Posted: September 20, 2012 Filed under: 2012 presidential campaign, Congress, Food, hunger, immigration, Mitt Romney, open thread, Political and Editorial Cartoons, Politics as Usual, Psychopaths in charge, Republican politics, science, SDB Evening News Reads, the GOP | Tags: Bill Clinton, Curiosity, Farm Bill, John Boehner, SNAP
It’s another night of Middle School Football for me, so here are some Interesting and strange and funny links to get you going this evening.
Let’s start with the interesting ones first.
You may have heard about this already…GOP BLOCKS JOBS FOR VETS – Political Cartoon by Deb Milbrath, Cartoon Movement – 09/20/2012
And then, check out what is being “ignored” until after the election: Boehner Confirms Farm Bill on Hold
Typical bullshit! You all know what is part of that farms bill, but let me repeat it…SNAP, Foodstamps, WIC and all that other good stuff, you know the “food” that those people feel entitled to?
Numbers are out for Illegal Immigrant Deportations, Report: Number of undocumented immigrants arrested and deported in 2011 hits record high
There is this news on the Akin front: The GOP is stuck with Todd Akin
And in my redneck of the woods: Senate leader allegedly billed taxpayers for campaign mail
Still on the interesting links BTW, here are a few NASA articles:
What’s it like to fly a plane with shuttle on top?
Spot The Space Shuttle: Exclusive Interview About Endeavor’s Journey And Final Destination
Mars rover targets a rock called Jake – Cosmic Log
And, Bill Clinton has written something for TIME, Bill Clinton On Why The World Is Getting Better All The Time
Okay, now for the strange news, I’ve only got one story for you there: Valerie Spruill, Ohio Woman, Finds Out Husband Was Her Father
It is obvious that the family knew the truth, but no one said shit about it. That is f’d up!
From the Funny department, gotta love these next few links…
John Boehner Says Mitt Romney Campaign Not Dead Yet, Jokes ‘I Just Hope I Survive’
Even as he joked“I just hope I survive,” House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) declined to defend Mitt Romney’s now-infamous 47 percent remarks Thursday, and insisted the Republican ticket can still win.
Asked repeatedly about Romney’s secretly videotaped admissions that he doesn’t care about the 47 percent of people who he said pay no income taxes and therefore won’t vote for him, Boehner demurred, instead saying the election is about jobs.
“Everybody is going to try to make this election about everything other than what it is,” Boehner said. “The American people are asking, ‘Where are the jobs?’”
While he declined to defend Romney’s comments, he pointed out that he has connections to people who are less fortunate.
“I’ve had family members who lost their jobs in this downturn. Two of my brothers, two of my brother in laws. I know what’s happening out there and I know how difficult this economy is,” he said. He then suggested that Romney’s remarks fell into the territory of a typical gaffe.
“You’re going to have both campaigns on both sides that say things that get off the message. The message is let’s stay focused on jobs,” he said.
And he insisted that the widespread feeling that Romney is doomed is flat out wrong.
Pour that man another drink! He needs a refill.
Mitt Romney ‘Dyed His Face Brown’ to Appeal to Latino Voters
Mitt Romney currently trails President Obama among registered Latino voters by nearly 40%, and getting caught saying things like “it would be helpful to be Latino” certainly isn’t helping.
But has it gotten so bad that Romney is now resorting to “brownface” in order to make himself more appealing to Univision viewers? Democratic Underground has looked at the photo above from last night’s “presidential forum” and concluded that, yes, Romney definitely “dyed his face brown.”
Wonkette wonders if perhaps the GOP nominee was involved in some sort of “self-tanner accident” or perhaps went out tanning with John Boehner “for a little pick-me-up.”
Mitt Romney is certainly looking more crispy than usual, but is that enough to call him out for, as Gossip On This put it, trying to win “browning points”?
Hey, is that a shot of the holy magic underwear in that first photo?
And at last, this woman deserves the royalties…let’s give it to her…she’s got balls to ask for them.
Elderly woman who botched religious fresco demands royalties
The elderly Spanish woman who ruined a religious fresco with her botched restoration is now demanding royalties from her work after it became an unlikely tourist attraction.
Bwahaaaaa Ha Ha…now that is funny!
This is an open thread.
Posted: April 30, 2012 Filed under: morning reads | Tags: american exceptionalism, Apple's tax dodges, E.L. Doctorow, food stamps, Foxconn, human trafficking, SNAP, Worker abuses
I always enjoy a little E.L Doctorow. Fortunately, I have some to share with you this morning. Monday Morning is a good time to be acerbic. Doctorow offers up some advice on how to be embrace the US’s inner state of unexceptionalism. Phase One was carried out during the Dubya years. I think you’ll recognize it.
TO achieve unexceptionalism, the political ideal that would render the United States indistinguishable from the impoverished, traditionally undemocratic, brutal or catatonic countries of the world, do the following:
If you’re a justice of the Supreme Court, ignore the first sacrament of a democracy and suspend the counting of ballots in a presidential election. Appoint the candidate of your choice as president.
If you’re the newly anointed president, react to a terrorist attack by invading a nonterrorist country. Despite the loss or disablement of untold numbers of lives, manage your war so that its results will be indeterminate.
Using the state of war as justification, order secret surveillance of American citizens, data mine their phone calls and e-mail, make business, medical and public library records available to government agencies, perform illegal warrantless searches of homes and offices.
Take to torturing terrorism suspects, here or abroad, in violation of the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution, which prohibits the infliction of cruel and unusual punishment. Unilaterally abrogate the Convention Against Torture as well as the Geneva Conventions regarding the treatment of prisoners of war. Commit to indeterminate detention without trial those you decide are enemies. For good measure, trust that legislative supporters will eventually apply this policy as well to American citizens.
Suspend progressive taxation so that the wealthiest pay less proportionately than the middle class. See to it that the wealth of the country accumulates to a small fraction of the population so that the gap between rich and poor widens exponentially.
By cutting taxes and raising wartime expenditures, deplete the national treasury so that Congress and state and municipal legislatures cut back on domestic services, ensuring that there will be less money for the education of the young, for government health programs, for the care of veterans, for the maintenance of roads and bridges, for free public libraries, and so forth.
Deregulate the banking industry so as to create a severe recession in which enormous numbers of people lose their homes and jobs.
Before you leave office add to the Supreme Court justices like the ones who awarded you the presidency.
Don’t miss the other phases!
Here’s my offering for one of those phases. It’s from Alternet writing on a HuffPo piece.
For the Republicans’ constant trumpeting of saving the economy in public, they have proven time and again that’s exactly the opposite of what they want to do. The latest: the GOP would like to save the disproportionate defense spending by… cutting food stamps. No, America, they do not care about your well being, or whether all of us can afford to eat. The Huffington Post:
In a memo sent to members Wednesday instructing them how to write their reconciliation bill, Republicans picked a number of targets, including extracting $80 billion from federal workers and $44 billion from health care. In all, it identifies $78 billion to cut in 2013, and details around $300 billion over 10 years.
But the memo spends the most time targeting the exploding cost of food stamps, on which more Americans rely than ever, at greater expense to the government than ever before.
Each month during fiscal 2011, an average of 45 million mostly poor Americans received benefits under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, at a cost of $78 billion to the federal government. Last year’s SNAP participation represented a 70 percent increase from 2007, and the highest enrollment the program has ever seen. In that time, the cost of the program more than doubled.
Of course, the food stamp budget is “exploding” (in HuffPo’s weird term) because the Republicans have failed to support a single plan that might help average Americans get back on their feet.
Chinese workers are back in the news. Foxconn Workers endure terrible working conditions and many are threatening suicide again. Of course, we have to go to the UK Guardian to read up on this. Heaven Forbid that we learn people suffer to provide Ipads to the nation’s self absorbed yuppies.
Workers at a factory owned by Foxconn, Apple‘s main manufacturer, threatened to jump off the roof of a building in a protest about wages, a month after the two firms reached agreement on improving working conditions.
The protest happened in the central China city of Wuhan.
It involved 200 workers, the Hong-Kong based activist group Information Centre for Human Rights said.
A company spokesman said the dispute, which concerned workplace adjustments and involved new workers, had been settled. He said it was not a strike. The company employs 1.2 million workers in China.
“The dispute has already been settled after some negotiations involving the human resources and legal departments as well as the local government,” the Taipei-based spokesman, Simon Tsing, said.
Foxconn, China’s largest private-sector employer, and Apple agreed to tackle violations of working conditions and improve working environments.
The deal was agreed almost two years after a series of worker suicides at Foxconn plants focused attention on conditions at Chinese factories and sparked criticism that Apple’s products were made by Chinese workers subjected to mistreatment.
On Tuesday Apple reported that its fiscal second-quarter net income almost doubled after a jump in iPhone sales, exceeding financial market expectations.
Speaking of Apple, are you aware they are one of the biggest tax dodgers among a proud tradition of US corporations that avoid paying taxes?
Apple, the world’s most profitable technology company, doesn’t design iPhones here. It doesn’t run AppleCare customer service from this city. And it doesn’t manufacture MacBooks or iPads anywhere nearby.
Yet, with a handful of employees in a small office here in Reno, Apple has done something central to its corporate strategy: it has avoided millions of dollars in taxes in California and 20 other states.
Apple’s headquarters are in Cupertino, Calif. By putting an office in Reno, just 200 miles away, to collect and invest the company’s profits, Apple sidesteps state income taxes on some of those gains.
California’s corporate tax rate is 8.84 percent. Nevada’s? Zero.
Setting up an office in Reno is just one of many legal methods Apple uses to reduce its worldwide tax bill by billions of dollars each year. As it has in Nevada, Apple has created subsidiaries in low-tax places like Ireland, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and the British Virgin Islands — some little more than a letterbox or an anonymous office — that help cut the taxes it pays around the world.
Almost every major corporation tries to minimize its taxes, of course. For Apple, the savings are especially alluring because the company’s profits are so high. Wall Street analysts predict Apple could earn up to $45.6 billion in its current fiscal year — which would be a record for any American business.
We have a bipartisan effort with two US congress women looking to stop the use of GOOGLE by Human Traffickers. U.S. Representatives Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee (R) and Carolyn Maloney (D) of New York are looking at GOOGLE practices that may accommodate this hideous industry.
In an effort to stop a rising tide with the use of online networks for human trafficking, two U.S. Representatives of Congress, Republican Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, along with Democrat Carolyn Maloney of New York, have sent a bipartisan letter to the largest online search engine in the world – Google, Inc.Questioning current practices and policies at Google, specifically within the offices of Google Adwords, the Congresswomen are sending a joint letter from Congress to Google to bring hard questions to the internet giant.
Stepping up their efforts, the Blackburn and Maloney Congressional team are bringing Google’s employee policies under the microscope. Unless Google answers the questions regarding the handling, receiving and allowing of online advertising by Google Adwords the corporate giant may be questioned further.
“It’s about time that we all take a close look at the largest ad publisher in the world – Google,” said Phil Cenedella, founder and director of The National Association of Human Trafficking Victim Advocates, an advocacy group that works on-the-ground with women and girl victims of human trafficking and now over 41 global partners. “This problem is worldwide and it’s growing right under our feet,” continued Cenedella. “The U.S. is one of the biggest consumers of modern slaves and illegal slave labor worldwide and this includes sex-trafficking.”
The aim by Congress is to find out more about internal problems at Google Adwords that may be allowing international and local human trafficking rings to sexually exploit and sell women and girls online.
If you need a smile this morning, try the 18 funniest joked by Jimmy Kimmel from the Nerdprom on Saturday night.
1. To Obama: “I know you won’t be able to laugh at my jokes about the Secret Service. Please cover your ears, if that’s physically possible.”
2. “If you told me when I was a kid I would be standing on a dais with President Barack Obama, I would have said, ‘The president’s name is Barack Obama?’”
3. “Remember when the country rallied around you in hopes of a better tomorrow? That was hilarious.”
4. “Democrats would like you to stick to your guns. And if you don’t have any guns, you can ask Eric Holder to get some for you.”
5. “They say diplomacy is a matter of carrot and sticks, and since Michelle Obama got to the White House — so is dinner.”
Here’s an inspiring thought for the day:
“A nation cannot be liberated whether internally or externally while its women are enchained.”
Egyptian feminist Doria Shafik 1908-1975
So, there ya go! What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
Posted: April 29, 2012 Filed under: Barack Obama, Catfood Commission, China, Congress, Cuba, Discrimination against women, Federal Budget, Foreign Affairs, GLBT Rights, Great Britain, House of Representatives, jobs, morning reads, Republican politics, science, the GOP, U.S. Politics, unemployment, Violence against women, War on Women | Tags: Dark Shadows, food stamps, John Boehner, Military Funding, Shark Populations, SNAP, TANF, Tribeca Film Festival, Vernon Traversie, White House Correspondents' Dinner
This is Sunday, April 29th…the last Sunday in April. What a whirlwind of a month!
Today is also my mother’s birthday, so if you would just let me take a moment to say, “Happy Birthday Ma!”
I have lots of links for you this morning, some are serious…some are funny…and some are just ridiculous!
We will go ahead and get the serious ones out-of-the-way first. Yesterday was the big White House Correspondents Dinner, here are some choice bits for you to check out…it looks like it was a good one.
President Obama on Palin: What’s the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull? ‘A pit bull is delicious’
Now that is a funny joke…if you would like to see Obama’s stand-up in full:
One from The Associated Press: Romney, Secret Service, GOP: Obama mocks them all
Another from CNN: TRENDING: 2012 race makes fodder for Obama, Kimmel
And one last link for you about the WHCD: Lindsay Lohan Would Rather Take a Nap than Meet the President. The only reason I mention this Jezebel article is because it gives me the opportunity to say that Lindsay Lohan should not play Elizabeth Taylor! That’s for dang sure!
From Addicting Info, two links:
Rape Away The Gay? Radio Personality Tells Father To Get A Man To Rape His Daughter Until She Turns Straight
A radio personality in Cleveland is facing tremendous backlash after telling a father that he should get one of his male friends to rape his daughter to force her to turn straight.
In response to an email from a father who suspected his daughter was gay after discovering her kissing another girl, DJ Dominic Deiter declared on the air that “You should get one of your friends to screw your daughter straight.”
You read that correctly. An apparently anti-gay radio personality told a father that he should arrange for his daughter to be raped repeatedly until she magically turns straight.
And what radio network is responsible for such a revolting disc jockey? Take a guess…
After the disgusting remark, GLAAD received multiple reports about the incident, which was said during ‘Rover’s Morning Glory’ radio program that airs on WWMS 100.7 FM radio station on Clear Channel Communications, which includes radio shows hosted by Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and several other right-wing radio shows. Clear Channel is also owned primarily by Bain Capital, the company that Mitt Romney began and is still involved with.
Yup, it makes me think of the perfect response…
The other link from Addicting Info, I will not post the photo, but if you click the link you can see it. Warning…it is graphic. Native American Blind Man Mutilated By Staff At Rapid City Hospital
As a country we have been mesmerized, sickened and disgusted by the shooting of unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. All eyes have been on this hate crime and emotions on both sides of the issue have run high.
But there are other stories out there, not so well publicized by the mainstream media. The most recent to come to light is the shocking mutilation of a 68-year-old blind man. His crime, it seems, is being a Native American living in South Dakota.
Vernon Traversie, a Lakota elder, suffered a heart attack last August and was taken to Rapid City Regional Hospital for emergency surgery. Upon his return home after a two-week stay, he found that three Ks had been carved or burned into his abdomen.
I know that was difficult to read, but I felt I should bring it to your attention. More information about this hateful mutilation at the link.
More news reads after the jump:
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: November 2, 2011 Filed under: 2012 presidential campaign, Austerity, Congress, Foreign Affairs, hunger, Iran, Planned Parenthood, PLUB Pro-Life-Until-Birth, poverty, racism, religious extremists, Reproductive Health, Reproductive Rights, Republican politics, Republican presidential politics, right wing hate grouups, U.S. Politics, Violence against women, Women's Rights | Tags: food stamps, Herman Cain, SNAP
I thought this photo, posted on the Maddow Blog was so telling about the behavior of Wall St., and by extension, the ineffective politicians in Washington. Because after all, Wall St. are the ones who put them in office with corporate contributions. It is sickening, literally…
For those readers in California, an Emergency Level 3 has been issued from the San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant. Los Angeles San Onofre Nuke Plant Declares Level 3 Emergency Over Ammonia Leak | Crooks and Liars
If you live in the Los Angeles area, you’ll want to stay on top of the local news:
SAN ONOFRE (KTLA) — A level 3 emergency is being reported at the San Onofre nuclear plant Tuesday.
Alarms and sirens were activated at the plant earlier this afternoon, possibly by an ammonia leak, SCE officials say.
Some employees in the vicinity of the leak were evacuated.
[...] UPDATE: Southern California Edison issued the following statement:
At approximately 3pm Pacific Daylight Time, Southern California Edison declared an alert based on identifying an ammonia leak in the steam system used to drive the plant’s turbines.
Madrak goes on to point out that San Onofre is in Rep. Darrell Issa’s district…hmmm…It looks as if the plant has a history of deficient “safety culture,” it doesn’t sound good. Anyone in the area, take care.
Cannofire has a post up that is near to me, in fact…the arrest took place south of Banjoville, just over the mountain.
Remember when the propagandists were trying to tell you that Occupy Wall Street was violent and that the teabagger extremists are just a bunch of sweet old puddytats? Well, look at this. (The court documents are here.) Right-wing paranoia led a group of aging would-be mass-murderers to plan their own politicized version of Columbine…
Federal agents charged four Georgia men they say are part of a fringe militia group with plotting to attack government officials with explosives and the biotoxin ricin, prosecutors in Atlanta announced Tuesday.
“When it comes time to saving the Constitution, that means some people gotta die,” an arrest affidavit quotes one of the defendants, 67-year-old Dan Roberts, as saying during one recorded conversation.
Oh, the joys of living in Banjoland…give his post a read, it details some of the dialogue mentioned in court documents.
Yesterday, some news about another hedge fund, MF Global accounts shock leaves clients scrambling | Reuters
MF Global Holdings Ltd failed to protect customer accounts by keeping them separate from its own funds, said a top U.S. exchange regulator, another shock for commodity markets scrambling to contain fallout from the brokerage’s bankruptcy.
The revelation on Tuesday by CME Group Inc suggests Jon Corzine’s MF Global violated a central tenet of futures brokerages. It could erode confidence in a market that for decades has enjoyed a sterling reputation for safety.
MF Global cannot account for a large amount of customer money that was supposed to be kept separate from other funds, sources said, and regulators are scrambling to review the broker’s accounts. The cause of the shortfall — including whether the company pilfered client funds or merely cannot account for the money — was not clear.
It looks like more of the same from 2008, just on a smaller scale.
MF Global had $7.3 billion in customer assets on August 31, according to Commodity Futures Trading Commission data. It was the eighth-largest U.S. futures broker and had a big presence in commodity markets worldwide. The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Monday after failing to find a buyer.
Bets Corzine made on euro zone sovereign debt led to a plunge in the company’s stock last week and credit rating agencies cut its debt to junk. Its collapse over less than a week was reminiscent of, although smaller than, investment bank Lehman Brothers in 2008.
Corzine was a former CEO of Goldman Sachs…and former Governor of New Jersey.
The Personhood Amendment goes to Mississippi voters next week…Mississippi’s Ambiguous ‘Personhood’ Amendment – NYTimes.com
First, what does “fertilization” mean? As embryologists recognize, fertilization is a process, a continuum, rather than a fixed point. The term “fertilization” — which is sometimes considered synonymous with “conception” — could mean at least four different things: penetration of the egg by a sperm, assembly of the new embryonic genome, successful activation of that genome, and implantation of the embryo in the uterus. The first occurs immediately; the last occurs approximately two weeks after insemination (or, in the case of embryos created through in vitro fertilization that do not get implanted, never). Thus, on some reasonable readings of the amendment, certain forms of birth control, stem cell derivation and the destruction of embryos created through in vitro fertilization would seem impermissible, while on other equally reasonable readings they are not.
Second, the proposed amendment does not clearly indicate what the immediate legal impact would be. Would the amendment be “self-executing” — that is, effectuate a change to Mississippi law on its own — or would it require enabling legislation to set that change in motion?
Under existing doctrine, constitutional provisions or amendments that only set forth “first principles” or “policies” are not treated as self-executing, because they need laws enacted to further the stated principles or policies. In this case it’s not clear whether the amendment would, for example, immediately redefine thousands of references to “human beings” or “persons,” including those in provisions governing criminal homicide, or whether additional legislation would be necessary. Because of this uncertainty, voters considering this amendment cannot tell what actions would and would not immediately be subject to prosecutorial investigation were the amendment to pass.
From a legal aspect, this could be very far-reaching. Angela Worthy, RN, MPH Says Mississippi Initiative 26 “Goes Too Far” | RH Reality Check
RH Reality Check has been covering this bill very well, you can find more here: Mississippi Initiative 26 | RH Reality Check
I want to post a couple more links on Herman Cain, the man is truly dangerous, look at the latest on Cain’s foreign policy regarding Iran. Herman Cain Bill O’Reilly Interview | Video | Mediaite
O’Reilly began the second half of the interview broadly, asking Cain, “what area of the world concerns you the most?” Cain said that, “obviously,” the Middle East was the most problematic region because of Israel’s position there and Iran’s belligerence. He also repeated comments that he would “have to evaluate the situation at the time” when it came to Iraq and other countries and “commanders on the ground,” but that one step to keep Iran at bay would be “serious energy independence.”
On that latter point, O’Reilly didn’t see the connection, and tried to push him to explain how making Iran sell more oil to China would be of help. “They depend on oil prices,” Cain replied, and suggested that energy independence “is going to impact the world prices of oil about a third.” Aside from energy independence, however, Cain noted that he would “maximize the use of our ballistic missile defense capability” because “Iran understands only two things: economic pressure and our military might.”
O’Reilly noted that putting more missiles near Iran would be a certain invitation for the nation to attack us. Cain appeared unfazed: “that’s alright.” “Then you’re in a shooting war with Iran– you want that?” Cain replied that Iran was “going to put their ships on our coasts,” so a reciprocal action isn’t “a provocation.”
Later in the show O’Reilly had guest Alan Colmes and Monica Crowley discuss Cain’s vision of foreign policy.
While Colmes outright said he didn’t think Cain knew what he was talking about, Crowley simply stated that President Obama didn’t seem to know what he was doing, either, when it came to foreign policy.
Ah, but Obama did one thing about his lack of foreign policy know how…it was the best and only good move he has done in his presidency…he put Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State.
But all this concern over Herman Cain, may be for nothing…Pow! Bam! Herman Cain Appears To Have Accepted Campaign Support From Tax-Exempt Org Founded By Aide | Crooks and Liars
Looks like the indiscretions more likely to sink Herman Cain are these financial allegations, and not sexual harassment settlements. But I will say this one-two punch has opposition research written all over it — Mittens, or Rove working on his behalf? Either way, reporters will seize on this because it’s a much more straightforward story:
Early in his candidacy, Herman Cain may have accepted tens of thousands of dollars in goods and services for his campaign from a tax-exempt organization founded by his top aide, documents from the organization show, raising the prospect of serious violations of tax and election law by both Mr. Cain’s campaign and the organization.
The documents suggest that the nonprofit organization, Prosperity USA, effectively subsidized some early costs of his presidential bid, paying for computer equipment, charter planes and air travel for Mr. Cain or the aide, Mark Block, who is his chief of staff.
Such expenditures would violate federal election and campaign laws, which prohibit tax-exempt groups from engaging in any political activity or contributing to election campaigns, a major problem for Mr. Cain. He spent much of Monday fending off accusations that he had sexually harassed two former employees of a trade association he once led.
I don’t know what will come of this, guess we can only wait and see.
I want to end with this Food Stamp Challenge, Elected Officials Attempt Living On Food Stamps | Crooks and Liars
Jackie Spier is discovering how difficult it is to shop and buy food on just over $32.00 per week. She and seven other Congressional Democrats have taken the Food Stamp Challenge, where they commit to planning and buying food under the same limits as food stamp recipients. This year, more than others, it’s a very big deal since Rep. Paul Ryan and his cohorts seem to think they can slash funding to the SNAP program and people will still be able to survive.
Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) along with eight other congressional Democrats are eating on a budget of about $4.50 a day to show solidarity with food stamp recipients who receive $32.59 a week.
The personal thrift, which is part of a challenge organized by Fighting Poverty With Faith, was reported by Pacifica Patch. The site also listed the food items that Speier was now buying.
Speier displayed some of the items she was able to purchase for her first day of living on a food stamp budget: a bag of coffee and a loaf of bread from the Dollar Warehouse; a can of Campbell’s low sodium chicken noodle soup; and a can of sweet peas, possibly to put in a tuna casserole later in the week.”And this is my treat for the week,” Speier said, holding up a box of microwave popcorn packets.
Rep. Joe Courtney (D-Conn.), along with his wife and daughter, chose to live on a food stamp budget of about $1.59 per meal. He tweeted about the challenge, relaying that he ate “generic cereal and part of a banana for breakfast.”
Rep. Joe Courtney, via the Hartford Courant:
Toward the end of Rep. Joe Courtney’s week-long SNAP Challenge, during which he and his family — including wife, Audrey, and teenage daughter, Elizabeth —- lived on just over $32 a week apiece, the pickings were slim. For his last meal of the week, Courtney had leftover spaghetti with a little cheese sprinkled on the top.
So Thursday, the first day back on his regular diet, Courtney was acutely aware of the $4.25 bowl of chili he ordered from his Washington, D.C., cafeteria.
This food stamp challenge is something that those GOP folks on the Hill need to be participating in. That would mean no golf club lunches for Boehner…the article goes on to list some of the meal expenses of the Republican organizations.
Eric Cantor, for example, spent $365.00 on one meal in New York in September. That’s one meal, equal to roughly ten times what SNAP recipients can spend in a week. On August 4th, he spent $370.00 in Washington DC for one meal. Those were not fundraisers. They were simply meals.
Eric Cantor has repeatedly voted to reduce SNAP allotments. Senator Jeff Sessions’ PAC spent over $1,800 on meals in August. Not fundraisers. Meals. You may recall Sessions as the one who was so concerned over waste, fraud and abuse in the SNAP program that he wanted even more cuts to it along with assorted other hoops to jump through.
The GOP favorite pastime…hypocrisy. (And making war on a woman’s right to manage her own uterus.)
And of course, food prices are expected to rise even more…so those SNAP dollars will even buy less. Congress may cut aid to poor as food prices soar – Josh Boak – POLITICO.com
Food costs are now forecast to increase this year by a stunning 3.5 percent to 4.5 percent — nearly double the core inflation rate — while the food stamp program that helps more than 44 million Americans is facing a congressional chopping block.
That Politico article is a rather long post, just more of the same old shit…but as Jim Wallis, a theologian who runs the social justice organization Sojourners, states:
“Neither party has made poverty or poor people a priority.”
Oh yeah, you got that right!
Boston Boomer sent this link to me late last night and I thought it was too important to leave out…U.S. Government Glossed Over Cancer Concerns As It Rolled Out Airport X-Ray Scanners – ProPublica
Update (11/01): This story has been updated with a comment from The Chertoff Group, from which ProPublica had sought comment before publication.
Look for a PBS NewsHour story on X-ray body scanners, reported in conjunction with ProPublica, to air later this month.
On Sept. 23, 1998, a panel of radiation safety experts gathered at a Hilton hotel in Maryland to evaluate a new device that could detect hidden weapons and contraband. The machine, known as the Secure 1000, beamed X-rays at people to see underneath their clothing.
One after another, the experts convened by the Food and Drug Administration raised questions about the machine because it violated a longstanding principle in radiation safety — that humans shouldn’t be X-rayed unless there is a medical benefit.
“I think this is really a slippery slope,” said Jill Lipoti, who was the director of New Jersey’s radiation protection program. The device was already deployed in prisons; what was next, she and others asked — courthouses, schools, airports? “I am concerned … with expanding this type of product for the traveling public,” said another panelist, Stanley Savic, the vice president for safety at a large electronics company. “I think that would take this thing to an entirely different level of public health risk.”
Fast forward to now….and these X-ray machines are zapping people left and right in airports all across America. Why the shift in concern for unnecessary radiation exposure? It bothered them before…according to the article, with the few botched shoe bombs and underwear bombs we have seen in the last few years, the consensus has changed to accept the radiation exposure in exchange for better anti-terrorist safety. There is also these reasons:
Because of a regulatory Catch-22, the airport X-ray scanners have escaped the oversight required for X-ray machines used in doctors’ offices and hospitals. The reason is that the scanners do not have a medical purpose, so the FDA cannot subject them to the rigorous evaluation it applies to medical devices.
Still, the FDA has limited authority to oversee some non-medical products and can set mandatory safety regulations. But the agency let the scanners fall under voluntary standards set by a nonprofit group heavily influenced by industry.
As for the TSA, it skipped a public comment period required before deploying the scanners. Then, in defending them, it relied on a small body of unpublished research to insist the machines were safe, and ignored contrary opinions from U.S. and European authorities that recommended precautions, especially for pregnant women. Finally, the manufacturer, Rapiscan Systems, unleashed an intense and sophisticated lobbying campaign, ultimately winning large contracts.
Be sure to read the entire post, it goes into way too much detail than I can summarize for you.
In other radiation news, Trembling minister puts his Fukushima nuclearwater where his mouth is – Asia – World – The Independent
This is really something…
The battle to convince a sceptical world that the Fukushima crisis is under control took a surreal turn yesterday when a Japanese Cabinet minister gulped down a glass of water from a puddle inside the doomed nuclear power plant.
In what is likely to become an iconic image from the eight-month struggle to contain the world’s worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl, Yasuhiro Sonoda swigged the water, which he said was taken from inside the building that houses reactors five and six.
The move followed an earlier press conference in which the minister told a journalist who repeatedly asked him about the safety of decontaminated water from the plant that it was safe enough to “put in your mouth”. When asked if he would do so himself, Mr Sonoda, a spokesman for the Cabinet Office, replied: “Well, if that’s going to satisfy the people, I will.” Dozens of cameras clicked and whirred through the short performance, which took place at the headquarters of Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco), the operator of the Fukushima Daiichi plant.
Although Mr Sonoda’s hand appeared to be shaking slightly as he poured the liquid, he confidently knocked back the glass of water in scenes reminiscent of Britain’s then Agriculture Minister, John Gummer, eating hamburgers with his daughter in 1990 at the height of the “mad cow disease” scare. Afterwards, Mr Sonoda seemed to hedge his bets, saying that drinking the water didn’t mean it was safe. “The best way is to present data to the public,” he added.
I guess he figures his political career is over…might as well commit a Fukushima harikari…if that water really was from a puddle in the Fukushima Daiichi nuke plant.
What are you blogging about today…let’s have it out!
Posted: October 23, 2011 Filed under: #Occupy and We are the 99 percent!, 2012 presidential campaign, Africa, anonymous, Environment, Foreign Affairs, Health care reform, health hazard, immigration, income inequality, Kenya, Liberia, Libya, MENA, morning reads, racism, Republican politics, Republican presidential politics, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, toxic waste, U.S. Politics | Tags: #OWS, Alabama, Algae, australia, food stamps, Great White Sharks, hate crimes, Jeff Sessions, Lake Erie, Michele Bachmann, Mississippi, SNAP
We write these morning posts the night before, and I am writing this one watching the Wisconsin v Michigan State…its a good game…at least no blow out! (Wow, the last few seconds of the game were something to see. Michigan pulled a Hail Mary and Wisconsin deflected the pass in the end zone right into the hands of a Michigan player who fought his way to a touchdown.)
There is a green menace attacking Lake Erie…it’s toxic but not radioactive…and there is a gray monster on the prowl in Australia. More on this at the end, think of it as your morning terror tease.
I’m going to stick with the US for a bit, and then hit the world news.
Occupy is taking up residence in a new location. This time in a swank Connecticut neighborhood, specifically on the front lawn of GE CEO Jeff Immelt’s house. Which I think is fabulous!
It seems that Occupy is getting threats from all sides. Susie Madrak had a post on her blog about Anonymous taking down a servers of a company that hosts an underground child pornography site. Looks like there is some trash talk going on, threats are being made and references to NYPD beating some Occupy ass…Suburban Guerrilla » Blog Archive » No good deed goes unpunished Give that link a click if you want to read the instant messages between Anonymous and the Lolita kiddie porn site.
When a foreign press outlet is praising a politician from the US, it makes you wonder why our own US media hasn’t picked up on it. On Friday, the Guardian ran a story about Bernie Sanders. Bernie Sanders: America’s No1 socialist makes his move into the mainstream
Bernie Sanders sits in his Senate office and reflects on another unexpected twist in his already unusual political life. As the only self-proclaimed socialist to sit in the US Congress, Sanders is long used to surviving in the political wilderness. But Sanders is now having to get used to a different environment altogether: the mainstream.
His constant slamming of Wall Street, his critiques of big business and the excesses of money in politics, as well as his call for a defence of American jobs, have become hot issues in US politics. The senator from Vermont is now a regular on American TV screens and rapidly becoming a fixture of US politics and a hero to many on the left.
The white-haired and irascible Sanders, 70, who is famed for his blunt outspokenness, almost became bashful at the thought that his exile from the mainstream appears to be ending.
It’s about damn time too!
“It’s, you know, nice to know that positions you have been advocating for years are now getting out to Main Street, and that millions of people are beginning to say: enough is enough,” he told the Guardian.
Is this, at last, his political moment? “Yeah, it is,” he said, and then he details why, in a typically long, passionate, Sanders-style explosion of stream-of-consciousness explanation.
“If you were to speak to any audience in America and you say: there’s something wrong with our system when the crooks on Wall Street, through their recklessness and criminal behaviour, are able to cause a recession, which has resulted in so much suffering to people, and then they get bailed out by the American people and then three years later end up making more money than they ever have before: people go nuts!”
He pauses for breath to think about the situation. “The short answer to
your question is: ‘Yes’,” he says.
Give the rest of the article a read, Sanders has been doing interviews quite a lot lately, and he is making sense. Maybe people are starting to take notice.
Help my memory a bit, cause this next link seems like deja vu. Bachmann on the Spot In Iowa Michele Bachmann was talking to a group of people at a town hall and took a question from a woman who had no health insurance…and the answer sounds like something Ron Paul and Santorum and one of the other GOP bozo candidates has said recently.
“My son is 22 and he’s on an expanded Medicaid program that’s under Obamacare,” the woman said to Bachmann. “You often talk about stopping Obamacare. I want to know what you’re going to do . . . I can’t afford $1,000 a month.”
The woman shook her head and looked annoyed as the 55-year-old Minnesota congresswoman recalled her parents paying $5 when she visited the doctor as a child in Iowa. She blamed federal government intervention for raising prices, and contended that increasing competition among insurance companies and reining in medical malpractice costs will help make health insurance more affordable. She also suggested private charity as an option.
“We will always have people in this country through hardship, through no fault of their own, who won’t be able to afford health care,” Bachmann said. “That’s just the way it is. But usually what we have are charitable organizations or hospitals, who have enough left over so that they can pick up the cost for the indigent who can’t afford it. But what we have to do is be a profitable nation that’s growing, so that we can pay for those people who can’t afford it through no fault of their own. Once Obamacare is gone, this is what we have to do.”
Oh yeah, private charity…these GOP asshats are so quick to suggest begging for help…just as fast as they are in denouncing poor people in need who are on government assistance.
Another example of this crap can be seen in the latest from Senator Jeff Sessions…Sen. Jeff Sessions Tries To Cut Food Stamp Funding
Senator Jeff Sessions is very, very, very worried about fraud, waste and abuse within the Federal food stamp program (SNAP). So worried he has introduced an amendment to cut funds to the program because he’s certain there are just a bunch of poor deadbeats out there taking advantage of the Feds’ largesse.
The press release from his office on Friday says it all:
Consider the food stamp program, now known as “SNAP”—the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. SNAP is the largest item in Agriculture Department’s budget. Spending on food stamps has surged over the last decade. It’s nearly doubled since President Obama took office. And in the appropriations bill before us this week, Senate Democrats propose another increase that would quadruple food stamp spending from what it was in 2001.
Eleven million more Americans are on food stamps now than when President Obama first took office. The size of the benefit has increased 31 percent since 2008. When the food stamp program was expanded nationally in the 1970s, food stamps were used by 2 percent of the population. At the beginning of the last decade, they were used by 6 percent of the population. Today that figure has risen to 13 percent—one in eight Americans. This seven-fold increase in food stamp usage demands honest examination.
It’s time to look under the hood.
You can take a look at the rest of the press release at that link above…what an ass, I can’t stand these people. They have absolutely no good will towards their fellow man…hmmm, I can hear Sessions now…jabbering about workhouses and decreases in the surplus population.
Alright, I’m doing it again…by that I mean writing about Alabama and the anti-immigration law. This time let’s look at what ripple reaction this law is creating when it comes to white kids bullying Hispanic children. After Alabama law, Hispanic kids being bullied
Spanish-speaking parents say their children are facing more bullying and taunts at school since Alabama’s tough crackdown on illegal immigration took effect last month. Many blame the name-calling on fallout from the law, which has been widely covered in the news, discussed in some classrooms and debated around dinner tables.
Justice Department officials are monitoring for bullying incidents linked to the law.
“We’re hearing a number of reports about increases in bullying that we’re studying,” the head of the agency’s civil rights division, Thomas Perez, said during a stop in Birmingham.
The article talks about a group of kids playing basketball.
It was just another schoolyard basketball game until a group of Hispanic seventh-graders defeated a group of boys from Alabama.
The reaction was immediate, according to the Mexican mother of one of the winners, and rooted in the state’s new law on illegal immigration.
“They told them, `You shouldn’t be winning. You should go back to Mexico,”‘ said the woman, who spoke through a translator last week and didn’t want her name used. She and her son are in the country illegally.
As if these kids don’t have enough to worry about. Now they have to deal with the additional hate this law is bringing towards the Hispanics in the state.
But hate is not a new problem in the deep south, as this next disturbing article from CNN shows us. Teen murder suspect carried ‘backpack of hatred’
Editor’s note: This story contains language that some readers may consider offensive. For more on this story, watch “Mississippi Still Burning?” on CNN Presents, Sunday, October 23, at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. ET.
To get to Brandon, you have to drive across the Pearl River, a boundary that seems to separate black Mississippi from white.
In the town’s center, a monument stands honoring the confederate soldiers who fought in the Civil War.
This mostly white town in mostly white Rankin County is about a 30-minute drive from Jackson, Mississippi. It’s here in Brandon that some residents say a gang of teenagers expressed their strong racial prejudice — sometimes through violence.
These residents say the teens were friends with and often led by Deryl Dedmon, now 19 and facing capital murder and hate crime charges for the killing of James Anderson, a black man, who died after he was beaten and run over by a truck in Jackson, according to police. Dedmon has pleaded not guilty and his attorney has refused to answer CNN’s repeated requests for comment.
Another teen, John Aaron Rice, was charged with simple assault. He has not entered a plea. The other five teens who were there have not been arrested or charged, though officials say they may still be indicted .
I urge you to read the entire article, because it touches on the extreme hate these young men have towards blacks, and their lack of conscience when it comes to their killing of James Anderson. A killing that was caught on surveillance cameras.
“They were looking for black people. They were looking for a black person to assault,” said Mississippi’s Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith.
Shortly after he allegedly drove the truck over Anderson, Dedmon boasted and laughed about the killing, according to testimony given by some of the teens to detectives.
“I ran that nigger over,” Dedmon allegedly said in a phone conversation to the teens in the other car. He repeated the racial language in subsequent conversations, according to the law enforcement officials.
“He was not remorseful, he was laughing, laughing about the killing,” said Smith.
The local police do not seem too concerned, as one of the teenage witnesses says,
“I’ve even heard it out of some of the police officers’ mouths,” he said. “This is their statement: ‘Well, Deryl was a good kid. He just made one bad mistake.”
Yeah, he got caught.
Alright, that is it for the US, let’s go global…
The fighting in Kenya is getting more complicated. We’ve seen the abduction of tourist and aid workers, now the possibility of more targeted violence on foreigners is giving the US Embassy reason to issue a warning. U.S. Embassy in Kenya warns citizens of ‘imminent threat’
The U.S. Embassy in Kenya warned American citizens Saturday of an “imminent threat of terrorist attacks” after Kenya sent troops across the border into Somalia to pursue suspected Islamic militants from Al-Shabaab.
Kenyan government spokesman Alfred Mutua told CNN about the advance this week, which marks a dramatic shift in security tactics for the east African powerhouse.
“This is to inform U.S. citizens residing in or visiting Kenya that the U.S. Embassy in Kenya has received credible information of an imminent threat of terrorist attacks directed at prominent Kenyan facilities and areas where foreigners are known to congregate, such as malls and night clubs,” the U.S. Embassy said in an emergency message.
It looks like other Eastern African nations are backing Kenya’s offensive in Somolia.
African Union peacekeepers are seen in the Deynile district of the capital Mogadishu, Somalia, October 20, 2011.
The six-nation east African regional group the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) has pledged full support for Kenya’s military offensive against al-Qaeda linked militants in southern Somalia. Other countries in the region are considering joining the effort as the militants appear to be losing their grip on the famine-stricken Somali countryside.
Reports are coming in that suggest Kenyan soldiers are making their way toward the rebel held port of Kismayo.
IGAD held an extraordinary ministerial level meeting Friday, five days after Kenya launched an offensive against al-Shabab. More than two battalions of Kenyan troops backed by air power streamed into southern Somalia after Shabab rebels were blamed for a series of kidnappings of foreign tourists and aid workers.
A communiqué issued after the brief meeting in the Ethiopian capital welcomes Kenya’s move to scale up security operations.
In other Africa news, Liberian Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has been declared the most powerful women in Africa by Forbes Magazine.
As if winning the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize wasn’t enough, Forbes Magazine, one of the most influential business publications in the United States, has, in its maiden Africa issue, honored President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia by naming her the most powerful woman on the African continent, among 20 women listed.
According to the first issue of Forbes Africa Magazine, which went on sale October 1, President Sirleaf tops the list of most powerful African women, with Nigeria’s Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Malawi’s Vice President Joyce Banda in second and third place, respectively. The list includes 11 women from South Africa alone.
The run off election will be held in November, I hope Sirleaf keeps her position as president. We’ll keep you posted as Liberia moves towards that run off vote.
Boston Boomer mentioned Cannonfire’s take on the “convenient” death of Gaddafi in her Saturday morning post. I want to bring your attention to this post over at Emptywheel. The OTHER Saudi Assassination Plotter Got a Reduced Sentence in July
This post from Cannonfire reminded me how convenient for our country it is that Moammar Qaddafi was executed rather than captured alive and tried: he will not be able to tell anyone, now that he’s dead, how Ibn Sheikh al-Libi, who under torture provided one of the casus belli for the Iraq war, came to be suicided in a Libyan prison just as Americans started focusing on torture in 2009.
That, plus the death of the Saudi Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdul-Aziz al Saud, made me think of another plot Qaddafi brings to his grave: that he had purportedly arranged to assassinate then Crown Prince now King Abdullah. The evidence to support that plot mostly came from Abdulrahman Alamoudi, a prominent American Muslim who was arrested in 2003 on charges he violated trade sanctions against Libya.
Anyway, thinking about the similarities between that case and the Scary Iran Plot led me to consult Alamoudi’s docket (most of which is not available online). What happens to a guy convicted in connection with plotting with a nasty African dictator as we launch the war to finally kill that dictator?
Well, it turns out that at about the time it was clear we’d stick around to ensure Qaddafi died in this kinetic action, a sealed document got filed in Alamoudi’s case. And, on July 20, 2011, Alamoudi got about 30% knocked off his sentence, from 276 months to 197.
Hmmmm, interesting indeed…I’m sure Gaddafi took some big ass secrets with him to hell…and it wouldn’t surprise me if a bunch of “cleaners” from the CIA are working to make sure those secrets don’t come out.
There is an interesting article cited over at History News Network, some of you may want to click over there and check it out: Yoani Sanchez: The Deaths of Dictators: Neither History Nor Their People Will Ever Absolve Them
Ceausescu was in his helicopter, Saddam Hussein was hiding in a hole, Tunisia’s Ben Ali fled into exile, Gaddafi fled in a convoy and ended up hiding in a drainpipe. The autocrats escape, they leave, they don’t sacrifice themselves in the palaces from which they dictated their arbitrary laws; they do not die seated in the presidential chairs with a red sash across their chests. They always have a hidden door, a secret passage through which they can scurry away when they sense danger. Over decades they build their secret bunkers, their protected “ground zeros” or their underground refuges, because they fear that the same people who applaud them in the plazas can come for them when they lose their fear. In the nightmares of the dictators, the demons are their own subjects, the abyss takes the form of mobs who want to bring down their statues, spit on their photos. These despotic gentlemen sleep lightly, alert to the cries, the hammering on the door… they live with premonitions, often of their deaths.
I would have liked to see Muammar Gaddafi before a court, indicted for the crimes he committed against his country. I think the violent deaths of the satraps only gives them an aura of martyrdom they do not deserve. They must be left alive to hear the public testimony of their victims, to see their countries move forward without the hindrance they represented, and to observe the fickleness of the opportunists who once supported them. They must survive to witness the dismantling of the false history they rewrote, to see how the new generations begin to forget them, and to hear the diatribes, the scorn, the fiercest criticism. To lynch a despot is to save him, to offer him an almost glorious way out that spares him the lasting punishment of being judged before the law.
It’s a good piece, check it out.
Yay, it is now time for the links to your morning terror tease.
From Minx’s Missing Link File: View from space: Toxic algae bloom in Lake Erie | Water | EarthSky Yuk…check out the green sludge that can be seen from space.
The green plumes shown in these images is the worst algae bloom North America’s Lake Erie has experienced in decades. The bloom is primarily microcystis aeruginosa, an algae that is toxic to mammals, according to the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory. These images were acquired by the The Landsat-5 satellite in early October, 2011. The reasons for this year’s giant bloom are complex, say scientists, but might be related to a rainy spring and invasive mussels.
The Landsat-5 satellite acquired the top image on October 5, 2011. Vibrant green filaments extend out from the northern shore. Several days of calm winds and warm temperatures allowed the algae to gather on the surface. The bloom intensified after October 5, and by October 9—when the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on the Aqua satellite acquired the lower image—the bloom covered much of the western basin.
Algae blooms were common in the lake’s shallow western basin in the 1950s and 60s. Phosphorus from farms, sewage, and industry fertilized the waters so that huge algae blooms developed year after year. The blooms subsided a bit starting in the 1970s, when regulations and improvements in agriculture and sewage treatment limited the amount of phosphorus that reached the lake.
Microcystis aeruginosa produces a liver toxin, microcystin, that commonly kills dogs swimming in infected water and causes skin irritation for people. Richard Stumpf, an oceanographer with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, measured 50 times more microcystin in Lake Erie in the summer of 2011 than the World Health Organization recommends for safe recreation.
Ewww…taking a dip in that lake…makes me sick just thinking about it. One thing though…who would go swimming in Lake Erie in the first place? Isn’t it one of the most polluted bodies of water within the US? Didn’t catch on fire back in the day because of all the chemicals dumped in the water?
Easy Like Sunday Morning Link of the Week: Just a note, it ain’t that easy…check out this image…
Great white sharks are a protected species in Australia. Photograph: Brandon Cole
I was planning on using the Guardian article that picture is from but there has been a third fatality since that article was published Saturday morning. Diver killed by great white in third fatal attack in weeks
A great white shark killed an American diver yesterday in the third fatal shark attack in recent weeks off the coast of Western Australia.
The state government has promised to hunt the killer and is considering more aircraft surveillance off west-coast beaches. Australia averages fewer than two fatal shark attacks a year.
Truly frightening stuff…talk about needing a bigger boat!
Well that is it for your Sunday Morning Reads, catch y’all later in the comments!