Friday, December 31, 2010
U.S. Department of Defense Announces Latest Contract Awards : Veterans Today: "Pratt and Whitney, East Hartford, Conn., was awarded a $272,552,404 contract modification to provide for 30 F117-PW-100 engines, spare engines, and associated data for the C-17 aircraft. At this time, the entire amount has been obligated. ASC/WNWK, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is the contracting activity (FA8750-11-C-0045).
The Boeing Co., Ridley Park, Penn., was awarded on Dec. 22 a $241,957,000 firm-fixed-price contract. The award will provide for 11 CH-47F Chinook remanufactured aircraft. Work will be performed in Ridley Park, Penn., with an estimated completion date of Sep. 30, 2013. One bid was solicited with one bid received. The U.S. Army Contracting Command, Contracting Center Aviation and Missile, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is the contracting activity (W58RGZ-08-C-0098)."
Business Activity in U.S. Grows at Fastest Pace in Two Decades - Bloomberg: "Businesses in the U.S. expanded in December at the fastest pace in two decades, adding to evidence the world’s largest economy is accelerating heading into 2011.
The Institute for Supply Management-Chicago Inc. said today its business barometer rose to 68.6 this month, exceeded the most optimistic forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News and the highest level since July 1988. Figures greater than 50 signal expansion."
Thursday, December 30, 2010
To put December’s report into context, the median showing of the Chicago report between 1970 and 2009 was 55.1."
Barney Frank Takes On Those Worried About 'Radical Homosexual Agenda' (VIDEO): "The day before President Barack Obama signed the repeal of DADT into law, he addressed the next two bullet points on Frank's checklist, announcing he supports repealing the Defense Of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as between a man and a woman and allows states not to recognize bonds of any other nature, as well as the passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would prohibit discrimination against workers based on sexual orientation or gender identity. While he said his opinion on gay marriage is 'evolving,' the president also indicated he still prefers gay couples opt for civil unions."
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
China's rare earths export cut raises trade concerns | Reuters: "China has raised fresh international trade concerns after slashing export quotas on rare earths minerals, risking action from the United States at the World Trade Organization.
China, which produces about 97 percent of the global supply of rare earth minerals, cut its export quotas by 35 percent for the first half of 2011 versus a year ago, saying it wanted to preserve ample reserves, but warned against basing its total 2011 export quota on the first half figures."
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
China to Tighten Limits on Rare Earth Exports in Early 2011 - NYTimes.com: "China’s commerce ministry announced on Tuesday in Beijing a steep reduction in export quotas for rare earth metals in the first months of next year, a move that threatens to cause further difficulties for manufacturers already struggling with short supplies and soaring prices.
The reduction in quotas for the early months of 2011 — a 35 percent drop in tonnage from the first half of this year — is the latest in a series of measures by Beijing that has gradually curtailed much of the world’s supply of rare earths."
Police fatalities jump 37 percent in 2010: "The deaths were spread across more than 30 states and Puerto Rico - with the most killings reported in Texas, California, Illinois, Florida and Georgia. The two law enforcement agencies with the most deaths were the California Highway Patrol and the Chicago Police Department, each with five.
Ten of the shooting deaths came from five tragedies in which several officers were shot and killed in groups."
Sunday, December 26, 2010
Defense firms lure retired generals - The Boston Globe
An hour after the official ceremony marking the end of his 35-year career in the Air Force, General Gregory “Speedy’’ Martin returned to his quarters to swap his dress uniform for golf attire. He was ready for his first tee time as a retired four-star general.
But almost as soon as he closed the door that day in 2005 his phone rang. It was an executive at Northrop Grumman, asking if he was interested in working for the manufacturer of the B-2 stealth bomber as a paid consultant. A few weeks later, Martin received another call. This time it was the Pentagon, asking him to join a top-secret Air Force panel studying the future of stealth aircraft technology.
Martin was understandably in demand, having been the general in charge of all Air Force weapons programs, including the B-2, for the previous four years.
He said yes to both offers.
President Obama plans to issue an executive order, perhaps as early as this week, ending a federal internship program that critics say circumvents proper hiring practices.
Since it began in 2001, the Federal Career Intern Program has been used to hire more than 100,000 people - few of them interns as traditionally understood and many of them border and customs officers who later became permanent-status federal employees.
The program has drawn fire from federal employee unions and from the government board that oversees federal hiring practices, which ruled in November that the program undermined the rights of veterans, in particular, who were seeking federal work.
According to a draft copy of the executive order, which The Washington Post obtained from a person involved with the review process, the program will be terminated in March and be replaced with a program clearly designed to provide short-term federal work opportunities for recent graduates of schools of all kinds.
Rick Scott’s Economic Advisers Manipulate Research To Claim Unemployed Are Lazy And Don’t Try To Find Jobs
Rick Scott, the corrupt and fraudulent former health care executive who is soon to be Florida’s next Governor, received a report from his economic transition team this week that recommended he needs to crack down on the unemployed. Scott’s economic team, headed by the state’s most affluent business leaders, quoted research by former Obama administration official Alan Krueger to claim that the unemployed are lazy and need to be driven off unemployment benefits:
“According to [former U.S. Assistant Treasury Secretary Alan] Krueger’s research, the amount of time people on UC spent looking for a job averaged only 20 minutes a day! Within 2 weeks of UC ending, that increased but to only 70 minutes a day,” states the document, noting that the median duration of unemployment benefits receipt has increased nationally from 10 weeks to 18.7 weeks.
Saturday, December 25, 2010
More than 1,000 travelers from the United States are arriving every day in Cuba on average, most of Cuban origin, making Havana's long-time foe its second source of visitors after Canada, travel industry and diplomatic sources said Monday.
U.S. charter companies flying to the Communist-ruled island say business has boomed since President Barack Obama's administration lifted restrictions last year on Cuban-Americans visiting their homeland, and also loosened curbs on academic, religious, cultural and other professional travel.
Despite sanctions and trade embargoes, over the past decade the United States government has allowed American companies to do billions of dollars in business with Iran and other countries blacklisted as state sponsors of terrorism, an examination by The New York Times has found.
At the behest of a host of companies — from Kraft Food and Pepsi to some of the nation’s largest banks — a little-known office of the Treasury Department has granted nearly 10,000 licenses for deals involving countries that have been cast into economic purgatory, beyond the reach of American business.
Most of the licenses were approved under a decade-old law mandating that agricultural and medical humanitarian aid be exempted from sanctions. But the law, pushed by the farm lobby and other industry groups, was written so broadly that allowable humanitarian aid has included cigarettes, Wrigley’s gum, Louisiana hot sauce, weight-loss remedies, body-building supplements and sports rehabilitation equipment sold to the institute that trains Iran’s Olympic athletes.
In one instance, an American company was permitted to bid on a pipeline job that would have helped Iran sell natural gas to Europe, even though the United States opposes such projects. Several other American businesses were permitted to deal with foreign companies believed to be involved in terrorism or weapons proliferation. In one such case, involving equipment bought by a medical waste disposal plant in Hawaii, the government was preparing to deny the license until an influential politician intervened.
… That is when Senator Inouye’s office stepped in. While his electrodes were at sea, Mr. Liu had made his first ever political contribution, giving the senator’s campaign $2,000. Mr. Liu says the timing was coincidental, that he was simply feeling more politically inclined. Records show that an Inouye aide called the licensing office on Mr. Liu’s behalf the same day that Mr. Palmiero recommended denying the application. The senator himself wrote two days later.
The global economy can withstand an oil price of $100 a barrel, Kuwait's oil minister said on Saturday, as other exporters indicated OPEC may decide against increasing output through 2011 as the market was well supplied.
Analysts have said oil producing countries are likely to raise output after crude rallied more than 30 percent from a low in May because they fear prices could damage economic growth in fuel importing countries.
European benchmark ICE Brent crude for February closed at $93.46 on Friday after hitting $94.74 a barrel, its highest level since October 2008
Propublica is awesome
No one, not even the bank's own traders, wanted to buy the supposedly safe portions of the mortgage-backed securities Merrill was creating.
Bank executives came up with a fix that had short-term benefits and long-term consequences. They formed a new group within Merrill, which took on the bank's money-losing securities. But how to get the group to accept deals that were otherwise unprofitable? They paid them. The division creating the securities passed portions of their bonuses to the new group, according to two former Merrill executives with detailed knowledge of the arrangement.
The executives said this group, which earned millions in bonuses, played a crucial role in keeping the money machine moving long after it should have ground to a halt.
"It was uneconomic for the traders" -- that is, buyers at Merrill -- "to take these things," says one former Merrill executive with knowledge of how it worked.
Within Merrill Lynch, some traders called it a "million for a billion" -- meaning a million dollars in bonus money for every billion taken on in Merrill mortgage securities. Others referred to it as "the subsidy." One former executive called it bribery. The group was being compensated for how much it took, not whether it made money.:http://www.propublica.org/article/the-subsidy-how-merrill-lynch-traders-helped-blow-up-their-own-firm
Forecasters Predict a Strong Recovery in 2011 - NYTimes.com: "Eighteen months after the recession officially ended, the government’s latest measures to bolster the economy have led many forecasters and policy makers to express new optimism that the recovery will gain substantial momentum in 2011.
It is also trying to address one of the biggest impediments to the recovery — the reluctance of companies to invest their piles of cash in new plants and equipment — by granting tax incentives for business investment.
Economists in universities and on Wall Street have raised their growth projections for next year. Retail sales, industrial production and factory orders are on the upswing, and new claims for unemployment benefits are trending downward.
Despite persistently high unemployment, consumer confidence is improving. Large corporations are reporting healthy profits, and the Dow Jones industrial average reached a two-year high this week.
The Federal Reserve, which has kept short-term interest rates near zero since the end of 2008, has made clear it is sticking by its controversial decision to try to hold down mortgage and other long-term interest rates by buying government securities.
President Obama’s $858 billion tax-cut compromise with Congressional Republicans is putting more cash in the hands of consumers through a temporary payroll-tax cut and an extension of unemployment insurance for the long-term unemployed."
Friday, December 24, 2010
Fox and MSNBC Misinformed Some Viewers, Study Says - NYTimes.com: "“Almost daily” viewers of Fox News, the authors said, were 31 points more likely to mistakenly believe that “most economists have estimated the health care law will worsen the deficit”; were 30 points more likely to believe that “most scientists do not agree that climate change is occurring”; and were 14 points more likely to believe that “the stimulus legislation did not include any tax cuts.”
They were also 13 points more likely to mistakenly believe “the auto bailout only occurred under Obama”; 12 points more likely to believe that “when TARP came up for a vote most Republicans opposed it”; and 31 points more likely to believe that “it is not clear that Obama was born in the United States.”"
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Former Fat Person Mike Huckabee Doesn’t Think Michelle Obama Is a Dessert Tyrant -- Daily Intel - Audio
Former Fat Person Mike Huckabee Doesn’t Think Michelle Obama Is a Dessert Tyrant -- Daily Intel: "In the warped reality in which Sarah Palin resides, when Michelle Obama says that children should not eat dessert every day because they are all obese and will grow up to get the diabetus, this really means that America 'should not have dessert' and that she doesn't 'trust parents to make decisions for their own children.' Mike Huckabee is actually an expert on eating dessert — he used to be 300 pounds — and said yesterday that Palin is just wrong."
Halliburton will pay in Cheney case - POLITICO.com Print View: "Halliburton has agreed to pay $35 million to the Nigerian government to settle a bribery case that included charges filed against former Vice President Dick Cheney.
The company said in a statement that it offered the payment in response to 'allegations of improper payments to government officials in Nigeria.'
All lawsuits and charges against Halliburton and its subsidiary KBR “have been withdrawn [and] the FGN [Federal Government of Nigeria] agreed not to bring any further criminal charges or civil claims against those entities or persons,” the company added."
Senate Passes 9/11 Health Bill - NYTimes.com: "The Senate on Wednesday approved a bill to cover the cost of medical care for rescue workers and others who became sick from breathing in toxic fumes, dust and smoke after the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center.
Under the new agreement, the bill provides $4.3 billion over five years for health coverage to the 9/11 workers, instead of the original $7.4 billion over eight years."
Senate Passes Arms Control Treaty With Russia, 71-26 - NYTimes.com: "The Senate gave final approval on Wednesday to a new arms control treaty with Russia, scaling back leftover cold war nuclear arsenals and capping a surprisingly successful lame-duck session for President Obama just weeks after his party’s electoral debacle.
The 71-to-26 vote sends the treaty, known as New Start, to the president for his signature, and cements what is probably the most tangible foreign policy achievement of Mr. Obama’s two years in office. Thirteen Republicans joined a unanimous Democratic caucus to vote in favor, exceeding the two-thirds majority required by the Constitution."
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
START appears set for final approval - POLITICO.com Print View: "The White House looks positioned to score a victory on the nuclear arms treaty with Russia, New START, which cleared a procedural hurdle Tuesday with 67 votes, the number needed for ratification.
The Senate is expected to ratify the treaty Wednesday after 11 Republicans broke with their party’s leadership and voted Tuesday afternoon to shut down debate, 67-28."
Cantor, the Virginia Republican who has led the GOP charge this year to freeze federal salaries, has boosted his congressional office's payroll by 81 percent since coming to Congress in 2001 - about 8 percent per year through 2009. When he became minority whip last year, the office's personnel expenses went up by at least 16 percent."
California Approves First Large Scale Cap and Trade System in the U.S. | Fast Company: "Cap and trade may be a near impossibility on the national level at this point (thanks, dead climate bill!), but California is still pushing ahead with a system that will require major polluters to cut down on carbon emissions, but will give them the option to trade carbon credits on a newly introduced market. The system, which is set to go into place in 2012, will be the first carbon trading program in the U.S."
Haley Barbour's Account Of Civil Rights Era In Mississippi Assailed By NAACP, Historians: "In his interview with The Weekly Standard, Barbour heaps praise on the pro-segregation Citizens Council, which he credits with integrating the Yazoo City public schools without any violence.
'Because the business community wouldn't stand for it,' he said. 'You heard of the Citizens Councils? Up north they think it was like the KKK. Where I come from it was an organization of town leaders. In Yazoo City they passed a resolution that said anybody who started a chapter of the Klan would get their ass run out of town. If you had a job, you'd lose it. If you had a store, they'd see nobody shopped there. We didn't have a problem with the Klan in Yazoo City.'"
Sunday, December 19, 2010
Independent with a Cause!
In a landmark series of votes Saturday, the Senate officially recognized a historic change in American public opinion — that in just 17 years, the ban on openly gay men and women serving in the military went from being seen as a necessary compromise to keep peace between two sides in the culture war to a baffling and unnecessary relic of another era.
“It’s not possible to overestimate the historical significance,” said David Mixner, a longtime Democratic political operative, fundraiser and gay-rights advocate. “It’s a milestone and a historical moment and a turning point. In this incredible, epic civil rights battle, it’s a huge victory — the first victory of this magnitude ever by the Congress of the United States.”
Still, aside from those deeply invested in the fight, most Americans seemed likely to react with an approving shrug. With recent polls showing as many as 80 percent of the public in favor of repeal, the struggles over the legislation within the past year suggested Washington’s consternation with the issue far exceeded worry about it across the country.
In a sign of the cultural shift, even some steadfast conservatives joined the repeal effort at the last moment. Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) cast an unexpected vote in favor, citing a “generational transition that has taken place in our nation.” Sen.-elect Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) also said he supported ending “don’t ask, don't tell.”
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c|
Gale Three Feathers, left, and Mark Bruishead celebrate Congress's passage last month of the Crow Tribe Water Rights Settlement Act.
Alaska Native tribal leaders are gathering Thursday in Washington for the Tribal Nation’s Conference with President Obama. Each of the country’s 565 federally recognized tribes was invited to send a representative. This is the second time the Obama White House has hosted such an event – the first was one year ago. And it’s the first administration to hold them on such a scale. Marvin Kelly, on the Emmonak Tribal Council, says he hopes this year
The president said his administration has tackled some of the largest issues faced by American Indian communities, helping to create infrastructure, eliminate bureaucratic barriers and boost public health on reservations, where tribal members face rates of diseases like tuberculosis at a far higher rate than the rest of the nation.
The Justice Department, he said, is working to reform the criminal justice system on reservations. The Tribal Law and Order Act, signed by the president in July, contains measures to help fight drug and alcohol abuse on reservations, gives authorities better access to databases and improves opportunities for at-risk Native American youth.
American Indians' history has been "too often marred by broken promises and grave injustices against the first Americans," Obama said. While he acknowledged that no words can undo the damage, he said his administration aims for action to match those words.
Saturday, December 18, 2010
Obama signs tax cut deal
Saying he wouldn’t have signed the deal if it didn’t include important components for average citizens, from preventing a tax hike for middle class families to keeping college tuition bills from going up for millions of young Americans, President Obama on Friday signed a sweeping $871 billion bill extending Bush-era tax cuts and adding some $600 billion in stimulus, including a 2 percent payroll tax cut for all working Americans and a 13-month extension of unemployment benefits. Both House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid skipped the bill signing, making it clear that as far as Hill Dems are concerned, the president owns this bill, unlike healthcare. Guess who did show up …
By a vote of 63 to 33, with six Republicans joining Democrats, the Senate acted to cut off debate on a measure that would let President Obama declare an end to the Clinton-era policy, known as “don’t ask, don’t tell,” which allows gay members of the armed forces to serve only if they keep their sexual orientation a secret. The vote indicated that there was easily enough support to push the measure to final passage.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says the Senate will take a final vote Saturday afternoon on legislation that would overturn the military ban on openly gay troops.
The vote on ending the "don't ask, don't tell" policy is set for 3 p.m. before senators turn to a nuclear arms treaty with Russia. Passage would send the military measure to the White House.
Friday, December 17, 2010
PolitiFact.com rates the accuracy of political ads and comments by politicians. Editor Bill Adair talks to Steve Inskeep about the biggest lie of the year. Adair says it is the claim that the Democratic health care law is a government takeover of health care.
PolitiFact Announces 2010 Lie Of The Year : NPR
"Of Perriello’s fiscal 2011 requests, the most expensive earmark would go to the Jefferson Program, a partnership between the University of Virginia and a not-for-profit research corporation called the Battelle Memorial Institute. The $4 million earmark for Battelle’s office in the UVa Research Park would pay for an “innovative electronic interface to survey biological warfare capabilities and threats, whether on the battlefield or through terrorism,” Perriello’s office said. A Battelle spokeswoman said she could not comment, citing confidentiality rules."
Shortly after this double-issue lands in your mailbox, so too will a check from the federal government, ranging from $300 for singles to $600 for married folks. It's not a gift from the feds-it's your money, the result of a new 10 percent tax bracket. It's an income tax cut, effective this year."
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
NewsHour Extra: Bush's Tax Cut Plan - August 1, 2001: "The checks are part of the 2001 tax law President Bush signed in early June that is supposed to help the economy by making people spend more. That law directed the Treasury Department to send out certain amounts of money called tax rebates to taxpayers across the country."
Dem budget: $1.1 trillion; 1,900 pages - POLITICO.com Print View: "Senate Democrats began rolling out Tuesday a year-end, government-wide spending bill that cuts more than $26 billion from President Barack Obama’s 2011 requests even as it defies earmark bans – or veto threats over Joint Strike Fighter engines.
Filling more than 1,900 pages and costing $1.1 trillion, the measure is sure to invite criticism as a last stand by the Senate’s old bulls before the more conservative, tea party-oriented Congress takes hold in January. But weeks of bipartisan work have gone into the effort to meet spending targets previously embraced by the Republican leadership and also try to salvage something from the failed budget process this year."
Monday, December 13, 2010
Obama signs child nutrition bill - CNN.com: "Obama signs child nutrition bill"
President Barack Obama signed a sweeping overhaul of child nutrition standards Monday, enacting a law meant to encourage better eating habits in part by giving the federal government more authority to set standards for food sold in vending machines and elsewhere on school grounds.
Among other things, the $4.5 billion measure provides more money to poor areas to subsidize free meals and requires schools to abide by health guidelines drafted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. To help offset the higher cost of including more fruits and vegetables, the bill increases the reimbursement rate for school lunches.
Steele to reveal decision Monday - POLITICO.com Print View: "Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele intends to announce his reelection plans on Monday evening, and key supporters expect him to drop out of the hotly contested race, top Republicans tell POLITICO.
A new chairman will be elected next month during the committee’s winter meeting."
Sunday, December 12, 2010
Yesterday, Fox News host Glenn Beck told a caller on his radio show that the bill would disenfranchise white people, saying, “if you’re white or you’re an American citizen or a white American citizen, you’re pretty much toast.” Beck suggested his caller steal a Mexican ID card in to receive the supposedly preferential treatment minorities will receive under DREAM.
While clearly bigoted, Beck’s comments appeared to have the joking tone of a self-described “rodeo clown.” But Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) was not joking when he took to the House floor Wednesday to warn that voting for “the Affirmative Action Amnesty Act,” as he dubbed DREAM, will “relegate the position of non-minorityAmerican citizens to behind those who are now in this country illegally.”
Elizabeth Edwards Funeral To Be Picketed By Westboro Baptist Church: "Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church will be dispatching members of its congregation to protest the funeral of Elizabeth Edwards this Saturday, CNN reports.
The church has generated controversy with its confrontational and offensive demonstrations. 'God Hates Fags' has become an unofficial calling card of the group, a phrase they say the world 'needs to hear more than it needs oxygen, water and bread.' Another Westboro sign, 'Thank God For Dead Soldiers,' is frequently displayed at military funerals and has created its own share of outrage."
Saturday, December 11, 2010
Wis., Ohio high-speed rail money to go elsewhere | Minnesota Public Radio News: "The Obama administration is taking $1.2 billion in high-speed rail money away from Ohio and Wisconsin and awarding it to other states, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said Thursday.
Both Ohio and Wisconsin have elected incoming Republican governors who oppose the rail projects. So LaHood said he is awarding their money to rail projects in states that are eager to have it.
High-speed trains will not only improve transportation but reinvigorate manufacturing and put people back to work in jobs that pay well, LaHood predicted in a statement.
States gaining the most money include California, $624 million; Florida, $342 million; Washington, $161 million; and Illinois, $42 million. Other states receiving lesser amounts include New York, Maine, Massachusetts, Oregon, North Carolina, Iowa and Indiana."
I typically don’t like Sanders but this is admirable!
At 10:24 Friday morning, Sen. Bernard Sanders of Vermont took to the floor of the Senate to share a few thoughts about the tax-cut plan brokered by President Obama and Republican leaders.
Well after the sun had set and most of his colleagues had flown home, Sanders was still sharing - about taxes, bad trade deals and "the crooks on Wall Street," among many other topics.
"China, China, CHINA!" he yelled at one point, stressing that the $14 trillion national debt was largely being financed by the Chinese government's decision to continue buying U.S. bonds.
Sanders yielded at times to Democratic colleagues who wanted to speak briefly against the plan, but otherwise he held the floor until nearly 7 p.m., his thick Brooklyn-born accent filling the chamber.
Bernie Sanders Holds Old-School Filibuster Against Obama-GOP Tax Cut Deal
Friday, December 10, 2010
President Barack Obama met with Elouise Cobell Dec. 8.
Obama signs historic Cobell settlement | Indian Country Today | Content: "President Barack Obama signed the $3.4 billion Cobell settlement into law Dec. 8, signaling the end of one approval process necessary to get money into the hands of Indian class members. The ball now goes to the overseeing court, which is charged with ensuring the settlement is fair."
President signs Indian Trust Fund Settlement Act | The Cherokee One Feather: "Elouise Cobell, a member of the Blackfeet Tribe of Montana, decided in 1996 that enough was enough and she was tired of not having a resolution to the Indian Trust Fund situation. On June 10 of that year, she filed a lawsuit (Cobell v. Salazar) against the government in the hopes of finding a solution and resolution.
That resolution finally came on Wednesday, Dec. 8 as President Barack Obama signed the Claims Resolution (aka Settlement) Act of 2010 officially bringing the decades-old Indian Trust Fund debacle to a close. Under the Act, $3.4 billion will be provided to settle trust fund accounts and land interests across Indian Country. "
Thursday, December 9, 2010
Kilili: Republicans Block $250 COLA Check Veterans, Seniors: "Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives voted down a bill to provide another $250 payment to Social Security recipients and disabled veterans. The payment is meant to replace a lost cost-of-living increase for 2011.
“I find it unconscionable that Republicans are blocking a little bit of help – $250 – for seniors and for men and women who risked their lives for our country, and at the same time Republicans are demanding a $700 billion tax break for the wealthy, millionaires and billionaires,” said Congressman Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan after the vote."
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Arizona Medicaid Cuts Transplants for Budget
Ben Tracy reports on Arizona budget cuts that have eliminated certain organ transplants for low income patients covered by the state's Medicaid program.
Read more: http://www.cbsnews.com/1770-5_162-0.html?query=arizona&tag=srch&searchtype=cbsSearch#ixzz17Z8z36vs
Arizona Medicaid Cuts Transplants for Budget - CBS News Video
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Members of Congress requested almost 40,000 earmarks worth more than $100 billion directed to their home districts and states for the current fiscal year, according to a first-of-its-kind analysis to be released Tuesday.
As Congress attempts to finalize appropriations legislation through next September, the new database shows that there remains a relentless bipartisan appetite for projects from coast to coast — whether it’s the $5 million Sen. Bill Nelson sought for an engineering project at the University of South Florida, the $1 million requested by Sen. Kit Bond (R-Mo.) to develop soybeans resistant to a problematic pest, the $160,000 that Rep. Doris Matsui (D-Calif.) sought for a local Boys and Girls Club in Sacramento or the $2 million for a new transit transfer center in Lafayette called for by Sen. DickLugar (R-Ind.).
Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), for instance, sought 51 earmarks worth more than $358 million.
When the new Congress convenes in January, it’ll be a much tougher climate in which to win backing for pet projects.
The database also shows Inouye sought 195 earmarks worth $815 million, while the top Republican on the committee, Thad Cochran of Mississippi, requested 712 earmarks worth $2.5 billion.
In spending measures that went into law the previous year, Inouye’s and Cochran’s earmarks were prevalent — with the Mississippi Republican securing 252 earmarks worth nearly $500 million and Inouye racking up $392 million for his state, according to a separate analysis done by Taxpayers for Common Sense.
'Operation Broken Trust' Targets Hundreds In Financial Fraud Sweep, Seeking Billions: "In one case in Texas, an oil and gas investment Ponzi scheme defrauded 7,700 investors of more than $485 million. In another case, in Chicago, the operator of a Ponzi scheme victimized elderly Italian immigrants and hundreds of others after promising them annual returns of 10 to 15 percent.
Seventy-five investors lost $89 million in a Ponzi scheme in Florida. Nevin Shapiro, who pleaded guilty for his role in the scheme, used some of the money to pay illegal sports gambling debts, to buy floor seats at Miami Heat basketball games and to make payments on his yacht and his residence in Miami Beach."
Sunday, December 5, 2010
He’s right about that!!
This issue creates hate toward the Pres with Dems. No problem however. In the election he’ll explain that he wouldn’t let the unemployed go without, and that it was worth the deal to ‘cave in’ to the Millionaire’s tax cut to prevent further hardship.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) predicted that Democrats would give in to Republican demands on extending the Bush-era tax cuts, just one day after Republicans killed a Democratic plan to extend cuts for low- and middle-income Americans. "It's pretty clear now that taxes are not going up on anybody in the middle of this recession," McConnell said.
Tax Cut Extension: The GOP’s Fiscal Time Bomb - The Daily Beast: "“We knew that, politically, once you get it into law, it becomes almost impossible to remove it,” says Dan Bartlett, Bush’s former communications director. “That’s not a bad legacy. The fact that we were able to lay the trap does feel pretty good, to tell you the truth.”
As the vote approached in the summer of 2001, the Senate had just flipped to Democratic control when Jim Jeffords defected from the GOP. Had the tax breaks been made permanent—or even extended beyond Sept. 30, 2011—the fledgling Bush administration would have had to muster a 60-vote Senate majority under the so-called Byrd Rule, named for master parliamentarian Robert Byrd. (The final version, cutting taxes by $1.35 trillion, garnered 58 votes.) And by moving up the expiration date by nine months, the Bush team saved $100 billion and made the bill’s deficit-busting impact appear smaller."
Management blamed for space telescope cost overrun | The Space Shot - CNET News: "NASA management miscues threaten to drive up the cost of the agency's next generation space telescope by some $1.5 billion, an independent review panel reported today, pushing the overall cost of the project into the neighborhood of $6.5 billion. That's a best-case assessment that assumes the agency launches the observatory in 2015, the earliest realistic target."
IEEE Spectrum: The Hunt for the Kill Switch: "Last September, Israeli jets bombed a suspected nuclear installation in northeastern Syria. Among the many mysteries still surrounding that strike was the failure of a Syrian radar--supposedly state-of-the-art--to warn the Syrian military of the incoming assault. It wasn't long before military and technology bloggers concluded that this was an incident of electronic warfare--and not just any kind."
Explosion Kills 6 In Chinese Internet Cafe: " At least six people have been killed and about 36 injured in a powerful explosion that flattened an internet cafe under a bridge in southwest China, state-run Xinhua news agency reported on Sunday."
Saturday, December 4, 2010
Republicans were out of the gate immediately following the release of the November unemployment figures Friday as the two top Republican leaders in the House jabbed Democrats and called for tax cut extensions.
Current House minority leader Rep. John Boehner, who will likely serve as House Speaker in the next Congress, said Democratic leaders are "wasting time with meaningless votes," and said not extending the Bush-era tax cuts will result in more jobs lost.