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Member since: Fri Sep 17, 2004, 03:59 PM
Number of posts: 45,177

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Sen. Warren Gets More Influence On Economic Policy---Named Ranking Member Of Banking SubCommittee

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) has been named as the ranking member on a Senate Banking subcommittee overseeing employment, price stability, and economic growth.

The new position as the ranking member on the Banking committee's subcommittee on Economic Policy will further cement Warren's role as one of the more powerful Democrats on economic policy. Warren has made Wall Street's influence in the halls of Congress her signature issue.

One of her more notable moments in the Senate was her grilling financial regulators and banking chiefs. More recently she has fought tooth and nail to prevent measures rolling back parts of Dodd-Frank from becoming law. Warren already has a role at the Democratic leadership table that was custom made for her by Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV).

Warren's appointment to the subcommittee was announced by Sen. Sherrod
Brown (OH), the ranking Democrat on the Banking Committee, on Friday. The subcommittee was actually the first subcommittee Brown chaired when he joined the Banking Committee.


Senate Republicans Remove 'Civil Rights And Human Rights' From Subcommittee Name

Senate Republicans Remove 'Civil Rights And Human Rights' From Subcommittee Name

WASHINGTON -- Senate Republicans revealed this week that they have eliminated the phrase “civil rights and human rights” from the title of a Senate Judiciary subcommittee charged with overseeing those issues.

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) became chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee this month and announced the members of the six subcommittees this week. With Grassley’s announcement, the subcommittee formerly known as the Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights suddenly became the Subcommittee on the Constitution.

“We changed the name because the Constitution covers our most basic rights, including civil and human rights,” said Cornyn spokeswoman Megan Mitchell. “We will focus on these rights, along with other issues that fall under the broader umbrella of the Constitution.”

In his press release, Cornyn never used the phrase “civil rights” or “human rights.” Instead, the release said he would be a "watchdog against unconstitutional overreach and will hold the Obama Administration accountable for its actions." Cornyn is an opponent of legislation that would restore federal oversight over some local and state election changes that were eliminated when the Supreme Court gutted a key provision of the Voting Rights Act in 2013.


Flashback: King Abdullah suggested implanting electronic chips in Gitmo detainees

In an unusual concession, made at the conclusion of their conversation, the
King said, "be assured I am fully briefed on the work you are
doing with Prince Mohammed bin Nayef."

¶7. (S) HOW TO TRACK DETAINEES: "I've just thought of
something," the King added, and proposed implanting
detainees with an electronic chip containing information
about them and allowing their movements to be tracked with
Bluetooth. This was done with horses and falcons, the King
said. Brennan replied, "horses don,t have good lawyers,"
and that such a proposal would face legal hurdles in the
U.S., but agreed that keeping track of detainees was an
extremely important issue that he would review with
appropriate officials when he returned
to the United States.


LA TIMES: "Sen. Joni Ernst learned to 'live within her means' -- on the taxpayer's dime"

"Sen. Joni Ernst learned to 'live within her means' -- on the taxpayer's dime"

It has almost become a cliche that the politicians who bray the loudest about cutting government waste and slashing "entitlements" turn out to have learned what they know about the government trough from the inside.


Now we're at a point where the government will give away everything.
- Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, calling for more self-reliance

The public spotlight might not prove to be Ernst's best friend. The District Sentinel, a Washington, D.C., news co-op, reports that despite her campaign pitch that her parents "taught us to live within our means," her family members collected $463,000 in federal farm subsidies from 1995 through 2009.

The figures come from the Environmental Working Group's authoritative database of farm supports. Most of the money, more than $367,000 in mostly corn subsidies, went to Ernst's uncle, Dallas Culver, and his farm in her home town of Red Oak, Iowa. An additional $38,665 went to her father, Richard Culver, and $57,479 went to her grandfather, Harold Culver, who died in 2003.


This nostalgia for a misty golden past is an essential part of the story. What Ernst fails to acknowledge is that this past never existed. Even in rural communities, the churches were commonly overwhelmed by real need. In urbanized America, the image of family, church and community banding together to lift up the poor, without the government's participation, is pure fantasy.


Stay Classy Sarah!

John's McCain's BIGGEST Mistake:

lots more distasteful pics here:

Elizabeth Warren takes on big pharma---Introduces Bill To Use FINES Against Them For Med Research

Elizabeth Warren Has a New Target People Hate Almost As Much As Wall Street
The senator wants to take money from Big Pharma and use it for medical research.

The bill, which she intends to introduce in the Senate next week, would take money from fines levied against major pharmaceutical companies that engaged in illegal practices and use it to fund drug research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

"It's like a swear jar," Warren told the crowd at the Families USA Health Action Conference in Washington, according to her prepared remarks. "Whenever a huge drug company that is generating enormous profits as a result of federal research investments gets caught breaking the law—and wants off the hook—it has to put some money in the jar to help fund the next generation of medical research."

Warren's inspiration for her proposal sounds a lot like her populist rhetoric on the campaign trail in 2012. Although pharmaceutical companies deserve some of the credit for life-saving drugs, she argued Thursday, government deserves some too. "Blockbuster drugs that generate billion-dollar profits and are used by millions of consumers don't just appear overnight as if by magic. Rarely do they appear as the result of a single, giant company's individual genius," Warren said, according to the prepared remarks. "Drug companies make great contributions, but so do taxpayers. In other words, we built those medical innovations together."


Charles Pierce: "DEFLATRIOTs" Brady, Belichick, and Great Balls of Fire

......because we are a nation of infantilized yahoos, this is where we are. Watching the Great Media Hippo doing a moral ballet.


JANUARY 23, 2015



There are a lot of people claiming to have a gun here. Nobody yet has produced one. Nevertheless, because of New England’s history, especially the whole Spygate business that hangs around the franchise’s neck like a dead raccoon, anything is assumed to be possible. (Here, from the same SI piece, is a remarkable sentence, purporting to explain Belichick’s gimmicky formations that so befuddled the Ravens: “Technically, what Belichick suggested was legal.” Oh.) But disqualify the Patriots from the Super Bowl? Blow up a game between the two best teams in the league for the purpose of having Kam Chancellor devour Andrew Luck on national TV? Bill Belichick is unlikely to be fired. Tom Brady is unlikely to be suspended, at least not until next year. Anyone telling you that any of these things is likely, quite frankly, are either trolling, or they are insane. There is no third alternative.

But part of Brady’s softened, perplexed demeanor had to be attributed to the fact that, earlier on Thursday, his head coach had tied him to the cowcatcher of a runaway train. “I think we all know that quarterbacks, kickers, specialists have certain preferences on footballs,” Belichick had said. “They know a lot more about it than I do. They’re a lot more sensitive to it than I am. I hear them comment on it from time to time, but I can tell you and they will tell you that there is never any sympathy whatsoever from me on that subject. Zero. Tom’s personal preferences on his footballs is something he can talk about in much better detail and information than I can possibly provide. I can tell you that in my entire coaching career, I have never talked to any player, staff member about football air pressure. That is not a subject that I have ever brought up. To me, the footballs are approved by the league and officials pregame, and we play with what’s out there. That’s the only way that I have ever thought about that.”

Over the side, Tom. Watch that first step. And Belichick now goes on two-year probation, during which time anything he says regarding the importance of being a team must be taken with a salt lick the size of Utah.

Truth be told, this whole hootenanny could have been avoided if not for one of those quirky features through which the National Football League, which makes approximately a quadrillion dollars a year, decides to behave like a third-rate dirt track in Fort Smith, Arkansas. This is a league that fines Marshawn Lynch 100 grand for refusing to talk to mooks like me. It won’t let him wear gold cleats. But the most basic element of the game, the ball, gets treated like something that gets shot out of a cannon at halftime as a souvenir. In every game, the balls the kickers use are under league supervision every moment. This could easily be done with all the game balls. But, instead, each team is allowed to use footballs of its own choosing on offense. No other sport does anything remotely like this. (In one of history’s king ironies, this ridiculous system is the result of a petition circulated in 2006 by a number of NFL quarterbacks, chief among them Peyton Manning and Tom Brady.) This obviously leaves a loophole for chicanery through which Vince Wilfork could run with daylight on either side of him. Further, would it really put a dent in the NFL’s budget to hire actual ball-security experts who get paid by the league, instead of enlisting the defensive backfield of whatever high school football team is closest to the stadium?

The whole thing is flatly hilarious. The way you can be sure of this is that the ladies of The View pronounced themselves outraged by the perfidious Patriots on Thursday morning. Rosie O’Donnell wanted them booted from the Super Bowl. (Trolling or insane? Our lines are open.) Moreover, because of the miracle of Twitter, and the fact that we are a nation of infantilized yahoos, everybody in the bunker at Gillette Stadium became aware of what the ladies of The View felt, and many of the assembled press felt compelled to get various New England players’ reactions to Rosie O’Donnell’s commentary. Me? This is what I think: Once a scandal starts being discussed on The View, it stops being a scandal and becomes a sitcom. I think this should be a rule.


Think about THIS next time somebody lectures you about the threat of Islamic Fundamentalism

Laying it on a little thick don't you think?

by digby

Of course the Saudi government has only beheaded 15 people so far in 2015, so I guess all the plaudits are appropriate:

The US government isn't the only allegedly civilized Western nation to be lugubriously eulogizing the King of Saudi Arabia today. They all are.

Think about that the next time somebody lectures you about failing to understand the threat of Islamic fundamentalism.



Barrett Brown sentenced to 63 months for 'merely linking to hacked material'

Barrett Brown sentenced to 63 months for 'merely linking to hacked material'
The journalist and former Anonymous member says of prison term and fine in statement: ‘They’re sending me to investigate the prison-industrial complex

In a rebuke to a legion of online supporters and what the journalist and one-time member of Anonymous called a “dangerous precedent”, Barrett Brown was sentenced to 63 months in prison by a federal judge in Dallas on Thursday.

Brown’s backers from across the web had hoped he would be able to walk free with his 31 months of time served for what they insist was “merely linking to hacked material”. But the 33-year-old, who was once considered something of a spokesman for the Anonymous movement, will face more than twice that sentence. The judge also ordered him to pay more than $890,000 in restitution and fines.

In a statement released after his sentencing, Brown was sarcastically upbeat:

“Good news!” he wrote. “The US government decided today that because I did such a good job investigating the cyber-industrial complex, they’re now going to send me to investigate the prison-industrial complex.”


the rest:

Irony: Westminster Abbey Flies Flag at 'Half Mast' for King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia

Westminster Abbey Flies Flag at 'Half Mast' for King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia
7:49 AM, JAN 23, 2015 • BY DANIEL HALPER

Westminster Abbey announced on Twitter that it's flying its flag at half staff after the death of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia.

"The Abbey flag is flying at half mast as a mark of respect following the death of King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, King of Saudi Arabia," the church tweeted.


Ironically, Christianity is not welcome in Saudi Arabia. As religious liberty expert Nina Shea has told Fox News just a few months ago, "Saudi Arabia is continuing the religious cleansing that has always been its official policy. … It is the only nation state in the world with the official policy of banning all churches. This is enforced even though there are over 2 million Christian foreign workers in that country. Those victimized are typically poor, from Asian and African countries with weak governments."

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