Sunday, July 31, 2011

This is What Bipartisanship Looks Like

Sen. John McCain McCain and Sen. Dick Durbin have an actual debate on the Senate floor. McCain and Dubin disagree on several points. McCain and Durbin do agree that the United States cannot default and that elected members of Congress must govern. McCain takes House Republicans to task for their insistence on a balanced budget amendment in the Constitution.

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Bernie Sanders Votes No on Debt Deal

Sen. Bernie Sanders issued this press release.

Sen. Bernie Sanders issued the following statement today after he voted against a Senate deficit- reduction proposal:

"The Republicans have been absolutely determined to make certain that the rich and large corporations not contribute one penny for deficit reduction, and that all of the sacrifice comes from the middle class and working families in terms of cuts in Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, LIHEAP, community health centers, education, Head Start, nutrition, MILC, affordable housing and many other vitally important programs.

"I cannot support legislation like the Reid proposal which balances the budget on the backs of struggling Americans while not requiring one penny of sacrifice from the wealthiest people in our country. That is not only grotesquely immoral, it is bad economic policy."

I guarantee Obama will act mystified when Republicans run ads that the president cut Social Security and Medicare.

Democrats can no longer accuse Republicans of supporting to cut SS and Medicare cuts (by supporting the Paul Ryan plan) when they themselves made actual cuts to the budget. This is a huge political win for Republicans. The GOP got their ideological cuts and can attack Democrats for making cuts to their sacred cows of the Left. The Republicans always intended to raise the debt ceiling. They knew Obama was a horrible negotiator. The Republicans bluffed and won.

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Saturday, July 30, 2011

Peter Schorsch Engaged

Congratulations to Peter Schorsch and Michelle Todd. They are getting married. Former Gov. Charlie Crist will be officiating the wedding.

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Friday, July 29, 2011

Friday Cat Blogging

Cat behaviorist Kevin Richardson is crazy.

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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Florida GLBT Democratic Caucus v. Allen West

The Florida GLBT Democratic Caucus has announced that it will boycott businesses that are members of the Wilton Manors Business Association. The reason is Rep. Allen West has been invited to speak to the WMBA on August 8th. The Florida GLBT Democratic Caucus will end the boycott if the WMBA rescinds its speaking invitation to West.

Rajner, who says the Florida GLBT Democratic Caucus has “[a]pproximately 13 chapters throughout the state of Florida,” today told The New Civil Rights Movement, “Several businesses have already dropped out of the Wilton Manors Business Association and several others have sent a strong message to the association’s president objecting to West’s appearance,” adding, “Whether or not a boycott will actually happen remains to be seen.”

“It was important for us to bring attention for the LGBT community to support businesses that help advance equality and social justice for all people,” Rajner added. “Wilton Manors is well known for businesses that support many of the LGBT-​communities efforts and often donate to worthy causes.”

Unsurprisingly, West is not happy about this. What is interesting is that West is also unhappy with the WMBA having the event open to the public. West has his staff screen questions and people attending his townhall meetings. West will have people arrested at his townhall meetings for asking questions he rather not answer.

West letter to the Wilton Manors Business Association.

However, I recently learned that the Wilton Manors Business Association has decided to hold its monthly meeting at the Hagen Park Community Center. Further, this meeting is to be open to the Wilton Manors community as an open forum for the entire public to attend. Clearly, this type of format was not discussed with my staff, and as I stated, this meeting was to discuss small business related issue.

West is really scared of having to answer questions off of his talking points.

While I am still looking forward to speaking with the Wilton Manors Business Association, I request that you take the necessary steps to ensure the format is focused on the Wilton Manors Business Association members. I look forward to the issues of such as access to capital, the national debt and the overall economy and hearing directly about South Florida business related concerns.

West is dictating what kind of questions he will answer. The West letter is below the fold.

Read more »

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Wisconsin Voter Suppression

An example of the confusing loopholes Wisconsin citizens are made to go through in order to obtain a voter ID card. If you are a homeless person trying to get an ID card or vote then you are probably out of luck.

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Quote of Day

"I think (incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen.) Bill Nelson will be very difficult to defeat, and the candidate who defeats him will have to be on the road 24-7."

Mike Haridopolos, former U.S. Senate candidate.

Bonus quote from Haridopolos.

"I can tell you one thing: I will not be supporting Adam Hasner for the Senate."


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Who said it -- Pamela Geller or Anders Behring Breivik?

"In late 2007 and early 2008, I was involved in a heated argument with ... Little Green Footballs and its owner Charles Johnson. I haven't been thinking much about it since then because it consumed too much energy and I found it to be a waste of time."

Guess correctly and you win a non-islamophobic cookie.

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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Maria McKee - Belfry

An old Lone Justice song Maria McKee performed on 2006 acoustic tour.

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More on Bondi Foreclosure Scandal

Florida state Rep. Darren Soto is requesting documents from Attorney General Pam Bondi pertaining to the terminations of assistant attorney generals Theresa Edwards and June Clarkson. Edwards publicly stated that she and Clarkson were fired for foreclosure mills too aggressively. Edwards is suggesting that Bondi places protecting banks and law firms illegally foreclosing on homeowners above protecting consumers.

Soto's letter to Bondi.

July 27, 2011

Pam Bondi, Attorney General

Office of Attorney General
State of Florida
The Capitol PL-01
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1050

Re – Public Records Request for Documents Related to Termination of Theresa Edwards and June Clarkson

Dear Madam General,

It has come to my attention that two assistant attorney generals, Theresa Edwards and June Clarkson, were recently terminated by your office for poor performance. However, public records indicate that these terminations occurred while they were in the midst of successful mortgage fraud litigation and in spite of prior successful reviews. As a member who represents an area ravaged by foreclosure fraud, these terminations present an overwhelming public concern.

REQUEST IS HEREBY MADE pursuant to Public Records Act, Chapter 119 of the Florida Statutes that your office provides me with any and all records related to job performance of Theresa Edwards and June Clarkson within the past 3 years. Please also provide a list of all case numbers for all currently active cases managed by Theresa Edwards and June Clarkson for your office as well as the amounts of any settlements occurring within the past 3 years in any cases managed by Theresa Edwards or June Clarkson along with corresponding case number.

If you have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact my office. Thank you in advance for your attention to this matter.


Darren M. Soto

Progress Florida is running a petition asking for an investigation into the terminations of Edwards and Clarkson.

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Profile in Courage: Dean Cannon

Florida House Speaker Dean Cannon didn't show up to the redistricting hearing in his own district. That might have something to do with Cannon ordering the House to file a lawsuit against the Fair Districts amendment that were approved with 60 percent of the vote. Voters are irked that Cannon is using tax dollars to fight against ending gerrymandered districts.

One speaker Wednesday said he was disappointed Cannon “didn’t have the guts to show up” for the hearing to explain himself.

Orange County League of Women Voters President Charlie Williams, who lives in Cannon’s district, also said he was disappointed the speaker wasn’t present. He also read from court filings the House’s outside counsel, GrayRobinson, had filed stating the Legislature had a “substantial interest” in invalidating Amendment 6.

“This is not acceptable this must stop. Let’s move forward.”

There have been questions by voters on why the Florida legislature has refused to show early maps of the districts. There are also questions about the software being used to draw the districts. Cannon's no show act doesn't inspire confidence.

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Rick Scott: Don't Raise the Debt Ceiling

Gov. Rick Scott is either pandering to the tea party or is absolutely clueless about the effects not raising the debt ceiling would have on Florida.

"The impact would be minimal," Scott said.

The markets have already started to panic about the debt ceiling not being raised.


Despite this Scott says the markets will be just fine.

"I don't think anybody knows, because it's never happened," he said. "I believe the markets understand where the federal government is. They understand where the spending is, so I think the market has already priced it in."

Several states will go broke without federal revenue. Scott's own internal report shows that health care services would be shutdown. There is uncertainty in what other Florida agencies would have to shutdown. Scott's solution is don't raise the debt ceiling.

Scott was thrown off in the CNN interview when it was pointed out to him the debt is not current spending but repayment previous borrowed money from past bills created by Congress. Scott also sticks to the talking points. When Scott is forced off the talking points he sounds clueless. Scott is so clueless that he is advocating that the United States breaks the 14th amendment and not pay its debt.

Update: Adam Weinstein has harsh words for Scott's appearance on CNN.

Scott's latest crusade is to argue against any rise in the federal debt ceiling—an issue in which he has no official say, and whose basic economic consequences he seems to grasp not one jot. (This week, Scott said Florida would see no effects from a US default; his opponent in last year's gubernatorial race, former state CFO Alex Sink, called his statement "clueless...That's Florida Budgeting 101.") The beleaguered guv took his case to CNN today, and managed to get himself yelled at by two anchors. At one point, Ali Velshi gave up. "Why is this difficult for you to understand, governor?"

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Tina Dupuy Now At Crooks and Liars

One of my favorite people Tina Dupuy has been hired as managing editor of Crooks and Liars. When I first started reading Tina's blog she was a stand-up comedian. Tina explained in an interview she started freelancing articles after a blogger wrote about her writing.

It's a great exercise as a writer. A guy wrote on his blog that I wrote better than some columnists. You'd think I'd be flattered. Yet, I immediately thought, "Wow. I'm a loser. I should submit my work to newspapers." So I started doing that. A couple of pieces have gotten published. Which may have not happened if I wasn't obsessively writing a blog almost everyday for two years.

Who was that asshole made Tina feel bad.

“But her blog posts are humorous and on target. She writes better than many columnists.” -Michael Hussey in 2005

Congratulations to Tina. Here is a video of Tina from her stand-up comedy days.

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Triangulation Man: Liberal Support For Obama Erodes

The CNN poll showing Obama losing support with liberal voters is not an anomaly. The latest Washington Post shows President Obama suffering a significant loss with liberal voters.

The Post-ABC poll found that the number of liberal Democrats who strongly support Obama’s record on jobs plunged 22 points from 53 percent last year to 31 percent. The number of African Americans who believe the president’s actions have helped the economy has dropped from 77 percent in October to just over half of those surveyed.

Bill Clinton didn't beat Bob Dole in 1996 because Dick Morris' triangulation strategy was brilliant. The economy was growing, there was peace and Clinton was a superb candidate. The Clintonites used triangulation as cynically as the Reaganites sold supply side economics. Clinton was never obsessed with school uniforms. Reagan's economic team wanted to tax to shrink government. The Reaganites never believed that tax cuts would create surpluses.

The problem with current Democrats and Republicans is they take the talking points of popular president as policy gospel. Obama is getting his ass kicked truing to be triangulate when he should pushing job creation. Republicans failed miserably with supply side economics during the Bush years. That hasn't stopped Obama or Republicans from governing from cynical talking points of previous administrations.

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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Will Quinlan and The Diviners - Navasota

Question: anyone see the fight Will Quinlan and Joe Popp had at the Hub? I like to know story behind that.

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Bill Maher Sets Off Obamabots

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Bill Maher's appearance on The Last Word sent the Obamabots into a frenzy on Twitter. Maher told Lawrence O'Donnell that Obama was arguing about the debt ceiling on Republican terms. Which is absolutely true. Maher also said he likes Obama and the president is dealing with an unreasonable opposition party. The Obamabots reacted like Maher accused Obama of treason.

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Why the Boehner Debt Ceiling Plan Died

The Congressional Budget Office found that the John Boehner debt ceiling cut plan would only cut $890 billion from the budget from the budget from 2012 to 2021. The cuts aren't radical enough for Boehner to get his caucus behind it.

Relative to the adjusted March baseline, proposed budget authority would be $840 billionlower and outlays $710 billion lower over the 2012-2021 period. Relative to the January baseline, excluding funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and for similar activities, the proposed caps would lower budget authority by nearly $1.1 trillion and outlays by about $890 billion over the 2012-2021 period (see Table 1).

The one Republican that was behind it was Rep. Allen West. It had nothing to do with Milton Friedman economic theories.. House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy showed the Republican caucus the Ben Affleck movie The Town. The scene that West made his decision on the future of America's private and public financial system was a scene of Affleck's and Jeremy Renner's characters talking about fucking up some local hoodlums.

Ben Affleck: I need your help. I can’t tell you what it is. You can never ask me about it later. And we’re going to hurt some people.

Jeremy Renner: Which car are we going to take?

Republicans aides told the Washington Post West's reaction to this inspiring message on economic policy.

After showing the clip, Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.), one of the most outspoken critics of leadership among the 87 freshmen, stood up to speak, according to GOP aides.

“I’m ready to drive the car,” West replied, surprising many Republicans by giving his full -throated support for the plan.

Words fail me.

Below is the CBO score of Boehner's plan.

House Budget Control Act

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Quote of the Day

"Here's the thing about #EmoProgs who think 8 years of Romney rule will make the public hungry for a hot cuppa liberalism."

Angry Black Lady, on Twitter.

No, I don't. A Romney presidency would be a disaster. An Obama presidency of mandating people buy private health insurance (that doesn't deal with public or private health costs), entitlement cut proposals, TSA body searches, warrantless wiretapping, and protecting AIG bonuses make me long for a progressive presidency. We live in a democracy where we can disagree with our elected leaders. Citizens should question the policies of our elected officials. Not blindly follow our leaders.

Excuse me. I have to go listen to Badly Drawn Boy now.

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President O'Bachmann

Michele Bachmann tells a crowd of supporters:

""I know you're not used to seeing a president without teleprompters, but I'm just here to tell you President O'Bach -- President Bachmann will not have teleprompters in the White House."

Bachmann definately will have teleprompters if she gets into the White House. God help us if that happens.

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Rubio on Romney's VP Shortlist

Chris Cillizza reports that Marco Rubio is on Mitt Romney's VP shortlist.

Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney is already working on his vice presidential pick. At a fundraiser in Virginia Beach yesterday, he named Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio as his running-mate shortlist. Of course, since this event was in Virginia, most of the praise went to McDonnell.

I'm sure conservative bloggers and pundits will point out that Rubio is an untested freshman Senator and former state legislator. Just like they did when Barack Obama ran in 2008. Because I know Glenn Reynolds, Michelle Malkin and Sean Hannity pride themselves on journalistic fairness.

In my defense, I had problems with Obama during the 2008 election.

There are progressives willing to ignore Obama's disregard for civil liberties. Kenneth Quinnell talked about how progressives should not call Obama a flip flopper. Quinnell went as far to say that Obama's FISA position has been consistent. Obama's office said the Senator "unequivocally opposes" immunity and "To be clear: Barack will support a filibuster of any bill that includes retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies." Quinnell's podcast is as laughable as Glenn Reynolds' posts about how well Bush has run the Iraq war.

I didn't get into blogging to become an unofficial campaign staffer for Barack Obama. I won't use the excuse that he is better than John McCain. I will freely disagree with Obama or any other candidate.

A Ford Pinto will get a person from point A to B faster than walking. That doesn't mean the Pinto suddenly became a great car. Just because Obama isn't John McCain doesn't mean he didn't flip flop on FISA. Citizens should question candidates positions on policy. Not worship them as if they were royalty.

It seems I had a problem the blogger who shall not be named before the 2010 election.

Obama really cracked down on those telecom companies that wiretapped. Oh wait...

Back on subject: Rubio would be a disaster as vice-president. Rubio made this staggeringly stupid statement.

America is pretty much the only military power in human history that has not used his power to conquer land and grow it's terrotory.

Rubio is clueless about the genocide of Indians or the war with Mexico to take Texas. America has fought several wars to take lands. This is the same Rubio that says the federal government has to live within its means but spent $110,000 on a Republican Party of Florida credit card and defaulted on a house. Rubio does not have the intellectual capacity to be a heartbeat away from the presidency.

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Hasner's Latest Nutty Mailer

I agree with Peter Schorsch's assessment of Adam Hasner's horrible mailer. Hasner proves himself to be an unserious man by stating that he is being attacked by a "terrorist front group." There are real terrorists and for Hasner to imply that he has been attacked by terrorists is a ccowardly attempt at attention. It is also a slanderous remark towards CAIR. The organization CAIR exists to fight bigotry towards Muslims. The exact bigotry Hasner used in his mailer. This tone Hasner is taking has Rick Wilson's work written all over it.

Hasner attacks George LeMieux for Charlie Crist's cap and trade policy. The hypocrisy is amazing. Hasner himself supported cap and trade. Hasner goes on to attack Crist. Apparently, Hasner hasn't gotten the memo that Crist is not running in the 2012 Republican primary for U.S. Senate.

Wilson has probably told Hasner he needs to move away from his previous moderate image. The trouble is Wilson is a hard-right conservative. Bashing Charlie Crist and Muslims may play well in the Republican primary. In the general election Bill Nelson's team will paint Hasner has an unhinged extremist.

Side note: Hasner's attacks on Crist are bound to piss off Schorsch. I can guarantee Schorsch will use his blog and political consultant power to make Hasner pay. Schorsch is the defacto protector of the Crist brand. Schorsch's girlfriend Michelle Todd worked on Crist's campaign. It is safe to say Schorsch will work on Crist's next campaign.

Adam Hasner's Fundraising Letter Attacking George Lemieux

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David Ramba: Class Act II

Attorney David Ramba was a supporter of David Rivera's 2010 campaign. Ramba published Rivera's Democratic opponent Joe Garcia's phone number in a campaign mailer. It was a pathetic political hit job.

Ramba is in the news again. Ramba is cold calling and sending direct mailers to troubled homeowners. The callers promise that Ramba's office can get loan modifications or mortgage settlements. Homeowners must pay $5,000 in advance for Ramba's legal services. Desperate homeowners have signed up.

"They told me they only had two more spaces," Davin Spring told the St. Petersburg Times. "They got me hook, line and sinker." Spring said he received a mailer from Ramba's office. Furthermore the Florida Bar bans cold calling. Mailers have to be approved by the Florida Bar which Ramba's office has not done.

Likewise, any direct-mail piece sent by a lawyer must be reviewed by the Florida Bar. Though Ramba said his mailer conforms with the group's advertising guidelines, a spokeswoman for the Bar said she does not have any record that he submitted it for review.

On Friday, Ramba said in an e-mail that no mailers have yet been sent by the Pinellas Park office. "The office manager down in your area informed me that they HAD NOT sent anything out with my information on it," he said.

He did not respond to an e-mail asking how Spring and Sandland would have known to call that office if they had not received mailers with the phone number on it.

Ramba attempted the make Times reporter Kris Hundley belived that the Florida Bar signed off on the mailers. Ramba claimed that he wasn't sending out mailers from his office. However, Ramba refused to answer questions about how Spring and Sandland got the mailers. The Florida Bar needs to investigate Ramba.

One thing Ramba is unapologetic about is his $5,000 up front fee.

"The legal system is available to folks, but it's not free," he said in a recent phone interview. "By coming together, homeowners will receive the same benefit someone with a lot of means could do on their own."

My question is how long is Ramba going to be allowed to practice law. The story has made Wall Street Journal Law Blog. This story has legs.

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Tea Party Nation Urban Survival Course

Benjamin Kirby received a hysterical right-wing e-mail. Tea party activists want to halt the restoration of mosques in Muslim countries. Perhaps banning the restoration of Catholic churches in Italy was too ambitious a project.

I am on the Tea Party Nation e-mail list. The daily ramblings of Judson Phillips is better than reading The Onion. Phillips and business associates are huckstering people with an urban survival mini-course. This course will teach you how to survive the natural disasters, terrorist attacks, riots and the "out-of-control inflation like what Argentina, Zimbabwe, and the Weimar Republic experienced." Apparently, Robert Rubin is an instructor for the survival mini-course.

Can you say scam? I knew you could.

The text of the e-mail below the fold. Beware of misplaced capital leters in the text. What is it with conservatives and the caps key?

Read more »

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Studio@620 Community Meeting

Studio@620 is hosting a meeting to let people know how they can get involved and help make St. Petersburg a better place.

Time Wednesday, July 27 · 7:00pm - 10:00pm
Location The Studio@620
620 1st Ave South
Saint Petersburg, FL

Created By The Studio@620

More Info: The people of New Roots News and The Studio@620 would like to invite you to Contribute, a public event focused on the significance of community participation to be held at The Studio@620 on Wednesday July 27 at 7 PM. Admission is free and open to the public.

Read more »

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Monday, July 25, 2011

Standard and Poors Places United States on Credit Watch

Standard and Poors have placed several United States financial assets on negative credit watch placement. This means the United States will lose its AAA rating if it doesn't resolve the debt ceiling crisis. It also depends on how the debt ceiling is raised.

However, S&P has said it could move "even if a debt-reduction deal is met and the $14.29 trillion federal debt ceiling is raised. S&P has cited $4 trillion in debt reduction as a figure that would be appropriate for keeping the triple-A rating. S&P has also said it wants a credible agreement, meaning one that has bipartisan support."

Americans could have their homes foreclosed upon, if the Treasury Department cannot make bond payments for Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. S&P has also place a negative credit watch on subsidized public housing and mortgage-backed securities. The federral government took more bad mortgages to bailout banks. This is many homeowners at potential risk.

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Quote of the Day

"I didn't sign up for going mano-a-mano with the President of the United States."

Speaker John Boehner, overheard by Jill Jackson of CBS News.

The stress of the debt ceiling debate is getting to Boehner. The Speaker knows the debt ceiling debate has become insane. Boehner can't back down because of the tea party of Eric Cantor looking to usurp him from power.


Governor Skeletor on the Internet

Behold the Governor Skeletor web sites on Facebook and at The blog posts such gems like this.

What does the performance of these children have to do with how profitable these schools are for me? It's for the best that they never learn how to read and write. Kids who are taught to think will be more likely to ask questions about why they're being sent to labor camps.

I believe Peter Schorsch first came up with the nickname Skeletor for Rick Scott. I know this because a reliable source informed me of this. That source would be Peter Schorsch.

So I googled “Rick Scott + Skeletor” and the first, and practically only, reference to such a search is on Saint Petersblog.

So now, here comes Mac Stipanovich doing his “I’m the wise old man of Tallahassee” routine, cribbin’ my line abour Rick Scott lookin’ like Skeletor.

That’s almost as bad as wtching Frank Langella play Skeletor in the live action version of Masters of the Universe. Actually, nothing’s that bad.

Peter actually watched the Masters of the Universe movie? Really?

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I Can Lick Any Sonofabitch In The House - Swing Man Swing

Learn more about the band at their web site.

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The Weird Worldview of Judson Phillips

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Judson Phillips falsely claimed that Jared Loughner is a "card carrying liberal." Another bizarre conspiracy theory from Phillips is that President Obama won because his campaign was funded by Hamas. Phillips suggested that Boehner should face the wrath of tea party activist if the Speaker raises the debt ceiling.

Phillips is lying on MSNBC when he says he would like to see the debt ceiling raised. Phillips gives away his true intention by twice dodging the question on if the debt ceiling should be raised. The third time Phillips says he does not believe the effect of not raising the debt ceiling would be bad. We are already seeing the futures markets and other countries panicking over the debt ceiling being unresolved.

Why question is why is MSNBC bringing a conspiracy theorist to talk about the debt ceiling?

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Obama: Master Negotiator

This is the take it or leave it deal President Barack Obama is offering Republicans.

The White House is squarely backing a proposal by Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) that would raise the debt limit through 2012 while making $2.7 trillion in spending cuts -- and providing no tax revenue.

The onus is now on Republicans to sign onto Reid's deal or continue to test the financial markets' stability as the clock runs down on the Aug. 2 deadline to raise the nation's borrowing limit or face default.

John Boehner offered Obama a $2 trillion deal with (don't laugh) that Republicans would down the road vote for tax increases. Obama took the deal. Boehner couldn't get his caucus to agree on sticking Obama on tax increases down the road. Any talk of raising taxes, even under a bargaining lie, was toxic to tea party Republicans. In the end: Obama negotiated a deal that gave Boehner more than what he asked for.

I'm sorry, but I have a hard time taking Obama seriously.

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Emily's List Candidate: Val Demings

Val Demings has made Emily's List.

Val regularly appears on “Who’s Who” lists like “Central Florida’s Top Power Players,” and “Orlando’s 50 Most Powerful People.” Today I’m thrilled to announce she’s “On the List” -- as one of the pro-choice Democratic women candidates we’ve singled out for early and enthusiastic support -- as well! Val has been called a “trailblazer” for her successful efforts to target illegal guns and drugs, crack down on domestic violence and step up community policing, all of which resulted in a 10.1% drop in crime -- which the city’s mayor called the “most dramatic… in the history of the city of Orlando.”

Demings was Orlando's Orlando’s first female chief of police. She retired in June. Demings announced her candidacy shortly after her retirement. It is obvious that Demings has been planning on running for quite some time. Mayor Buddy Dyer supported her as police chief. It will be interesting to see if Dyer is involved with Demings campaign.

Demings will run for Congress against District 8 incumbent Daniel Webster. Demings may face Alan Grayson in the primary. Grayson hasn't announced what seat he is running for because of redistricting. Demings will have a hard time fundraising if Grayson runs in the same district.

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Why American Research Group Poll is Suspect

Gov. Rick Perry leads a Republican presidential candidates in the American Research Group poll. This automatically struck me as fishy. Perry hasn't offically declared himself a candidate. The poll only sampled 600 people. The question's wording.

If the 2012 Republican presidential preference primary were being held today between (names rotated) Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Rudy Giuliani, Jon Huntsman, Gary Johnson, Sarah Palin, Ron Paul, Tim Pawlenty, Rick Perry, Charles Roemer, Mitt Romney, and Rick Santorum, for whom would you vote?

Why include Sarah Palin and Rudy Giuliani? It is obvious they are not going to run. It would have been better to poll declared candidates and another polling question with declared candidates and potential candidates.

Go to the American Research Group web site. There is no information on who runs the company or its customers. Blogger Jacksonian did research and found AMG is run by La Fell Bennett aka Dirk Bennett.

AMG has a history of running polls for Republicans and getting the results wrong.

The New Hampshire-based American Research Group's tracking poll ended up buried deepest in the snow bank: They had Bush winning by two the day before the primary, merely 20 points off the mark. On the Democratic side, the losing pollster at least got the winner right: The Quinnipiac poll predicted Gore would win by 17 percentage points, but he actually won by four.

It was the second debacle for ARG in as many New Hampshire Republican primaries. The day before the 1996 contest, ARG's Dick Bennett told the Union Leader, "It looks like Dole's going to win," based on the Kansan's seven point advantage in their tracking poll. He didn't, losing to Pat Buchanan by a single percentage point.

Bennett only polls people with landlines. This leaves out young people and skews his polls to older conservatives.

Another interesting tidbit is Bennett's own attorney Kendall W. Lane turned against him. Bennett's father died. Bennett was a co-chair of a trust with his mother Jane Bennett. Bennent had his mother placed in a nursing home and declared mentally incompetent. Bennett's three sisters got suspicious about Bennett's reports of the value of the trust. The case went to the New Hampshire Supreme Court.

The Rules of Professional Conduct define "reasonably believes" to mean that "the lawyer believes the matter in question and that the circumstances are such that the belief is reasonable." N.H. R. Prof. Conduct Terminology (2005). The evidence indicates that Lane knew that Dick Bennett, along with Jane Bennett, was a co-trustee of the trust created after Robert Bennett’s death. Lane knew that in August 1995, Dick Bennett provided an accounting showing that the trust had over $300,000 exclusive of certain real estate. However, in March 1996, Lane learned from Ann Kunz Bennett that Dick Bennett was concerned about the trust finances. In May 1996, Lane learned of another accounting showing a balance of $65,917. In August 1996, Lane learned that Ann Kunz Bennett had discovered an invoice and a cancelled check indicating the existence of a John Hancock policy. Lane corroborated the existence of the policy by contacting John Hancock. Lane also learned that the $100,000 proceeds from the policy had been paid into a joint account in the names of Jane and Dick Bennett. Neither the existence of the policy nor the deposit into the account had been disclosed by Dick Bennett in any of the accountings for the estate or the trust. In addition, Lane knew that Dick Bennett had denied the existence of the insurance policy.

At the time of the disclosure, Lane knew that there had been a large, sudden and mysterious diminution of the trust assets between August 1995 and May 1996. Lane knew that there was a life insurance policy payable to Jane Bennett, that Dick Bennett knew about the policy, that Dick Bennett had not disclosed the existence of the policy, that the proceeds had been deposited into a joint account to which Dick Bennett had access and that, in fact, Dick Bennett had denied that there was any insurance policy. In light of the above facts, we conclude that Lane proved by a preponderance of the evidence the applicability of Rule 1.6(b) as an exception to Rule 1.9. Accordingly, the evidence supports the referee’s finding that Lane reasonably believed that his disclosure was necessary to prevent future criminal activity by Dick Bennett, see RSA 638:11, I.

In concluding that Lane could not have had a subjective belief that his disclosure was required to prevent the commission of a crime because he was aware of a possible innocent explanation for Bennett's conduct, the dissent places the bar too high. Lane's reasonable belief need not have been beyond a reasonable doubt. Lane's belief could well have been founded upon a conclusion that Dick Bennett was likely committing a crime, that of taking money from his mother or the estate, and would continue to do so.

Similarly, the dissent's conclusion that Lane could not have formed a subjective belief that Dick Bennett was currently or would in the future engage in criminal activity because all the evidence of suspected wrongdoing was circumstantial is without merit. Crimes can be established beyond a reasonable doubt with circumstantial evidence alone. Therefore, a mere reasonable belief based upon the preponderance of the evidence that a crime is now or will likely be committed could certainly serve as the basis for a subjective belief.

Lane was brought to the New Hampshire Supreme Court for a six month suspension for turning against his client Bennett. Fortunately for Lane, the court found Bennett's behavior so sleazy that he only got a public censure.

Considering Lane's past behavior with money, it is fair to ask who is paying for the ARG polls. If Bennett is being paid by by certain candidates that perform well in ARG polls then this should be known to the public. I have not seen Rick Perry lead in any Florida polls. It is fair to ask if Perry is a client of ARG. Sadly, the media and bloggers run this poll without asking these questions.

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Sunday, July 24, 2011

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Deanna

Henry Rollins talks about meeting Cave and being pulled onstage to sing on Deanna.

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Futures Market Down

The futures market is taking a big dive. Wall Street is officially in panic mode. Congress needs to raise the debt ceiling ASAP.

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Write A Caption: McConnell & Reid

Smiles were shared by all after Mitch McConnell and Harry Reid learned they were twin brothers.

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Horrible Tweet by Dennis Ross

Congressman Ross, the suspected shooter Anders Behring Breivik is described by local police as a "right-wing Christian fundamentalist."

I try to stay away from news stories involving tragedy. Especially when I don't know the facts. I went out of my way to avoid following the Casey Anthony story. Those posts generate traffic but it really isn't worth it.

Hat tip to Pensito Review.

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Tim Pawlenty is the Comeback Kid

Tim Pawlenty's latest commercial portrays the candidate as "The Comeback Kid."

Not many candidates brag about creating a $5 billion deficit and shutting down the Minnesota government. The catch is Pawlenty was no longer governor during the shutdown. That is like Andrew Fastow bragging making making Enron go bankrupt after he was fired as CFO.

Not many presidential candidates 6 months away from the first primary and caucus points out that he is behind in the polls.

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Anwar Richardson School of Economics Award: Tim Pawlenty

Anwar Richardson School of Economics Award is given to people that make economic claims that have no basis in reality. The award is named after sports writer Anwar Richardson making up stories about Brett Farve becoming a Tampa Bay Buccaneer and the economic impact Farve would have on Tampa. Richardson wrote these stories without citing any sources.

Tim Pawlenty is getting plenty of attention for calling President Barack Obama a "chicken." Pawlenty played chicken when Candy Crowley pointed out that "cut, cap and balance" is not going to pass in the Senate. Pawlenty avoids answering what concessions he would make in order to get the debt ceiling raised.

CROWLEY: Sure, but where would you -- what I'm asking is where we -- I think we know what you would push for, where would you compromise? Because "cut, cap, and balance" is not passing the Senate. You have to come up with something. And so I guess my question is, where do you -- where's the give here, if there is? Because you have to get it passed the Senate and the Senate is controlled by Democrats?

PAWLENTY: Yes. Well, first, let's -- I do want to say, let's remember how we got here. President Obama took office with a $500 billion or so deficit, and he ran it up the deficit to $1.5 trillion -- excuse me, $1.5 trillion.

CROWLEY: Can I just interject that he inherited two wars. He inherited an ongoing prescription drug plan that was passed under the Bush administration, and a recession that went deeper and deeper.

Troop levels are down in Iraq. Obama has increased combat operations in Afghanistan. Obama also authorize the use of airstrikes in Libya. Three wars cost money. Best of all is Pawlenty dodges the question of how he would break the Congressional gridlock on raising the debt ceiling. For someone who is questioning the courage of the President, Pawlenty isn't displaying his own courage.

Pawlenty repeats the line that Obama inherited a $500 billion deficit from President Bush.

PAWLENTY: The two wars were taking place under President Bush at a larger level in Iraq. So, again, when President Bush left office there was a $500 billion deficit. Now it's about $1.5 trillion under President Obama's watch. He tripled the deficit of this country.

Actually, Obama inherited a $1.2 trillion deficit from Bush. From the CBO January 2009 report.

CBO projects that the deficit this year will total $1.2 trillion, or 8.3 percent of GDP. Enactment of an economic stimulus package would add to that deficit. In CBO’s baseline, the deficit for 2010 falls to 4.9 percent of GDP, still high by historical standards.

Pawlenty is off by $700 billion from the CBO deficit numbers. The fact that Pawlenty repeats this means it is a talking point. Pawlenty receives a Joy-Ann Reid Award for knowingly lying. I could buy Rick Santorum being too stupid to know the real deficit numbers. Pawlenty does not get that free pass.

Pawlenty's support for the "cut, cap and balance" bill shows how unserious he is. It is impossible to get a balance budget amendment into the Constitution before August 2nd. It doesn't matter to Pawlenty because he refuses to acknowledge reality.

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Democratic Caucus Angry At the White House

The Obama team has handled their caucuses poorly since the beginning of their administration. President Barack Obama and his team not informing the Democratic caucuses that they made a deal with Republicans to extend the Bush tax cuts was a move that created bad blood. Sen. Diane Feinstein told CNN that she could not get a straight answer from Jacob Lew on the White House negotiations with Republicans on the debt ceiling.

"Are discussions going on or not?" she said. "We couldn't get an answer. Then you pick up the morning paper and all you see right-hand (side), above the fold, front page (is) about all these discussions going on. It's hard. It's hard."

The CNN article backs up previous reports that Democrats went ballistic on Lew. The White House fails to realize that Democrats still control the Senate. House Speaker John Boehner and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell have shown in the past that they cannot deliver their caucuses. Republicans place fear of the tea party over fiscal sanity. These Republicans figure their nay votes are safe because enough Democrats will pass vote to raise the debt ceiling. That is less likely with Obama offering entitlement cuts and no concessions from Republicans.

Benjamin Kirby offers this argument on Obama's strategy.

The president offered to cut Medicare and Social Security -- central tenets of Democratic policy and politics -- and yet the other side apparently doesn't have the capacity to accept a deal. I know progressive bloggers whose heads are exploding right now. They have totally turned on Obama and his supporters. From my view, it's about making a deal before we essentially destroy the republic.

Obama doesn't have to offer anything. Boehner and McConnell have made it clear that they intend to raise the debt ceiling. They know Wall Street will cut off campaign contributions to the GOP if the debt ceiling is not raised. There are enough Democrats and Republican Wall Street lackeys to raise the debt ceiling. Many Republicans will not vote to raise the debt ceiling once they know McConnell and Boehner have the votes. It doesn't matter as long as the debt ceiling is raised.

Obama is offering entitlement cuts because he is triangulating. I wrote that Obama extended the Bush tax cuts because he wanted to appeal to independent voters. If Obama really cared about the debt and budget deficit he would have never extended the tax cuts. This is why Obama isn't going after tax cuts for top earners. Obama is as unserious about the debt as Marco Rubio.

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Quote of the Day

"It is also true, incidentally, that America is very low-tax compared to other developed countries. So nobody likes to pay taxes, everybody says ‘my taxes are too damn high,’ and they’re right, except that if we want services and the services we want — we want to protect democracy, you have to have men and women who are willing able to go overseas and able to be supplied…I pay my taxes and I get pretty good value for my taxes. I live in the greatest democracy in the world."

Obama and Republicans won't offer universal health care. However, they have no problem giving companies $700 billion-a-year to offer health insurance to their employees. Repealing the tax subsidy of oil companies would save $18 billion. The list goes on. Republicans won't allow these tax breaks to be repealed and Obama isn't going to fight them on the issue.

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Saturday, July 23, 2011

Bernie Sanders Suggests Obama Faces A Primary Challenger

Progressives have talked about President Barack Obama facing a primary challenger. No one as prominent Sen Bernie Sanders has uttered the words until now.

SANDERS: Brian, believe me, I wish I had the answer to your question. Let me just suggest this. I think there are millions of Americans who are deeply disappointed in the president; who believe that, with regard to Social Security and a number of other issues, he said one thing as a candidate and is doing something very much else as a president; who cannot believe how weak he has been, for whatever reason, in negotiating with Republicans and there’s deep disappointment. So my suggestion is, I think one of the reasons the president has been able to move so far to the right is that there is no primary opposition to him and I think it would do this country a good deal of service if people started thinking about candidates out there to begin contrasting what is a progressive agenda as opposed to what Obama is doing. [...] So I would say to Ryan [sic] discouragement is not an option. I think it would be a good idea if President Obama faced some primary opposition.

Sanders is right about the politics. Obama is willing to offer Medicare and Social Security cuts because he feels no pressure from the Left. A formidable primary challenger would force Obama to govern more left of center. Besides Hillary Clinton, Al Gore and Howard Dean, there isn't a candidate that jump into the race and quickly raise money. Clinton and Gore have neoliberal governing tendencies like Obama. Dean has no interest in running in 2012. Dean will probably run in 2016.

A recent CNN poll shows Obama losing support among liberals. Sanders openly floats the idea of a primary challenger. If the economy gets worse the activists that made phone calls and volunteered hours to get Obama elected weren't vote Republican. They will stay home.

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Why Cut, Cap & Balance is Clownish Legislation

How unserious are Republicans about the debt ceiling. The House Republicans "Cut, Cap and Balance" bill states that they won't raise the debt ceiling until they get a balanced budget amendment into the Constitution.

(a) IN GENERAL.—The Secretary of the Treasury shall not exercise the additional borrowing authority provided under subsection (b) until the Archivist of the United States transmits to the States H.J. Res. 1 in the form reported on June 23, 2011, S.J. Res. 10 in the form introduced on March 31, 2011, or H.J. Res. 56 in the form introduced on April 7, 2011, a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution, or a similar amendment if it requires that total outlays not exceed total receipts, that contains a spending limitation as a percentage of GDP, and requires that tax increases be approved by a two-thirds vote in both Houses of Congress for their ratification.

It would takes about 25 years to supermajorities in Congress to and pass the bill and the state to ratify the amendment. The debt ceiling needs to be raised on August 2.

What would Republicans do and Obama caved and actually agreed to not sign a debt ceiling increase until a balance budget amendment was in the Constitution. Wall Street would freak on the Republicans. The tea party would demand that Republicans stand on principle. Republicans would probably run from their own balanced budget amendment proposal. The GOP could turn the base away from a balanced budget amendment under the absurd logic that they can't support their own proposal because Obama supports it. This is why you don't legislation and the Constitution for publicity stunts.

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Rick Scott's Let's Get Laid Off Plan

Gov. Rick Scott has been touting that his policies have created job growth. The reality is Scott's policies haven't been in effect long enough to make that assessment. What we do know his the latest Agency for Workforce Innovation unemployment numbers for June are 10.6 percent. Scott might want to rethink his message about the job market recovering. Florida has one fourth worst unemployment rate in the country.

One area where Scott's policies are taking effect is his layoffs of state workers. Scott is adding people to the unemployment rolls with the layoffs. Central Florida economist Sean Snaith said the private sector will not make up for the job losses.

"The private sector is being forced to swim against the rip current of government layoffs," Snaith said. "That's making the process of job creation in this economy even more difficult than it already was."

Scott laid off 1,295 Florida state employees in a job market that is not hiring. It will be harder for people to find work after Scott and the Florida legislature cut unemployment benefits. Scott and the Florida Chamber of Commerce believe that companies shouldn't pay corporate taxes. Both the Chamber and Scott actively sought to limit the weeks the unemployed can collect benefits. The Chamber lobbied Scott to not have companies pay for unemployment insurance. Employees would pay greater deductions out of the paychecks. Scott's policies are financially regressive to working Floridians.

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Quote of the Day

“You never say never. This is a standard answer that I’ve kind of learned how to give which is — you never say never, but I never rule out being on Dancing with the Stars either.”

Jeb Bush, on the possibility of running for president in 2012.

If Bush wanted to he would have gotten into the race by now.

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PUshing Rope Mentioned On TYT Now

Tina Dupuy gives me shoutout at the end of the TYT Now webcast.

It is a great episode of TYT Now. Discussed is the Rupert Murdoch hacking scandal, California parents spreading misinformation about vaccinations, and the debt ceiling.

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Friday, July 22, 2011

Adm. Mullen DADT Press Relead

Adm. Mike Mullen statement on officially ending the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy.

“I believe the U.S. armed forces are ready for the implementation of the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. I conveyed that opinion yesterday to the President and to the secretary of defense, and today we certified this to Congress.

“My opinion is informed by close consultation with the service chiefs and the combatant commanders over the course of six months of thorough preparation and assessment, to include the training of a substantial majority of our troops.

“I am comfortable that we have used the findings of the Comprehensive Review Working Group to mitigate areas of concern and that we have developed the policy and regulations necessary for implementation -- consistent with standards of military readiness, military effectiveness, unit cohesion, and recruiting and retention.

“Certification does not mark the end of our work. Ready though we are, we owe it to ourselves and to the nation we defend to continue to train the remainder of the joint force, to monitor our performance as we do so, and to adjust policy where and when needed.

“My confidence in our ability to accomplish this work rests primarily on the fact that our people are capable, well-led and thoroughly professional. I have never served with finer men and women. They will, I am certain, carry out repeal and continue to serve this country with the same high standards and dignity that have defined the U.S. military throughout our history.”

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Allen West's Bad Week

The Fix's Chris Cillizza awards Rep. Allen West the Worst Week in Washington award. West freaked out because Rep. Debbie Wasserman Sshultz correctly pointed out that West supported Medicare cuts. The video below is Wasserman-Schultz's comments on the House floor. There was no personal attack against West.

West made his attack personal in an email.

You are the most vile, unprofessional ,and despicable member of the US House of Representatives.

Wasserman-Schultz's respone has been brilliant. Wasserman-Schultz says West is cracking under the pressure of having to defend cutting Medicare.

Wasserman-Schultz hasn't complained about the attacks against her. The same can't be said about West.

West got elected by portraying himself as a tough guy. West is so tough that he goes on conservative-friendly news outlets to complain that a woman is picking on him. The tea partier dost protest too much.

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Push Back From Social Security & Medicare Cuts

The Washington Post reports that White House sources have admitted that they are seeking a deal "to the right of the Gang of Six."

Congressional and administration officials said the White House informed Democratic leaders about the talks after Obama met privately with Boehner and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) late Wednesday. Congressional aides, speaking on the condition of anonymity to detail private discussions, said the White House acknowledged that the emerging agreement is “to the right of the Gang of Six” — a bipartisan Senate debt-reduction framework unveiled this week — and far removed from what Democrats have said would be acceptable.

WaPo and the Wall Street Journal report that Senate Democrats went off on OMB Director Jacob Lew. The reason being is that Obama and Republicans are negotiating decreases in cost of increasing rates to Medicare and Social Security. In exchange, Obama gets no tax increases for giving two Democratic sacred cows to the Republicans to carve up. It appears that the Democratic caucus will not go for it. For now.

After a lunchtime meeting between Lew and Senate Democrats, Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) made no attempt to hide his anger, telling reporters that his caucus would oppose the “potential agreement” because it appeared to include no clear guarantee of increased revenue.

“The president always talked about balance, that there had to be some fairness in this, that this can’t be all cuts. There has to be a balance. There has to be some revenue and cuts. My caucus agrees with that,” Reid said. “I hope that the president sticks with that. I’m confident that he will.”

Democrats for planning to go into the 2012 election campaigning against Rep. Paul Ryan's attempted Medicare cuts. Obama is trying to make cuts into Medicare and Social Security. I can guarantee Republicans will run attack ads against Obama if he succeeds in enacting these cuts. The policy is horrible. Why Obama thinks this is good politics is beyond me.

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Triangulation Man: Obama Losing Base

From my email box. A CNN Poll shows the Left is unsatisfied with President Obama's performance.

President Obama's approval rating falls to 45%, driven in part by dissatisfaction from the left with Obama's track record, a new CNN/ORC International poll released today suggests.

The new poll shows that 38% disapprove of Obama because he has been too liberal, but 13% percent say he has not been liberal enough, nearly double those who felt that way in May. His approval rating among liberals is at 71%, an all-time low for his presidency. Overall, those who disapprove of Obama is at 54%, tying an all-time low hit just before November's midterm elections.

Poll respondents' negative opinions weren't reserved just for the president, though -- 55% of all Americans have an unfavorable view of the Republican Party, a 7-point increase since March. And only 37% feel the GOP's policies would move the country in the right direction, a 9-point drop since the start of the year.

This isn't 1996. People do not want Obama being more Republican. The CNN poll shows the vast majority of Americans do not like the direction the Republican Party is going in. The majority of the people who think Obama is too liberal haven't been paying attention and will not likely vote for him.

The truth is Obama hates progressives. The President mockingly calling Sen. Bernie Sanders "you progressives" illustrates that Obama does not consider himself part of the movement.

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Friday Cat Blogging

Skip the Bobcat was hit by a car. Big Cat Rescue medically treated Skip's injuries. Unfortunately, Skip will not be able to be released back into the wild. Skip does have a new home in a big enclosure.

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Thursday, July 21, 2011

Two Cow Garage - Come Back to Shelby

Come Back to Shelby – Two Cow Garage

MP3 search on MP3hunting

This song could have been a hit back in the 90s when radio still played alternative bands. This is the most radio-friendly Micah Schnabel's voice has ever sounded.

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Astinence Education Fail

Project AIM (Adult Identity Mentoring) is a abstinence program used for STD prevention in Florida and other states. The program doesn't teach teenagers about condoms, identifying STDs on a sexual partner or anything that might actually prevent the spread of STDs. Which might explain why STDs and teen pregnancies have increased in Florida.

Project AIM teaches the nonsense called the “Theory of Possible Selves.” Basically, it is role playing. Apparently, conservatives think preventing STDs is like a community theatre acting class.

The intervention program is based on the “Theory of Possible Selves.” The theory states that a person’s motivation is determined by a balance of positive and negative ways in which people see themselves in the future.

Individuals who are able to imagine both positive and negative futures are more likely to work toward their life goals and achieve future success. Project AIM encourages at-risk
youth to imagine a positive future and discuss how current risk behaviors could be a barrier to a successful adulthood.

Project AIM consists of 12 50-minute sessions delivered to groups of 10 to 20 youth. The intervention is divided into four parts, using group discussions and interactive activities.

Part 1 encourages youth to explore their personal interests, social surroundings and what they want to become as an adult. Youth identify people in their lives who may be barriers to success or supporters. Young adults from the community who are on their road to success are invited to speak with youth.

In Part 2, youth envision themselves in a future career and connect current behavior with success as an adult. Activities
include completing a career interest inventory, developing business cards and resumes and participating in interviews.

Part 3 engages youth in role-playing around communication and small group activities involving planning and decision making.

In Part 4, youth think about their futures in terms of milestone goals to accomplish and potential obstacles that must be overcome.

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Homophobic Attack Ad

Richard Mourdock, Dick Lugar's primary opponent, released the attack video "Dick and Barry: The Unforgettable Bromance." The video suggest that Obama and Lugar are having a gay romance. A photoshopped Obama is giving Lugar suggestive looks. There is even a rainbow in the background. I think the video is more a reflection of Mourdock's homophobia then of Obama or Lugar. This is the worst attack ad since Rick Scott's "Obama's Mosque."

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Florida Turns Down Child Abuse Prevention Funding

Republicans in the Florida legislature are blinded by their contempt for the Affordable Health Care Act. The legislature turned down $50 million in funding to combat child abuse.

Florida lawmakers have rejected more than $50 million in federal child-abuse prevention money. The grants were tied to the Obama administration’s healthcare reform package, which many lawmakers oppose on philosophical grounds.

The money, offered through the federal Affordable Health Care Act passed last year, would have paid, among other things, for a visiting nurse program run by Healthy Families Florida, one of the most successful child-abuse prevention efforts in the nation. Healthy Families’ budget was cut in last year’s spending plan by close to $10 million.

And because the federal Race to the Top educational-reform effort is tied to the child-abuse prevention program that Healthy Families administers, the state may also lose a four-year block grant worth an additional $100 million in federal dollars, records show.

I have policy reasons to be against Race For the Top. President Barack Obama broke his campaign pledge of pushing for merit pay. Vanderbilt University's National Center on Performance Incentives did a study that found that merit pay doesn't improve student performance. Contrary to what Obama says, his education blueprint focuses greatly on testing. Part of the reason is No Child Left Behind is still law. Another reason is Obama is ideologically aligned with the education reforms of George and Jeb Bush.

Seeing how Obama's education proposals are similar to the Bush brothers, you would think that Florida Republicans would take $100 million from Race to the Top to prevent child abuse. You would be wrong. Republicans say that the Healthy Families program is the evil hand of big government.

State Sen. Joe Negron, who chairs his chamber’s Health and Human Services Appropriations Subcommittee, said he long has been philosophically opposed to Healthy Families, which he views as an intrusion into the private lives of parents.

“I believe in providing basic information to parents at hospitals and medical settings,” said Negron, a Palm City Republican. “I am not persuaded that it is a good idea to show up at a family’s home year after year giving advice and guidance. I do not think that is a core, essential function of government.”

Florida has a horrible history of the Department of Children and Families failing to stop fatal child abuse. We now have the Florida legislature making the situation worse by turning down child abuse prevention money. Next we are going to hear Republicans say that eliminating corporate taxes prevents child abuse. These people have a serious disconnect with reality.

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No Surprise: David Rivera Investigated by FBI & IRS

This isn't really news. There has been rumors for quite some time that the FBI and IRS are investigating Rep. David Rivera.

Federal investigators have opened a second criminal probe of U.S. Rep. David Rivera, examining undisclosed payments from a Miami gambling enterprise to a company tied to the Republican congressman, The Miami Herald has learned.

Agents with the FBI and the Internal Revenue Service have begun interviewing witnesses knowledgeable about a $1 million consulting contract between Flagler Dog Track — now known as Magic City Casino — and Millennium Marketing, a company co-owned by Rivera’s 70-year-old mother and her business partner, according to sources familiar with the investigation.

The involvement of the IRS and the questions agents have asked indicate Rivera is the subject of an income-tax evasion inquiry, said a source.

The investigation goes beyond the exchange of money between Rivera and his family members through the Flagler Dog Track and Millennium Marketing. Rivera received $137,000 and did not report it. Rivera later claimed it was a loan. How many politicians receive loans from lobbying organizations run by his mother and godmother.

This is the classic shakedown job by a politician.

But Martinez told The Herald last year that it was Rivera who first approached the dog track about running the pro-slots campaign, and it was Rivera who suggested that the contract go through Millennium. Dog track officials had no contact with Medina or Magarino during the contract negotiations, Martinez said last year. Rivera signed the 2006 contract with Magic City along with Medina, records show.

Rivera then set-up family members to run Millennium Marketing. The loan looks like a secret funneling of money. Flagler Dog Track got its casino slot machines. The Rivera family got paid off for pushing slot machine legislation through the Florida legislature.

Esther Nurfer was interviewed by the FBI. Rivera made $150,000 and $250,000 payments to Nurfer's consulting firm Communication Solutions. The funny thing is the Republican Party of Florida have no record of these transactions. Nurfer is Rivera's girlfriend.

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Quote of the Day

"I stand behind my testimony to the Select Committee."

James Murdoch, in a one sentence press release.

Murdoch made statements about how his company News International decided not to investigate accusations of phone hacking when they first surfaced in 2007. Murdoch claimed that the law firm Harbottle & Lewis advised him that no investigation was necessary. Harbottle & Lewis claims that is false and wishes to testify to the Select Committee.

Someone is lying. You know things are getting bad when different parties start pointing the finger at each other.

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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Obamabot Alert: Joy-Ann Reid

Joy-Ann Reid wrote that she was extremely dubious that President Barack Obama would cut Social Security and Medicare.

When that “unnamed source”-laden Washington Post story came out earlier this week, claiming the White House was putting Social Security and Medicare cuts on the table, I was extremely dubious.

The Washington Post and Politico versions of the story quoted no one, cited no “unnamed administration officials” — only “sources with knowledge of the White House’s thinking” — always a sketchy concept. And the reports claimed that the White House was dangling entitlement cuts in front of cut-happy Republicans in exchange for ending the Bush tax cuts for the rich. But that made no sense, because everyone knows Republicans will never, ever go for it. Besides, Democrats don’t need to deal that hand, since those cuts will expire at the end of 2012, after the election is over, when regardless of the outcome that November, Democrats can let all of the Bush tax cuts die (including the ones Democrats want to keep, like the child tax credits, but there you go…) by simply refusing to bring them up for a vote in the Senate.

The problem is I tweeted to Reid instances when President Obama and Vice-President Joe Biden said that Social Security and Medicare were on the table. Reid was defending Obama. She didn't care about Social Security and Medicare. Reid is now defending cuts to Social Security.

@mygirls3333 not just Clinton. Tip O'Neil and some Dems who are still in Congress, voted for that 1983 plan that raised the Soc Sec ret age.

This tweet is laughable.

@ClarissaW no, I don't think he's proposing that. He did propose slightly increasing the existing means testing in Part D in his budget.

Means testing is a Republican talking point for cutting benefits. Means testing is reducing the number of people that qualify for Social Security. The current program is that any American can receive Social Security benefits when they retire. John Rother of the AARP points out how stupid means testing would be.

The notion that the benefits are an earned right separates Social Security from means-tested income-support programs. Social Security can help everyone. Means testing is a feature of taxpayer-funded welfare programs designed to help the poor. A means test would inevitably erode the universal and contributory nature of Social Security and some of the popular support that has sustained it for nearly 75 years.

We also should remember that Social Security already makes distinctions based on income. Lower-wage earners get a higher return on their contributions. Higher-income retirees pay income tax on a portion of their benefits. Given these progressive features, it's not logical to add a means test. In fact, Social Security is far more progressive than any other retirement program.

Social Security has a payroll tax that Americans invest into the SS system. These people are entitled to their benefits. There is no short term Social Security crisis. If Congress was really worried about Social Security they would stop raiding the fund and eliminate the $250,000 tax cap.

Reid went from Obama's is not cutting Social Security to means testing isn't cuts. What a joke.

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Team Obama Opposed Elizabeth Warren Nomination

I like to see how Obamabots frame this. Huffington Post reporter
Shahien Nasiripour cites sources that the Obama administration never had any intention of nominating Elizabeth Warren for the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection. In 2010, Sen. Bernie Sanders asked President Barack Obama if would nominate Warren.

Last summer, during a White House meeting with first-term Senate Democrats, Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont, asked Obama whether he'd nominate Warren for the role.

Obama held up a half-full glass of water and told him: "That's the problem with you progressives. You see this as half-empty."

Obama's tone towards Sanders makes it obvious that the president does not view himself as a progressive. Wall Street got a bailout. Americans are being foreclosed upon through illegal means. The President campaigned on change and gets pissed when people call him out for protecting the dysfunctional financial system.

Rahm Emanuel made it clear that he did not want Warren confirmed.

Last July, the night before a Senate vote on the administration-backed bill to reform financial regulation, Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) told reporters that he was still unsure how he’d vote and was concerned about who might be named to run the soon-to-be-created consumer unit.

Hearing the news, Emanuel took the temperature of the administration on Warren's nomination and reported back to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid that it was cool, according to Senate sources with knowledge of the call.

“We don’t like her either,” the then-White House chief of staff told the Nevada Democrat.

Ben Nelson's lack of support was unsurprising. Chris Dodd. Part of Dodd's problem was Warren publicly pushed back against Dodd to not soften the financial reform bill. Dodd was obsessed with getting bipartisan support for a financial reform bill that no Republican had any intention of voting for. What is it about Beltway Democrats that are obsessed with bipartisanship?

Treasury Sec. Tim Geithner is pro-corporatist. It wasn't surprising that he didn't support Warren's nomination. Warren also took Geithner to task for not knowing where money for credit default swaps went. AIG sold swaps and then couldn't cover the bets when the market crashed.

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