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Member since: Mon Dec 19, 2011, 06:17 PM
Number of posts: 312

Journal Archives

George W. Bush Debuts New Paintings Of Dogs, Friends, Ghost Of Iraqi Child That Follows Him

There was a general discussion regarding this video <http://www.democraticunderground.com/10024832285>. But I thought I would embed the video and post it to Video & Multimedia because it is so genius.

If anyone deserves nightmares of war crimes, it'd be that guy. I still feel there is a case to be made against him based off misleading the general public about the Iraq.

props @ Hissyspit

Pussy Riot attacked in Nizhny Novgorod McDonalds

Happened just today.

Highest Minimum-Wage State Washington Beats U.S. Job Growth

Awesome article I read this morning on the benefits of a minimum wage. Is it possible that raising the minimum wage also raises the velocity of spending? I'm sure my old college econ professor would disagree with the premise and call me girl's names, but it's an interesting idea for a study.

Waytogo Bloomberg.


When Washington residents voted in 1998 to raise the state’s minimum wage and link it to the cost of living, opponents warned the measure would be a job-killer. The prediction hasn’t been borne out.

In the 15 years that followed, the state’s minimum wage climbed to $9.32 -- the highest in the country. Meanwhile job growth continued at an average 0.8 percent annual pace, 0.3 percentage point above the national rate. Payrolls at Washington’s restaurants and bars, portrayed as particularly vulnerable to higher wage costs, expanded by 21 percent. Poverty has trailed the U.S. level for at least seven years.

The debate is replaying on a national scale as Democrats led by President Barack Obama push for an increase in the $7.25-an-hour federal minimum, while opponents argue a raise would hurt those it’s intended to help by axing jobs for the lowest-skilled. Even if that proves true, Washington’s example shows that any such effects aren’t big enough to throw its economy and labor market off the tracks.

Banks frankly own the place.

Politico has an awesome article on Republicans being threatened by the bank lobby.



Private equity and investment firms in New York are telling key Republican players in D.C. that commitments for big-dollar fundraising have been “canceled for the foreseeable future,” according to one GOP lobbyist with knowledge of the conversations.

Lobbyists for Bank of America, Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan and others are meeting privately with lawmakers to explain what the bank tax would cost and how it would function.

Big banks want to turn Republicans against the bank tax. The situation puts the party at risk of seeing a reliable source of campaign cash dry up right in the middle of a critical election year.


Are Republicans trying to control Wall Street? Or is this a red herring? I hate the idea of Democratic leadership shutting down Dave Camp -- but I'm not sure if that's the case.

I just don't know anymore.

Are We Losing Control Of Our Justice System?

Had a real sit-down today to do some reading. And I have to say -- I'm disappointed. It feels like my generation is shutdown before we leave the gate. (besides the global warming) I mean, half these guys in the picture are wanted for charges that the American/world people know are trumped up.

Are we losing control of our justice system? Why is Aaron Swartz dead and Zimmerman walking free? Maybe I'm totally out of line, but I wanted to know what DU thinks.

Vice: Pussy Riot Gets Whipped In Sochi

Absolutely great report live from Sochi. Really gave me insight into whats going down and what segments Russia Today decided not to show.

Also: doodles of the events.

Have a productive morning at work, everyone.

U.S. war veteran released by North Korea returns home

Source: Reuters

An 85-year-old Korean War veteran held for more than a month by North Korea as a war criminal arrived in San Francisco on Saturday to be reunited with his family.

North Korea detained Merrill E. Newman for crimes it accused him of committing during the conflict six decades ago as a member of the U.S. special forces. He was released for humanitarian reasons after he apologized, the country's state news agency said.

Newman flew to China, where he boarded an 11-and-a-half-hour flight home. His United Airlines airlines flight landed at about 9 a.m.

Accompanied by half a dozen police officers, Newman looked to be in good health and held his wife's hand before walking up to a podium to briefly address the press at the airport's arrivals hall.

Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/12/07/us-korea-north-newman-idUSBRE9B601O20131207

Elizabeth Warren's Senate Gamble: Grimes, Nunn and Tennant

Yesterday morning I received an email from the Warren Campaign. She's pushing hard for three new female candidates in the senate. It sounds like this is her plan to push for a liberal senate.

Warren, E. (2013, December 6). That's What Little Girls Do. (Personal Correspondence).

[. . .]

We need a lot more women to make the same decision I did - to run for office, to make thier voices heard, and to fight for what they believe in. We've got 20 women in the United States Senate. That's great - but we need a lot more.

That's why I'm happy to be supporting three smart, strong omen running for the Senate in 2013: Alison Grimes in Kentucky, Michelle Nunn in Georgia, and Natalie Tennant in West Virginia. They are in tough fights, and they need strong grassroots support.

Alright, Warren, I'll do my part and do a quick write up--for you. Also, because I have no idea who any of these people are.

Alison Grimes

Fullname: Alison Lundergan Grimes. She used to be a practicing defense attorney from Lexington, Kentucky. She claims that her victory in a domestic abuse case is what inspired her to run for the Senate.

An in-depth poll from November puts her in a "dead heat" with Mitch McConnell. An upset here would spell disaster for the Republican party.

Lake Research Partners. (2013, November 8). New Poll Reveals McConnell Vulnerabilities. Retrieved from http://www.scribd.com/doc/183332001/New-Poll-Reveals-McConnell-Vulnerabilities?secret_password=1jhymfgobsfsd8do93tf

The data reveals a dead heat between Alison Lundergan Grimes and Mitch McConnell among likely voters. the sitting Senator attracts just 37% of the vote, putting him on equal footing with Grimes' 37%. Not only that, he lags slightly behind Grimes (27% to 29%) in strong support. Meanwhile, 19% of the voters are undecided, and the third party candidates absorb the rest of the vote (2% for Patterson, 4% for Marksberry).

For more context please consult the following article:

Horn, R. (2012, November 2). This Woman's Work: Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes Goes to Frankfort. Retrieved from http://ctkschool.net/files/7113/5965/7643/Grimes_30-34.pdf

Michelle Nunn

Fullname: Mary Michelle Nunn. She's a former non-profit CEO of Points of Light, an organization that, "bring[s] the power of people to bear where it matters most" as it's mission statement. She's been working as at least an executive of PoL since 1990. She is the daughter of former senator Sam Nunn.

Public Policy Polling. (2013, August 6). Georgia Senate Starts As Toss Up. Retrieved from http://www.publicpolicypolling.com/main/2013/08/georgia-senate-starts-as-toss-up.html

Nunn herself is not all that well known- 61% of voters don't have an opinion about her and those who do have one are closely divided with 20% viewing her favorably and 19% unfavorably. But there's no doubt that the Nunn family brand remains very strong in the state- her father has a 56/12 favorability rating even after nearly 20 years out of office and his appeal cuts across party lines- he's at 64/7 with independents, 58/16 with Republicans, and 50/12 with Democrats.

Everyone seem to appreciate the work she does. See below citation:

Strauss, D. (2013, December 2). Conservative Georgia Newspaper Praises Senate Dem Candidate Michelle Nunn. Retrieved from http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/conservative-georgia-newspaper-praises-michelle-nunn

Natalie Tennant

Fullname: Natalie E. Tennant. She's the current Secretary of State for West Virginia. Before that she worked as a television news anchor for several affiliates.

She clearly faces an uphill battle with Shelly Capito, but could easily win an election against Pat McGeehan.

Public Policy Polling. (2013, September 23). West Virginia Survey Results. Retrieved from http://images.politico.com/global/2013/09/23/senateresults.html

[. . .]

Q5 Do you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of Natalie Tennant?

Favorable ----- 39%
Unfavorable ----- 32%
Not Sure ----- 20%

[. . .]

Q7 If the candidates for Senate next year were Republican Shelley Moore Capito and Democrat Natalie Tennant, who would you vote for?

Shelly Moore Capito ----- 50%
Natalie Tennant ----- 36%
Not Sure ----- 14%

[. . .]

Q9 If the candidates for Senate next year were Republican Pat McGeehan and Democrat Natalie tennant, who would you vote for?

Pat McGeehan ----- 32%
Natalie Tennant ----- 42%
Not Sure ----- 26%

Tennant will have to sell herself to a more conservative audience then Nunn and Grimes. She faces an uphill battle from the get-go there. However, her current Secretary of State roll let's her start the campaign cycle with the additional funding required for such an uphill battle--I hope.

No citation there. If she doesn't have campaign cash then she's probably screwed.

For the offical biography on Tennant, check her State-provided webpage below:

Harris, B. (2013). West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie E. Tennant. Retrieved from http://www.sos.wv.gov/secretary-desk/Pages/biography.aspx

Microsoft Compares Government to Cyber Criminals

When does the national security budget become a national security risk?

Now, I'll be the first to take Microsoft word with a grain of salt. I feel that Microsoft's legacy of awesome business decisions don't always equal technological advancement for the rest of society.

But today they made an excellent point.

Brad Smith, Executive Vice President for Microsoft's Legal and Corporate Affairs, summarized the situation on the official Microsoft blog. He cited the government as an "advanced persistent threat" which roughly translates to "cyber criminals". You can read the details below:

Smith, B. (2013, December 4). Protecting customer data from government snooping. Retrieved from http://blogs.technet.com/b/microsoft_blog/archive/2013/12/04/protecting-customer-data-from-government-snooping.aspx

Many of our customers have serious concerns about government surveillance of the Internet.

We share their concerns. That’s why we are taking steps to ensure governments use legal process rather than technological brute force to access customer data.

Like many others, we are especially alarmed by recent allegations in the press of a broader and concerted effort by some governments to circumvent online security measures – and in our view, legal processes and protections – in order to surreptitiously collect private customer data. In particular, recent press stories have reported allegations of governmental interception and collection – without search warrants or legal subpoenas – of customer data as it travels between customers and servers or between company data centers in our industry.

If true, these efforts threaten to seriously undermine confidence in the security and privacy of online communications. Indeed, government snooping potentially now constitutes an “advanced persistent threat,” alongside sophisticated malware and cyber attacks.

In light of these allegations, we’ve decided to take immediate and coordinated action in three areas:

· We are expanding encryption across our services.

· We are reinforcing legal protections for our customers’ data.

· We are enhancing the transparency of our software code, making it easier for customers to reassure themselves that our products do not contain back doors.

All of these changes in policy I agree with [even though I hate Microsoft's guts]. It's a well documented fact that the federal government has been pouring NSA and CIA funds into silicone valley. This last year it was approximately 30 to 50 Billion dollars (the real number has been kept secret and the CIA cites "national security" rationale). Microsoft reported Microsoft reported $21.76 billion in profits for fiscal year 2012.** Microsoft needs to come up with a dynamic methods to prevent NSA agents from stealing their intellectual property. The NSA spends maybe twice (2x) as much money lobbying silicon valley as Microsoft reports as profits!

**Robertson, A. (2013, August 29). Unprecedented 'black budget' leak reveals the scope of $52 billion US spy complex. Retrieved from http://www.theverge.com/2013/8/29/4672414/leaked-snowden-documents-reveal-details-of-surveillance-budget

These points made by Smith are particularly poinent in the shadow of the recent revelations regarding NSA's claim that they no longer need search warrants for digital tracking as you can read below:

Soltani, A. & Gellman, B. (2013, December 4). NSA Tracking Cellphone Locations Worldwide, Snowden Documents Show. Retrieved from http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/nsa-tracking-cellphone-locations-worldwide-snowden-documents-show/2013/12/04/5492873a-5cf2-11e3-bc56-c6ca94801fac_story.html

The National Security Agency is gathering nearly 5 billion records a day on the whereabouts of cellphones around the world, according to top-secret documents and interviews with U.S. intelligence officials, enabling the agency to track the movements of individuals — and map their relationships — in ways that would have been previously unimaginable.

The records feed a vast database that stores information about the locations of at least hundreds of millions of devices, according to the officials and the documents, which were provided by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. New projects created to analyze that data have provided the intelligence community with what amounts to a mass surveillance tool.

Kravets, D. (2013, December 6). NSA Wrongly Says Warrantless Mobile-Phone Location Tracking Is Legal. Retrieved from http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2013/12/nsa-cell-site-data/

National Security Agency snoops are harvesting as many as 5 billion records daily to track mobile phones as they ping nearby cell towers across the globe.

That alarming scoop by The Washington Post via documents provided by NSA leaker Edward Snowden included wishful thinking from an unnamed government “intelligence lawyer” interviewed in the story. This official, according to the Post, said that the data “are not covered by the Fourth Amendment,” meaning a probable-cause warrant isn’t required to get it.

In reality, however, the case law on cell-site locational tracking — while generally favorable to the government — is far from clear, with federal courts and appellate courts offering mixed rulings on whether warrants are needed.

Overall, I'm glad to see that at least one multi-billion dollar enterprise standing in support of the 4th Amendment. I hope that they continue to push the government on why search warrants are necessary in our modern democracy--even if they are doing it out of their own self-interest.

Bill Donohue: Calling Out Liberals, Disobeying Pope

This first video puts Bill Donohue in the perspective he deserves.

*Better cited version of that video at Media Matters. (2013, September 20). Watch As CNN's Cuomo Calls Out Bill Donohue's Homophobic, Anti-Semitic Smears. Retrieved from http://mediamatters.org/video/2013/09/20/watch-as-cnns-cuomo-calls-out-bill-donohues-hom/196002*

He claims to be an independent spirit of Christ, but he is among the most divisive members of the catholic community.

A few months later, we find that Bill Donohue is about to pick a fight with Dan Savage and Bill Maher over the clip below:

HBO. (2013, November 22). Bill Maher Interviews Dan Savage on Cheneys, Baldwin, and Kiddy F*cking Catholic Priests. Retrieved from

Which he posted this personal comment on the catholic league website:

Donohue, B. (2013, November 25). http://www.catholicleague.org/cancel-bill-maher/

And then put this in context of his anti-liberal blogposts you can see at this website which proclaims itself as "Exposing and Combating Liberal Media Bias" http://newsbusters.org/blogs/bill-donohue

I'm not buying. Why do conservatives get away with incendiary comments on the TV, but Martin Bashir can't even call out Sarah Palin for the foul slave master she is. Typical America.
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