Paul Revere by Cyrus Dallin, North End, Boston

~~~

~~~

.

.
.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Gallup Poll: Barack and Hillary, Most Admired Man and Woman

Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton Again Top Most Admired List

Clinton Most Admired Woman a record 16th time

by Jeffrey M. Jones
 
PRINCETON, NJ -- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama continue to be named by Americans as the Most Admired Woman and Most Admired Man living today in any part of the world. Clinton has been the Most Admired Woman each of the last 10 years, and Obama has been the Most Admired Man four years in a row. Oprah Winfrey, Michelle Obama, Sarah Palin, and Condoleezza Rice round out the top five Most Admired women, while the top five Most Admired men also include George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Billy Graham, and Warren Buffett.


Most Admired Woman, 2011
Most Admired Man, 2011
These results are based on a Dec. 15-18 USA Today/Gallup poll. In 1946, Gallup first asked Americans to name, without prompting, the person they most admire living in any part of the world. Since 1948, Gallup has asked Americans to name separately the Most Admired Man and Most Admired Woman, and has done so each year except in 1967 (when only Most Admired Man was asked) and 1976.

The Most Admired typically hail from the worlds of government, religion, business, entertainment, or humanitarian causes.


Most Times Finishing First as Most Admired Woman, 1948-2011



Barack Obama's first-place finish is his fourth. Dwight Eisenhower holds the record for first-place finishers among men, with 12, followed by Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton with 8 each.



Most Times Finishing First as Most Admired Man, 1946-2011

Friday, December 23, 2011

WISHING YOU PEACE THIS HOLIDAY SEASON



The Snow Man
by Wallace Stevens

One must have a mind of winter
To regard the frost and the boughs
Of the pine-trees crusted with snow;

And have been cold a long time
To behold the junipers shagged with ice,
The spruces rough in the distant glitter

Of the January sun; and not to think
Of any misery in the sound of the wind,
In the sound of a few leaves,

Which is the sound of the land
Full of the same wind
That is blowing in the same bare place

For the listener, who listens in the snow,
And, nothing himself, beholds
Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

HOUSE REPUBLICANS VOTE TO INCREASE TAXES ON 160 MILLION AMERICANS

UPDATE: 

House G.O.P. Leaders Agree to Extension of Payroll Tax Cut
Republican leaders bowed to intense pressure from members of their party to end a politically damaging impasse, agreeing to accept a two-month extension of a payroll tax holiday.


How curious is this?  The party of NO TAXES! refused the payroll tax cut extension compromise, which means taxes will go up for Americans. 

Read that again:  The GOP is for raising your taxes!

The GOP, in their maniacal hatred of President Obama, will actually act contrary to all they believe in order to prevent a compromise with the Kenyan Marxist Socialist Commie.  You gotta admire, in a sick way, the depth of their derangement here and their willingness to abandon all they stand for in service to that hatred. 

Speaker Boehner has lost control of the House to the Tea Party freshmen, who know nothing about governing and who took over in November of 2010; and Boehner, along with them, is taking his party off a cliff to certain disaster.

Even the Wall Street Journal, no cheerleader for Mr. Obama, has this to say about the lastest political insanity from the House Republicans:

The GOP's Payroll Tax Fiasco:

How did Republicans manage to lose the tax issue to Obama?
...

After a year of the tea party House, Mr. Obama and Senate Democrats have had to make no major policy concessions beyond extending the Bush tax rates for two years. Mr. Obama is in a stronger re-election position today than he was a year ago, and the chances of Mr. McConnell becoming Majority Leader in 2013 are declining.

From the Associated Press:

"John Boehner vowed early on that as speaker, he would let the House “work its will.” At the end of his first year in charge of the fractious Republican-controlled chamber, it’s clear he has little choice.

An uncompromising band of conservatives, led by GOP freshmen to whom Boehner owes his speakership, has repeatedly forced him to back away from deals with President Barack Obama, Democrats and, this week, even one struck by Senate Republicans. Gridlock, again and again, has defined Congress in the Boehner era even as Americans fume and the economy continues to wobble."

From Reuters:

"In Congress' tense drama over how to extend payroll tax cuts for 160 million Americans, it may be the most intriguing subplot: whether Republican House Speaker John Boehner is losing his grip on members of his own party."

Jay Carney, WH Press Secretary:

White House: President Obama Not A "Marriage Counselor"

"TPM - In his daily briefing to reporters, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said there's no good reason for House Republicans not to support the Senate's compromise legislation on extending a payroll tax cut. Carney said the Senate compromise was "a result that was deemed by the Speaker of the House as a good deal." "The president is not, and should not be a marriage counselor" between House and Senate Republicans, Carney said, when asked whether the president would work to bridge the divide between the two chambers."

Smartypants:

"Many on the left credit President Obama's rise in the latest polls to the idea that he's adopted a "more populist" message lately. But those of us who have watched him closely these past few years know two things: First of all, we paid attention to the populism in his message all along. And secondly, we also recognized the long game he was playing of continuing to be "the only adult in the room" focused on real solutions. As I've said before, with Republicans adopting a policy of total obstruction, that forced them into an ever smaller corner of extremism, which is causing the divide today.

That, my friends, is the definition of conciliatory rhetoric as ruthless strategy. And as far as I can see...its working."


Photo via Democratic Underground

Friday, December 16, 2011

"Mean resentments and implanted fears"


Photo via Hysterical Raisins

We've seen so many in this weak group of contenders rise and fall--hello Michele, hello Donald, hello, Governor Good Hair, hello Mr. Cain!--once their frightening weaknesses and lack of basic knowledge have been painfully exposed.  We've seen the base say "thanks but no thanks" to Willard as each new date is asked to the nomination prom and then, like capricious pubescents, rejects them as soon as a new hottie gives them a hopeful tweet.

But their newbie idol, Newt, has me wondering how low can the GOP sink to scrounge up a nominee that keeps their grinchy hearts throbbing in anticipation of the victory they so desperately want in 2012 over the dreaded Kenyan Marxist Socialist Commie. 

Newt Gingrich?  Thrice married serial adulterer?  The disgraced former Speaker of the House? The epitome of the Washington insider?  A flip-flopper who would make Willard envy his acrobatics in pandering? The guy who took almost $2 million from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for his "historical" influence peddling?  IOW, this guy is everything the evangelical base detests in a candidate, and yet there he is--for now--their newtest American golden idol!

How can this be?

James Wolcott, writing in Vanity Fair, describes his assessment of Newt Gingrich in the GOP's race to the bottom for the least likely politician to be its presidential nominee for 2012. 

"One reason I’m such a wayward prognosticator of rightwing trends is that I’m incapable of blacking out enough neural sectors to see the world through reptilian-brained eyes, a prerequisite for any true channeling of the mean resentments and implanted fears that drive hardcore conservatives. I also make the mistake of believing that they believe what they profess to believe, which they clearly don’t, otherwise they wouldn’t be inclining to crown Newt king of the marsh. That a thrice-married Catholic convert with a history of marital infidelity would win the flinty hearts of Tea Partiers while true evangelicals such as Michele Bachmann or Rick Perry would find themselves standing on the platform as the train whooshes by, abandoned and bewildered--well, go figure. That a third-rate futurist spieler who rides every wave of pop guru bullshit and management theory would appeal to those who pride themselves on their unyielding, unchanging bedrock values also falls into the “does not compute” category. To most of us, Newt Gingrich has the mothball mustiness of a has-been who peaked [when] the 'Contract with America,' fell from grace with the House Republicans he led, and has fed his ego and bank balance ever since.

[skip]

Newt’s shoestring Lazarus resurrection in the polls is a testament to perseverance and ingenuity--to the Power of Gall--but it’s also an indictment of the wet-cardboard strength of the rest of the Republican field. Here they have a clean shot to take the White House in 2012 and they troop out this Gong Show cast of contestants, most of whom couldn’t find their ass on a map and speak entirely in re-masticated phrases and sentiments tossed into their mouths by Rush Limbaugh, Grover Norquist, and Frank Luntz for years. The Republican field reflects the weak-minded, strong-willed prejudices of its base, hooked up to Fox News as if it were an IV drip. So when rightwing bloggers complain about the candidates, they need someone to skywrite for them, 'If they suck, it’s because YOU suck. You’re the guys who believed once upon a fairy tale that Fred Thompson was a political steamroller and that Herman Cain was a fresh breeze.'  I guess that’s a bit wordy for skywriting, but you get my meaning, sis."



Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A Happy Memory of Her

Our family is in the process of getting on with life. 

Everyone who has lost loved ones knows how slow and difficult that is, expecially at this time of year.

I love this picture of my sister.  She was a beautiful, talented, intelligent woman.

Thank you, everyone, again for your kinds words of sympathy.

I'll be back to blogging in a day or so.

(O)CT(O)PUS, you're a star--not a sea star--the kind that shines when everything else is dark.  Thank you!



Monday, December 12, 2011

Sunday, December 11, 2011

THANK YOU

Thank you to all my blogging friends for your kind expressions of support and comfort.

My sister will be buried tomorrow, and this is a poem I will read at that time.




The Lake Isle of Innisfree
by
W. B. Yeats

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,

And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made:

Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee;

And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,

Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;

There midnight's all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,

And evening full of the linnet's wings.

I will arise and go now, for always night and day

I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;

While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,

I hear it in the deep heart's core.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

How Shaw Became My Aunt

Recently, Malcolm asked me if Shaw is really my aunt.  So if any of you are wondering why I call her “Auntie Shaw,” here is the background:
Putting Myself Up for Adoption


The way natural birth or adoption works, children have no rights in choosing their own family. Since adults are the ones who make the decisions (or have an “oops”), you get what you get - for better or worse.


However, suppose it worked in reverse? Suppose children had the right to choose their parents, their family, their siblings? Trade in a doofus brother, for instance, for a more companionable roommate? One who shares your penchant for drawing murals on living room walls with crayons and magic markers? Or adopt a spirited sister who can dump a full box of laundry detergent into the washing machine and turn the house into a sudsy romper room? A sibling who conspires to leave on a faucet in the upstairs bath long enough to transform the staircase into a water slide?


Here is my problem. I am an only child and have never experienced the joys of growing up with a sibling. My mother was an only child too; hence I had no first cousins with freckles and pigtails. Better late than never, I say.


I have decided to take matters in hand and adopt a sister. I asked Sheria to be my sister, and she has agreed. So I am pleased to announce that henceforth and forevermore, Sheria is now my adopted sibling (and don't mess with my sister!).
When I posted this announcement, Shaw volunteered to be my aunt and make me worm sandwiches. So that is how Shaw became my aunt.


Recently, marine biologists were researching intelligence in cephalopods and placed a jar containing a crab into the octopus aquarium to see what would happen. Sure enough, the octopus untwisted the lid off the jar and devoured the crab. Don’t believe me?  Here is the YouTube video. Afterwards, the octopus twisted the lid back on the jar and winked at the researcher.

Monday, December 5, 2011

LIFE INTERRUPTS BLOGGING

A message to my blogging friends:

Thank you, everyone, for your fine contributions to this comment forum.

Unfortunately, a catastrophic event has just engulfed my family, and I'll probably not be blogging for a while.


(O)CT(O)PUS take the reins!

My older sister suffered a stroke that will probably end her life. In the early summer of 2009, I lost another sister. I understand that life brings these awful events to us all, and that we have to find the strength to get through the pain and suffering as our loved ones slip away from us. That's what I'll be dealing with over the next few days.

(O)CT(O), you have the keys to the blog. Use them as you wish.

Please keep me and my family in your thoughts. I'm not a religious person, but I do need the comfort and the support of my blogging friends just now.

Thank you.


Peace.


Shaw/Joanne

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Good Stuff

Herman Cain's candidacy is over.


********

With one month remaining this year, the U.S. private sector has now added 1.67 million jobs in 2011, well ahead of last year’s private-sector total of 1.2 million, and the best year for businesses since 2006.

********

Reuters) - The U.S. unemployment rate tumbled to a 2-1/2 year low in November, even though the pace of hiring remained too slow to suggest a significant acceleration in the labor market recovery.

Nonfarm payrolls increased by 120,000 jobs, the Labor Department said on Friday, and the jobless rate dropped to 8.6 percent, the lowest since March 2009, from 9 percent in October.

It was the biggest monthly decline since January. While part of the decrease was due to people leaving the labor force, the household survey from which the department calculates the unemployment rate also showed solid gains in employment.

"The economy is continuing to head in the right direction," said Millan Mulraine, senior macro strategist at TD Securities in New York. "However, the ultimate test of the sustainability of the recovery is for the economy to create a sufficient number of jobs to sustain a consumer-led rebound in activity."


********

A Conservative pundit, George Will, commenting on Newt Gingrich:  "Now you can associate many things with Mr. Gingrich, but wisdom isn’t one of them."

********

The Bomb Buried In Obamacare Explodes Today [12/02/2011]-Hallelujah!


********

Andrew Sullivan commenting on the Rabid Right's overestimating Mr. Gingrich and underestimating President Obama:

"Of course, when you actually imagine a Gingrich-Obama debate, and you are not living in a cocoon that insists that Obama is both dumb and a commie, you see how fatal a trap this could be for the GOP.

It's not just that Obama is a smart person whereas Gingrich is simply a dumb person's idea of a smart person. It's that Obama has always excelled up against a volatile, angry opponent. He is a master of allowing them to self-destruct. He got that Houdini-like master of political survival, Bill Clinton, to blow up in the primaries. In a matter of days, he got McCain to destroy his bid with his frantic response to the Lehman collapse.
I mean: who's gonna seem like the angry guy in a Newt-Barack match? Who's gonna seem like the old, rather than mature, one? Even when Gingrich was Speaker, he couldn't muster any grace or authority or calm: things we like in a crisis and a president.

I can't believe the GOP is going to fall for this yet another time. But their loathing of Obama seems to trump all reason, prudence, or guile. Once again, the jujitsu Obama model of politics emerges as his strongest weapon. Given the economy, it may not be enough. But man, does Obama get lucky sometimes in his opponents."


********

And kudos to Minnesota and its Democratic governor, Mark Dayton, for plodding along in this difficult economic time and getting things done.


Christmas has come early in Minnesota.

After an intense battle over government spending shut down its government for 20 days this summer, the state now is forecasting an $876 million surplus over the next two years. That’s a huge surprise compared to the $5 billion projected deficit that Minnesota expected in July, setting off a national, highly-partisan battle over the best way to close that gap.

What changed? State officials chalk a lot of the good news up to factors specific to Minnesota. The state has seen its revenue increase as its unemployment rate is lower than the national average. The state has, for example, regained about a third of the jobs lost since the recession began. Nationally, that number stands at 22 percent.

Minnesota has also cut its spending, particularly on health care, in unique ways. It’s one of just four states, for example, to expand its Medicaid program in advance of the health reform law’s required expansion. For doing so, it’s received a higher Medicaid matching rate for some patients from the federal government.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

MICHELE BACHMANN: DUMBEST PERSON IN THE USA.

UPDATE BELOW

Among the many things I was grateful for this past Thanksgiving was the fact that this deeply ignorant woman will never, never, never be president. Her candidacy is an anomaly [wait...Cain? Perry?...maybe not], and perhaps after the 2012 elections, this country will sober up from the drunken binge of teh stupid it has recklessly wallowed in these past months and which has embarrassed every sober-thinking American.

Her latest pronouncement has her wondering why American public schools don't teach Biblical dogma to students; and in addition to that idiocy, she repeats the imbecility that Evolution is "only a theory" and should be taught as an equal science with Intelligent Design and Creationism.

Once upon a time this country respected and admired scholarship, erudition, and those who strove to better themselves through higher education.

For some reason, the current GOP has decided that pandering to those with the least amount of education is the best way to win votes. How else to explain their absurd claim that Evolution is just a theory or that climate change is a hoax, or that cutting taxes for billionaires will create revenue and jobs, and worse, that vaccinating children against disease causes mental retardation?

The lastest twaddle from Rep. Bachmann, who will never be president, is this:


"Asked by a Catholic student why it’s not a violation of the separation of church and state for a public school to teach the religiously-tinged theories, Bachmann said evolution is just a 'theory' that even 'evolutionists' are not sure of:
BACHMANN: I think what you’re advocating for is censorship on the part of government. So the government would prohibit intelligent design from even the possibility of being taught in questioning the issueof evolution. And if you look at scientists there is not a unanimity of agreement on the origins of life. … Why would we forstall any particular theory? Becuase I don’t think that even evolutionists, by and large, would say that this is proven fact. They say that this is a theory, as well as intelligent design. So I think the best thing to do is to let all scientific facts on the table, and let students decide."

Michele Bachmann is an embarrassment to anyone who values education and enlightenment.

And this statement alone should disqualify Bachmann from representing anyone who has a functioning intellect:

"Because I don’t think that even evolutionists, by and large, would say that this is proven fact. They say that this is a theory, as well as intelligent design. So I think the best thing to do is to let all scientific facts on the table, and let students decide."

Creationism and Intelligent Design are not scientific facts.  And I don't know of any "evolutionist" [whatever that is] who denies that evolution is a fact.  Bachmann shouldn't talk about things she knows nothing about

Conservatives become indignant and complain that liberals and others make fun of them; call them dumb.  Here's a way to put an end to that teasing:  Stop allowing stupid people to represent you.  







"Speaking to supporters in Iowa Wednesday, Bachmann talked about the recent conflict in the Iranian capital of Tehran between protesters and the British embassy, which has led to the closure of the facility and the evacuation of diplomats.

"That's exactly what I would do [if I were president]," Bachmann said. "We wouldn't have an embassy in Iran. I wouldn't allow that to be there."



This is another example of Bachmann's ignorance. The above isn't a "gaffe." It is an example of Bachmann's profound stupidity and ignorance of basic foreign policy information.

The US has not had an embassy in Iran since 1980.

Bachmann is a member of the House Select Committee on Intelligence. Shame on the people in her district in Minnesota for allowing someone as stupid as Bachmann to represent this country in any capacity.


UPDATE:

Republican John Danforth, who served as a senator from Missouri for nearly 20 years and later as George W. Bush’s ambassador the United Nations, is not happy with the slate of Republican presidential candidates. “I’ve been watching some of these Republican debates and they’re just terrible. Terrible,” he told KTRS in St. Louis yesterday. “It’s embarrassing for me as a Republican to watch this stuff,” he added, calling out audiences for applauding the candidates’ morbid boastings. Via Fired Up Missouri:
DANFORTH: What have been the big applause lines in these debates? Well, a statement that the governor of Texas is responsible for killing 234 people on death row. Or that we favor torture. Or that we’re creating a fence on the Mexican border that electrocutes people when they try to cross it. Or when people show up at the emergency room at hospitals and they’re not insured don’t treat them. And that, I mean these are the big applause lines, people just hoop and holler when they hear all that. [...]
It doesn’t have anything to do with the republican party that I was a part of. This is just totally different. And all of these people who are saying this, y’know, and claiming that, y’know, they’re for all this stuff, they also sort of ostentatiously say, “Oh, we’re very religious people. We really, we’re just very pious, Christian people.” They were for torture, and electrocution of the people on along the border and all of that. That doesn’t have anything to do with, is contrary to the Christianity that I understand.

Monday, November 28, 2011

David Frum Asks: "When Did the GOP Lose Touch With Reality?"

Former George W. Bush speech writer and conservative pundit, David Frum, asks an important question.



When Did the GOP Lose Touch With Reality?

All we have to do is look at the recent GOP "debates" to understand that the top contenders for the GOP presidential nomination are not serious politicians with serious ideas. And, at this moment, the leading GOP contender is a guy who left the House speakership in disgrace and who took almost $2 million from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as a lobbyist while saying that Rep. Barney Frank should be thrown in jail for his Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac ties.  The other top contender, Mitt Romney, is a politician who has changed his position on every single major issue in order to ingratiate himself with the extremists in the GOP base.  The rest of them:  Perry, Bachmann, Cain, Santorum, and Paul, have no chance at all of winning a national election.

Frum explains:

"But the thought leaders on talk radio and Fox do more than shape opinion. Backed by their own wing of the book-publishing industry and supported by think tanks that increasingly function as public-relations agencies, conservatives have built a whole alternative knowledge system, with its own facts, its own history, its own laws of economics. Outside this alternative reality, the United States is a country dominated by a strong Christian religiosity. Within it, Christians are a persecuted minority. Outside the system, President Obama—whatever his policy errors—is a figure of imposing intellect and dignity. Within the system, he’s a pitiful nothing, unable to speak without a teleprompter, an affirmative-action phony doomed to inevitable defeat. Outside the system, social scientists worry that the U.S. is hardening into one of the most rigid class societies in the Western world, in which the children of the poor have less chance of escape than in France, Germany, or even England. Inside the system, the U.S. remains (to borrow the words of Senator Marco Rubio) “the only place in the world where it doesn’t matter who your parents were or where you came from.”...

Some call this the closing of the conservative mind. Alas, the conservative mind has proved itself only too open, these past years, to all manner of intellectual pollen. Call it instead the drying up of conservative creativity...

I refuse to believe that I am the only Republican who feels this way. If CNN’s most recent polling is correct, only half of us sympathize with the tea party. However, moderate-minded people dislike conflict—and thus tend to lose to people who relish conflict. The most extreme voices in the GOP now denounce everybody else as Republicans in Name Only. But who elected them as the GOP’s membership committee? What have they done to deserve such an inheritance?...

This is, unfortunately, not merely a concern for Republican voters. The conservative shift to ever more extreme, ever more fantasy-based ideology has ominous real-world consequences for American society."

Saturday, November 26, 2011

GOPers Outraged That The Reverend Barack Hussein Obama Didn't Thank God and Lead The Nation In Thanks To The Christian God During The Rev. Obama's Radio Address

ZOMG! 

The Horror! 

President and Priest/Minister/Mullah-in Chief Barack Obama didn't invoke God's/Allah's/Yaweh's/Xenu's,/Vishnu's name when he gave his radio address for Thanksgiving 2011! 

That unGod president blasphemer needs to be hounded and stoned (hmmmm) out of office for not carrying out his Constitutional duty by thanking the Christianists' god and blessing us all like little Tiny Tim did in "A Christmas Carol" [remember that? Heart-warming, huh?], and making the sign of the Padre, Figlio, Spiritus Sanctus, Flying Spaghetti Monster all over One Nation, Sotto Dio, Indivisible and Invisible and Keeping US Safe from every DFH and godless Commie Atheist. Awmayn.

The Atheists Are Coming!  And it's the unGod Obama's fault.  Floods and pestilence, ice capades all over the land. Tornedos, hurricanes, Black Friday, frogs, locusts, and Teh Gaii! teaching our kids how to make tofurkey in our schools!

I DON'T WANT TO LIVE ON THIS PLANET ANYMORE!

All because unGod Obama didn't thank God and ask her to keep us in the name of the Something, Something, and the Something, and every other Everything that the god- afraiding religionists want Obama to do in the name of the Constitution and where it says--COMMANDS--Mr. unGod Obama to lead us in prayer always, always he...yes and...  thought well...as well him as another and then [we ]asked him with our eyes to ask again yes...and then he asked us would [we]...yes to say yes...yes...and yes [we] said yes [we] will Yes...We...Can...Yes"  Ohmayn.

Here is an exerpt of Mr. Obama's OFFICIAL Thanksgiving Day Proclamation for 2011:



"In times of adversity and times of plenty, we have lifted our hearts by giving humble thanks for the blessings we have received and for those who bring meaning to our lives. Today, let us offer gratitude to our men and women in uniform for their many sacrifices, and keep in our thoughts the families who save an empty seat at the table for a loved one stationed in harm’s way. And as members of our American family make do with less, let us rededicate ourselves to our friends and fellow citizens in need of a helping hand.

As we gather in our communities and in our homes, around the table or near the hearth, we give thanks to each other and to God for the many kindnesses and comforts that grace our lives. Let us pause to recount the simple gifts that sustain us, and resolve to pay them forward in the year to come.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim Thursday, November 24, 2011, as a National Day of Thanksgiving. I encourage the people of the United States to come together — whether in our homes, places of worship, community centers, or any place of fellowship for friends and neighbors — to give thanks for all we have received in the past year, to express appreciation to those whose lives enrich our own, and to share our bounty with others.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this sixteenth day of November, in the year of our Lord two thousand eleven, and of the independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-sixth.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Who Are These 47% of Americans Who Don 't Pay Taxes and Where Do They Live?

The GOP candidates have been eager to talk about and bash the 47% of Americans who don't pay federal taxes, but what you won't hear Bachmann, Cain, Gingrich, Perry, Rand, Romney, or Santorum tell you is that the majority of these "nontaxpayers" are from red states. 

The conservative candidates won't talk about that fact because it's too embarrassing for them to acknowledge that most of the people too poor to qualify for paying federal taxes are from states with GOP governors and that traditionally vote Republican.

This is just another example of the dishonesty rampant in the GOP campaign for the presidential nomination.  We've already seen Romney's blatantly dishonest video where he attributes John McCain's words to President Obama; we've heard Michele Bachmann falsely claim she's made no gaffes during her quest for the nomination; and Newt Gingrich wants people to believe that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac gave him almost $2 million to advise them as an historian.



From Andrew Sullivan's blog:

"Ramesh Ponnuru chides the GOP for indulging in reverse class warfare, pitting the 53 percent against the 47 percent of Americans who don't pay federal income taxes. He debunks the "freeloader myth":

"That 47 percent of all tax filers have no income-tax liability is now one of the most widely known statistics on the right. (Actually, according to the Tax Policy Center, the figure was 47 percent in 2009 and will be 46 percent for this tax year, but 47 is the number that has lingered in the public debate.) Economist Michael Boskin, a veteran of Republican administrations, fretted in a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed that tax policy “can create a majority paying nothing and voting more spending at the expense of a taxpaying minority.” When he announced his presidential campaign, Texas governor Rick Perry said, “We’re dismayed at the injustice that nearly half of all Americans don’t even pay any income tax.” Michele Bachmann, also running for the Republican nomination, says she will reform taxes so that everyone pays some amount in income taxes.

Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin echoes this concern. “We’re coming close to a tipping point in America where we might have a net majority of takers versus makers in society and that could become very dangerous if it sets in as a permanent condition,” he said in a recent speech to the Heritage Foundation.

[skip]


The ten states with the highest number of non-payers are a strongly Republican bunch: Eight of them went for John McCain in 2008, and nine of them have Republican governors. Keith Hennessey, an economic adviser in George W. Bush’s administration, notes that the historical data suggest that the child credit was the main reason for the increase in the number of non-payers between 1995 and 2007."



The next time you hear conservatives whining about Americans who don't pay any federal income taxes, tell them to take their complaints to the GOP governors of the GOP states.  That's where you'll find the Americans who are causing them this fake conservative angst.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Poem for Thanksgiving

Around Us
by Marvin Bell

We need some pines to assuage the darkness
when it blankets the mind,
we need a silvery stream that banks as smoothly
as a plane's wing, and a worn bed of 
needles to pad the rumble that fills the mind,
and a blur or two of a wild thing
that sees and is not seen. We need these things
between appointments, after work,
and, if we keep them, then someone someday,
lying down after a walk
and supper, with the fire hole wet down,
the whole night sky set at a particular
time, without numbers or hours, will cause
a little sound of thanks--a zipper or a snap--
to close round the moment and the thought
of whatever good we did.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

These Are The Folks Who Booed Mrs. Obama and Dr. Biden

NASCAR attendees booed Michelle Obama and Jill Biden:






Michelle Obama and Jill Biden  













And Rush Limbaugh says these folks don't like Mrs. Obama because they think she's "uppity."




Rush Limbaugh insulting the FLOTUS again? And water is wet.

Rush Limbaugh is a talk radio hate jockey, and Michelle Obama is the First Lady of the United States of America.  She lives in the White House.

Rush Limbaugh was involved in an illegal drug scandal where he had his cleaning lady score drugs for him since he didn’t have large enough testicles to do it himself.

Rush Limbaugh humiliated a 12-year old girl on his national teevee show when he compared Chelsea Clinton to a dog.

Michelle Obama has degrees from Princeton and Harvard Law School.

Limbaugh dropped out of college, and his own mother said he even failed ballroom dancing.

Rush Limbaugh lost his job with ESPN because of his racist remarks about a football player. Rush Limbaugh ALWAYS brings Mr. Obama’s race into discussions about the president.

Michelle Obama has never said an unkind word about the disgusting sack of fetid fumes that goes by the name of Rush Limbaugh.

Should we get angry over Limbaugh’s description of Mrs. Obama as “uppity?” Or should we just ignore the swine?

I say we go for the latter rather than the former. 

Personally, I just can’t get angry over what a talking pig says.



Sunday, November 20, 2011

Gingrich Blames Child Labor Laws for America's Economic Woes

There seems to be no end to the stupidity coming out of the conservative candidates' mouths.

Here's what a guy who wants to be president said recently:

"This is something that no liberal wants to deal with,” Gingrich said. “Core policies of protecting unionization and bureaucratization against children in the poorest neighborhoods, crippling them by putting them in schools that fail has done more to create income inequality in the United States than any other single policy. It is tragic what we do in the poorest neighborhoods, entrapping children in, first of all, child laws, which are truly stupid.” [...]

“Most of these schools ought to get rid of the unionized janitors, have one master janitor and pay local students to take care of the school. The kids would actually do work, they would have cash, they would have pride in the schools, they’d begin the process of rising.”

Let that sink in for a moment.

Child labor laws are truly stupid. 

Let's go back to the good old days of allowing corporations to exploit children and work them to death. 

CHILD LABOR IN U.S. HISTORY

Forms of child labor, including indentured servitude and child slavery, have existed throughout American history. As industrialization moved workers from farms and home workshops into urban areas and factory work, children were often preferred, because factory owners viewed them as more manageable, cheaper, and less likely to strike. Growing opposition to child labor in the North caused many factories to move to the South. By 1900, states varied considerably in whether they had child labor standards and in their content and degree of enforcement. By then, American children worked in large numbers in mines, glass factories, textiles, agriculture, canneries, home industries, and as newsboys, messengers, bootblacks, and peddlers.

In the early decades of the twentieth century, the numbers of child laborers in the U.S. peaked. Child labor began to decline as the labor and reform movements grew and labor standards in general began improving, increasing the political power of working people and other social reformers to demand legislation regulating child labor. Union organizing and child labor reform were often intertwined, and common initiatives were conducted by organizations led by working women and middle class consumers, such as state Consumers’ Leagues and Working Women’s Societies. These organizations generated the National Consumers’ League in 1899 and the National Child Labor Committee in 1904, which shared goals of challenging child labor, including through anti-sweatshop campaigns and labeling programs. The National Child Labor Committee’s work to end child labor was combined with efforts to provide free, compulsory education for all children, and culminated in the passage of the Fair Labor Standards Act in 1938, which set federal standards for child labor.

U.S. Federal Child Labor Laws.  Link here.

Child labor involves at least one of the following characteristics:

  • Violates a nation’s minimum age laws
  • Threatens children’s physical, mental, or emotional well-being
  • Involves intolerable abuse, such as child slavery, child trafficking, debt bondage, forced labor, or illicit activities
  • Prevents children from going to school
  • Uses children to undermine labor standards

Where does most child labor occur?

Of an estimated 215 million child laborers around the globe: approximately 114 million (53%) are in Asia and the Pacific; 14 million (7%) live in Latin America; and 65 million (30%) live in sub-Saharan Africa.

And Gingrich would like to add American children to those statistics.

More here.

There's nothing wrong with teens having part time jobs.  The problem with Gingrich's "unconventional" suggestion to get rid of child labor laws that protect those teens who work is that that idea opens the door for corporations to abuse children who need to earn money. 

Gingrich trusts corporations to do the right thing while wanting the bottom line to grow?

This miserable idea combined with Michele Bachmann's  
proposition to get rid of the minimum wage would make way for a conservative paradise:  Poor children working for corporations for little money, so that those corporations will continue to fill the pockets of politicians like Newt Gingrich who would work tirelessly to represent the interests of the very wealthiest in America.


Source: Raw Story
By David Edwards

"New York Times columnist Paul Krugman says that Newt Gingrich is just the latest of the 'fools and clowns' in the Republican presidential race to become a frontrunner.

'I have a structural hypothesis here,' Krugman told ABC’s Christiane Amanpour Sunday. 'You have a Republican ideology, which Mitt Romney obviously doesn’t believe in. He just oozes insincerity, that’s just so obvious. But all of the others are fools and clowns. And there is a question here, my hypothesis is that maybe this is an ideology that only fools and clowns can believe in. And that’s the Republican problem.'

Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan spoke up in Gingrich’s defense.

'We need a little on the pro-Newt side balance,' she remarked. 'The base of the Republican Party knows that the establishment of the Republican Party doesn’t like Newt. That’s a big plus.' "




"Newt Gingrich Is 'The Classic Rental Politician,' "--George Will         

Newt Gingrich:  "A stupid man's idea of what a smart person sounds like." --P.Krugman

Saturday, November 19, 2011

"You don't own me. I pay your salary. I work for the private sector and you work for the taxpayer."

Wouldn't you love to have been in that chair and the one to pwn the arrogant ass, Alaska GOP Representative Don Young?


Good one, Professor Brinkley!


"Ever wanted to tell a congressman in person that they work for you, the taxpayer?

Well, Douglas Brinkley, a Rice University professor, certainly did, although perhaps the middle of a House hearing wasn't the best time and place.

At a Natural Resources Committee hearing Friday on oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) mistakenly addressed the professor as 'Dr. Rice' while calling his testimony 'garbage.'

Brinkley interrupted, saying: 'It's Dr. Brinkley, Rice is a university,' and  'I know you went to Yuba [Community College in California] and couldn't graduate — '

Then it was Young's turn to interrupt. 'I'll call you anything I want to call you when you sit in that chair,' he told the witness. 'You just be quiet.'

Brinkley countered: 'You don't own me. I pay your salary. I work for the private sector and you work for the taxpayer.'

Friday, November 18, 2011

DECLARATION OF THE OCCUPATION OF WASHINGTON, DC

The Declaration of the Occupation of Washington, D.C.
Consented to in committee November 15th, 2011


We have been captives of corrupt economic and political systems for far too long. The concentration of wealth and the purchase of political power stifle the voices of the increasingly disenfranchised 99%. 

Corporate dominance subverts democracy, intentionally sows division, destroys the environment, obstructs the just and equitable pursuit of happiness, and violates the rights and dignity of all life.

Occupy D.C. is an open community of diverse individuals, founded on equality for the common good. We are peaceably assembled at McPherson Square, practicing direct democracy on the doorstep of K Street, the center of destructive corporate and governmental relationships. We insist that our political and economic systems serve the people’s interests. Now is the time to advance and complete the struggles of those who came before us.

We are assembled because...

It is absurd that The 1% has taken 40% of the nation’s wealth through exploiting labor, outsourcing jobs, and manipulating the tax code to their benefit through special capital tax rates and loopholes. The system is rigged in their favor, yet they cry foul when anyone even dares to question their relentless class warfare.

Candidates in our electoral system require huge sums of money to be competitive. These contributions from multi-national corporations and wealthy individuals destroy responsive representative governance. A system of backroom deals, kickbacks, bribes, and dirty politics overrides the will of the people. The rotation of decision-makers between the public and private sectors cultivates a network of public officials, lobbyists, and executives whose aligned interests do not serve the American people.

The entrenched 2-party system overlooks public interests by pursuing narrow political goals. This climate encourages candidates to polarize voters for individual power and personal gain. Citizens’ meaningful input has been compromised by gerrymandering, voter disenfranchisement, and unresponsive politicians. Residents of Washington DC continue to lack autonomy and legislative representation.

Those with power have divided us from working in solidarity by perpetuating historical prejudices and discrimination based on color of skin, perceived race, immigrant or indigenous status, gender identity, sexual orientation, and disability, among other things.

Corporations broke the financial system by gambling with our savings, property, and economy. They needed the public to bail them out of their failures yet deny any responsibility and continue to fight oversight. They loot from those whose labor creates society’s prosperity, while the government allows them to privatize profits and socialize risk.

Corporate interests threaten life on Earth by extracting and burning fossil fuels and resisting the necessary transition to renewable energy. Their drilling, mining, clear-cutting, overfishing, and factory farming destroys the land, jeopardizes our food and water, and poisons the soil with near impunity. They privilege polluters over people by subsidizing fossil fuels, blocking investments in clean energy and efficient transportation, and hiding environmental destruction from public oversight.

Private corporations, with the government’s support, use common resources and infrastructure for short-term personal profit, while stifling efforts to invest in public goods.

The U.S. government engages in drawn-out, costly conflicts abroad. These operations are often pursued to control resources, needlessly overthrow foreign governments, and install friendly regimes. These wars destroy the lives of American soldiers and innocent civilians and are a blank check to divert money from domestic priorities.

Government authorities cultivate a culture of fear to invade our privacy, limit assembly, restrict speech, and deny due process. They have failed in their duty to protect our rights. Exacerbated by profiteering interests, the criminal justice system has unfairly targeted underprivileged communities and outspoken groups for prosecution rather than protection.

Corporatized culture warps our perception of reality. It cheapens and mocks the beauty of human thought and experience, while promoting excessive materialism as the path to happiness. The corporate news media furthers the interests of the very wealthy, distorts and disregards the truth, and confines our imagination of what is possible for ourselves and society.

Leaders are trading our access to basic needs in exchange for handouts to the ultra-wealthy. Our rights to healthcare, education, food, water, and housing are sacrificed to profit-driven market forces. They are attacking unemployment insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, creating an uncertain future for us all.*

A better world is possible. To all people,

We, the Washington D.C. General Assembly occupying K Street in McPherson Square, urge you to assert your power.

Exercise your right to peaceably assemble and reclaim the commons. Re-conceive ways to build a democratic, just, and sustainable world.

To all who value democracy, we encourage you to collaborate, and share available resources. We stand with you in solidarity.


*These grievances are not all inclusive.


I invite conservatives and liberals to express and discuss any disagreement  they may have with the above declaration.

h/t Crooks & Liars

Thursday, November 17, 2011

"WE NEED A LEADER, NOT A READER."

Oh Herman, you're so droll!


Yeah!  Who wants a president who reads and stays informed so he or she can lead? 

Not your followers! 

Herman Cain:  The unReader!!



Now we know where Herman gets his ideas.  From video games [SimCity 9-9-9, and The Simpsons].  LOL!

h/t HuffPost

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The GOP: Keeping Millions of Americans Out of Jobs So They Can Get One Man To Lose His

via Angry Black Lady Chronicles:

Interviewer: Harry Reid said yesterday, and frankly we’ve heard this from a lot of Democrats, the Republicans oppose the jobs bill for political reasons, that it helps them if the economy stays in bad shape. But, is that fair?

Sanchez: Well, it certainly is fair. I mean, I’ve heard my own colleagues on the Republican side say, “We just want to make Obama look so bad. We don’t care how bad the economy gets. We can win this election, we want our president –”

Interviewer: You’ve heard them say that?

Sanchez: Yes. They have said that. They’ve said that! They’ve said that behind closed doors to me! They said, “Nothing is moving.” They said, “We want to make him look bad. We want to get rid of him. We want to get rid of the health care reform bill.” They only way they believe they can get rid of health care reform is to get rid of President Obama.

Interviewer: Who is saying that, Congresswoman?

Sanchez: Well, I’m not gonna … these are actual friends on the other side who have said, “This is what is happening in our conference”, in their groupings when they’re meeting.



Representative Sanchez, you should have named names. Those GOPers are NOT your friends, they are fiends.

And we, of course, have known this ever since Senator McConnell admitted it a long time ago.

Imagine putting a party back in charge of government whose single most important goal is to unseat a sitting president.  I wouldn't trust them with changing my pet gerbil's  wood shavings. 

Perhaps that's why so many conservatives support the incompetents leading the GOP presidential nomination race.  They want to prove that government is incapable of doing anything right; and if one of their bumbling contenders makes it into the WH, they could watch their belief come true.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

THIS IS WHY HERMAN CAIN WILL NOT BE PRESIDENT

We'll hear from the rightwingers that the "lamestream media" destroyed Herman Cain, but this video, in addition to many others that demonstrate Cain's incompetence and appalling lack of understanding on foreign and domestic policy issues, clearly shows Cain's profound indequacies.  And that observation doesn't include his awful handling of his sexual harassment accusations.


Cain is unfit to be president.

In this video, you will see him evade, squirm, and then finally  blather on about nothing, constructing a non-answer to the question put to him.


Over the past few weeks we saw and heard Rick Perry stumble again and forget the name of a federal agency he wants to eliminate; we saw and heard Michele Bachmann come out in favor of socialist/communist China, while bashing an American president; and we heard Cain, Bachmann and Perry say that they approve of a criminal act, torture, and would use "enhanced interrogation" [that's waterboarding] to retrieve information from America's enemies. [Mitt Romney was too much of a coward to give us his opinion on this subject.]

Here's how someone with courage talks about torture:

"Waterboarding is torture. It’s contrary to America’s traditions. It’s contrary to our ideals. That’s not who we are. That’s not how we operate. We don’t need it in order to prosecute the war on terrorism. And we did the right thing by ending that practice. If we want to lead around the world, part of our leadership is setting a good example. And anybody who has actually read about and understands the practice of waterboarding would say that that is torture. And that's not something we do -- period,"- Barack Obama,


Here's Herman Cain, showing us how unprepared he is to be president:




The "lamestream media" are not to blame for Cain's drop in the polls, Cain and only Cain is responsible. Just like Palin and only Palin was responsible for her massive failure to be taken seriously as a vice presidential and presidential candidate, just as Bachmann is too silly a candidate to be taken seriously, and the guy from Texas who can't remember an agency he dislikes enough to eliminate.


Next in line for an invitation to the GOP nomination prom?


Newt Gingrich:

"Gingrich is the only Speaker of the House to have been disciplined for ethics violations.


During his term as Speaker, eighty-four ethics charges were filed against him; eighty-three of them were dropped. The remaining charge concerned a 20-hour college course called "Renewing American Civilization" that Gingrich had taught through a tax-deductible foundation, Kennesaw State College Foundation. Allegations of tax improprieties led to two counts "of failure to seek legal advice" and one count of "providing the committee with information which he knew or should have known was inaccurate" concerning the use of a tax exempt college course for political purposes. To avoid a full hearing, Gingrich and the House Ethics Subcommittee negotiated a sanctions agreement. Democrats accused Gingrich of violating the agreement, but it was forwarded to the House for approval. On January 21, 1997, the House voted 395 to 28 to reprimand Gingrich, including a $300,000 "cost assessment" to recoup money spent on the investigation."--Wikipedia

Monday, November 14, 2011

MICHELE BACHMANN PRAISES SOCIALISM

Does this woman ever think about what she says?  She and her party have repeated hundreds of times that Mr. Obama's policies are socialist policies.  How many Tea Party signs have we read that have labeled this president a socialist?  How many malcontented bloggers have used that adjective to describe Mr. Obama? 

Incredibly, during Saturday's GOP "debate," Michele Bachmann uttered this:


"If you look at China, they don’t have food stamps. If you look at China, they’re in a very different situation. They save for their own retirement security…They don’t have the modern welfare state and China’s growing. And so what I would do is look at the programs that LBJ gave us with the Great Society and they’d be gone."


This is how Wikipedia describes China:

The People's Republic of China's government has been variously described as communist and socialist, but also as authoritarian, with heavy restrictions remaining in many areas, most notably on the Internet, the press, freedom of assembly, reproductive rights, and freedom of religion.[109] Its current political/economic system has been termed by its leaders as "Communism with Chinese characteristics".

A Republican/Tea Party United States Representative, who hopes to be president, was on national teevee praising the Communist policies of China and threatening to dismantle the safety nets that a democratically elected US president and Congress passed.

Please go back and read that paragraph.

I'm wondering if the bloggers on the Right picked up on her little love note to Socialist/Communist China while bashing America.  Michele Bachmann praised socialism.

I don't understand these people. 

But I do understand that Michele Bachmann is an embarrassment to this country, but most of all, to herself.  How low we have fallen when someone of her tiny intellect could appear on the national stage, say something as  deeply unAmerican as she did, and not get booed into oblivion.

In the GOP, only US soldiers who are gay get booed, not a woman who is pro-torture [a crime], praises a Communist nation over her own country, and then hopes the American people will elect her to lead it.