March 31, 2010
SAN FRANCISCO — In a repudiation of the Bush administration’s now-defunct Terrorist Surveillance Program, a federal judge ruled Wednesday that government investigators illegally wiretapped the phone conversations of an Islamic charity and two American lawyers without a search warrant.
U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker said the plaintiffs provided enough evidence to show “they were subjected to warrantless electronic surveillance.”
The judge’s 45-page ruling focused narrowly on Al-Haramain case, touching vaguely on the larger question of the program’s legality.
Of course, the spineless Eric Holder won’t pursue this or any of the other Bush administration crimes. Evidently, our laws don’t apply to the executive branch of our government when it’s occupied by Republicans. Clinton gets impeached for lying about getting a BJ but Bush can illegally wiretap American citizens and lie about it and he gets a free pass.
March 30, 2010
Employers in the U.S. probably added jobs in March, setting the stage for a broadening of the economic expansion.
Payrolls are expected to rise by 190,000, the most in three years, after declining 36,000 in February, according to the median forecast of 62 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News before a Labor Department report due out Friday.
Various news organizations, including Dow Jones, Reuters, Bloomberg and CBS MarketWatch, poll economists before release of the report, which includes job numbers and the unemployment rate.
A Dow Jones Newswires survey predicts March nonfarm payroll jobs will increase by 203,000. That would be the largest rise since March 2007 — well before the recession began.
The March consumer confidence index came in at 52.5, up from 46.4 in February, slightly beating forecasts, the Conference Board said moments ago.
This marks a rebound to January levels, which hit 56.5.
The Conference Board index is one of two prominent monthly measures of consumer confidence, the other being the Reuters/University of Michigan number. That number came out last week and showed essentially no change from February.
So we’ve got conflicting numbers between the new major indexes. Obviously, each poll has different methodology. The Conference Board’s index is based on a monthly survey of 5,000 U.S. households, for instance.
The Democrats are growing a backbone, the economy is recovering, we’re getting out of Iraq, the Afghanistan mission seems to be working, and the Democrats passed health insurance reform that will help a lot of people, all with the Republicans trying to blog every move so they could claim a “do-nothing” administration. Next is financial reform, which Republicans will try to block.
Democrats may actually pick up some seats this fall!
March 28, 2010
Who knew the bone head was such a good singer! Watch!
March 27, 2010
President Obama on Saturday announced the recess appointment of 15 political appointees whose nominations had been stalled by Republicans. This is on WhiteHouse.gov:
After facing months of Republican obstruction to administration nominees, President Obama announced his intent to recess appoint fifteen nominees to fill critical administration posts that have been left vacant, including key positions on the economic team and on boards that have been left with vacancies for months.
“The United States Senate has the responsibility to approve or disapprove of my nominees. But if, in the interest of scoring political points, Republicans in the Senate refuse to exercise that responsibility, I must act in the interest of the American people and exercise my authority to fill these positions on an interim basis,” said President Barack Obama. “Most of the men and women whose appointments I am announcing today were approved by Senate committees months ago, yet still await a vote of the Senate. At a time of economic emergency, two top appointees to the Department of Treasury have been held up for nearly six months. I simply cannot allow partisan politics to stand in the way of the basic functioning of government.”
Ha! Obama is finally treating the GOP with the disrespect they deserve. He’s on a roll. What’s he going to do next?
March 27, 2010
Catholic priests have a long history of sexual abuse. The latest scandal involves a school for the deaf in Wisconsin where the Rev. Lawrence C. Murphy molested as many as 200 boys. As usual, the church covered it up and even the Pope Benedict XVI was involved. The Pope, of course, served in the Hitler Youth organization.
Read more here
That’s bad enough, but our tax dollars are funding these perverts and we give them tax exempt status! Billions of dollars every year go to these pedophile organizations, yet there is little outrage. You have to look pretty hard to find a movement to cut off funding for faith-based initiatives.
The ACORN scandal involved contracts to help the poor, and that was all over the news. ACORN is now on its last legs. What about all the money funding perverts?
March 27, 2010
Earth Hour 2010 takes place on Saturday 27 March at 8.30pm (local time) and is a global call to action to every individual, every business and every community throughout the world. It is a call to stand up, to take responsibility, to get involved and lead the way towards a sustainable future. Iconic buildings and landmarks from Europe to Asia to the Americas will stand in darkness. People across the world from all walks of life will turn off their lights and join together in celebration and contemplation of the one thing we all have in common – our planet.
About Earth Hour
We’ll be watching a video in the dark during earth hour. Does that count?
March 27, 2010
The Obama administration is making final preparations to sell its stake in the New York bank, according to industry and federal sources. At today’s prices, the sale would net more than $8 billion, by far the largest profit returned from any firm that accepted bailout funds, and the transaction would be the second-largest stock sale in history.
Citigroup shouldn’t have gotten bailed out until after it filed for bankruptcy, but at least there’s a little positive news from this mess.
March 25, 2010
Typical of the Republicans, they’re against anything that helps the poor or the middle class. But attached to the health reform bill was a revamping of the student-loan programs. Predatory lenders such as Nelnet were given the boot and student loans will now be issued directly by the government. Before, the lenders made all the profits while the government assumed all the risk, kind of like Wall St. But now, the government can make a little profit. Well, probably not. But at least students won’t be gouged by these private lenders. Adios Nelnet! Good freekin’ riddance.
WASHINGTON — Ending one of the fiercest lobbying fights in Washington, Congress voted Thursday to force commercial banks out of the federal student loan market, cutting off billions of dollars in profits in a sweeping restructuring of financial-aid programs and redirecting most of the money to new education initiatives.
The revamping of student-loan programs was included in — if overshadowed by — the final health care package. The vote was 56 to 43 in the Senate and 220 to 207 in the House, with Republicans unanimously opposed in both chambers.
Since the bank-based loan program began in 1965, commercial banks like Sallie Mae and Nelnet have received guaranteed federal subsidies to lend money to students, with the government assuming nearly all the risk. Democrats have long denounced the program, saying it fattened the bottom line for banks at the expense of students and taxpayers.
Right-wingers hate Sallie Mae, but they also hate the federal government. So what will they think about this? Only Rush Limbaugh knows for sure. And I’m sure he’ll tell right-wingers what to think as soon as he figures it out.
March 25, 2010
This from Fox “news”:
Republican Rep. Eric Cantor said Thursday that his Richmond campaign office has been shot at and that he’s received “threatening e-mails” — but at the same time accused top Democrats of trying to exploit the threats they’ve been receiving for “political gain.”
Cantor said “a bullet was shot through the window” of his campaign office.
Notice there are no pictures? That’s because HE’S LYING.
March 24, 2010
In a poll conducted on March 22, one day after passage of the health care bill, 49% of those polled said it was a “good thing.” 40% said it was bad. Polling data
What’s the deal with Gallop running on a Windows server? Notice the ASPX extension? So that link I posted may not be reliable.
But back to the data… Nearly half, or it could actually be more than half given the margin of error, approve of the bill, and the fixes haven’t even been voted on yet. Enough real information must have gotten out to the public for them to see the reform as something that was urgently needed. Most of us are tired of paying through the roof so insurance companies can reap record profits and pay their CEOs millions of dollars a year.
We don’t mind our payments going to the health care providers, but the middle man shouldn’t be skimming as much as 20% off the top. With the new changes, insurance providers will be required to post how much of your premiums are going towards administration. Republicans will probably try to repeal that law. After all, they’re looking out for the interests of the wealthy — not the interests of the middle class.
The emotional reaction to the bill may be some indication as to what will happen this fall. 50% said they were either pleased or enthusiastic while 42% said they were disappointed or angry. Some of those who were disappointed are those who believe the bill didn’t go far enough.
The Democrats won on this and America loves a winner. That has been a big problem with the Democrats. They are perceived as being wimps. Could it be they’re finally developing a backbone? We’ll have to wait and see.
March 22, 2010
Here are ten benefits which come online within six months of the President’s signature on the health care bill:
- Adult children may remain as dependents on their parents’ policy until their 27th birthday
- Children under age 19 may not be excluded for pre-existing conditions
- No more lifetime or annual caps on coverage
- Free preventative care for all
- Adults with pre-existing conditions may buy into a national high-risk pool until the exchanges come online. While these will not be cheap, they’re still better than total exclusion and get some benefit from a wider pool of insureds.
- Small businesses will be entitled to a tax credit for 2009 and 2010, which could be as much as 50% of what they pay for employees’ health insurance.
- The “donut hole” closes for Medicare patients, making prescription medications more affordable for seniors.
- Requirement that all insurers must post their balance sheets on the Internet and fully disclose administrative costs, executive compensation packages, and benefit payments.
- Authorizes early funding of community health centers in all 50 states (Bernie Sanders’ amendment). Community health centers provide primary, dental and vision services to people in the community, based on a sliding scale for payment according to ability to pay.
- AND no more rescissions. Effective immediately, you can’t lose your insurance because you get sick.
It’s a national security issue. Obama and the Democrats have made us more safe.
March 20, 2010
Rep Anthony Weiner tears apart a Republican, who read hoax memo Health Care bill, on House floor
March 20, 2010
After a year of floundering around with the health insurance reform proposals, the Democrats are finally taking charge. Obama was as naive as a little school girl thinking that he could work with Republicans on anything. Now Democrats are doing what it takes to pass health insurance reform, and while there are a lot of problems with the bill as it is written, they have to start somewhere.
Some conservative Democrats have also been a problem, like Bart Stupak, but House leaders finally stopped trying to appease him and chose not to give him a vote to add his radical anti-abortion amendment. If he is truly “pro-life,” he’ll vote for the bill because it will save lives.
March 19, 2010
Apparently not. Republicans used it in the past as have Democrats.
In fact, self-executing rules are relatively common in the House. For instance, the chamber employed the procedure on Feb. 3, 2010, to adopt a Senate amendment to a resolution concerning increasing the statutory limit on federal debt. The procedure was used 36 times by the House Republican leadership between 2005 and 2006 and 49 times by the Democratic leadership between 2007 and 2008, according to Brookings Institution congressional scholar Thomas Mann writing for Politico.
Norm Ornstein, another leading congressional scholar with the conservative American Enterprise Institute, pointed out that the Republicans used a very similar tactic to what the Democrats are now proposing in 2006. At the time, they used a self-executing rule to pass $38.8 billion in budget cuts without having to vote on an immigration measure.
So, there’s a whole lot of precedence for the individual tactics Democrats are proposing to use, though the specific combination of a self-executing rule and reconciliation is a bit unusual, said Jim Horney, a budget expert at the left-leaning Center for Budget and Policy Priorities.
“There’s nothing about [the process] that’s dramatically at odds with the way things get done,” Horney said. “With almost every bill, you can find some way in which the circumstances are a little different. But to imply that it’s somehow a big departure from the way things are done could be wrong.”
But of course, PolitiFact.com is a liberal site since reality has a liberal bias.