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Name: Don
Gender: Male
Hometown: Cleveland, Ohio
Home country: USA
Current location: Greenfield, MA
Member since: Sat Sep 1, 2012, 03:28 PM
Number of posts: 26,107

Journal Archives

Ted Cruz-Signed 'Green Eggs And Ham' Auctions For $1000


A copy of "Green Eggs and Ham" signed by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) auctioned for $1000, the San Antonio Express-News reported Thursday.

The Bexar County Republican Party auctioned three copies of the children's book signed by Cruz at its annual Lincoln Day Dinner. Chairman Robert Stovall told the newspaper that the first copy went for $1000 and the other two netted a combined $1800.

The San Antonio couple who bought the $1000 copy said they bought it for their 8-year-old daughter, according to the Express-News.

Speaking on the Senate floor in September, Cruz read the Dr. Seuss classic in full to his daughters watching his marathon filibuster against Obamacare on television from Texas.



Obama will seek tighter tax rules for corporate offshore profits

Source: Reuters

By Reuters
Thursday, February 20, 2014 19:25 EST

By Patrick Temple-West

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Obama administration said on Thursday it will seek new limits on overseas tax avoidance by corporations in its forthcoming budget proposal, reprising an approach it has made before to try to raise government revenue via a tighter corporate tax code.

With the U.S. Congress gridlocked over fiscal policy, past efforts by Democratic President Barack Obama to crack down on what he sees as offshore corporate tax loopholes have largely failed. The latest measures could meet the same fate.

In its fiscal year 2015 budget, the administration will move to keep corporations from cutting their bills by playing one country’s tax rules for hybrid securities off against another’s, an administration official said on Thursday.

The budget is scheduled to be released on March 4.


Read more: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/02/20/obama-will-seek-tighter-tax-rules-for-corporate-offshore-profits/

Steve King: 'Objectively True' That Many DREAMers Are Drug Mules


Rep. Steve King (R-IA), a leading crusader against immigration reform, stood by his notorious comments last year likening so-called DREAMers to drug mules.

"So I'm not going to apologize. What I've said is objectively true. And any time that Republicans have criticized me, it's not because of what I said, it's because they disagree with my agenda," King told the local Spencer Daily Reporter in an interview reported Friday by the liberal Right Wing Watch and picked up by Roll Call. "That's really the answer."

"When they start calling names, they've lost the debate," he said.

Last July, King said that for ever DREAMer (the term for people brought to the U.S. illegally as children) "who's a valedictorian, there's another 100 out there who weigh 130 pounds and they've got calves the size of cantaloupes because they’re hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert."


Rick Perry Has A Problem With Ted Nugent Calling Obama A 'Mongrel'


Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) has a problem with Ted Nugent's past criticism of President Barack Obama.

Perry was asked about Nugent previously calling Obama a subhuman mongrel. The question came in response to to Attorney General Greg Abbott, the likely Republican gubernatorial nominee, campaigning with Nugent.

"I have a problem calling the president a 'subhuman mongrel,'" Perry said Thursday afternoon during an interview with Wolf Blitzer. "That's an inappropriate thing to say. Again, people were saying that all the time."

CNN pressed Abbott on Nugent's past remarks and the attorney general repeatedly deflected questions about Nugent's comments. The attorney general's communications director also tried to stop CNN from pressing Abbott.


McConnell Challenger: Gay Marriage Could Lead To Parent-Child Marriage


Kentucky Republican Senate candidate Matt Bevin suggested that legalizing same-sex marriage could lead to legalizing marriage between a parent and child.

The comments by Bevin, who is running in the Republican primary against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), were made on The Janet Mefferd Show on Wednesday and highlighted by Right Wing Watch.

"If it’s all right to have same-sex marriages, why not define a marriage — because at the end of the day a lot of this ends up being taxes and who can visit who in the hospital and there’s other repressions and things that come with it — so a person may want to define themselves as being married to one of their children so that they can then in fact pass on certain things to that child financially and otherwise," Bevin said. "Where do you draw the line?"

Bevin's comments came a few days after he slammed McConnell in response to a judge ruled that Kentucky must recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states. McConnell recommended the judge, U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn II, to the federal bench in the early 1990s.



Your newest fraudulent poverty crusader is the Tea Party’s Mike Lee

Tea Party senator will help the poor by drastically reducing their benefits while lecturing them about the market


Have you heard about the hot new trend that is sweeping the Republican Party? No, not “endorsing a celebrity’s confused defense of Jim Crow,” I am talking about “caring about poverty.” Marco Rubio cares. Paul Ryan cares. Rand Paul cares. Even Eric Cantor cares. Now, it can be revealed that Sen. Mike Lee also secretly cares very deeply about the plight of the poor.

“Tackling poverty may seem a counterintuitive agenda for one of the most conservative figures in Congress,” the Guardian says, but we have seen many examples over the last few months of how easily a far-right figure can earn positive press simply by stating that it is bad that some people are very poor and that something should be done about that. (Though to be fair to the press, it is actually pretty unusual to hear any politician admit that many Americans are very poor, and the last prominent politician to campaign on a platform of doing something about it turned out to be a toxic narcissist.)

Lee, best known for being a less telegenic Ted Cruz, declared a “war on poverty” last November. Unlike the prior War on Poverty, which was made up of various policies designed to alleviate poverty (and which was much more successful than its critics have claimed), Lee’s war on poverty is mainly about making the rhetorical case that government causes poverty and that eliminating welfare benefits for the poor will somehow spur “market forces” to solve the problem.

Here are Lee’s policy proposals, as described by the Guardian:

“A bill, introduced last week, that would restore a work requirement for recipients of food stamps….”

“capping means-tested welfare spending at 2007 levels”


Obama: Dems must focus on state, governor races



WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama says Democrats must turn their focus to the states and to races for governor this year if they want to ensure that the party’s policies succeed.

Obama says the challenge in politics is that national races get all the attention. He says Democrats wind up in trouble in midterm years because they don’t think state races are, in his words, “sexy enough.”

But he says those races are where much of the action is.

Obama is addressing donors at a fundraiser for the Democratic Governors Association at a ritzy hotel near the White House. He says unlike Democrats, Republican governors are cutting investments for the middle class, curtailing voting rights and squeezing unions. He says their strategy is to tell Americans falsely that Obama’s policies aren’t working.


Read more: http://www.salon.com/2014/02/20/obama_dems_must_focus_on_state_governor_races/

Obama to host Dalai Lama on Friday at White House


WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama will meet with Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama on Friday at the White House. The White House says Obama is hosting the Dalai Lama in his capacity as a respected religious and cultural leader.

The Nobel laureate is famed for his peaceful struggle for greater Tibetan autonomy that is bitterly opposed by China. White House spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden says the U.S. supports the Dalai Lama’s “middle way” approach. She says the U.S. recognizes Tibet as part of China and doesn’t support Tibetan independence.

But she says the U.S. is concerned about tensions and deteriorating human rights in China’s Tibetan areas. She says the U.S. will keep urging China to talk with the Dalai Lama without preconditions.

Obama met with the Dalai Lama previously in 2010 and 2011.


Read more: http://www.salon.com/2014/02/21/obama_to_host_dalai_lama_on_friday_at_white_house/

Dalai Lama appears at right-wing US think tank

WASHINGTON (AP) — Smiling and in saffron robes, Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama has brought a message of compassion and care for humanity to the free market mavens of a right-leaning Washington think tank.

The revered Buddhist monk began his latest speaking tour of the United States on unfamiliar territory, as honored guest at the American Enterprise Institute for a discussion on happiness and free enterprise.

The Nobel laureate, famed for his peaceful struggle for greater Tibetan autonomy that is bitterly opposed by China, has in the past courted controversy by identifying with the economic equality promoted by Marxism. But he decries totalitarian political systems.

Punctuating his musings with infectious laughter, the Dalai Lama, sounded more amenable to capitalism on Thursday, although he drew attention to the gap between rich and poor.



Venezuela Erupts

Hugo Chavez may have spewed hate, but he always kept a lid on repression. That may be over now.

By William J. Dobson

The tremors have been building for years, but on Wednesday night Venezuela was convulsed in a wave of violence as the government of President Nicolas Maduro appeared to enforce a brutal crackdown on nationwide protests. Streets were filled with tear gas and the crackle of gunfire, as National Guard units and National Police came out in force. Bands of regime supporters—paramilitary gangs known as colectivos—swarmed neighborhoods and public squares on their motorcycles, firing live ammunition at anyone who remained in the open. Some stormed into apartment buildings in search of protesters. The crackdown extended from Caracas to Maracaibo, Maracay, Valencia, and nearly every major city across the South American country. Venezuela’s cities have become notoriously dangerous in recent years, as the country’s crime and murder rate soared. But on Wednesday, Venezuelan cities weren’t simply dangerous; they were a war zone.

As startling as the violence itself was the fact that the government gave no warning or explanation in advance. In a rambling national address earlier that day, President Maduro spoke of the need for peace—then praised the work of paramilitary thugs and promised to target members of Popular Will, a leading opposition party. Its leader, Leopoldo Lopez, was spending his second night in a military prison, after surrendering himself to authorities on Tuesday to face trumped-up charges implicating him for the death of three Venezuelans at protests. Even if Lopez, one of the opposition’s best-known leaders, is imprisoned, Maduro isn’t acting like the man with the upper hand. In his remarks Wednesday, he seemed erratic and unsure of himself, which only fuels rumors that he may have diminishing control over the state and its security forces.

The most focused target of the regime’s repression has been the Popular Will party. Lopez is being held in the Ramo Verde military prison, a small facility that sits on a mountainside about an hour outside of Caracas. The remote prison has held other high-value political prisoners during Chavez’s years in power. On Tuesday, security personnel raided the Popular Will party’s headquarters in search of their second in command, Carlos Vecchio. Vecchio, a lawyer and activist, has been forced to go into hiding, and on Wednesday President Maduro confirmed that a warrant had been issued for his arrest. There were also unconfirmed reports that a warrant would soon be released for David Smolansky, the next highest party leader. A senior member of the party confirmed Thursday morning that most of the party’s top leadership has either been detained or gone underground.

That may be the key difference between Venezuela today and before: For all of the combative rhetoric and venom spewed by Hugo Chavez, the Comandante always kept a lid on widespread repression. The late strongman was expert at verbally provoking and demonizing his opponents, but the threshold for a large-scale crackdown was never crossed. Chavez would unsettle his enemies, entertain half measures, or defuse a situation by simply directing his abuse at a wholly new target. But Maduro has never possessed his predecessor’s confidence, communication, or political canny, and he inherited a government rife with factions. Since his narrow election last April, the fear has been that Chavismo’s odd blend of bravado and insecurity would swing wildly in his hands, especially as the country dire economic conditions worsened. Early Thursday morning, a senior adviser to a Popular Will party leader described the situation as “extremely fluid,” before expressing surprise at Maduro’s decision to ramp up the confrontation. “The government keeps upping the ante,” he said.

Read more: http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/foreigners/2014/02/nicolas_maduro_s_venezuela_erupts_in_violence_the_venezuelan_president_appears.html?wpisrc=newsletter_jcr:content&mc_cid=3aa0b36da6&mc_eid=7a8b58c8c3

SC legislators want to punish 2 colleges for homosexuality books

Source: WIS-TV

Posted: Feb 19, 2014 7:12 PM EST
Updated: Feb 20, 2014 8:20 AM EST

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - South Carolina legislators want to punish two public colleges for assigning books on homosexuality to freshmen.

The House budget-writing committee on Wednesday tentatively approved a spending plan for 2014-15 that would cut $52,000 from the College of Charleston and $17,142 from the University of South Carolina Upstate.

Last summer, the College of Charleston assigned the Alison Bechdel book, "Fun Home," to incoming freshmen. Bechdel's book describes her childhood with a closeted gay father and her own coming out as a lesbian.

USC Upstate assigned "Out Loud: The Best of Rainbow Radio," referring to South Carolina's first gay and lesbian radio show, for a required course for all freshmen, which included lectures and other out-of-classroom activities meant to spark discussions about the book. Social conservatives complained about the colleges' selections.

Read more: http://www.wistv.com/story/24769620/sc-legislators-want-to-punish-2-colleges-in-budget

South Carolina Champions Academic Freedom ... by Punishing Colleges for Assigning Gay Books

By J. Bryan Lowder

Do you understand diversity and academic freedom? If you’re not sure, you might want to check with South Carolina’s Gary Smith, a Republican state representative, who just yesterday demonstrated his considerable expertise on those subjects by proposing punitive reductions to the budgets of two SC colleges that had assigned books that acknowledge the existence of LGBTQ people.

The books in question are Fun Home, Alison Bechdel’s highly acclaimed account of her childhood (presided over by her closeted gay dad) and her own eventual coming out as lesbian, and Out Loud: The Best of Rainbow Radio, a collection of personal narratives that originally appeared on Rainbow Radio, “South Carolina’s first gay and lesbian radio show.” The College of Charleston and the University of South Carolina Upstate assigned the texts, respectively, as part of their incoming freshmen orientation programs.

According to an AP report, Smith submitted the proposal after he learned that students were not given the option of reading other, presumably non-gay, selections. Such a lack of options, he said, amounted to the “promotion of a lifestyle with no academic debate.” (I can’t imagine what would have happened if a truly propagandistic book like David Halperin’s dangerously seductive How to Be Gay had been assigned—oh wait, I don’t have to.) While even some of Smith’s own Republican colleagues felt the proposal went too far toward academic censorship—one called it “stupid”—the measure has been tentatively approved by the House budget committee.

Smith’s use of “lifestyle” deserves little more than a sigh at this point, but his disturbing vision of the purpose of a university-level education is worth noting. His concern that students aren't being allowed a choice in their assignments not only smacks of the segregationist logic currently being tried out in various state anti-gay "religious liberty" laws; it also reveals a corporate ideal that has become depressingly common in higher education. Students are consumers and universities are there to provide what the customer wants—or better yet, what they are comfortable with. Forget about challenging unexamined prejudices, and don’t worry about promoting critical thinking skills, a wider and richer understanding of the world, and, indeed, actual academic debate: Students (or perhaps parents) should just be able to strike whatever they don’t like from the syllabus.