Month: September 2011

Lawmakers Seek Federal Investigation Into Clarence Thomas’ Affairs

This guy’s a creep.  He and his wife need to be investigated by the Feds as soon as possible.

The Huffington Post

Democratic lawmakers on Thursday called for a federal investigation into Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’ failure to report hundreds of thousands of dollars on annual financial disclosure forms.

Led by House Rules Committee ranking member Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.), 20 House Democrats sent a letter to the Judicial Conference of the United States — the entity that frames guidelines for the administration of federal courts — requesting that the conference refer the matter of Thomas’ non-compliance with the Ethics in Government Act of 1978 to the Department of Justice.

The letter outlines how, throughout his 20-year tenure on the Supreme Court, Thomas routinely checked a box titled “none” on his annual financial disclosure forms, indicating that his wife had received no income. But in reality, the letter states, she earned nearly $700,000 from the Heritage Foundation from 2003 to 2007 alone.

Slaughter called it “absurd” to suggest that Thomas may not have known how to fill out the forms.

“It is reasonable, in every sense of the word, to believe that a member of the highest court in the land should know how to properly disclose almost $700,000 worth of income,” Slaughter said in a statement. “To not be able to do so is suspicious, and according to law, requires further investigation. To accept Justice Thomas’s explanation without doing the required due diligence would be irresponsible.”

The letter also cites a June report in The New York Times indicating Thomas may have regularly benefited from the use of a private yacht and airplane owned by real estate magnate Harlan Crowe and failed to disclose the travel as a gift or travel reimbursement.

Continue reading here…

Palin: I didn’t mean what I said on Cain

There she goes again.   The half-governor is blaming the media once more for something she said!

Politico

Via Danny Yadron, Sarah Palin said she didn’t mean to insult Herman (Herm/Herb) Cain when she called him “the flavor of the week” in a Fox News interview the other day.

Appearing on Fox Business tonight, Palin said that she wasn’t arguing he was about to fade, and instead faulted the press:

“What the media tends to do is propel this flavor of the week. I’m not saying that Herman Cain is the flavor of the week. I’m one of his biggest fans and I would never dismiss him or speak negatively about him. I’m saying in this fast [moving], 24/7 news cycle that is our world today that the media does have to gin up some controversy and intrigue so viewers tune in and there’s a lot of competition in the media world in this quasi-reality show it seems that’s being created in the GOP primary. It’s just the nature of the beast right now and I think anybody would hard-pressed to argue against what I observed.”

See video here

Herman Cain’s Half-Baked Pizza

Here’s my take on Herman Cain’s premise that 88% of African Americans are brainwashed to vote for Democrats:

Herman Cain picked that figure from thin air and quoted it as if he were some poll expert.   Didn’t he learn his lesson on Fox’s Chris Wallace Show a few months ago when he made a similar brainless faux pas?

Here’s a statistical fact about Herman Cain:  Cain is 0 for 2 when appearing on  Wallace’s show and alleging a factual statement which turns out to be untrue.

Mario Piperni

Unless Herman Cain is a bit more delusional than he appears to be, there is no way he believes he’s got a chance of winning the GOP primary no matter how many meaningless straw polls he wins.  The man is more likely positioning himself for a place on a Romney or Perry ticket.

Here’s Mister 999 on Fox.

“Now, the African-American vote, I am confident, based upon black people that I run into, black people that used to call my radio show, black people that have signed up on my Web site to support me — I believe, quite frankly, that my campaign, I will garner a minimum of a third of the black vote in this country, and possibly more…”

[...]

“The fact that my plan resonates — the fact that if we boost this national economy, we’re gonna help the state economy — that’s gonna help the local economy, and that’s gonna help the household economy. And because the unemployment rate for black people is nearly 17 percent, instead of the 9 percent, they’re looking for something that’s gonna boost this economy, and they see that possibility in my 9-9-9 plan.

“That’s what’s going to peel off the black vote, results, not rhetoric.”

Actually, it’ll take a hell of a lot more than a Herman Cain to “peel off” the black vote.  Obama picked up 95% of that vote in 2008 and Kerry had 88% of it in 2004.  I doubt that African-Americans could ever be convinced to change political affiliation and vote for a man, regardless of color, who talks of privatizing Social Security.  Nor do I imagine they’d be too enthralled with casting a vote for a man who promotes a tax plan (9-9-9) which shifts a greater portion of the tax burden on to the poor while at the same time decreasing the tax rate for the rich.  PolitiFact breaks down 999 for you.

Herman Cain, Chilean model, 999…not in this lifetime.

Occupy Wall Street Is About to Get Bigger

In my opinion, this could actually spawn a true progressive populist movement (of sorts)…

Gawker

The Occupy Wall Street protesters — who theNew York Times and other such venues hadtold me were too vague, too in need of glitzy PowerPoint presentations with concrete goals, too poorly dressed, too busy playing drums, too hypocritical because they used “computers” and other modern products, too middle-class, and in general too gross to sustain any interest for more than a few days, therefore making it not worth doing — have persevered long enough to convince veteran reinforcements to join them next week. Interesting!

A hitherto dormant establishment of New York labor and community groups signed on to the protest today and announced they’d join the dirty fucking spoiled computer-wielding scumbucket hippie monsters in a solidarity march next Wednesday. Crain’s  explains why they’ve now decided to rush to Occupy Wall Street’s side — they were being shown up, basically:

But as the action nears the start of its third week, unions and community groups are eager to jump on board. They are motivated perhaps by a sense of solidarity and a desire to tap into its growing success, but undoubtedly by something else too-embarrassment that a group of young people using Twitter and Facebook have been able to draw attention to progressive causes in a way they haven’t been able to in years. [...]

Some of the biggest players in organized labor are actively involved in planning for Wednesday’s demonstration, either directly or through coalitions that they are a part of. The United Federation of Teachers, 32BJ SEIU, 1199 SEIU, Workers United and Transport Workers Union Local 100 are all expected to participate. The Working Families Party is helping to organize the protest and MoveOn.org is expected to mobilize its extensive online regional networks to drum up support for the effort.

“We’re getting involved because the crisis was caused by the excesses of Wall Street and the consequences have fallen hardest on workers,” a spokesman for TWU Local 100 said.

Community groups like Make the Road New York, the Coalition for the Homeless, the Alliance for Quality Education and Community Voices Heard are also organizing for Wednesday’s action, and the labor/community coalitions United New York and Strong Economy For All are pitching in as well.

So, okay, they haven’t exactly won over a broad political spectrum of groups here. And they’re not said to be the most organized bunch! But they’re winning converts.

Related articles

Boehner’s District Suffers From E. Coli Outbreak As House Republicans Try To Gut Food Safety

Now this is  how one can define irony…

Think Progress

As ThinkProgress reported yesterday, despite yet another outbreak of food-borne illness — this time stemming from listeria infected cantaloupes — congressional Republicans are still trying to cut back onthe nation’s food safety regulations. The tainted melons have caused 16 deaths so far, making this the deadliest outbreak in more than a decade, and it comes just a month after salmonella-tainted turkey forced food-giant Cargill into the third-largest food recall on record.

Lost in the well-deserved focus on the listeria outbreak is the fact that another giant food-producer, Tyson Fresh Meats, was forced this week to recall more than 130,000 pounds of ground beef due to E. Coli contamination. And this particular breakdown in food safety should earn the attention of the man leading the GOP in its slash-and-burn approach to the budget, Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), as four children in his districtwere sickened by the meat:

The recall of 65 tons of ground beef that might be contaminated with E. coli has hit close to home for House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio.

The meat, recalled today by Tyson Fresh Meats, was shipped to 16 states…WCPO, ABC’s affiliate in Cincinnati, reported today, “four children became ill after eating the meat with their family in Butler County, Ohio, in the second week of September.” “A 9-year-old child was hospitalized for about 10 days with severe diarrhea,” the station reported.

As we’ve pointed out time and time again, one in six Americans is sickened by food-borne illness each year, and more than 3,000 die. The annual cost to the country of food-borne illnesses is $152 billion, according to Georgetown University’s Produce Safety Project. However, the GOP has not only refused to fund the implementation of a landmark food safety law passed last year, but has said that the current rules on the books are too onerous, because the food industry “self-polices.” But as the current slew of recalls shows, that it clearly not the case.

Related articles

Matt Taibbi: ‘Occupy Wall Street’ can spark movement, motivate change

Raw Story

Author and Rolling Stone columnist Matt Taibbi appeared on Countdown with Keith Olbermann to discuss the “Occupy Wall Street” protests and their potential for motivating change.  The protest, as it stands, is mostly made up of young people who are feeling fed up and disaffected, but Taibbi sees the protests as a reflection of real anger on the part of the American people, anger that rises out of the sense that Wall Street controls too much of American political life.   Activists whose work centers around these issues, he says, can point to the protests as a manifestation of genuine distress on the part of the public.

Keith poses the question as to whether a gathering of Tea Party protests would have garnered more media attention. At the end of the segment, he quips that maybe the “Occupy Wall Street” crowd needs more “funny hats”.

A BLAST FROM 1854

PM Carpenter, your point is well taken…

PM Commentary

In 1854, the new Michigan Republican Party wrote nobly in its platform:

[I]n view of the necessity of battling for the first principles of republican government, and against the schemes of aristocracy the most revolting and oppressive with which the earth was ever cursed, or man debased, we will co-operate and be known as Republicans until the contest be terminated.

Given their 21st-century luminaries — Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich and a host of similar grovelers before the New Aristocracy — shall we conclude the contest is terminated?

Related articles

Beltway Media Slain By Satire

The Onion, Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart are masters of satire.

This time it was The Onion’s turn at getting a massive amount of publicity for one of their articles…but wait!  Everyone knows The Onion is a satirical website, don’t they?

The Huffington Post

The Onion Unleashes Deadly Satirical Attack On Washington Via Twitter 

Washington, D.C., was the scene of a devastating satirical attack this morning, as a tweet from The Onion, the well-known fake-news site, intersected with the most humorless residents of the most self-absorbed city in the world, touching off a tsunami of ultra-seriousness. Now, the Beltway media are left to grapple with the essential question: How could this happen here?

It all began at 10:33 a.m., when The Onion’s Twitter feed posted a tweet that read, “BREAKING: Witnesses reporting screams and gunfire heard inside Capitol building.” Now, normally, when The Onion tweets things like “Small-Town Sheriff Has Actually Killed Surprising Amount Of People” or “Pediatricians Announce 2011 Newborns Are Ugliest Babies In 30 Years,” people in English-speaking nations all around the world demonstrate, with a high degree of skill, the ability to understand that the things The Onion tweets are not, strictly speaking, true. On those rare occasions when there is a notable failure to come to grips with this reality, the media enjoy having a laugh at the expense of the ignorant.

Today, their ability to remain aware that they were, as they say, “in on the joke” failed them. Instead, everyone decided it was absolutely plausible that a satiric website in New York City had managed to scoop the entire Beltway press corps on a story that involved gunfire at the Capitol. No, the tweet, in and of itself was not what I would call “hilarious.” Yes, we live in an age of frayed nerves. But most people know enough to stop themselves at the seventh word when they find themselves saying, “Oh, my God, The Onion is reporting that the Capitol is under attack!”

I can understand and respect that people have different points at which the laughter stops. And I’ll allow that for many, this tweet probably crossed a line. I’ll only point out that finding where the line is and crossing it basically describes The Onion’s entire mission. But there’s a distinction to be made between decent people being offended and officials actually taking this stuff seriously:

US Capitol Police on Thursday flatly denied a joke claim on the popular satire website The Onion’s Twitter feed of “screams and gunfire” in the Congress and said they were investigating the comment.”Conditions at the US Capitol are currently normal. There is no credibility to these stories or the Twitter feeds,” said a spokeswoman for US Capitol Police, Sergeant Kimberly Schneider.

“The US Capitol Police are currently investigating the reporting,” she said in a statement issued roughly half an hour after The Onion’s first tweet about a supposed violent standoff in the US Congress.

Oh, the Capitol Police are “investigating the reporting”? I sure hope they manage to close that case! (Keep reading Twitter, maybe? That’s just an amateur crime-solving tip I have.)

Continue reading here… 

Related articles

The “Real” Reason For Rick Perry’s Fall From The Tea Party Throne

If you say that we should not educate children who come into our state for no other reason than that they’ve been brought there through no fault of their own, I don’t think you have a heart. We need to be educating these children, because they will become a drag on our society.”

No one is talking about the real reason Texas Governor Rick Perry is no longer the darling of right-wing  pundits or the Tea Party after last week’s debate.

Most pundits site Perry’s fumbling and bumbling over an attack on Mitt Romney’s “flip-flop” record.

The truth is that even Perry’s staunchest supporters, who are mostly comprised of Tea Partiers or Tea Party sympathizers, don’t agree with his admission of support for immigrants who were brought to this country as children, through no fault of their own.   When he expressed his feelings about the state sponsored “DREAM Act” for those “illegal immigrants” the entire dynamic changed.  To top it off, Perry stated that anyone who didn’t understand the reasoning and compassion behind the Texas Dream Act…”didn’t have a heart.”

Red State’s reaction:

Rick Perry is free to defend his position as he sees it on the merits, but to suggest his critics are heartless is right out of the liberal textbook. As conservatives it is bad enough that we must endure such assaults from liberals and their acolytes in the mainstream media, but we’ve come to expect that and have effectively rebutted this view. But from Rick Perry? A conservative Republican Governor of Texas to criticize a dissenting view to label his conservative critics “heartless”?  I would expect that from Barack Obama or Bill Clinton or Michael Moore, but from the front runner in a contest for President?

Mike Keuber’s Blog:

Rick Perry has caught a lot of flak for his most recent debate performance.  Although he had numerous low points, his lowest was his defense of in-state tuition for illegal immigrants:

  • If you say that we should not educate children who come into our state for no other reason than that they’ve been brought there through no fault of their own, I don’t think you have a heart. We need to be educating these children, because they will become a drag on our society.”

There are at least three problems with this response – one was unavoidable, one was easily avoidable, and one was inexcusable:

  1. Unavoidable.  The unavoidable problem was that in 2001 Perry had signed-off on a bipartisan law, but now he is faced with partisan primary voters.  At the Christian Science Monitor cogently described - “For Perry, his state’s version of the Obama administration’s ‘Dream Act’ proposal for helping students without legal immigrant status has become like ‘RomneyCare’ – a state-specific position that’s hard to justify in the context of today’s national debate on such issues.”
  2. Avoidable.  The avoidable problem was that Perry was unable to speak clearly.  Perry knew that this question was coming, so he should have been able to rehearse an articulate response.  Instead he gave a response with jumbled syntax.
  3. Inexcusable.  Perry knew that many Republican voters disagreed with his position, but instead of trying to persuade them that his position was reasonable, he criticized them for not having a heart.  I don’t think he read Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People.

As Keuber mentions, Perry’s Texas Dream Act will always be compared to Obama-Care.

So Perry’s issue is not that he flubbed a rebuttal to Mitt Romney’s statements, but that he supports some form of  illegal immigration, albeit a very small part in the complex overall scheme on the issue of immigration.  That is a faux pas as far as the Tea Party and other right-wing conservatives are concerned.

Rick Perry ignored the sacred Tea Party’s mantra: “stick to the party line”, and now, he may pay dearly for that.  No amount of apologies will change the hearts and minds of those folks.