Feb 032015
 

I’ve been reading a lot about Obama’s budget for 2016.  The more I read about it, the more I like it.  It does many things to help build a recovery for the poor and middle classes, not just the 1%.  It pays for these measures by taxing the 1% to return just a tiny bit of our wealth that Republicans have fed them over the years.  Best of all, it does many of the things Republicans say they want to do, as they attempt to fool voters.

0203budgetPresident Obama’s fiscal 2016 budget, released on Monday, pulls together the themes and policies set forth in his State of the Union address and other recent speeches and gives them a force and coherence — an ambitiousness — that a more piecemeal delivery does not convey.

As a practical matter, the budget details what Mr. Obama believes needs to be done to help ensure a more prosperous and inclusive future for ordinary Americans, including greater contributions from corporate America and from those atop the wealth ladder. Politically, it seeks to frame the terms of the debate for the 2016 presidential election season. If Republicans simply reject those terms — if they can’t discuss the ideas and act on them — they may find themselves, deservedly, struggling for a response.

The core of the president’s 2016 budget is a plan to boost the middle class by helping low- and middle-income earners pay for education, child care, job training and other needs, and by vastly expanding investment in the nation’s infrastructure. These initiatives would be paid for, in the main, by nearly $1 trillion in tax increases that would fall on the wealthy and large financial institutions over the next decade.

The new taxes, however, are also carefully crafted to spur economic growth more broadly. A proposed higher rate on capital gains, for example, would discourage rampant and inefficient tax sheltering, while encouraging investors to deploy the capital in ways that are more economically productive. Ditto the financial tax that is structured to discourage speculative activities at banks that endanger the economy, as well as taxpayers… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <NY Times>

Click through, please.  It’s worth the read.

I do not seriously think that this budget will pass.  In fact Republican officials from across the spectrum agree that it’s DOA.  But it sets the stage for a Democratic victory in 2016, as voters watch Republicans reject things they claim they are for to protect a handful of billionaires.

Ed Schultz provides some excellent coverage.  The embed button for MSNBC is working again.

I love it, except for the overdose of exceptionalism from the California Democrat.

We call Obama out on what he does wrong.  Lets offer kudos for doing this right.

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Jan 312015
 

It’s day 87, and I’m still hard at work effecting the changes needed from my ISP switch.  I need to change my login info at literally hundreds of websites.  Plus I haven’t even begin to start reconfiguring the notebook computer yet.  Tomorrow is the highest holy day in the Church of the Ellipsoid Orb, an unholy perversion of blessed orb light between the Cheats and the Chickens. I’ll be meditating, but I’m bound to be disappointed, because I’m cheering for both teams to lose.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:51 (average 4:55).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: Guess who owns JebBushforPresident.com and won’t give it back?

The answer is CJ Phillips and Charlie Rainwater! They are a self-described "bear couple."

The Oregon techies bought the domain name in 2008, when Jeb Bush was rumored to be seeking the Republican presidential nomination, reports Business Insider. Phillips and Rainwater are no supporters of Bush, though — in fact, they wanted to use the website to blog about LGBT rights and draw attention to the former Florida governor’s dismal equality record.

Bwahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!!! Oregon leads the way!!

From The New Yorker:

Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney told supporters on Friday that he was “incredibly relieved” to be able to keep the approximately five to ten residences he owns across the country.

“Having to talk about how much I care about ordinary Americans and so forth—I was game for that,” he said. “But having to sell all of those houses? That was going to be brutal.”

The 2012 Republican nominee said that he was especially glad he did not have to part with the car elevator in his eleven-thousand-square-foot mansion in La Jolla.

Andy’s doing news again. Little Lord Willard already had that house. In addition, he drowned his sorrows over the whipping he took in 2008 by going on a $multi-million mansion buying spree.

From MSNBC: A couple of weeks ago, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) raised a few eyebrows by complaining about Americans receiving disability benefits. “Over half of the people on disability are either anxious or their back hurts. Join the club,” the senator said at a New Hampshire event. “Who doesn’t get up a little anxious for work every day and their back hurts? Everybody over 40 has a little back pain.”

Since I took note of Paul’s comments, it’s only fair to also mention that the senator’s office has since elaborated on the same point. Whether or not he’s made things better or worse is a matter of perspective.

Paul spokesman Brian Darling pointed to two data points – 27.7 percent of disabled beneficiaries are diagnosed as having ailments related to “Musculoskeletal system and connective tissue” and that 14 percent have “mood disorders.” That adds up to 42 percent, he noted. (There’s also nearly 4 percent who cite injuries, which presumably could cover back injuries.)

Steve Benin, the author, probably thinks he made it worse. Idiot, Son of Idiot, Named after Idiot may belittle mood disorders,but most of the time they are severe mental illnesses, that kind that might even drive people to vote for him.

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Jan 262015
 

We’ve had many years to learn the Republican response to illness.  It’s the RepubliCare Death Benefit.  Those who cannot pay for care get to die free.  The Republican response to hunger is very similar.  With the elections safely past, Republican governors, like Paul LePage (R-ME) are celebrating their victories by kicking citizens off SNAP,

0126lepage

More than 6,000 people in Maine have been kicked off the food stamp rolls since October, according to an investigation by local CBS affiliate WGME. Maine is one of a handful of states to make food assistance harder to get, and the cut-offs offer a preview of how safety net opponents around the country are planning to knock about a million Americans off of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) next year.

Gov. Paul LePage (R) decided last year to prematurely reinstate tougher eligibility rules requiring food stamps recipients to work. The state agency that maintains SNAP in Maine launched the change in October, and reports that 6,500 of the state’s roughly 215,000 SNAP beneficiaries had been booted from the program as of the end of 2014, WGME’s investigation found.

A Maine official portrayed the decision as “complying with federal requirements” in an interview with the station, but the federal government offered to waive those requirements for Maine and 36 other states back in May. In those 37 states, economic conditions are so bad that the federal government invited state officials to suspend the work requirement that usually applies to able-bodied adults without dependents who want SNAP benefits. When the economy is healthy and jobs are plentiful, a person with no disability and no one to look after must demonstrate that they are working or in job training at least 20 hours a week in order to get food stamps for more than 90 days in any three-year period. If economic conditions are dire, though, federal officials allow state administrators to waive the work rules for SNAP…

Inserted from <Think Progress>

Of course Republicans are trying to blame the feds.  But the Obama Administration has waived that requirement.  The reason is simple.  Every penny the federal government spends feeding hungry people is a penny Republicans can’t spend on welfare for billionaires.

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Dec 272014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 52.  This is the only article, because I found very little content that I have not already covered.  However, I had the Christmas dinner mess to keep me occupied.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:45 (average 4:40).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From NY Times: …They are, roughly speaking, the home equity loans of subprime auto. In these loans, which can last as long as two years or as little as a month, borrowers turn over the title of their cars in exchange for cash — typically a percentage of the cars’ estimated resale values…

…More than 1.1 million households in the United States used auto title loans in 2013, according to a survey by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation — the first time the agency has included the loans in its annual survey.

Title loans are an increasingly prevalent form of high-cost, short-term credit in subprime finance, as regulators in a number of states crack down on payday loans.

For many borrowers, title loans, also sometimes known as motor-vehicle equity lines of credit or title pawns, are having ruinous financial consequences, causing owners to lose their vehicles and plunging them further into debt.

A review by The New York Times of more than three dozen loan agreements found that after factoring in various fees, the effective interest rates ranged from nearly 80 percent to over 500 percent. While some loans come with terms of 30 days, many borrowers, unable to pay the full loan and interest payments, say that they are forced to renew the loans at the end of each month, incurring a new round of fees.

Click through for an in depth exposé of how super-rich Republican vulture capitalists, having been driven in disgrace from the sub-prime housing market, are now preying on gullible poor and middle class borrowers through title equity loans.

From SPLC: It has been quite the year at Hatewatch. We’ve identified those who hide in anonymity while financing the racist right. We’ve kept you abreast of events that have plotted the course of the antigovernment movement as it tries to make headway into the mainstream. And we’ve documented in detail the fallacies spread far and wide by major anti-LGBT leaders, especially as they move to advance their agenda abroad.

Before we take a break, we thought we’d give you something of a year in review—the posts on Hatewatch in 2014 that were the most pivotal in understanding the future of the radical right. But don’t worry, Hatewatch will return on Jan. 1, 2015 with more impactful coverage and analysis.

Click through for their year in review, because the SPLC does such fine work. They are an excellent resource.

From Crooks and Liars: Politico writer Jennifer Epstein is quite concerned about how often the President and First Lady attend church.

“The president’s Christian faith is not connected to or dependent upon anyone else’s beliefs about him, any particular policy issue, any moment in the news cycle or anything else,” DuBois said. “The president’s faith existed long before the While House and will continue after he closes the door to the White House for the last time.”

Critics say that wouldn’t be readily apparent from watching his public comings and goings. After disavowing his former pastor, Jeremiah Wright, and leaving Wright’s Chicago church during the 2008 campaign, Obama was widely expected to seek out a church in Washington that he’d attend with some frequency. Instead, he’s attended Sunday services only occasionally, visiting a patchwork of congregations 19 times in all since taking office, according to a POLITICO analysis of White House pool reports.

Evidently Epstein and her employer have failed to discern the difference between religion and faith.

I can really identify with this, because I have attended church zero times in the same time period. Is the true Christians the Republicans who attend church several times a week, but practices racism, intolerance and greed, or the people who try to reflect what Jesus taught, whether or not they reject organized churches?

Cartoon:

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Dec 192014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 44.  This is my only article.  I’m still mostly down, and having to fight the Care2 Glitch Monster last night cut into my sleep.  What’s going to be your Christmas storm back east is coming in and it’s going to be a nasty one.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:31 (average 5:47).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From NY Times: Following months of secret negotiations with the Cuban government, President Obama on Wednesday announced sweeping changes to normalize relations with Cuba, a bold move that ends one of the most misguided chapters in American foreign policy.

The administration’s decision to restore full diplomatic relations, take steps to remove Cuba from the State Department list of countries that sponsor terrorism and roll back restrictions on travel and trade is a change in direction that has been strongly supported by this page. The Obama administration is ushering in a transformational era for millions of Cubans who have suffered as a result of more than 50 years of hostility between the two nations.

Mr. Obama could have taken modest, gradual steps toward a thaw. Instead, he has courageously gone as far as he can, within the constraints of an outmoded 1996 law that imposes stiff sanctions on Cuba in the pursuit of regime change.

“These 50 years have shown that isolation has not worked,” Mr. Obama said. “It’s time for a new approach.”

I fully support Obama’s decision to do this. Needless to say, Republicans are using this as an occasion to promote hate.  See below.

From Media Matters: Right-Wing Media React Angrily To Agreement With Cuba

Triple Barf Bag Alert!!!

Revoltin’ Bolton

 

Limbarf

 

Bush’s Brain (Jeb’s too!)

 

Dang!!  I hope three barf bags were enough!

From Think Progress: The wealth disparity between upper and middle income Americans has hit a record high, according to a new Pew Research Center Report. On average, today’s upper-income families are almost seven times wealthier middle-income ones, compared to 3.4 times wealthier in 1984. When compared to lower income family wealth, upper income family wealth is 70 times larger.

It has come to the point where only the top 10 percent of Americans are seeing their wealth grow while the bottom 90 get less and less of the pie each year. The driving force of this wealth chasm are the top 0.1 percent, who have seen their share of the nation’s wealth grow the most over the past decades, from 7 percent in 1979 to 22 percent today. In fact, the top 0.1 percent are now worth more than the entire bottom 90 percent of the U.S. population, according to the report, which adjusts for the shrinking size of the American family so as to enable comparisons across time periods.

Republicans are succeeding at one of their two main goals.

Cartoon:

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When GW was pResident, we hired a gal to give him a BJ for impeachment purposes.  She couldn’t find it.

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Dec 032014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 28.  It’s a busy day, but that describes any day I write a Monthly Report, I also had to go out in the cold to run errands.  The temperature did not reach 32°, F until after I returned, so needless to say, it’s also a bad air day.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:15 (average 5:08).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Fantasy Football Report:

Here’s the latest from our own fantasy football league, Lefty Blog Friends.

Scores:

13Scores

Standings:

13Standings

Oh how the mighty hath fallen!  Because this coming week is the last before our playoffs begin, our resident sasquatch, Lynn Squance, a Canadian woman, is invincible for the regular season title  Congrats and kudos to Lynn and her Size 9 Stompers.  In two weeks the playoffs begin and everyone has a chance to win.

Short Takes:

From The New Yorker: Republican congressional aide Elizabeth Lauten said on Sunday morning that she “deeply regretted” her attack on Sasha and Malia Obama because it “completely overshadowed the vicious insults I hurled at their parents.”

Appearing on Fox News, Lauten said, “If I had to do it over again, I’d leave the girls out of it so that the horrible things I said about their parents would have had a chance to shine through. I’m kicking myself about that.”

Saying that she had “learned my lesson” from the incident, she added, “I put a lot of work into crafting malicious insults about Barack and Michelle Obama, and those insults have largely been ignored. That’s the real tragedy here.”

Dang! What will it take to get Andy back to comedy? But seriously, I bet she quit to parley her fame for hatemongering into cash.

From Daily Kos: How Walmart’s owners give thanks and give back

1203billionaire_giving

Could anything be more clear?  This is the Waltons’ Republican vulture philanthropy to go with their Republican vulture capitalism.

From Upworthy: Kim Jong Un Would Really Hate For You To Watch This, Which Is Exactly Why You Should.

 

What a courageous young woman. Her story about Kim’s extreme right-wing dictatorship needs telling. We also need to take care that Republicans never get enough power to make this a similar place, ruled by the .01%.

Cartoon:

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Nov 142014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 9, and it’s cold enough to freeze the tea bags off a brass idiot.  Our weather is rapidly spreading into the rest of the country, and I hate to say it, but you folks are in for some misery.  On stories that I’m not covering today, congrats to Obama on his climate deal with China.  Note the hypocrisy of Republicans, who say the deal isn’t good enough to solve the problem, while denying that the problem exists.  Also Kudos to the little space ship that could.  My COPD is still a mess, but I’m more ready for it.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:51 (average 4:25).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: Increasingly teachers are speaking out against school reforms that they believe are demeaning their profession, and some are simply quitting because they have had enough.

Here is one resignation letter from a veteran teacher, Gerald J. Conti, a social studies teacher at Westhill High School in Syracuse, N.Y.

Chick through, Because we are careening into national stupidity at an exponentially increasing speed, we need to attend to what this teacher has to say.

From Upworthy: On Nov. 5, 2014, police in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, arrested a 90-year-old man for feeding the homeless. Needless to say, Russell Brand’s anger is totally called for.

 

Have you ever seen a more perfect example of an authentic Christian persecuted by Republican Supply-side pseudo-Christians?

From The New Yorker: The United States of America, a nation with a population of approximately three hundred million people, totally accepts that the next President of the United States can only be selected from two families.

In interviews conducted across the country, Americans acknowledged that, while the United States boasts many exceptional people in the fields of technology, business, public policy, and government, none will be offered to voters as candidates because they do not come from one of the two families deemed eligible.

LOL Andy! I’d love a ban on Bushes and Clintons.

Cartoon:

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