Archive for July, 2009

July 31, 2009

Southern Right-wingers Demand To See Obama’s Birth Certificate

by Ben Hoffman

Southern right-wingers have issued a demand to see Barack Obama’s birth certificate. The reason he won’t comply, they say, is because he was born in Kenya. When asked where Kenya is, they said it’s near the edge of the world. They have also demanded that someone tell them where the sun goes at night, and who planted all those fake fossils to make it look like the world is more than 6,000 years old.

Advertisements
July 31, 2009

On This Day In History: Milton Friedman Born 1912

by Ben Hoffman

Milton Friedman (July 31, 1912 – November 16, 2006) was an American economist, statistician and public intellectual, and a recipient of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences. He is best known among scholars for his theoretical and empirical research, especially consumption analysis, monetary history and theory, and for his demonstration of the complexity of stabilization policy.[1] A global public followed his restatement of a political philosophy that insisted on minimizing the role of government in favor of the private sector. As a leader of the Chicago School of economics, based at the University of Chicago, he had a widespread influence in shaping the research agenda of the entire profession. Friedman’s many monographs, books, scholarly articles, papers, magazine columns, television programs, videos and lectures cover a broad range of topics in microeconomics, macroeconomics, economic history, and public policy issues. The Economist hailed him as “the most influential economist of the second half of the 20th century…possibly of all of it”.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milton_Friedman

July 30, 2009

Georgia Police Officers Run Background Check On Obama

by Ben Hoffman

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — Two DeKalb police officers are being investigated for running a background check on President Obama.

On July 20, the President’s name was typed into a DeKalb County police car computer.

The secret service was notified and immediately called the department.

CBS Atlanta learned officers Ryan White and C.M. Route have been placed on administrative leave while an investigation is being done.

“As Public Safety Director for DeKalb County, I want everyone to know that we take these allegations very seriously. This behavior will not be tolerated by DeKalb County government. We expect our officers to adhere to professional standards and departmental policy. Furthermore, we do not and will not condone the inappropriate use of county equipment or resources,” said Public Safety Director William “Wiz” Miller.

No charges have been filed, but running the background check is against the law.

http://www.cbsatlanta.com/news/20225295/detail.html

July 30, 2009

Tim Geithner Can’t Sell His House (Funny Video)

by Ben Hoffman

The Treasury Secretary’s [$1.6 million home in Larchmont] went up for sale when he relocated to Washington this year to work in the Obama administration. According to his realtor, “they priced it way too high” at first. Even though they purchased the home in 2004 when the bubble was building, the Geithner family is still trying to make money off of it. Why this is funny is pretty straightforward, but if you want to have The Daily Show and a legendary Yale economist walk you through it, take a few minutes to enjoy this clip from last night.

http://nymag.com/daily/intel/2009/07/tim_geithner_still_cant_sell_h.html

July 29, 2009

Arizona to Privatize State Capital!

by Ben Hoffman

Call it a sign of desperate times: Legislators are considering selling the House and Senate buildings where they’ve conducted state business for more than 50 years.

Dozens of other state properties also may be sold as the state government faces its worst financial crisis in a generation, if not ever. The plan isn’t to liquidate state assets, though.

Instead, officials hope to sell the properties and then lease them back over several years before assuming ownership again. The complex financial transaction would allow government services to continue without interruption while giving the state a fast infusion of as much as $735 million, according to Capitol projections.

http://www.azcentral.com/news/election/azelections/articles/2009/07/29/20090729assets0729.html

July 29, 2009

DO SOMETHING!!! (Gov Considers Regulating Futures Markets)

by Ben Hoffman

WASHINGTON — With consumers hit by oil price swings, federal regulators may be moving toward imposing limits on speculative energy trading, which some blame for price volatility.

The head of the U.S. agency weighing new curbs on Tuesday faulted “excessive” speculation but also underscored the role of financial investors in helping set fair prices that can benefit consumers.

As the WSJ reports this morning, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission is now admitting that oil speculators “played a significant role” in a sudden spike in the price of oil in the summer of 2008. That summer oil reached $147 per barrel, and the CFTC claimed the price increase was due to the forces of supply and demand. In an interview with the WSJ, Bart Chilton, one of the agency’s four commissioners, said that analysis was based on “deeply flawed data.”

Gary Gensler, chairman of the CFTC, said his agency must “seriously consider” imposing stringent limits on speculative trading of energy futures contracts, a move that would mark a major shift for the government.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/07/29/government-considers-limi_n_246792.html

We’ve known for quite a while that speculators drove up the price of oil and food. Goldman Sachs is one of the main culprits. So why is the government just now “considering” taking action. Here’s a good article about the Great American Bubble Machine by Matt Taibbi, published in, of all places, Rolling Stone magazine.

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/story/29127316/the_great_american_bubble_machine

July 28, 2009

Cheney Wanted To Use U.S. Army On Home Soil

by Ben Hoffman

Vice-President Dick Cheney wanted to use the arrest of the Lackawanna Six accused terrorists as an advertisement of America’s might and resolve on the first anniversary of 9/11, says a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist.

Ron Suskind, author of The Way of the World, a book about the Bush administration’s misdeeds in the “war on terror,” told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow that “Cheney had his eye on the 9/11 anniversary, he wanted a big show, a show of force, a show of resolve, a show of expanded power, and that’s part of what I understand was driving Cheney’s desire to send troops into downtown Lackawanna.”

On Friday, RAW STORY reported on claims that Cheney had wanted to use US troops to arrest the Lackawanna Six in September of 2002, a move that would have violated the long-standing Posse Comitatus Act, which forbids the use of the US Army on home soil.

http://rawstory.com/08/news/2009/07/28/suskind-cheney-wanted-show-of-force-on-911-anniversary/

How about this coming September 17 — to commemerate the 222nd aniversary of the U.S. Constitution — we arrest Dick Cheney for the treasonist crimes he committed against our country while in office.

July 28, 2009

Why The Passage of a Health Insurance Public Option Will Be Obama’s Waterloo

by Ben Hoffman

It’s not that a public option is a bad idea. It’s that politics have become so nasty, and our country has become so polarized, that it won’t work.

First of all, the Democrats could come up with a perfect government run health insurance plan, but the right-wingers will lie about it and scare the public. We’re already seeing that from the various proposals being put forth. Most criticism from right-wing pundits, politicians,  and bloggers is based on misinformation and lies. The only thing Republicans care about is regaining power.

If a public option were to pass, it wouldn’t go into effect for several years anyway, and by that time, republicans could be back in power and they’d either put someone completely inept in charge of it (aka FEMA and Michael Brown) or they’d prevent it from ever being implemented.

The option to allow insurance co-ops to operate as non-profits may accomplish the same thing as a public option, since the rationale for a public option is that if you take the profit out of it, prices will drop.

They should also give power to the states to implement their own systems, including a single payer option. If state run systems are proven to be successful, they can be expanded and eventually become national programs.

If a public option is passed now, there’s a good chance the Democrats will lose control of Congress and we’ll be back to the old borrow, spend, privatize, and deregulate policies of Reagan and Bush. And of course, more tax cuts for the wealthy.

July 27, 2009

And Now For Some Good News

by Ben Hoffman

July 27 (Bloomberg) — R. Allen Stanford, the Texas financier accused of directing a $7 billion Ponzi scheme, complained that his jail cell often lacks light and air conditioning.

For the past week, Stanford, who’s in a cell in Conroe, Texas, with from eight to 10 other men, has endured heat and intermittent lack of power when outside temperatures reached 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 Celsius) or more, his lawyer, Dick DeGuerin, said yesterday in a motion asking that his client be transferred to a downtown Houston jail.

“For part of the time last week, they were in total darkness,” DeGuerin wrote. “The cell has been without air conditioning for at least a week. There are no windows for light or ventilation, and the conditions are intolerable.”

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=aMxbFY2lM.80

I’m sure the people he screwed over would be really upset to know that he may be suffering a little in his incarceration.

July 27, 2009

Citigroup Trader May Get 100 Million Dollar Payout!

by Ben Hoffman

A top Citigroup Inc. trader is pressing the financial giant to honor a 2009 pay package that could total $100 million, setting the stage for a potential showdown between Citi and the government’s new pay czar.
The trader, Andrew J. Hall, heads Citigroup’s energy-trading unit, Phibro LLC — a secretive operation, run from the site of a former Connecticut dairy farm, that occasionally accounts for a disproportionate chunk of Citigroup income.

Mr. Hall’s pay package puts Citigroup in a tight spot. Ripping up the contract could trigger Mr. Hall’s departure and a potentially messy legal fight. But making any large payouts, even if they’re based on previously agreed contracts, could subject Citigroup to political and investor fallout.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124848894204180877.html

Not only should he not get 1/10 of what he’s demanding, Citigroup should be broken up so they are no longer too big to fail. The 1998 merger between Citicorp and Traveler’s Group resulted in the world’s largest financial services organization in Citigroup. The government is moving far too slowly in correcting the problems that resulted in the collapse of our economy.

Let Hall sue. Citigroup had to be bailed out by the government to prevent it from collapsing. When something like that happens, all contracts are unenforsable. Let him sue and see if a jury awards him a penny.

July 27, 2009

Nut-job of the day: Republican wants to forse Obama to apologize to Cambridge police

by Ben Hoffman

Rep. Thaddeus McCotter, (R-Mich.) is set to introduce a bill calling on Barack Obama to formally apologize to the Cambridge Police. The Michigan Republican announced on Friday that he would introduce the resolution unless Obama apologized to Cambridge Police Sgt. James Crowley for criticizing Crowley’s handling of Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr.’s arrest last week.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/07/27/gop-rep-will-offer-resolu_n_245287.html

July 26, 2009

Texas Tech Professors Petition Against the Hiring of Alberto Gonzales

by Ben Hoffman

The former attorney-general under President George W. Bush will soon be teaching “Contemporary Issues in the Executive Branch” at Texas Tech — a job for which, at least 40 of the school’s professors say, Gonzales is profoundly unqualified.

As of last count, 45 staffers at Texas Tech have signed a petition urging the school’s chancellor to rescind the offer of a teaching job to Gonzales, reports the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal.

“It is unclear what Gonzales has done that makes him deserving of employment at Texas Tech. Does he have a noteworthy academic record? Does he have a record of publishing in law reviews? Was his service to his country particularly distinguished?,” the petition reads.

The document goes on to list Gonzales “ethical failings,” including: frequently misleading Congress and the American people; rejecting the Geneva Conventions; denying the constitutional right of habeas corpus; and showing more loyalty to President George W. Bush than to the Constitution.

http://rawstory.com/blog/2009/07/texas-tech-profs-oppose-hiring-of-bushs-a-g-gonzales/

July 26, 2009

Stupidest Person In The World! (or is she Sarah Palin’s speech writer)

by Ben Hoffman

I think that we should make a perfect pesticide for the crops but it’s good for people and healthy and keeps the crops preserved too because we need the food because it’s food and stuff.

We can be rich in cotton and mining metals and silkworms and we can makes things, we can make things cars, the machine can make it for us…on the East Coast they have slaves and they believe in slavery and made in China, but on the West Coast, the new West Coast, we don’t believe in that. We believe in the union and that’s what we are.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/07/24/is-this-the-stupidest-per_n_244440.html

Why does it not surprise me that she was a Bush supporter?

July 26, 2009

Just Say No To Drug Commercials

by Ben Hoffman

[A] handful of legislators are just saying no to TV commercials for prescription drugs. The politicians are taking aim at the 60-second spots that have made viewers familiar with maladies like male urinary urgency and deficient eyelashes — not to mention side effects like four-hour erections.

Representative James P. Moran, Democrat of Virginia, is sponsoring a House bill that would ban ads for prescription sexual aids like Viagra and Levitra from prime-time television, on decency grounds. Representative Henry A. Waxman, Democrat of California, has said he favors empowering the Food and Drug Administration to bar consumer advertisements for new drugs for an initial period after the F.D.A. approves them — until there has been more real-world experience with the medications.

Meanwhile, Representative Jerrold Nadler, Democrat of New York, has introduced a bill called the Say No to Drug Ads Act. It would amend the federal tax code to prevent pharmaceutical companies from deducting the cost of direct-to-consumer drug advertisements as a business expense.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/27/business/media/27drugads.html

Please god, let it pass… Please…

July 26, 2009

Palin Tells Press to “Quit Makin’ Things Up”

by Ben Hoffman

And she told the media: ”How about, in honor of the American soldier, you quit makin’ things up?”

She didn’t elaborate, but Palin said when she announced her resignation July 3 that she was tired of the media focus on her family and felt she had been unfairly treated by reporters and bloggers.

http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2009/07/26/us/AP-US-Palin-Resignation.html

This from the candidate who spread the lie that Obama was “pallin’ around with terrorists.” This from the candidate who believes that the only true Americans are the ones who support the right-wing agenda.

Right-wingers are so desperate for a leader, they’ll latch onto anyone who repeats the right wing mantras. How about Sarah Palin and Joe the plumber’s assistant in 2012 for the Republican ticket. You don’t need brains to run the country. Hell, just look at how well Bush Jr. and Reagan did.