Thursday, July 29, 2010
Have you ever wondered where the most dangerous neighborhoods in America are? Well, wonder no more.
25 Most Dangerous Neighborhoods
Your Odds of Being a Victim
Why neighborhoods and not cities? Even the cities with the highest crime rates can have relatively safe neighborhoods, and thus it is less useful to generalize about an entire city. But using exclusive data developed by Dr. Schiller at NeighborhoodScout.com, and based on FBI data from all 17,000 local law enforcement agencies, our gallery counts down the 25 neighborhoods with the highest predicted rates of violent crime in America.
Now, click here to see the neighborhoods.
Start with taxes. In every other serious democracy, conservative political parties feel at least some obligation to match their tax policies with their spending plans. David Cameron, the new Conservative prime minister in Britain, is a leading example.
He recently offered a rather brutal budget that includes severe cutbacks. I have doubts about some of them, but at least Cameron cared enough about reducing his country's deficit that alongside the cuts he also proposed an increase in the value-added tax, from 17.5 percent to 20 percent. Imagine: a fiscal conservative who really is a fiscal conservative.
That could never happen here because the fairy tale of supply-side economics insists that taxes are always too high, especially on the rich.
This is why Democrats will be fools if they don't try to turn the Republicans' refusal to raise taxes on families earning more than $250,000 a year into an election issue. If Democrats go into a headlong retreat on this, they will have no standing to govern.
The simple truth is that the wealthy in the United States -- the people who have made almost all the income gains in recent years -- are undertaxed compared with everyone else.
Consider two reports from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. One, issued last month, highlighted findings from the Congressional Budget Office showing that "the gaps in after-tax income between the richest 1 percent of Americans and the middle and poorest fifths of the country more than tripled between 1979 and 2007."
The other, from February, used Internal Revenue Service data to show that the effective federal income tax rate for the 400 taxpayers with the very highest incomes declined by nearly half in just over a decade, even as their pre-tax incomes have grown five times larger.
The study found that the top 400 households "paid 16.6 percent of their income in federal individual income taxes in 2007, down from 30 percent in 1995." We are talking here about truly rich people. Using 2007 dollars, it took an adjusted gross income of at least $35 million to make the top 400 in 1992, and $139 million in 2007.
The notion that when we are fighting two wars, we're not supposed to consider raising taxes on such Americans is one sign of a country that's no longer serious. Why do so few foreign policy hawks acknowledge that if they lack the gumption to ask taxpayers to finance the projection of American military power, we won't be able to project it in the long run?
And if we are unwilling to have a full-scale debate over whether nation-building abroad is getting in the way of nation-building at home, we will accomplish neither.
Our discussion of the economic stimulus is another symptom of political irrationality. It's entirely true that the $787 billion recovery package passed last year was not big enough to keep unemployment from rising above 9 percent.
But this is not actually an argument against the stimulus. On the contrary, studies showing that the stimulus created or saved as many as 3 million jobs are very hard to refute. It's much easier to pretend that all this money was wasted, although the evidence is overwhelming that we should have stimulated more.
Then there's the structure of our government. Does any other democracy have a powerful legislative branch as undemocratic as the U.S. Senate?
When our republic was created, the population ratio between the largest and smallest state was 13 to 1. Now, it's 68 to 1. Because of the abuse of the filibuster, 41 senators representing less than 11 percent of the nation's population can, in principle, block action supported by 59 senators representing more than 89 percent of our population. And you wonder why it's so hard to get anything done in Washington?
I'm a chronic optimist about America. But we are letting stupid politics, irrational ideas on fiscal policy and an antiquated political structure undermine our power.
We need a new conservatism in our country that is worthy of the name. We need liberals willing to speak out on the threat our daft politics poses to our influence in the world. We need moderates who do more than stick their fingers in the wind to calculate the halfway point between two political poles.
And, yes, we need to reform a Senate that has become an embarrassment to our democratic claims.
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Is Obama scared of Fox News?
ABC's Sam Donaldson says the administration's handling of the Shirley Sherrod case shows Obama's afraid of Glenn Beck. Is that fair - or balanced?
Is Obama scared of Fox? Photo: Getty SEE ALL 9 PHOTOS
Best Opinion: Wash. Post, Right Pundits, The Hill
The White House's high-profile feud with Fox News ended months ago, but broadcast journalist Sam Donaldson, among other observers, says the Obama administration's handling of the Shirley Sherrod controversy indicates that Fox is still on the president's mind. The administration's decision to fire Sherrod from the Agriculture Department based on a conservative website's misrepresentation of her remarks on race, Donaldson said, proved that the White House will do anything to avoid another fight with Fox's Glenn Beck, Bill O'Reilly, and other conservative critics. "President Obama," Donaldson said on ABC's "This Week," "don't be afraid of them. Take them on." Is Donaldson's advice applicable? (Watch an MSNBC report about the Fox News war)
Yes, and it's time for Obama to stiffen his backbone: President Obama and the mainstream media have to "stop cowering before a right wing" that insists that everyone treat its "propaganda" like real journalism, says E.J. Dionne in The Washington Post. Fox News was trying to use the Sherrod controversy to convince Americans that "the Obama administration favors blacks over whites." If Obama wants to put a stop to such nonsense, he can't keep "overreacting to it."
"Enough right-wing propaganda"
This is just another attempt to blame Obama's mistakes on his critics: Obama's "attack dogs" are trying to make the Shirley Sherrod debacle about Fox News, says Andrew Zarowny at Right Pundits, but Fox merely reported the news like everybody else. What this case really revealed was the administration's own incompetence. Bringing Fox into the matter is just a way deflect blame by conjuring up a "right-wing conspiracy."
"Howard Dean vs. Fox News"
The problem isn't Fox — it's fear of Fox: One of the people who deserves praise in this case, says Brent Budowsky at The Hill, is Shepard Smith — Fox News' main news anchor — who refused "to join the stampede and [acted] like a professional in vowing to learn the facts before pronouncing judgment in the case." The real "teachable lesson" here, though, is that whatever the facts, the Obama administration is ruled by fear. Until Obama gets past this, his presidency will be in trouble.
"Obama fears Drudge, Fox News, Breitbart"
It's time for an Obama-Fox showdown: One of the reasons Sherrod's boss made her pull off the road and resign "via Blackberry" was, he said, that "you're going to be on 'Glenn Beck' tonight," says Jonathan Capehart in The Washington Post. The only way for the Obama administration to liberate itself from that kind of fear is to "go into the lion's den," so Obama's smartest move right now would be to send someone like Vice President Joe Biden to appear on Glenn Beck's show. Biden probably won't sway Beck's viewers, but he'll earn their respect, and he'll show the administration has the courage to fight its enemies with facts.
"Obama: Send Biden to Beck"
Monday, July 26, 2010
The email came to my box with the note, "This will probably piss you off..."
Thanks for sending it then; I really love to be pissed off.
The video was some asshat out in Vegas who runs a casino and wants to tell us how badly the American government has failed...and of course, the usual suspects from my dad's email circle all had to chime in and say how right he was and how bad Obama is, etc... ad nauseum... So I replied...
So let me get this straight, the great recession is government's fault, the uncertainty of the American business climate is government's fault, the fact that we are pissing away 12 billion a month in an illegal war for no good reason other than to make money for oil companies is Obama's fault, the fact that when Bush took over we had a record budget surplus and in his 8 years he LOST net jobs (as compared to population growth) and ended up with more deficit in 8 years than we had had in the previous 200...and somehow this is Obama's fault? Jesus Christ. If you sat through the last 8 years and watched the Constitution shredded, our treasure wasted on a war we were LIED into, and the wages and wealth inequity gap get just as big as it was before the Great Depression and then you get mad at liberals, there ain't much I can do for you.
But for starters, what do YOU THINK is going to happen when the top 1% own 33% of everything in America and the top 10% own approximately 65% of it? Who is left to buy all the useless shit that we have to consume just to prop up the economy? Through the combination of union busting, outsourcing, and the ever-shifting tax burden from the rich to the middle class over the last 30 years, the middle class has had to borrow money for the last 3 decades to keep up with the cost of living. Inflation outpaced job earnings over the last 30 years. Think about that. If you don't see that there have been systematic problems in the country for almost as long as I have been alive, you need to start paying attention. They engineered policy to keep interest rates low to make it cheap to borrow money, and that's how we ran America...that's how we HAD to run America because working people were not making enough to make ends meet. So we borrowed and borrowed and borrowed. And then the bill came due. Hey, this is kind of funny! Did you know that Bush raised the debt ceiling 7 times while he was in office? That's like...almost every year he was in office,right? And you want more of that?
So to recap, Bush financed two wars on a credit card by selling debt to China...and NOW you are pissed off about government spending? Bush LOST net jobs...and NOW you are pissed off about jobs? Bush and the republican congress drove the car into the ditch and Obama tried to pull it out, and NOW you're mad? Now? You sleep-walk through the destruction of habeas corpus, through tax dollars spent on torturing people, through illegal and unconstitutional wire-tapping of America citizens, (and this shit is still happening because now it is JUST THE WAY WE DO THINGS HERE. THANKS!) through illegally outing an American spy for a political grudge, through the deregulatory enabling of Enron, Worldcom, and the shredding of Glass-Steagall (when they did the same thing with savings and loans we got the S&L implosion of the 80s...so we deregulated banks and got the banking implosion of the aughts. Which part of that is difficult to understand?) Your email circle slept through all of that, and NOW they get mad. Unfuckingbelievable.
Here, have some fun facts about wages in America: http://www.businessinsider.com/... Look through the slide show and tell me what you see. Rich getting richer, everyone else getting poorer.
Now some dipshit who owns a casino is going to lecture me about financial responsibility? A casino owner is going to lecture me about the proper use of my money? Really? Some asshole who is moving his corporate headquarters to China so he won't have to pay any taxes to America, a system whose government-subsidized roads and airlines supply him with an endless supply of morons who will gamble away their money at his resort? Give. Me. A. Break. If it were not for federal and state money supplying them with water, do you think they could even live out there in the FUCKING DESERT? Fuck him.
The reason we have an oil spill in the gulf, the reason the economy collapsed, and the reason we have wasted so much money in Iraq (did they find those WMDs yet?) is because government did NOT do its requisite job of oversight and regulation. The market is not rational...PEOPLE are rational. That is, if you are the guy who realizes that he can rip people off for billions of dollars and not get in trouble for it, you will, every single time. That is a cold, rational decision, the products of which we are suffering through right now. When you give regulators jobs to "regulate" and then tell them sort of tacitly that the market is infallible and that they should not interfere, you get this: http://www.dailytech.com/... People making 200k a year (paid by taxpayers) to watch porn in their offices instead of doing their jobs. Then, the failsafe for republicans is they can turn around and say, "See! Government doesn't work!" Right, because those assholes are systematically trying to destroy it. You drive the economy into a ditch we have not seen since 1930, and then you bitch about Obama spending tax money to try to fix it? Where is the disconnect here exactly? Do you think McCain would have done a better job? Sarah Palin? For fuck's sake, if she is our savior we're in big trouble (even though she does read ALL OF THE MAGAZINES). Drill baby drill? That's your platform? HA! Then Bobby Jindal is going to bitch because the federal government is not helping them enough? Just drill some more and remember when you said this: "We oppose the national Democratic view that says the way to strengthen our country is to increase dependence on government. We believe the way to strengthen our country is to restrain spending in Washington, to empower individuals and small businesses to grow our economy and create jobs." Yeah, Bobby, this is deregulation come home to roost. Suck it.
Then to cap it all off, every email forward your friends have sent in the last 8 years has been false. (Remember, these are the "rational" republicans, not the naive and emotional democrats!) I mean, republicans are entitled to their own opinions, but not their own realities. Everything that you guys are passing around and getting all worked up about is, you know, pretty much a lie created specifically to manipulate you into being angry.
Do I seem pissed? I have to tell you, it is not just because of some douchebag casino owner. It is because there seems to be two kinds of people in America: people who try to make America better for the greatest number of people on one side and people who lie, deny scientific evidence, and try to kill you for being a democrat on the other. In case Fox hasn't been covering it, there was yet another murderous patriot last week on the hunt for liberals. He was going to go shoot up the ACLU in San Francisco because Glenn Beck put it in his mind to. He was going to go kill liberals...liberals like me. And every time your friends fire off another email full of lies, the world gets a little less safe for people like me. And that is why I am pissed.
There, rant done.
You can find the original rant by clicking here.
Saturday, July 24, 2010
I finally got around to watching Gasland, a documentary that premiered on HBO back in late June, and it was quite disturbing. It documents the destruction of homesteads across this nation thanks to fracking. The lengths we will go to for more energy are simply disgusting and not sustainable. Our extraction techniques are horribly pollutive and exploitative, and yet this stupid idea that corporations can do no wrong somehow hangs on in America. We are quite simply killing ourselves with all of this dirty energy.
Find the movie. Watch it. And get on the horn to your Congressperson. My Republican House member, John Culberson, wants nothing to do with addressing this problem. His staffers took my comments and said they would relay them to Mr. Culberson. I expect absolutely nothing from him. After all, he's a Republican and they value business above all other things, especially over people.
FRAC Act - Congress Introduces Twin Bills to Control Drilling and Protect Drinking Water
In a widely expected move that is sure to draw the ire of the oil and gas industry, Democratic members of Congress today introduced twin bills to amend the Safe Drinking Water Act and give the Environmental Protection Agency authority over the controversial drilling process called hydraulic fracturing.
The stand-alone bills in both the House (PDF) and the Senate (PDF) for the Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals Act -- dubbed the FRAC Act (PDF) -- would also require the energy industry to disclose the chemicals it mixes with the water and sand it pumps underground in the fracturing process, information that has largely been protected as trade secrets.
The House bill was introduced by Diana DeGette, D-Colo., Maurice Hinchey, D-N.Y., and Jared Polis, D-Colo., and will now be debated inside the House Energy and Commerce Committee. According to DeGette, the bill may proceed alone, or she could attach it to a larger piece of legislation.
"Frankly we are leaving all the options on the table for moving this bill forward," DeGette said after hearings on the issue last week.
A matching Senate version was offered by Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., and Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.
Hydraulic fracturing has attracted scrutiny in the past year after a series of reports by ProPublica found water contamination in areas across the country where drilling takes place. Because the fracturing process was exempted from federal water laws by the 2005 Energy Policy Act, scientists at the Environmental Protection Agency have said they can't adequately investigate cases of pollution or determine whether fracturing might be to blame.
"Families, communities, and local governments are upset that the safety of their water has been compromised by a special interest exemption, and we join them in that frustration," Polis said in an e-mail this morning. "The problem is not natural gas or even hydraulic fracturing itself. The problem is that dangerous chemicals are being injected into the earth, polluting our water sources, without any oversight whatsoever."
The energy industry contends that the FRAC Act, which removes the Safe Drinking Water Act exemption, amounts to an additional layer of regulation that is unneeded and cumbersome. States do an adequate job of regulating hydraulic fracturing already, according to the Independent Petroleum Association of America, and industry research estimates that complying with federal oversight would add approximately $100,000 to the cost of each new natural gas well in the United States.
"Such action runs counter to the nation's energy goals -- increasing the supply of American oil and natural gas -- by making it too costly to produce," said Lee Fuller, vice president of government relations for the Independent Petroleum Association of America, in an e-mail. "Statements that hydraulic fracturing is unregulated are simply not true. It's been regulated assiduously by the states for more than 50 years."
It is unclear exactly how federal oversight would lead to mounting costs. EPA officials in Washington say the section of the Safe Drinking Water Act that governs the oil and gas industry allows for flexibility and already defers oversight of drilling to the states. According to the industry and a recent industry-affiliated study, most state programs already have regulations in place. In such cases, restoring the EPA's authority could mean that the EPA approves ongoing state oversight and that little else would change.
The original story is here.
Wanna see a trailer?
Friday, July 23, 2010
Thursday, July 22, 2010
An email from Alan Grayson
One day, a Republican operative offers $100 to anyone who'll punch me in the nose. The next day, I get a death threat.
After Fox News spewed its usual clownish hatred about me yesterday, my office received a call. The caller told our receptionist - a young intern - that "10 people are going to kill the Congressman within 24 hours." We gave the information to the Capitol Police; they are investigating.
Fox. You'd think that they would have learned their lesson after Dr. George Tiller was killed. And they did learn a lesson: a lesson in killing.
And why? Because I told the truth: the truth that by stalling on unemployment insurance, right-wingers revealed themselves to be heartless, selfish wretches, who have been taking food out of the mouths of children.
Am I the only one who has noticed this? Because if you're with me on this, I'd like your support. I need your support.
First threatened assault. Then threatened murder. Do you see how they ratchet up the bullying, and try to cow us?
In his poem "The Second Coming," the Irish poet William Butler Yeats described a time like ours as the "widening gyre." A time when "the centre cannot hold."
A time when "anarchy is loosed upon the world."
A time when "the best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity." Up to, and including, death threats on Members of Congress.
But we have to stand up, and we have to fight back. Because what is at stake is . . . everything. Please, support our campaign. Stand with me. Fight back.
Congressman Alan Grayson
TURNING and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
William Butler Yeats, "The Second Coming"
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb decided in favor of the Freedom From Religion Foundation in a ruling that the federal law designating a National Day of Prayer and requiring a National Day of Prayer proclamation by the president violates the establishment clause of the Constitution's First Amendment.
In her ruling, Judge Crabb wrote: "The same law that prohibits the government from declaring a National Day of Prayer also prohibits it from declaring a National Day of Blasphemy."
The Foundation filed its groundbreaking suit in October 2008. Plaintiffs besides the Foundation are Anne Nicol Gaylor, Annie Laurie Gaylor, Dan Barker, Paul Gaylor, Phyllis Rose and Jill Dean, who are all Foundation officers or board members. Defendants are President Barack Obama and Robert Gibbs, his press secretary. Original defendants were President George Bush and Dana Perino, his press secretary at the time.
Judge Crabb enjoined Obama from enforcing the National Day of Prayer law, but stayed the injunction until the appeals process is completed. The law setting the first Thursday in May as a National Day of Prayer passed Congress in 1952 after an intensive campaign led by Rev. Billy Graham.
In 1952, religious leaders like Graham lobbied Congress heavily to pass the law. Graham's culminating speech included this: "We have dropped our pilot, the Lord Jesus Christ, and are sailing blindly on without divine chart or compass, hoping somehow to find our desired haven. We have certain leaders who are rank materialists; they do not recognize God nor care for Him; they spend their time in one round of parties after another. The Capital City of our Nation can have a great spiritual awakening, thousands coming to Jesus Christ, but certain leaders have not lifted an eyebrow, nor raised a finger, nor showed the slightest bit of concern. Ladies and gentlemen, I warn you, if this state of affairs continues, the end of the course is national shipwreck and ruin."
Sen. Absalom Robertson of Virginia — Rev. Pat Robertson's father — introduced the bill in the Senate, stating that it was a measure against "the corrosive forces of communism which seek simultaneously to destroy our democratic way of life and the faith in an Almighty God on which it is based."
Judge Crabb took pains in several passages of her 66-page decision to point out that "a conclusion that the establishment clause prohibits the government from endorsing a religious exercise is not a judgment on the value of prayer or the millions of Americans who believe in its power."
She rejected the Obama administration's argument that the NDP is a longstanding tradition: "No tradition existed in 1789 of Congress requiring an annual National Day of Prayer on a particular date. It was not until 1952 that Congress established a legislatively mandated National Day of Prayer; it was not until 1988 that Congress made the National Day of Prayer a fixed, annual event." She pointed out that presidents Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and Andrew Jackson did not believe presidents should issue prayer proclamations.
EXCERPTS FROM THE RULING:
"It goes beyond mere 'acknowledgment' of religion because its sole
purpose is to encourage all citizens to engage in prayer, an inherently
religious exercise that serves no secular function in this context. In this
instance, the government has taken sides on a matter that must be left to individual conscience. When the government associates one set of religious beliefs with the state and identifies nonadherents as outsiders, it encroaches upon the individual's decision about whether and how to worship.”
"The Supreme Court has noted often that the establishment clause is the result of the lesson learned from history that, when the government takes sides on questions of religious belief, a dangerous situation may be created, both for the favored and the disfavored groups. "To those whose beliefs comport with the message sent by the government, it is difficult to understand why anyone would object to the message.
"However, religious expression by the government that is inspirational and comforting to a believer may seem exclusionary or even threatening to someone who does not share those beliefs. This is not simply a
matter of being “too sensitive” or wanting to suppress the religious expression of others. Rather, . . . it is a consequence of the unique danger that religious conduct by the government poses for creating 'in' groups and 'out' groups."
"A reasonable observer of the statute or a proclamation designating
the National Day of Prayer would conclude that the federal government is encouraging her to pray."
"One might argue that the National Day of Prayer does not violate
the establishment clause because it does not endorse any one religion.
Unfortunately, that does not cure the problem. Although adherents of many religions 'turn to God in prayer,' not all of them do. Further, the statute seems to contemplate a specifically Christian form of prayer with its reference to 'churches' but no other places of worship and the limitation in the 1952 version of the statute that the National Day of Prayer may not be on a Sunday. Even some who believe in the form of prayer contemplated by the statute may object to encouragements to pray in such a public manner. E.g., Matthew 6:5 ('You, however, when you pray, go into your private room and, after shutting your door, pray to your Father who is in secret; then your Father who looks on in secret will repay you.')"
"[T]he 1988 amendment does not serve any purpose for the government
or the country as a whole, but simply facilitates the religious activities of particular religious groups. Although those groups undoubtedly appreciate that assistance, they are not entitled to it. [T]he Establishment Clause prohibits precisely what occurred here: the government's lending its support to the communication of a religious organization's religious message.”
"If the government were interested only in acknowledging the role
of religion in America, it could have designated a 'National Day of Religious Freedom' rather than promote a particular religious practice."
"With or without a statute, private citizens are free to pray at any time. Private citizens are also free to join together to hold celebrations of their faith, including by proclaiming their own day of prayer."
"That is not an accommodation under Supreme Court precedent; it is
taking sides on a matter of religious belief. Because supporters of the National Day of Prayer have no need for the machinery of the State to affirm their beliefs, the government's sponsorship of that day in § 119 is most reasonably understood as an official endorsement of religion and, in this instance, of theistic religion."
Monday, July 19, 2010
Sunday, July 18, 2010
Saturday, July 17, 2010
"BP is putting a new cap on the leaking oil well. It could capture up to 90 percent of the disgusting filth that's spewing from there. And if it works, they're going to try the same thing on Mel Gibson." —Craig Ferguson
"Over the years, Mel Gibson has insulted Jews, African-Americans, and Mexicans. Don't worry, if he hasn't insulted your ethnicity yet, he'll get around with it." —David Letterman
"Well, here's some information about real estate. Rush Limbaugh had an apartment here in New York City. Sold it for $11.5 million. It has a very narrow view.... It overlooks the flaws of the Republican Party." —David Letterman
"Rush Limbaugh had an apartment here in New York City. He sold the apartment for $11.5 million. That is $2.5 million for the apartment and $9 million for what they found in the medicine cabinet." —David Letterman
"This week Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston revealed exclusively to US Weekly that they are getting married. Sarah Palin allegedly is not happy about this because she feels they barely know each other and they are making a big commitment. You know, kind of like when John McCain picked her for vice president." —Jay Leno
"I understand it's not going to be a traditional wedding. Rumor is that Bristol asked Levi — this is real — to wear his camouflage hunting vest. Which would be the closest he's ever come to wearing protection of any kind." —Jay Leno
"Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston announced they are engaged to be married. But here's the interesting part. They're not having sex until after they are married, that's what they said. So let me get this straight. They had sex, she had a baby, now they're engaged and celibate. Isn't that backwards? It's like they're sexually dyslexic." —Jay Leno
"Actually, Bristol said the one thing she missed most about Levi — his Johnston." —Jay Leno
"Last week Levi made a heartfelt apology to the Palin family. That kind of rings a bell." —David Letterman
"President Obama announced the appointment of a new White House budget director, which is pretty surprising. You know the White House has a budget director? What the hell has he been doing?" —Jay Leno
"Dick Cheney is recovering after minor surgery. Doctors implanted a new device called a 'heart.'" —Craig Ferguson
"At the British Open, Tiger Woods will be playing with a new putter for the first time in 11 years. I guess his old putter was just plain worn out. If I were him I'd keep that a secret. You don't want to go around announcing you stuck with a putter longer than you stuck with your wife. Right? He should keep his Johnson in his Levis." —Jimmy Fallon
"George Steinbrenner turned the New York Yankees from a $10 million franchise to a billion-dollar franchise. His secret was the $9 hot dog." —David Letterman
"Yankees owner George Steinbrenner passed away. He was a tough guy. Within five minutes in heaven, he fired God and told Jesus to lose the beard." —Jay Leno
"Apple has called a major press conference to discuss the iPhone 4. Well, they actually tried to call three days ago, but it finally went through just now." —Jimmy Fallon
"All over the country today there were huge lines at Apple stores for the iPhone — not to buy them, to return them. Apparently, Apple is addressing problems with the iPhone. For now on, if you buy an iPhone, they throw in a Verizon Blackberry so you can make a call." —Jay Leno
Go here for more of the funny stuff.
Obama could help a LOT here by firing up Democrats. I see a sign here and there that this is what he is going to do. The Weekly Address below is a step in the right direction. More, please.
Thursday, July 15, 2010
ECONOMIC ILLITERATES.... It hasn't been an especially good week for the Republican Party and economic literacy. Indeed, with each passing day, it appears the GOP simply has no idea what it's talking about when it comes to one of the nation's most pressing issues.
It started with Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) insisting that spending increases need to be paid for, but lawmakers shouldn't even try to pay for tax cuts. California Senate hopeful Carly Fiorina (R) soon followed, declaring, "You don't need to pay for tax cuts. They pay for themselves." Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) soon added that Bush's tax cuts, which created huge deficits, actually "increased revenue." Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) agreed that "tax cuts should not have to be offset."
Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) appeared on C-SPAN yesterday and managed to sound even dumber.
"Continuing the [Bush] tax cuts isn't a cost, if you added new taxes, new tax cuts, I would agree that's a cost. It's not a cost. That's where we are today. That's the baseline. It doesn't score anything to continue them. It costs money if we increase, which I would be willing to do. I think we ought to cut corporate taxes."
This makes absolutely no sense. Bush's tax cuts for the wealthy were approved nearly a decade ago, and they helped add $5 trillion to the debt. They're now due to expire. If policymakers extend the cuts into the future, Coburn thinks it would cost literally nothing. He's only off by at least $678 billion.
This week's developments have made abundantly clear that conservative Republicans don't care at all about reducing the deficit, but that's really just the beginning of the larger revelation here. By embracing economic gibberish with such enthusiasm, Republicans are also making it painfully obvious that they don't care about reality, either.
Krugman's label -- "invincible ignorance" -- continues to ring true.
The original is here.
Between 18 and 22, a woman is like Africa - half discovered, half wild, fertile and naturally beautiful!
Between 23 and 30, a woman is like Europe - well-developed and open to trade, especially for something of real value.
Between 31 and 35, a woman is like Spain - very hot, relaxed, and convinced of her own beauty.
Between 36 and 40, a woman is like Greece & gently aging, but still a warm and desirable place to visit.
Between 41 and 50, a woman is like Great Britain, with a glorious and all-conquering past.
Between 51 and 60, a woman is like Israel - has been through war, doesn't make the same mistakes twice, and takes care of business.
Between 61 and 70, a woman is like Canada - cool, self-preserving, but open to meeting new people.
After 70, she becomes Tibet - wildly beautiful, with a mysterious past and the wisdom of the ages.... an adventurous spirit and a thirst for spiritual knowledge.
THE GEOGRAPHY OF A MAN
Between 1 and 80, a man is like Iran - ruled by a couple of nuts
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
"(Y)ou should never raise taxes in order to cut taxes," said the Arizona Senator during an appearance on Fox News Sunday. "Surely Congress has the authority, and it would be right to -- if we decide we want to cut taxes to spur the economy, not to have to raise taxes in order to offset those costs. You do need to offset the cost of increased spending, and that's what Republicans object to. But you should never have to offset cost of a deliberate decision to reduce tax rates on Americans."
White House aides immediately seized on the comments. Press Secretary Robert Gibbs wrote on Twitter, "Kyl says wealthy need big Bush tax cuts while middle class families are on their own to fend for themselves as a result of Bush economy."
In private, administration officials say that the framing of the argument couldn't be more advantageous: "It's cutting taxes for the wealthy and letting the unemployed to fend for themselves," said one White House ally.
But the politics already are fairly obvious. For the past few months, congressional Republicans have demanded that any additional spending be offset by budget cuts or revenue increases elsewhere. Also on Sunday, White House senior adviser David Axelrod blamed deficit concerns for the difficulty in finding a 60th vote in the Senate for unemployment benefits even though, as of Friday, 2.1 million people have not received checks that they were expecting in June.
It's quite a message to Americans: Republicans believe $30 billion for
unemployment benefits don't even deserve a vote because the money would be added to the deficit, but Republicans also believe that adding the cost of $678 billion in tax cuts for the wealthy to the deficit is just fine.
The chart below shows the deficit impact of the Bush tax cuts over the next decade.
Sunday, July 11, 2010
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Friday, July 9, 2010
LATE NIGHT HUMOR
"It's Day 71 of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. They just did a poll that says only 6 percent of Americans have a favorable view of BP, to which I say, 6 percent of Americans have a favorable view of BP? That's 18 million people. Is it possible that 18 million Americans don't know what the word favorable means?" —Jimmy Kimmel
"BP's company newsletter has an article that says most Gulf residents aren't upset with BP because their cleanup crews have boosted the local economy. BP taking credit for boosting the economy in the Gulf is like al Qaeda taking credit for creating jobs in airport security." —Jimmy Kimmel
"The Coast Guard found a drunk man on a pool float yesterday after he drifted a mile out into the Gulf of Mexico. Authorities called the guy 'irresponsible,' while BP called him 'our best hope.'" —Jimmy Fallon
Jon Stewart, responding to John McCain's catchy new acronym B.I.O.B. (Blame it on Bush): "H.R.W.A.T.P.T.R.T.C.I.T.G — He really Was A Terrible President That Ran The Country Into The Ground."
"President Obama said, after firing General McChrystal, that although he admires McChrystal's service and dedication to his country, you don't criticize your bosses. That's the same reason President Obama never says anything bad about the Chinese." —Jay Leno
"It's not the G-20 anymore. It's now the G-19, because Ghana eliminated the United States." —David Letterman
"They're having the confirmation hearings down in Washington, D.C., with Elena Kagan. And so far, the woman has offered very few opinions. I thought to myself, well, my God — how do you find a woman like that?" —David Letterman
"Do you know what's going on down in Washington today? The Senate began the Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Elena Kagan. And tomorrow, my favorite part of the whole procedure, the talent competition. And, I want to tell you something — wait until you hear this woman sing 'I Dreamed a Dream.'" —David Letterman
"Things in Washington are always so political. President Obama said that the opposition to Elena Kagan seems like 'pretty thin gruel.' That's how he describes the opposition. If you want thick gruel, just go down to the Gulf of Mexico." —David Letterman
"BP executives are saying that Hurricane Alex has rendered their clean-up efforts completely useless. In other words, nothing has changed." —Craig Ferguson
"It's a great day for former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer. He's getting his own talk show. They wanted him because they knew he could get the most out of an hour." —Craig Ferguson
And this one is ... priceless ... under the heading "Dumbest Quotes of the Week"
From the Left:
"Another thing we can do for jobs is make toys of me, especially for the holidays. Little dolls. Me. Like maybe little action dolls. Me in an army uniform, air force uniform, and me in my suit. They can make toys of me and my vehicle, especially for the holidays and Christmas for the kids. That's something that would create jobs. So you see I think out of the box like that. It's not something a typical person would bring up. That's something that could happen, that makes sense. It's not a joke."
—Alvin Greene, the Democrat who mysteriously won the Senate primary in South Carolina, despite never making any public appearances, running any ads, or even having a campaign Web site (Guardian interview, July 6, 2010)
What IS IT with South Carolina?!?!
Click here for more funny business.
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
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Tuesday, July 6, 2010
I learned that, unfortunately, I cannot post completely to this blog via my smartphone, the Motorola Droid. Don't know why. I say "completely" because that previous post, "Leaving San Francisco" was in fact posted to the blog while sitting waiting for our plane in the San Francisco airport. I could create a post TITLE, but could not post any text, for some reason. Oh well. No great loss.
There was quite a long line in the San Fran airport, waiting to go through the metal detectors. When we finally got to the scanners, the wife piled everything into the gray boxes and was waved through the metal detector with no problem. An old lady got between the wife and me, and after she was waved through the metal detector, the TSA lady told her, "Go to #3." I then got waived through with no problem.
This old Anglo German grandma went into a small glass room, right there next to the metal scanner, in full view of everyone streaming through. As I began to gather my stuff and put my shoes back on, thread my belt, etc, I looked back and there is granny, with her hands up against one of the glass walls like a mime.
Is she going to be searched? Right there?
As the wife and I made it further down the concourse towards our gate, I looked back, and there is granny, still inside the glass box, taking off her jacket, and it looked like she was unbuttoning her blouse! I am certainly glad that the TSA is keeping all of us safe from old German grandmas!! Thank you TSA!!
But now we are safely ensconced back at home sweet home in Houston. It's great to get away, but it's great to get back home to your own bed and your own stuff. I'll put together a post or two about our travels in San Francisco. It was simply a great trip, damn near perfect. San Francisco is like another country!! It is absolutely awesome, but I would never want to live there!