Quote of the Day
"I think we should push hard for a Jindal/Palin ticket. Come on--it would be comedy gold!"
Litbrit, on my Facebook wall.
"I think we should push hard for a Jindal/Palin ticket. Come on--it would be comedy gold!"
I am so sorry for your loss- Mr. Dugan spoke often of his children and family back when I had him as my 6th-grade teacher at the Hosmer School in Watertown in 1979-1980.
Mr. Dugan was a wonderful teacher, a fine gentleman and a great source of belief and encouragement to the students in his room. Looking back on 13 years of public school in Watertown, 4 years of college, three years of law school and two years of graduate school, Mr. Dugan was the best teacher I ever had. His impact has held throughout the course of all those years since, and I am grateful to have had the good luck to have landed in his class that year- a break I consider one of the luckier ones of my life.
I have heard how teachers can open minds, hearts and spirits- I need look no further than Mr. Dugan for clear and certain confirmation.
May God Bless Mr. Dugan and may he rest in peace.
My sincere condolences to you all.
Rachel Kaprielian (Hosmer School , class of 1980)
Feb 19, 2009
Megan McArdle wrote a follow up post to her original Jindalmania piece. Both posts were originally writen last year.
But once you're past that, well, the guy just has skills. His message, like Obama's, is one of hope and actual change; he tends to emphasize the work he's done reforming Louisiana's notoriously corrupt political culture. And like Obama, he has the charisma to put it over. Nearly all prominent politicians are extremely charismatic. Being in a room with them is like being in a room with the sun; you can't really look anywhere else. But some have it more than others, and Jindal has a lot of it.
He's also a really good political organizer, which is how a Republican carries Louisiana (to be sure, the Democratic governor's monstrously incompetent performance during Hurricane Katrina helped quite a bit.) And on the other metrics by which Obama stands out--his academic chops, his meteoric rise--Jindal actually betters Obama. The guy was accepted to both Harvard Medical School and Yale Law School, but decided to go for a political career, and accepted his Rhodes Scholarship instead. At 25 he was appointed Lousiana's Secretary of Health and Hospitals; at 28, he became the youngest-ever president of the University of Louisiana system.
One interesting thing I learned is just how far Jindal has come in fighting Louisiana's institutional problems. Bush detractors get mad when I say this, but it really is true that the total ineptitude of the state and local governments was a major reason that things went so tragically wrong during Katrina. FEMA is a small agency with a few thousand employees; it is a funding mechanism for recovery efforts, not some sort of Super EMT Squad. FEMA does well in states that have competent and responsive government agencies, and not so well in places that don't. (The staggering incompetence of rebuilding efforts is another rant--but also, a symptom of broader government problems rather than necessarily something specific to FEMA. But then as I say, that's another rant.)
"Watching him with NBC's David Gregory on Sunday, I was reminded of the character Chance from the classic movie Being There. Chance, played brilliantly by Peter Sellers, is a mentally challenged gardener with good manners who, on the death of the owner of the estate where he works, inherits the owner's beautiful clothes, circle of friends and speaks to them in Zen-like metaphors that make them think he's an éminence grise. In fact, he's actually a sweet idiot savant."
The Medicare prescription drug law specifically bans the federal government from negotiating bulk discounts on drugs even though the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs saves 50 percent and more off the list price of drugs it purchases for veterans as a result of bulk purchasing. Therefore, a larger share of the $400 million earmarked over the next ten years for the Medicare drug program will pay for overpriced drugs and drug company profits.
KERRY: The fact is that my health-care plan, America, is very simple. It gives you the choice. I don't force you to do anything. It's not a government plan. The government doesn't require you to do anything. You choose your doctor. You choose your plan. If you don't want to take the offer of the plan that I want to put forward, you don't have do. You can keep what you have today, keep a high deductible, keep high premiums, keep a high co-pay, keep low benefits. Here's what I do: We take over Medicaid children from the states so that every child in America is covered. And in exchange, if the states want to-they're not forced to, they can choose to-they cover individuals up to 300 percent of poverty. It's their choice.
To solve our current problems, Washington must lead. But the way to lead is not to raise taxes and not to just put more money and power in hands of Washington politicians. The way to lead is by empowering you, the American people. Because we believe that Americans can do anything.
A "making work pay" refundable tax credit championed by Obama of up to $400 per individual and $800 for couples in 2009 and 2010. It is calculated at a rate of 6.2 percent of earned income and is phased out for individuals with adjusted incomes over $75,000 and couples with incomes over $150,000.
* A one-time payment of $250 to Social Security beneficiaries, railroad retirees and veterans receiving benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs. State government retirees not eligible for Social Security would also get the $250 payment.
* Increases the earned income tax credit for low-income workers with three or more children.
* Increases eligibility for the refundable child tax credit to more low-income workers. The bill reduces the income floor to $3,000 in 2009 and 2010 from the current floor of $8,500.
* A new $2,500 tax credit for college education expenses. The credit phases out for individuals earning more than $80,000 and couples with incomes over $160,000.
An $8,000 tax credit for first-time home buyers for homes purchased between Jan. 1 and Dec. 1, 2009. The tax credit phases out for individuals earning more than $75,000 and couples earning more than $150,000.
* Temporary relief from the alternative minimum tax for millions of middle-class taxpayers who otherwise would be ensnared by the tax originally meant for the very wealthy.
* Small businesses with gross receipts of up to $15 million can write off 2008 losses against five previous tax years. Current laws allows a two-year carryback of losses.
Businesses will also be allowed to immediately write off more of their investments in computers and other equipment.
* Businesses that repurchase debt at a lower amount than when it was issued will be able to defer taxes on it. Usually reduced or canceled debt is treated as income and taxed. The break applies to debt repurchased adjusted after Dec. 31, 2008, and before Jan. 1, 2011.
* A tax break on capital gains from the sale of stock held in a small business for more than five years.
* The bill raises about $7 billion in revenues by repealing a Treasury Department decision last year to liberalize rules that were intended to prevent companies in a merger from taking huge tax breaks on losses of firms they were acquiring.
Of course, I'm just in that first flush of puppy love, when a journalist meets a handsome young politician who just might be The One. Soon enough, I'll undoubtedly find things about him to hate. But frankly, it's rare enough to meet one I like. True love may have to wait.
"Does the governor have a volcano in his backyard?" Royce Pollard, the mayor of Vancouver, Washington, said on Wednesday. "We have one that's very active, and it still rumbles and spits and coughs very frequently."
Jindal singled out a $140 million appropriation for the U.S. Geological Survey as an example of questionable government spending during the GOP response to President Barack Obama's address to Congress Tuesday night.
The governor, a rising Republican star, questioned why "something called 'volcano monitoring' " was included in the nearly $800 billion economic stimulus bill Obama signed earlier this month.
And leaving aside the chutzpah of casting the failure of his own party’s governance as proof that government can’t work, does he really think that the response to natural disasters like Katrina is best undertaken by uncoordinated private action? Hey, why bother having an army? Let’s just rely on self-defense by armed citizens.
The intellectual incoherence is stunning. Basically, the political philosophy of the GOP right now seems to consist of snickering at stuff that they think sounds funny. The party of ideas has become the party of Beavis and Butthead.
Drinking Liberally is sponsoring the Tampa Bay Progressive Reading. The book to be discussed is "The Reluctant Fundamentalist."
President Barack Obama will use $10 billion of HUD money "to create green jobs, to revive housing markets with high rates of foreclosure, and curb homelessness." The money will come from the Promoting Stable Communities and Helping Families Hardest Hit by the Economic Crisis.
These investments will help communities and families that have experienced the brunt of the economic downturn. Resources will be used to stabilize and revive local neighborhoods and housing markets with heavy concentrations of foreclosed properties. Funds will also assist the vulnerable families and individuals who are on the brink of homelessness or have recently become homeless.
HUD is allocating nearly $1.5 billion to state and local governments to help rapidly re-house homeless persons and families who enter shelters. In addition, HUD's Homelessness Prevention Fund will significantly expand efforts to prevent homelessness among those facing a sudden economic crisis.
"Millions for the homeless? Let me see it. I pray to God that there's an honest bookkeeper," homeless man Charles Theus said.
Member of the Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust Board, Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Alvarez declared, "This record level of funding represents a continued commitment on behalf of U.S. HUD to help communities that have helped themselves. We are fortunate to have these additional funds to help these needy families and individuals; and grateful to HUD for their collaboration in addressing those most in need."
"Because [Chris] had a really good friend of his say to him, 'What are you going to do when you get there?' and he couldn't answer the question and he realized that, and that's why he didn't run," says Todd. "It was a childhood dream to be a senator, but he didn't know what he was going to do if he got there."
It is nice to know Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie share my contempt for Ryan Seacrest.
John Aravosis is not loved by the members of Pushing Rope. Tas has riped Aravosis here and here. Aravosis has written two posts accusing Sen. Richard Shelby of being a pedophilia. The posts were Aravosis's lame attempts to illustrate Shelby's accusion that President Barack Obama is not an American citizen are baseless.
Arlen Specter was one of just three Senate Republicans to buck his party and vote in favor of President Obama’s stimulus package. After he announced his decision, he says, a fellow GOP senator approached him in private to offer congratulations.
When asked, however, that unknown senator declined to join Specter because he was too afraid of drawing a primary challenge. He was glad somebody was doing the right thing, but he wouldn’t risk it himself.
As Specter put it, “there are a lot of people in the Republican caucus who are glad to see this action taken without their fingerprints, without their participation. … I think a good part of the caucus agrees with the person I quoted.”
I love Michael Steele. The new RNC chair is an endless supply of comedy material. Steele pledges to make the Republican Party more hip hop. Didn't they try that and fail with Karl "MC" Rove?
"We want to convey that the modern-day GOP looks like the conservative party that stands on principles," Steele told the Washington Times. "But we want to apply them to urban-suburban hip-hop settings."
"It will be avant garde, technically," he said of the new public relations team he's signing on. "It will come to the table with things that will surprise everyone - off the hook." He also added: "I don't do 'cutting-edge.' That's what Democrats are doing. We're going beyond cutting-edge."
Litbrit and I wrote about the murder of Ryan Keith Skipper. Joseph Bearden is accused of murdering Skipper. Equality Florida is urging citizens to voice their views.
As the trial of Ryan Skipper's accused murderer unfolds, it is clear that anti-gay hatred played a significant role in Ryan's murder. According to a witness who took the stand yesterday:
"He (Bearden) said he didn't like gays."
Prosecutors then revealed that the same witness previously told police:
"(Bearden) felt he was doing the world a favor by getting rid of one more faggot."
It is time to give out another Joel Award. The award is given to a blogger, politician or pundit whom makes glaringly obvious contradictory statements.
I am writing to communicate some additional thoughts concerning the economic stimulus package now under discussion in Congress.
This letter compliments our previous list of four infrastructure projects that would support construction of the Alaska natural gas pipeline. These bid-ready projects strongly reflect the goal of creating new jobs, both in construction and the operation of the pipeline, while also promoting sound national energy policy.
I strongly recommend that federal funds to states be allocated pursuant to formulas that are fair and equitable. As you know, formulas already exist in federal law for such programs as highways and bridges, aviation, and Medicaid. In those instances where there are no formulas- for example in the case of renewable energy projects and
ports and harbors-formulas and grant programs could be devised and included in the
economic stimulus package.
“I agree with the decision of Senator Murkowski and Congressman Young to vote NO on the package,” Governor Palin said.
The greatest joke around, is Our President Himself.... Black arab sits in the White House...nonsense...???
How could it be...Our New President - ''Usama'' Obama - is not the real Christian...He just bacame the Christian... for the Presidential term only...and then He will be again, as He always was -- The True Arab Believer...nonsense...I can't believe it...but it seems to be True..!!!
No, I'm not a racist..!!
In conversation, of course, it is used even more wildly than in print. I have heard it applied to farmers, shopkeepers, Social Credit, corporal punishment, fox-hunting, bull-fighting, the 1922 Committee, the 1941 Committee, Kipling, Gandhi, Chiang Kai-Shek, homosexuality, Priestley's broadcasts, Youth Hostels, astrology, women, dogs and I do not know what else.
Bachmann: I mean, if you think, ACORN - this is a group that's under Federal indictment...
Bachmann: ...for voter fraud. ACORN - they've received a total of $53 million in direct Federal Grants since 1994. Do you know how much they're getting under this (the stimulus) bill?
Baker: Like $4 billion, I've heard.
Bachmann: $5 Billion.
Baker? $5 billion?
Bachmann: For ACORN.
Education for the Disadvantaged $13,000,000,000 hmmm, Chicago and places like it? Can you say ACORN?
"We're running out of rich people in this country."
BECK: Alright! Let's just lay out all the cards on the table!
O'REILLY: Go ahead.
BECK: I'm full-fledged crazy nuts! You know it and I know it. So here it is.
(Beck turns to camera.)
BECK: This is what's coming America. Depression and revolution. That's what's coming.
BECK: They're gonna eat the rich.
(Beck points at O'Reilly.)
BECK: And they're starting with you.
O'REILLY: Why am I putting this man on the air?
(BECK gives a bizarre laugh.)
O'REILLY: So, are you selling muskets now?
The White House released a photo essay on how the stimulus package came about. It is nice to see Obama's staff taking a dig at Republicans.
Jan. 27, 2009: House Republicans surround the President after the meeting. Many of them were seeking his autograph. Every House Republican eventually voted against the bill.
The Onion pens of bogus eulogy for A-Rod.
"A-Rod was a person, but a much better baseball player," a statement from the New York Yankees' front office read in part.
In 2006, the Florida Supreme Court ruled against Opportunity Scholarships vouchers.
Using the same term, “adequate provision,” article IX, section 1(a) further states: “Adequate provision shall be made by law for a uniform, efficient, safe, secure, and high quality system of free public schools.” For reasons expressed more fully below, we find that the OSP violates this language. It diverts public dollars into separate private systems parallel to and in competition with the free public schools that are the sole means set out in the Constitution for the state to provide for the education of Florida’s children. This diversion not only reduces money available to the free schools, but also funds private schools that are not “uniform” when compared with each other or the public system. Many standards imposed by law on the public schools are inapplicable to the private schools receiving public monies. In sum, through the OSP the state is fostering plural, nonuniform systems of education in direct violation of the constitutional mandate for a uniform system of free public schools.
"Florida's nationally recognized accountability system, as established by the Florida Legislature, works to ensure that all students have the same opportunity to achieve at higher levels," a DOE spokeswoman told Ms. Green. "By circumventing Florida's prerequisites for a state-sanctioned diploma, districts do a disservice to our students and to our state as a whole."
The Wall Street Journal reports the Taliban agreed to a ten day cease-fire with the Pakistani government. The catch is the government will impose Islamic law in the Swat Valley. This will allow the Taliban to continue to violate the the civil rights of women. 162 girl schools were destroyed by Maulana Fazalullah and Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan.
“It’s been happening over time and it’s happened out of denial,” Zardari told CBS, when asked how militants had secured a foothold in the Swat Valley, only 250 kilometers (155 miles) north of the capital, Islamabad.
“Everyone was in denial that they’re weak and they won’t be able to take over, they won’t be able to give us a challenge,” Zardari said, in excerpts from the interview aired on the broadcaster’s Web site yesterday. “Our forces weren’t increased and therefore we have weaknesses, and they are taking advantage of that weakness.”
This picture has been around for awhile. However, I thought readers would get a kick out of Tas having his photo taken with Michelle Malkin. Tas was covering CPAC for Raw Story.
Labels: stimulus package
The Republican web site Rebuild the Party is posted information for a protest in Westlake Park, Seattle.
The protest against the porkulus is on for President's Day!
Date: Monday, February 16th
Time: 12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Where: Westlake Park in downtown Seattle, 401 Pine St., in the open area by the big arch.
The idea is to use what we've learned about dissent over the last eight years. We need loud protests with lots noise and visuals. So, what should you bring?
That is such an unsurprising response from your typical liberal, middle-aged, mocha drinking, Nordstrom's wearing, PCC shopping, haughty Seattleite who probably felt so darn proud that she wore an Obama pin for months raised a glass of real, fair trade, organic, French champagne on Inauguration day. It cracked me up.
Zencomix writes about his experience cartooning for alt-media. Editors gave Dave the pitch "we're giving you exposure." That translates into not being fairly compensated for work. News organizations are discontinuing political comic strips. My experience is Zen Comix brings traffic to Pushing Rope. The second most popular keyboard search on PR's Extreme stats counter is "cartoons." It makes no sense for print and web media to kill a popular feature.
During his first year in journalism, Zell has visited the city rooms and Washington bureaus of a number of Trib publications to deliver obscenity-laced warnings and threats to employees that whatever it was they were doing, it wasn't working. There was too much coverage of world and national affairs, he told Times writers and editors; readers don't want that stuff. Last week, the company decreed that its 12 papers would have to cut by 500 the number of pages they devoted every week to news, features and editorials, until the ratio of pages devoted to copy and pages devoted to advertising was a nice, even 1 to 1. At the Times, that would mean eliminating 82 pages a week.
The newspaper industry overall, both the daily and weekly "alternative" press, is in a state of total panic right now. 2008 was the worst year I've ever had, with desperate editors cutting cartoons right and left. Dailies, for all the suicidal moves they have made, at least aren't axing cartoons. They run wretched ones, to be sure, but they recognize how vital comics are. I believe Weeklies should be ADDING features and content, especially cartoons, which are both popular and inexpensive. Instead the strategy seems to be "let's give our readers LESS to read!" Yeah. Wonder how that will work out?
What makes this even more of a blow, is VVM will apparently continue to run the ubiquitious sex-advice-astrologly features that appear in virtually every weekly. It's mostly the cartoons that are being tossed off the back of the bus. Me? I'll produce THE CITY for as long as I can. I'm determined to make it to the 20-year mark, just for my own sense of accomplishment. That will be May 2010. Beyond that, who knows. If it makes sense to continue, I will. If not, then I'll close it down and toddle off to do graphic novels.
In need of an image makeover, Blackwater Worldwide changes it's name to Xe. If becoming a laughingstock is Blackwater's new PR goal then mission accomplished. I can't wait for the new logo.
Jeb Bush and Charlie Crist have left KidCare underfunded. Bush lost $20 million in federal funds for KidCare. Bush intentionally let KidCare funding die. The waiting list for children with medical needs was over 700,000. Parents were greeted with the answering machine message: "It is not possible to tell you where your child is on the wait list or how soon he or she will be enrolled."
"The Senate has been vilified about this, and that's okay, " Pruitt said. "But this didn't happen in the Florida Senate. It's just these providers and these groups finally got together to come up with an agreement, which they didn't, and the process we have here gave them ample time to do it."
And Crist's budget writers are going to have to deal with some troublesome details.
For example, the bill provides $87 billion nationally for Medicaid, the federal-state program that pays for medical care for the sick, elderly and poor. Medicaid enrollment in Florida is up by more than 10 percent.
But to qualify for the money, states are required to maintain the same level of Medicaid coverage that they provided in July.
Mother Jones reports where stimulus for transportation money is going.
Federal Aviation Administration infrastructure - $200,000,000
Grants-in-aid for airportsb- $1,100,000,000
Highway infrastructure investment - $26,725,000,000
Highway infrastructure investment in Puerto Rico - $105,000,000
Highway infrastructure funds distributed by states - $60,000,000
Highway funds for the Indian Reservation Roads program - $550,000,000
Labels: stimulus package
David Weigel of the Washington Independent asked several Republicans how their stimulus plan is going to create 6.2 million jobs. No Republican gave Weigal an answer. Republicans cited a 2007 study by White House CEA chair Christina Romer. I read this study last month. My memory is the study is insanely boring and does not deal with the current economic crisis. It does mentions tax cuts as a possible form of stimulus. Republicans ran with that.
Just ahead of a House vote that they're expected to lose along party lines, Republicans insisted Wednesday that their own plan, focusing on tax relief, would create twice as many new jobs — 6.2 million — as the plan Obama is pushing, while costing about half as much.
House Minority Leader John Boehner said Republicans remain "disappointed" in the stimulus plan coming to a vote. He says it includes a "lot of wasteful spending that won't create jobs."
CEA Director Romer’s view is that the House analysis is absolutely incorrect. The CEA estimates that the Republican plan would create only 1.7 million jobs, compared to 4.2 million for the Democratic plan.
Question: The House claims that based on the research of CEA Chair Christy Romer, their plan would create 6.2 million jobs. Isn’t that a more effective way of jumpstarting the economy?
Answer: The Republican House analysis is flat wrong in its claim that the House Republican stimulus is more effective. No matter what your analytical assumptions, as long as they are consistent the plan the President supports would result in substantially greater job creation than the House Republican plan.
Independent groups that have analyzed the President’s plan -- from Macroeconomic Advisors to former McCain advisor Mark Zandi -- have confirmed that the President’s plan will create between 3 - 4 million jobs--twice the number of the House plan. The President supports takes a broad, comprehensive approach. It includes substantial tax cuts – many of which mirror the provisions in the House Republican plan. But it also includes new spending programs that many economists across the spectrum believe will help create jobs and give our economy a kickstart right now.
Question: But doesn’t Dr. Romer’s research show that the economic impact of tax cuts is higher than even the Administration is assuming?
Answer: Dr. Romer’s research suggests that all types of fiscal stimulus, both spending and tax cuts, might well have a larger impact than is typically assumed and is assumed in the CEA's analysis. It would be great if that were so. It would mean more job creation and more economic activity -- which is exactly what we need right now. The Administration has based its analyses on more modest assumptions that are in line with those several independent forecasters – Republican and Democrat alike.
We should have an open discussion about these analytical issues.
We cannot afford to play political games with apples-to-oranges comparisons. Such political gamesw distract our attention from the magnitude of the substantive task at hand.