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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

House Shoots Down Legislation That Would Have Stopped Employers From Demanding Your Facebook Password

Get it together GOP, what about all that talk about personal liberty?

Tech Crunch:


Well, that didn’t take long. A proposed Facebook user protection amendment introduced yesterday in the U.S. House of Representatives has already been shot down. The legislation, offered by Democratic Congressman Ed Perlmutter, would have added new restrictions to FCC rules that would have prohibited employers from demanding workers’ social networking usernames passwords.
The final vote was 236 to 184, with only one House Republican in support of the changes.
Had it passed, this amendment would have tacked on an extra section to H.R. 3309, the Federal Communications Commission Process Reform Act of 2012, basically allowing the FCC to step in to stop any employers who asked applicants for this confidential information from job seekers or employees.
The amendment to the bill was put forward following a series of media reports about this increasingly common practice, which recently caught the attention of the ACLU, and even Facebook itself. On Friday, Facebook’s Chief Privacy Officer on Policy, Erin Egan, took a hard stance on the matter, reminding employers that not only was this a violation of Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities, it could also put them in other legally troublesome situations, leading to things like discrimination complaints, for example.
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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

We're all, like real excited about the game, but tone it down a little...

As a Wildcat it's really excited to play another Kentucky team in the final four, even Frankfort is a little too excited, but this is getting carried away.

It's not normal to see headlines like this one:

"Fist fight erupts between UK and UofL fans during Dialysis"

Healthcare mandate most likely to be struck down



However, it won't be ruled on most likely till 2014:

Go away Paul Ryan

When Fox News goes after you as a Republican you're beyond a radical policy.

Kentucky politicians lose their minds over the UK - U of L game




Here's the exchange between Jim Gray and Fisher:

"Gray called the bourbon produced in Woodford County by the Louisville-based Brown Forman Corp. "high octane ... which encourages fantasies."

In return, Gray gave Fischer bottles of Alltech's Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale, which he said would help provide the "generous lubrication" that U of L fans will need to help their loss go down easier on Saturday."

Video of it here:

And some WEKU coverage:

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Now check out the senate floor exchange over at KET's website between Kathy Stein and Gerald Neil, skip ahead to around 18:00:

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Here's Louisville alum Howard Fineman's take on Kentucky I love this opening line:


WASHINGTON –- All of you non-Kentuckians out there have no idea what brand of deep-fried hell is about to break loose in the Bluegrass state this week and in the New Orleans Superdome Saturday.

Why? Because the University of Louisville Cardinals are playing the University of Kentucky Wildcats for the first time ever in a Final Four match-up of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.

Having lived in Kentucky, and having learned to love college basketball there, I can tell you that this game, in the minds of Kentuckians, is equivalent in magnitude to: Greeks v. Persians, Grant v. Lee, Voldemort v. Harry, Jesus v. Moses, Reagan v. Evil Empire.

It’s Armageddon, catered by KFC.


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Rise like Lions: a neat piece on #OWS

"Rise like Lions" a neat piece about #OWS:

Romney: Bush and Paulson saved economy with bailouts




Sure... Keep selling that "popular" narrative.

Maybe OWS and the Tea Party have a guy in common who they're really going to dislike as a candidate.  Strange days...

Buzzfeed:

"Hours after he secured the endorsement of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Mitt Romney credited his brother, President George W. Bush, with keeping the country from a great depression in 2008.
"I keep hearing the president say he's responsible for keeping the country out of a Great Depression," Romney said at a town hall in Arbutus, Maryland. "No, no, no, that was President George W. Bush and [then-Treasury Secretary] Hank Paulson."

With the economy turning around, Romney appears intent on denying President Barack Obama ownership of the recovery, as he's previously argued that any reduction in unemployment has occurred despite Obama's policies.

Romney's statement comes in the midst of a tough day for his campaign, following a self-inflicted wound by strategist Eric Fehrnstrom, who compared his candidate's shift to the general election to shaking an Etch-A-Sketch."

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Rest is here:

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Study of the brain, Conservative vs. Liberal

Noted:




Link found here:

Taibbi on BOA, the zombie bank that won't die

Taibbi:


At least Bank of America got its name right. The ultimate Too Big to Fail bank really is America, a hypergluttonous ward of the state whose limitless fraud and criminal conspiracies we'll all be paying for until the end of time. Did you hear about the plot to rig global interest rates? The $137 million fine for bilking needy schools and cities? The ingenious plan to suck multiple fees out of the unemployment checks of jobless workers? Take your eyes off them for 10 seconds and guaranteed, they'll be into some shit again: This bank is like the world's worst-behaved teenager, taking your car and running over kittens and fire hydrants on the way to Vegas for the weekend, maxing out your credit cards in the three days you spend at your aunt's funeral. They're out of control, yet they'll never do time or go out of business, because the government remains creepily committed to their survival, like overindulgent parents who refuse to believe their 40-year-old live-at-home son could possibly be responsible for those dead hookers in the backyard.

It's been four years since the government, in the name of preventing a depression, saved this megabank from ruin by pumping $45 billion of taxpayer money into its arm. Since then, the Obama administration has looked the other way as the bank committed an astonishing variety of crimes – some elaborate and brilliant in their conception, some so crude that they'd be beneath your average street thug. Bank of America has systematically ripped off almost everyone with whom it has a significant business relationship, cheating investors, insurers, depositors, homeowners, shareholders, pensioners and taxpayers. It brought tens of thousands of Americans to foreclosure court using bogus, "robo-signed" evidence – a type of mass perjury that it helped pioneer. It hawked worthless mortgages to dozens of unions and state pension funds, draining them of hundreds of millions in value. And when it wasn't ripping off workers and pensioners, it was helping to push insurance giants like AMBAC into bankruptcy by fraudulently inducing them to spend hundreds of millions insuring those same worthless mortgages.

But despite being the very definition of an unaccountable corporate villain, Bank of America is now bigger and more dangerous than ever. It controls more than 12 percent of America's bank deposits (skirting a federal law designed to prohibit any firm from controlling more than 10 percent), as well as 17 percent of all American home mortgages. By looking the other way and rewarding the bank's bad behavior with a massive government bailout, we actually allowed a huge financial company to not just grow so big that its collapse would imperil the whole economy, but to get away with any and all crimes it might commit. Too Big to Fail is one thing; it's also far too corrupt to survive.
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Rest is here:

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Moveon's 'War On Women' video:

Moveon's 'War On Women' video:


Monday, March 12, 2012

Pat Robertson: Tornadoes in Kentucky caused by lack of prayer

Yeah, that's right, and this isn't an Onion article.  Here's the new right wing lunatic that'll be on my radar.

So this toddler and her entire family who died in this storm were just a bunch of heathens.

Leo Fatlip:



He said that the storms weren’t a malicious act of God and instead turned it around on the victims, asking, “why did you build houses where tornadoes were apt to happen?” [...]
Robertson continued that the tornadoes may not have happened if people had prayed for divine intervention, “If enough people were praying He would’ve intervened, you could pray, Jesus stilled the storm, you can still storms.” He also told people who live in areas prone to natural disasters that it’s “their fault, not God’s.”
But come on, does anyone really take this lunatic seriously anymore? I mean, you’d have to be completely insane to court him and give him any attention as a real public figure worth…

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Full article here:

Afghanistan slaughter video

Get us the hell out of these countries:


Rush/Republican meltdown, Dems have 25 pt advantage on R's with women

Well oh well, it appears we've found something of a lightning bolt issue in regards to women's reproductive health, so say this new Washington Poll that gives him a 25 point advantage with women and the exodus of advertisers from Rush Limbaugh's show, m'yeah, try like over 141 groups, including the United States Army.

Raw Story:


"A memo being circulated by the distribution company behind Republican shock jock Rush Limbaugh has revealed a massive flight from Limbaugh’s program in the wake of his offensive comments about a Georgetown law student.
The companies include major corporate players like Sony, British Petroleum, McDonald’s, NBC, Toyota, Subway, Lowes, Autozone, Geico, Visa, Mastercard, American Express, State Farm, IBM and many others.
And in a surprise reveal, it appears that the U.S. Army is among them.
Activists have been pressuring corporate advertisers to withdraw from Limbaugh’s show after he called a woman a “slut” and a “prostitute” who should publish sex tapes online if she obtains contraceptive coverage from her private insurance policy.
Even Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI), who chairs the Armed Services Committee, was leaned on by activists calling for Limbaugh to be taken off the Armed Forces Network. Levin said he would like to see Limbaugh off the network as well, but the Pentagon has not yet initiated a review. Levin added that Congress should not get involved, saying that he hopes the administrators of the Armed Forces Network will see just how offensive Limbaugh’s is and take it off the air.
In all, 141 advertisers have left Limbaugh’s show so far, but just 50 were known before the memo surfaced. It shows that 91 additional companies have ditched not just Limbaugh, but right-wing radio talkers altogether, including Limbaugh acolytes Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity and Michael Savage. Limbaugh is often cited as the unofficial voice of the Republican Party."
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Saturday, March 10, 2012

Paul Krugman - Honored to welcome their hatred

NYT Krugman:

A correspondent tells me that Fox News has declared me a “menace to society”.

Always glad to be of service.


Friday, March 9, 2012

Almost Half of Bailed Banks Repaid the Government With Money “From Other Federal Programs”



Well, lookie here. Turns out the banks didn't pay jack back.  They simple dove into some other government programs.  How much more do these people expect the American people to take with unemployment at 8%, corporate profits at all time highs and the division of wealth at historic highs?

Naked Capitalism:


The Government Accountability Office continues its subtle war on the talking point used by Treasury that “TARP made money”. Here’s the GAO, with a report out today.
As of January 31, 2012, 341 institutions had exited CPP, almost half by repaying CPP with funds from other federal programs. Institutions continue to exit CPP, but the number of institutions missing scheduled dividend or interest payments has increased.
Much of the government-supplied TARP funding (to small banks) was replaced by the Small Business Lending Fund passed in 2010, which Republicans called “TARP 2.0″.  The larger banks, however, where much of the bank-based credit creation in the economy takes place, didn’t use this program.  Instead, they got an implicit subsidy of between $6B and $300B a year from the widespread belief that the government will not let their bondholders lose money.
The talking point that the Troubled Asset Relief Program made money for the taxpayer is an important structural argument for the Treasury Department and the political elements in the Obama White House.  Yves Smith quoted an earlier GAO report on this phenomenon a few months ago.
Although Treasury regularly reports on the cost of TARP programs and has enhanced such reporting over time, GAO’s analysis of Treasury press releases about specific programs indicate that information about estimated lifetime costs and income are included only when programs are expected to result in lifetime income.
Our banking system is still reliant on the government for support.  Officials can claim that TARP made money, but it’s becoming increasingly clear that this is a way of avoiding a description of the actual policy framework.
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and HP:

Though lots of people grumble about the government bailing out banks in the financial crisis, we have at least taken some comfort in the idea that the government has turned a profit on that bailout.
Only problem is, that profit comes from taxpayer money -- money that was meant to spur banks to develop communities and help small businesses. Instead they've used it to develop and help themselves.
All told, including dividend, interest and other payments, U.S. banks have repaid the government $211.5 billion under the Capital Purchase Program (CPP), the first phase of the government's Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), according to a report Thursday by the Government Accountability Office, a congressional watchdog. That's more than the $204.9 billion the banks initially got under TARP.
$211.5 billion minus $204.9 billion equals profit, right?
But 48 percent of the banks that have repaid the CPP used money they'd gotten from other federal programs, according to the GAO report. Those programs include the Community Development Capital Initiative -- another TARP program -- and the Small Business Lending Fund, a program designed to encourage lending to small businesses. Both of those programs have more favorable borrowing terms for the banks than the original CPP.
This isn't a new issue -- The Wall Street Journal reported last October that banks were repaying TARP funds with cash earmarked for small-business loans, after the Independent Community Bankers of America lobbied for the ability to switch money "from one Treasury program to the other."
Small businesses have continued to struggle to get credit, a drag on the recovery, while banks have been using funds earmarked for lending to small businesses simply to pay back their first TARP bailout.
At Yahoo Finance, Dan Gross sees a silver lining in the fact that these banks have at least swapped out of one government program that simply hands them cash for ones that encourage them to do something constructive with that cash.
Still, the fact that some banks refinanced their initial TARP investments by borrowing from other federal government programs undercuts the Treasury Department's claim that the government has made money from TARP, wrote Matt Stoller, a fellow at the Roosevelt Institute and a former senior policy advisor to former Democratic Florida Rep. Alan Grayson, in a post at the Naked Capitalism blog:
Our banking system is still reliant on the government for support. Officials can claim that TARP made money, but it’s becoming increasingly clear that this is a way of avoiding a description of the actual policy framework.
Meanwhile, there is still about $16.7 billion in original CPP money that hasn't been paid back, the GAO report says. (The government has turned a slight profit on CPP so far because the dividend and interest payments from other banks have amounted to more than that $16.7 billion). And while the biggest banks have paid their money back, several smaller banks are having trouble making regularly scheduled payments to the government, the GAO report says.
The Wall Street Journal's Real Time Economics blog wrote:
As of Nov. 30, 158 had missed quarterly payments, a marked increase from eight in February 2009, GAO said. And the number of problem banks–those that demonstrated financial, operational or managerial weaknesses that threatened their continued financial viability–rose to 130 in December 2011 from 47 in December 2009 GAO said.
It may be unfair to quibble with the Treasury Department's claim that the government is making money on TARP. After all, the bailout was not meant to be a get-rich-quick scheme. It was meant to stop the financial sector from collapsing into a giant black hole that was going to suck the global economy inside of it.
But it is worth remembering that the banking sector is where it is today thanks to the good graces of American taxpayers, who are still on the hook if these banks can't pay back the money they've borrowed to stay afloat. And whether we're talking about small banks or big banks, it's still too early to say the banking sector is in the clear.

Recent debate over contraception comes as GOP loses gains among women

Well derp.  Who didn't see this coming.  Gee, I guess restricting the rights of 51% of a population has some consequences:

WP:

The fragile gains Republicans had been making among female voters have been erased, a shift that has coincided with what has become a national shouting match over reproductive issues, potentially handing President Obama and the Democrats an enormous advantage this fall.

In the 2010 congressional midterm elections, Republican candidates ran evenly with Democrats among women, a break with long-established trends. That was a major reason the GOP regained control of the House.
A number of polls show Obama’s approval among women has risen significantly since December, even as it has remained flat among men.

The same trend, which began even before the controversy in recent weeks, is also showing up farther down the ballot.

When the Wall Street Journal/NBC News survey asked last summer which party should control Congress, a slim 46-42 percent plurality of women said it should be the Democrats.

But in a survey released Monday, compiling polling since the beginning of the year, that figure had widened considerably to a 15-point advantage for the Democrats, according to polling by the team of Democratic pollster Peter Hart and Republican Bill McInturff. Fifty-one percent favored Democratic control; only 36 percent wanted to see the Republicans in charge.

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Rest is here:

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Indefinite Detention Targeted In Democratic Bill On Handling Terrorist Suspects

Thank God... A little good news.

Who care who proposed the legislation.  I'm just glad to see it in the legislature.  Wonder how quick it'll die in the House?

HP:


Indefinite Detention Targeted In Democratic Bill On Handling Terrorist Suspects




WASHINGTON -- A pair of lawmakers on Thursday offered a bill that would repeallaws that allow the indefinite detention of Americans and others by the military without trial.
The power of military authorities to arrest and jail people as long as they want stems from Congress' 2001 joint resolution authorizing the use of military force against terrorists, but was explicitly codified into law last year after President Obama signedthe National Defense Authorization Act on New Year's Eve. While allowing military detention of anyone, the act mandated that certain terrorist suspects had to be held by the armed forces.
Civil libertarians on the left and right were sharply critical of the law, even though the president promised not to grab Americans.
Obama set out policy rules last month making good on that pledge, specifying that U.S. citizens and numerous other categories of suspected terrorists would not be clapped into the military system, which somewhat mollified critics.
But many pointed out that those rules are only good as long as Obama is president, prompting Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) and Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) to offer their bill Thursday.
"On the books, we have a law that gives the executive branch the power to indefinitely detain people here in the U.S., even U.S. citizens, and we believe we should take that off the books," Smith said at a Capitol Hill news conference. "Even though you can make an argument that this executive will not exercise that authority, has not exercised that authority, we don't believe we can afford to allow that kind of power to reside in the executive branch."
"That policy won't tie the hands of future administrations," said Udall. "I continue to believe that the NDAA detention provisions weaken our national security and our constitutional protections."
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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Let Your Life Be a Friction to Stop the Machine- A good piece

A good piece on our corporate dominated lives, take a look:




Monday, March 5, 2012

The collapse of Bank of America on the horizon? Looks like it

Rolling Stone/Taibbi:


It looks like Bank of America might have started circling the drain before the Occupy movement even had a chance to launch its campaign against the company. For weeks now there have been ominous signs of trouble at the bank, and yesterday we heard yet another dark piece of news.
Last year, there was an uproar when Bank of America announced a plan to slap customers with a monthly $5 fee for debit card usage. The bank eventually backed off that plan when the public and some politicians cried foul.
Now it seems the company is going to try to put a new package on the same crappy idea and sell it again. This time, the plan is to add charges that range from $6 to $25 a month. From an MSNBC report:
Pilot programs in Arizona, Georgia and Massachusetts are experimenting with charging $6 to $9 a month for what’s called an “Essentials” account. Other account options being tested in those states carry monthly charges of $9, $12, $15 and $25, but give customers opportunities to avoid the payments by maintaining minimum balances, using a credit card or taking a mortgage with Bank of America, according to an internal memo cited by the [Wall Street] Journal.
It’s a very bad sign that a bank is in a desperate cash crunch when it tries repeatedly to gouge its customers. David Trainer, an analyst for Market Watch, a WSJ publication, wrote that the new fees are a sign of series trouble at BAC. He writes
In my opinion, there are four actions taken by financial services that signal the company is headed to serious trouble.
1. Management shake-up and major layoffs - lots of layoffs over the past year
2. Exploiting accounting rules to boost earnings - SFAS 159
3. Drawing down reserves to boost earnings: to the tune of $13.3 billion in 2011 and 2012
4. Bilking customers with new fees: tried it before and trying it again
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Rest is here: 

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Get Wall Street traders a tissue, they think they're being treated unfairly

As Eric Cartman said; "let me taste your tears":

Bloomberg:


Wall Street Bonus Withdrawal Means Trading Aspen for Coupons


Andrew Schiff was sitting in a traffic jam in California this month after giving a speech at an investment conference about gold. He turned off the satellite radio, got out of the car and screamed a profanity.
“I’m not Zen at all, and when I’m freaking out about the situation, where I’m stuck like a rat in a trap on a highway with no way to get out, it’s very hard,” Schiff, director of marketing for broker-dealer Euro Pacific Capital Inc., said in an interview.
Schiff, 46, is facing another kind of jam this year: Paid a lower bonus, he said the $350,000 he earns, enough to put him in the country’s top 1 percent by income, doesn’t cover his family’s private-school tuition, a Kent, Connecticut, summer rental and the upgrade they would like from their 1,200-square- foot Brooklyn duplex.
:::Jump:::
Most people can only dream of Wall Street’s shrinking paychecks. Median household income in 2010 was $49,445, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, lower than the previous year and less than 1 percent of Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein’s $7 million restricted-stock bonus for 2011. The percentage of Americans living in poverty climbed to 15.1 percent, the highest in almost two decades.
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