A bipartisan contingent of freshman and sophomore lawmakers is pushing House appropriators to cut the salaries of lawmakers by $8,700 each next year.
The 5 percent cut would save taxpayers $4.7 million and comes more than a month after Congress voted and President Barack Obama signed a measure to freeze congressional pay for 2011.
Are you holding your breath? Then again... They already do make most of their money when they hit the ground running as lobbyists. So a haircut now wouldn't be unfathomable.Make the jump»
Daily Kos Yesterday: "Yes I'm Angry...angry at the Democratic leadership -- and yes, even some of our fellow “progressives”..."
Angry Mouse speaks for many (You Sure Are Angry) as a featured writer on the front page of the Internet's largest progressive forum, Daily Kos, where the mission is, specifically, to help elect Democrats. She's angry:
...Angry at a two-party system that favors corporations over people; angry at a justice system that most severely punishes those who are least able to fight back; angry at the media who refuses to call a lie a lie; angry at a health care system that allows private corporations to profit by allowing the sick to suffer and die; angry at the terrorists who want to deprive women of our reproductive autonomy; angry at the misogynists who want us to know our place; angry at the Democratic leadership -- and yes, even some of our fellow “progressives” -- for treating women's rights as a fringe issue; angry at anyone who feels the need to question whether it’s really necessary to be so angry.
This is another loud shout in a growing and louder trend of unhappiness and, dare I say -- distrust -- with the inability of Democrats to get it together.Make the jump»
A diary @ dailykos asks several key questions of Mitch McConell who stated
"the key to a bipartisan bill is not to have a government plan in the bill."
But, before you read The Unmitigated Gall of Mitch 'The Public Option is a Problem' McConnell!, readers should watch a discussion among Bill Moyers and guests Dr. Sidney Wolfe and Dr. David Himmelstein (full transcript here).
Watch the entire interview because, on the whole, it's a mind-blower making bluntly clear why Sen. Max Baucus invited NO single-payer advocates to discuss reform options:
It just cannot pass. We can't squander this opportunity. We can't spend - we can't waste capital on something that's just impossible.
Bill Moyers answers his rhetorical question of why no single-payer advocates testified to Baucus' Roundtable immediately, despite change promised in a clip of State Senator Obama, once we 'take back the White House', Senate and House: "I happen to be a proponent of a single-payer universal health care plan."
Moyers is clear:
A quick look at this panel of witnesses appearing before the Senate Finance Committee, it tells you all you need to know. The Business Roundtable. The U.S. Chamber Of Commerce. The conservative Heritage Foundation. Representatives of the insurance industry, including Blue Cross Blue Shield - all in favor, more or less, of the status quo.
After I heard Obama's speech in New Mexico, recently, I accepted in his argument of the difficulty that would result from presumably displacing one-sixth of the economy in moving to become a single-payer nation. But the Moyers' guests tell a very different story, of a nation very much like our own including exactly the same insurance companies, for example, that made the transition to a CHEAPER, more reliable health care system that covers a much greater portion of the population.
Just a few of what I found to be the mind-blowing points in discussion follow.
Make the jump»
BILL MOYERS: I've heard you say that several times. I've read you're saying it. We can do away with the health industry.I mean, them's fightin' words, a very powerful part of the economy, and they're a powerful part of the political statute, as David said.
An amazing amount of gibberish has been uttered about
swine flu 2009 H1N1 virus in recent days. I would like to share some highlights (including antics of Collins and Perry) along with links to one or two items that actually make sense.
A number of organizations have been warning about the dangers of factory farming in the west, and the role farming may have played in the first outbreaks in Asia of Avian flu. The Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Production published a report a year ago warning of the environmental dangers of factory farms.
Pandora's Pond detailed the role of contaminated water in the genesis of Asian bird flu. The gist of the article is that fish farms were located in close proximity to pigs and chickens, and human excrement was added to the water for enrichment. Humans, pigs and chickens can exchange the influenza virus. The excrement in the water spread a human strain of influenza to wild birds who then infected chickens. Pigs ate the chicken poop. The cycling of the virus between pigs, chickens and wild birds allowed an extremely virulent form of flu to pass from birds to humans. Fortunately, it was never easily spread from human to human. Make the jump»
How Can You Question Climate Change Now?
January 11, 2008
(Click for Larger image)
Ominous Arctic Melts Worry Experts: An already relentless melting of the Arctic greatly accelerated this summer, a warning sign that some scientists worry could mean global warming has passed an ominous tipping point. One even speculated that summer sea ice would be gone in five years.
Make the jump»
Dennis Greenia, Vampire Slayer
I first learned about Jack Abramoff's successful plot to help Heather Wilson ambush and bleed dry my good friend, Richard Romero, in two separate New Mexico congressional elections while strolling with dengre down K Street. Both times, Abramoff employed a stealth PAC purportedly championing health care reform. By 2004, New Mexico's political aquifer flowed red.
I'm not the first person to learn about Abramoff from dengre. He's one of the brave few whose nocturnal obsession with vampires unearthed Washington's Empire of the Undead for the slumbering masses. Make the jump»
Yet another lobbyist problem for McCain:
Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain’s national campaign general co-chair was being paid by a Swiss bank to lobby Congress about the U.S. mortgage crisis at the same time he was advising McCain about his economic policy, federal records show.
Olbermann reported on this story Tuesday night, noting that Gramm served "as a lobbyist dealing specifically with legislation regarding the mortgage crisis as recently as Dec. 31, 2007." Make the jump»
Michael Greenberger, former Director of Trading and Markets at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), was interviewed by NPR’s Terry Gross this past Thursday, April 3. He explained that the sub-prime mortgage crisis was caused by financial derivatives, and that there are more crises coming, because there are many more financial derivatives out there. He notes that the one act of deregulation most to blame – even more to blame than the 1999 repeal of the Glass-Steagal Act (the law passed in the First Great Depression to separate commercial banking from investment banking) is the Commodities Futures Modernization Act of 2000, introduced on the sly by then Senator Phil Gramm (R-TX), who is now the top economic advisor to John McCain:
And Greenberger warns that we are at the beginning of the financial crises, not the end.
When people tell you this is the worst economic crisis since World War Two, that’s a way of not saying the panicky thing, which is, we may be heading for a depression. And if a Bear Stearns collapses, you’re going back to 1929.Make the jump»
The [stock] market went up last week because there is the belief that Bear Stearns is the end. But there are some of us who are very worried that Bear Stearns is the beginning and not the end, and if we needed $30 billion to bail out Bear Stearns . . . .
This isn't about petty politics or good intentions.
Corporate greed and influence in Washington are stealing our children's future.
The moral test of our generation is whether we're going to allow this broken system to go on without a fight or take on corporate greed and stand up for the middle class and American jobs before it's too late.
They aren't going to just give their power away.
Saving the middle class is going to be an epic battle, and that's a fight I was born for.
"The ruling by Maui Circuit Judge Joseph Cardoza wrapped up — for now at least — a 2 1/2-year legal challenge that nearly scuttled the $250 million enterprise and ignited a bitter public debate that exposed deep geographic, racial, cultural and political divisions within the state."
[Image + more @ Sierra Club Maui. More news below] Make the jump»