Tuesday Reads

Good Morning!

The Tax Cuts for Billionaires (tm) program has passed and will keep all the scrooges making merry merry for a bit.  Unfortunately, the stimulus and capital investment will probably go outside the United States and a budget fight is on deck.   The next budget crisis is looming.  The Federal government will probably hit the debt ceiling in April.  There’s 50 other problem budgets out there also. CBS has an interesting state of the states piece up called “The Day Of Reckoning”.

Most states will have worse problems because they must balance their budget, they’re running cyclic deficits which happens when unemployment goes up and they can’t print money.  State budgets are overwhelmed with needs for state programs like food stamps and unemployment as well as SCHIP and other family safety net programs.  They are also underwhelmed by incoming revenues because demand for things is way off.  Federal tax cuts make this worse because many states–including here in Louisiana–base their income tax formulas on how much Federal Taxes have been paid. It’s tough for them to change the law at this point to reflect that Obama/McConnell Billionaire rescue plan ™.   States and municipalities must watch their bond ratings and compete with other states for investor funds.  This keeps them on a much tighter rein than the Feds.  Additionally, there was some stimulus money in the original Obama stimulus progam that is not being renewed and will run out.    All-in-all, 2011 will be a bad year for states. The worst is yet to come.

This situation has already worried Wall Street and  will undoubtedly cause an increase in unemployment as state and local workers are laid off to balance budgets.  One problem that we’ve had here in Louisiana is that state employment levels have been frozen in the clerical areas and the increased demand for unemployment has led to a 4 – 6 month backlog in processing unemployment benefits.   If you don’t have a rich relative or an emergency savings fund, you’re most likely going to find yourself out on the street.  It’s been the topic of many an investigative report in local TV.  I found that it’s not just in Louisiana.  It’s happened in Connecticut, Kansas, Rhode Island, and California too.

The states have been getting by on billions of dollars in federal stimulus funds, but the day of reckoning is at hand. The debt crisis is already making Wall Street nervous, and some believe that it could derail the recovery, cost a million public employees their jobs and require another big bailout package that no one in Washington wants to talk about.”The most alarming thing about the state issue is the level of complacency,” Meredith Whitney, one of the most respected financial analysts on Wall Street and one of the most influential women in American business, told correspondent Steve Kroft

Whitney made her reputation by warning that the big banks were in big trouble long before the 2008 collapse. Now, she’s warning about a financial meltdown in state and local governments.

“It has tentacles as wide as anything I’ve seen. I think next to housing this is the single most important issue in the United States, and certainly the largest threat to the U.S. economy,” she told Kroft.

Asked why people aren’t paying attention, Whitney said, “‘Cause they don’t pay attention until they have to.”

Whitney says it’s time to start.

This investigative report has examples of looming problems for California, Arizona and New Jersey.  If you live in any of these three states, you should be prepared for an incredible scale back of government services and possible tax hikes. Another state with serious problems is Illinois.  Illinois is already in the ‘deadbeat’ state category.  Here in Louisiana, severe budget cuts by “Bobby is for Bobby” Jindal have led to attempts to break all public service unions including the ones for teachers, state clerical workers, firefighters and police.  Here’s a list of targeted furloughs, layoffs, and firings in Louisiana as reported by WBRZ, a Baton Rouge TV station last month. If they’re not happening in your state already, they will undoubtedly be starting next year when the stimulus funds run out.  Prison guards are even on the list.  I wonder who will win the debtor’s prisons and poor house farms?  Halliburton perhaps?

There is one more major lame duck issue sitting on the docket.  Democratic senate leaders are hopeful they will get the START treaty ratified despite ongoing Republican obfuscation. Let’s hope they’ve got the votes they need.  Even Condoleeza Rice and Colin Powell are on board with ratification.

By the end of another tumultuous day, treaty backers said they could count more than the two-thirds majority required for approval in votes that could begin as early as Tuesday. The Senate mustered as many as 64 votes in defeating Republican amendments on Monday, just two short of what supporters need for final approval, and three senators who supported one of the amendments have already said they will vote for the treaty in the end.

The momentum building for the treaty came despite the announcements of the two top Senate Republican leaders, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Jon Kyl of Arizona, that they will vote against the treaty, known as New Start. Treaty supporters pressured wavering Republicans on Monday with an appeal by Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the nation’s top military officer, to approve the agreement.

Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour’s recent slip of the tongue will undoubtedly create issues should he decided to make a run for the presidency in 2012. Barbour gave an extensive interview that basically showed how many parts of the south have not changed.   The Mississippi governor praised a civic group that is–for all intent and purpose–a  white supremacist group  in the state.  He also made a comment about the things not being so bad during the civil rights era.  Kinda makes me think Trent Lott might have a better shot at the presidency than good ol’ Haley does.

Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour says he doesn’t remember the Civil Rights era being “that bad,” citing his attendance at a Martin Luther King Jr. rally nearly 50 years ago.

“I just don’t remember it as being that bad,” Barbour (R), 63, told the conservative Weekly Standard, which did a lengthy profile on the governor. “I remember Martin Luther King came to town, in ’62. He spoke out at the old fairground and it was full of people, black and white.”

The profile also showed Barbour’s ignorance of the role of hate group in trying to maintain segregation.  The group has a long history of white supremacist activities and writings.

“You heard of the Citizens Councils? Up north they think it was like the KKK,” said Barbour. “Where I come from it was an organization of town leaders. In Yazoo City they passed a resolution that said anybody who started a chapter of the Klan would get their ass run out of town. If you had a job, you’d lose it. If you had a store, they’d see nobody shopped there. We didn’t have a problem with the Klan in Yazoo City.”

The White Citizens Council movement was founded in Mississippi in 1954, shortly after the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision that outlawed segregated public schools, and was dedicated to political activities opposing civil rights — notably boycotts of pro-civil rights individuals in Barbour’s hometown, as opposed to Barbour’s recollection of actions against the Klan. It was distinguished from the Klan by the public self-identification of its members, and its image of suits and ties as opposed to white robes and nooses.

If you check the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Hate map of Mississippi, you’ll see that they’ve identified approximately 25 hate groups there.  Many are in the area surrounding Yazoo.  You’ll see that the Council of Conservative Citizens is quite active around the area. Some of these groups have changed their name to sound more palatable but it’s the same old racist screeds. It wouldn’t take much for Barbour to learn about these folks.

The Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC) is the modern reincarnation of the old White Citizens Councils, which were formed in the 1950s and 1960s to battle school desegregation in the South. Created in 1985 from the mailing lists of its predecessor organization, the CCC, which initially tried to project a “mainstream” image, has evolved into a crudely white supremacist group whose website has run pictures comparing pop singer Michael Jackson to an ape and referred to blacks as “a retrograde species of humanity.” The group’s newspaper, Citizens Informer, regularly publishes articles condemning “race mixing,” decrying the evils of illegal immigration, and lamenting the decline of white, European civilization.

In Its Own Words

“God is the author of racism. God is the One who divided mankind into different types. … Mixing the races is rebelliousness against God.”
— Council of Conservative Citizens website, 2001

“We believe the United States is a European country and that Americans are part of the European people. … We therefore oppose the massive immigration of non-European and non-Western peoples into the United States that threatens to transform our nation into a non-European majority in our lifetime. We believe that illegal immigration must be stopped, if necessary by military force and placing troops on our national borders; that illegal aliens must be returned to their own countries; and that legal immigration must be severely restricted or halted through appropriate changes in our laws and policies. We also oppose all efforts to mix the races of mankind, to promote non-white races over the European-American people through so-called ‘affirmative action’ and similar measures, to destroy or denigrate the European-American heritage, including the heritage of the Southern people, and to force the integration of the races.”
—Statement of Principles, Citizens Informer, 2007

“Controlling immigration is about the security of this republic [terrorists illegally crossing the borders] and making sure countries like Mexico stop dumping their murderers, rapists, those carrying AIDS and other communicable diseases and gang members on America’s door step.”
—Devvy Kidd, Citizens Informer, 2006

Yup, nothing to see here.  Just about as benign as your local chamber of commerce or Elk’s Club. You’d think a governor would be familiar with terrorist and hate groups in his own state, wouldn’t you?

This Politico op-ed by Robert Kuttner is undoubtedly one of the first in the a number that will come up as Obama moves on Social Security. It’s called ‘Obama to blink first on Social Security’. Kuttner says that key senate Democrats and the White House are moving to embrace the Cat Food commission report AND cuts in social security. We’re supposed to hear about it in the State of the Union address coming up in January.

The idea is to pre-empt an even more draconian set of budget cuts likely to be proposed by the incoming House Budget Committee chairman, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), as a condition of extending the debt ceiling. This is expected to hit in April.

White House strategists believe this can also give Obama “credit” for getting serious about deficit reduction — now more urgent with the nearly $900 billion increase in the deficit via the tax cut deal.

How to put this politely? For a Democratic president, this approach is bad economics and worse politics.

For starters, cutting Social Security as part of a deficit reduction deal is needless — since Social Security is in surplus for the next 27 years. The move also gives away the single most potent distinction between Democrats and Republicans — Democrats defend your Social Security, and Republicans keep trying to undermine it.

If you think the Democratic base feels betrayed by Obama’s tax-cut deal, just imagine the mayhem when Obama proposes to cut the Democrats’ signature program.

Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) compared Obama’s tax deal to punting on first down. A pre-emptive cut in Social Security is forfeiting the game before kickoff.

Hey, Al, I got an idea.  Why don’t you and the others fight him just for once?  Frankly no deal is better than the deals he’s been negotiating for us.  Don’t hold your nose and vote for this one like you did with the Tax Cut for Billionaires (tm) plan.  Please?

Altogether now,  “We are so F’d”.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?

66 Comments on “Tuesday Reads”

  1. fiscalliberal says:

    I was talking to my county commissioner here and he mentioned that a lot of people are going to the tax accessor and getting housing values down to reduce taxes. That sounds logical. However when you go to sell the house, the appraiser looks at the reduced tax assessment and says – gee, what is wrong with that number as you promoted.

    So – in the end, the municipalities get less taxable revenue and house values go down on resale. Lurking in the weeds is another possible dip in real estate values. We have the financial community to thank for all this good news.

    On top of that, Chris Whalen and Merideth Whitney are talking about big bank toxic debt and high operational costs due to forclosure write downs in 2011.

    It looks like it is going to be soup and sandwiches for some time.

  2. TheRock says:

    From the CBS “Day of Reckoning” article –

    The debt crisis is already making Wall Street nervous, and some believe that it could derail the recovery, cost a million public employees their jobs and require another big bailout package that no one in Washington wants to talk about.

    Dak, I distinctly remember a few economists saying that the stimulus was too small and directed towards the wrong things. Whats worse is that (I bet you) this administration will most likely say that no one saw it coming. At least they aren’t blaming Bush as much anymore (it took me ten minutes to bring myself to write that). Asshats.

    I do disagree with you about Barbour. I don’t think that its that he is ignorant of any role played by white supremacist groups. I think he is taking the first steps towards trying to garner broad appeal by rewriting history. I think that he is positioning himself for a national run.


    Hillary 2012

    • dakinikat says:

      I hope Barbour can’t rewrite history on that and I have no idea why he even brought the topic up. It seems weird at this point unless he’s trying to inoculate himself against some future charge?

      There are several programs expiring in the original Obama Stimulus that needed to be extended more than the Bush Tax Cuts. You should check out the Buy America Bonds. That’s one of the programs that helped the states that will not be extended.

  3. Sima says:

    I’m joining in the chorus. We are so f’d.

    That CBS article is mind-boggling. What are people going to do without their pensions? Exactly how is health care going to be affordable if there is no help to pay for it? What exactly do the stooges in DC think people are going to do when they have no pensions, no SS, no health care, no support from the states? Who’s going to pay to keep the rabid mobs away from their gilded palaces? The Feds are going to have to do that.

    I dunno, I got a bad feeling about this, as Solo would have said.

    • Teresa says:

      Even WITH the feds subsidizing health insurance premiums, health care will not be affordable. People will have to pay a rather large chunk of their income for insurance premiums before subsidies kick in. If they can afford the premiums, the deductibles and copays will be high enough that many people won’t be able to afford THEM. And people who are just over the 400% of the poverty level line are really going to be screwed because they don’t even get subsidies. Because of the new “features” of the health insurance system, premiums are higher and there are no meaningful cost controls.

      Obama and his Democratic Congress have screwed up the health insurance system rather than fixing it, even WITH subsidies. And of course, subsidies are likely going by the wayside in the name of austerity.

  4. Sima says:

    This is way off topic but this is driving me nuts, not that I’m not nuts anyway.

    But… there’s a NEW generation name now, ‘Echo Boomer’? WTF?

    I’m fed up with all these names. Me and everyone around me and for about 20 years before get lumped into the ‘Baby Boomer’ generation, but those after get a new name what, every two years? I can’t keep track. And frankly, I’m not inclined to. I think I’m getting old.

    GET OFF MY LAWN! Darn kids.

    • paper doll says:

      Sima, you’ve been pushed into premature Mr. Wilson syndrome ! lol!
      (Perhaps that reference goes too far back for most)

    • zaladonis says:

      Actually Echo Boomer is an old term, I remember it back in the 1990s when that generation (born late 70s to early 90s?) were starting to reach adulthood. They were coming into the office as first year interns and hated the term.

      • Sima says:

        See? Now here I thought they were gen x, or gen y, or gen z, or gen zzz, or.. have we rolled around to gen a again yet?

        I never heard the term back then, but I’ll take your word for it that it’s old. I am SO out of it, man.

        • zaladonis says:

          I notice a big difference between Gen X and Gen Y, and actually I thought about writing a front page piece about it but decided I might pointlessly alienate too many people.

          I’m a Boomer, smack dab in the middle born in 1956, my partner’s Gen X so we know a lot of people his age, and the past decade we’ve worked with and become friends with a lot of Gen Yers. I began noticing differences back in the late 90s, it amused me, then articles and books were published about it. Then during the Primaries, for me, the differences all sort of jelled. It’s a difference in thought process. Anyway that’s my take.

          But I know how you feel, the generalizing of individuals into neat little categories can be reductive, insulting, and even dehumanizing.

          • cwaltz says:

            I think the only way it is helpful is that it keeps cultural references in context and gives you a time frame to how someone grew up. If someone is from Gen X then I know an approx. time they grew up in and what was popular culture during their youth(leg warmers, rubiks cubes, Star Wars, gas crisis).

          • Minkoff Minx says:

            Zal, I am a Gen X (born in 1970) so I am curious what is the big difference between Gen X and Y? I think you do need to do a FP write up on that…

          • Dee says:

            I just call everyone 30 and under “The Baby On Board Generation”.

  5. paper doll says:

    From the CBS “Day of Reckoning” article –

    The debt crisis is already making Wall Street nervous…

    Less than a week ago adding 800 billion in tax cuts for the super wealthy didn’t make them nervous about any debt crisis . Now that they have their 800 B tucked away , they are suddenly nervous about its cost. We see that now a huge bail out won’t even buy the American public a week of peace from these people jocking and banging the drum for even more.

    • Minkoff Minx says:

      Exactly, I wonder what the taxes are for the wealthy in the states mentioned. It is so frustrating to see all of this going on, and we can’t do anything about it. Our elected officials are worthless. We do not have a voice in the matter. We are so F’d…

  6. paper doll says:

    great round up!

    I wonder who will win the debtor’s prisons and poor house farms? Halliburton perhaps?

    undoubtedly….look for Abu Ghraib state side. I’m just being a bit snarky here….it’s gonna be pre Roosevelt as much as they can make it….

  7. zaladonis says:

    Ugh. What a read. We are so f’d. And the worst part is it was largely avoidable and it was Democrats who screwed up choosing Obama over Hillary.

  8. Branjor says:

    This investigative report has examples of looming problems for California, Arizona and New Jersey. If you live in any of these three states, you should be prepared for an incredible scale back of government services and possible tax hikes.


    We are so f’d.

  9. joanelle says:

    Nice round up, Dak – but we knew we were f’d in 2008 when the WH was handed to O! 😥

  10. cwaltz says:

    Mixed reviews in Va. Lots and lots of cuts since the GOP is in charge and increases are of course the -evil. There is rumblings that they plan on pulling the ol switcheroo and using stimulus funds meant for teachers to pad the state budget. They already cut education and we’re looking at mental health trims now since Medicaid is sure to be cut. Geez.

    • dakinikat says:

      yeah, they went after health care here. For some reason, the stupid LA legislature put out a constitutional amendment that the only thing that can be cut in the LA budgets with out the legislators agreeing to it by a supermajority is education and health. Every thing else is sacred. It must’ve been pork protection at some time.

  11. Minkoff Minx says:

    Here is what I am reading today…check it out!
    The NYT spills key military secrets on its front page – Glenn Greenwald – Salon.com

    In my view, the NYT article represents exactly the kind of secret information journalists ought to be revealing; it’s a pure expression of why the First Amendment guarantees a free press. There are few things more damaging to basic democratic values than having the government conduct or escalate a secret war beyond public debate or even awareness. By exposing these classified plans, Mazzetti and Filkins did exactly what good journalists ought to do: inform the public about important actions taken or being considered by their government which the government is attempting to conceal.

    Moreover, the Obama administration has a history of deceiving the public about secret wars. Recently revealed WikiLeaks cables demonstrated that it was the U.S. — not Yemen — which launched a December, 2009 air strike in that country which killed dozens of civilians; that was a covert war action about which the U.S. State Department actively misled the public, and was exposed only by WikiLeaks cables. Worse, it was The Nation’s Jeremy Scahill who first reported back in 2009 that the CIA was directing ground operations in Pakistan using both Special Forces and Blackwater operatives: only to be smeared by the Obama State Department which deceitfully dismissed his report as “entirely false,” only for recently released WikiLeaks cables to confirm that what Scahill reported was exactly true. These kinds of leaks are the only way for the public to learn about the secret wars the Obama administration is conducting and actively hiding from the public.

  12. Woman Voter says:

    Well, It has been a very eventful weekend (roof leaked, 60 foot tree cracked) and today I am off to a ‘surfer’s’ funeral and well initially I was going to be a good sport, but it’s cold out there, a bit stormy and I don’t really surf (Just did the get your kid out in their board thing so they don’t drown thing, because they think they need to know this…yup I would have walked on hot coals for that kid.).

    So, I think I will wave (hand wave that is) from shore and think good thoughts and wish a life long educator a happy heavenly surf and one with no cancer, no pain, plenty of love, light and Eternal Godly Acceptance.

    Any hoo, in case you wondered what happened and why I wasn’t tweeting on the final stretch to END DADT…everything that went wrong did.

    • Minkoff Minx says:

      Well, I am glad that you are back and hopefully things will look up for you WV, but if you don’t want to read anything depressing, I would stay away from the CBS link up top. Makes you wonder, what’s the use anyway…we are F’d, so why worry?

    • dakinikat says:

      oh, dear, please take care!!!

      • Woman Voter says:

        I am back and thank goodness I have enough sense not to get into a wet suit and try the storm…a few did and bailed, then went to the entry brake and they put the ashes there with the knowledge that he would eventually make it out to sea. His granchild rode a top her mom and about twenty braved the cold water, I ‘waved’ with about 45 others on the deck and took photos and threw flowers in.

        If there is ever another chance I might just go out to see to do it, as I know it can be lovely, but in its own way this ‘surfer’s funeral’ was unique and everyone laughed about how he was sooo optimistic about everyone paddling out to see in winter… 😆 EA sure had a sense of humor and took ‘You CAN DO ANYTHING’, beyond what we thought we could today…with roads and flooded freeways. (BTW: EA was was my boss of over ten years in a little part time job I have, which has brought me in contact with a great many people and involved some travel and other unique experiences that I will treasure. He believed in people and believed in students ability to achieve and do well.)

        Bye EA’ RIP! Watch the end of this video and you can see what it was supposed to be like, with cooperating weather… in Summer I will go out and paddle out and splash the surfer’s splash in remembrance, but today it was simply beyond my bodies ability…
        OFFICIAL Somewhere over the Rainbow – Israel “IZ” Kamakawiwoʻole

  13. Minkoff Minx says:

    Clock Running Out on 9-11 Health Care Bill | FDL News Desk

    This is all just too damn sickening…I have nothing else to say about that…

  14. NW Luna says:

    State economic problems — Oh, yes. From an email forwarded by a healthcare provider colleague:

    Here’s the problem [WA state] Governor Gregoire addressed. Of the approximately $35 billion state budget, we have the constitutional authority to change about $14 billion — only 40 percent of the total. It is important to stop and consider that we have a $4.6 billion
    shortfall for the next biennium, which means we must cut nearly one third of the money we can touch.

    Looking at the cuts that the Governor is recommending for the new biennium:
    – The Basic Health plan –one of the unique features of our state’s
    health care programs, would face termination under these recommendations.
    – Medical coverage for the Disability Lifeline and ADATSA programs
    would face the same fate. Like Basic Health, they were rescued by the Legislature only one year ago.
    – The Governor is recommending community clinic grants be cut in
    half during the next biennium from $20 million to $10 million.
    – The Interpreter Services program would end, even though Washington
    is the poster child for the handful of states that offer this support to providers.
    – Our employees, like other state workers, learned last night and
    today that our pay will be cut by 3% in the new biennium under an agreement with the unions.
    – Federally Qualified Health Centers will see a reduction in their
    reimbursements that will generate $85 million for the biennium.

    And yet, there were some successes as well:
    · The Governor did not sign on to what would have been a disastrous
    adult pharmacy cut, denying retail prescription medicine to hundreds of thousands of Medicaid clients.
    · Several weeks ago, she did not even wait for a budget news conference to take adult hospice services off the cuts list.
    · She called for the rescue of the First Steps/Maternity Support Services and related programs– ordering Maternity Services to be retooled with 50 percent of previous funding. She stood up for physical, occupational and speech therapy– all optional programs that were on the cuts list.
    · The Health Care Authority’s Washington Health plan — an unsubsidized version of Basic Health — was given the green light to continue and is steadily picking up enrollees.
    We are faced with an unprecedented fiscal crisis, one that presents staggering challenges for those of us charged with maintaining a base level of services for the neediest residents of Washington State; however, that is not all we must do. As the Governor said today, if we don’t also make fundamental changes in state government and its structure during this crisis, we will miss this opportunity for good. Events will move on their own, and perhaps catastrophically.

    Although these proposed budget cuts are devastating to many of us, our real purpose today is to protect the core functions that are vital to Washington residents — public safety, education, health care, and protection of the environment. When the economy turns for the better, we need to be in position to rebuild, to relay the foundation for a 21st century government. We must seize the opportunity then and now to continue to invest in our people, our economy, our infrastructure and our quality of life.

    Thank you for your help and past support of the Medicaid program and the Health Care Authority. We will need you even more in the months to come.

    Note: Additional information about the Medicaid biennium budget
    recommendations is posted on the budget website: http://hrsa.dshs.wa.gov/news/budget.htm.

    • Minkoff Minx says:

      Wow, NWLuna…I remember something about the WA state or OR that was going to stop paying pharmacies for medicaid medications…I would love to get your take on all the changes that the new health care reform will have on providers like you…Thanks for this comment.

    • Sima says:

      They are cutting and closing the Frances Haddon Morgan Center. This is a center for the severely autistic that is somewhat local to me. The news rather made me desperate, because the center was one of the places I was hoping to consider (the only one really close by) when I eventually take control of my sister.

      But in the present, I worry greatly about the residents at the center and their families. Where will they go? What will they do? The public always assumes there’s an alternative in place when they close these kinds of centers, but I know from personal experience there is often NOT an equivalent alternative.

  15. grayslady says:

    Another fine round-up this morning, Kat.

    Haley Barbour is an idiot. Always has been. Wasn’t he the one during the BP crisis who was saying “no big deal, we don’t have problems here in MS”? Somebody defrosted this guy from the ice age, that’s all I can figure.

    Illinois, like many other states, is struggling with pension costs. The state just managed to move up the retirement age for new employees from 55 to 57, but everyone knows it won’t be enough. Personally, I think everyone (underline everyone) should be participating in Social Security, and that we should all fight like heck to keep the system viable by lifting the earnings cap. I’d also like to see a permanent access at 62, or for anyone who is over 55 and has been out of work for one year. (Earnings set-off could still be available, as now, if someone over 55 is eventually able to find employment.)

    I do think our governor is up to the task of making some changes, but I don’t know if the state legislature is going to be realistic about what the state is facing. This year was the first time I can ever remember a state official being elected on a promise to raise taxes, so that’s something.

  16. Minkoff Minx says:

    Sima, check this out:

    Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey | Black Agenda Report

    Obama’s Left Supporters Criticized
    Last week’s anti-war demonstration at the White House, where 131 protesters were arrested, would have been “larger by a factor of 100” if it had been backed by “a unified Left,” says upstate New York activist John Halle. Halle is author of a widely circulated letter criticizing members of what he called the “establishment Left” for continuing to support the Obama administration. “Critical support” of Obama “is no longer sufficient,” said Halle, singling out Bill Fletcher, Tom Hayden and other founders of Progressives for Obama.

    • NW Luna says:

      How can anyone who claims to be “left” support Obama? These people are still fooling themselves.

    • cwaltz says:

      This is gonna sound mean but I’m tired of being told what I as a person on the left should have to organize around. Frankly, I didn’t see any of these groups “organizing” on my behalf for equal pay or for my reproductive rights. I’m at a point where I’ve pretty much decided that if you can’t stand in solidarity with women then don’t bother asking me to protest on behalf of your special interest/single issue.

    • Sima says:

      Progressive isn’t left anyway, in my book.


      People need to remember that the protest was organized by a veteran’s group from Missouri (if I remember correctly). Sure, they would have liked broader support and perhaps should have worked to get it. But they have to start SOMEWHERE. As for a unified left, it’s only gonna unify if someone starts doing something instead of talking and spouting off about how to unify!

      Does Halle think the anti-war movement in the 60’s sprang fully clothed and armored from Zeus’ head or something?

  17. Fannie says:

    How mzny states on going bankrupt in this Country, besides California?

    • cwaltz says:

      Many states are fiscally struggling. Check out the CBPP link I posted. Only 4 states weren’t in trouble.

  18. NW Luna says:

    Some lovely news for a brief change: Pics from last night’s lunar eclipse:


    Here on the beach we watched through low clouds just thin enough to see the moon slowly shrink. And then we sang it back into light again.

    • purplefinn says:

      Cool. I saw the shadow grow to nearly covering the moon, then the clouds came. Still thrilling.

    • Branjor says:

      Beautiful pictures, thanks Luna. I wanted to see it, but I spent 3 hours of sheer terror on NJ roads yesterday and was too pooped out to stay up.

  19. cwaltz says:

    I thought this article from the CBPP was interesting. It shows where the states have done their cutting.


  20. foxyladi14 says:

    happy solstice..sky dancers..now the days start getting longer..yipee 😦