Blog Archives

What is it about tattooed people? A disdain for their skin?

After yesterday’s piece on the results of the man with the a Romney tattoo on his head, this bunch of tattoos popped up on the web (can you believe it?!):

So it doesn’t matter whether you are a Republican or a Democrat, if you have the amazing need to defile yourself as a party poster, you fall into a category of folks that is beyond my understanding, not that I am fond of the current trend to cover yourself with all kinds of tattoos at all.

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Unemployment rate drops to 7.8%!

 

After listening to Romney accusing the President of not being able to get the unemployment rate below 8.1%, today the newest rate report was released. At 7.8% it’s lowest level since January 2009.

Let’s hear it for the President as the rate came down and jobs, even though just a little (114000 jobs in September), moved up.

Meanwhile, what has Romney done to support his country in helping promote unemployment activity? Why, nothing. Nothing at all.

 

What is the potential of the youth vote in the election?

 

It’s a pretty substantial 20%… the question is will they show up? Here’s the demographics:

Here in the Shepherd University area where we see an awful lot of the youth category daily, we are curious as to how involved students are getting in the campaigns. From what I see it is minimal at best.

How is it where you are? Does it look like we will surpass the 2008 election or fall below it’s total of young voters? We’ll have to wait and see.

 

A serious quote for today… listen up:

Economist Paul Krugman

…compassion is out of fashion — indeed, lack of compassion has become a matter of principle, at least among the G.O.P.’s base.

“And what this means is that modern conservatism is actually a deeply radical movement, one that is hostile to the kind of society we’ve had for the past three generations — that is, a society that, acting through the government, tries to mitigate some of the “common hazards of life” through such programs as Social Security, unemployment insurance, Medicare and Medicaid.”

– Paul Krugman

Be aware…be very aware. Remember it was the tea party audience at the recent Republican debate who yelled “Let them die!” when Ron Paul (a “doctor”? Really?) said the poor could get their own health policies if they wanted coverage.

What is becoming of our country? To think there is a percentage of our citizens who would believe in such a thing. I don’t care what anyone thinks of the limitations of Barack Obama. I don’t remember him EVER hoping that children and seniors would die for lack of medical coverage.

This is more than a little depressing.

 

Quote of the Day – From the Democratic Governor’s Conference

Concerning the walls Republicans have built up to block Obama‘s Debt Ceiling proposals:

“I think that there is an extreme wing within their party who have as their primary goal not the jobs recovery, but the defeat of President Obama in 2012.  They know that their formulations, their policies of less revenues and less regulation badly failed our country and plunged us into this recession. So their only way of evening the playing field is to keep the president from being successful in the jobs recovery.”

– Martin O’Mally, Governor of Maryland at the Democratic Governor’s Conference in Salt Lake City.

Truer words were never spoken.

Morning laugh…

In case your tired of the Prince William and Kate Middleton, the Democratic Congression Campaign Committee brings you this:

Go HERE to sign the Guestbook…

I’m a West Virginia Senior and my Congresswoman, Shelley Moore Capito, Voted Against ME…

U. S. House Republicans Pass Budget Hurting Seniors

Capito Votes with Party, Abandoning WV Seniors

Shelley Moore Capito

Today, West Virginia Republican Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito sided with House GOP leadership and voted to dramatically cut Medicare – the long-running health care program for seniors.

She has it upside down!

The cuts would radically change Medicare by turning it into a voucher program. These cuts would reopen the prescription drug “Donut Hole” forcing seniors to pay more for their medicines.

“It is outrageous for Capito to vote for these radical cuts,” said West Virginia Democratic Party Chairman Larry Puccio. “These cuts to our seniors will cause great hardship in West Virginia. These cuts will mean thousands of dollars to our seniors – forcing many to choose between health care and food. Shelley Moore Capito needs to stand up for West Virginians instead of the House Republican leaders’ radical agenda. I commend Democratic Congressman Nick Rahall for speaking out against this bill.”

Here’s what Capito did to screw her Senior constituents like ME:

End Medicare As We Know It. “The plan would essentially end Medicare, which now pays most of the health-care bills for 48 million elderly and disabled Americans, as a program that directly pays those bills.” [Wall Street Journal, 4/4/11]

Republican Plan Brings Back “Donut Hole” Coverage Gap for Prescription Drugs. (this is extremely important to me as a Senior who takes 1 different pills a day and two different insulin shots) Ryan’s plan brings back the coverage “gap in Medicare prescription drug” benefit. [Associated Press, 4/06/11]

Congressional Budget Office: GOP Budget Raises Health Costs for Retirees. “Most future retirees would pay more for health care under a new House Republican budget proposal, according to an analysis by nonpartisan experts for Congress that could be an obstacle to GOP ambitions to tame federal deficits. […] The budget office gave two reasons future retirees can expect to pay more. First, private plans would cost more than traditional Medicare because of such factors as higher administrative costs. Second, the federal contribution would grow more slowly than health care cost inflation, leaving a bigger gap for beneficiaries to pay.”  [AP, 4/6/11]

AARP: Budget Undermines Vital Programs for Older Americans. “Among its provisions, the proposal would drive up costs for people in Medicare, take away needed coverage for long-term care from millions of older and disabled Americans and reduce critical help for seniors facing the threat of hunger.”  [AARP press release, 4/7/11]

GOP Budget Would Almost Double Healthcare Costs For Seniors. “The Republican congressman’s proposal to privatize Medicare would mean a dramatic hike in U.S. healthcare costs for the elderly, an independent analysis finds. Seniors would pay almost double — more than $12,510 a year.” [LA Times, 4/7/11]

And Capito keeps sending me e-mail about all the great things she is doing for West Virginians! Whenever I send her e-mails about the things I’d like her to support, she follows the Tea Party Line instead. All it means is I’ll work twice as hard to get her out of office… if it means using this blog and my radio show weekly on WSHC.

Shelley, you suck!

Republicans Hide Health Care Law Benefits From Their Constituents

clipped from tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com
Two days after a Republican Florida federal court judge voided the entire health care law, the multi-front Republican war against it continues in the Senate, where members will vote today on whether or not to just repeal it, full stop.
Simultaneously, Republican members are trying to sneak grenades into the heart of the law, crafting modifications which they admit are meant to destroy it.
But that presents them with a conundrum when they head back to their states and districts and face constituents who stand to benefit from the law right now — seniors who are entitled to free checkups, and young adults, who can now stay on their parents’ insurance until they turn 26, for example.

“I’m a practical guy. I believe redoing the bill and replacing it is the best for everybody. Until that day comes, if you have a legitimate need under the current structure, I’ll help you meet it,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC). “It’s like the stimulus funds — I voted against it but, you know.”

There hasn’t been such partisan warfare about a bill or law since, perhaps, Republicans (and a few Democrats) passed Medicare Part D — the prescription drug benefit — back in 2003.

In a fight that in some ways mirrored the health care reform debate Democratic principals trashed the bill and the legislative process until the moment it became law. There was no talk of “death panels” but it was no secret that Democrats hated that bill, wanted to do it themselves — make sure it was paid for, close the doughnut hole, and otherwise improve it.

At the time, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) was ranking minority member on the House Energy and Commerce Committee‘s HealthSubcommittee. He was one of the Medicare bill’s most vocal critics, but he changed tone after his constituents served to benefit from it.
Sherrod Brown, member of the United States Senate.

Sherrod Brown

“I worked with senior centers. I recall I sent out missives of some kind… to seniors and senior groups to make sure that

they could benefit from this under the law, but again, making sure that the drug companies and insurance companies watching them, that they weren’t gaming the system with higher premiums and taking people off formularies, and all the things that the drug and insurance companies are pretty good at doing.”

.In Republican Ohio today, Brown sees a different dynamic. 

“All I can see is a bunch of conservative Washington politicians who have been benefiting for their whole political careers… from tax-payer financed health insurance taking benefits away from seniors and taking benefits away from families,” he said.

blog it

 

Well, let’s see where the vote goes today… then maybe we can get on to funding the FAA.

The Anti-Regulators Are the “Job Killers”

Bill Black is my new Hero. This article is published intact from this morning’s Huffington Post, and is worth your reading (the Republicans should read it, too):

 

William K. Black

William K. Black

Assoc. Professor, Univ. of Missouri, Kansas City; Sr. regulator during S&L debacle

Posted: January 14, 2011

The new mantra of the Republican Party is the old mantra — regulation is a “job killer.” It is certainly possible to have regulations kill jobs, and when I was a financial regulator I was a leader in cutting away many dumb requirements. But we have just experienced the epic ability of the anti-regulators to kill well over ten million jobs. Why then is there not a single word from the new House leadership about investigations to determine how the anti-regulators did their damage? Why is there no plan to investigate the fields in which inadequate regulation most endangers jobs? While we’re at it, why not investigate the areas in which inadequate regulation allows firms to maim and kill. This column addresses only financial regulation.

Deregulation, desupervision, and de facto decriminalization (the three “des”) created the criminogenic environment that drove the modern U.S. financial crises. The three “des” were essential to create the epidemics of accounting control fraud that hyper-inflated the bubble that triggered the Great Recession. “Job killing” is a combination of two factors — increased job losses and decreased job creation. I’ll focus solely on private sector jobs — but the recession has also been devastating in terms of the loss of state and local governmental jobs.

From 1996-2000, for example, annual private sector gross job increases rose from roughly 14 million to 16 million while annual private sector gross job losses increased from 12 to 13 million. The annual net job increases in those years, therefore, rose from two million to three million. Over that five year period, the net increase in private sector jobs was over 10 million. One common rule of thumb is that the economy needs to produce an annual net increase of about 1.5 million jobs to employ new entrants to our workforce, so the growth rate in this era was large enough to make the unemployment and poverty rates fall significantly.

The Great Recession (which officially began in the third quarter of 2007) shows why the anti-regulators are the premier job killers in America. Annual private sector gross job losses rose from roughly 12.5 to a peak of 16 million and gross private sector job gains fell from approximately 13 to 10 million. As late as March 2010, after the official end of the Great Recession, the annualized net job loss in the private sector was approximately three million (that job loss has now turned around, but the increases are far too small).

Again, we need net gains of roughly 1.5 million jobs to accommodate new workers, so the total net job losses plus the loss of essential job growth was well over 10 million during the Great Recession. These numbers, again, do not include the large job losses of state and local government workers, the dramatic rise in underemployment, the sharp rise in far longer-term unemployment, and the salary/wage (and job satisfaction) losses that many workers had to take to find a new, typically inferior, job after they lost their job. It also ignores the rise in poverty, particularly the scandalous increase in children living in poverty.

2011-01-14-chart.jpg

The Great Recession was triggered by the collapse of the real estate bubble epidemic of mortgage fraud by lenders that hyper-inflated that bubble. That epidemic could not have happened without the appointment of anti-regulators to key leadership positions. The epidemic of mortgage fraud was centered on loans that the lending industry (behind closed doors) referred to as “liar’s” loans — so any regulatory leader who was not an anti-regulatory ideologue would (as we did in the early 1990s during the first wave of liar’s loans in California) have ordered banks not to make these pervasively fraudulent loans.

One of the problems was the existence of a “regulatory black hole” — most of the nonprime loans were made by lenders not regulated by the federal government. That black hole, however, conceals two broader federal anti-regulatory problems. The federal regulators actively made the black hole more severe by preempting state efforts to protect the public from predatory and fraudulent loans. Greenspan and Bernanke are particularly culpable. In addition to joining the jihad state regulation, the Fed had unique federal regulatory authority under HOEPA (enacted in 1994) to fill the black hole and regulate any housing lender (authority that Bernanke finally used, after liar’s loans had ended, in response to Congressional criticism). The Fed also had direct evidence of the frauds and abuses in nonprime lending because Congress mandated that the Fed hold hearings on predatory lending.

The S&L debacle, the Enron era frauds, and the current crisis were all driven by accounting control fraud. The three “des” are critical factors in creating the criminogenic environments that drive these epidemics of accounting control fraud. The regulators are the “cops on the beat” when it comes to stopping accounting control fraud. If they are made ineffective by the three “des” then cheaters gain a competitive advantage over honest firms. This makes markets perverse and causes recurrent crises.

From roughly 1999 to the present, three administrations have displayed hostility to vigorous regulation and have appointed regulatory leaders largely on the basis of their opposition to vigorous regulation. When these administrations occasionally blundered and appointed, or inherited, regulatory leaders that believed in regulating the administration attacked the regulators. In the financial regulatory sphere, recent examples include Arthur Levitt and William Donaldson (SEC), Brooksley Born (CFTC), and Sheila Bair (FDIC).

Similarly, the bankers used Congress to extort the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) into trashing the accounting rules so that the banks no longer had to recognize their losses. The twin purposes of that bit of successful thuggery were to evade the mandate of the Prompt Corrective Action (PCA) law and to allow banks to pretend that they were solvent and profitable so that they could continue to pay enormous bonuses to their senior officials based on the fictional “income” and “net worth” produced by the scam accounting. (Not recognizing one’s losses increases dollar-for-dollar reported, but fictional, net worth and gross income.)

When members of Congress (mostly Democrats) sought to intimidate us into not taking enforcement actions against the fraudulent S&Ls we blew the whistle. Congress investigated Speaker Wright and the “Keating Five” in response. I testified in both investigations. Why is the new House leadership announcing its intent to give a free pass to the accounting control frauds, their political patrons, and the anti-regulators that created the criminogenic environment that hyper-inflated the financial bubble that triggered the Great Recession and caused such a loss of integrity?

The anti-regulators subverted the rule of law and allowed elite frauds to loot with impunity. Why isn’t the new House leadership investigating that disgrace as one of their top priorities? Why is the new House leadership so eager to repeat the job killing mistakes of taking the regulatory cops off their beat?

Bill Black is an Associate Professor of Economics and Law at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. He is also a white-collar criminologist, a former senior financial regulator, a serial whistleblower, and the author of The Best Way to Rob a Bank is to Own One.

Exposing the Koch Brothers

Cenk Uygur, host of The Young Turks, discusses a New York Times story about an event organized by Koch industries.

Cartoon(s) of the Week – Party Portrait

Bennett in the Chattanooga Times Free Press:

The coming elections show what Parties stand for…

– and –

Rex Babbin in the Sacramento Bee..

The Republicans, for instance, stand for getting in the way of coming changes…

– and –

Pat Oliphant, Universal Press Syndicate:

… and for attacking programs they have been down on for 70 years (even though they have been hugely successful)…

– and –

Mike Luckovich in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

…and for distracting people from the real issues with made-up outrages…

– and –

Bill Day in the Memphis Commercial Appeal:

… all the time putting a public-oriented face on things.