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Member since: 2003 before July 6th
Number of posts: 29,876

Journal Archives

Guest Lineups For The Sunday TV News Shows

ABC's "This Week" — Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum; Govs. Rick Snyder, R-Mich., and Deval Patrick, D-Mass.

NBC's "Meet the Press" — Santorum; Govs. Jerry Brown, D-Calif., and Jan Brewer, R-Ariz.

CBS'"Face the Nation" — Govs. Martin O'Malley, D-Md., and Chris Christie, R-N.J.

CNN's "State of the Union" — Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.; Govs. John Hickenlooper, D-Colo., and Scott Walker, R-Wis.; Robert Gibbs, adviser to President Barack Obama's re-election campaign.

"Fox News Sunday" — Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney; Gov. Mitch Daniels, R-Ind.

Clinton Blasts Russia, China For Opposing Action On Syria

TUNIS, Tunisia (AP) – Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton blasted Russia and China as "despicable" for opposing U.N. Security Council action on Syria, and more than 60 nations began planning a civilian peacekeeping mission to deploy after the Damascus regime halts a brutal crackdown on the opposition.

President Obama said Washington will keep pressuring Syrian President Bashar Assad to stop the "slaughter" of civilians, saying it was imperative that the world unite in condemning the Syrian military onslaught.

"It is time to stop the killing of Syrian citizens by their own government," Obama said after a conference by a group of nations known as the Friends of Syria concluded in Tunisia.

The move by the group is aimed at jolting Assad and his allies into accepting demands for a democratic transition, even as they are still unwilling to commit to military intervention to end the nearly year-old bloodshed.



Struggling Farmers Furious After Iraq Stops Buying US Rice, Opts For Cheaper Grain From India

By Associated Press,

DAYTON, Texas — The talk of the day among Ray Stoesser and other rice farmers is Iraq’s decision not to buy U.S. rice, a stinging move that adds to a stressful year punctuated by everything from drought to unusual heat.

Stoesser and other farmers know Iraqis struggled during the U.S. invasion and subsequent occupation. They know most countries — and people — buy based on price.

But at the moment, with production costs rising, export markets shrinking and rice prices dropping, it’s difficult to be rational and suppress emotions so intimately intertwined with their land and livelihood.

“That’s just not right,” the 63-year-old Stoesser fumed. “If we’ve got some rice to sell, they ought to pay a premium for it just because this is the country that freed them.”



The Ugly Truth Behind Michigan's Budget Surplus

Patricia J. Williams
February 15, 2012 | This article appeared in the March 5-12, 2012 edition of The Nation.

Michigan is a model of fiscal recuperation. At least that’s what the headlines said as I stepped off a plane in Detroit recently: its spending was slashed so ruthlessly in the past few years that the New York Times quoted a former state budget director as moaning, “We were so far down that the floor looked like up to us.” But now there is a budget surplus projected for 2013, of anywhere from half a billion to a billion dollars, with yet sunnier fiscal predictions ahead. This apotheosis is generally credited to the enactment of Republican Governor Rick Snyder’s stern austerity policies, which include replacing “a business tax with a corporate income tax that is expected to save businesses $1.5 billion a year,” according to the same Times article. “To make up lost dollars, lawmakers agreed to tax public workers’ pensions, reduce the state’s Earned-Income Tax Credit for the working poor, and remove or reduce other tax exemptions and deductions.”

On the ride from the airport, my friend Dee gave me an earful about what he described as “Snyder’s for-profit governance, while for us ordinary non-corporate humans, things just get bleaker.” The schools are decimated, he told me. Infrastructure is crumbling, zoos and parks are being eliminated, libraries closed and daycare all but nonexistent. Snyder has slashed funding for the state’s colleges and universities by 15 percent in the past year alone.

Moreover, Detroit is on the verge of financial ruin, in no small part because since 1998 it has been hobbled by a law requiring all cities to cut personal income taxes every year, for residents as well as nonresidents. Exemptions are given only if a city is in financial distress—a status virtually guaranteed by such cuts. “Financial distress” in turn triggers Public Act 4, an insidious law—detailed by Chris Savage on page 6 of this issue—that permits the governor to appoint an “emergency manager” (EM) whose job is, no joke, to displace elected officials and run local governments as though they were private, profit-driven corporations. Yet for all their considerable power, EMs lack the one thing that cities like Detroit need most (Republican dictum notwithstanding): the power to raise taxes. (Not that one would want a trickle-down executive branch boss like an EM tackling taxes, in addition to disappearing local legislative structures like city councils and school boards.)

EMs are balancing budgets by gutting government itself: selling off water and sewer lines (Flint), “redeveloping” public parks into private golf courses (Benton Harbor) and threatening to dissolve school districts (Highland Park). Detroit public schools, 80 percent of which fail to graduate any students with a college-qualifying ACT test score, have been taken over by GM’s former vice president for North American vehicle sales.



JINSA: Defense Cuts Would Be 'Devastating'

Defense cuts likely to ensue from the failure of the Obama administration and Congress to agree on the budget would jeopardize U.S. security, according to a Jewish Institute of National Security Affairs paper.

“The cuts now being contemplated vastly exceed anything the United States has experienced in the post-World War II era,” said the introduction to a JINSA paper published this week that compiles analyses from former officers of all five branches of the U.S. military.

“While projections of future defense increases after many years of decline make the scenarios being used look less severe,” the paper said, “there is nothing to assure the American people and our allies that, given the serious fiscal condition in which we now find ourselves, defense spending will not only continue to decline as required by the 2011 budget agreement, but may be cut further as our political leadership avoids reforming our entitlement culture and bringing the U.S. fiscal house, tax code and investment strategies into the 21st century.”

A number of top defense officials in recent weeks have decried the possible $1 trillion in defense cuts ensuing from the failure of last year’s congressional “supercommittee” to agree on a budget that would address the national debt. The agreement to set up the supercommittee included automatic across-the-board cuts should it fail to come up with a proposal that Congress would pass.



Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak Slams Peres for Opposing Strike on Iran

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak strongly criticized President Shimon Peres on Thursday, after a Haaretz report revealed that Peres is expected to tell U.S. President Barack Obama that he does not believe Israel should attack Iran in the near future.

The two presidents are due to meet in Washington, D.C., on Sunday March 4.

“With all due respect to various officeholders from the past and present, the rumor that there is [only] one government in Israel has also reached the United States,” Barak said sarcastically in private conversations, adding: “In the end, there is an elected [Israeli] government that makes the decisions and that is its responsibility.”



W. Pa. Tests Show Possible Gas Drilling Chemicals In Water; DEP Refused Follow-Up Tests

By Associated Press,

EVANS CITY, Pa. — A western Pennsylvania woman says state environmental officials refused to do follow-up tests after their lab reported her drinking water contained chemicals that could be from nearby gas drilling.

Janet McIntyre’s is one of at least 10 households in the rural Woodlands community, about 30 miles north of Pittsburgh, who complain that recent drilling impacted their water in different ways. She says the chemicals didn’t show up on pre-drill tests.

The Associated Press confirmed that five chemicals that can be associated with natural gas drilling showed up in tests last summer. But the chemicals are also widely used separately in other industries.



20 g-ddamned minutes and counting! Netflix DVD Contagion preview trailers still playing!

You can't fast forward, you can't skip to 'Menu', no...you sit and wait through bullshit that is of no interest at all.

I've had dvd's like this before but 20+ fucking minutes? God forbid should you have to start all over again...

Obama: Opponents Are ‘Rooting For Bad News’ On Gas Prices

By David Nakamura,

CORAL GABLES, Fla. — President Obama defended his energy policies Thursday in the face of rising gas prices, saying there are no “quick fixes” to protect consumers and lashing out at political rivals who blame him for the spike.

Gas prices have risen 29 cents per gallon since December, with the price for regular octane gas now averaging $3.64 a gallon in the Washington region at a time of year when consumers usually enjoy a respite from such spikes.

Republicans are blaming Obama for the increase and even some Democrats are pressing him to take stronger action to protect consumers. It’s a potential election-year mess for a president who has recently enjoyed a surge in approval ratings.

But in an appearance at the University of Miami, where he toured an engineering program for energy efficiency, Obama told a crowd of about 1,500 that his GOP rivals who are pledging to slash prices are “rooting for bad news” to win political points.



Distrust Divides Bibi and Barack on Iran

By J.J. Goldberg
Published February 23, 2012, issue of March 02, 2012.

As President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu prepare to meet in Washington March 5 to thrash out their Iran differences, observers everywhere are scrambling to sort out exactly what the two men disagree about and what can be done to bridge the gaps.

The answers, surprisingly, are: not much — and not much. What separates them is not serious disagreement, but deep distrust. And that’s not easy to fix.

Histrionics aside, the two leaders agree on most essentials. Iran is indeed working toward a nuclear weapon, as the International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed in a report last November. If it succeeds, the strategic consequences for both Israel and the West would be devastating. European diplomats involved in the discussions say Iranian nuclear success in the face of American objections would destroy not just American but Western credibility in the Middle East. It would force moderate Arab countries into Iran’s orbit, upend the global energy market and spark a dangerous regional nuclear arms race. Israel, America and key allies like France and Britain all concur that no preventive measure should be ruled out, including a military strike if all else fails. This isn’t an Israeli fantasy, the diplomats insist.

And, significantly, they all agree that an American attack would be far preferable to an Israeli one. If America attacks, Egypt, Turkey and Saudi Arabia will enthusiastically support it. If Israel attacks, they’ll feel forced to oppose it. Moreover, Israel could well end up in trouble — unable to finish the job, perhaps even embroiled in a regional war — that would drag America in anyway, but with its Arab allies lined up against it. Best if Washington handles it from the get-go.


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