dictator-Chabot is reading this opinion handed down last Friday by the First Circuit Court of Appeals because he’s in serious need of some educatin’:
“The filming of government officials engaged in their duties in a public place, including police officers performing their responsibilities, fits comfortably within these principles [of protected First Amendment activity]. Gathering information about government officials in a form that can readily be disseminated to others serves a cardinal First Amendment interest in protecting and promoting the free discussion of governmental affairs.”
Citizens have a “constitutionally protected right to videotape police [and elected representatives] carrying out their duties in public”.
Why such a question had to go to the courts for resolution is beyond me because I thought it was clear but it’s good to know that what we learned in 3rd Grade has been reaffirmed: If you’re in a public place, filming public employees, film away.
The pie chart here shows that the top fifth of households in 2009 took home 50% of the nation’s income. The middle fifth received 15% and bottom fifth a mere 3%.
More info and infuriating charts here.
It’s 4:06 p.m. MDT and I’m listening to the first of three hours of the Mario Solis-Marich Show on Denver’s AM760.
Solis-Marich opened today’s show with the (relatively old) news that Henry Bloch, the co-founder of H&R Block, has joined the call for higher taxes on wealthy Americans. Initially Solis-Marich said Bloch was a billionaire but then he corrected himself and said he was “just” a millionaire.
Immediately thereafter Solis-Marich introduced his first guest, Colorado Congressman Jared Polis (D).
Obviously having listened to the intro, the first thing Polis said was he was “wishing” he was a billionaire.
Poor guy. He’s “only” the 6th richest member of Congress, worth a paltry $65.91 million. If I were him, I wouldn’t be “wishing” I was a billionaire, I would be SO THANKFUL I WAS SITTING ON THE TIPPY TOP OF THE MOUNTAIN COMPARED TO ALL THE HUMAN BEINGS WHO HAVE EVER LIVED — OR WHO ARE ALIVE TODAY.
Greed on steroids.
(I’ll try to get the audio.)
This is so sad:
This covered bridge built in 1870 could not survive the raging water of the Williams River in Lower Bartonsville village in the town of Rockingham, Windham County, VT. We were hoping all day the water would not reach the top of the abutment but the bridge lost its battle rather gracefully as it floated a bit down stream before breaking into pieces.
This is the proud Bartonsville Covered Bridge as it looked before Hurricane Irene:
Folks, we’ve got to tweak our thinking when it comes to Congress (and the presidency, I might add). No, they don’t listen to us but hey, they do listen to the people who own them so the way the system is set up, the place ain’t broken:
Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, in calling for a political donor strike, wasn’t the first and won’t be the last in a line of sensible citizens to observe that Washington isn’t working for the American people.
With congressional approval ratings near their lowest point on record, and leaders in both parties stubbornly unable to solve the fiscal crisis and start creating jobs, it’s hard not to want to starve all politicians of campaign cash.
If only We the People could.
Barely 1 percent of our citizens fund campaigns today. In fact, less than a quarter of 1 percent (0.24 percent) provided 90 percent of campaign money in 2010, with lobbyists and special interests in Washington, D.C., alone accounting for more than 32 states combined.
In such a system, it is little surprise that members of Congress spend more time raising money from a wealthy few than working with bipartisan colleagues to solve the nation’s fiscal crisis and start creating jobs for the good of all Americans. Indeed, Washington isn’t broken – it’s fixed.
Yeah, fixed, as in rigged.
The whole system has to be changed but I don’t see that happening. I mean, let’s say someone like Bernie Sanders introduces a bill calling for 100% public funding for elections. It’ll get voted down by the wholly-owned congress critters because their big-money handlers don’t want to see their influence disappear. I don’t know how we get out of this.
The poor media. They’re trying to figure out how to — delicately — tell us that Rick Perry is dumber than a door knob:
Another Texas governor who drops his “g’s” and scorns elites is running for president and the whispers are the same: lightweight, incurious, instinctual.
Strip away the euphemisms and Rick Perry is confronting an unavoidable question: Is he dumb — or just “misunderestimated?”
Doubts about Perry’s intellect have hounded him since he was first elected as a state legislator nearly three decades ago. In Austin, he’s been derided as a right-place, right-time pol who looks the part but isn’t so deep — “Gov. Goodhair.” Now, with the chatter picking back up among his enemies and taking flight in elite Republican circles, the rap threatens to follow him to the national stage.
“He’s like Bush only without the brains,” cracked one former Republican governor who knows Perry, repeating a joke that has made the rounds.
This would be the headline at Fox Nation tonight:
In other words, all that Obama administration hype (never mind that a whole lotta Republican governors took part in that too) was for naught.
If a Republican was in the White House, the headline would be something like: Bush Administration’s Preparedness Saves Thousands of Lives.
God I hate Fox.
NY Governor Andrew Cuomo announced today that he’s doubling — to 2,000 — the number of National Guard troops he’s deploying to NYC in the wake of Hurricane Irene:
When you hear that National Guard troops are being deployed in NYC, they’re not being deployed to protect We the People per se. They’re being deployed to protect the likes of shops on Fifth Avenue, Goldman Saks’ storefront, “30 Rock,” and the building where the New York Stock exchange lives.
Don’t forget. We’ re a corporatocracy
The government doesn’t work on our behalf. It works on behalf of corporations.
Love this, our Tweet of the Day (yeah I know, it’s from yesterday):
If you don’t get it, go here.
My thoughts go out to everyone who is hunkering down anticipating Hurricane Irene. But hey, just think, if Ron Paul had his way, you wouldn’t even know the dang hurricane was coming so put that in your pipe and smoke it for a minute or two.
And God forbid, if your street needs to be cleared after Irene passes, as Paul would have it, you’re on your own! Get out there and cut those freakin’ trees up yourself you lazy ass:
GILFORD, N.H. — After a lunch speech today, Ron Paul slammed the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, and said that no national response to Hurricane Irene is necessary.
“We should be like 1900; we should be like 1940, 1950, 1960,” Paul said. “I live on the Gulf Coast; we deal with hurricanes all the time. Galveston is in my district.
“There’s no magic about FEMA. They’re a great contribution to deficit financing and quite frankly they don’t have a penny in the bank.
Hey, what a great idea. Let’s go back to 1900!
Here are some inconvenient truths about 1900:
- 76,000,000 Americans in 46 states (by the end of the decade.) [The population of the US is now at 300+ million]
- Policeman arrests woman for smoking in public
- $46,000,000+ in the U.S. treasury
- 8,000 cars – 10 miles of paved roads
- 1900 – Auto deaths 96; lynchings 115
- San Francisco Earthquake took 700 lives and cost over $4,000,000 in damage.
- Average worker made $12.98/week for 59 hours
- Life expectancy: 47.3 female, 46.3 male – 33.0 blacks
UPDATE 8-27-11: Check out these photos of the 1900 Galveston hurricane. Now tell me people are supposed to band together and build devastation like without help from the government?
This is hilarious video of a flash mob converging in the parking lot of Dr. Marcus Bachmann’s pray-the-gay-away “Bachmann & Associates” clinic in St. Paul, Minnesota yesterday. Oh, and BTW, Marcus Bachmann is Michele’s husband.
This would be our Tweet of the Day:
Geez, is every Tom, Dick and Harry Republican thinking about running for president? Apparently so:
Former New York Gov. George Patakiissued a statement Friday afternoon indicating that he would concentrate on his nonprofit, No American Debt, instead of launching a 2012 bid for the White House.
Here’s a shout-out to all you hurricane junkies.
For some super-good live blogging, go to