Source: Mother Jones
The Great Falls Tribune reported Wednesday that Richard Cebull, a George W. Bush-appointed federal judge in Montana, sent a racist joke about President Barack Obama from his official email account. Even as far as racist jokes go, the dig is mightily unclever—the punchline contains an implied comparison between black people and dogs.
Josh Glasstetter at Right Wing Watch has obtained an image of the email, which he writes has been going around the Internet around for months. It resembles a cheesy greeting card….
Fannie Mae said Wednesday it lost $2.4 billion during the fourth quarter of 2011 and $16.9 billion for the full year.
It has had worse years, remarkably. Fannie lost about $60 billion in 2008 and $72 billion the following year–two of the 10 largest corporate losses ever. Sibling Freddie Mac is responsible for a third, a $51 billion loss in 2008.
Fannie Mae was established in 1938 to promote home ownership by making federal funds available to lenders. In the 1950s and 1960s, it transformed into a profit-seeking corporation, with the goal of purchasing mortgages and selling them to investors, thereby replenishing funds to banks for fresh loans. Freddie Mac was created in 1970 to spur competition.
Recent losses for both agencies stem from the U.S. housing bubble that peaked in 2006. House prices fell nationwide by more than one-third since mid-2006 by one measure, the S&P/Case-Shiller index. Price changes vary by market, but for the country as a whole, homeowners erased the gains made since 2003.
100 Veterans get invited to the White House for dinner. That’s it? Thousands died fighting a war started under false pretenses. And this is the gratitude they get. I would rather hear the President call for a special monument for the those who fought in Iraq, just as with other the Vietnam War. Then also a special bill to help all those who lost limbs, are suffering form PTSD, or can’t find work after coming home. One event involving 100 troops is a slap in the face for all those who fought for our country:
President Barack Obama hosted a dinner to salute soldiers recently back from Iraq — marking his first major tribute to the veterans since officially withdrawing all troops from the nation.
The White House said it invited more than 100 veterans and one guest each to the event Wednesday night, and a few veteran groups and Gold Star families.
“In the history of this house, there has never been a night quite like this,” Obama said. “This evening we welcome not the statesmen who decide great questions of war and peace, but citizens men and women from every corner of our country, from every rank of our military, every branch of our service, who answer the call, who go to war, who defend the peace.”
Touching upon veteran difficulties following the Vietnam War, Obama pledged to thank and honor the service of wartime veterans.
Obama salutes Iraq war veterans
“You succeeded in your mission,” Obama said. “In your resilience, we see the essence of America because we do not give up. All of you taught us a lesson about the character of our country.”
At the end of his 10 minute speech, the president raised a glass of water and toasted his guests.
“To the country we love, to the men and women who defend her, and to that faith — that fundamental American faith — that says no mission is too hard, no challenge is too great,” Obama said.
“Through tests and through trials, we don’t simply endure, we are stronger than before, knowing that America’s greatest days are still to come. And they are great because of you. Cheers.”
This reminds of the old joke about politicians taking credit for the sun coming up in the morning. Fundamentally the American economy is a basket case. But it still might be strong enough to get Obama re-elected. And that’s all he cares about:
Two-thirds of Wall Street economists say abnormally warm weather is making the U.S. economy look stronger than fundamentals would suggest, according to a survey released Thursday.
In a special question to the Blue Chip Financial Forecasts, 66% of those polled responded yes to a question asking “has unseasonably warm and dry winter weather in the U.S. led to an overstatement of the economy’s underlying strength in recent months.”
That weather has had an impact on recent economic data is pretty clear after the fourth-warmest January on record in the U.S.
For example, utilities output slumped 7.5% on a seasonally-adjusted year-on-year basis in January as consumers didn’t need to heat their homes as much. Joseph LaVorgna, chief U.S. economist at Deutsche Bank, says utilities usage is down about 10% on an annualized basis this quarter after a 12% drop last quarter.
Syrian rebels retreat from besieged district as they say humanitarian conditions become catastrophic, http://feeds.foxnews.com/~r/foxnews/world/~3/8qdkhC2MdTw/ (via EasyRSS)
We keep hearing that Republicans are dissatisfied with their choices in the primaries. Well it turns out both parties have problems with their voters:
Republicans are more excited to vote in the 2012 election than Democrats, according to a new survey.
The Gallup poll released Thursday showed 53% of registered Republicans and independents who lean toward the GOP are enthusiastic about casting ballots in November, compared with 45% of Democrats who said the same.
King Bloomberg doesn’t need to consult with anybody:
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has sharply criticized the New York Police Department for not informing federal law enforcement agencies — at least to his knowledge — about their secret surveillance of Muslims in Newark.
Christie doesn’t recall being briefed about the spying in 2007, while he was the state’s top federal prosecutor. He says the Department of Justice’s Joint Terrorism Task Force should have been advised.
They are scared! The two-party system fears Occupy. And they will stop at nothing to destroy the movement:
An internal Department of Homeland Security report obtained by Rolling Stone shows the agency was keeping its eyes on Occupy Wall Street, concerned about potential disruptions to transportation networks and infrastructure. The five-page memo from October, titled, “SPECIAL COVERAGE: Occupy Wall Street,” acknowledged the peaceful nature of the movement and made mostly anodyne observations from publicly available sources, but did warn of the potential for violence.
“Large scale demonstrations also carry the potential for violence, presenting a significant challenge for law enforcement,” the report states. The “continued expansion” of the protests would make it harder for police and “movement organizers to control protesters,” which could potentially put “critical infrastructure” in danger, it concluded. Thus, the report called for heightened “continuous situational awareness” of the movement as it expanded. Rolling Stone’s Michael Hastings argues this a potentially dangerous step towards a possible “covert and illegal campaign of domestic surveillance.”
It should be greater than that. We have a lot of work ahead of us if we are to make the necessary changes in our lifestyles and technology to reduce the carbon in our atmosphere:
Nearly two-thirds of Americans believe that climate change is real — the highest level in two years — as the public trusted its own observations of rising temperatures, a poll said Tuesday.
The growing acceptance of global warming comes despite fierce political division over the issue in the world’s largest economy, with proposals to mandate cuts on carbon emissions failing in Congress.
Sixty-two percent of Americans agree that there is solid evidence that the Earth’s average temperature has been getting warmer over the past four decades, according to the survey by the University of Michigan’s Gerald Ford School of Public Policy and the Muhlenberg College Institute of Public Opinion.
Twenty-six percent said they did not believe there was evidence of global warming, while the remaining 12 percent said they were unsure, the poll said.
Celebrities joined about 200 people gathered peacefully on Tuesday for what they called a “reboot” of the dormant anti-Wall Street protest movement that has loosely organized around a message decrying economic inequality.
[…]The gathering and march was held on the eve of what is being billed as a national day of solidarity among Occupy groups across the country on Wednesday. Groups from Connecticut to California announced plans to demonstrate against corporations that lobby for legislation to create tax breaks and other benefits for large businesses.
Scientists have tied the rapid decline of Arctic sea ice, caused by global warming pollution, to the
Q recent extreme winters that hit the United States last year and Europe this year. In “Impact of declining Arctic sea ice on winter snowfall,” a new report published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers find that the loss of polar ice has changed atmospheric circulation and increased atmospheric water vapor, driving the popularly-dubbed “snowpocalypse” conditions:
At the root of the problem is rent control. All it has done is lessen the housing stock. It was terrible under the Soviet Union when the Moscow population waited years for an apartment. It has been terrible for renters for decades. In New York many apartments are over a century old. That’s how long we’ve had rent control, since World War I. And now with the housing collapse more Americans are looking to rent. That drives up the cost even further:
The data on housing costs isn’t pretty. Most experts recommend spending no more than one-third of your income on housing, and yet, in a new study, nearly one in four American households now spends more than half of its income on housing. Renters are experiencing especially tough times of late: At the same time that renters’ incomes have fallen 4%, money spent on housing has increased by 4%.
In the new report from the nonprofit Center for Housing Policy, there has been a marked rise in Americans facing a “severe housing cost burden.” That’s the term for households that spend more than half of their income paying for housing. In 2008, 21.8% of American households fit the profile. Fast-forward to 2010 (the most recent year tracked in the study), and the figure hit 23.6%.
Certainly looks like a failure to me. This suggests that the administration is not taking the matter seriously. Unfortunately press coverage does not show the Mexican drug wars as a crisis. It’s viewed as a Mexico problem. It is an American problem. The drugs being fought over come into the U.S. And with it comes organized crime. We will eventually see a new drug war that will devastate our communities, as it did in 1980s. And if the media doesn’t cover it then the politicians don’t care:
U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano said Monday that the war on drugs in Mexico “is not a failure.”
At a press conference in Mexico City after meeting Mexican Interior Minister Alejandro Poire, Napolitano called the drug policies of both Mexico and the United States “a continuing effort to keep our peoples from becoming addicted to dangerous drugs.”
Napolitano also said that among the things discussed at the meeting with Poire was how to have a more regional approach to a number of security issues threatening the United States, Mexico and Central America.
Asked why, in spite of efforts by both Mexico and the United States, the leader Mexico’s most powerful criminal organization — the Sinaloa drug cartel — remains at large, Napolitano implied it’s only a matter of time before Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman falls.
This is only the latest episode of the ongoing series–Outsource America. And it’s met with silence from the politicians and media alike:
IBM laid off more than 250 workers at facilities across the United States Monday, in an unannounced job cut that mostly targeted workers in its outsourcing and IT services unit, according to company sources and documents obtained by InformationWeek.
A total of 183 workers were laid off in IBM’s Global Technology Services (GTS) application hosting unit, 59 were cut in GTS’s Public Sector Delivery and Global Accounts arms, and 18 corporate marketing and communications workers were let go.
[…]IBM typically refers to unit-wide layoffs as “resource actions” or “workforce rebalancing.” Under such initiatives, the company has been building up its workforce in developing markets like India and China, while trimming back its U.S. roster.
Doctors call for rethink after large study finds prescribed pills could be associated with up to 0.5m extra deaths a year in US
Doctors are calling for a rethink of the use of sleeping pills after a large study showed that the drugs carry a substantially increased risk of death for those who are prescribed them.
Commonly used sleeping pills, or “hypnotics”, such as temazepam and zolpidem, which is prescribed for short-term insomnia, are associated with more than a fourfold risk of death, according to the study published in the BMJ Open journal.
The study was carried out in the US, where up to 10% of the adult population took sleeping pills in 2010. The authors estimate that sleeping pills may have been associated with 320,000 to 507,000 extra deaths in the US that year.
It’s why the drug lobby is so powerful. And it’s why are drug addicted nation:
The drug lobby’s trade association was a multimillion-dollar donor to nonprofit groups that were actively working to elect federal candidates during the 2010 election, an iWatch News analysis of documents filed with the Internal Revenue Service reveals.
The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, better known as PhRMA, doled out $9.4 million to 501(c)(4) “social welfare” nonprofit groups, some of which paid for ads that influenced races in the 2010 midterm election, records show.
In 2010, PhRMA gave about $20 million in “grants and other assistance” to more than 200 nonprofit organizations, including five politically active 501(c)(4) nonprofits, both liberal and conservative, which together received nearly half of the funds.
Government in the U.S. wants to destroy the movement that represents the greatest threat to them–Occupy Wall Street. In many respects they are behaving like the thugs that run Egypt and refuse to listen to the people. Is it only a matter of time before they start shooting down the people when seek to exercise their Constitutional rights?
State lawmakers sent a bill authorizing removal of the Occupy Nashville encampment to Gov. Bill Haslam for signature Monday, despite questions about the severity of its penalties.
The House of Representatives voted 68-21 to concur with the Senate version of a bill that outlaws unauthorized camping on public grounds. The measure had already cleared the House once before, but a second vote was needed because the Senate added wording last week to protect the bill from a court challenge.
Debate was short. State Rep. Gary Odom, D-Nashville, questioned whether the bill’s penalties — up to a 11 months, 29 days in jail or a fine of $2,500 — were excessive, and he wondered if they would hold up in court.
“We spent a lot of time on this issue and even now there are serious questions on the constitutionality of this issue,” he said. “We needed more time to figure out how to better police the property.”
The Purrr-fect candidate.
A 718-page digital document obtained by Mother Jones contains names, phone numbers, neighborhoods, and alleged activities of thousands of dissidents apparently targeted by the Syrian government. Three experts asked separately by Mother Jones to examine the document—essentially a massive spreadsheet, whose contents are in Arabic—say they believe that it is authentic. As Bashar Al-Assad’s military continues a deadly crackdown on dissent inside the country, the list appears to confirm in explicit detail the scale of the regime’s domestic surveillance and its methodical efforts to destroy widespread opposition.
2012 GOP presidential hopeful Rick Santorum took to the pages of the Wall Street Journal today to lay out his economic plan, reiterating his desire to cut the corporate tax rate in order to “restore America’s competitiveness.” During an interview on CNBC, billionaire investor Warren Buffett, in response to Santorum’s piece, noted that is is actually “a myth” that America’s corporate taxes are high. “Corporate taxes are not strangling American competitiveness,” Buffett explained, even bringing a chart to prove his point.
The White House has a lot of explaining to do. If the administration does not repudiate the NYPD policy of spying on Muslims then that means they support it:
Millions of dollars in White House money has helped pay for New York Police Department programs that put entire American Muslim neighborhoods under surveillance.
The money is part of a little-known grant intended to help law enforcement fight drug crimes. Since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the Bush and Obama administrations have provided $135 million to the New York and New Jersey region through the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area program, known as HIDTA.
Some of that money — it’s unclear exactly how much because the program has little oversight — has paid for the cars that plainclothes NYPD officers used to conduct surveillance on Muslim neighborhoods. It also paid for computers that store even innocuous information about Muslim college students, mosque sermons and social events.
Barack Obama made many promises in 2008. He has broken most of them since becoming President. But his biggest failure has been to prevent gas prices from skyrocketing. Now he just makes the excuses we heard from Republicans during the Bush years.
Back in 2008 candidate Obama blamed high gas prices on the Washington establishment:
In a press conference today, Obama linked his rivals’ Washington experience to the failure to deal effectively with high energy prices — which sparked a quick response from those rivals.
He makes me sick. Someone who doesn’t understand our Constitution should be running for President much less winning primaries.
Does this mean labor will boycott this anti-Union President? Of course not:
Organized labor and its allies lauded Democratic President Barack Obama’s demand for corporate tax reform, but called his plan too weak.
Obama’s plan, unveiled Feb. 22, would lower the corporate income tax rate from its present 35% to 28%, but would also close loopholes which make the effective tax rate for companies far below that for individuals. Obama also would increase taxes on U.S. firms that shield their profits overseas, or that ship U.S. jobs abroad.
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said Obama’s tax plan “should have asked for more from corporate America.” Obama “fails to raise any revenue beyond what is needed to pay for business tax breaks. In an era of difficult budget choices, giving Wall Street a pass on paying its fair share is fundamentally inconsistent with any notion of shared sacrifice,” Trumka added.
“Corporations already pay too low an effective tax rate to support infrastructure investment and education and skills upgrades” the U.S. needs, Trumka said.
It’s a victory for the Constitution. But it should not have happened in the first place. It is frightening that a major law enforcement agency in America would have felt comfortable in violating the rights of citizens, even if they were fighting crime. Despite the court decision civil liberties continue to come under attack. And this White House is a major threat. The silence from liberal-left is deafening in denouncing this administrations contempt for our rights and freedoms:
The Supreme Court’s recent ruling overturning the warrantless use of GPS tracking devices has caused a “sea change” inside the U.S. Justice Department, according to FBI General Counsel Andrew Weissmann.
Mr. Weissmann, speaking at a University of San Francisco conference called “Big Brother in the 21st Century” on Friday, said that the court ruling prompted the FBI to turn off about 3,000 GPS tracking devices that were in use.
These devices were often stuck underneath cars to track the movements of the car owners. In U.S. v. Jones, the Supreme Court ruled that using a device to track a car owner without a search warrant violated the law.
After the ruling, the FBI had a problem collecting the devices that it had turned off, Mr. Weissmann said. In some cases, he said, the FBI sought court orders to obtain permission to turn the devices on briefly – only in order to locate and retrieve them.
Mr. Weissmann said that the FBI is now working to develop new guidelines for the use of GPS devices. He said the agency is also working on guidelines to cover the broader implications of the court decision beyond GPS devices.
Democracy is not dead yet in Russia:
Thousands of Russians, wearing white ribbons as a mark of pro-democracy protest, formed a human chain around Moscow’s Garden Ring Sunday in a final warning against electoral fraud in presidential polls that will take place in a week.
Protesters displayed their trademark white “Russian Winter” balloons, scarves and ribbons, and smiled and waved to passing drivers, many of whom honked in approval. But since authorities had granted no permit for the rally, people mostly remained silent and carried few of the sharply-worded political signs and banners that have been prominent in previous rallies.
The mood was upbeat, even though opinion polls appear to show that Prime Minister Vladimir Putin looks set to win a first-round victory in the March 4 voting.
This is pretty funny. The GOP has turned into one big circular firing squad.
Five Occupy Louisville protestors were arrested and charged with disorderly conduct on Saturday after a clash with police at a Chase Bank branch in Kentucky.According to reports, members of the Occupy movement were protesting in front of the bank located on Baxter Avenue.Some protestors were allegedly blocking the doors, making it difficult for customers to enter the establishment. A group of demonstrators reportedly threatened to occupy the inside of the bank, and employees eventually called police to assist in the situation.
Full transcript. Excerpt below:
MR. GREGORY: I’d like to ask you about this developing story. As you know, President Obama personally apologized to President Karzai for this apparently inadvertent act of burning the Qurans. What’s your reaction to that and to the unfolding situation there?
FMR. SEN. SANTORUM: I don’t think the president should apologize for something that was clearly inadvertent. What you should lay out is the president saying this was inadvertent. This was a mistake and there was no deliberate act, there was no meant to disrespect. This was something that, that occurred that, that should not have occurred, but it was an accident and leave it at that. I think you highlight it when you, when you apologize for it. Continue reading