February 24, 2010 archive

Afternoon Edition

Afternoon Edition is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 6 Haitian orphans who had been detained land in US

By CHRISTINE ARMARIO and KELLI KENNEDY, Associated Press Writers

1 hr 14 mins ago

MIAMI – Six Haitian orphans arrived in the United States on Wednesday, four days after Haitian police seized them out of fear they were being kidnapped.

The children arrived on a charter flight to Miami International Airport. They will be taken to a shelter and their new parents can take the children home Thursday, according to Jan Bonnema, the Minnesota-based founder of the Children of The Promise orphanage.

On Saturday, a group of 20 men blocked four women accompanying the orphans to the airport, shouting: “You can’t take our children!” Police briefly detained the women and the orphans – ages 1-5 – spent three night sleeping on the ground in a tent city. The U.S. Embassy official carrying the documents needed to take them through immigration had been running late.

Olympic Alternatives IX

You thought I was not serious?

I’m dead serious.  The only way to effect change is through sacrifice (changing your habits) and protest (telling people what you think, publicly).

Plenty of other stuff out on the Hypnotoad.  Just look-

The Hypnotoad.

"Television is a vast wasteland"

Primetime Update.

Late Night Update.

Why are you Update.

Democrats: All you have to do is FIGHT

Simulposted at Daily Kos


The American people are disgusted by their government.

They are disgusted by The Republicans and they are disgusted by the Democrats.

But mostly they are disgusted at watching everything they are working SO hard for …just slip away… as the people who are supposed to protect them and help them DO NOTHING.

Yes the Republicans are to blame.

They have essentially shut down the government ….again. They are selfish, slimy despicable, mean and incredibly destructive. They are cowardly, lying bullies. The American people hate them.

And there is only one thing the American People hate more than cowardly lying bullies.

People who lie down and roll over to cowardly lying bullies and let them take their lunch money.


If you had a choice between either voting for cowardly lying bullies or voting for someone who lets a cowardly lying bully beat them up every goddam day and never fight back…..who would you vote for?

That is the choice the American voter faces in November.

That is the ONLY reason any swing election will be close this year.

The Republicans have a tiny base, a horrible record, no money, no ideas, no solutions….nothing. And the voters KNOW this. Yet they have no real choice. Vote for the bully, or vote for the victim of the bully who gets rolled every frikking time. When they aren’t busy running from the fight or hiding under their desks, that is.

Their is only one thing the Democrats have to do to change that, to BREAK the hold of the bully and get our government working for the American People again.


Call them out for what they are and stand up to the cowardly lying bullies. And start fighting for the American People. Fighting for the little guys.

Like they USED TO.

Don’t Close Gitmo? Don’t Prosecute in U.S. Courts? Don’t Hold in U.S. Prisons if Guilty?

That’s what we hear from many, most on a certain side of the political spectrum in this country as to those being held in the Guantanamo Prison. This is only one of the recruiting tools, there are now many, used by the criminal element known as ‘terrorist’ and for probably more then one group but the best known is the ghost enemy al Qaeda.

Most held for years in Gitmo have been released, this after renditions and imprisonment in secret prisons as well as Gitmo, many tortured during their captivity under the guise of seeking intelligence on the criminal terrorist element that knows no borders nor just one nation state.

Why is it we don’t hear anything from those same voices of so called defenders of this Country as to the War Criminals: The Monster Next Door? There is one well known ‘terrorist’ and living in this country for decades, more on him after the recent report as to the previous subject title.

Open Bravado


Put Americans back to work with a Green Jobs Bill

Unemployment in the United States is a heart-wrenching problem, with 14.8 million Americans seeking work.1

Yet the same U.S. senators who gave trillions to bail out Wall Street are now offering a paltry $15 billion for a jobs bill that won't create many jobs.

What an insult.  In effect, senators are telling unemployed Americans that they matter little compared to Wall Street.

Tell your senators to stimulate the economy with a giant green jobs bill for American workers.

With unemployment so high, it's time for a Green New Deal to tackle economic and ecological problems at the same time.

We should put Americans back to work with living-wage green jobs: retrofitting homes for energy efficiency, building modern mass transit systems, installing renewable energy technology, and conserving our irreplaceable ecosystems.

Instead, the Senate's current bill fails to offer even a short-term solution to joblessness.

After bailing out Wall Street at a cost of trillions, all that the Senate Democratic majority will offer 14.8 million unemployed Americans is a jobs bill that union leaders have called “puny” and “like sticking a band-aid on an amputated arm”.2

Where's the helping hand for the millions of jobless Americans who are struggling because Wall Street's recklessness and greed caused an economic meltdown?

Tell your senators: put Americans back to work with a giant green jobs bill.


1. “Employment situation summary.” 2/5/10, Bureau of Labor Statistics.

2. Walter Alarkon, “Unions and liberal groups blast Reid's $15 billion jobs legislation as 'puny'.” 2/22/10, The Hill.

Muse in the Morning

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Muse in the Morning


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Wednesday Morning Science Supplement

Wednesday Morning Science Supplement is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Science

1 Kerry insists US to move on climate

by Shaun Tandon, AFP

Tue Feb 23, 9:16 pm ET

WASHINGTON (AFP) – Senator John Kerry vowed the United States would overcome the odds and approve action on climate change, as the United Nations set talks for April to help break a diplomatic logjam.

Without offering a timetable, Kerry on Tuesday rejected assertions that it had become politically impossible for the Senate to finalize the first US nationwide plan to curb carbon emissions blamed for global warming.

“I’m excited. I know that’s completely contrary to any conventional wisdom,” said Kerry, a close ally of President Barack Obama and chief architect of the legislation.

Late Night Karaoke

Open Thread

Pelosi Says House Dems OK w/ Obama Excise Tax & No P/O in Health Bill

Since tomorrow is the big “virtual march” on Washington, when the so- called Democratic activists (yeah, I mean you, OFA) and interested others are supposed to flood the Congressional switchboards, faxes, and email to their Senators on the Eve of Destruction, er, the Thursday televised “Bipartisan” Health Care Summit Kabuki Theatre, to expedite the passing of the gallstone, er, The Health Insurance Bill,  the Speaker of the House clarified the status of the President’s bill tweak tonight.  The bill tweak was posted online yesterday.

This was posted late in The Hill this evening:

Pelosi: House Dems can support Obama healthcare proposal


“We’re very pleased with what the president put up on the Internet,” Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Tuesday at a news conference.

Pelosi did not object to the absence of a Public Option in President Obama’s version of the bill, altho she said it would be the preferred method, nor to putting an excise tax on on “high cost health care” plans to pay for it.  (oh, nice message control there by the writer for not using the Reaganite  “Cadillac Plans.”)

The White House bill includes a modified version of the tax that seeks to protect middle-class union members from paying it.

Pelosi endorsed that proposal, stating that “the pay-for in it is something that Democrats in the House can support.”

( If I had to make an educated guess, the unions that they have in mind here are the ones that work on government military contracts and projects such as the electrical, metal sheetworker, aerospace industry, shipbuilding, etc,  and in turn donate to Democratic candidates. )

According to the wonk room think progress, with President Obama’s tweak of the Senate bill,  there is a delay in starting the excise tax.  This is a combination of kick the can down the road to 8 years in the future, and upping the amount of exemption for each policy before the 40% excise tax on policies worth over a certain amount kicks in.  A double barreled kick, as it were.  Because it’s very likely that policies are going to cost lots more in the near future, after we saw Wellpoint’s 39% proposed rate hikes this month. http://www.marketwatch.com/sto…


Obama’s Version- Excise tax – ‘Labor agreement’ for everyone. Changes effective date of the Senate policy from 2013 to 2018. Raises the amount of premiums that are exempt from the assessment from $8,500 for singles to $10,200 and from $23,000 for families to $27,500 and indexes these amounts for subsequent years at general inflation plus 1 percent.  

There is also a payroll tax increase of zero point nine 0.9% percent on wages or salaries above a certain income, and a two point nine percent 2.9%  assessment on unearned income. (“unearned” income is that which does not come from actual work performed for wages, but is from interest, dividends, investment gains, or things like rent).

According to The Hill story, the House will be voting on Wednesday on a repeal of the health insurance industry’s Anti Trust exemption, which would allow the Federal Trade Commission and Dept of Justice to combat collusion (aka evil cooperation to fix prices) between health insurance companies.  They’ve had the exemption since 1945.    

Democrats: Now YOU understand.

In the election of 2010, it won’t matter if you call yourself a progressive.  It won’t matter if you sent a sternly worded letter to the Obama administration or denounced Republicans on the floor of the Congress for wanting people to die.

Anything goes wrong, anything at all, your fault, my fault, nobody’s fault, the American people are going to come screaming for your seats, and you’ll lose them.

It’s as simple as that.

If you don’t pass health care reform, you are going to lose the majority for a generation.  If you pass a corporatist bill with mandates but no public option, you are going to lose a majority for a generation.

And if you play the kabuki of pretending to be for the American people while telling them that their rejection of people dying from lack of health care or medical bankruptcy is “not realistic” or that their wanting decent health care that the average person can afford without giving their money to criminal murder by spreadsheet companies is akin to “wanting a pony”, you are going to lose your seats.  If you turncoat at the last minute and refuse to shove through a public option because it’s “not the right timing”, you’re going to suffer a humiliating defeat as a party and perhaps as an elected official.

It’s time for some goddamn respect for the American people, Congress.

And that is only the start.  The American people aren’t buying “we can’t” anymore.  You better.  And sooner or later the “vote for us or the puppy gets it” routine will fail too.  It’s already failing.  One by one, people aren’t buying the pee-on-our-feet while telling us it’s raining act.

I’m talking even to you, Michael Bennett.  I am talking to you too, Dianna DeGette.  We want results.  And more and more people are not going to be fooled by the red bull flag the Democrats wave with the Republicans acting crazy and the Democrats doing nothing about it.

If you don’t take us to a better place in this country, things are going to get a whole lot worse.

And it won’t matter whose fault it was.

Why I Hate Harvard


David Vitter, Harvard ’83

Anybody who criticizes the Ivy League and especially Harvard is immediately suspected of resenting his or her rejection from those ancient universities, but no such motive can be attributed to me, since I was guaranteed admission to Harvard when my grandfather gave them a cyclotron!

It was later revealed that this “cyclotron” was only a miniscule laundromat in nearby Brookline, Massachusetts, which my grandfather called “Atomic Wash,” and as if spinning washers and dryers didn’t already cycle enough to justify the cyclotronic hype on the posters my grandfather affixed to every telephone pole in Brookline, he added his own inertial mass to the spin by revolving around the laundromat on a large adult tricycle, wearing fire-engine red pajamas and screaming “I’m the Higgs boson!”

Luckily for me, I had already been admitted to Harvard before they inspected the Brookline “cyclotron,” and like every other legacy boy, I received an entire résumé of B minuses as soon as I walked onto campus, along with lifetime membership in every Harvard Club from New York to Calcutta, 12 hours of Berlitz training to master “Vocal Mannerisms of the Very Elite,” and all the rest of the “Harvard Package.”

The “Harvard Package” also includes a list of famous Harvard alumni, and it begins well enough with John Adams and John Quincy Adams and Henry Adams and other Adamses too numerous to mention, but sometime around the 1960’s it all went horribly wrong!

First came the geniuses who took us into Vietnam, like McGeorge Bundy, Robert McNamara, and John Kennedy (another legacy boy like me!), and when I skipped ahead to escape the Vietnam ghetto, I collided head-on with Antonin Scalia, John Roberts, Larry Summers, Grover Norquist, Bill Frist, Paul Bremer, Mitt Romney, David Vitter(!), Doug Feith (“the stupidest fucking son-of-a-bitch on the face of the earth”), Henry Paulson, George W. Bush (MBA), and of course Barack Obama, and a better friend of all the legacy boys on Wall Street they never had, than Barack Obama!

But I still might have rationalized away all the damage my alma mater has inflicted on the world, by exaggerating the feeble counterweight of Harvard alums like T.S. Eliot and Eliot Spitzer, except for a very unfortunate encounter in the Harvard Club at an undisclosed location, where I noticed Doug Feith and Richard B. Cheney chuckling quietly together in a corner.

“What are you doing here, you Yalie trash?” I said to Cheney, and just before the Secret Service explained that an 800 pound gorilla sits anywhere he wants to sit, and threw me out the window, I could hear Doug Feith shrieking…

Now who’s the stupidest fucking son-of-a-bitch on the face of the earth?”

And that’s why I hate Harvard!


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