Saturday, December 4, 2010

Xmas on the Ponderosa

We put of the tree while watching Oregon State get trumped by Oregon...

Bid to Limit Tax Cuts to Middle Class and Poor Fails in Senate

David Lightman, McClatchy Newspapers: "The Senate on Saturday blocked and most likely doomed efforts to extend Bush-era tax cuts only for the middle class and the poor but not the very rich. The votes effectively clear the way for the White House and Congress to iron out a compromise on how to continue the expiring breaks."

Read the Article

Friday, December 3, 2010

Via Truthout: GOP Howls After House Extends Tax Cuts for Middle Class Only

David Lightman, McClatchy Newspapers: "The House of Representatives voted Thursday 234-188 for a tax cut for the middle class and the poor - but not the very rich - a vote meant mostly as a political statement to give Democrats talking points back home.... Republicans were furious that the House Democrats staged the vote."
Read the Article

Via Truthout: GOP Howls After House Extends Tax Cuts for Middle Class Only

GOP Howls After House Extends Tax Cuts for Middle Class Only?
Incoming Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio).(Photo: david silver / Flickr)

Washington - The House of Representatives voted Thursday 234-188 for a tax cut for the middle class and the poor — but not the very rich — a vote meant mostly as a political statement to give Democrats talking points back home.

The plan, which would extend George W. Bush-era tax cuts for individuals earning less than $200,000 annually and couples making less than $250,000, is going nowhere in the Senate. A temporary extension of all the cuts for every income class is considered more likely to win enactment by the end of this month; otherwise they expire Dec. 31.

Republicans were furious that the House Democrats staged the vote.

"I'm trying to catch my breath so I don't refer to this maneuver going on today as chicken crap, all right?" said House Republican leader John Boehner of Ohio, who will become speaker of the House next month. "But this is nonsense. All right? The election was one month ago. We're 23 months from the next election and the political games have already started, trying to set up the next election."

Democrats protested such assertions.

"This isn't about politics. This is about people," insisted House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Sander Levin, D-Mich.

The real politics of tax cuts, though, was being waged behind closed doors in a nearby Capitol Hill office building, where two Republican lawmakers, two Democrats and two Obama administration officials were trying to hammer out a tax-cut compromise.

They hope to make recommendations soon. Congress wants to adjourn by Dec. 17 and has a huge agenda to tackle before then: providing funds for the government to keep running, voting on the new START nuclear arms treaty with Russia, and voting on a military spending bill possibly repealing the "don't ask, don't tell" policy toward gays in uniform, among other business.

Senate Republicans vow that until the tax cuts and funding the government for next year are resolved, they won't let anything else be considered.

The House vote on taxes, and the sharply partisan debate that preceded it, seemed out of place in a Congress where the mood has shifted toward conciliatory tones since the Nov. 2 elections. Republicans gained 63 House seats and six in the Senate, and President Barack Obama earlier this week met with leaders of both parties and pledged a new, cooperative environment.

But in the lame-duck House, where Democrats hold a 255-179 seat majority until year's end, liberals courting their voter-bloc base seemed to be sending the White House and party leaders a strong message that they don't want to yield to GOP terms.

"The mistake in the midterm election is that people ran away from the base," said Rep. William Lacy Clay, D-Mo. "There's a lesson to be learned, that when you do that, you don't succeed. You end up with no base."
Closing the debate was Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., arguably the left's most powerful figure in Washington. She tied the tax cut vote to the stalemate over extending unemployment benefits. Money for that program ran out Wednesday.

The middle class and the poor need that tax break more than ever, she said: "It indeed makes a difference." People are pleading with lawmakers, "looking for jobs, looking for security for their families," Pelosi said.
Republicans insisted that small businesses would be hurt if the top rates, now 33 percent and 35 percent, went back to pre-Bush levels of 36 percent and 39.6 percent. Small businesses often pay taxes at individual income tax rates rather than corporate rates.

"Democrats are targeting the very employers we need hiring more workers and buying more equipment — not paying more taxes," charged Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has estimated that fewer than 3 percent of small business owners would be affected by an increase in the top rates, and the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center agreed.


All republished content that appears on Truthout has been obtained by permission or license.

Via JMG: Red Honey In Red Hook

Beekeepers in Red Hook, Brooklyn say their hives are producing Red Dye #40-laden honey because their bees have been dive-bombing a nearby maraschino cherry factory.
Mr. Selig, who owns the restaurant chain Rice and raises the bees as a hobby, was disappointed that an entire season that should have been devoted to honey yielded instead a red concoction that tasted metallic and then overly sweet. He and Ms. Mayo also fear that the bees’ feasting on the stuff could have unforeseeable health effects on the hives. But Mr. Selig said there was something extraordinary, too, about those corn-syrup-happy bees that came flying back this summer. “When the sun is a bit down, they glow red in the evenings,” he said. “They were slightly fluorescent. And it was beautiful.”
The real point of this post, of course, is "Hello, hot beekeeper!"

reposted from Joe

Via Utne:

An unexpectedly large number of Westerners feel that their lives have little meaning, and they don't really care.

Read More >>

Thursday, December 2, 2010


Congratulations to the 2011 TED Prize Winner: JR

Via Truthout: The New American Oligarchy

Andy Kroll, TomDispatch: "There is a war underway. I'm not talking about Washington's bloody misadventures in Afghanistan and Iraq, but a war within our own borders. It's a war fought on the airwaves, on television and radio and over the Internet, a war of words and images, of half-truth, innuendo, and raging lies. I'm talking about a political war, pitting liberals against conservatives, Democrats against Republicans. I'm talking about a spending war, fueled by stealthy front groups and deep-pocketed anonymous donors. It's a war that's poised to topple what's left of American democracy."

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Via JMG: Kim Jong-Il Looking At Things

A new Tumblr blog.

posted by Joe

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Via Truthout: Robert Reich | The Showdown on Tax Cuts for the Rich

Robert Reich, Robert Reich's Blog: "The President met with Republican leaders at the White House this morning to talk about whether the Bush tax cuts should be extended to top taxpayers, as Republicans want. No decision has been reached, but this is the first test of the President's resolve with the new Congress - and he should be tough as nails. The economics and politics both dictate it."

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Rachel Maddow and Bernie Sanders Explain What Republicans Are All About

Via SacBee: Oklahoma’s nonsensical law proves we are scared stupid

We are gathered here today to mourn the loss of America’s mind.     

It was last seen last month in Oklahoma. There, voters gave emphatic approval to a measure outlawing the use of Sharia law – a strict and often brutal interpretation of Islamic religious strictures – in state courts. Sharia is not known to be a problem in Oklahoma, or, for that matter, anywhere else in the United States, something even the bill’s backers concede. But, said the initiative’s sponsor, then-Republican state Rep. Rex Duncan, why wait?     

Of course, by that reasoning, one can also justify laws regulating time travel, flying cars and pink unicorns pooping in public parks. Should we assume Oklahoma legislators are hard at work on laws to restrict these and other non-existent troubles?     

make the jump here to read the full article 

Today's WTF: (courtesy of JMG) GOP Senators: We Will Block 100% Of All Bills Until Bush Tax Cuts Are Extended

Today all 42 GOP members of the Senate issued a letter declaring that not one single bill (including DADT) will be considered until Congress agrees to extend the Bush tax cuts to the wealthy. Because when you're out of money, the thing to do is cut your income. And so much for yesterday's bipartisan summit.
"[W]e write to inform you that we will not agree to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed to any legislative item until the Senate has acted to fund the government and we have prevented the tax increase that is currently awaiting all American taxpayers," the letter reads. "With little time left in this Congressional session, legislative scheduling should be focused on these critical priorities. While there are other items that might ultimately be worthy of the Senate's attention, we cannot agree to prioritize any matters above the critical issues of funding the government and preventing a job-killing tax hike." It was penned by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and signed by all 42 Republicans. According to the AP, which first broke the news of the letter, and portrayed it as a GOP effort to block all Dem initiatives unilaterally, the START treaty would be exempted. But everything else -- particularly DADT, unemployment insurance and the DREAM Act would be ensnared.
And once again the billionaires of America fuck over the rest of us.

posted by Joe

Monday, November 29, 2010

Rich don't sacrifice, Buffett says

Billionaire philanthropist Warren Buffett argued passionately for raising taxes on the rich on ABC’s "This Week" on Sunday.

“There's no sacrifice among the rich. There's plenty of sacrifice going on now,” Buffett said. “I mean, if you look at Iraq and now Afghanistan, there's been sacrifice. But I would doubt if you take the people on the Forbes 400 list — whether many of them have a child or a grandchild that served in Iraq or Afghanistan — they come home in body bags to Nebraska, but they don't have to call up anybody up at the country club to notify them.”

Buffett appeared in an ABC roundtable with CNN founder Ted Turner, Bill and Melinda Gates and Tom Steyer of Farallon Capital Management.

As for America’s future, Buffett had this upbeat prediction: “Two years, I don’t know ... we will be better off two years from now than we are now unless there is some nuclear, chemical or biological event. But the one thing I’m absolutely sure of is that the best years of America lie ahead.”

make the jump here to read the original post

Via Truthout: Robert Reich | National Fiscal Hypocrisy Week

Robert Reich, Robert Reich's Blog: "Welcome to National Fiscal Hypocrisy Week. Today (Monday), Congress takes up a measure delaying by one month a scheduled 23% cut in federal reimbursements to doctors. The cut will automatically go into effect unless Congress acts. But of course Congress will act. Doctors threaten to drop Medicare patients if their rates are cut. Congress has delayed scheduled Medicare cuts for years."

Read the Article

Via JMG: Leslie Nielsen Dies At Age 84

Actor Leslie Nielsen of Airplane! and Naked Gun fame died this afternoon in Fort Lauderdale.
His death was first reported in unconfirmed messages on Twitter late Sunday that suggested the actor had died in the hospital after suffering from pneumonia. His nephew Doug Nielson, told CJOB that Leslie had been in the hospital in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida for 12 days and that with family and friends by his side at 5:30pm Sunday "he just fell asleep and passed away." Born in Regina, Canada, Leslie Nielsen appeared in more than 100 movies and hundreds of television shows over the course of his career. Awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, he was also made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2002 despite also being a naturalized US citizen.

posted by Joe

Michael Cassette - Ghost In The Machine - OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO

Via JMG: Tweet Of The Day - Stevie Johnson

Buffalo Bills player Stevie Johnson took to Twitter to blame God because he dropped a potentially game-winning pass. God responded by unfollowing Johnson.

(Via - Gawker)

posted by Joe

Today's WTF: North Buffalo Target Black Friday

Via SacBee: GOP seems determined to do nothing but undercut Obama

     WASHINGTON – Can we govern ourselves in the next two years? Do Republicans have any interest in accomplishments that might even indirectly benefit President Barack Obama? These questions hang over this week’s meeting between the president and congressional leaders, an encounter that could set the tone for the next two years.    Grounds for optimism are thin. The most striking aspect of Republican behavior since their party’s electoral triumph is a haughty assumption that the voters rejected everything Obama represents and that he ought to capitulate on all fronts right now. Anyone who fails to see things this way just doesn’t “get” it.     
So certain are the president’s opponents that they and only they represent the will of the nation that they feel empowered to undercut Obama even on issues related to our nation’s security.    Take the effort of Sen. Jon Kyl, RAriz., to block ratification of the Strategic   Arms Reduction Treaty in the lame-duck session. In doing so, he is playing Russian roulette with our nation’s interests.     

The New START pact shouldn’t be controversial. It is supported by conservatives as varied in their views as Robert Kagan, a neconservative interventionist, and Pat Buchanan, a paleo-conservative isolationist, not to mention such establishment Republican luminaries as James A. Baker III, Henry Kissinger and Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana.    If this treaty is not ratified, the only winner will be Vladimir Putin. Is Kyl really willing to risk giving Putin and anti-American forces in Russia a leg up?     

You don’t have to believe me on   this. As Kagan wrote in a column for the Washington Post, defeat of the treaty will “strengthen Vladimir Putin,” who would use its demise “to stir more anti-Western nationalism, further weakening an already weak (President Dmitry) Medvedev and anyone else who stands for a more pro-Western approach.”     

It’s not my habit to agree with Buchanan, but he’s right in saying: “Killing the treaty would morally disarm those Russians who see their future with the West.” And the Financial Times, hardly a left-wing newspaper, noted that Kyl’s core arguments against the treaty are “so weak as to call into question Mr. Kyl’s good faith.”     

We don’t need more time to consider it; the treaty has been debated for months. And the Obama administration has made a slew of concessions to Kyl to modernize our nuclear program. What, besides the identity of our current president, justifies this obstruction?    Then there’s the uproar against intrusive   security screening at our nation’s airports, a controversy so evidently rooted in rants rather than reason that the central rallying cry of the critics has become: “Don’t touch my junk.”     

There’s nothing wrong with a sensible debate over the best ways to prevent another terrorist attack and exactly how to balance liberty and security. But there’s plenty wrong with the double standard that (1) blames Obama for violating the rights of airline passengers, and (2) would blame Obama for not taking sufficient steps to protect us if another attack happened. Compare the response of conservatives to this controversy with their fury at anyone who raised questions about former President George W. Bush’s anti-terror policies.    In pondering the GOP’s current posture, I was reminded of the famous speech that the late Jeane Kirkpatrick gave to the 1984 Republican National Convention in which she condemned the “San Francisco Democrats   ,” naming them after the very liberal and tolerant city in which they had just held their convention. Kirkpatrick’s refrain about the opposition, which brought uproarious approval from the crowd, went this way: “They always blame America first.”    

I am afraid that we are about to enter a two-year period in which the Beltway Republicans will always blame Obama’s America first – you know, the America that is not the “real” America, the America that happens to disagree with much of the conservative agenda, the America from which they want to “take back” the country, as if the rest of us represent an alien force. 

If Obama and his America are for something, even if that something is in the nation’s interest, it will be rejected out of hand.    And what will Obama do about all this? Ronald Reagan, Kirkpatrick’s hero, found a way to stand strong, to fight back and to win. We will soon know whether our current president has it in him.   

  E.J. Dionne writes for the Washington Post.
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