Sunday, July 31, 2011

Priorities USA Raises $5 Million To Counter Attack Ads From Karl Rove-Backed Crossroads GPS

WASHINGTON -- An outside group founded this spring by two former Obama White House advisers has raked in millions in donations since April, relying in part on top-flight fundraisers and labor unions to counter GOP-leaning ads this summer critical of the president and congressional Democrats.

GOP Threatening To Derail Debt Deal Over Military Cuts, Even Though Many Conservatives Have Called For Them

While a tentative deal has been reached to raise the debt ceiling, a number of Republican lawmakers arethreatening to blow up the compromise over a provision that would trigger modest cuts to the military if the bipartisan deficit reduction committee the bill creates cannot reach an agreement. Republicans are threatening a “sizable GOP defection in the House” while hawkish Sens. Lindsay Graham (R-SC) and Joe Lieberman (I-CT) have expressed concernabout the potential defense cuts.

BREAKING: Obama Announces Debt Deal

Moments ago, President Obama addressed the nation to announce that he had reached an agreement with Republicans to raise the debt ceiling, just two days from potential default. Obama did not discuss details of the deal, but it is likely very similar to the one unveiled by Congressional leaders this morning. He did say the deal was not “what I would have preferred,”but said it will “allow us to avoid default and end the crisis that Washington imposed on the rest America.” Most importantly, it will ensure we don’t have to repeat the crisis in coming months, Congressional leaders from both parties will present the plans tomorrow, urging lawmakers to support it. Watch it:



House Republicans signed on earlier in the night, after Senate Democrats did this afternoon. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said in a conference call with reporters, “My hope would be to file it and have it on the floor as soon as possible.”

Even so, it appears Boehner is already pushing the goal posts. A bipartisan debt reduction committee established by the proposal is charged with looking for ways to reduce the deficit by either cutting spending or increasing revenue. But Boehner put out statement tonight titled, “Two Step Approach To Hold President Obama Accountable,” saying Republicans intend to bind the commitee with accounting rules to “effectively mak[e] it impossible for Joint Committee toincrease taxes.” Obama said in his address that he would push for a “balanced approach” on the committee. Obama has suggested previously that if tax reform doesn’t happen through the committee, he will veto an extension of Bush tax cuts when they come up at the end of 2012.
UPDATE


You can read the fact sheet on the deal released by the White House here

Reflections on White Anti-Intellectualism (What'cha Want With all That Book Learnin)

By Tim Wise
September 14, 2008

To hear an awful lot of white folks tell it, the problem with black people is that they just don't want to work hard enough in school. They act up and refuse to study or get good grades, because they don't want to be put down for "acting white." In other words, the African American community is beset by a culture of anti-intellectualism, contrasted, one supposes with our own white culture of studiousness and academic achievement.

CONGRESSIONAL BLACK CAUCUS TO OBAMA: USE THE FOURTEENTH AMENDMENT

In a letter to President Obama, the members of the Congressional Black Caucus implored the president to invoke the Fourteenth Amendment to prevent the debt ceiling from triggering a fiscal disaster. The letter argues that Obama has “both the authority and a moral obligation” to invoke the Constitution “to avoid an economic catastrophe of historic proportions.” Every single one of the CBC’s members signed the letter with the exception of the caucus’ sole Republican, Rep. Allen West (R-FL).

White House And Republicans Reach Tentative Deal To Raise Debt Ceiling

Less than three days from potential default, the White House and Congressional Republicans reached a potential deal to raise the debt ceiling and lower the deficit late last night. Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said on CNN’s State of the Union today that both sides were “very close” to a deal that will cut $3 trillion over 10 years, saying negotiators have made “dramatic progress” over the weekend. Democrats appear less confident that the deal will hold, but still expressed optimism.

Hostage Part 1

Where We Are And Where We’re Going

We are now just FOUR days away from an unprecedented GOP-induced default on our nation’s obligations. Here’s a snapshot of where we are now and where the situation is headed over the next few days.

Bill Maher Makes GOP Motivational Movie Reel (VIDEO)

On Friday night's "Real Time," Bill Maher touched on one of the most ridiculous aspects of the debt ceiling debate: the GOP's use of a scene from "The Town" as a motivational tool.

CNN's Don Lemon And Rand Paul Clash Over Debt Ceiling (VIDEO)

CNN's Don Lemon had a very testy exchange with Sen. Rand Paul about the debt ceiling drama on Saturday night.

Sunday July 31Th 2011 Talking Heads!

FOX NEWS SUNDAY

Bret Baier is here, because not even Chris Wallace can pretend anymore. Gene Sperling is here, to talk about the economy. Then Dick Durbin will yell at celebrated American liar Jon "Not Intended To Be A Factual Statement (NITBAFS)" Kyl, who will probably tell America untruths and then attempt to "revise and extend" his remarks. Also, Kevin McCarthy, will add his prattle to what's already turning into a seven-layer dip of uselessness.

Super Congress Getting Even More Super Powers In Debt Deal

WASHINGTON -- In order to shore up GOP support for a debt-ceiling deal, Senate Democrats are exploring ways of giving the proposed Super Congress even greater super powers, according to multiple news reports and congressional aides with knowledge of the plan. Under the new proposal, if the new legislative body composed of 12 members of both parties doesn't come up with a bill that cuts at least $1.8 trillion by Thanksgiving, entitlement programs will automatically be slashed.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

George Lucas Produced Tuskegee Airmen Movie To Come Out In 2012

LOS ANGELES — Famed director of Star Wars George Lucas has announced he will be producing a movie on the Tuskegee Airmen.

Harry Belafonte Says Obama Lacks Moral Courage, Vision

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — Singer and activist Harry Belafonte says President Barack Obama and his “mission” have failed because of a lack of moral courage and vision.

Rock And Roll Legend Chuck Berry Honored With Statue In St. Louis

UNIVERSITY CITY, Mo. — The image is timeless Americana: Chuck Berry hunched over, ready to launch into his famous Duck Walk, picking his Gibson guitar and wailing a song.

O’Reilly Slams Tea Party’s ‘Hateful Rhetoric,’ Warns GOP ‘Craziness’ Is Just Helping Obama

Yesterday, conservative radio and television host Bill O’Reilly had a message for the far-right absolutists in the GOP who are driving the country to the brink of default: You’re helping President Obama get re-elected. On his Fox News show, O’Reilly argued that the unrealistic demands and tactics of Tea Party activists and lawmakers are actually self-defeating:

Hundreds Of Thousands Of Boehner’s Constitutents Would Be Hurt By His Debt Ceiling Plan

House Republicans met today in an attempt to scrape together votes to pass House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-OH) plan for raising the debt ceiling. Boehner pulled the bill from the floor last night when it became apparent that he didn’t have to votes to proceed, and has made it even more right-wing today in an attempt to drum up support.

Even After Proposed Hike, Reagan Increased Debt Ceiling Twice As Fast As Obama

Despite recent rhetoric from GOP lawmakers, Republican presidents have raised the statutory limit on U.S. debt by a much greater percentage than either of the two Democrats elected since 1981. According an analysis of historical data compiled on the statutory limit by the Office of Management and Budget, former President Ronald Reagan outstrips all other executives to date, increasing the debt ceiling by 199.5 percent during his eight years in office. He is followed by President George W. Bush, Jr. at a 90.2 percent increase over eight years and by President George H. Bush, Sr. at a 48.0 percent increase over only four years in office.

VIDEO: House GOP Urged Clean Debt Ceiling Hike As A Matter of Responsibility And Good Governance

Under the leadership of House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and House Majority Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA), the Republicans continue to precipitate a stalemate over the debt ceiling and a possible economic crisis. As ThinkProgress’ Zaid Jilani and Travis Waldron have reported, not only did the Republican leadership vote multiple times for clean debt ceiling hikes under more favorable political circumstances, but no less than 98 currently serving House GOP members did so as well.

World Reacts To Debt Ceiling Debacle: ‘Irresponsible,’ ‘Worst Kind Of Absurd Theatrics,’ U.S. Politicians A ‘Laughing Stock’

The rhetoric over raising the debt ceiling has become increasingly harsh as Democratic and Republican congressional leaders trade barbs back and forth. But as the U.S. inches closer to defaulting on its debts for the first time in history, criticism of Congress is starting to come from beyond our own borders. From France and Germany to China and India, countries around the world are angry that American politicians play with the possibility of a U.S. default like a yo-yo with little regard for the international economic system that depends on American solvency.

EXCLUSIVE: MATT DAMON SUPPORTS RECALL CAMPAIGN AGAINST WISCONSIN GOV. SCOTT WALKER

In a brief interview with ThinkProgress at today’s Save Our Schools march in Washington, actor Matt Damon said he supported the movement in Wisconsin to recall Gov. Scott Walker (R), who earlier this year signed union-busting legislation that stripped teachers of collective bargaining rights and made draconian cuts to the state’s education system. ThinkProgress asked Damon if he supported the recall against Walker because of those education cuts. Damon, replied, “Among other things, yeah.” Watch it:

Matt Damon: Stop The War On Teachers

Actor and activist Matt Damon spoke at the Save Our Schools rally today. Before he spoke, Damon granted ThinkProgress an exclusive interview. We asked him about how teachers unions are being demonized in much of the media and teachers are being blamed as the root of all problems in public education. Damon told us that the attacks on teachers unions are part of a larger “war on unions over the last decade” and condemned “punitive policies” that punish teachers without looking at the social factors that lead to student achievement.

AT&T To Throttle Data Speeds For 'Unlimited' Hogs

NEW YORK — AT&T Inc. said Friday that it's going to start limiting speeds for the 5 percent of its customers with "unlimited" data smartphone plans who clog the airwaves the most.

L.O.D Bans Joe Walsh From His Show Over Child Support Scandal (VIDEO)

Lawrence O'Donnell told his viewers he was banning Tea Party Rep. Joe Walsh from his show until the Republican pays the child support he owes his wife and children.

Debt Ceiling Debate Sows Fear Among Small Business Owners

NEW YORK -- Michael Gardner, owner of Siegel's Clothing Superstore & Tuxedos in San Francisco, has written orders for underwear and socks, but he hasn't sent them. He wants to hire a part-time worker, but he has put that plan on hold. Earlier this month, he said, a drop-off in demand almost caused his mail-order business to grind to a halt.

Friday, July 29, 2011

DRAMATIC FAILURE: BOEHNER CANCELS THURSDAY VOTE; THINKPROGRESS WHIP COUNT STILL AT 26 NO VOTES


Earlier today, Speaker Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) was projecting confidence that his debt plan would pass at a vote scheduled at 6:00pm. He was even spotted singing “It’s a zippity-doo-dah day.” However, Boehner could not round up enough members of his caucus for the 6:00pm vote, and it was pushed back into later tonight. Now, NPR is reporting that Boehner haspostponed the vote until tomorrow or later.
ThinkProgress has carefully monitored the whip count as Boehner tries to twist enough arms for his plan to pass. Our latest count has at least 26 confirmed “no” votes, and several more on the fence.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

In Video And Campaign Speech, Romney Touts Manufacturing Plant That Received More Than $200,000 In Stimulus Funds

GOP 2012 presidential hopeful Mitt Romney has been basing his campaign on his supposed economic bona fides, falsely stating that the Obama administration has made the economy “worse.” Romney particularly highlights his supposed history as a job creator. “I know what it takes to create jobs,” he says. “I’ll do everything in my power to create more jobs for Americans.”

Rep. Joe Walsh Defends Not Paying $117,000 In Child Support: ‘This Is Where Real America Is’

Last night the Chicago Sun-Times broke the story that Tea Party freshman Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL), who has spent months lecturing President Obama and Democrats on fiscal responsibility, owes $117,437 in child support to his ex-wife and three children. Laura Walsh has asked a judge to suspend his driver’s license until he pays his child support. Despite loaning his own campaign $35,000— and paying himself back at least $14,200 for the loans — Walsh claims he failed to make the payments because he “had no money.”

Rep. Cummings: Obama Should Ask For A Clean Bill To Raise The Debt Ceiling

As House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) struggles to get his caucus’ collective “ass in line” for today’s vote on his re-worked debt ceiling plan, a growing number of House Democrats are pushing for a vote on a clean debt ceilingincrease. Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT) and the Congressional Black Caucus — save Rep. Allen West (R-FL) — were rounding up support for a plan that, absent a debt deal that can pass in both chambers, will just raise the debt ceiling to prevent default this coming Tuesday.

Huge Labor Victory: After IKEA Outsourced Swedish Jobs To Virginia To Thwart Unions, Virginia Workers Vote To Unionize

As ThinkProgress reported last April, home furniture giant IKEA has set up shop at a manufacturing plant in Danville, Virginia for the past three years in order to gain access to a non-unionized pool of labor and avoid Swedish unions. Workers at the Danville plant allegedly faced mandatory overtime, frantic hours, and even racial discrimination.

Norway Terrorist Anders Breivik Purchased High-Capacity Gun Clips From The United States

Politico reports today that, according to the Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten, Anders Breivik, the right-wing “fundamentalist” charged with the terror attacks in Norway last week, purchased high-capacity gun clips from the United States. Part of Breivik’s attack included a gun assault on a Labour Party youth camp just outside of Oslo:

Boehner Debt Ceiling Plan Drops A 26-Year-Old Exemption That Protects The Poor From Budget Cuts

As the Republicans haggle over whether to support their own plan for raising the nation’s debt ceiling, an“unprecedented” coalition of religious leaders are urging President Obama and Congress not to sacrifice the needs of the poor in the name of debt reduction. Even the conservative U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops joined the effort, singling out House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-OH) plan for its “disproportionate cuts in essential services to poor persons.”

CLERGEY MEMBERS ARRESTED AT CAPITOL PROTESTING BUDGET CUTS

About a dozen religious leaders were arrested in the Capitol rotunda today after they refused to end their public prayers calling for “an equitable resolution to the debt ceiling debate,” according to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), which organized the protest. The leaders noted that default would be catastrophic, but current plans to raise the debt limit would still include “severe spending cuts to the programs and services that support the poorest and most vulnerable people living in the U.S. and around the world.” A photo of the leaders captured by the New York Times

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Learn What To Say To Police When Approached!

Do You Know What To Do And Say When You Are Pulled Over Or Stopped By A Law Enforcement Officer? Do You Know Your Rights? Saying Or Doing The Wrong Thing My Land You In Jail! Your Instructions To Help You Protect Your Freedom & Stay Out Of Jail!

Survive In Prison Or Jail - A How To Jail Guide

White Collar Criminals Are Scrambling To Get Their Hands On This Book! People Are Headed To Prison In Record #'s And For Some Scared New Inmate This Jailguide Is A Lifesaver!

PELOSI SUPPORTS CLEAN VOTE ON DEBT CEILING INCREASE

During a question-and-answer session yesterday, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said, “If we don’t come to a conclusion soon, Democrats in the House are saying, we must pass a clean debt ceiling bill while continuing our discussions, as we know we must to reduce the deficit.” The Congressional Black Caucus has also said that a clean vote is the path out of the current stalemate. Today, the Congressional Progressive Caucus announced its support of Rep. Peter Welch’s (D-VT) clean vote proposal to get out of the current crisis. Read our view on the need for a clean vote here.

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117 Members Of Congress Join Letter Calling For DOJ Action Against Voter Disenfranchisement Laws

Earlier this month, 16 senators sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder calling for DOJ to examine whether the voter ID laws, which are the centerpiece of the GOP’s war on voting, violate the Voting Rights Act. Earlier this week, over 100 members of the House of Representatives wrote to Holder echoing this call for the Justice Department to take action to preserve America’s democracy:

REP. ANDY HARRIS BALKS AT BOEHNER DEBT CEILING PLAN BECAUSE IT HELPS POOR STUDENTS GO TO COLLEGE

As Speaker John Boehner struggles to find the votes for his debt ceiling plan that would lead to the “greatest increase in poverty and hardship produced by any law in modern U.S. history,” Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD) is upset that it is insufficiently cruel to the most vulnerable Americans. Harris objects to a provision that provides $17 billion in funding for Pell Grants for low-income college students because he “really do[esn't] understand why we’re increasing spending in a bill supposed to be cutting spending.”

ThinkProgress Vote Count: 25 House Republicans Publicly Oppose Boehner Plan

Tonight at around 6 p.m., the House of Representatives will vote on the Boehner plan, which would create another debt ceiling crisis in less than six months andlikely lead to a downgrade in U.S. credit. Boehner needs 216 votes to pass the plan. Since there are 240 Republican members of the House, Boehner can only afford to have 24 Republicans vote against the bill — provided he does not get any Democratic votes.

Serial Butt Slasher Pursued In Virginia


Police in Virginia are trying to track down a man believed to have slashed at least five women on the butt.

A few days ago, an 18-year-old woman was shopping at Forever 21 in Fairfax, Virginia when she felt a sharp pain on her rear end, report from NBC Washington. She told police she thought at first that she had been struck with a clothes hanger. Only after further inspection did she realize she had been cut through her shorts with a box cutter or razor.

According to the victims, the attack usually occurs after a distraction, such as clothes falling off a rack. Afterward, the attacker calmly walks away without drawing attention to himself.
Lucy Caldwell of the Fairfax County Police told the station that one reason for the perpetrator's success could be because of the rarity of the crime.

"Because it's such an unusual thing, no one would ever expect something like that to occur," she said. "They may be walking along and put their hand to their backside and feel it."
Gregg McCrary, a former FBI profiler, told the News & Messenger that although the women are not seriously harmed, the violence could escalate if he is not caught.

"The dangerous thing here is he's actually hurting women," he told the publication. "He's already crossed that threshold into physical contact. But this is a good news-bad news situation. He'll just keep doing this until he's caught and by keeping on doing this, he'll caught."


NBC Washington gave a detailed description of the suspect:

"According to Fairfax police, the suspect is desribed as Hispanic, in his late 20's, approximately 5'6'' in height, and heavy-set."


View more videos at: http://nbcwashington.com.

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The Truth About Pepper Spray

Al Sharpton Brings Baggage, Conflict Of Interest And No Discernible Talent To MSNBC

It seems that during the time I was out of the country, The Powers That Be at MSNBC decided to replace "Young Turks" host Cenk Uygur with civil rights movement celebrity Al Sharpton as host of the 6 p.m. hour. This move was confusing at first -- I naturally assumed that what I was seeing on the teevee was a result of jet lag or drunkenness, or that my Virgin Atlantic flight had flown through a wormhole into a parallel dimension (Richard Branson features this option on a select number of international flights). But I've come to understand that this Al Sharpton-on-MSNBC stuff is actually a real thing happening in our lives.

Democrats Call On White House To Close Citizens United Transparency Loopholes

WASHINGTON -- A group of 60 House Democrats led by Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) is urging the White House to sign a draft executive order that would require contractors to disclose their political contributions to politicians and outside groups free to spend on elections after the Supreme Court'sCitizens United ruling.

Al Franken: Education Reform 'Most Important Thing I'm Working On'

WASHINGTON -- While developing his positions on education policy, Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) turned to his roots: He consulted with teachers throughout Minnesota, and he chatted with his daughter.

As U.S. Credit Downgrade Looms, Municipalities And Pension Funds Seen To Be At Risk

NEW YORK -- For municipalities struggling to get their finances in order and for the professionals who oversee their investments, the battle being waged in Washington over the federal debt ceiling has become an urgent source of worry.

Dr. Mark Manary Treats Malawi's Malnourished Kids

Though he now leads a major nonprofit organization dedicated to serving malnourished children in Africa, Dr. Mark Manary insists he's more of a go-with-the-flow type of guy rather than someone who strategically thinks ahead.

Anders Behring Breivik: Profile Emerges From 1518-Pages Manifesto

One week after the Oslo drama, Anders Behring Breivik's 1518-page manifesto reveals a detailed portrait of the suspected Norway shooter and of what he himself describes as his "privileged upbringing."

Democrats Pressure Obama To Use 14th Amendment To Raise Debt Ceiling

WASHINGTON -- With time running out and still no bipartisan debt deal in sight, a growing number of House Democrats are pressuring President Barack Obama to use a constitutional option they say would allow him to raise the debt ceiling himself.

John Boehner Yanks Debt Ceiling Bill, House Vote Postponed

WASHINGTON -- House GOP leadership announced abruptly on Thursday evening that they were suspending a vote on Speaker John Boehner's (R-Ohio) debt ceiling proposal, signaling in the process that the GOP lacked the votes to pass the package.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Poll: God's Approval Rating Barely Breaks 50 Percent

WASHINGTON (RNS) More than half of U.S. voters approve of God's job performance, according to a new poll, making God more popular than all members of Congress.

High School Graduation Rates To Fall, States Prepare For Calculation Changes

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- States are bracing for plummeting high school graduation rates as districts nationwide dump flawed measurement formulas that often undercounted dropouts and produced inflated results.

For-Profit College Chain In Kentucky Accused Of Cheating Students Out Of Financial Aid

The Kentucky Attorney General filed suit Wednesday against a chain of for-profit colleges in the state, claiming that administrators at Daymar Colleges have consistently deceived students by making false promises about the ability to transfer course credits and have forced them to purchase textbooks and supplies at substantially marked-up rates.

China: U.S. Debt Crisis Is Giving Democracy A Bad Name

WASHINGTON -- The seemingly endless process of resolving America's debt crisis may be giving America and its democratic form of governance a bad name in China, where much of that debt is held.

Deteriorating Transportation Infrastructure Could Cost America $3.1 Trillion

New tires add up. That's the finding of a report issued Wednesday by the American Society for Civil Engineers, which tallies up the cost of our decaying surface transportation infrastructure, from potholes to rusting bridges to buses that never come.

REP. PETER KING DENIES REP. KEITH ELLISON’S REQUEST TO TESTIFY AT RADICALIZATION HEARING

Today, Rep. Peter King (R-NY) will hold another in a series of hearings looking at Muslim radicalization. Despite the fact that today’s hearing focuses on Somali-Americans joining Al Shabab, a Somalia-based militant group, King denied Rep. Keith Ellison’s (D-MN) request to testify before the committee. Ellison represents Minneapolis, Minnesota, which has a major Somali-American population. Ellison’s powerful and effective testimony before King’s first hearing about Muslim radicalization may be part of the reason he was turned down to testify before this one.

FLASHBACK: In February, Geithner Rightly Warned Against Negotiating Over Raising The Debt Ceiling

For months, Republicans have refused to budge when it comes to negotiations over raising the nation’s debt ceiling, rejecting various generous concessions in return for a simple vote to ensure that the country pays its bills. Now, with default only days away, Republicans have dug in, insisting that acceptance of their radical “cut, cap, and balance” plan is the only way forward.

‘What Would Jesus Cut?’: Christian Leaders Urge Obama To Protect The Poor In Debt Talks

An “unprecedented” coalition of religious leaders are coming together to urge President Obama not to sacrifice the needs of the poor in negotiations to reduce the nation’s debt. Leaders from the Episcopal Church, the Salvation Army, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the National Association of Evangelicals, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the United Church of Christ all met with Obama last week to present their unified message:

House Dems: If GOP Is Intent On ‘Destroying Government,’ Obama Should Use 14th Amendment To Raise Debt Ceiling

As negotiations continue over a debt reduction deal that has unneccesarily become part of the debate over raising the debt ceiling, some advocates are now looking for a way to raise the debt ceiling without needing the votes of obstinate, hostage-taking Republicans.

Boehner: ‘A Lot’ Of Republicans Want To Force Default, Create ‘Enough Chaos’ To Pass Balanced Budget Amendment

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said today that some members of his own caucus who are refusing to agree to a compromise debt ceiling deal are hoping to unleash “chaos” and thus force the White House and Senate Democrats to make bigger concessions than they’re already offering. As many as 40 House Republicans, especially Tea Party members and freshmen, have demanded nothing short of changing the Constitution to include a balanced budget amendment before they would vote to raise debt ceiling, even though that has zero chance before the U.S. faces potential default on Aug. 2.

PALIN: AMERICAN IDEALS ARE ‘FOREIGN TO OUR PRESIDENT’ BECAUSE OF ‘HIS BACKGROUND’

Adding her heft to the GOP’s debt ceiling debacle, the “undefeated” Sarah Palin graced Fox News Business last night to slam President Obama for suggesting that the wealthy should return to a higher tax rate. Blasting the White House and liberals for being “so addicted to that OPM, other people’s money,” Palin declared that Obama “is not capable of giving the right message” to the American people. Though a majority of Americans side with Obama’s position, Fox asked Palin why he seems so disconnected from the public. Palin harped on the all-too-familiar right-wing refrain that American ideals “seem[] to be foreign to our President” because of “his background. She added, “His ideas are the antithesis of those things that created the prosperity in America.” Watch it:

Report: Obama And Boehner Agreed To Raise Medicare Eligibilty Age Before Debt Talks Broke Down

In what may be one of the most under-reported stories of the debt ceiling talks, Politico’s Jen Haberkorn notes that before negotiations broke down on Friday evening, President Obama and Speaker of the House John Boehner tentatively agreed to gradually raise the Medicare eligibility age as part of a “grand bargain” to increase the nation’s borrowing limit:

ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT RESTORED IN HOUSE REVOLT BY DEMOCRATS


By a 224-204 vote, Rep. Norm Dicks (D-WA) successfully led a revolt against the Republican leadership of the House of Representatives, stripping a provision in the FY 2012 Interior and Environment appropriations bill that would have blocked the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from listing new species under the Endangered Species Act.

CONGRESSIONAL BLACK CAUCUS CHAIR: WE WILL ONLY SUPPORT A CLEAN DEBT CEILING VOTE

During a radio interview today, Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO), the Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, said the over 40 members of the CBC will be voting ‘no’ on any plan that cuts government services — including the plan put forward by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV). Cleaver says the caucus insists on a clean vote to raise the debt ceiling — the same kind of vote “we’ve done repeatedly since 1917.” Cleaver explained, “we can deal with the deficit questions later, but let’s not send the most powerful nation on the planet into default.” Rep. Allen West (R-FL), the one Republican member of the CBC, has said he will support Speaker Boehner’s (R-OH) plan.

MO High School Bans ‘SlaughterHouse Five’ From Curriculum, Library Because Its Principles Are Contrary To The Bible

On Monday at the Republic, MO school board meeting, four Republic School Board members reviewed a year-old complaint that three books are inappropriate reading material for high school children. In a 4-0 vote, the members decided to ax two of the three books from the high school curriculum and the library shelves: Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler and Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut.Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson was sparred. The resident who filed the original complaint targeted these three books because “they teach principles contrary to the Bible“:

PLANNED PARENTHOOD CLINIC ATTACKED WITH MOLOTOV COCKTAIL

A spokesperson for Planned Parenthood confirmed today that one of their Dallas-area clinics was thetarget of a violent attack last night. Holly Morgan, director of media relations and communications for Planned Parenthood in Dallas said that at around 11 pm last night, the attacker(s) threw a Molotov cocktail, consisting of diesel fuel in a glass bottle with a lit rag, at the building. “It didn’t penetrate the health center office and none of the staff or patients were there, which is great,” Morgan said. “It scorched the outside of the door and I believe there was a little scorching to the retail locations on either side of it.” Fire crews “confirmed that an incendiary device was used in the attack.”

After Right-Wing Pressure, DHS Now Has ‘Just One Person’ Dealing With Domestic Terrorism

CNN reports this week that terrorism experts are warning that the “threat of domestic terrorist attacks in the United States similar to last week’s fatal bombing and assault in Norway is significant and growing”:

Can the Urban League help heal Boston's racial wounds?

For many U.S. cities, hosting a major convention in town is a significant economic boom for its residents, with the potential of attracting more conventions and tourists in the future. The National Urban League will commence their annual convention today in Boston. For Beantown, the convention is more than an economic boom; it's an opportunity to heal racial wounds.

Put Us To Work! Obama Losing Black And Liberal Voters Over Jobs

Amidst new research showing historic disparity in wealth between whites and minorities, President Obama is facing plummeting approval over his jobs agenda among core supporters, including liberal Democrats and African-Americans.

Get Up And Out! NAACP Urges Minorities To Up Vote In 2012

LOS ANGELES — The NAACP plans a big push to increase minority turnout in the 2012 elections, hoping to gain political influence and turn back what the civil rights group says are efforts in various states to deny minorities the right to vote.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Help-Wanted Sign Comes With a Frustrating Asterisk

The unemployed need not apply.

That is the message being broadcast by many of the nation’s employers, making it even more difficult for 14 million jobless Americans to get back to work.

'Can I touch it?' The fascination with natural, African-American hair

Tamara Winfrey Harris tells a story of being in a chain restaurant with her husband when their names were called for a table.

Home Depot Founder Bernie Marcus Knocks Obama's Business Adviser, Says Entrepreneurs Fear Government

WASHINGTON -- Bernie Marcus, the billionaire founder and former CEO of Home Depot, is not a fan of President Obama's policies. He's also no big admirer of business leaders who work with the president.

CHART: Oslo Terrorist’s Manifesto Cited Many Islamophobic Bloggers And Pundits

Right-wing pundits and bloggers were quick to leap to judgement that the Norwegian terror attacks were the work of al-Qaeda or an Islamic terrorist. But the news that the attacker had blond hair and blue eyes and was inspired by right-wing “counterjihad” bloggers suddenly turned the tables on many of the bloggers and supposed “terrorism experts.”

Mike Lee: I Want America’s ‘House To Come Down’ Unless Congress Votes To Rewrite Constitution

In an interview on MSNBC’s Hardball Monday evening,tenther Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) admitted that he is using the threat of a catastrophic default to extort the nation into rewriting the Constitution to force a permanent era of conservative governance:

GOP Leaders Voted For Three Of The Biggest Debt Drivers, Costing $3.4 Trillion

GOP leaders stuck to their talking points last night in responding to President Obama’s speech on the debt ceiling, accusing him of the “largest spending binge in American history,” as Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said in remarks following the president’s. “[T]he President and his party continued to make demands which we cannot meet,” House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) said yesterday, adding that Obama is demanding “a blank check to keep spending.”

Pat Buchanan: Norwegian Right-Wing Terrorist ‘Breivik May Be Right’

Today, in a World Net Daily op-ed, failed presidential candidate and conservative pundit Pat Buchanan offers an example of the ethnic bigotry and racial insensitivity that has come to define him.

Despite Potential Downgrade, McConnell Claims ‘Absolutely No Economic Justification’ For Long-Term Debt Ceiling Deal

Countering President Obama’s call for a long-term increase in the nation’s debt ceiling, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said yesterday that “there’s absolutely no economic justification” for an extended increase:

With Default Seven Days Away, House GOP Fixates On Repealing Environmental Regulations

While the rest of the country focuses on the looming deadline to raise the nation’s debt ceiling, House Republicans are taking advantage of the distraction torepeal environmental regulations and pass the most severe environmental budget cuts in 35 years. Republicans are pushing a bill that cuts 7 percent from the Department of Interior budget and would reduce EPA funding by a whopping 18 percent — a $1.5 billion cut from current funding levels:

Romney Avoids Taking A Position On Boehner Plan With Same Weasel Words He Used For Ryan Plan

The 2012 presidential candidates have been slow to take a stand on House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-OH) debt plan. Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman (R) announced his support yesterday, while Minnestoa Rep. Michele Bachmann (R) told ThinkProgress today she would not supportthe plan.

NAACP PASSES RESOLUTION CALLING FOR END TO DRUG WAR

The NAACP passed a “historic resolution” today at its convention in Los Angeles calling for an end to the war on drugs. “These flawed drug policies that have been mostly enforced in African American communities must be stopped and replaced with evidenced-based practices that address the root causes of drug use and abuse in America,” President and CEO Ben Jealous said in a press release. Instead of sending drug offenders to prison, the NAACP is calling for a public health-oriented approach. The move comes after a high-level international panel in June called the drug war a “failure” and urged world governments to adopt a similar approach.

U.S. DOWNGRADE WOULD COST $100 BILLION A YEAR, WIPING OUT ANY DEFICIT REDUCTION

The financial website Zero Hedge reports that the cost of the U.S. debt being downgraded from our current AAA rating would be a whopping $100 billion a year. That’s according to JP Morgan Chase expert Terry Belton who spoke to reporters on a conference call this morning. In short, even if the U.S. does not default, a downgrade alone “will offset any beneficial impact from any deficit reduction that will have to happen for the debt ceiling to be increased.” Belton predicted that a downgrade would cause “a permanent increase in borrowing costs,” which will make it more costly for consumers and businesses to borrow money, risking another recession.

Bachmann Wanted To Eliminate Mortgage Lending Programs After Receiving The Maximum Loan From Them

GOP presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann’s (R-MN) political platform is built on the idea that people should rely on neighbors and God, not government. In that vein, the existence of the government sponsored mortgage enterprises (GSEs), Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, is practically heretical. A “fierce critic” of the mortgage-lending programs and their role in the financial crisis in 2008, Bachmann has repeatedly called to abolish the GSEs, wanting them to “wind down and file for bankruptcy.”

Florida Looks For The Lowest Bidder As It Privatizes 30 State Prisons

Florida is seeking bids from private companies to take over management of 30 state prisons in an 18-country area in South Florida. The “fastest privatization venture ever undertaken by the state of Florida” is an effort by Gov. Rick Scott (R) to save the state money byoutsourcing prison oversight to the lowest bidder:

After Enthusiastically Using Filibuster, GOP Begs Democrats Not To Filibuster Cut, Cap, And Balance Plan

Since 2009, Senate Republicans have forced virtually every bill to pass the 60-vote cloture threshold before it could come to the floor for actual debate. Thisunprecedented obstruction forced Senate Democrats to find 60 supporting votes — as opposed to a simple majority of 51 — to pass health care reform, financial regulatory reform, the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, the economic stimulus package, and nearly every other bill they considered, and killed critical legislation like a climate change bill, immigration reform, and the DREAM Act. In addition, Republicans have successfully filibustered an unheard-of number of judicial and cabinet-level nominees, hindering the efficacy of both branches.

Top GOP Lawmaker Pushing To Repeal Dodd-Frank: New Bank Regulators Are ‘Little Dictatorships’

Before this year, Rep. Randy Neugebaur (R-TX) was known best as a birther who once interrupted President Obama by screaming “baby killer.” After Republicans swept Congress, Neugebaur gained a top spot on the Financial Services Committee and is now working to dismantle foreclosure relief efforts, repeal Wall Street reforms passed last year, and empower the banks to ignore new rules governing consumer protection.

Monday, July 25, 2011

City promises $75 million Harlem affordable-housing development plan

The city has inked a $75 million deal that will keep 14 Harlem buildings affordable for moderate income families for the next 30 years.

The Top 20 Most Popular Drugs In The U.S.

The pharmaceutical drug industry has seen a huge decline in popularity of branded medicines in the past year — 2010 being the first year ever when all of the ten most popular medicines in the U.S. were cheap generics.

Obama Debt Ceiling Talks: President Addresses Nation About Debt Limit Negotiations, Economy

WASHINGTON (AP/The Huffington Post) -- Decrying a "partisan three-ring circus" in the nation's capital, President Barack Obama criticized a newly minted Republican plan to avert an unprecedented government default Monday night and said congressional leaders must produce a compromise that can reach his desk before the Aug. 2 deadline.

RATINGS AGENCY SOURCE: BOEHNER PLAN WOULD LEAD TO DOWNGRADE OF U.S. DEBT, REID PLAN WOULD PRESERVE AAA RATING

Today on CNN, Erin Burnett reported that she spoke with an investor who talked directly with the credit ratings agency Standard & Poor’s. According to the Standard & Poor’s source, John Boehner’s debt plan would probably still lead to a downgrade of U.S. debt by the ratings agencies, raising interest rates for all Americans. Harry Reid’s plan, however, would preserve America’s AAA credit rating. Watch it:

BOEHNER OVERHEARD LEAVING CAPITOL: “I DIDN’T SIGN UP FOR GOING MANO-A-MANO WITH THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.”

CBS News’ Jill Jackson reported Boehner’s candid comments via Twitter.

BREAKING: Eric Cantor Admits That $1 Trillion In War Savings Counted In Ryan Plan, ‘Cut, Cap & Balance’ Plan

Today, Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) rejected Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-NV) plan for raising the debt limit, claiming that it was full of gimmicks. Boehner’s principle criticism was that Reid’s plan counted $1 trillion in savings from winding down the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

House Republicans Take Aim At Environmental Regulations As Debt Crisis Looms

WASHINGTON -- With eight days until the country officially defaults on its debts, likely sparking a worldwide credit crisis, the House of Representatives is busy with legislation aimed at repealing environmental regulations and stymieing conservation efforts.

As 9/11 Anniversary Approaches, 'Ground Zero Mosque' Developer Hopes No Return Of Media Circus

As political firestorms go, few have consumed more oxygen than last summer's "ground zero mosque" controversy in lower Manhattan.

Though it was neither at Ground Zero nor a stand-alone mosque, the Park51 project was cast as an insult to the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks by extremist bloggers whose venomous tonewas taken up in the pages of Rupert Murdoch's New York Post and on Fox News.

IPhone 5 Release Date: 'Early-To-Mid-September?'

Will there be a new iPhone by Labor Day 2011?

Evidence has been mounting recently that the iPhone 5 (also known as the iPhone 4S) will be released at some point in September.

Tea Party Coalition Rejects Boehner's Debt Proposal

4:10 p.m. -- A coalition of Tea Party chapters and conservative lawmakers on Monday rejected the debt proposal put forward by Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), despite his efforts to sweeten the deal with provisions favored by his conservative base.

Cantor Opposed Short-Term Debt Ceiling Increase, Now Calls Obama’s Opposition to Short-Term Increase ‘Indefensible’

Today, Speaker John Boehner told the House GOP caucus that he is preparing a short-term bill that would raise the debt ceiling for about six months, despite Obama’s pledge to veto such a measure. On the call, Majority Leader Eric Cantor blasted Obama for opposing it. The Wall Street Journal reports:

BRITISH BUSINESS SECRETARY: ‘BIGGEST THREAT’ TO WORLD ECONOMY IS U.S. RIGHT-WING ‘NUTTERS’ EXTREMISM ON DEBT CEILING

Last week, Europeans leaders surprised critics by agreeing to a second rescue package for debt-stricken Greece. To those “irresponsiblepeople who had been “gleefully anticipating the collapse of the euro currency,” British Business Secretary Vince Cable presented the “irony of the situation at the moment.” A former economist, Cable told BBC television yesterday that “the biggest threat to the world financial system comes from a few right-wing nutters in the American congress rather than the euro zone.”

After Terrorist Attack By Alleged Anti-Muslim Fanatic, Peter King Will Still Target Only Muslims In Terror Hearings

Over the past few days, it has come to light that the man presumed to be responsible for the terror attacks in Norway, Anders Breivik, held deeply anti-Muslim views and was motivated at least in part by a hatred of foreigners and multiculturalism. There is also evidence that he was a fan of far-right bloggers and political parties.

Harry Reid Calls House Republicans’ Bluff

Something you often see in negotiations is a mismatch between one side’s stated sticking points and its real sticking points. In the debate over the debt ceiling, for example, Republicans have sought to portray themselves as having two bottom lines. One is that any increase in the debt ceiling must be met dollar-for-dollar with spending cuts. The other is that no revenue increases can be part of the deal. What Harry Reid did yesterday was essentially call the GOP’s bluff by outlining a plan that raises the debt ceiling by $2.7 trillion and includes $2.7 trillion in spending cuts, a healthy share of which comes from winding down the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Wall Street Donated Heavily To Boehner As The GOP Blocked Funding For Dodd-Frank

House Republicans, including Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH), were calling for repeal of the Dodd-Frank financial reform law even before it had passed. Once they achieved a majority, House Republicans worked to undermine the law by cutting the budgets of financial market regulators and trying to slow down the implementation of several of the law’s provision.

Rep. King Says Obama Will Be Impeached If Government Defaults

As Republican refusal to negotiate on the debt ceiling pushes the country ever closer to the brink of default, one Iowa congressman sees the impending financial collapse as cause for impeaching President Obama.

Trump: Republicans Should Reject Any Debt Ceiling Deal To Ensure Obama Isn’t Re-Elected

Negotiations to raise the nation’s debt limit before the looming Aug. 2 deadline broke down over the weekend when Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) became the latest Republican to walk out of the talks. With only eight days to go before the country risks defaults, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) proposed to essentially give Republicans exactly what they wanted: a plan that would reduce the deficit by $2.7 trillion but include no increase in revenue. The plan is a major concession from Democrats, but Republicans still look poised to reject the plan and let the nation risk default for one reason — politics.

Norway Terrorist Is A Global Warming Denier

Inspired by climate denial pundits, right-wing Norwegian terrorist Anders Breivik railed against global warming “enviro-communism” in his manifesto. Breivik — who confessed to killing 93 people in two attacks in Norway — published on the web a1,500-page manifesto describing his Christian conservative conspiracy theories. In one section, “Green is the new Red – Stop Enviro-Communism!” Breivik argues that global warming is actually a eco-Marxist plot “to create a world government” using the “Anthropogenic Global Warming scam”:

If Corporations And The Rich Paid Taxes At The Same Level As The 1960s, The Debt Would Disappear

As congressional negotiators continue to debate the contents of a deficit reduction package, discussions are reportedly tiltingtoward a deal that will include spending cuts but no revenue increases.

GOP REP. AKIN: OBAMA IS A ‘FLAMING SOCIALIST’ ON DEBT NEGOTIATIONS

In an interview with PoliticsMo, Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) called President Obama a “flaming socialist” who is incapable of negotiating with Republicans on raising the debt ceiling. The fact that Akin would deem Obama a hardcore socialist after the president has caved to nearly every Republican demand, agreeing to slash trillions in spending and cut social safety net programs, in exchange for a what should be a non-controversial move to pay off the country’s debt shows just how far Akin is willing to diverge from reality to attack the president.

SINCE NORWAY MASSACRE, AT LEAST FOUR MASS SHOOTINGS IN THE U.S.

In the wake of the tragic bombing and shooting rampage in Norway, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence pointed out this morning that mass shootings are startlingly common in the U.S., with its much laxer gun laws. In a typical year, fewer than 10 people are killed by guns in Norway while 12,000 are shot and killed in the U.S. annually (the U.S. is about 60 times bigger than Norway but has 1,200 times more gun deaths):

Taxing The Poor: The Only Tax Increase Republicans Support



Throughout the debate about raising the federal debt ceiling, Republicans have denied deal after deal because Democrats insist on adding new revenues to trillions of dollars in spending cuts. Republicans have opposed repealing oil and gas subsidies, removing a tax loophole for corporate jet owners, letting the Bush tax cuts expire, and all other forms of revenue Democrats have suggested. Raising taxes in a weak economy, they argue, is unthinkable — even if conservative patriarch Ronald Reagan did just that.

After Boehner Releases Plan That Doesn’t Cut Entitlements, He Rejects Reid Plan For Not Cutting Entitlements

Just days from a potential default, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) this afternoon rejected Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-NV) plan for raising the debt ceiling, saying he can’t support any plan that doesn’t cut entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare. Reid’s plan, just hours old when Boehner aimed to kill it, essentially called the GOP’s bluff, giving them exactly what they have been asking for all along — spending cuts matching the increase in the debt ceiling and no new revenues.

After Signing Law Disenfranchising ID-less Voters, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker Closes 10 DMV Offices

Earlier this year, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker became one of the many GOP governors to sign a law disenfranchising voters who do not have a photo ID — a law thatdisproportionately affects elderly voters, young voters, students, minorities and low-income voters. Having disenfranchised tens of thousands of Wisconsin voters, Walker is now making it harder for many of these voters to obtain the ID they need to regain their right to participate in the next election:

ARKANSAS HIGH SCHOOL APPOINTS CO-VALEDICTORIAN BECAUSE TOP STUDENT WAS AFRICAN AMERICAN

A high school student in Arkansas was blocked from receiving sole valedictorian honors this summer, despite earning the highest G.P.A. in her class and receiving only a single B in her four years at McGehee Secondary School. Kymberly Wimberly’s offense? She’s black. School administrators worried that Wimberly’s accomplishment would result in a “big mess” at the majority-white school, so Principal Darrell Thompson told the student’s mother “that he decided to name a white student as co-valedictorian,” even though the white student had a lower G.P.A. The matter is currently pending in federal court.

GRAPHIC: Obama’s Latest Debt Ceiling Offer Is To The Right Of Gang Of Six and Simpson-Bowles — GOP Still Says No

As the Washington Monthly’s Steve Benen noted today, Democrats have bent over backwards to craft a deal to raise the federal debt ceiling, only to be rebuffed at every turn by congressional Republicans who have been insisting that any deal include no new revenue and some cockamamie conservative policies (like a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution). To date, the GOP has turned away at least six different versions of Democratic plans to raise the debt ceiling.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

PALIN DOCUMENTARY BOMBS DURING SECOND WEEK IN THEATERS.

The Undefeated, the much-hyped Palin documentary, bombed during its second week in theaters,bringing in just $24,000 in ticket sales across 14 screens. The movie’s per theater average, touted as a relative bright spot by promoters, plummeted from $6,513 to $1,713, according to estimates by the industry website Box Office Mojo.

Sharpton on Black Journalists

Pointing out that he and MSNBC have not yet consummated a deal, the Rev. Al Sharpton responded to black journalists questioning his credentials for an MSNBC hosting gig in an exclusive interview with The Root.

Lawyers Drained Rosa Parks’ Estate Of Two-Thirds Of Its Money

DETROIT — A lawyer involved in a long-running dispute over the estate of civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks claims two other lawyers piled up fees that ate away about two-thirds of the estate’s $372,000 cash value.

The Ugly Racial Backstory Behind Harlem’s Sewage Plant Explosion


NEW YORK — In 1962, when New York city planners first proposed a sewage treatment plant for the residents and businesses of Manhattan’s West Side, they picked a spot on the Hudson River around 72nd Street. The neighborhood, however, was well on its way to becoming what it is today — the white, upper middle class district of stylish brownstones, grand co-ops and newfangled condominiums known to most Americans as the backdrop for the TV sitcom, Seinfeld.

Mayor Bloomberg: ‘America Is Very Low-Tax Compared To Other Developed Countries’

During an interview on ABC’s This Week today, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I) said that Republican demands that a deal to raise the debt ceiling include only spending cuts and no tax increases are unrealistic. To bolster his case, he noted that America is already “very low-tax compared to other developed countries”:

Coburn Bemoans FAA Shutdown, Doesn’t Mention House GOP’s Anti-Union Demands

As of midnight yesterday, the Federal Aviation Administration shut down due to Congress’ failure to reauthorize it. (Critical functions such as air traffic control will continue.) The shutdown means that up to 4,000 federal employees will be furloughed, around $2.5 billion worth of airport construction will cease, and around $200 million a week in ticket taxes will go uncollected.

Fox Pundit Defends Coverage Of News Corp Scandal By Fox News And Wall Street Journal: “We’ve Covered This Well”

Appearing on ABC’s This Week with Christiane Amanpour, Fox Business Network Senior Correspondent Charlie Gasparino defended the Wall Street Journal and Fox News’ coverage of News Corp’s — Fox and the WSJ’s parent company — phone hacking scandal in the UK, in the following exchange:

Maryland Opponents Force Referendum For Measure That Gives Aliens In-State Tuition

Opponents of a Maryland bill that would allow some illegal immigrants to pay in-state tuition have collected enough signatures to force a referendum that places the measure on hold until next year's election.

Joplin Tornado Restoration Begins Two Months Later

JOPLIN, Mo. -- Empty concrete pads where houses once stood. Untouched playgrounds still riddled with broken glass. A once-bustling retail district, eerily quiet on a weekend night.

States Raise Fees, Fines To Salvage Budgets And Avoid Tax Increases

NARRAGANSETT, R.I. (AP) -- Twenty dollars for a parking place wasn't going to ruin Ellen Majka's day at the beach. But she was still taken aback when she arrived at Rhode Island's popular Scarborough state beach and learned that parking fees had nearly doubled.

Republicans Float Short-Term Debt Ceiling Deal As Democrats Insist On Long-Term Plan

WASHINGTON -- Republicans tried to set the stage for a short-term agreement to raise the debt ceiling on Sunday, even as Democrats continued to insist that a long-term deal needed to be worked out.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

ALLEGED NORWEGIAN TERRORIST POSTED VIDEO OUTLINING HIS CONSERVATIVE BELIEFS, DEPICTS PRESIDENT OBAMA AS A ‘MARXIST’

Norwegian news reports confirm that Anders Behring Breivik, the gunman detained in connection to the terrorist attack yesterday in Oslo and Utoya Island, has confessed and called his actions “necessary.” This afternoon, reports emerged that Breivik had recentlyposted a political YouTube video outlining why “Christian soldiers” and “cultural conservatives” should rise up against “multiculturalism,” Muslims, and what he viewed as Marxist influence in society. The video, which was taken down and subsequently posted on other YouTube accounts, also features President Obama as part of a threat Breivik referred to as “Cultural Marxist Deconstruction.” Watch the video below:

Bernie Sanders Says It Would Be A ‘Good Idea’ To Primary President Obama

Recently, President Obama has faced fire from many in his own base for endorsing unpopular proposals that would include regressive cuts to Social Security in order to win a hike in the debt ceiling.

States Cut Programs Helping Families Pay Their Electric Bills During Record Heat Wave

Budget cuts have forced thousands of poor families to go without air conditioning as a record heat wave sweeps across the country. Many states have been facing budget crises and programs that help needy families pay their electric bills are often the first thing to go:

Right-Wing Pundits Jumped To Blame Muslims And ‘Jihadists’ For Norway Attacks

When news began to unfold on Friday of the terror attacks in Norway that has left more than 90 dead, many blogs and Twitter accounts immediately lit up with speculation about who was behind the massive bombings in Oslo and the subsequent attack on a youth camp 20 miles away.

Former Bush Official Places Blame For Oslo Attack On Norwegians For Not Being ‘Serious’ About Terrorism

Just as news emerged yesterday about the terror attacks in Norway, the right wing here in the U.S. rushed to judgement, declaring that they were perpetrated by Islamic terrorists. But Norwegian authorities have since charged Norwegian right-wing “Christian fundamentalist” Anders Breivik, a move that appears to have confused conservatives about terrorism in general.

Anders Behring Breivik: Oslo, Norway Bombing 'Necessary'


OSLO, July 23 (Reuters) - The man suspected of a gun and bomb attack in Norway has called his deeds atrocious yet necessary, his defense lawyer said on Saturday.
"He has said that he believed the actions were atrocious, but that in his head they were necessary," defense lawyer Geir Lippestad told TV2 news.
Lippestad said his client had said he was willing to explain himself in a court hearing on Monday.
The court will decide at the hearing whether to keep the suspect in detention pending trial. (Reporting by Anna Ringstrom and Alister Doyle)

Apple Laptop Security Flaw Found In Computer Batteries

A security researcher claims to have found a new security flaw in Apple laptops that could allow hackers to ruin laptop batteries, infect them with malware or potentially cause them to overheat and catch fire.

Amy Winehouse Dead: Singer Found Dead At London Home

Troubled, Grammy-winning singer Amy Winehouse has been found dead in her North London home, Sky News is reporting. The Daily Mail reports that police have confirmed the passing.

The Agenda Project: Patriotic Millionaires

Two powerful quotes in this video clip:

Uncertainty? No. Lack of demand? Yes

Echoing a point made some time ago: businesses aren't hiring because demand is lacking:

"The main reason U.S. companies are reluctant to step up hiring is scant demand, rather than uncertainty over government policies, according to a majority of economists in a new Wall Street Journal survey.
"'There is no demand,' said Paul Ashworth of Capital Economics. 'Businesses aren't confident enough, and the longer this goes on the harder it is to convince them that they should be.'"

This chart illustrates the problem. It comes from the latest report (PDF) from the NFIB:

Suspect In Custody For Norwegian Terror Attacks Allegedly An Anti-Islam Right-Wing Extremist

After a horrific day of violence in Norway that left more than 80 dead, police detained a man in connection with the massive bomb blasts that blew out windows for blocks in downtown Oslo and an attack on a youth camp about 20 miles away that followed shortly thereafter.

Conservatives Urge GOP to Raise Debt Ceiling


Default Denialists Called Out By Conservatives

We are now 11 days away from a default on our obligations, and House Republicans appear no closer to agreeing to increase the debt ceiling than they were weeks ago. The business community and other conservatives appear to be reacting to this default denialism with increasing alarm. Here’s a rundown of some of the right-wing calls to raise the debt ceiling.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Obama's Approval Rating Appears Stable Despite Economy

WASHINGTON -- In spite of 9.2 percent unemployment and overall "satisfaction" with the state of the country at a two-year low, Americans continue to give President Obama higher approval ratings than experts would predict based on the economic climate.

Deportations Of Immigrants Hits Record Number Under Obama Administration

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Huge increases in deportations of people after they were arrested for breaking traffic or immigration laws or driving drunk helped the Obama administration set a record last year for the number of criminal immigrants forced to leave the country, documents show.

Justice Department Preparing To Subpoena News Corp

The Department of Justice (DoJ) is preparing subpoenasas part of an initial investigation into whether News Corp violated the Foreign Corrupts Practices Act (FCPA) when its British subsidiary allegedly bribed police officers in the U.K.:

BLAST IN OSLO HITS GOVERNMENT OFFICE BUILDINGS

Reuters reports that anexplosion in Oslo today has blown out most of the windows of the government building housing the Norwegian prime minister’s office. A Norwegian news site has photos of the aftermath:

Sen. Coburn: Gang Of Six Budget Cuts Will Only Hurt Those ‘Sucking Off’ Programs

This week, the so-called Gang of Six — composed of Sens. Tom Coburn (R-OK), Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), Mark Warner (D-VA), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Mike Crapo (R-ID), and Kent Conrad (D-ND) —released the outline of a plan that would reduce deficits by about $3.7 trillion over the next 10 years, with about $3 trillion of that coming from spending cuts. The plan closely mirrors that of the Bowles-Simpson fiscal commission.

Bill O’Reilly Defends Allen West’s Vicious Personal Attack On Wasserman Schultz: ‘I Have No Problem With That’

Fox News hosts Bill O’Reilly and Stuart Varney agreed last night that Rep. Allen West (R-FL) was merely defending his “honor” when he personally attackedRep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) as “vile” and unladylike for criticizing his voting record. “I think he should have gone after Wasserman Schultz the way he wanted to,” O’Reilly said, adding that West shouldn’t apologize:

PERRY’S MOON SHOT: ACCUSING OBAMA OF LEAVING ASTRONAUTS TO ‘HITCHHIKE INTO SPACE’

Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) looks increasingly likely to launch a presidential campaign as he takes every opportunity to criticize President Obama. In a sharply worded statement, Perryaccused Obama of “leaving American astronauts with no alternative but to hitchhike into space.” Texas is home to the Johnson Space Center, and Perry says he’s outraged that the U.S. is halting its leadership in space exploration. Perry charges that the administration “continues to lead federal agencies and programs astray, this time forcing NASA away from its original purpose of space exploration, and ignoring its groundbreaking past and enormous future potential.”

REPORT: Number Of Tea Party Events Down More Than 50 Percent In 2011

Last September, Tea Party Patriots co-founder Jenny Beth Martin answered critics who predicted that the movement would soon peter out: “The Tea Party movement is here to stay.” Seven months later, presidential candidate Herman Cain — a Tea Party favorite — echoed the same sentiment: “I have people asking me all the time. Do you think this Tea-Party ‘thing’ is going to go away? [...] No, it’s not going away. It’s gonna get stronger and stronger.”

As Oklahomans Die, Inhofe Mocks Killer Heat Wave

The heat wave now battering much of the nation is centered on Oklahoma, where record heat and drought have crippled the state for the entire summer. With August on the way, there is no end in sight. The prolonged heat — Oklahoma City has been above 100°F for 30 days this summer — has probably killed over a dozen Oklahoma residents:

REP. MORAN: THE GOP IS THE ‘KNOW-NOTHING PARTY;’ ‘THEY JUST DON’T KNOW, THEY DON’T CARE’

Speaking with ThinkProgress today, Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA) offered a take on the reasons behind House Republicans’ obstinacy on the debt ceiling. Describing it as the “the party of denial,” Moran compared the current GOP to the historical, nativist “Know-Nothing party” that, incidentally, wanted to restrict types of immigrants and have daily bible readings in public schools. Moran said Republicans “don’t know enough to know what they don’t know,” including “how serious lifting the debt ceiling it,” or “the results of any of their own actions.” “They just don’t know, they don’t care,” Moran said, adding that “a majority of the House Republicans ran on the basis that government doesn’t work. And now that they’re elected they’re determined to prove it.” Watch it:

BREAKING: BOEHNER CALLS OFF DEBT TALKS WITH OBAMA

CNN reports that House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has said he is walking away from deficit reduction talks with the White House. Boehner will instead hold direct negotiations with the Senate leadership to reach a compromise. “In the end, we couldn’t connect,” Boehner said in a letter circulated to the Republican caucus.


Boehner Letter

COBURN: IT’S ‘STUPID AND NAIVE’ TO THINK WE WON’T HAVE TAX INCREASES

Combining a bit of basic economic common sense and hard political calculus, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) said on CSPAN today that it’s “pretty stupid and naive” to think that anti-tax absolutists like activist Grover Norquist will be able to avoid raising taxes forever. Sounding almost progressive, the hard-right senator noted that government revenues are at a 60-year-low and that people are unfairly benefiting from tax expenditures, thus loopholes will have to be closed and more revenue raised. He also made the obvious political calculation that Republicans only control the House, so they should not be dictating terms. Watch it:

FAA Will Close at Midnight, Furloughing Up to 4,000 Workers

The Federal Aviation Administration will shut down at midnight after GOP senators refused to let go of an anti-union provision amending the National Mediation Board’s union voting rules. Speaking of the matter, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) lambasted his colleague Sen. Orinn Hatch (R-UT) on the Senate floor over the political manuevering, saying that Hatch is only presenting “one side of a story”:

Limbaugh: The Killer 116° Heat Index Is ‘Manufactured By The Government’

Spinning a conspiracy theory that puts his listeners’ lives at risk, hate radio merchant Rush Limbaugh argued that government warnings of life-threatening heat are “playing games”: