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Gender: Male
Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 12:18 AM
Number of posts: 70,795

Journal Archives

Robert Reich: How Angry, White, Southern Men Took Over the GOP & Made Our Government Into a War Zone

Robert Reich's Blog / By Robert Reich

The Great Republican Crackup: How Angry, White, Southern Men Took Over the GOP and Made Our Government Into a War Zone
The GOP's radicalism is dangerous for America. We need two political parties solidly grounded in the realities of governing.

December 21, 2011 |

Two weeks before the Iowa caucuses, the Republican crackup threatens the future of the Grand Old Party more profoundly than at any time since the GOP’s eclipse in 1932. That’s bad for America.

The crackup isn’t just Romney the smooth versus Gingrich the bomb-thrower.

Not just House Republicans who just scotched the deal to continue payroll tax relief and extended unemployment insurance benefits beyond the end of the year, versus Senate Republicans who voted overwhelmingly for it.

Not just Speaker John Boehner, who keeps making agreements he can’t keep, versus Majority Leader Eric Cantor, who keeps making trouble he can’t control. ...................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.alternet.org/teaparty/153534/the_great_republican_crackup%3A_how_angry%2C_white%2C_southern_men_took_over_the_gop_and_made_our_government_into_a_war_zone/

There's no honor among right-wing whackjobs

Rick Perry fails to win support of anti-gay leaders; TV ad backfiring among some Iowa Republicans
Posted on 21 Dec 2011 at 12:20pm

Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s presidential campaign suffered yet another setback Tuesday when Bob Vander Plaats, a leading social conservative in Iowa who serves as president of the anti-gay Family Leader organization, endorsed Rick Santorum in the state’s Jan. 3 Republican Caucus.

Perry’s campaign had actively courted the Family Leader’s endorsement, and he signed the group’s controversial “marriage pledge” last month. Politico notes that Perry is in a three-way battle for Iowa’s coveted evangelical vote against Santorum and Michele Bachmann. Vander Plaats’ endorsement could help determine who moves on to New Hampshire and who does not.

Adding salt to Perry’s wounds, Don Wildmon, founder of the American Family Association, endorsed Newt Gingrich on Tuesday. If you’ll remember, the AFA, which is considered an anti-gay hate group, teamed with Perry for The Response, the August prayer rally in Houston that served as a kickoff for his presidential campaign — and at which Wildmon embraced Perry on stage. Right Wing Watch reports on Wildmon’s endorsement of Gingrich:

Wildmon today appeared on Focal Point with Bryan Fischer where he explained that while he was initially “ecstatic” about Rick Perry’s candidacy, he decided that because of the Texas governor’s disastrous debate appearances his candidacy “cannot recover.” Wildmon said that electability matters because “we are facing the most critical election this nation has ever seen, the stake in this election is Western civilization.”

The complete piece is at: http://www.dallasvoice.com/tv-ad-rick-perry-fails-win-endorsements-anti-gay-leaders-1097201.html

Terra Sweat

Sweating Bullets: Body Scanners Can See Perspiration as a Potential Weapon
by Michael Grabell and Christian Salewski, ProPublica Dec. 19, 2011, 8:40 a.m.

While X-ray body scanners used in airports face concerns about potentially increasing cancer cases, a safer type of scanner has been plagued by another problem: a high rate of false alarms.

The scanner, known as the millimeter-wave machine, uses low-level electromagnetic waves that, unlike X-rays, have not been linked to cancer. The Transportation Security Administration already uses the millimeter-wave machine and says both types of scanners are highly effective at detecting explosives hidden under clothing.

But two of Europe's largest countries, France and Germany, have decided to forgo the millimeter-wave scanners because of false alarms triggered by folds in clothing, buttons and even sweat.

In Germany, the false positive rate was 54 percent, meaning that every other person who went through the scanner had to undergo at least a limited pat-down that found nothing. Jan Korte, a German parliament member who focuses on homeland security, called the millimeter-wave scanner "a defective product." ...............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.propublica.org/article/sweating-bullets-body-scanners-can-see-perspiration-as-a-potential-weapon

ACLU: Europe Won't Supply Execution Cocktail to U.S.

Europe Won't Supply Execution Cocktail to U.S.

The political gulf between American policy and European policy on capital punishment widened further today as the European Commission released its decision to tighten export controls for some key materials used in the execution or cruel treatment of prisoners. The new policy applies expressly to the exportation of such goods by European countries to nations that still engage in capital punishment or torture.

Yesterday’s decision by the European Commission is in line with its Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, which affirms a universal and unconditional stance against capital punishment. As Catherine Ashton, High Representative for the Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the Commission stated:

“The European Union opposes the death penalty under all circumstances. The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union states that no one shall be condemned to the death penalty, or executed. In this regard, the decision today contributes to the wider EU efforts to abolish the death penalty worldwide.”

Sodium thiopental, a chemical commonly used in the three-drug cocktail used in American lethal injection, can now only be exported from E.U. countries with prior authorization by national authorities. The decision will likely increase the difficulty faced by states of procuring the already scarce drug for use in their executions. In addition, the Commission announced that the import and export of electric shock sleeves and cuffs, instrumental in the use of the electric chair, are now wholly prohibited from import and export. .............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.aclu.org/blog/capital-punishment-human-rights/europe-wont-supply-execution-cocktail-us

Desperate Mets?

Mets' Less-Than-Enticing Ownership Offer

Wednesday, December 21, 2011 8:09 am
Written by: Ben Maller

In the name of Mookie Wilson, what are the owners of Major League Baseball's New York Metropolitans thinking?

In an offer that must have David Letterman's writing staff smiling, the the New York Mets are offering 4 percent ownership stakes in their beleaguered ball club. For the past four months, the Mets have been searching high and far for 10-12 minority partners to invest $20 million each, according to the New York Times. Not surprisingly, it hasn't been smooth sailing.

Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz, controlling owners of the Mets, lost a combined $70 million last season and could lose millions, if not billions, more in a trial being pushed by the trustee for Bernie Madoff's ponzi scheme victims. While the National League club waits for a financial life raft, the team picked up a $40 million bank loan to slow the bleeding for the next few months. .............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.thepostgame.com/blog/dish/201112/mets-embarrassing-ownership-offer

Lost in Translation

Sliders and The Sauce

COLUMBUS, Ohio — White Castle, a 90-year-old hamburger chain known for its square "slider" burgers, is sipping on the idea of offering alcoholic beverages as it tests beer and wine sales at a restaurant in Indiana.

The food famously craved by stoners in the 2004 movie "Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle" can be had with a glass of wine or a domestic or seasonal beer at a Lafayette, Ind., restaurant that fuses a conventional White Castle with a new concept for the company called Blaze Modern BBQ. Wine costs $4.50 and beers start at $3.

"This was something that customers had been suggesting," said Jamie Richardson, a spokesman for Columbus-based White Castle System Inc. "They thought that beer and wine might go nicely with the barbecue that was available at Blaze. We're certain that we might have some customers who might enjoy some sliders and a beer or wine as well."

Other fast-food restaurants also are dabbling with alcohol. Earlier this year, Burger King opened the Whopper Bar South Beach, a restaurant in Miami Beach offering beer, and Starbucks Corp. has been testing beer and wine at a few sites. ...........(more)

The complete piece is at: http://xfinity.comcast.net/articles/finance/20111221/US.White.Castle.Alcohol/

Countrywide: The toilet that keeps on overflowing

from the NY Times:

The Justice Department on Wednesday announced the largest residential fair-lending settlement in history, saying that Bank of America had agreed to pay $335 million to settle allegations that its Countrywide Financial unit discriminated against black and Hispanic borrowers during the housing boom.

A department investigation concluded that Countrywide had charged higher fees and rates to more than 200,000 minority borrowers across the country than to white borrowers who posed the same credit risk. It also steered more than 10,000 minority borrowers into costly subprime mortgages when white borrowers with similar credit profiles received prime loans, the department said.

The pattern and practice covered the years 2004 to 2008, before Countrywide was acquired by Bank of America.

“The department’s actions against Countrywide makes clear that we will not hesitate to hold financial institutions accountable, including one of the nation’s largest, for discrimination,” Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said. “These institutions should make judgments based on applicants’ creditworthiness, not on the color of their skin.” ..............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/22/business/us-settlement-reported-on-countrywide-lending.html?_r=1&hp

What a Busted Robot Airplane Tells Us About the American Empire in 2012 and Beyond

from TomDispatch:

The Drone That Fell From the Sky
What a Busted Robot Airplane Tells Us About the American Empire in 2012 and Beyond

By Nick Turse

The drone had been in the air for close to five hours before its mission crew realized that something was wrong. The oil temperature in the plane’s turbocharger, they noticed, had risen into the “cautionary” range. An hour later, it was worse, and it just kept rising as the minutes wore on. While the crew desperately ran through its “engine overheat” checklist trying to figure out the problem, the engine oil temperature, too, began skyrocketing.

By now, they had a full-blown in-flight emergency on their hands. “We still have control of the engine, but engine failure is imminent,” the pilot announced over the radio.

Almost two hours after the first signs of distress, the engine indeed failed. Traveling at 712 feet per minute, the drone clipped a fence before crashing.

Land of the Lost Drones

The skies seem full of falling drones these days. The most publicized of them made headlines when Iran announced that its military had taken possession of an advanced American remotely piloted spy aircraft, thought to be an RQ-170 Sentinel. .......(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/175482/tomgram%3A_nick_turse%2C_the_life_and_death_of_american_drones/#more (follows a brief intro)

Break Up Bank of America Before it Breaks Us

from BanksterUSA:

Break Up Bank of America Before it Breaks Us
Submitted by Mary Bottari on December 21, 2011 - 09:47

On Monday, Bank of America (BofA) stocks briefly traded for under $5. Yes, you could buy a share of BofA for less than the noxious debit card fee they tried to force down your throat.

BofA is massive, with assets equivalent to 15 percent of U.S. GDP. So why is it trading for the price of a latte?

Because Wall Street’s dirty little secret is that BofA is a zombie bank. Now the reek is getting too strong to ignore.

The Most Dangerous Bank In America?

In 2008-2009, BofA publicly took $45 billion in TARP bailout funds and secretly took another $91 billion in emergency Federal Reserve loans. According to Bloomberg News, it made $1.5 billion in profits off of those loans. Yet, several analysts predict that BofA is woefully short of capital reserves. .............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.banksterusa.org/content/break-bank-america-it-breaks-us

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