Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Obama Urging Domestic Focus After Iraq - NYTimes.com

Obama Urging Domestic Focus After Iraq - NYTimes.com

“The United States has paid a huge price to put the future of Iraq in the hands of its people,” he says in excerpts released early this evening, just before a speech from the Oval Office that is scheduled for 8 p.m. “We have persevered because of a belief we share with the Iraqi people — a belief that out of the ashes of war, a new beginning could be born in this cradle of civilization.”

But the excerpts suggested that Mr. Obama wanted to use the event, marking the end of the formal combat mission in Iraq, to pivot toward the economic problems that persist at home. In the excerpts, distributed by the White House as a way of setting the stage, there was no mention of the risks that remain in Iraq, nor of the hot war that continues in Afghanistan. These points could be expected to come in the full speech, as they were made by the president and his surrogates during the day.

“Today, our most urgent task is to restore our economy, and put the millions of Americans who have lost their jobs back to work,” the excerpts said, with Mr. Obama calling this “my central responsibility as president.”

Monday, August 30, 2010

Army Revises Training to Deal With Unfit Recruits - NYTimes.com

Army Revises Training to Deal With Unfit Recruits - NYTimes.com: "Dawn breaks at this, the Army’s largest training post, with the reliable sound of fresh recruits marching to their morning exercise. But these days, something looks different.

That familiar standby, the situp, is gone, or almost gone. Exercises that look like pilates or yoga routines are in. And the traditional bane of the new private, the long run, has been downgraded.

This is the Army’s new physical-training program, which has been rolled out this year at its five basic training posts that handle 145,000 recruits a year. Nearly a decade in the making, its official goal is to reduce injuries and better prepare soldiers for the rigors of combat in rough terrain like Afghanistan."

Judge Smacks Down Cuccinelli’s Global Warming Witchhunt

What a dumbas_!

Think Progress � Judge Smacks Down Cuccinelli’s Global Warming Witchhunt: "An Albemarle County Circuit Court judge has set aside a subpoena issued by Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli to the University of Virginia seeking documents related to the work of climate scientist and former university professor Michael Mann."

Small businesses hold off spending while waiting for aid - USATODAY.com

Small businesses hold off spending while waiting for aid - USATODAY.com: "•An increase on government guarantees to as much as 90% on some of the most popular loans. That would mean a little less pressure on banks if a company defaults, because the government would insure a larger percentage of the loan, says Coleman. With current guarantees topping out at 75%, 'there is a bit more exposure' for banks, he says.

•Community banks with assets of $10 billion or less would be able to tap into the $30 billion fund when making small-business loans. About 8,000 banks would be eligible.

•Small businesses would get about $18 billion in tax breaks, such as larger write-offs on capital equipment investments, and get credits for new hires."

A trend for US stocks - the buyback!! - Hewlett-Packard buying back $10 billion in stock

A trend for US stocks - the buyback!!

Hewlett-Packard buying back $10 billion in stock - MarketWatch: "Hewlett-Packard Co. (HPQ 39.07, 1.07, 2.82%) said Monday it would buy back up to $10 billion of its own stock. Shares of the company rose 2.6% to $38.98 following the announcement. The Palo Alto, Calif. technology firm said it plans to repurchase shares 'opportunistically.' In the third quarter, HP repurchased approximately $2.6 billion worth of its shares. As of July 31, the company had approximately $4.9 billion of repurchase authorization remaining under an $8 billion repurchase authorization approved by the board in 2009. HP has approximately 2.3 billion shares of common stock outstanding."

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Arizona police say gunman kills 5, then self - KansasCity.com

Arizona police say gunman kills 5, then self - KansasCity.com

In this undated photo released by the Lake Havasu City Police Department Brian Diez, 26 of Havasu, Ariz. Police say Diez killed five people after entering a home in the Arizona community and started shooting, and then fled with his two children. Diez on Sunday, Aug. 29, 2010 was found dead in California of a self-inflicted gunshot wound and the two young children were safe with relatives.

Read more: http://www.kansascity.com/2010/08/29/2185170/arizona-police-say-gunman-kills.html#ixzz0y2yzKT6R


You cannot kill civilians!


Feds examining allegations that NOPD officials gave 'shoot looters' order!

New Orleans SWAT team members ride a Light Armored Vehicle down Bourbon Street after checking on a downed helicopter on Sept. 4, 2005.

Investigators have asked Police Superintendent Ronal Serpas for information on the allegations and have sought to interview officers with direct knowledge of any such orders, police spokesman Bob Young said Thursday evening.


The price of gas: A Need to Know investigation - Video

Hydraulic fracturing — or fracking — is a process used by energy companies to get natural gas out of the ground. Fracking involves forcing water, sand and chemicals underground to fracture rocks and release the natural gas trapped within them.

Watch the full episode. See more Need To Know.

A U.S. 'legacy of waste' in Iraq

55821714[1] The $53-billion reconstruction effort is not without its successes. But poor planning, violence and a failure to consult Iraqis derailed many projects, which may offer lessons in Afghanistan.

Reporting from Khan Bani Saad, Iraq —

The shell of a prison that will never be used rises from the desert on the edge of this dusty town north of Baghdad, a hulking monument to the wasted promise of America's massive, $53-billion reconstruction effort in Iraq.

Construction began in May 2004 at a time when U.S. money was pouring into the country. It quickly ran into huge cost overruns. Violence erupted in the area, and a manager was shot dead in his office. The Iraqi government said it didn't want or need the prison. In 2007 the project was abandoned, but only after $40 million of U.S. taxpayer money had been spent.

Is arson at Tenn. mosque site a kind of terrorism?

arsonx-large[1] Officials suspect arson burned eavy equipement Friday night at the Murfreesboro, Tenn., construction site for a planned Islamic Center that local residents have been fighting. In this July photo, protester Nancy Cavazos, right, and counter protester Hudson Wilkins, left, argue during a demonstration against the center.

Notice the sign in the background in this photo of people squaring off over a proposed mosque in Murfreesboro, Tenn: "All you need is love," it says.

But someone set fire to the construction equipment at the mosque site before dawn Saturday, say local and federal officials in today's Nashville Tennessean.

Arson At Tennessee Mosque Site


- Federal agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives on Saturday were investigating a possible case of arson at the construction site of an Islamic center in Murfreesboro, Tenn., WTVF-TV reported.

Authorities said four large construction vehicles at the site were doused with flammable liquid. A passerby saw flames at the site early Saturday morning and called the fire department. Only one of the vehicles had been set on fire.

Policy Options Dwindle as Economic Fears Grow - NYTimes


DEFLATION!  Yes, deflation not inflation, as I say a year ago!

THE American economy is once again tilting toward danger. Despite an aggressive regimen of treatments from the conventional to the exotic — more than $800 billion in federal spending, and trillions of dollars worth of credit from the Federal Reserve — fears of a second recession are growing, along with worries that the country may face several more years of lean prospects.

On Friday, Ben Bernanke, chairman of the Fed, speaking in the measured tones of a man whose word choices can cause billions of dollars to move, acknowledged that the economy was weaker than hoped, while promising to consider new policies to invigorate it, should conditions worsen.

Yet even as vital signs weaken — plunging home sales, a bleak job market and, on Friday, confirmation that the quarterly rate of economic growth had slowed, to 1.6 percent — a sense has taken hold that government policy makers cannot deliver meaningful intervention. That is because nearly any proposed curative could risk adding to the national debt — a political nonstarter. The situation has left American fortunes pinned to an uncertain remedy: hoping that things somehow get better.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Reagan's Top Economist Says GOP Misled the U.S. and Tanked the Economy

Reagan's Top Economist Says GOP Misled the U.S. and Tanked the Economy

Stockman excoriates modern Republicans, and particularly Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, for claiming the party's current economic doctrines are rooted in traditional GOP financial philosophy. He points to a list of misguided Republican actions that have led the country to economic disaster: [[Richard M. Nixon|Richard Nixon's] gold policies that contributed to the country living beyond its means, the runaway growth of public debt resulting "not from big spending by the Democrats, but instead the Republican Party's embrace ... of the insidious doctrine that deficits don't matter if they result from tax cuts," the neocon's sky-high inflation of the military budget, the "warfare state," the removal of traditional restrictions on leverage and speculation by the financial sector which led to a "vast, unproductive expansion of our financial sector,"

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The billionaire Koch brothers : The New Yorker

Oddly enough, the fiercely capitalist Koch family owes part of its fortune to Joseph Stalin. Fred Koch was the son of a Dutch printer who settled in Texas and ran a weekly newspaper. Fred attended M.I.T., where he earned a degree in chemical engineering. In 1927, he invented a more efficient process for converting oil into gasoline, but, according to family lore, America’s major oil companies regarded him as a threat and shut him out of the industry. Unable to succeed at home, Koch found work in the Soviet Union. In the nineteen-thirties, his company trained Bolshevik engineers and helped Stalin’s regime set up fifteen modern oil refineries. Over time, however, Stalin brutally purged several of Koch’s Soviet colleagues. Koch was deeply affected by the experience, and regretted his collaboration. He returned to the U.S. In the headquarters of his company, Rock Island Oil & Refining, in Wichita, he kept photographs aimed at proving that some of those Soviet refineries had been destroyed in the Second World War. Gus diZerega, a former friend of Charles Koch, recalled, “As the Soviets became a stronger military power, Fred felt a certain amount of guilt at having helped build them up. I think it bothered him a lot.

The billionaire Koch brothers : The New Yorker

Business & Financial News, Breaking US & International News | Reuters.com

Business & Financial News, Breaking US & International News | Reuters.com: "The massive U.S. stimulus package put millions of people to work and boosted national output by hundreds of billions of dollars in the second quarter, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said on Tuesday.
CBO's latest estimate indicates that the stimulus effort, which remains a political hot potato ahead of the November congressional elections, may have prevented the sluggish U.S. economy from contracting between April and June.
CBO said President Barack Obama's stimulus boosted real GDP in the quarter by between 1.7 percent and 4.5 percent, adding at least $200 billion in economic activity."

Home Sales Fell 25.5% in July, Renewing Economic Anxiety - NYTimes.com

Home Sales Fell 25.5% in July, Renewing Economic Anxiety - NYTimes.com: "Americans’ long infatuation with owning a home, which even the economic collapse of 2008 could not kill, shuddered and stalled last month.
Housing sales in July plunged 25.5 percent below the level of a year ago, the National Association of Realtors said on Tuesday, as buyers lost the spur of a government tax credit. The steep descent surprised nearly every analyst and put the volume of single-family home sales at the lowest level since 1995."

Monday, August 23, 2010

How the "ground zero mosque" fear mongering began

A group of progressive Muslim-Americans plans to build an Islamic community center two and a half blocks from ground zero in lower Manhattan. They have had a mosque in the same neighborhood for many years. There's another mosque two blocks away from the site. City officials support the project. Muslims have been praying at the Pentagon, the other building hit on Sept. 11, for many years.

How the "ground zero mosque" fear mongering began

Op-Ed Columnist - How Fox Betrayed Petraeus - NYTimes.com


Op-Ed Columnist - How Fox Betrayed Petraeus - NYTimes.com

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Christie signs law encouraging offshore wind turbines

A law signed Thursday by Gov. Christie pushed New Jersey a big step forward in the race to become the first state to erect offshore wind turbines.
Legislators said the action could bring hundreds of green-energy jobs to Paulsboro, which they hope will become a hub of turbine manufacturing.

Read more: http://www.philly.com/inquirer/local/nj/20100820_Christie_signs_law_encouraging_offshore_wind_turbines.html#ixzz0xHI0VXVz
Watch sports videos you won't find anywhere else

Blackstone Invests $300 Million in One of India’s Leading Solar PV Companies | Earth and Industry

Moser Baer (NSE: MOSERBAER) has a diversified portfolio ranging from manufacturing of computer peripherals to fabrications of solar panels. While their computer hardware business is very well established, the company is looking to expand its solar panel fabrication capabilities.

The solar fabrication firm of the company was established in 2007 when crystalline silicon and thin film solar cell manufacturing assembly lines were set up. Both the assembly lines are part of Moser Baer Photo Voltaic Limited which holds the record of fabricating the world's largest thin film solar panel measuring 2.6 meters x 2.2 meters and having generation capacity of up to 390 watts.

Blackstone Invests $300 Million in One of India’s Leading Solar PV Companies | Earth and Industry

Deregulation doesn’t work: Airlines - $25 million for lack of Maintenance on airplanes

American Airlines is facing a fine of $25 million or more because of maintenance lapses that led to the cancellation of some 2,500 flights in 2008, according to Friday report in The Wall Street Journal. Citing people familiar with the matter, the newspaper said some managers at the Federal Aviation Administration had sought penalties as high as $100 million, though that was later rejected by officials. The 2008 cancellations at American Airlines stranded some 300,000 customers over a three-day period with the carrier grounding most of its MD-80 fleet.

Reports: American Airlines facing fine of $25 million

The FAA is poised to slap a record penalty of $25 million or more against American Airlines for maintenance lapses involving wiring in the MD-80 jet that caused flight cancellations in 2008, according to reports Thursday.

NBC News said the official fine letter wasn't expected to be sent for a week or more and that the precise amount could change. It is expected to be the largest fine levied against a U.S. airline.

The Wall Street Journal, citing unnamed sources, reported on its website that the move would cap months of internal government debate and efforts by American to head off such a penalty by enhancing its maintenance procedures and taking other steps.

Deregulation doesn’t work - EGGS

With 380 million eggs under recall, consumers may be anxious about eating any egg or food product containing eggs. Here's the upshot: Thoroughly cooked eggs are safe, but cross-contamination could be a problem. Here's more about the recall and food safety.

Alaska confirms 2 salmonella cases tied to eggs:Alaska has confirmed at least two cases of salmonella matching the strain tied to recalled eggs, a health department spokesman said.Greg Wilkinson on Thursday told The Associated Press that in at least one of the cases, in Anchorage, the person ate eggs. He said it's not yet clear whether the second person, in Homer, also did, though the department says eggs are suspected.

Think Progress Despite His Anti-Government Rhetoric, Gov. McDonnell’s Budget Surplus Results From Government Assistance

McDonnell’s “prudence” would be a shining example for the federal government if he hadn’t relied on one important contributor: the federal government. According to a Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis report released this week, last year’s Recovery Act provided $2.5 billion in stimulus relief to “maintain crucial services for [Virginia] citizens” and “help close the state’s budget shortfall in 2010-2012.” Virginia legislators relied on $1.3 billion in enhanced Medicaid funding, $1 billion in funding for K-12 and higher education, $39 million for public safety, and $200 million in general support to reduce “what would otherwise have been a $5.4 billion budget hole.”

But McDonnell has a history of selective amnesia when it comes to Recovery funds. During his gubernatorial campaign, McDonnell continually criticized the Recovery Act as a “massive” spending bill that would “do little to help the economy.” But, while in office, McDonnell heralded $24 million in federal funding to advance health information technology while sweeping the fact that it was stimulus funding under the rug. He even requested stimulus funds to cover rising health care costs and to help build a Rolls Royce manufacturing plant in Prince George County. As one Virginia legislator put it, “we wouldn’t even be talking about the surplus if it weren’t for the stimulus.”
Think Progress Despite His Anti-Government Rhetoric, Gov. McDonnell’s Budget Surplus Results From Government Assistance

Iran Opens Its First Nuclear Power Plant


TEHRAN — Thirty-six years after construction began under the shah, Iran finally opened its first nuclear power plant at a ceremony on Saturday.

Attended by senior officials from Iran and Russia, which helped build the station through years of concern by the United States and other Western nations that Iran was using its civilian program to mask a plan to build a bomb, the ceremony marked the beginning of the transfer of low-enriched uranium fuel rods from a storage site into the plant.

Officials of both countries said Saturday’s events signified the opening, not the startup, of the plant near Bushehr, in southern Iran, as a working nuclear plant.

“This is a special day for both Russian and Iranian specialists,” the chief of Russia’s Rosatom state nuclear power company, Sergei Kiriyenko, said, shaking hands and smiling with his Iranian counterparts, in television reports broadcast in Russia.

And it is one sure to upset United States diplomats who had encouraged Russia to delay the opening, though they have not objected to the project as it could be seen as helping to bring Iran’s nuclear program fully under the aegis of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

In Iraq War, Soldiers Say They Had a Job to Do



Staff Sgt. Lucas C. Trammell, a tank gunner with the Third Infantry Division, fought his way into Baghdad in 2003. He was back in 2005, abandoning the tank for foot patrols in a very unsafe Ramadi, and again in 2007 as bodyguard for a battalion commander in Baghdad.

He has killed the enemy and lost friends. He has sought treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder. (“The Army’s gotten a lot better about letting you put your hand up,” he explained.)

He is back in Iraq for a fourth time, part of a force of only 50,000 no longer engaged in combat as of Aug. 31. He is one of thousands of soldiers and officers for whom the legacy of Iraq, like Afghanistan, has been a recalibration of what it means to be an American at war today.

The Third Infantry Division has spent more than four years in all in a war that has lasted seven and a half — and may not yet be over. These soldiers, far more than any other Americans, bear the personal and professional burdens of a conflict that has lost what popular support it had at home.

To those fighting it, the war in Iraq is not a glorious cause or, as the old advertisement put it, an adventure.

Federal regulators close Independent National Bank

Three Bank Failures Bring Year's Tally to 113

csb[1]Regulators on Friday shut down two Florida banks and one in Virginia, lifting to 113 the number of U.S. bank failures this year.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. took over Community National Bank at Bartow, in Bartow, Fla., with $67.9 million in assets, and Independent National Bank of Ocala, Fla., with $156.2 million in assets. CenterState Bank of Florida, based in WinterHaven, agreed to assume the assets and deposits of the two failed banks.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Sarah Palin and Motherhood September 2, 2008

From Dr. Laura 2008:


Couldn't the Republican Party find one competent female with adult children to run for Vice President with McCain? I realize his advisors probably didn't want a "mature" woman, as the Democrats keep harping on his age. But really, what kind of role model is a woman whose fifth child was recently born with a serious issue, Down Syndrome, and then goes back to the job of Governor within days of the birth?

Obama: Ending the War in Iraq

Obama: Ending the War in Iraq

Operation “The Last Patrol” - video

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Seven years and five months after the U.S.-led invasion, the last American combat brigade was crossed the Kuwait-Iraq border on before dawn today. (check AP report by Rebecca Santana).



Breaking News! Last US Combat Troops Leave Iraq Today

The last U.S. combat troops are pulling out of Iraq tonight. MSNBC is reporting live as the last Stryker Brigade is driving out of Iraq.

Rachel Maddow is live in Baghdad. There are 50,000 non-combat troops remaining, but the end of Operation Iraqi Freedom is ending at this hour.

More soon.

Read More at this link.

don't retreat...reload!

I think S. Palin is taking the wrong side.  But not for her group of followers.  This generally is in line with the  person who would say that Dr. L. is right.

don't retreat...reload!

Sarah Palin.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Mosque near Ground Zero: Frequently asked questions

Mosque near Ground Zero: Frequently asked questions: "3. Is it actually a mosque, or is it a cultural center?

The plan is for a cultural center that would contain a mosque.

The project's organizers have said that the center would be modeled on Manhattan's 92nd Street Y, a community center open to all New Yorkers. The center would house meeting rooms, a fitness center, a swimming pool, a basketball court, a restaurant and culinary school, a library, a 500-seat auditorium, a mosque and a Sept. 11 memorial and reflection space. The organizers have estimated that the mosque could attract as many as 2,000 worshipers on Fridays. More on what would be in the complex here."

Bill Gross Discusses Financing of U.S. Housing Market: Video - Bloomberg

Gross told Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and others at the Washington meeting that it was, in effect, absurd to think that private investors like Pimco would be willing to own mortgages at current interest rates without the kind of government guarantees provided via Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Ginnie Mae.

From Reuters:

"Without a government guarantee, mortgage rates would be hundreds -- hundreds -- of basis points higher, resulting in a moribund housing market for years," Gross said.

He said Pimco would not consider investing in a private, or privately insured, mortgage pool unless it was accompanied by 30% down payments -- far above the current norm.
Bill Gross Discusses Financing of U.S. Housing Market: Video - Bloomberg

Famed Investor Bill Gross Calls For Massive Taxpayer-Backed Mortgage Refinance Initiative

There is a lot in the article.

Famed Investor Bill Gross Calls For Massive Taxpayer-Backed Mortgage Refinance Initiative: "Bill Gross, who runs Pacific Investment Management Co.'s $239 billion Total Return Fund, said that policymakers 'should quickly re-engineer' a plan that would refinance all non-delinquent mortgages backed by the federal government. The rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged a record-low 4.44 percent in the week ending Aug. 12, according to taxpayer-owned mortgage giant Freddie Mac.

Taxpayers guarantee the mortgages of 37 million households, or two-thirds of all homeowners with a mortgage, according to a July 29 note by David Greenlaw, Morgan Stanley's chief U.S. fixed-income economist. That includes government agencies like the Federal Housing Administration as well as twin behemoths Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Greenlaw estimates about 18.5 million taxpayer-backed mortgages are at rates higher than 5.75 percent interest."

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Op-Ed Contributor - The Tax Cut We Can Afford - NYTimes.com

Op-Ed Contributor - The Tax Cut We Can Afford - NYTimes.com: "Tax cuts do not pay for themselves. Even when President Ronald Reagan slashed much higher tax rates in half, this argument failed; in the current tax debate, it is unsupportable. By definition, high-income households are where the money is; higher rates would raise substantial revenue for long-term deficit reduction.

Once the recovery is off and running, and stock and housing prices are consistently rising, allowing the Bush tax cuts for high-income households to expire — over, say, a three-year period — would not harm the economy. The overwhelming fear among high earners that their lifestyles will be forever diminished should have faded, and the tax increases would be small enough not to materially alter wealthy people’s decisions about spending, working or investing."

Right-wing media blast President Obama's support for freedom of religion


If this is suspect wait until tomorrow!



The right-wing race-baiting revue: Schlessinger's rant is just the latest act

The right-wing race-baiting revue: Schlessinger's rant is just the latest act

Computer history - 1940 - 1960

The first handheld two-way radio called the "Handy Talkie" is created by Motorola for the U.S. Army Signal Control.

ENIAC computer completed.



Friday, August 13, 2010

Obama Strongly Supports Mosque Near Ground Zero

I would hope that President Obama just like President Bush would ask for religious acceptance.  It is ridiculous to think that there would be restrictions on a religions based on the actions of radicals.  We are better than that as a nation.  We fight off our demons, not embrace them.


WASHINGTON — President Obama delivered a strong defense on Friday night of a proposed Muslim community center and mosque near ground zero in Manhattan, using a White House dinner celebrating Ramadan to proclaim that “as a citizen, and as president, I believe that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as anyone else in this country.”

After weeks of avoiding the high-profile battle over the center — his press secretary, Robert Gibbs, said last week that the president did not want to “get involved in local decision-making” — Mr. Obama stepped squarely into the thorny debate.

“I understand the emotions that this issue engenders. Ground zero is, indeed, hallowed ground,” the president said in remarks prepared for the annual White House iftar, the sunset meal breaking the day’s fast.

But, he continued: “This is America, and our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakable. The principle that people of all faiths are welcome in this country, and will not be treated differently by their government, is essential to who we are.”

Thursday, August 12, 2010

SPC Javorn Drummond

Javorn Drummond wants what he never had. He says it's something called ...
Watch Gunner's Palace

Gunner's Palace

Return from War — Audio

There is growing concern about the number of veterans who are returning from war without work. Some National Guardsmen who expect to come back to a job find they've been laid off. There's even a bill before Congress calling for more training and more assistance for vets. Javorn Drummond spent almost five years in the army. He served in Iraq and ever since he got back, he's struggled to find his footing. After two years of unemployment, Javorn found himself living in a trailer with no heat or water. He was working at a hog processing plant. But Javorn has recently made a change, he is using his GI Bill to earn a degree.

Return from War —

President Obama signs $26 billion jobs bill to aid state payrolls

President Obama signs $26 billion jobs bill to aid state payrolls: "In the Washington area, where budget troubles have forced school boards to freeze salaries, trim programs or cut staff, the bill would provide about $70 million for the District, $450 million for Maryland and $540 million for Virginia, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Maryland's schools superintendent, Nancy S. Grasmick, said the 'money will be helpful' in reducing class sizes and rehiring reading teachers and other specialists.

In a midday vote, the House approved the bill 247 to 161, with all but two Republicans voting no. The measure would provide governors with an additional six months of federal assistance: $10 billion for education and about $16 billion for Medicaid, which will allow them to avoid shifting cash away from other priorities."

Hypocrisy: Extending Bush Tax Cuts Won't Lower Deficit (VIDEO) 7:16

The clip from 6:15 to the end is LOL fall on your butt funny!


The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Deductible Me
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor Tea Party

Virginia Governor Signs Green Energy Legislation

Virginia Governor Signs Green Energy Legislation

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Virginia stands to feel the most pain from defense cuts

Virginia stands to feel the most pain from defense cuts
Virginia officials reacted with bipartisan dismay on Monday to Defense Department budget shifts that will cost the state thousands of jobs in coming years and will dramatically impact the economies of the Norfolk area and Northern Virginia.

Most of the immediate reaction revolved around Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates's proposal to close the U.S. Joint Forces Command. It is a major employer in Hampton Roads, including Norfolk and Virginia Beach, whose elimination could translate into the loss of 6,100 military, civilian and contractor jobs in the region.

But a proposal to slash the Pentagon's budget for military contractors over the next three years could also be as significant to the economy of the Washington region.

"Virginia is more vulnerable to this kind of policy shift than any other state," said Stephen Fuller, director of the Center of Regional Analysis at George Mason University. "Defense spending was our strength during the downturn. It kept unemployment lower here than in most other states. It kept the economy from crashing as far as other states'. It's also our Achilles' heel."

Virginia received $35 billion in defense contracts, supporting more than 530,000 contracting and associated jobs in fiscal 2008, Fuller said. About 70 percent of those dollars flowed to Northern Virginia.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Power of Cap-and-Trade - Harvard - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

In fact, market-based policies should be embraced, not condemned by Republicans (as well as Democrats). After all, these policies were innovations developed by conservatives in the Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and George W. Bush administrations (and once strongly condemned by liberals).

In the 1980s, President Ronald Reagan's Environmental Protection Agency successfully put in place a cap-and-trade system to phase out leaded gasoline. The result was a more rapid elimination of leaded gasoline from the marketplace than anyone had anticipated, and at a savings of some $250 million per year, compared with a conventional no-trade, command-and-control approach.

In June 1989, President George H. W. Bush proposed the use of a cap-and-trade system to cut by half sulfur dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants and consequent acid rain. An initially resistant Democratic Congress overwhelmingly endorsed the proposal. The landmark Clean Air Act amendments of 1990 passed the Senate 89 to 10 and the House 401 to 25. That cap-and-trade system has cut sulfur dioxide emissions by 50 percent, and has saved electricity companies — and hence shareholders and ratepayers — some $1 billion per year compared with a conventional, non-market approach.

In 2005, George W. Bush's EPA issued the Clean Air Interstate Rule, aimed at achieving the largest reduction in air pollution in more than a decade, including reducing sulfur dioxide emissions by a further 70 percent from their 2003 levels. Cap-and-trade was again the policy instrument of choice in order to keep costs down and achieve the rapid reductions at minimum economic pain. (The rule was later invalidated by the courts, and is now being reformulated.)

The Power of Cap-and-Trade - Harvard - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

The anti-business president's pro-business recovery


Would that all presidents were this anti-business: According to the St. Louis Federal Reserve, corporate profits hit $1.37 trillion in the first quarter -- an all-time high. Businesses are sitting on about $2 trillion in cash reserves. Business spending jumped 20 percent last quarter and is up by 13 percent against 2009. And the Obama administration has cut taxes for small businesses and big ones alike. Maybe the president could be anti-me for a while. I could use the money.

Kerry bill would extend energy grants - The Boston Globe

Kerry’s plan would cost $2.7 billion.The 2009 grants “helped stimulate nearly $9 billion of new investments by the private sector in renewable energy projects and created an estimated 72,000 jobs in the wind and solar industries,’’ said Pat Eilers, managing director of the Chicago-based investment firm Madison Dearborn Partners.

Kerry acted after the Senate failed to take up legislation to place a price on carbon emissions. Kerry’s measure also would extend tax credits for makers of appliances that use less energy and for contractors that build more energy-efficient homes.

“Senator Kerry is hopeful that energy tax provisions will be part of any energy package that moves this year,’’ Whitney Smith, the lawmaker’s spokesman, said in an e-mail. “His bill highlights key priorities for advancing clean energy and reducing carbon emissions.’’

Kerry bill would extend energy grants - The Boston Globe

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Zakaria: Raise My Taxes, Mr. President! - Newsweek

Zakaria: Raise My Taxes, Mr. President! - Newsweek: "What turned these into deficits, even before the recession? There were three fundamental new costs—the tax cuts, the prescription-drug bill, and post-9/11 security spending (including the Iraq and Afghanistan wars). Of these the tax cuts were by far the largest, adding up to $2.3�trillion over 10 years. According to the Congressional Budget Office, nearly half the cost of all legislation enacted from 2001 to 2007 can be attributed to the tax cuts."

Giant Ice Island Breaks Off Greenland

100806-greenland-petermann-glacier-hmed-329p.grid-6x2[1] Greenland's Petermann Glacier, shown in 2009, where an ice island about 100 square miles broke off Aug. 5, researchers say. Satellite imagery reveals that Petermann Glacier lost about one-quarter of its 43-mile-long floating ice-shelf.

43-mile long

The block of ice separated from the Petermann Glacier, on the north-west coast of Greenland.

It is the largest Arctic iceberg to calve since 1962, said Prof Andreas Muenchow of the University of Delaware.

The ice could become frozen in place over winter or escape into the waters between Greenland and Canada.


Obama Said to Consider Easing Educational Travel to Cuba - Bloomberg

President Barack Obama may ease travel restrictions on Cuba, allowing more Americans to visit the island on educational and cultural trips, said a U.S. official who declined to be named because he isn’t authorized to speak on the subject.

Obama first loosened travel rules on Cuba last year, making it easier for Cuban-Americans to visit and send money to relatives on the Caribbean island in a bid to help “promote the freer flow of information,” according to a White House statement. The official didn’t give additional details on what the changes would be.

Obama Said to Consider Easing Educational Travel to Cuba - Bloomberg

Thursday, August 5, 2010

1965 – Video 0:31


The recent landmark health care reform bill has received a plug from famed actor Andy Griffith. “The Andy Griffith Show” was the most popular television show in the 1960’s, and he has gone on to have a number of other successful ventures since that time. He is the spokesperson for Medicare’s $700,000 ad campaign.

Griffith will mostly be talking about Medicare in his advertisements, but will reportedly also be plugging the new health care reform bill as well.



Kagan Joins Supreme Court After 63-37 Vote in Senate

The Senate confirmed Elena Kagan to a seat on the Supreme Court on Thursday, giving President Obama his second appointment to the high court in a year, and a political victory as the Senate neared the end of its business for the summer.

Ms. Kagan, a former dean of the Harvard Law School and a legal adviser in both the Clinton and Obama administrations, was approved by a vote of 63 to 37 after hearings and floor debate that showcased competing views of Democrats and Republicans about the court, but exposed no significant stumbling blocks to her confirmation.

She becomes the fourth woman ever named to the court, and will join two other woman currently serving, including Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the first Obama administration nominee, who was confirmed almost exactly one year ago.

“Her qualifications, intelligence, temperament and judgment will make her a worthy successor to Justice John Paul Stevens,” Senator Patrick J. Leahy, Democrat of Vermont and chairman of the Judiciary Committee, said of Ms. Kagan.

BP Finishes Pumping Cement As It Tries To Seal Well – video 0:42

BP finishes pumping cement in final stage of 'static kill'

BP has finished pumping cement into the blown-out Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico as part of its efforts to permanently plug the source of the nation's worst oil spill, the company said Thursday.

Engineers started the cementing operation at 10:15 a.m. EDT and completed it at 3:15 EDT. It was the second step in the "static kill," in which heavy mud was first pumped into the well from the surface to stop it from leaking crude into the gulf.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Veronique de Rugy | Mercatus

GOP shows historic amnesia on spending cuts

"President Bush increased government spending more than any of the six presidents preceding him, including LBJ." I didn't write that: The astute libertarian economist Veronique de Rugy did. She also points out that during his eight years in office, Bush's "anti-government" Republican administration increased the federal budget by an extraordinary 104 percent. By comparison, the increase under President Bill Clinton's watch was a relatively measly 11 percent (a rate, I might add, lower than during Ronald Reagan's). In his second term, Bush increased discretionary spending -- that means non-Medicare, non-Social Security -- 48.6 percent. In his final year in office, fiscal 2009, he spent more than $32,000 per American, up from $17,216.68 in fiscal 2001.

Veronique de Rugy | Mercatus