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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Signs the debt will be laid at the doorstep of the Pentagon

The Hill:

Defense cuts proposed by the White House are unlikely to keep a debt-ceiling deal from passing Congress, sources say.
As few as 30 House Republicans would likely consider voting against a debt-ceiling deal that cuts $300 billion from security spending, according to a GOP aide.
The relatively small bloc of opposition to the level of defense cuts floated by the White House suggests the GOP’s traditional opposition to reducing military spending has taken a backseat to warding off tax increases. 
“Robust defense spending and lower taxes have been two hallmarks of the Republican Party for years,” one former GOP House staffer said. “And those two things are going to be in direct competition with one another” in the debt talks.
Given a choice between lopping funding for the military and increasing taxes — two options for reducing the deficit long seen as anathema to the party — most House Republicans seem ready to pull the lever against the Pentagon, if the cuts are in the White House range. 
“Over the last few weeks, we’ve seen quite clearly that the Republicans in the House are not uniformly wedded to high levels of defense spending,” said Gordon Adams, who ran defense and national security budgeting for the Clinton White House. “But Republicans are very much uniformly wedded to no tax increases. … I think they’ll ultimately come down on the side of no tax cuts.”

Despite a slow recovery, only 8% blame Obama


As QE2 comes to an end Thursday, and experts try to predict what’s next for the U.S. economy, a new poll suggests a significant percentage of American thinks the economy will only continue to get worse, forever.
New York Times/CBS News poll finds that 39 percent of respondents believe “the current economic downturn is part of a long-term permanent decline and the economy will never fully recover.”
The survey is only one of a recent spate indicating widespread distress over the state of the economy. On June 8, a CNN poll found that 48 percent of Americans believe another Great Depression is either very likely or somewhat likely.
A striking chart from the University of Michigan showed a steep decline in the number of consumers who expected their family income to rise within the next 12 months. Another survey, conducted by the company BIG Research, found similar results -- in that poll, 89 percent of respondents said theydon’t expect to receive a salary increase in the next year.
And a poll taken by Harris Interactive and released Wednesday found that 74 percent of Americans had an overall negative opinion of the way President Obama is handling the employment situation.
Obama escapes relatively unscathed in the NYT/CBS poll: Only 8 percent of respondents think his administration is “mostly to blame for the current state of the nation’s economy.” The Bush administration comes in for the biggest share of blame -- 26 percent -- while another 25 percent say Wall Street and financial institutions are at fault.
In what might be taken as an encouraging sign, 57 percent of respondents to the NYT/CBS poll said that the current economic downturn was only temporary, and that “eventually the economy will fully recover.”

Damn it Lexington...

Monday, June 27, 2011

Forgive the absence readers.

I've been slammed these last few weeks with bachelor parties and weddings.

Here's a little highlight:

Yes, I'm aware this is possible the most redneck thing you've ever seen. We try.

Deal on debt?

And what a great deal it would be, from the WP:

"As President Obama prepares to meet Monday with Senate leaders to try to restart talks about the swollen national debt, some Republicans see a potential path to compromise: significant cuts in military spending.

Senior GOP lawmakers and leadership aides said it would be far easier to build support for a debt-reduction package that cuts the Pentagon budget — a key Democratic demand — than one that raises revenue by tinkering with the tax code. Last week, Republicans walked out of talks led by Vice President Biden, insisting that the White House take tax increases off the table.

In listening sessions with their rank and file, House Republican leaders said they have found a surprising willingness to consider defense cuts that would have been unthinkable five years ago, when they last controlled the House. While the sessions have sparked heated debate on many issues, Rep. Peter Roskam (Ill.), the deputy GOP whip, said there are few lawmakers left who view the Pentagon budget as sacrosanct.

“When we say everything is on the table, that’s what we mean,” said House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), the No. 3 leader who has been hosting the listening sessions in his Capitol offices."

This seems to good to be true to me...

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Wallstreet gets it's "first break" in a long time.

After years of government "arm twisting" and the tyrannical Obama regime pounding these patriots with it's statist agenda, Wallstreet finally got a break from the Supreme Court:

Let's hope that the current Supreme Court is remembered by posterity as the absolute peak high point in judicial willingness to kowtow to corporate interests. Because if it gets any worse than now, it's hard to see any way forward for such antiquated concepts as democracy or level playing fields or simple justice.

Case in point: Last week's decision to absolve the management of an investment fund, Janus Capital Group, for any legal responsibility for misleading information contained in prospectuses for mutual funds created under the supervision of Janus.

The fund industry is cheering, and rightly so. The best explanation for what's at stake is provided by Steve Waldman at but the essential point is simple. The Supreme Court just made it much, much harder for shareholders in mutual funds to sue the operators of those funds for exactly the kind of misrepresentations and malfeasances that were at the heart of the mortgage lending securitization fiasco that blew up the financial system and crashed the economy.

The Supreme Court's decision in Janus is a license to lie. And it is backdated. The statute of limitations on Rule 10b-5 actions is five years. Perhaps naively, I had hoped that some of the egregious fraud of the securitization boom would be punished by investors, despite the "let's look forward," see-no-evil attitude of the regulatory community. Thanks to Janus, lawsuits-in-progress may be disappearing as we speak. Lawsuits regarding the particularly rancid 2006 / 2007 vintage of securitizations may never be filed. Going forward, if you are considering an investment in a mutual fund or ETF, you should understand that you will have little recourse if information provided in the prospectus turns out to be misleading or incomplete, even outright fraudulent. Perhaps you are comfortable relying solely upon your fund managers' reputation, perhaps not. If you have a say in how a pension fund or endowment or bank invests its money, I can't imagine why you'd permit investment in any sort of securitization while you have no meaningful assurance that what is being sold to you is actually what you are buying, even or perhaps especially if the deal is being offered by a big, famous, "deep-pocketed" bank.
Read Waldman's entire post. And weep.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Another meltdown in the near future?


"SAO PAULO (Luciana Lopez) - The International Monetary Fund cut its forecast for U.S. economic growth on Friday and warned Washington and debt-ridden European countries that they are "playing with fire" unless they take immediate steps to reduce their budget deficits.

The IMF, in its regular assessment of global economic prospects, said that bigger threats to growth had emerged since its previous report in April, citing the euro zone debt crisis and signs of overheating in emerging market economies.

The global lender forecast that U.S. gross domestic product would grow an anemic 2.5 percent this year and 2.7 percent in 2012. In its forecast just two months ago, it had expected 2.8 percent and 2.9 percent growth, respectively.

The outlook elsewhere was mixed. The IMF said it was slightly more optimistic about the euro area's growth prospects this year, but a lack of political leadership in dealing with that crisis and the budget showdown in the United States could create major financial volatility in coming months.

"You cannot afford to have a world economy where these important decisions are postponed because you're really playing with fire," said Jose Vinals, director of the IMF's monetary and capital markets department.

"We have now entered very clearly into a new phase of the (global) crisis, which is, I would say, the political phase of the crisis," he said in an interview in Sao Paulo, where the forecast was published.

In the United States, the political problems include a fight over raising the debt ceiling. Fears that the world's biggest economy could default, even briefly, have rattled markets, with Fitch Ratings saying even a "technical" default would jeopardize the country's AAA rating.

Meanwhile, Greece has edged closer to default as euro zone officials disagree on a possible second aid package for the indebted country. With strikes and protests around the country, political turmoil has added to uncertainty, stoking fears that the government will not be able to tighten its belt enough to reduce crippling deficits.

"If you make a list of the countries in the world that have the biggest homework in restoring their public finances to a reasonable situation in terms of debt levels, you find four countries: Greece, Ireland, Japan and the United States," Vinals said"

Disfranchisement the poor, destroy women's rights

Friday, June 17, 2011

U.S. controls Iraqi oil, first I've heard of this idea


MOSCOW — When Iraq auctioned rights to rebuild and expand its oil industry two years ago, the Russian company Lukoil won a hefty portion — a field holding about 10 percent of Iraq’s known oil.

It seemed a geopolitical victory for Lukoil. And because only one of the 11 fields that the Iraqis auctioned off went to an American oil company — Exxon Mobil — it also seemed as if few petroleum benefits would flow to the country that took the lead role in the war, the United States.

The auction’s outcome helped defuse criticism in the Arab world that the United States had invaded Iraq for its oil. “No one, even the United States, can steal the oil,” the Iraqi government spokesman, Ali al-Dabbagh, said at the time.

But American companies can, apparently, drill for the oil.

In fact, American drilling companies stand to make tens of billions of dollars from the new petroleum activity in Iraq long before any of the oil producers start seeing any returns on their investments

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Oh Ed Whitfield, where art though (living)?

Jim busts one hell of a good question out on Hillbillyreport, does Ed Whifield even reside in Kentucky?

Update June 15, 2011: As best we can tell Ed Whitfield's financial disclosures since 2003 don't include the $430,000 (4356 WESTOVER PLACE WASHINGTON, DC 20016-5552) property.
Mr. Whitfield sir according to Vote-KY your address is 108 Alumni Ave Hopkinsville KY, 42240. Really! Are you still living with your father?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

John Yarmuth blasts GOP plan to dissolve Medicare

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Of course a government system runs better/more efficiently, that's not the point.

Paul Krugman:

Every once in a while a politician comes up with an idea that’s so bad, so wrongheaded, that you’re almost grateful. For really bad ideas can help illustrate the extent to which policy discourse has gone off the rails.

And so it was with Senator Joseph Lieberman’s proposal, released last week, to raise the age for Medicare eligibility from 65 to 67.
Like Republicans who want to end Medicare as we know it and replace it with (grossly inadequate) insurance vouchers, Mr. Lieberman describes his proposal as a way to save Medicare. It wouldn’t actually do that. But more to the point, our goal shouldn’t be to “save Medicare,” whatever that means. It should be to ensure that Americans get the health care they need, at a cost the nation can afford.
And here’s what you need to know: Medicare actually saves money — a lot of money — compared with relying on private insurance companies. And this in turn means that pushing people out of Medicare, in addition to depriving many Americans of needed care, would almost surely end up increasing total health care costs.
The idea of Medicare as a money-saving program may seem hard to grasp. After all, hasn’t Medicare spending risen dramatically over time? Yes, it has: adjusting for overall inflation, Medicare spending per beneficiary rose more than 400 percent from 1969 to 2009.
But inflation-adjusted premiums on private health insurance rose more than 700 percent over the same period. So while it’s true that Medicare has done an inadequate job of controlling costs, the private sector has done much worse. And if we deny Medicare to 65- and 66-year-olds, we’ll be forcing them to get private insurance — if they can — that will cost much more than it would have cost to provide the same coverage through Medicare.
By the way, we have direct evidence about the higher costs of private insurance via the Medicare Advantage program, which allows Medicare beneficiaries to get their coverage through the private sector. This was supposed to save money; in fact, the program costs taxpayers substantially more per beneficiary than traditional Medicare.
And then there’s the international evidence. The United States has the most privatized health care system in the advanced world; it also has, by far, the most expensive care, without gaining any clear advantage in quality for all that spending. Health is one area in which the public sector consistently does a better job than the private sector at controlling costs.
Indeed, as the economist (and former Reagan adviser) Bruce Bartlett points out, high U.S. private spending on health care, compared with spending in other advanced countries, just about wipes out any benefit we might receive from our relatively low tax burden. So where’s the gain from pushing seniors out of an admittedly expensive system, Medicare, into even more expensive private health insurance?
Wait, it gets worse. Not every 65- or 66-year-old denied Medicare would be able to get private coverage — in fact, many would find themselves uninsured. So what would these seniors do?
Well, as the health economists Austin Frakt and Aaron Carroll document, right now Americans in their early 60s without health insurance routinely delay needed care, only to become very expensive Medicare recipients once they reach 65. This pattern would be even stronger and more destructive if Medicare eligibility were delayed. As a result, Mr. Frakt and Mr. Carroll suggest, Medicare spending might actually go up, not down, under Mr. Lieberman’s proposal.
O.K., the obvious question: If Medicare is so much better than private insurance, why didn’t the Affordable Care Act simply extend Medicare to cover everyone? The answer, of course, was interest-group politics: realistically, given the insurance industry’s power, Medicare for all wasn’t going to pass, so advocates of universal coverage, myself included, were willing to settle for half a loaf. But the fact that it seemed politically necessary to accept a second-best solution for younger Americans is no reason to start dismantling the superior system we already have for those 65 and over.
Now, none of what I have said should be taken as a reason to be complacent about rising health care costs. Both Medicare and private insurance will be unsustainable unless there are major cost-control efforts — the kinds of efforts that are actually in the Affordable Care Act, and which Republicans demagogued with cries of “death panels.”
The point, however, is that privatizing health insurance for seniors, which is what Mr. Lieberman is in effect proposing — and which is the essence of the G.O.P. plan — hurts rather than helps the cause of cost control. If we really want to hold down costs, we should be seeking to offer Medicare-type programs to as many Americans as possible.

The Wallstreet criminals don't care about efficiency, they care about access to all of that government capital, they want to gamble with it just like they did in 2008.

Senate Dems say they're standing firm, no cuts to Medicaid

Senate Democrats: We Will Not Let GOP Cut Medicare

"WASHINGTON -- Medicare benefits should not be cut as part of a deal to raise the debt ceiling, Senate Democrats said on Tuesday, drawing a firm distinction with Republicans who have called for major changes to the program.

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) rebuked Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell for his hard-line stance on Medicare after the top Republican senator said he will only support a final debt ceiling deal if it makes changes to the program.

McConnell and all but five senate Republicans voted in support of the House budget plan written by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), which transforms Medicare into a voucher-like program for future seniors.

"Basically [McConnell] is saying that if he can't dismantle Medicare all at once, he wants to do it in pieces," Schumer said. "We will not let him succeed."

Republicans have already said that tax increases, or even ending subsidies, cannot be part of the deal to raise the debt limit, with the Treasury Department estimates must be done by Aug. 2 to avoid default. A bipartisan group from the House, Senate and White House is working on a deal to raise the debt ceiling, perhaps by more than $2 trillion, in exchange for trillions in cuts.

"Not matter what we do in these budget talks we must preserve the program in its current form, and we will not allow cuts to seniors' benefits," Schumer said.

Without taxes or cuts to Medicare benefits, though, there are questions about how they can reach that final figure."

That's a really good thing for the Dems, because this blogger would immediately be jumping ship and switching to a 3rd party.  Good thing the numbers are with us, as in Medicaid saves money.

Make no mistake about it, the American public is under attack

They have the means of production, the important land, they own the media and they're coming for more. Whether you know it or not business oligarchs have declared war on the American people. They've taken your pensions, they've taken your bonuses and now they're going to take your salary, your social safety nets, Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid.

By SCOTT BAUER Associated Press
Posted: 06/14/2011 03:03:14 PM PDT

"MADISON, Wis.—The Wisconsin Supreme Court handed Republican Gov. Scott Walker a major victory on Tuesday, ruling that his polarizing union rights law can go into effect.
In a 4-3 decision, the court said Dane County Circuit Judge Maryann Sumi overstepped her authority when she said Republican lawmakers violated the state's opening meetings statutes in the run-up to passage and declared the union rights law void.

The law, which eliminates most of public employees' collective bargaining rights and requires them to pay more for their health care and pensions, sparked weeks of protests when Walker introduced it in February. Tens of thousands of demonstrators occupied the state Capitol for weeks, thrusting Wisconsin to the forefront of a national debate over labor rights.

Walker claimed that the law was needed to help address the state's $3.6 billion budget shortfall and give local governments enough flexibility on labor costs to deal with deep cuts to state aid.

Democrats saw it as an attack on public employee unions, which usually back their party's candidates. Democratic state senators fled to Illinois to try to prevent a vote on the measure, but Republicans got around the maneuver by convening a special committee to remove fiscal elements from the bill and allow a Senate vote with fewer members present. Walker signed the plan into law two days later."

Just remember, you have owners, they have a big club, and "you ain't in it."

The Patriotic Millionaires for Fiscal Strength to President Obama and Congress, raise our taxes

NPR: "The Patriotic Millionaires for Fiscal Strength has sent a letter to President Obama and Congress asking them to raise their taxes and the taxes of the 370,000 other Americans who earn more than $1 million a year."

Monday, June 13, 2011

Energy and futures, a game in which few know the rules but we all pay through the teeth:

Banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies.
-Thomas Jefferson LETTER CXXXII.--TO FRANCIS W. GILMER, June 7,1816
Monticello, June 7,1816.

Zero Hedge:

Oil Futures Fake Out

"The CROOKS (allegedly, just indictments so far) at the NYMEX are running a scam and they have NO INTENTION WHATSOEVER of accepting delivery of even 1/10th of the 367M barrels they had as open contracts last week. In fact, Wednesday (June 8) they traded their contracts 454,043 times - isn't that amazing?  It's a 123% daily churn rate!  Of course, it's easy to churn 454M barrels of crude because the only sucker that ends up paying for all those fees is YOU, the end consumer of crude.  All those fees are passed on to you as part of the price of oil.  
Don't forget to thank Uncle Lloyd and Uncle Jamie (who was whining to Uncle Ben about how stopping him from screwing over taxpayers is bad for the economy), when you fill up your tank, as Exxon's CEO Rex Tillerson told us last week, without those speculators, a barrel of oil would be $70. You can see Jamie sweating as President Obama said a Justice Department probe will examine the role of “traders and speculators” in oil markets and how they contribute to high gas prices. “The attorney general’s putting together a team whose job it us to root out any cases of fraud or manipulation in the oil markets that might affect gas prices, and that includes the role of traders and speculators,” Obama said April 21st in Reno, Nevada. “We are going to make sure that no one is taking advantage of American consumers for their own short-term gain.”    
The group, which includes representatives of federal agencies and state attorneys general, will check for fraud, collusion or misrepresentation at the retail and wholesale level, the Justice Department said in a statement last week. The group also will examine investor practices and the role of speculators and index traders in oil futures markets.  One can only hope that Dimon's squeaky wheel will get the grease (prior to having a Government probe shoved up his ass!).   
Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley today are the two leading energy trading firms in the United States. Citigroup and JP Morgan Chase are major players and fund numerous hedge funds as well which speculate, and let's not forget the Fabulous and Alleged Koch Brothers (I say "Fabulous and Alleged" because, if you don't, you hear from their attorneys, which is why no one ever says anything about that alleged scam!).  In June 2006, oil traded in futures markets at some $60 a barrel and a Senate investigation estimated that some $25 of that was due to pure financial speculation. That would mean today that at least $40 of more of today’s $101 a barrel price is due to pure hedge fund and financial institution speculation. However, given the unchanged equilibrium in global oil supply and demand over recent months amid the explosive rise in oil futures prices traded on Nymex and ICE exchanges in New York and London, it is more likely that as much as 60% of today oil price, is pure speculation."

AND, if you haven't read The Great American Bubble Machine, you really should, it explains market manipulation since the Great Depression:

"The first thing you need to know about Goldman Sachs is that it's everywhere. The world's most powerful investment bank is a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money. In fact, the history of the recent financial crisis, which doubles as a history of the rapid decline and fall of the suddenly swindled dry American empire, reads like a Who's Who of Goldman Sachs graduates.
By now, most of us know the major players. As George Bush's last Treasury secretary, former Goldman CEO Henry Paulson was the architect of the bailout, a suspiciously self-serving plan to funnel trillions of Your Dollars to a handful of his old friends on Wall Street. Robert Rubin, Bill Clinton's former Treasury secretary, spent 26 years at Goldman before becoming chairman of Citigroup — which in turn got a $300 billion taxpayer bailout from Paulson. There's John Thain, the asshole chief of Merrill Lynch who bought an $87,000 area rug for his office as his company was imploding; a former Goldman banker, Thain enjoyed a multi-billion-dollar handout from Paulson, who used billions in taxpayer funds to help Bank of America rescue Thain's sorry company. And Robert Steel, the former Goldmanite head of Wachovia, scored himself and his fellow executives $225 million in golden-parachute payments as his bank was self-destructing. There's Joshua Bolten, Bush's chief of staff during the bailout, and Mark Patterson, the current Treasury chief of staff, who was a Goldman lobbyist just a year ago, and Ed Liddy, the former Goldman director whom Paulson put in charge of bailed-out insurance giant AIG, which forked over $13 billion to Goldman after Liddy came on board. The heads of the Canadian and Italian national banks are Goldman alums, as is the head of the World Bank, the head of the New York Stock Exchange, the last two heads of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York — which, incidentally, is now in charge of overseeing Goldman — not to mention …"

Oh and there's this:

"Well, thanks to Wikileaks, we now know that when the Bush administration reached out to the Saudis in the summer of '08 to ask them to increase oil production to lower prices, the Saudis responded by saying they were having a hard time finding buyers for their oil as it was, and instead asked the Bush administration to rein in Wall Street speculators.

According to the McClatchy report, the Wiki cables show that Saudi ministers repeatedly told Bush administration officials that increasing production might be counterproductive.

The cables show that at the height of the bubble, in May 2008, U.S. officials met in Riyadh with the Saudi assistant petroleum minister, Prince Abdulazziz bin Salman bin Abdulaziz al Saud, who told the U.S. he was "extremely worried" that high prices would destroy the demand for crude.

"Aramco is trying to sell more, but frankly there are no buyers," he reportedly said, referring to the Saudi state oil company. "We are discounting buyers."

The issue here, which I covered somewhat in Griftopia and in "The Great American Bubble Machine," revolves around the influx of speculative money into the commodities markets. Because of various changes to the way commodities were traded -- including a series of semi-secret exemptions handed out to commodities speculators, allowing companies like Goldman Sachs to popularize commodities speculation -- there was, by the summer of 2008, a cascade of investor money pouring into commodities, mostly all betting on a rise of commodity prices. Much of this might have been due to money flowing out of mortgages and into the "safe" haven of commodities, with exploding energy prices being an unwelcome side effect. While there was less than $20 billion of speculative activity in commodities in the early 2000s, by 2008 that number had jumped up to well over $200 billion, with virtually all that money being "long" money, i.e. bets on a rise in prices. All of that new money turned into a battering ram pushing prices through the roof. We are seeing the same phenomenon this year.

The Wiki documents show that the Saudis had long ago concluded that this increased investor flow was a threat to disrupt the markets. An embassy cable from 2007 recounted a meeting U.S. officials had with Yasser Mufti, an Aramco planner. "The Saudi analysts indicated a link between higher oil prices and the influx of investor funds into the oil markets," it read.

The cables also show that the Saudis urged the Americans to enact reforms to rein in Wall Street, calling for speculative limits and other changes. It also showed that some Saudi officials believed that speculation added as much as $40 to the oil price during the height of the bubble."

The reality of the world we live in:

Yeah for liberty, stomping someone's head gets you a $600 dollar fine

Rand Paul Supporter Accused Of Assault Enters Alford Plea In Case (LEX 18):

"A Rand Paul supporter charged with assaulting an activist before the November election has entered an Alford Plea in the case.

Police say Tim Profitt stepped on 23-year-old activist Lauren Valle while she was on the ground before a debate in Lexington between Paul and Jack Conway.

Profitt said he was trying to protect Paul when Valle approached the candidate with a fake award. Profitt then lost his job as the Bourbon County coordinator for the Paul campaign.

An Alford Plea means Profitt recognizes there's enough evidence for a conviction, but he's not addressing the facts alleged. Profitt will pay Valle $600 restitution. Profitt, who is currently out of state, will also serve one year of unsupervised probation.

Back in April, a judge refused a request by Profitt to have the charges against him dismissed."

I'll bet Profitt is still waiting on her to apologize. He's currently living in Arizona.

Tornado-hit family denied FEMA grant to repair home... because of 'insufficient damage'

Billions to banks and Wallstreet, trillions to wars and "defense" spending, corporate welfare to oil and gas companies...

And there are those wanting individuals seeking government aid to carry no cash or a minimal amount, and require those on welfare to go for drug tests.

We have a serious problem understanding who the enemy in this country is, it's not the poorest and most disadvantaged amongst us.

If you want to attack a group of people for a bad economy, unemployment, stagnating wages, loss of health insurance and war look to those in the top 1%. The true owners and policy makers of this country.

The priorities in this country and becoming a sad display of humanity.

Daily Mail, not even an American news outlet"

Displaced families in tornado-ravaged Alabama are outraged after being denied federal aide to rebuild their flattened homes - due to 'insufficient damage'.

Jefferson County resident Jonathan Stewart said he laughed in shock after the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) claimed the house his family lost in the deadly April 27 twister was 'not unsafe to live in'.

The devastating reality is the house is now a concrete slab surrounded by rubble.

"I don't want a nation of thinkers. I want a nation of workers."

-John D. Rockefeller

BUT, let us always remember:

"When our days become dreary with low-hovering clouds of despair, and when our nights become darker than a thousand midnights, let us remember that there is a creative force in this universe, working to pull down the gigantic mountains of evil, a power that is able to make a way out of no way and transform dark yesterdays into bright tomorrows. Let us realize the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice." -MLK

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Williams fan of Scott Walker?

Good catch at Barefoot, had to pass this along:

Joe put this pretty well:  "While Beshear tries to alienate liberals, Williams is trying to shove them back to Beshear at equal speed:"

Go 4:10 into the video.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

An end to AIDS?

(Reuters) - For his doctors, Timothy Ray Brown was a shot in the dark. An HIV-positive American who was cured by a unique type of bone marrow transplant, the man known as "the Berlin patient" has become an icon of what scientists hope could be the next phase of the AIDS pandemic: its end.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The dissolution of American labor

From the CJ:

WASHINGTON — This is a maddening time for anyone concerned about the lives of working-class Americans. The frustration and anger that suffused AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka's declaration last week that labor would distance itself from the Democratic Party was both clear and widely noted.
Not so widely noted has been a shift in the organizing strategy of two of labor's leading institutions — Trumka's AFL-CIO and the Service Employees International Union — that reflects a belief that the American labor movement may be on the verge of extinction and must radically change its game.
It took a multitude of Democratic sins and failures to push Trumka to denounce, if not exactly renounce, the political party that has been labor's home at least since the New Deal. In a speech at the National Press Club last week, Trumka said that Republicans were wielding a “wrecking ball” against the rights and interests of working Americans. But Democrats, he added, were “simply standing aside” as the Republicans moved in for the kill.

A month of tornados across the United States