Monday Reads

Good Morning!

It’s still the silly season. This means you really shouldn’t trust anything coming out of the beltway.  Still, political junkies can’t help watching. At least I could find a few signs that some  of the crazier fads of the last few years might go the way of the dodo.  If we’re really lucky, we’ll be rid of the Tea Party and its adherents shortly.

Whither the Tea Party?

A major force in the 2010 midterm elections, the movement has stalled in public popularity, its support well below a majority and decidedly lukewarm. And Americans by a broad 23-point margin say the more they hear about the Tea Party movement, the less they like it, rather than liking it more.

That negative buzz has worsened from a 9-point gap in an ABC News/Washington Post poll as the movement was gathering speed two years ago. And its avenues for resurgence may be limited: Interest in learning more about Tea Party is down 7 points from spring 2010.

This poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates, finds that six in 10 Americans aren’t particularly interested in additional information about the Tea Party, and 41 percent aren’t interested “at all.” Thirty-nine percent have at least some interest, but just 9 percent are very interested. Among those with interest, moreover, more than six in 10 already support it.

All told, 41 percent of Americans identify themselves as supporters of the movement, compared with a high of 47 percent last September. Forty-five percent oppose it; 14 percent have no opinion. Support has dropped disproportionately among young adults in that period, down 20 points from 51 percent to 31 percent.

While overall support is roughly balanced with overall opposition, “strong” opponents outnumber strong supporters by 2-1. But perhaps most damaging is the buzz: Fifty percent of Americans say the more they hear about the Tea Party, the less they like it; just 27 percent say they like it more. That compares with a much closer (albeit still negative) 43-34 percent split on this question in April 2010.

These views have grown more negative particularly among young adults, seniors, women, moderates and people in the $50,000 to $100,000 income range, all with 10- to 17-point increases in “like it less” responses as they hear more about the Tea Party movement.

Whacky Michelle Bachmann has been one of my favorite punching bags.  Here’s a new one from her very sick mind: “Anti-Abortion Bachmann Says Women Need To Make Their Own Decisions About Their Bodies”. Doesn’t the state of Minnesota have enough straight jackets to deal with this menace?  Bachmann is closely aligned with the Tea Party too.  I wonder if there is a connection? Oh, and she’s  still crazy after all this year and she’s conveniently forgetting that she and her party want to take over every uterus in the country.

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) argued that women should be allowed to make choices over their own bodies, while blasting Obamacare on Meet The Press. Without noting the irony of the GOP war on women targeting Planned Parenthood, abortion services, and contraception coverage, Bachmann said women need to be allowed control over their own bodies:

BACHMANN: What we want is women to be able to make their own choices […] We want women to make their own choices in healthcare. You see that’s the lie that happens under Obamacare. The President of the United States effectively becomes a health care dictator. Women don’t need anyone to tell them what to do on health care. We want women to have their own choices, their own money, that way they can make their own choices for the future of their own bodies.

Have you been following Roseanne Barr on Twitter?  She’s running for President on the Green Ticket and is taking on big banks and Wall Street.  I love third party candidates and have been following both Roseanne and Buddy Roehmer.  They have strikingly similar concerns.

Comedian Roseanne Barr, running for president as a Green Party candidate, isn’t too keen on her early fundraising prospects.

“I admit I need help,” Barr told POLITICO via Twitter.

And with good reason: Since formally launching her bid in early February, Barr raised just $31,500 through March 31, federal disclosures out today show.

Of that, $25,000 came from a loan Barr made to her campaign on March 1.

“FEC rules limit what one can contribute to one’s own campaign, but staff needs to be paid,” Barr explained.

Just one person — Eric Weinrib of Brooklyn, N.Y., who gave $2,500 and listed his occupation as “unemployed” — made a cash donation of more than the itemized reporting threshold of $200.

Most of Barr’s expenditures have funded accounting and legal services, a staffer and pedestrian office supplies, such as a Hewlett-Packard laptop computer and bank checks.

Barr has been an outspoken advocate for the Occupy Wall Street movement and explains her interest in Green Party politics as a rejection of both Republicans and Democrats.

“They both suck and they’re both a bunch of criminals,” Barr said.

I’d just like to put in a word for Tigers as an alum of the LSU system and a mother of an LSU alum and a current LSU student.  Specifically, we should start focusing on saving Tigers of all sorts. We should save all tigers including Tony the Tiger at the Truck stop between Baton Rouge and Lafayette.  Here’s some links to find out about this gorgeous cat and its endangered status.

The tiger population has plunged 95% in the last century and there are perhaps just over 3,000 remaining on the entire planet. Two stories are presented in the video below.

First, there is Tony the Tiger at the Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete, Louisiana. Tony is “privately owned” and caged for a commercial venture. Carole Baskin, founder and CEO of Big Cat Rescue, advocates rescuing Tony from lifetime captivity. Michael Sandlin, President of Tiger Truck Stop, counters, “…every American should have the right to own an animal of their choice”.

Second, there is the Buddhist Tiger Temple in Thailand, Wat Pa Luang Ta Bua Temple on the River Kwai, which cages not only tigers but other animals for tourists. Jane Garrison, an animal welfare advocate, describes tourists having their photo taken with drugged tigers. Almost one hundred tigers are kept in “tiny, barren cages” with inadequate provision (water, food, medical). Garrison maintains these tigers are part of the illegal “tiger parts” trade and it is a “horrific scene”. Tourists, by visiting the Tiger Temple, are in effect supporting a ‘lifetime of torture” for these caged tigers. The Thailand Department of National Parks says they have carried out a thorough investigation and found no evidence of involvement in illicit trade or maltreatment of the tigers. Garrison counters that Care for the Wild (CWI) says up to 75 tigers have “disappeared” from the facility and the Tiger Temple keeps renaming the tigers the same name.

Tigers are amazing big cats. Here’s some links to organizations committed to saving the species.

Free Tony the Tiger! (Blog)
Save Tigers Now (WWF)
Big Cat Rescue (BCR)
Care for the Wild (CWI)
Exploiting the Tiger (Care For the Wild) pdf download

Click on the Tiger to go to Sarasota Tigers: a big cat habitat on the Gulf Coast.

The Wall Street Journal has been running op-eds that have been really misogynistic.  They’ve been on the attack for about 2 weeks now.  They either say that the war on women is fake or being “won” by the Republican Party.  I’ve linked to them recently even though I hate to quote what they say.  The WSJ  must really take that 20 point gender gap seriously because its op ed page is nonstop “pro-women”.    Here’s the Mahablog with a retort.

The Wall Street Journal wants us to know that Republicans can win the War Against Women. Seriously. I like this headline so much I screen captured it before some dweeb at WSJ wakes up and realizes what it says

It seems they’re riding the “marriage tax” train again.  It’s the same old same old.  Go check the best of the War on Women series at the link and become very annoyed.  But, only do it after you’ve had adequate coffee and gathered up a pillow or two to punch.

So, that’s my suggestions this morning.  What’s on your reading and blogging list today?

Thursday Reads: Thanksgiving Day

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you all have a wonderful day today.

Even though the news has been discouraging for a long time now, we probably all have something to be grateful for. I know I do. I’m going to share some of what I’m grateful for today, and I hope everyone who comes around to to our “little blog that could” today will do likewise.

First, I’m very grateful today for all of you who have helped us get up and running these past few weeks!

Most of all, I’m grateful for my family. Although we lost my dad in March, we are fortunate to still have my mom with us. I’m grateful to have close relationships with my two brothers and two sisters. I’m grateful for my nieces and nephews and my grand-nephew and grand-niece. Children are our future, and I’m fortunate to have a chance to help make it better for them.

I’m grateful to have had the chance to pursue my education in the second half of in life. I’m grateful for my mother-in-law, who was there for me when I needed a place to live after my husband and I split up. I cared for her for 18 years, and I’m very grateful to have had her in my life, and all that I learned from her. Because she gave me a place to live, I was able to return to college and eventually earn a PhD in psychology. I’m also grateful for the state and federal government help I received during the time I was in school.

I’m grateful that I’ve been sober since May, 1982. If it weren’t for my sobriety, I wouldn’t have any of the other things I’ve mentioned. I was very fortunate to be able to turn my life around beginning 28 years ago.

As you know, I’m not that happy with how things are going for our country right now. I think our political establishment is beyond corrupt and that corrupt corporations are ruining our country and perhaps the world. I’m so thankful for the internet–without the ability to communicate with other people and share my anger at our political system, I don’t know how I would have survived. So I’m very grateful to many bloggers and commenters who have helped me know that I’m not alone in my anger and frustration.

Here are a few events in today’s news that I’m grateful for:

Texas Jury Convicts Tom Delay on Money Laundering Charges

DeLay was found guilty of money laundering and conspiracy to commit money laundering, court bailiff Gilbert Soto said. He was accused of funneling $190,000 to help elect Republicans to the state House and Senate in 2002.

At the outset of the trial, DeLay predicted the jury would clear him, and he remained unrepentant after learning the verdict..

“This is an abuse of power. It’s a miscarriage of justice,” DeLay told reporters. “I still maintain that I am innocent, that the criminalization of politics undermines our very system, and I’m very disappointed in the outcome. But you know, it is what it is, and we will carry on and maybe we can get it before people who understand the law.”

More like this, please.

HIV Prevention Pill A Big Development in Communities of Color

A new study by the National Institutes of Health suggests that a pill, known as Truvada, may be able to prevent HIV infection for gay and bisexual men. Host Allison Keyes talks with Dr. Jonathan Mermin of the Centers for Disease Control and Adolph Falcon of the National Alliance for Hispanic Health about the drug and what it could mean for communities of color which are disproportionately impacted by HIV/AIDS in the US

You can listen to the interview at the link.

Nations band together to save tigers, eye comeback by 2022

The wild tiger population is less than 4 percent of what it was a century ago, and leaders in 13 nations are taking a stand against the poaching and habitat destruction that have decimated the majestic predators’ numbers….

With the conclusion of a high-profile summit, attracting guests as notable as actor Leonardo DiCaprio and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, governments and conservation groups pledged $327 million with the goal of doubling the wild tiger population by 2022….

Poaching, illegal trade and habitat destruction have forced the animal to the brink of extinction, according to the Global Tiger Initiative, which estimates that wild tigers exist today in less than 7 percent of their historic range.

“I am confident that we will look back on this day as a turning point in the effort to save one of the world’s best-loved animals,” World Wildlife Fund Director Jim Leape said.

The St. Petersburg, Russia, summit featured leaders from all 13 countries where tigers still live in the wild: Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Indonesia, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Russia, Thailand and Vietnam.

U.S. prepares for new Wikileaks release

As with past document dumps by Wikileaks, U.S. officials expect that major international news outlets have been provided the documents in advance and that their news stories about what the documents contain will be published around the same time that the website reveals its cache of documents.

The White House and State Department are concerned because the documents may contain negative remarks made by U.S. diplomats about corrupt foreign leaders.

Army Pvt. Bradley Manning was arrested in June and charged with leaking a classified video of a 2007 U.S. helicopter attack in Baghdad that killed several civilians. There has been speculation that Manning also may have been the source for the Iraq and Afghanistan military intelligence reports released by Wikileaks.

He also may be the source of the State Department cables, because prior to his arrest Manning boasted in e-mails to a former hacker that he had passed along thousands of diplomatic cables to Wikileaks.

I’m sorry that some people in the government will suffer embarrassment, but the best disinfectant is sunshine.

Expert-Networking Worker Arrested for Insider Trading

U.S. prosecutors Wednesday arrested an employee of an “expert networking firm” on charges that he promoted the firm’s services by arranging for corporate executives to leak inside information to hedge funds.

According to a complaint unsealed in Manhattan federal court, prosecutors claimed that Don Ching Trang Chu, also known as Don Chu, who worked at California-based Primary Global Research, had arranged for hedge funds to get tips on companies including Atheros Communications, Broadcom Corp and Sierra Wireless.

The arrest comes amid a wide-ranging probe by U.S. authorities into potential insider trading at hedge funds, mutual funds and expert networks.

Great. Now let’s hope he rolls on the higher ups and the feds bust them too.

Trading Inquiry Widens to Big Firms

Federal authorities, intensifying an insider-trading investigation, are demanding trading and other information from some of the nation’s most powerful investment firms.

Hedge-fund giants SAC Capital Advisors and Citadel LLC, big mutual-fund company Janus Capital Group Inc. and Wellington Management Co., one of the nation’s biggest institutional-investment firms, have received subpoenas from the Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s office seeking trading, communications and other data as part of a broad criminal investigation, according to people familiar with the matter.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation also recently questioned an account manager at Primary Global Research LLC, a California company that provides “expert-network” services to hedge funds and mutual funds, people familiar with the matter say.

Such expert-network firms set up meetings and arrange calls between traders seeking an investing edge and current and former managers from hundreds of companies. The FBI is seeking information about a Primary Global consultant and his hedge-fund clients, these people say.

What are you grateful for today? Feel free to share your news links as always, and have a terrific Thanksgiving Day!!!!