Sunday, July 31, 2011

Your Sunday Morning Coffee Read

Outlines of Debt Compromise Emerge An announcement could come as early as Sunday afternoon. By Major Garrett Updated: July 31, 2011 | 9:20 a.m. July 30, 2011 | 11:26 p.m.
U.S. Senate Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell, right, speaks as Speaker of the House Rep. John Boehner looks on during a news conference on the debt ceiling negotiation July 30, 2011 on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C Here are the outlines of a debt-ceiling deal that congressional leaders and the Obama White House are firming up in preparation for a possible announcement as early as Sunday afternoon. In many respects, the deal will, if approved by all parties, resemble the contours of a short-lived pact negotiated last weekend by House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. Obama rejected that deal, forcing Congress to wrestle with other inferior legislative options throughout the week. Among the newest wrinkles, according to informed sources, is an agreement to extend the current $14.3 trillion debt ceiling very briefly to give the legislative process time to work without resorting to emergency, hurry-up measures. Read More:

Saturday, July 30, 2011

This is Right Wing Engineered Coup

How Shadowy Right-Wing Front Groups Engineered Our National Embrace of Debt Reduction Over Job Creation by Lee Fang ThinkProgress
For the entire year, as a sluggish economy sputters by and states continue to struggle with falling revenue, the conversation in Congress has centered solely on spending reduction. Earlier this year, we witnessed looming government-showdown duels between competing spending reduction plans. Now with the debt ceiling debate, the only two options are a choice between a package of painful cuts and a package of deeply draconian cuts. There has been no lively discussion of new policy ideas for job creation, foreclosure mitigation, or how to spur demand, the key driver of economic recovery. Read more:

Republican Sabotage is Taking it's Toll

By JM Ashby

According to Bloomberg, investors pulled more money out of mutual funds invested in U.S. government securities last week than in any previous week this year.

Investors last week pulled more money from money-market mutual funds than any week this year as U.S. lawmakers failed to resolve the impasse over raising the debt ceiling.

Withdrawals reached $37.5 billion, with about 70 percent of the redemptions coming from institutional funds that invest in U.S. government securities, according to data from the Investment Company Institute, a Washington-based trade group. Investors poured $3 billion into German stock funds in the week ended July 27, the most since mid-2008, and $1 billion into gold and precious-metals funds, according to EPFR Global, a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based research firm.

Read More:

Friday, July 29, 2011

How I Wish this Bill had a Snowballs Chance

If you want to know just how bad private military contractors are... talk to a soldier, in the field!!! Bernie Sanders: Legislation to Phase Out Private Military Contractors is Filed in Senate & House
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) today introduced legislation that would phase out private security contractors in war zones. [...] “The American people have always prided themselves on the strength, conduct, and honor of our United States military. I therefore find it very disturbing that now, in the midst of two wars and a global struggle against terrorism, we are relying more and more on private security contractors – rather than our own military – to provide for our national defense,” Sanders said. “Our continued reliance on private security contractors endangers our military, damages our relationships with foreign governments, and undermines our global priorities,” said Schakowsky. “Though we have the finest military in the world, we continue to outsource our security to private contractors, who answer to a corporation rather than a uniformed commander. When Senator Sanders and I introduced this legislation last year, we had 22,000 armed private contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan. Today, we have 28,178. We need this bill now more than ever.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

No show Friday...

Before I made this leap to a nightly show, Lori and I bought tickets to see Big and Rich and Gretchen Wilson at Mystic Lake. I'll be back Monday night, at 7pm CT

Drug testing for welfare recipients? Tonight's show topic.

The controversial Florida measure is now law. Was this going to far, or not far enough?

Archive available now....

Move Along, Nothing to See Here

As the child of a so-called Deadbeat Dad (birth father), I have a very real question for Representative Joe Walsh, Republican of Illinois... How could you abandon your children?
Oh, and how does a man of such supposed stature, think this wouldn't eventually become known? Is it a case of IOKIYAR? (It's OK If You Are Republican)
And, as the wife of a man who DID pay his child support - In Illinois - I call B.S.!
Dee Austin
Representative Joe Walsh Defends NOT Paying $117,000 in Child Support
By Marie Diamond
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.”
Read More:

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Does Scott Brown Believe 'It Gets Better'?

Entire Massachusetts Congressional Delegation Appears In 'It Gets Better' Video -- Except Scott Brown

By Amanda Terkel
WASHINGTON -- The Massachusetts congressional delegation has put together a new video for the "It Gets Better" project, reassuring LGBT youth who may be getting bullied that their lives will improve when they get older. But one of the state's most high-profile politicians, Republican Sen. Scott Brown, is notably absent from the video.

Of the 12 lawmakers who represent Massachusetts in the Senate and House of Representatives, Brown is the only one who does not appear.

A Democratic Hill staffer with knowledge of the project told The Huffington Post that Brown was invited to participate, but he declined.

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It's Okay for Me, but NOT for Thee

Bachmann got GSE loan days before calling for end to GSEs The Washington Post reports today that in 2008 Michele Bachmann and her husband took out a $417,000 loan from Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac only days before she called for the end of Fannie and Freddie.
Just a few weeks before Bachmann called for dismantling the programs during a House Financial Services Committee hearing, she and her husband signed for a $417,000 home loan to help finance their move to a 5,200-square-foot golf-course home, public records show. Experts who examined the loan documents for The Washington Post say that they are confident the loan was backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.
Bachmann quickly sought to blame Fannie and Freddie as the financial crisis, driven by the bursting of the housing bubble, unfolded in 2008. Not shockingly, she thought Fannie and Freddie were lending to, you know, the wrong type of people. And just so there wasn't any confusion, Bachmann made clear that she means poor people of color made it harder for deserving people (it turns out she means herself) to get loans from the GSEs. At a hearing on September 25, 2008, Bachmann said: Read More:

Republican Pledge of Allegiance...

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

WI Republicans Taking Care of That Voter Problem

Wisconsin DMV Tells Boy His Bank Account Doesn’t Show Enough “Activity” To Get a Voter ID
A video has surfaced of a boy trying to get one of the new Wisconsin Voter IDs that were ushered in by the signing of new a voting law in the state. Shot by the boy's mother with the clear intention of indicting the process, the video shows the pair going from station to station at the DMV, asking all of the right questions as to why there are so many hurdles to acquiring this constitutionally guaranteed ID card.


For Your Information

DPCC Fact Sheet: Reid Proposal to Break the Impasse, Cut Spending Responsibly, and Avoid Default

Leader Reid’s proposal will reduce the deficit by $2.7 trillion, without affecting Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security and without changes to revenues. Unlike Speaker Boehner’s short-term plan, the Senate package presents responsible cuts that will allow us to raise the debt limit through 2012, providing certainty to the world markets, without hurting our economic recovery and job growth.


Senator Tom Coburn Hearts the Military

This is one example why, as a military brat, I become incensed when I hear Republicans are best at taking care of the military. It's just simply untrue... And ANY cuts in expenditures, that go the care of our military, should be fought with a vengeance! - Dee Austin

Tom Coburn's Cuts: Military's Tricare Prime Health Care Program Targeted - by Walter Pincus, The Washington Post

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) wants to cut taxpayer funding for non-military elements of the Defense Department, starting with making retired, uninjured service members pay more for what he described as “extremely low-cost health care for life” for themselves, their wives and dependents under the Tricare Prime system.

For military retirees eligible for Medicare, he also wants to raise the co-payments that they are charged to be in Tricare for life, the second payer for health care after Medicare. In addition, he wants to increase low fees that Tricare beneficiaries pay for pharmaceuticals purchased at their local drugstores.

Former defense secretary Robert M. Gates proposed raising Tricare Prime enrollment fees for single retirees from $230 a year to $260 a year and fees for retiree families from $460 a year to $520 a year. Coburn wants the fees to be much higher and more in line with private-sector health plans.

Read more....

Pat Buchanan Hearts Breivik's Philosophy

Pat Buchanan: "Breivik May Be Right" by Simon Maloy
A good rule of thumb for political commentary -- or life in general -- is that terrorists are never right. People who go on mass shooting sprees are never right. The man or woman who lights the fuse on a bomb that blows up a government building is never right. Their actions are wrong, and the ideas that motivated them are wrong. Pat Buchanan, however, has discovered in the insane bigotry that allegedly animated Anders Behring Breivik's horrendous acts of violence in Norway a lesson about Europe and Islam that we maybe should take to heart.


Michele Bachmann's $4,700 makeover...

Mother Jones reports Ms. Bachmann dumped more on her stylist in two weeks than a middle-class American family earns in a month. Let's see if it did any good...

Photo: The Blaze
I'd say it's an improvement...

Letter To Congress...

The following is from a blogger I just met online named Olivia Emisar (Click here to go to her blog

If you want Congress to hear you and stop referring to you as "The American People Want..." and actually let them know what you want, please feel free to copy the letter below, print it, insert the name of your state representative(s), sign it and mail it.

In these hard economic times, I hope we can all afford an envelope and the price of stamps.  Congress can't ignore hundreds of thousands of physical letters delivered to their offices, but have become adept to ignoring emails and electronic petitions.  You can can still do that and donate, but here, you get to do it for free and send a physical reminder that you are a human being and not an abstract member of a nebulous Middle Class that earns $250,000 a year. (that's what they think middle class is)

Go Here to find your congressperson by clicking on your state: Contacting the Congress.
Click on their name and you will see all their office's addresses. You can send a letter to each and every one of them.  The more, the better.

This sample letter has left blank the name so you can insert that yourself and you can modify it in any way you see fit.  Consider it a starting point if you don't agree with the language or the points made.

Take action and talk to your representative(s) in plain, clear language. We, the American people, are the government.  If we don't like it, we must change it.

Date _____________

My name & Address ___________________________________

To: Congressman _____________________________________

As a constituent in your district I am appalled at the political circus created by Congress with the United States of America debt ceiling.  We, the American people, are not deadbeats and work hard in our daily lives to put a roof over our family’s head and food on the table.

We, the American people, expect our government to meet its financial and contractual obligations and are sick and tired of the political games played with our benefits, our tax dollars and the reputation of our Nation.

We, the American people, honor our debts and expect Congress to raise the debt ceiling permanently because we have other issues to deal with that have been taken off the table with this unpleasant distraction and mockery of our democratic system.

This letter is to inform you that as a committed voter and American, I demand the debt ceiling be raised permanently and Congress can begin to work in earnest to invest in our infrastructure and promote job growth across all 50 states.

We, the American people, understand the political football Congress is playing using our livelihood, our quality of life and our tax dollars as hostage in these nonsense negotiations.

We, the American people, demand that you stop immediately.

We, the American people,  are sick and tired of the incompetence and bravado displays and we are not falling for it.  We have seen these games before and this is not where we want to keep going in perpetuity.

We, the American people, will be writing to you again after the debt ceiling has been raised regarding pressing issues that affect us, the American people.  It seems Congress has never spoken to one of us when they posture for the cameras.

This letter is very clear: We, the American people, want Congress to raise the debt ceiling permanently and  never, ever threaten us with eliminating Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security.  We, the American people, are entitled to those benefits we have paid so dearly for and we refuse to be held hostage so the top 2% can continue to profit without contributing to our society or democracy.


Monday, July 25, 2011

Getting a little tired of intellectual elitists...

This did not come from one of the many Conservatives I debate with on Twitter. No, this came from a dyed in the wool liberal, William Gleason. Mr. Gleason is a professor at the University of Minnesota, and is usually pretty well spoken.

This all started when I suggested that the nonconstructive, name calling banter between him and weekend Conservative radio show host, Mitch Berg, was getting a little boorish. I told Gleason that I was able to engage Berg without either of us resorting to childish name calling. For that, I get called a simpleton, and delusional.

Now, I'm not that thin skinned. God knows I've been called worse. But, this kind of crap crosses the line. Quite frankly, I'm getting a little tired of people who talk shit through the relative anonymity of Twitter. I'm not going to get into the same war of words with Gleason that caused me to issue threats to #stribpol's resident bully, Tom Swift. I had never been so embarrassed by my own behavior in over 25 years.

This brings me to something that has been bothering me for a month or so. Gleason is what I call an intellectual elitist, someone who uses his overly educated tongue to talk down to people. Now I'm not hating because he's smarter than me. If that were the case, I wouldn't like too many people. I just have a problem with show offs. I can drive from Flandrau and Iowa, in St. Paul to Grand and Grass Lake Terrace, in Minneapolis, without giving it any thought. How often have you seen me talk down to someone who might be a little geographically challenged?

My liberal friends, I know most of you are pretty damned smart. But if you want guys like me to continue to support progressive causes, you better get your nose out of the air. Because this is exactly the disconnect I had with the Democrats, all those years I voted Republican. People can handle being called ugly, fat, maybe even crazy. But there is something about being called (or being referred to as being) stupid.

This all said, how smart is it to accuse someone you don't know of being a wife beater?

Class Warfare

Statement of Robert Greenstein, President, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, on House Speaker Boehner's New Budget Proposal

WASHINGTON, July 25, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- House Speaker John Boehner's new budget proposal would require deep cuts in the years immediately ahead in Social Security and Medicare benefits for current retirees, the repeal of health reform's coverage expansions, or wholesale evisceration of basic assistance programs for vulnerable Americans.

The plan is, thus, tantamount to a form of "class warfare." If enacted, it could well produce the greatest increase in poverty and hardship produced by any law in modern U.S. history.

This may sound hyperbolic, but it is not. The mathematics are inexorable.

Read More:

Our fair share...

Norway massacre suspect warns of two more terrorist cells

Anders Behring Breivik, who confessed to mass killing spree, pleads not guilty in court and is ordered held for at least eight weeks.

By The Associated Press and Reuters

The man who has confessed to carrying out a bombing and shooting spree that left 76 people dead in Norway will be held for at least eight weeks, half of that in complete isolation, after a closed hearing in which he said his terror network had two other cells.

Read More:

As the Debt Ceiling Turns

Stock Markets Tremble As Debt Ceiling Debate Rages in Washington
by William Alden
With just over a week left before the federal government is set to exhaust its borrowing authority, financial markets are on edge.

(UPDATE: 9:55 a.m. -- Stocks fell Monday morning in New York, with the S&P 500 dropping nearly 1 percent before paring losses, to settle around 0.8 percent below Friday's close. The Dow was down 0.9 percent.)

Major stock indices around the world felt strain. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index dropped 0.4 percent, biting into a four-day run of gains, and in Japan, the Nikkei 225 Stock Average fell 0.8 percent, down from a recent high, Bloomberg reports.

Yields on 10-year U.S. Treasury notes increased slightly, reflecting increased nervousness about the nation's debt. The 30-year rate rose to a nearly two-week high, Bloomberg reports. Treasury rates are still low enough, though, to suggest that investors see default as a remote possibility.

Gold, which investors treat as a safe haven, rallied.

Read More:

Just How Important IS the FAA?

Anti-Union Provision at Heart of FAA Shutdown
by Keewatinrose
There is more than just passenger air service to rural airports at stake in the impasse between the U.S. House and Senate over the FAA extension bill. In fact, the major stumbling block seems to center around the ability of airline and railroad workers to unionize.

Section 903 of the House version of the FAA Air Transportation Modernization and Safety Improvement Act (HR 658) repeals a rule adopted by the National Mediation Board earlier this year that would make union representation elections for workers covered under the Railway Labor Act more fair. Under the new rule, elections are decided by the majority of votes cast,the standard procedure in democratic elections. Previously, the non-votes of all eligible voters were considered 'no' votes.

Democrats strenuously objected to the inclusion of the repealer.

Read More:

Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Conspiracy Behind Free Birth Control

Proof there is NO lie ridiculous enough, for Greg Gutfeld to not tell...
FOX Host: Free Birth Control Is Liberal Conspiracy to 'Eradicate the Poor'
by Marie Diamond
Public health officials and women’s rights groups are cheering the recent recommendation of the Institute of Medicine that “health insurers should pay for a range of services for women at no cost, including birth control, counseling on sexually transmitted diseases, and AIDS screening.”

Fox Host Greg Gutfeld

GUTFELD: If you’re talking about free birth control, who’s going to use free birth control? The people who can’t afford it. So the left has figured out a way to eradicate the poor, and it’s by eradicating the poor!

They are SUPER BAD

Not usually an alarmist... But... This really doesn't sit right! 'Super Congress': Debt Ceiling Negotiators Aim To Create New Legislative Body By Ryan Grim
WASHINGTON -- Debt ceiling negotiators think they've hit on a solution to address the debt ceiling impasse and the public's unwillingness to let go of benefits such as Medicare and Social Security that have been earned over a lifetime of work: Create a new Congress. This "Super Congress," composed of members of both chambers and both parties, isn't mentioned anywhere in the Constitution, but would be granted extraordinary new powers. Under a plan put forth by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and his counterpart Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), legislation to lift the debt ceiling would be accompanied by the creation of a 12-member panel made up of 12 lawmakers -- six from each chamber and six from each party. Read More:,sb=790005,b=facebook

Saturday, July 23, 2011

All-Payer Rate Setting - Negotiating Health Care

Countries That Use All-Payer Rate Setting Spend Less Than Us on Health Care By Igor Volsky Over at the Incidental Economist, John Nyman, professor of health policy and management at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, expands on this suggestion that policy makers should look at Maryland as an example of how all-payer rate setting — in which payers negotiate with each provider for a single price for each service — can help reduce health care spending. Nyman places U.S. health care spending in an international context and argues that “you have a strong argument for a causal relationship” between rate-setting and lower spending: Read More: