Archive for January, 2009


Today on the senate floor, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo) and former co-chair Obama Campaign said what most people are thinking about the latest  revelations concerning further abuses of the Troubled Asset Relief Program(TARP). But wait it gets better, she is hitting these crooks where it hurts, their asses wallets. Sen. McCaskill plans to introduce legislation that will cap compensation for employees of any private company that accepts federal dollars from the TARP fund. (Duh) 

“We have a bunch of idiots on Wall Street that are kicking sand in the face of the American taxpayer.” And then the Missouri Democrat reloaded.

“They don’t get it,” McCaskill said. “These people are idiots. You can’t use taxpayer money to pay out $18-billion in bonuses… What planet are these people on?”

What planet indeed? In my opinion, her proposal is brillant, Executives salaries would be capped at $400,000 and it would include salary, bonuses and stock options. Clearly, some employees of Companies who have received Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) funds have continued to profit why else would they be awarding multimillion-dollar bonuses?

Here’s what the White House had to say about the comments from McCaskill, I say You Go Girl!

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Is it just me or isn’t this whole stimulus bill opposition by the GOP getting a bit out of hand. I think both sides are putting  trash projects, useless provisions and pork into the bill but with National Unemployment filings claims at a All-Time High , more layoffs being announced daily and home foreclosures climbing, somebody, everybody needs to get off them collective asses in Obama’s Administration and work toward a solution.

The Labor Department reported that the number of Americans continuing to claim unemployment insurance for the week ending Jan. 17 was a seasonally adjusted 4.78 million, the highest on records dating back to 1967. That’s an increase of 159,000 from the previous week and worse than economists’ expectations of 4.65 million.

In the featured video above Nora O’Donnell (during the interview) point blank asks GOP Representative Mike Pence of Indiana, who chairs the House Republican Conference why he and the GOP are promising “overwhelming opposition from the Republicans” why the push-back”? Pence responds with some generalized talking points but the comment regarding the use of “token tax rebate checks” was quite laughable especially when you consider that the answer to stimulating the economy by the GOP and the Bush Administration was the issuance of  “token tax rebate checks”.

I also can’t help but be amused by the actuation that Rush Limbaugh is a cherished voice? I have always found the man’s statements divisive and hateful but that’s just me and I don’t think that has changed. Case in point, Limbaugh’s comment that  “we have to bend over, grab our ankles”  because Obama is the “first black president”. This type of  rhetoric has reached a fever pitch over the past few days and I for one do not see the purpose it serves in moving us forward. Nora O’Donnell calls Pence out for not renouncing Limbaugh’s comments but Pence is more interested in towing the party line.

Enough already!

When I saw this interview the word historic is what came to mind, first and when Obama said:

And my job is to communicate to the American people that the Muslim world is filled with extraordinary people who simply want to live their lives and see their children live better lives. My job to the Muslim world is to communicate that the Americans are not your enemy. We sometimes make mistakes. We have not been perfect. But if you look at the track record, as you say, America was not born as a colonial power, and that the same respect and partnership that America had with the Muslim world as recently as 20 or 30 years ago, there’s no reason why we can’t restore that. And that I think is going to be an important task.

But ultimately, people are going to judge me not by my words but by my actions and my administration’s actions. And I think that what you will see over the next several years is that I’m not going to agree with everything that some Muslim leader may say, or what’s on a television station in the Arab world – but I think that what you’ll see is somebody who is listening, who is respectful, and who is trying to promote the interests not just of the United States, but also ordinary people who right now are suffering from poverty and a lack of opportunity. I want to make sure that I’m speaking to them, as well.

My second thought was we finally have a President, we just had to wait 8 long years to hear him speak.

Senate Republicans have forced a delay of the confirmation vote for President  Obama’s nominee for attorney general, Eric Holder. I have to wonder what their true reasons are? Is the confirmation hold up really because  of  Holder’s, Clinton era role in the pardon of  financier Marc Rich or is it really more about whether Holder’s  justice department  will pursue criminal prosecutions over Bush and Cheney’s admitted use of torture, the treatment of terror detainees or the immeasurable other crimes committed against our Constitution during the Bush administration?  I think the latter reason would be the true winner.

Thus far there have been no clear cut answers. Will Obama’s Adminisration  facilitate  an  investigation  into the  abuses  of power and alleged crimes committed by Bush and Company? Perhaps a hint of what is yet to come can be  found in the words of the incoming Attorney General Eric Holder. 

 Holder said “unequivocally on the first day of his confirmation hearing that waterboarding was torture, and “he vowed to initiate an extensive and immediate “damage assessment” to fix fundamental problems in the Justice Department that he said were caused by the Bush administration.

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Okay so the GOP is holding up the second half of the TARP funds like they themselves are somehow going to lose something in the deal. But if fact they are themselves profitting, at least some are. Take Eric Cantor for example he is considered by the GOP as a raising star. ProPublica gives the dirty details.

This Thursday, Cantor cast a high-profile vote opposing release of another $350 billion in bailout funds. Unpublicized until now was a recent development: The Treasury Department used $267 million of taxpayer funds to buy preferred stock in a private banking company that employs Cantor’s wife.

The bailout for New York Private Bank and Trust (NYPBT) [2]came earlier this month as part of a Treasury Department program to boost “healthy banks” with extra capital. NYPBT is the holding company for Emigrant Bank [3], a savings bank with 35 branches in and around New York City. Diana Cantor runs the Virginia branch of Emigrant’s wealth-management division, called Virginia Private Bank & Trust, which targets an ultra-rich clientele.

Rob Collins, Cantor’s deputy chief of staff, said the congressman didn’t know the bank was seeking bailout money and never interceded on the bank’s behalf with government regulators. He also said Cantor had never intended the bailout bill to be used to buy up stock in banks.

I guess Cantor and his wife don’t discuss their day jobs (Um), somebody’s got some splaining to do.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Jon Stewart mocks Inauguration Media …“, posted with vodpod

 

Source: ACLU

In a clear victory for free speech, the Supreme Court has announced that it will not hear the government’s appeal of a ban on the Child Online Protection Act (COPA), the federal law that would criminalize constitutionally protected speech on the Internet.

Lower courts have rejected the law as unconstitutional and it has not gone into effect in the 10 years since it was passed. In 2004, the Supreme Court upheld an injunction against the law on the grounds that it violated the First Amendment. The American Civil Liberties Union first challenged COPA on behalf of a broad coalition of writers, artists and health educators who use the Internet to communicate constitutionally protected speech.

The following can be attributed to Chris Hansen, senior staff attorney for the ACLU and lead counsel on the case:

“For over a decade the government has been trying to thwart freedom of speech on the Internet, and for years the courts have been finding the attempts unconstitutional. It is not the role of the government to decide what people can see and do on the Internet. Those are personal decisions that should be made by individuals and their families.”

Reuters

Photo: Reuters

Bush does the thing right but the damage is done. Editorials from around the World are  unforgiving and I find myself at this 11th hour feeling pity for the man. Historians will have the final word on his legacy but on this day, Bush’s last day I wonder if he or Cheney have any regrets? Hell, what am I saying I’m still wondering if Cheney is human.

Canada’s popular Toronto Globe has a parting shot and described Bush’s term in office as; “Goodbye to the worst president ever,” it declared. “Bush was an unmitigated disaster, failing on the big issues from the invasion of Iraq to global warming, Hurricane Katrina and the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.”

Perhaps the truth is it hurts to read how the rest of the world views the U.S. now. One of the most disturbing for me to read was this one. Stern magazine said, “Bush led the world’s most powerful nation to ruin. He lied to the world, tortured in the name of freedom and caused lasting damage to America’s standing.” Why did that one cut so deep because it is all true and I find myself once again hoping Bush and his co-conspirators face prosecution. On this topic is where I find hope.

Still angry? when all else fells play the game Goodbye Mr.Bush and throw away your frustrations. Nothing says goodbye quite like a WMD.

Let it Snow

This brings out the weather weenie in me.

FORECAST CONFIDENCE INCREASING AS NEAR/SHORT TERM MODEL GUIDANCE
HAVE COME INTO GOOD AGREEMENT CONCERNING PLACEMENT/MOVEMENT OF
SURFACE/805MB LOW AND PROBABILITY OF MEASURABLE SNOW ACROSS CENTRAL
NC LATE TONIGHT AND TUESDAY.

AS COLUMN BECOMES COLDER…TRENDED SNOW RATIO TO 8:1 PRE-DAWN HOURS THEN 12:1 BY MID
MORNING TUESDAY.

Jean we are finally getting our snow. YeeHaw!

A reader writes:

I get the fact that you don’t like coal. However, what do you propose in it’s place?

Public awareness regarding the issues surrounding coal, for starters. The coal/utility industry’s ad campaign and it’s promotion of “clean coal” is doing nothing more than slowing the transition to clean renewable sources of energy. Yes, some will argue that coal is a cheap abundant resource but the true costs of its extraction, processing and waste management (coal slurry waste disposal) are extremely high, especially the environmental cost. Our use of coal leads to ravaged mountains, air pollution, toxic emissions and polluted water supplies.  Coal mining is massively more invasive to the environment than oil or gas drilling and the amount of toxins and toxic by-products associated with its processing is astonishing to say the least.
Consider that, Bank of America through it’s lending practices is influencing the coal industry to rethink their coal extraction processes. BofA’s decision acknowledges the coal industry must change and the extracting methods used by the  industry should “minimize environmental impacts”.

Bank of America is particularly concerned about surface mining conducted through mountain top removal in locations such as central Appalachia. We therefore will phase out financing of companies whose predominant method of extracting coal is through mountain top removal. While we acknowledge that surface mining is economically efficient and creates jobs, it can be conducted in a way that minimizes environmental impacts in certain geographies.

If we must use coal and we do, there are techniques the power industry could apply to keep much of the environmental cost low.  Effective capture technologies do exist and they have been used widely around the globe, in the manufacture of chemicals such as fertilizer, and in the purification of natural gas.  Canada for example, has  experience with CO2 storage in their operations to purify natural gas, we us the technology in the US to boost oil production. Granted nothing is perfect but to continue the use of coal as an energy source with no environmental regulations or steps to minimze the affects is environmental suicide, we will eventually pay a much higher price. The “Clean coal” campaign gives us a false sense of security, and is designed to imply that we can maintain the status quo. There are roughly 600 coal plants producing electricity in the U.S.  they are responsible for more than two-thirds of sulfur dioxide, 22% of nitrogen oxides, nearly 40% of carbon dioxide and a third of all mercury emissions is this “clean coal” the honest answer is not so much.  
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