Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for February, 2012

Posted: 02/21/12 10:37 AM ET  |  Updated: 02/21/12 04:27 PM ET

Huff Post  By- Mike Sacks

WASHINGTON — Affirmative action is heading back to the Supreme Court, and this time its prospects for survival are poorer than ever.

The Court announced on Tuesday that it has agreed to hear a challenge to the University of Texas’ affirmative action program, which is used in sorting through applications after the automatic admission of all in-state applicants who graduated in the top 10 percent of their high school class.

The state’s top 10 percent law was passed as a race-neutral way of facilitating diversity on campus after a federal appeals court in 1996 banned affirmative action in Texas’ public universities. Then in 2003, the U.S. Supreme Court — in a majority opinion written by Justice Sandra Day O’Connor for herself and the Court’s four liberals — approved of certain types of race-conscious admissions practices in higher education for the purpose of achieving a diverse student body. In response, the University of Texas reinstated affirmative action, this time to assess applicants who would not be automatically admitted under the top 10 percent law.

Abigail Noel Fisher was one such student. In Fisher v. University of Texas, she claims that she was unconstitutionally denied admission because she is white. Texas argues that the use of race in its admissions process is indistinguishable from the University of Michigan Law School practices that the Supreme Court approved in 2003.

Unfortunately for Texas, that argument may no longer hold sway at the high court. Justice Samuel Alito, a reliable conservative vote, has since replaced O’Connor, a notable swing vote. In 2007, Alito joined with Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas to strike down affirmative action programs in public high schools in an opinion that concluded, “The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.”

Justice Anthony Kennedy voted with the majority but refused to join that one sentence in 2007, and will likely spoil the conservative bloc’s effort to end affirmative action once and for all this time. That does not mean, however, that Kennedy will uphold Texas’ race-based policy. Rather, he may use his crucial fifth vote to keep affirmative action constitutional in theory, but almost impossible to pursue in practice — a position he staked out in his dissent from O’Connor’s 2003 opinion.

Justice Elena Kagan has recused herself, likely because of her participation in the early stages of the case when she served as U.S. solicitor general.

Fisher v. University of Texas could be argued (but not decided) in the fall, just in time to insert its racially charged issues into the tail end of the presidential election.

SOURCE

Read Full Post »

Think Progress reporter Lee Fang interviewed David Koch in a sidewalk ambush last year.

February 20, 2012 10:00 AM

Crooks and Liars  By- Susie Madrak

Boy, the apple didn’t fall far from the tree, huh? What a swell family those Kochs are:

Billionaire David Koch has vowed to defend Wisconsin governor Scott Walker against the union-backed recall election underway in that state. In aninterview with the Palm Beach Post, Koch said that, “We’ve spent a lot of money in Wisconsin. We’re going to spend more.”

The we in question is Koch and his equally well-off brother Charles, who together have financed much of the conservative tea party movement through their group Americans For Prosperity.

Koch also told the Post that “there will be no stopping union power” if they win the recall election versus Walker, who jammed through legislation that strips public employee unions of their power to collectively bargain.

In the interview, Koch lavishes praise on his father Fred Koch who was a founding member of the far-right John Birch Society.

Fred Koch once wrote that the “colored man looms large in the Communist plan to take over America” and claimed welfare was designed to create a “vicious race war.”

The John Birch Society was founded in opposition to the civil rights movement, and promoted numerous conspiracy theories of a UN-led “one world” government. The group also famously opposed fluoridation of water, which it described as a communist mind-control plot.

SOURCE

Read Full Post »

Friday, Feb 17, 2012 2:02 PM UTC

Salon  By Glenn Greenwald

Frank VanderSloot is an Idaho billionaire and the CEO of Melaleuca, Inc., a controversial billion-dollar-a-year company which peddles dietary supplements and cleaning products; back in 2004, Forbes, echoing complaints to government agencies, described the company as “a pyramid selling organization, built along the lines of Herbalife and Amway.” VanderSloot has long used his wealth to advance numerous right-wing political causes. Currently, he is the national finance co-chair of the Mitt Romney presidential campaign, and his company has become one of the largest donors ($1 million) to the ostensibly “independent” pro-Romney SuperPAC, Restore Our Future. Melaleuca’s get-rich pitches have in the past caused Michigan regulators to take action, resulting in the company’s entering into a voluntary agreement to “not engage in the marketing and promotion of an illegal pyramid”‘; it entered into a separate voluntary agreement with the Idaho attorney general’s office, which found that “certain independent marketing executives of Melaleuca” had violated Idaho law; and the Food and Drug Administration previously accused Melaleuca of deceiving consumers about some of its supplements.

But it is VanderSloot’s chronic bullying threats to bring patently frivolous lawsuits against his political critics — magazines, journalists, and bloggers — that makes him particularly pernicious and worthy of more attention. In the last month alone, VanderSloot, using threats of expensive defamation actions, has successfully forced Forbes, Mother Jones and at least one local gay blogger in Idaho to remove articles that critically focused on his political and business practices (Mother Jones subsequently re-posted the article with revisions a week after first removing it). He has been using this abusive tactic in Idaho for years: suppressing legitimate political speech by threatening or even commencing lawsuits against even the most obscure critics (he has even sued local bloggers for “copyright infringement” after they published a threatening letter sent by his lawyers). This tactic almost always succeeds in silencing its targets, because even journalists and their employers who have done nothing wrong are afraid of the potentially ruinous costs they will incur when sued by a litigious billionaire.

MORE HERE

Read Full Post »

By ANDREW TAYLOR 02/18/12 06:47 AM ET

Associated Press AP via: Huff Post

WASHINGTON — The $143 billion payroll tax cut won by President Barack Obama may be the last significant measure he receives from a deeply divided Congress that promises to only get more polarized as Election Day approaches.

Obama’s coveted renewal of the payroll tax cut for 160 million workers and jobless benefits for millions more caps a five-month campaign-style drive against reluctant Republicans.

Under the bill Congress approved Friday, workers would continue to receive a 2 percentage point increase in their paychecks, and people out of work for more than six months would keep jobless benefits averaging about $300 a week, steps that Obama says will help support a fragile recovery from the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.

It would also head off a steep cut in reimbursements for physicians who treat Medicare patients.

The tax cuts, jobless coverage and higher doctors’ payments would all continue through 2012.

Passage of the legislation hands Obama a victory over objections from many GOP lawmakers who oppose it but were eager to wipe the issue from the election-year agenda.

It also clears away a political headache for House Republicans, who blocked a two-month extension of the tax cut and jobless coverage in late December, only to retreat quickly under a buzz saw of opposition from conservative and GOP leaders from around the country.

With that history, Republicans seemed ready to get the fight behind them and change the subject for the rest of this election year.

“We’re dumb, but we’re not stupid,” Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., told reporters after he voted. “We did not want to repeat the debacle of last December. It’s not that complicated.”

MORE HERE

Read Full Post »


Hello Koch boys!! See ya on my line…

Domain Name (Unknown)
IP Address 146.209.159.# (KOCH INDUSTRIES)
ISP KOCH INDUSTRIES
Location
Continent : North America
Country : United States (Facts)
State : Kansas
City : Wichita
Lat/Long : 37.7521, -97.2782 (Map)
Language unknown
Operating System Unknown Unknown
Browser Netscape 4.0 Mozilla/4.0 (compatible;)
Javascript disabled
Time of Visit Feb 17 2012 1:57:51 pm

Read Full Post »

February 17, 2012 12:52pm

The Examiner- Washington

by- Paul Bedard

For some Washington reporters and media execs, cheering their team from the sidelines just isn’t good enough: Tugging on a red, white and blue Team Obama jersey is the answer.

That’s the case for a whopping 19 journalists and media executives, including five from the Washington Post and three each from ABC and CNN, who’ve gone into the administration or center-left groups supporting the president.
Those inside the administration hit 14 this month when the Post’s Stephen Barr joined the Labor Department. That’s a record, say some revolving door watchers, and could even be much higher: The Post reports that “dozens” of former journalists have joined the administration, although Washington Secrets couldn’t verify that tally.
Many are in communications and speech writing offices, most prominently Jay Carney, the president’s spokesman who ran Time’s Washington bureau, and husband to ABC’s Claire Shipman. Some joined as the news business collapsed, many to finally voice their politics, and others, notably former Transportation spokeswoman Jill Zuckman, because she liked her future boss, Secretary Ray LaHood, a rare Republican in the administration. That relationship rocked: LaHood broke through the lower-tier Cabinet P.R. ceiling to become one of the most well-known Transportation secretaries ever. She had worked for the Chicago Tribune.
The revolving door isn’t a surprise to critics of the media and Obama. “The number of reporters going into the Obama administration merely confirms what I knew and what most conservatives long believed,” said Noam Neusner, himself one of the few reporters hired as a Bush speech writer. “There is a vast supply of liberals in newsrooms, they are very happy to support Obama administration policies if they can get hired and they barely hide their ideology in the way they cover the news.” Neusner, who I worked with at U.S. News, said that he too might have been guilty of a pro-Bush bias, but said correctly: “My editors and colleagues were surprised to hear that I was a Republican.”
A former GOP Capitol Hill and cabinet spokesman added, “It’s frustrating to see so many reporters that had relationships with trusted sources give up their ‘impartiality’ and start playing for the other side. It does show that the game is stacked in favor of the other side when most reporters still working in their profession remain silent.”
Stephen Hess, a presidential and journalism scholar at the Brookings Institution, said reporters can be “conflicted” when they trade places. “On the other hand,” he added, “reporters going back to journalism after a stint in government are always better reporters in that they now understand how government really works.”

Read Full Post »

The Huffington Post
First Posted: 02/16/2012  2:36 pm Updated: 02/16/2012  4:35 pm

Foster Friess, a top donor to a Rick Santorum-aligned super PAC, dismissed the importance of his candidate’s stances on social issues in an interview with MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell Thursday, adding a bizarre statement about birth control.

Friess was asked about Santorum’s beliefs on social issues such as abortion and gay rights, which have led many to question his viability in a general election.

“I get such a chuckle when these things come out,” he said. He added, “We have jihadist camps being set up in Latin America, which Rick has been warning about and people seem to be so preoccupied with sex — I think it says something about our culture. We maybe need a massive therapy session so we can concentrate on what the real issues are.”

Friess then turned to contraception. “This contraceptive thing, my gosh it’s such [sic] inexpensive. Back in my days, they used Bayer Aspirin for contraception. The gals put it between their knees and it wasn’t that costly,” he said.

Mitchell, taken aback, said, “Excuse me, I’m just trying to catch my breath from that” and changed the subject. Friess later described Santorum as “truly the post-partisan candidate,” a line ascribed to then-candidate Barack Obama in 2008.

Santorum said that he personally believes in the Catholic Church’s position on contraception, which is that it should not be used by members of the religion, but that he thinks it should be available. He noted Wednesday that he had voted for funding for contraception “domestically and internationally, and would not support any law that would prevent that.”

Still, Santorum has strongly opposed the Obama administration’s rule requiring most religiously-affiliated employers to provide contraception in their health plans. He said in 2006 that he thinks that contraception is “harmful to women.”

MORE HERE

Read Full Post »

Thursday, February 16, 2012 9:28 EST

Raw Story   By- David Ferguson

The number of people seeking unemployment benefits has fallen to its lowest since March of 2008, the Associated Press reported Thursday morning. The national economy added 243,000 jobs in January, lowering the employment rate to 8.3 percent, according to the Department of Labor.

A government report noted that weekly unemployment application numbers have fallen from 361,000 to a seasonally adjusted 348,000. These numbers mean that businesses are laying off fewer workers and that the hiring situation may be improving as the economy struggles to come back to life. This is the fifth straight week that unemployment claims have been down.

The AP says that the economy has added an average of 201,000 jobs per month for the past three months.

A pick-up in retail sales has followed a short holiday slump. While many economists predict that the economy may slow down again as manufacturers have less need to replenish their stores of goods for sale, there is confidence that the economy is gaining its footing, growing at a 2.8 percent annual rate in the last quarter, a full percentage point over the previous quarter.

Nearly 13 million Americans eligible for jobs are currently out of work.

SOURCE

Read Full Post »

February 15, 2012

Addicting Info  By

Rick Santorum is currently the poster boy for conservatism and the candidate leading the national polls among Republicans. Every day, Romney gets a little weaker, and Santorum gets a little stronger. And that makes him a threat to be the Republican Presidential nominee who faces President Obama in the general election this fall. But who exactly would the American people really be voting for if they elected Santorum? The answer could make you throw up in your mouth a little bit.

If Americans were to elect Rick Santorum to the Presidency, they’d be electing a second George W. Bush. In fact, Santorum would be even worse. If Rick Perry is the dumber version of Bush, Rick Santorum is the extreme version. According to Congressional Quarterly, Santorum supported Bush policies over 95% of the time from 2001 to 2005. Here is just a sample of the many Bush supported policies that Santorum voted for.

Tax Cuts) Santorum loves tax cuts. In fact, he voted for the 2001 Bush tax cuts, the repeal the Inheritance Tax in 2002, the 2003 Bush tax cuts, and he voted for extending the Bush tax cuts in 2006. These tax cuts are partly to blame for the large deficits created by Republicans that continue to plague our economy today and has contributed to the largest increase in income inequality since the Great Depression. But Santorum would be worse than Bush because he wants to cut taxes even more for corporations and the wealthy.

MORE HERE

Read Full Post »

February 15, 2012

Politicususa  By

President Obama has made it his priority to invest in America, specifically in manufacturing and infrastructure. His 2013 budget, which will most likely be opposed by every Republican calls for $350 billion in short-term measures for job growth, and a six-year, $476 billion proposal for roads and other surface transportation projects according to the Wall Street Journal.

President Obama is also talking about the largest sweeping reform to the tax code since President Reagan did it in 1986.  His recent call is to lower the corporate income tax as well as close all the bullet holes shot into the tax code by special interests.

In a report by Reuters oil and gas subsidies will be eliminated, while increasing tax breaks for high tech companies.  Republicans are crying foul on this. In President Obama’s proposal there will be enormous tax credits and breaks for patriotic companies who choose to stay here in the United States rather than move American jobs to foreign low wage countries.  This is sure to increase employment in America as well as increase wages for American families who have seen their income remain stagnant or drop for too many years.

Now getting back to the manufacturing sector, a recent report by the Empire Fed, they asked companies about investing and capital expenditures.  The survey showed that the companies want to increase capital investments by 29% over last year.

This survey was in conjunction with the release of data concerning manufacturing activity, which rose six points, to 19.53.  It seems that President Obama’s economic plans are working.  He lowered taxes on middle class families, rather than the Republican plan of cutting taxes for the already wealthy which gave the American consumer more spending power. He invested in infrastructure and manufacturing last year and the year prior which also increased employment and wages of millions of Americans.

All of this good economic news shows that President Obama’s plan is helping this recovery.  His 2013 budget will only bolster, strengthen and speed up the recovery.

This is the reason, the GOP is moving slightly away from talking about the economy and moving to the wedge issues, like the birth control issue, Gay marriage and abortion.  The more they talk about the economy the more likely President Obama will win the election because it sheds light on the prosperity that is on the horizon, if we continue on Obama’s path.

SOURCE

Image: Today’s Machine World

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: