Member since: Thu Apr 29, 2010, 03:31 PM
Number of posts: 35,965
Number of posts: 35,965
The simple fact, the undeniable truth (which means Republicans and their voters will never hear and/or acknowledge it), is that red states take more Federal money than they put in the pot. That means their citizens, the ones who continually put government-hating jackasses into office that then further erode the social safety net, are the ones utilizing the social safety net the most. Red state voters should just install mechanical boots underneath each voting booth that once a vote is cast, the boot sweeps down from underneath and kicks the voters square in their respective crotch zones, because that is truly a metaphor for how they vote. But focus in on that fact as you read on, that it’s the red states that absolutely, positively depend on the tax revenue from blue states making up the shortages their Republican governors create by gutting their tax laws and slashing their tax rates. Let’s look more closely at each of Perry’s examples of brilliant Republican leadership and the states they govern, shall we?
South Carolina & Gov. Nikki Haley
Call me crazy, but I don’t look at the state that has a poverty rate of over 17%, and whose governor is getting less than a 50% approval rating as an example of awesome leadership. In fact, neither does the Republican Governor’s Association, who just made news in South Carolina with a huge ad buy in Haley’s November re-election bid. They’re scared of being the next Kentucky — a mostly red state that abhors Obama but has a Democrat in the governor’s mansion. Turning Dixie blue seems like a far-off pipe dream at times, but with people like Haley in office, blundering her way through a terrible state economy and that 2012 massive cyber-attack on her state’s computer systems that could have easily been avoided, it’s not that far out of the realm of possibility that a Democrat could swoop in and knock her out of office, but great example Ricky boy! Let’s see what you have next, shall we?
Wisconsin & Gov. Scott Walker
Oh Nelly this one is quite a doozy, isn’t it? Republicans are of course in love with Walker because of his anti-union policies and the fact that he was dug out of an early political grave by the Koch brothers when he was nearly recalled early in his first term. I think Perry might have meant to hold up Walker as an example of how to get lawyers in your state some more money, since Walker’s staff has been under criminal investigation seemingly the whole time he’s been in office, and there is a growing story that doesn’t seem to go away about campaign finance violations in his 2010 election.
Just as in South Carolina, when you parse the actual economic data for his state, Walker doesn’t come up smelling like roses. His state’s unemployment rate is right around 6.3%, about a full percentage point less than the national rate, but it still puts his state squarely in the middle of the pack. Hardly an over-achievement by any stretch. Wisconsin also has a middle of the road poverty rate, in case unemployment numbers don’t paint the picture clearly enough.
Posted by Scuba | Sun Mar 9, 2014, 11:04 AM (2 replies)
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Rapture) is good with numbers. Don’t ask him where his numbers came from, or how he actually intends to make his numbers balance — because he can’t actually do that. But boy golly can he crunch some numbers, at least according to his acolytes on the right side of the aisle. This week Rep. Ryan decided to add to his fiscal legacy by releasing a report on our country’s anti-poverty programs, or as they’re known to Ryan and his Republican cohorts, “the vile socialist defiling of the Constitution,” and what will certainly be a shocker to anyone either in a medically-induced coma or who has lived underground for the last half-decade or so, Ryan doesn’t like what he saw.
The word that Paulie used that’s getting the headlines is “haphazard.” As in, since 1965 America’s “war on poverty” has been done in a haphazard way. Believe it or not, Ryan wasn’t actually trying to make us all titter with glee; he actually meant what he said, and the angels cried forth with beautiful song for they knew a political humorist would thoroughly enjoy pointing out all the delicious irony of any modern day Republican demagogueing social welfare programs.
Let’s start with that word “haphazard,” which literally means that something is done without much care or forethought, and if you ask me, it’s the Republicans who have been taking the most haphazard approach to fighting poverty for at least the last thirty years, and probably going back even further than that. Take for instance their stubborn refusal to see the light of day on contraception and abortion services. We know for a fact that being able to control and curb unwanted pregnancies is one of the biggest things we can do to reduce the effects of poverty. Over population is real, and it most certainly exacerbates the terrible nature of poverty — that there simply isn’t enough to go around.
If you really give a damn about poverty, you’ll want to empower everyone with the tools necessary to truly plan their family. Reproductive health issues aren’t just about keeping the teenagers from having sex with one another — a wasted effort if ever there was one. Reproductive health and rights issues give young women the power to control the circumstances of pregnancy far better than “put it in and if you get pregnant oh well, I guess you’re having that baby, SINNER!” Ryan has been one of the congressmen most willing to cloak himself in religious fervor, co-sponsoring personhood bills that could make a rape victim the criminal for aborting a baby implanted in her uterus by her assailant.
Posted by Scuba | Sun Mar 9, 2014, 10:57 AM (0 replies)
Harrigan testified before the House Oversight Committee and stated that “every single parent” opposes marijuana legalization.
I don’t oppose marijuana legalization, Mr. Harrigan. I advocate the living hell out of it. I cannot speak for single, solitary other parent I know but I do believe that if I polled them the majority would support legalization provided common sense safety measures are taken to regulate its sale and trafficking. Keep pot out of the hands of minors — or at least make the same effort you do with cigarettes and booze — and you will have drastically reduced the impact of one of the worst domestic policies this country has ever implemented, and as the great people of Colorado are proving, you’ll also magically create billions of dollars of revenue throughout the states, seemingly out of thin, if not smoky air.
Pot research has shown us that it’s literally impossible to “overdose” on marijuana because it doesn’t interact with the parts of your brain that cause overdose, and more importantly the toxicity threshold for pot is so high you’d have to eat an entire field worth of it in one sitting — if not more — in order to poison your body to the point of death. As Congressman Steve Cohen (D-TN) chastised you, you clearly “haven’t kept up with society, you haven’t kept up with science, it’s part of the problem.” You shouldn’t feel too badly about it; I think a lot of conservative people wind-up that way because they progress to a certain point and then just stop. You clearly stopped paying attention to what the real deal with weed is a long, long time ago.
Mr. Harrigan, your performance on the Hill this week was an embarrassment to modern Americans everywhere. It’s clear from your testimony that you have every intention of bitterly clinging to old and antiquated research and ideology, and you have therefore surpassed your usefulness in your current capacity. I daresay you’re not the only one in your organization, but you’re the one you popped your head out this time; we’ll get to the others as well. Maybe you could do us a favor and just round them up on your way. If you can’t be bothered to do that, just do the first and go.
You are the problem, Mr. Harrigan. Not pot. Not society. Not overly permissive parenting. You. Your blind allegiance to reality-deprived rhetoric is also simultaneously blinding you to the simple fact that you are an ever-shrinking minority of people who doesn’t see the abject damage done by the War on Drugs and wants to stop it. You are the one who is stopping society from progressing. You are the one helping to keep the black market thriving and the cartels swelled with power.
Posted by Scuba | Sun Mar 9, 2014, 10:55 AM (4 replies)
Hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue. So when you see something like the current scramble by Republicans to declare their deep concern for America's poor, it's a good sign, indicating a positive change in social norms. Goodbye, sneering at the 47 percent; hello, fake compassion.
And the big new poverty report from the House Budget Committee, led by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), offers additional reasons for optimism. Ryan used to rely on "scholarship" from places like the Heritage Foundation. Remember when Heritage declared that the Ryan budget would reduce unemployment to a ludicrous 2.8 percent, then tried to cover its tracks? This time, however, Ryan is citing a lot of actual social science research.
Unfortunately, the research he cites doesn't actually support his assertions. Even more important, his whole premise about why poverty persists is demonstrably wrong.
Overall, here's the verdict of one comprehensive survey: "While there are significant behavioral side effects of many programs, their aggregate impact is very small." In short, Ryan's poverty report, like his famous budget plan, is a con job.
Posted by Scuba | Sat Mar 8, 2014, 10:02 AM (20 replies)
The author of the bill didn’t even know what the federal minimum wage was, much less the living wage in Milwaukee and Dane counties.
As living wage campaigns are succeeding in cities and counties across the country, corporate profiteers are fighting back. They are pushing legislation at the state level that would ban local governments from enacting ordinances that pay higher than the minimum wage. They don’t want local taxpayers to be allowed to ensure that workers are provided with a wage that enables them to meet their most basic needs.
In Washington State, where the minimum wage of $9.32 an hour is the highest in the country, Seattle officials are working out a plan to enact a living wage ordinance of $15/hour. Meanwhile, in Wisconsin, where the corporate stranglehold of the state legislature intensifies as the session draws to a close, extreme rightwing legislators attempted to push through a law based on a model bill written by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) that would put an end to any local unit of government’s attempt to secure decent wages and conditions for workers in their jurisdictions.
But reality doesn’t seem to concern the ideologues pushing the measure, SB 626, through the Wisconsin state senate. In fact, the bill’s author, Rep. Chris Kapenga (R-Delafield) who represents one of the wealthiest districts in the state, doesn’t even know what the federal minimum wage is, let alone the local living wages his bill is targeting, as he confessed during a recent public hearing.
Calling them “inflated wage ordinances,” in a recent hearing on the bill Kapenga said the efforts of local governments to raise workers out of poverty should not be funded by state taxpayers. He actually invoked the Boston Tea Party in response to a question from Sen. Nikiya Harris (D-Milwaukee), who asked: “How is this a local control bill and not a control of locals bill?”
Posted by Scuba | Sat Mar 8, 2014, 09:39 AM (3 replies)
This kind of behavior is typical of Mr. Issa, who runs his committee like a permanently angry Marine drill sergeant. Democrats held news conferences and complained on television and introduced a resolution of disapproval, which of course will go nowhere. But as Nancy Pelosi, the minority leader, pointed out, this was bigger than mere rudeness. “It’s about not hearing what you don’t want to hear,” she said.
There was a good reason Mr. Issa cut off his colleague. For months he has been on a single-minded crusade to prove the Obama administration ordered the I.R.S. to target conservative and Republican groups that spent unlimited secret money on political activity in 2012. He has accused the I.R.S. of targeting Americans for their political beliefs, a very serious charge for which he has produced not the slightest piece of evidence, clearly hoping that if he says it often enough, and loud enough, the message will sink in.
But Mr. Cummings has very effectively prevented that message from becoming accepted wisdom. He and the committee’s Democratic staff have shown that the I.R.S. didn’t just scrutinize Tea Party groups, but also groups with names that included “progressive” and “occupy.” That’s because the agency wasn’t on a political witch hunt, but was instead trying to figure out whether thousands of “social welfare” groups were abusing their tax exemptions by engaging in politics, of whatever stripe.
That undermines Mr. Issa’s narrative of aggrievement. It shows that Mr. Issa’s endless hearings are nothing more than hyperbolic stagecraft. And it’s exactly the kind of thing that House minorities are supposed to point out when it happens. For Mr. Issa, the fear of again being exposed as a fraud was greater than his fear of being accused of trampling on minority rights. When politicians reach for the microphone switch, you know they’ve lost the argument.
Posted by Scuba | Fri Mar 7, 2014, 09:55 AM (90 replies)
It was bound to happen. Someone — in this case Madison-based Oscar Mayer — crossed a pork belly with a smartphone. The result is whole new way to wake up.
The Oscar Mayer Institute for the Advancement of Bacon on Thursday rolled out an iPhone app-based device that allows people to awaken to the smell and sound of sizzling bacon, without lifting a frying pan or touching a microwave.
The same company that introduced the world to the Wienermobile and immortalized bologna in a television jingle that is still embedded in the brains of 40- and 50-somethings everywhere, is now using bacon and smartphones to connect with a new generation.
To use it, Oscar Mayer says to download the Wake Up & Smell the Bacon app, plug the detachable device into the headphone jack of an iPhone and "savor the scent of sizzling bacon." The detachable bacon scent-producing device will not be sold in stores and quantities are limited, the company said.
Posted by Scuba | Fri Mar 7, 2014, 07:48 AM (3 replies)
“A comprehensive, five-year study of 288 profitable Fortune 500 companies finds that twenty-six paid no federal corporate income tax over the five-year period; 111 paid no federal corporate income tax in at least one of the last five years, and one-third paid a U.S. tax rate less than 10 percent over the same period,” says a recent study by Citizens for Tax Justice, a Washington, D.C.-based group.
Among the companies that paid not a single penny over five years, despite making huge profits, are household names such as Boeing, General Electric, Priceline.com, and Verizon.
“It’s a sorry situation when most Americans can rightly say, ‘I pay more in federal income taxes than General Electric, Boeing, Verizon, Pepco, Priceline, Duke Energy and twenty other big corporations, all put together!’ ’’ said the head of Citizens for Tax Justice, Robert McIntyre, riffing off a bumper sticker the organization had when I interned there in the 1990s.
Overall, the 288 companies in the study paid a mere 19.4 percent of their profits in corporate income taxes—far below the 35 percent rate on the books that Republican politicians use to incessantly complain that U.S. corporations are overtaxed.
So poor working People get to fund the entire military, which is used almost exclusively to protect corporate profits.
Posted by Scuba | Thu Mar 6, 2014, 11:44 AM (2 replies)
In most states, most students are graduating high school financially illiterate. They are not taught about credit, budgeting, insurance, savings, retirement or other concepts and practices that can help them make rational financial decisions.
This is according to a national study conducted by the Council for Economic Education, an advocacy organization that trains scores of educators to teach economic and financial literacy.
The facts are grim. Although 43 states have economic and personal finance education in their K-12 standards, only 19 states actually require that schools even offer such a course. What’s more, only 22 require that students take a course in economics.
An overwhelming majority of Americans agree that schools should teach financial literacy. In the study by the Council for Economic Education, 89 percent said so. It’s time for all of the states to mandate this instruction so that our kids can more skillfully navigate these difficult economic waters that we’re in right now.
Wonder what Arne and the rest of the education deformers thought of this. I'm sure Wall Street likes it the way it is.
Posted by Scuba | Thu Mar 6, 2014, 11:41 AM (3 replies)