They came, they saw, they conquered. This line pretty well sums up a little-reported but important story about the new tea partiers in the U.S. House of Representatives.
No sooner had they arrived than the corporate lobbying corps came to visit, saw what these supposed rebels were made of and quickly conquered them without a fight. The forces of big business needed only to lay out some campaign cash -- and quicker than you can say, "Business as usual," the budding lawmakers snatched up the money and immediately began carrying the lobbyists' corporate agenda.
Check out the financial services subcommittee, which handles legislation affecting Wall Street bankers. Five tea partiers got coveted slots on this panel, and all five were suddenly showered with big donations from such financial lobbying interests as Goldman Sachs. Now, all five are sponsoring bills to undo parts of the recent reforms to reign in Wall Street excesses.
Thursday, April 28, 2011
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Monday, April 18, 2011
While the top 1 percent have seen their incomes rise 18 percent over the past decade, those in the middle have actually seen their incomes fall. For men with only high-school degrees, the decline has been precipitous—12 percent in the last quarter-century alone. All the growth in recent decades—and more—has gone to those at the top. In terms of income equality, America lags behind any country in the old, ossified Europe that President George W. Bush used to deride. Among our closest counterparts are Russia with its oligarchs and Iran.
Teabilly racism is so old school, it’s hard not to laugh at it | Angry Black Lady Chronicles
“Niggra race pimps”?
Yeah, have a look at the link.
She was able to see a union from her house, so....
The Union of Teaching Faculty reports that Central Michigan University professors are now eligible for government assistance:
CMU has record assets and revenue, but is allocating money to top administrative salaries—some of those for a medical school that doesn’t even exist yet! –Instead of to the underpaid faculty and staff who make CMU work.
CMU’s nontenure-track faculty members are paid so poorly that some of them fall below the federal poverty line—even while working full-time. The University’s current pay proposal for full-time faculty would leave intact the possibility of their needing (and being eligible for) government assistance to get by.
Gutting services that actually SERVE the interests of the middle class is not "good business".
Sunday, April 17, 2011
Ayn Rand, Hugely Popular Author and Inspiration to Right-Wing Leaders, Was a Big Admirer of Serial Killer
The fear that some felt at the time was that these philosophers' dangerous, yet nuanced ideas would fall into the hands of lesser minds, who would bastardize Nietzsche and Schopenhauer and poison the rest of us. This aptly describes Ayn Rand, whose philosophy developed out of her admiration for "Supermen" like Hickman. Rand's philosophy can be summed up by the title of one of her best-known books: The Virtue of Selfishness. She argues that all selfishness is a moral good, and all altruism is a moral evil, even "moral cannibalism," to use her words. To her, those who aren't like-minded sociopaths are "parasites," "lice" and "looters."
But with Rand, there's something more pathological at work. She's out to make the world more sociopath-friendly so that people her hero William Hickman can reach their full potential, not held back by the morality of the "weak," whom Rand despised.
Colbert vs. Kyl and spread of 'misinformation' - CNN.com
You get the idea. But the problem is much bigger than Jon Kyl. Colbert is going to have to get a bigger hashtag. Because we're heading to a strange place where Daniel Patrick Moynihan's truism "everyone is entitled to their own opinion but not their own facts" no longer applies.
Exhibit B this week: Donald Trump's re-enflaming of the thoroughly discredited birther conspiracy theory. When he repeats this falsehood in interviews, he is too often treated as a man with an unorthodox opinion, not someone repeating a lie on national television.
As a result, more people are duped and the country more divided, not on the many rational reasons to oppose President Obama's policy agenda but on paranoid fantasies cut out of whole cloth.
That last line contains the entire issue. There are plenty of good reasons for people to disagree about--but they being shoved out of the way by ideological goo.
LIKE everybody else, Eddie Vedder was shocked by what the ukulele could do.
It was the late 1990s and Mr. Vedder was in Hawaii, decompressing after a tour with his band, Pearl Jam, when one of those modest, four-stringed instruments caught his eye in an out-of-the-way drugstore. He bought it, sat down on a nearby case of beer, and picked out a few melodies. It felt good.
“And then a couple of tourists came by and threw 50 cents in the ukulele case,” he said. “And I thought, ‘Wow, there’s something going on here.’ ”
They keep providing it.
Republican Tea Partiers just can't seem to get enough of those Obama/black people/chimpanzee jokes | Crooks and Liars
|This is the image e-mailed to her friends by Orange County Republican committeewoman and Tea Party activist Marilyn Davenport.|
Gov. Scott Walker Reportedly Planning Financial Martial Law In Wisconsin - Rick Ungar - The Policy Page - Forbes
Reports are surfacing that Scott Walker is now preparing his next assault on the democratic political process in the State of Wisconsin.
Following the lead of Michigan GOP Governor Rick Snyder, Walker is said to be preparing a plan that would allow him to force local governments to submit to a financial stress test with an eye towards permitting the governor to take over municipalities that fail to meet with Walker’s approval.
Friday, April 15, 2011
Then people who actually understand budget numbers went to work, and it became clear that the [Ryan's] proposal wasn’t serious at all. In fact, it was a sick joke. The only real things in it were savage cuts in aid to the needy and the uninsured, huge tax cuts for corporations and the rich, and Medicare privatization. All the alleged cost savings were pure fantasy.
To see just what kind of parasite I really am, do check out the UW Colleges in the lists. Look for us toward the bottom.
2011 Salary Explorer - Faculty - The Chronicle of Higher Education
YouTube - WI Rep.Terese Berceau-ZOMBIES!
Walker and Republicans Go Over the Heads of the People and the Courts to Squash Paid Sick Leave | The Progressive
Wineke: Someone Has Got To Be Making All This Up - Madison News Story - WISC Madison
9 Things The Rich Don't Want You To Know About Taxes
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Let us pray.
Conservative Economists Criticize 'Off The Deep End' Republican Budget | TPMDC
The biggest shock came from high-profile economists with GOP leanings, who also criticized it on the merits.
"It doesn't address in any serious or courageous way the issue of the near and medium-term deficit," David Stockman told me in a Thursday phone interview. "I think the biggest problem is revenues. It is simply unrealistic to say that raising revenue isn't part of the solution. It's a measure of how far off the deep end Republicans have gone with this religious catechism about taxes."
Why the United States Is Destroying Its Education System | Truthout
A nation that destroys its systems of education, degrades its public information, guts its public libraries and turns its airwaves into vehicles for cheap, mindless amusement becomes deaf, dumb and blind. It prizes test scores above critical thinking and literacy. It celebrates rote vocational training and the singular, amoral skill of making money. It churns out stunted human products, lacking the capacity and vocabulary to challenge the assumptions and structures of the corporate state. It funnels them into a caste system of drones and systems managers. It transforms a democratic state into a feudal system of corporate masters and serfs
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Yeah, me neither.
Darling Also Says She Knowingly Scheduled Meetings When Working Families Couldn’t Attend
MADISON – It’s shocking in its candor, but Joint Finance Committee Chairwoman Alberta Darling, whose committee is now holding a series of hearings and public meetings around the state of Wisconsin, is now acknowledging she has no interest in the voices of those who show up to testify at her public hearings. Just last night, hundreds were turned away in West Allis, as Darling and other legislators scurried away from the crowd still waiting to testify on Walker’s budget.
Shamefully, Darling admits she believes the voices at her hearings have no meaning because the verdict on Scott Walker’s budget was pre-judged last November by a “silent majority”:
[Sen. Alberta Darling] “a committee co-chairwoman, said most people express their budget preferences at the ballot box, rather than by coming to committee hearings. ‘There is a silent majority,’ Darling said.”
Except that Scott Walker’s extreme and dangerous agenda for Wisconsin – reflected both in his budget repair bill and his draconian cuts to critical state services – was explicitly not discussed during the last election. Nevertheless, Darling has said she’d “absolutely” vote for Scott Walker’s budget repair bill again, despite hundreds of thousands who have voiced opposition and are now pushing to recall her over that very vote to assault workers’ rights.
Sunday, April 10, 2011
CANTOR: In terms of the baseline, that is correct…What we’re saying is there is so much imposition of a mandate that doesn’t relate to the actual quality of care. We believe if you put in place the mechanism that allow for personal choice as far as Medicare is concerned, as well as the programs in Medicaid, that we can actually get to a better resolve and do what most Americans are learning how to do, which is to do more with less.
So far, this recovery has not trickled down. After two relatively lean years, C.E.O.’s in finance, technology, energy and beyond are pulling down multimillion-dollar paychecks. What many of these executives aren’t doing, however, is hiring. Unemployment, although down from its peak, stood at 8.8 percent in March. And few economists predict the jobless rate will drop substantially anytime soon.
For the average C.E.O., however, the good times have returned. The median pay for top executives at 200 major companies was $9.6 million last year. That was a 12 percent increase over 2009, according to a study conducted for The New York Times by Equilar, a compensation consulting firm based in Redwood City, Calif.
The World Economic Forum (WEF), which two years ago, gave America the top spot on the scale, last year awarded that spot to Switzerland, now both Singapore and Sweden have forged ahead leaving the States eating their dust.
13,500 people were surveyed in 139 countries. Due to a “weakening of public and private institutions” the U.S. lost its lead. Data crunchers state, “Lingering concerns about the state of its financial markets” to also be worrisome.
Sweden, by comparison, has “the world’s most transparent and efficient public institutions, with very low levels of corruption and undue influence.” Loosely translated this means, “Some aspects of Socialism rock, whereas a Capitalistic society full of political, partisan cronyism, ain’t working.”
Saturday, April 09, 2011
I guess it's not surprising and I feel weirdly honored to be lied about like this.
It could be, of course, that he simply wants the money.... hard to say.
Here's the latest.
|From Apr 9, 2011 Grothman Letter|
Thursday, April 07, 2011
Grothman urges DNR to hire older workers - JSOnline
Madison -- Sen. Glenn Grothman advised the Department of Natural Resources on Monday to consider hiring people in their 40s and 50s because he believes younger workers don't have an understanding of the costs of regulation on the private sector.
"Liberals have more gray matter in a part of the brain associated with understanding complexity, while the conservative brain is bigger in the section related to processing fear, said the study on Thursday in Current Biology."
Wednesday, April 06, 2011
Views on Evolution, Intelligent Design Hinge on Death Anxiety | Smart Journalism. Real Solutions. Miller-McCune.
Monday, April 04, 2011
As of last Friday, just three groups have spent nearly $1.4 million to keep Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) ally David Prosser on the Wisconsin Supreme Court — 40 percent more than Prosser’s opponents have spent to defeat him. Moreover, new evidence unearthed by the Center for Media and Democracy suggests that Prosser’s advantage comes from a familiar source. Nearly $400,000 of Justice Prosser’s support comes from Citizens for a Strong America (CSA), a group with close ties to the billionaire Koch brothers:
[E]ven though Citizens for a Strong America lists no staff on its website,its website name was purchased by John W. Connors of Milwaukee, who has been a leader of “Americans for Prosperity,” a right-wing group chaired by oil billionaire David Koch. On the domain registration through “Go Daddy!,” the holder of the web address listed is for Connors and the business address is listed as 1126 S 70th Street, Suite S420, in Milwaukee, along with a gmail address. … This address is the same street address as Americans for Prosperity (AFP) in Wisconsin. AFP is listed as holding offices on the second floor of that building. It is not clear how many suites in the building are leased by AFP. [...]
In other documents on the web about him, Connors’ work email address is listed as at afphq.org and he is described as involved in grassroots campaigns and marketing for AFP. He has been with AFP for a couple of years. During college, Connors interned for Walker and worked on his campaign.
CSA also shows the same kind of disregard for the truth that is typical of Koch-funded operations. Their flagship ad accused Prosser’s opponent, prosecutor JoAnne Kloppenburg, of jailing an 80 year-old farmer, and was labeled “ridiculously false” by a leading non-partisan fact-checking site.
The Republicans in Wisconsin, led by the hubris of Gov. Walker, have made a real mess of things for the state, the people, but also for themselves. With Governor Walker’s entire career hanging in the balance, he and the Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald attempted to push through the anti-union bill late on a Friday night, without notice to the public. Now the Republicans are on the run from the law.
When a judge ruled that it appeared the plaintiff in a case against their passage of the bill would prevail, and so ordered the bill not to be published into law, the Republicans violated the court order by having it published by another entity. The judge came back with a second court order. The cowboys said they were going to do as they pleased in spite of the court order, but then the judge clarified her position and suddenly the boys got into line. Third time is a charm, apparently.
And so the bill is not law yet. The judge is now hearing testimony about how the Republicans originally passed the law and it’s clear they have violated the open meeting law, as alleged. They are now claiming legislative immunity in order to avoid the lawsuit.
The Truth About Climate Change, Still Inconvenient - NYTimes.com
Sunday, April 03, 2011
Is that a West Bend connection? Owen, is that you?
Cognitive Dissidence: Koch Brothers' Heavy Hand Behind Anti-Kloppenburg Ad, Everything Else In Wisconsin
A shadowy group called Citizens for a Strong America (CSA) has run an TV ad against JoAnne Kloppenburg, a candidate for the Wisconsin Supreme Court. Said ad was recently evaluated by PolitiFact Wisconsin and was found to be "ridiculously false" and was thus given the dubious "Pants on Fire" rating.
The article, besides evaluating the ads factual correctness, also pointed out an issue of question regarding CSA:
Oh, and from there it gets even more interesting. Tip of the hat to CD!
I still voted nearly always republican. I supported capitalism and although slightly envious of Kevin and his success, I never once thought that he should not have more than me. I was never one to take the hard left socialist view of taking from the rich, and “redistributing” to the poor. I got to see the welfare leaches at work all the time. Got that public assistance card and section 8 housing, but still could seem to have enough money for the 55” flat panel TV, cable internet, and plenty of beer and cigarettes. Under the democrats, it seemed like Wisconsin was “open for business”, but the business was crime and welfare seekers from Illinois. Time to close the border and make Wisconsin a lot less appealing to the free loaders, I thought.
Vote for Walker to straighten up this mess!! Yes! Yes, I did. I voted for Walker to be tough on crime as republicans historically are. End this Doyle / Raemish early release crap! End traffic stop collection data. End crazy spending and balance the budget.
Then February 11th came. Governor Walker, the man I voted for. The man who was going to put Doyle to bed and turn the ship around, spoke. His budget repair bill was announced and it was the shot heard around the country. He was now calling ME the haves, for being a public employee! I was the problem that the state is broke from my huge amounts of income and my retirement account. ME?? I thought. All of a sudden, I am the bad guy because I work for “the big bad government”. For 25 years, I was the “have not” while Kevin was the “have”. In a matter of days, I was now the reason that Kevin lost his house. We talked about the situation and he became upset that I still had my little house while he did not! He cried “foul” that “his tax dollars” padded my pockets while he had to work for all his money. “I didn’t work for my money?”, I thought.
Saturday, April 02, 2011
This Thom Hartmann segment about the history of the Boston Tea Party and the spark that lit the movement is extraordinarily enlightening. Multinational corporations were controlling the people, and the government was supporting the corporations. In particular, the East India Company sparked rebellion, since they were given so many exemptions, tax preferences and other breaks by the British government.
Citizens for a Strong America claimed in a TV ad that Kloppenburg "put an 80-year-old farmer in jail for refusing to plant native vegetation on his farm." Wayne Hensler did refuse to plant native vegetation and he was 80 when he went to jail. But it is impossible for Kloppenburg -- or any attorney -- to put someone in jail.
What’s more, the ad leaves out 11 years’ worth of context. Hensler repeatedly ignored orders from county and state officials -- and then from a court -- to remedy an erosion problem. He was found in contempt of court three times by two different judges. And when Hensler was finally put behind bars, it was on the order of a judge for contempt of court, not merely refusing to plant native vegetation. Kloppenburg didn’t even request the jail time.
The claim against Kloppenburg is ridiculously false.
We rate it Pants on Fire.
The heads of the nation’s top companies got the biggest raises in recent memory last year after taking a hiatus during the recession.
At a time most employees can barely remember their last substantial raise, median CEO pay jumped 27% in 2010 as the executives’ compensation started working its way back to prerecession levels, a USA TODAY analysis of data from GovernanceMetrics International found. Workers in private industry, meanwhile, saw their compensation grow just 2.1% in the 12 months ended December 2010, says the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Two years of scaling back amid tough economic times proved temporary as three-quarters of CEOs got raises in 2010 — and, in many cases, the increases were substantial.
Friday, April 01, 2011
Mike Huckabee Says He Wants Americans To Be Indoctrinated At Gunpoint:
Did Mike Huckabee just flush his presidential aspirations down the proverbial toilet? Well, if American mainstream media has an ounce of journalistic gumption remaining the answer most certainly would be “yes”. Huckabee has just been caught on video, at a Christian supremacist conference, stating that Americans should be forcibly indoctrinated at gunpoint. The organization which hosted the “Rediscover God In America” conference, United in Purpose, has edited Huckabee’s comment from footage of his speech, but not before People For The American Way’s Kyle Mantyla captured the unedited footage, in which Mike Huckabee states, “I almost wish that there would be, like, a simultaneous telecast, and all Americans would be forced–forced at gunpoint no less–to listen to every David Barton message, and I think our country would be better for it. I wish it’d happen.”
... did I say that already? They didn't have to act illegally but did anyway?
And here we are.
Fitzgeralds can only blame selves
The Fitzgerald brothers are complaining loudly about a Dane County judge holding up their collective bargaining bill.
But it's their own fault for winding up in court to begin with.
Had Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald simply given 24 hours of public notice before a key committee meeting and vote last month, their bill would now be in effect.
Instead, because the Fitzgeralds got cute with Wisconsin's open meetings law, the bill is stuck in an exhausting and complex legal battle that could drag on for weeks if not months.
MADISON, Wis. (AP) - A new analysis shows that as long as lawmakers approve a budget fix bill proposed by Gov. Scott Walker the state’s budget would be balanced even if the collective bargaining law currently on hold doesn’t take effect.
The nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau analysis released Friday shows that the bill expected to be passed Tuesday would balance the budget currently projected to be $137 million short by July 1.
The collective bargaining law currently in limbo would save the state about $30 million through higher state worker benefit contributions.
I suppose the Republicans in Madison, like their counterparts in Washington, will now have to claim that their own official state budget office is untrustworthy and that only a bunch of surly partisan Koch-addicts can reasonably be expected to perform accurate budget analysis.
I'm guessin'. Let's see if it takes them as long as it took Van Hollen to flipflop on the Open Meeting law.
The contrasts to the American attitude toward teachers and teaching could not have been more stark. Officials from countries like Finland and Singapore described how they have built a high-performing teaching profession by enabling all of their teachers to enter high-quality preparation programs, generally at the masters’ degree level, where they receive a salary while they prepare. There they learn research-based teaching strategies and train with experts in model schools attached to their universities. They enter a well-paid profession – in Singapore earning as much as beginning doctors -- where they are supported by mentor teachers and have 15 or more hours a week to work and learn together – engaging in shared planning, action research, lesson study, and observations in each other’s classrooms. And they work in schools that are equitably funded and well-resourced with the latest technology and materials.
Republicans reignite the reason for unions. The War On Child Labor Laws: Maine Republicans Want Longer Hours, Lower Pay For Kids
LD 1346 suggests several significant changes to Maine’s child labor law, most notably a180-day period during which workers under age 20 would earn $5.25 an hour.
The state’s current minimum wage is $7.50 an hour.
Rep. David Burns, R-Whiting, is sponsoring the bill, which also wouldeliminate the maximum number of hours a minor over 16 can work during school days.