April 19, 2010 archive

15-year anniversary:

Below is just a few of the reports about this day and fifteen years later. No need to add commentary from someone who only observed from far away and like all the rest of us have our collective thoughts with the victims of this domestic bombing, their families and the residents of Oklahoma City and Oklahoma.

Stuffed animals remember those who were killed in Oklahoma City bombing

Progressives Proven Correct About Welfare “Reform”

As Progressives Predicted, Clinton Welfare Reform Law Fails Families

by Randy Shaw‚ BeyondChron

Apr. 19‚ 2010

After President Bill Clinton signed legislation in 1996 “ending welfare as we know it,” many highlighted this “common sense” solution and criticized progressives for opposing the bill. Soon after passage, politicians and the media said it had not caused the downsides that activists had predicted, ignoring that the law had not been fully implemented. But troubling reports soon emerged. Jason DeParle wrote a number of pieces in the New York Times about rising homelessness among Milwaukee families denied welfare under the new law. Welfare rolls were down, but the nation had unusually low unemployment, and many leaving the rolls had become homeless. Now, a new report shows that the Clinton welfare law is performing exactly as opponents feared, as the nation’s deep recession allows states to force families off aid and into destitution. It is an American tragedy, largely ignored because the victims are primarily low-income women and their children.

After reading Robert Pear’s April 11 story on how welfare reform is playing out in blue-state Rhode Island, I wondered whether it would echo through the rest of the media. After all, the media had given extraordinarily positive coverage of the “success” of the 1996 law eliminating the federal welfare entitlement, and recall many reporters in the late 1990’s who expressed surprise when I told them I thought the bill would cause great harm to families.

Today, a decade after implementation, the Clinton-Republican “bipartisan” welfare law is a failure. As unemployment has doubled since 2007 and the number of people receiving food stamps has skyrocketed by 40%, the welfare caseload has risen only 10% — a clear indication that the nation’s poorest families are not receiving welfare grants due to the restrictive time limits imposed by the 1996 law.

Docudharma Times Monday April 19

Monday’s Headlines:

Safe to fly now? ‘No consensus’ over ash

Recreate Abbey Road – in your bedroom


On a Dusty Mesa, No Water or Electricity, but Boundless Space

North Carolina Democrats’ votes against health care push labor to form party  


Nato invites Russia to help with missile defence shield

Days are turned to nights as clouds of falling ash cover everything in sight

Middle East

Secret prison for Sunnis revealed in Baghdad

Ahmadinejad: Iran too ‘mighty’ to attack


Thailand braces for another week of unrest

Indian minister Shashi Tharoor quits over cricket row


Robert Mugabe rejects violence as Zimbabwe turns 30

Egypt: we don’t need no segregation

Latin America

Despite billions in U.S. aid, Colombia struggles to reduce poverty

Angry Email

Sherry Hackett, wife of the late Buddy Hackett, is a dyed-in-the-wool Democrat. I would think that many other Democrats share her position.   This was written by Sherry,  Buddy Hackett’s widow:


President Obama:

Today I read of your administrations’ plan to re-define September 11 as

a National Service Day. Sir, it’s time we had a talk.

During your campaign, Americans watched as you  made mockery of our

tradition of standing and crossing your heart when the Pledge of Allegiance

was spoken. You, out of four people on the stage, were the only one not

honoring our tradition.

YES, “We noticed.”

During one of your many speeches, Americans heard you say that  you

intended to visit all 57 states.

We all know that Islam, not America has 57 states.

YES, “We noticed.”

When President Bush leaned over at Ground Zero and gently  placed a

flower on the memorial, while you nonchalantly  tossed your flower onto

the pile without leaning  over.

YES, “We noticed.”

Every time you apologized to other countries for America ‘s position on

an issue we have wondered why you don’t share our  pride in this great

country.. When you have heard foreign leaders  berate our country and

our beliefs, you have not defended us. In  fact, you insulted the

British Crown beyond belief.

YES, “We noticed.”

When your pastor of 20 years, “God-damned America ” and said  that

9/11 was ” America ‘s chickens coming home to roost”  and you denied

having heard recriminations of that nature, we  wondered how that could

be. You later disassociated yourself  from that church and Pastor

Wright because it was politically expedient to do so.

YES, “We noticed.”

When you announced that you would transform America ,  we wondered

why. With all her faults, America is the  greatest country on earth.

Sir, KEEP THIS IN MIND, “if not for  America and the people who built

her, you wouldn’t be sitting in  the White House now.” Prior to your

election to the highest office in this Country, you were a senator from

Illinois and  from what we can glean from the records available, not a

very remarkable one.

YES, “We noticed.”

All through your campaign and even now, you have surrounded  

yourself with individuals who are basically unqualified for  the

positions for which you appointed them. Worse than that, the  majority

of them are people who, like you, bear no special allegiance, respect, or

affection for this country and her traditions.

YES, “We noticed.”

You are 9 months into your term and every morning millions  of

Americans wake up to a new horror heaped on us by you. You seek  to

saddle working Americans with a health care/insurance  reform package

that, along with cap and trade, will bankrupt this nation.

YES, “We noticed.”

We seek, by protesting, to let our representatives know that we are not

in favor of these crippling expenditures and we are  labeled

“un-American”,”racist”, “mob”. We wonder how we are supposed  to let

you know how frustrated we are. You have attempted to make our protests seem

isolated and insignificant. Until your appointment, Americans had the right

to speak out.

YES, “We noticed.”

On September 11, 2001 there were no Republicans or Democrats, only

Americans. And we all grieved together and  helped each other in

whatever way we could. The attack on 9/11 was carried out because we are


And YES, “We noticed.”

There were many of us who prayed that as a black president you could

help unite this nation. In six months you have done  more to destroy

this nation than the attack on 9/11. You have failed us.

YES, “We noticed.”

September 11 is a day of remembrance for all  Americans. You

propose to make 9/11 a “National Service Day”.  While we know that you

don’t share our reverence for 9/11, we  pray that history will report

your proposal as what it is, a disgrace.

YES, “We noticed.”

You have made a mockery of  our Constitution and the office that

you hold. You have  embarrassed and slighted us in foreign visits  and policy.  

            YES, “We noticed.”

We have noticed all these things. We will deal with you. When Americans

come together again, it will be to remove you from office.

Take notice.

If you agree with this,  please pass it on.  If not im sorry!

Muse in the Morning

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Muse in the Morning

Insectoid 1

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Both Sides of the River

(Cross-posted at Wild Wild Left)

In the aftermath of a tragedy 50 years ago, Woody Guthrie wrote a song about the deaths of migrant workers in a plane crash in Los Gatos Canyon.  They were being deported, and when they died, the newspapers didn’t consider it necessary to mention their names.  They’d been born on the other side of the Rio Grande River, which rendered them inferior to white, church-attending Americans and negated the need for any respect.  

The skyplane caught fire over Los Gatos Canyon,

A fireball of lightning that shook all our hills.

Who were all these friends all scattered like dry leaves?

The radio said they were just deportees . . .

Woody Guthrie didn’t consider them to be just deportees.  They were human beings, their lives mattered, so he honored them with a eulogy, he said goodbye to them.  

He knew a river runs through this land of capitalism.  The wealthiest one-percent of Americans live on one side of that river.  The rest of us live on the other side.  To the wealthiest one-percent, we have no names.  Our lives don’t matter, we’re just migrant workers in their fields, we’re just miners in their mines, we’re just numbers on a balance sheet, and unless we cross that river and scatter them like dry leaves on the wind, workers in their fields and miners in their mines is all our children will ever be.


Late Night Karaoke

Open Thread

Well, that was worth it.

Mission Accomplished:

Hundreds of Sunni men disappeared for months into a secret Baghdad prison under the jurisdiction of Prime Minister Nouri Maliki’s military office, where many were routinely tortured until the country’s Human Rights Ministry gained access to the facility, Iraqi officials say.

….”More than 100 were tortured. There were a lot of marks on their bodies,” said an Iraqi official familiar with the inspections. “They beat people, they used electricity. They suffocated them with plastic bags, and different methods.”

An internal U.S. Embassy report quoted Salim as saying that prisoners had told her they were handcuffed for three to four hours at a time in stress positions or sodomized. “One prisoner told her that he had been raped on a daily basis, another showed her his undergarments, which were entirely bloodstained,” the memo read.

….Maliki defended his use of special prisons and an elite military force that answers only to him; his supporters say he has had no choice because of Iraq’s precarious security situation. Maliki told The Times that he was committed to stamping out torture — which he blamed on his enemies.

It’s a nice bookend to this piece on Bagram under the Obama administration:

The prisoners, who were interviewed separately, all told very similar stories. Most of them said they had been beaten by American soldiers at the point of arrest before being taken to the prison.

Mirwais had half a row of teeth missing, which he said was from being struck with the butt of a gun by an American soldier.

No-one said they were visited by the International Committee of the Red Cross during their detention at the site, and they all said that their families did not know where they were.

In the small concrete cells, the prisoners said, a light was on all the time. They said they could not tell if it was night or day and described this as very disturbing.

Mirwais said he was made to dance to music by American soldiers every time he wanted to use the toilet.

Great achievements.  Dignitude we can believe in.

Clinton: I wuz punked by wealthy crooks.


April 18 (Bloomberg) — Former President Bill Clinton said he should have pushed for regulation of financial derivatives when he was president, rejecting the advice of top economic advisers Robert Rubin and Larry Summers.

The argument was that derivatives didn’t need transparency because they were “expensive and sophisticated and only a handful of people would buy them,” Clinton said on ABC’s “This Week” program. “The flaw in this argument was that first of all, sometimes people with a lot of money make stupid decisions and make it without transparency.”

Then I wuz double-punked by W’s lax regulators.

I wuz also punked by NATO on Yugoslavia, punked by Madeleine Albright on Iraq sanctions, punked by the fucking French on Rwanda, punked by an earthquake in Haiti….

Also, Alan Greenspan: Still a lying sociopath after all these years.

Open Thread: Midnight eruptions

Iceland Volcano Aurora Borealis

The Iceland Volcano and the Aurora Borealis

Glennzilla versus White House: Stomp, stomp, stomp…

Glenn Greenwald opining on civil liberties encroachments by a unitary executive:


As usual, it doesn’t pay to engage Greenwald in a counter-struggle.  Many species of prey simply fall into an autonomic state of hyperarousal and “tonic immobility” when attacked, because any struggle would be merely a further incentive for the predator to finish the kill.  I’m looking forward to his Monday article on alternatives to Elena Kagan.  


Justice for bank fraudsters: Throw them in Guantanamo and sort it out later (speaking of the crooks at J.P. Morgan, Goldman Sachs, etc., etc.) Just like they do with “terrorists”.

If a military tribunal is good enough for Osama Bin Laden’s driver, it’s good enough for the bank fraudsters…and a firing squad at the end.

Justice for Karl Rove: Extraordinarily rendition him to Afghanistan, paradrop him into Kandahar wearing a sandwichboard saying “I Love Salmon Rushdie” on one side and “Death to Islam” on the other.

Justice for opponents of repealing DADT:  Fire them from their jobs and then enlist them in an organization that makes referencing, justifying or speaking anything in reference to Christianity or religion a court martial offense.  Assert that they have “freedom of speech” despite this but they have no rights in this organization.  Give them no privacy, forbid them heterosexual relationships and make them serve their country, only at the end to kick them out because they’re “immoral” and tell them their existence is “contrary to good order and discipline”.

Justice for Teabaggers.  Send them the full bill for their sewer, water, police and fire department protection.  If they object, call them dirty socialists.

Justice for opponents of granting GLBT couples full marriage rights and repealing DOMA:

First, dissolve their marriages and tell them they don’t have the right to use that word in regard to their relationships.  Then put them in a state that has “civil unions”.  Tell them these civil unions are the equivalent of heterosexual marriage and they ought to be happy with that.

Wait until said people get old with their unmarried but civilly unioned partners.  During this period, they have to file federal income taxes separately and cannot move to any other state while keeping their supposed “rights” intact.  

Then, when old, take one partner to the hospital, refuse to let the other partner see the first or make medical decisions on his or her behalf, then sell their belongings on EBay.  Let the first partner die in the hospital, confine the other to a nursing home and then tell him or her you don’t know what s/he is whining about, because s/he has “equal rights”.

Then tell them that Obama feels their pain.

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