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A bump in the road...

For those following this year's Presidential election festivities (as well as keeping tabs on the GOP's ongoing record-breaking race to obstruct, deconstruct, vilify & destroy all possible progress in the United States), there's a possible minor news item that may be seized upon by the Right to try and take the wind out of the sails of President Obama's re-election bid.

The President is running on job creation, saving the auto industry, rebuilding the economy & creating new energy initiatives (among other things), and up to now his record hasn't been bad. Recent news from GM, however, may give some of the opposition party something to grab onto:

GM Will Stop Building Volt Plug-In to Cut Inventory

General Motors Co. said it will halt production of its Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid car for five weeks in an effort to control its inventory. The car maker had a stock of about 6,300 Volts on hand at the end of February.

[...more...]

Apparently, this will lead to the layoff of 1,300 workers. Make the jump»

Wednesday Morning News Roundup: Most Viewed and What's Hot, McClatchy and Al Jazeera Edition

Welcome to Wednesday, 23 March 2011. Traditionally called "Hump Day" in some parts due to its location and identification as the "mid-week" milestone, here is a selection of some of the stories currently catching the most attention at sites like McClatchy and Al Jazeera (English):

McClatchy

Most Viewed Last 24 Hours

  1. S.C. Gov. Haley has appointed 26 campaign donors to posts
  2. China buying U.S. aviation firms
  3. As Mideast roils, Al Jazeera finds its 'CNN moment'
  4. Poll: Public already losing patience with new Congress
  5. Libya assault sets up battle between Obama, Congress

Special Reports

Commentary: Immigration rhetoric

Mary Sanchez: The outrageous suggestion that illegal immigrants could be dealt with like feral hogs flew out of Kansas state Rep. Virgil Peck’s mouth and across the Internet. The fact that it slipped out of his mouth so readily indicates that the tenor of the debate over illegal immigration may be reaching dangerous levels.

Special report: Afghan contracts

The U.S. program to spend billions of dollars on Afghanistan's facilities is failing. Corruption, nepotism and mismanagement hobble the reconstruction.

Investigation: Spending the Stimulus

Medill and McClatchy assess the impact of the Obama administration's economic stimulus package. Its benefits have been uneven across the country.

More on Camp Lejeune water

Scientists studying water contamination at Camp Lejeune have learned of another source of leaking fuel near a drinking well that served thousands of Marines and their families.

Al Jazeera

What's Hot

What's news in your neck of the woods? Let us know in the comments below. And as we begin our descent toward the end of the work week and long slow slide into the weekend, please keep your hands, feet and any miscellaneous appendages inside the vehicle...

Use this as an Open Thread.

Will Obama forfeit a second term because of Wall Street?

With the defeat of the bill allowing judges to force mortgage restructuring on reluctant creditors, and now the defeat of the bill reintroducing limits on usury, the momentum toward real reform of the American financial system has clearly been stopped. There is now a rapidly growing danger that the lack of reform, coupled with the growing consensus in “the Village” that multiplying signs of economic “green shoots”signal that “the bottom is near” (see Arianna Huffington’s May 12, 2009 post, Wall Street, DC, and the New Financial Euphoria),  will leave the majority of Americans who are not rich dealing with prolonged economic hardship. Make the jump»

A New Foundation: a Speech by President Obama

  THE WHITE HOUSE
 
Office of the Press Secretary
_________________________________________________________________
                      
Remarks of President Barack Obama
A New Foundation
Tuesday, April 14th, 2009
Washington, DC
 
 
As Prepared for Delivery
 
It has now been twelve weeks since my administration began.  And I think even our critics would agree that at the very least, we’ve been busy.  In just under three months, we have responded to an extraordinary set of economic challenges with extraordinary action – action that has been unprecedented in both its scale and its speed.
 
I know that some have accused us of taking on too much at once.  Others believe we haven’t done enough.  And many Americans are simply wondering how all of our different programs and policies fit together in a single, overarching strategy that will move this economy from recession to recovery and ultimately to prosperity.     
 
So today, I want to step back for a moment and explain our strategy as clearly as I can.  I want to talk about what we’ve done, why we’ve done it, and what we have left to do.  I want to update you on the progress we’ve made, and be honest about the pitfalls that may lie ahead. Make the jump»

Federally Recognized Tribes to receive Stimulus Funds

Wow..this is terrific news..  Obama's Stimulus Plan Benefits Tribes

President Barack Obama will sign the national economic recovery bill that includes $2.5 billion in stimulus funds for Indian Country.

"It is important that we honor the government-to-government relationship with Indian tribes in this bill and that the funds intended for reservation economies be provided directly to Indian tribes so that they may begin to address their dire economic conditions," said Rep. Dale Kildee (D-Michigan), the co-chairman of the Congressional Native American Caucus.

I am kinda reading this government to government relationship thing as it cuts both ways.  Me thinks that if the state government refuses stimulus funds, the tribal government may apply for these funds.  What do you think? Make the jump»

$3.195 trillion -TRILLION - for urban RAIL transit

 

We are at the end of an era – the end of cheap oil, the end of suburban sprawl, the collapse of the world’s “shadow banking system”, the end of Wall Street’s arrogation of our nation’s financial system, the end of treating our natural environment as a “free” externality that corporations and consumers can ravage at will. In this time, as we transition from one era to another, billions is the mark of a mere politician. A true statesman -- someone who understands what we need to bring our country into the new era dawning -- will be talking about how many trillions we need. That’s why I was not happy with the stimulus package proposed and won by President Obama. Fortunately, the President has noted that it was only the first stimulus, implying there may be more to come. What we need to do now is begin defining the terms of the debate as to what is needed, and how much it is going to cost.

Below I outline one -- just one -- such national program we need. To build adequate urban rail transit systems in the 39 largest U.S. cities, where nearly half of all Americans live, is going to require $3.195 trillion. That is just construction costs – it does not include the cost of new rolling stock and maintenance rail vehicles. It is a project that can create 7.5 million jobs a year, for ten years. And it is a project that we most assuredly will not even initiate so long as we are content with politics and business as usual. NYC BMT Brighton at W 8th New York City Transit BMT Brighton Line, at West 8th Street, photo by David-Paul Gerber, 7/13/2008, www.nycsubway.org

Building 50,757 kilometers of new rail transit lines, at a cost of $3.195 trillion. is based on building urban rail mass transit systems to the same service density found in New York City, in the next 38 largest urban areas. I began by assuming a desideratum of having a rail transit line no more than 2.5 miles from any point in an urban area. That is, if you took a square of urban area five miles on each side, we want to have a rail transit line running directly across the middle of that square. Slice that 25 square mile area into one mile strips, and you get one mile of rail transit line for every five square miles of urban area, or a density of 0.2 mile of rail transit line for every square mile. Converting square miles to square kilometers, and miles to kilometers, what we are looking for is a density of 0.124 mi of rail transit line for every square kilometer of urban area. Make the jump»

Sanford Won't Fix Tysheoma's School. Governor Rejects Stimulus. Joins Texan Perry in "Rejection Front"

South Carolina's Governor Mark Sanford refuses to take Federal stimulus money because he says it is a "predatory loan" against future generations. That means Tysheoma's High School won't get rebuilt. Tysheoma is the Junior High Student invited to the state of the union by the Obamas. It means South Carolina's unemployed, now nearing 11% and one of the highest official levels in the country won't get the relief available from the package, unlessthe state legislature acts to overide his arbitrary wilfullness.

Governor Perry in Texas feels the same way about the unemployed Sanford does. He's decided to refuse a part of the package that would bring relief to the unemployed because the measure is anti-business. Texas politics is in an uproar over this just like South Carolina's.

Sanford is not just a state level political figure. He's a former Goldman Sachs banker who is also the head of the Republican
Governor's Association. He's made himself a national issue for many reasons. Yesterday he was quipping to the press that Obama's programs are leading the US down the same path Zimbabwe is on. Rep Jim Clyburn also from South Carolina has taken up the cudgels against Sanford saying he's gone "beyond the pale." Perry thinks he's a got presidential potential  for 2012. Stranger things have happened to fly by I guess.

The Democratic National Committee has made a 30 second TV ad attacking what Sanford is doing. It will begin to run next week. Meanwhile the ad has become available on YouTube.

Coverage of the situations in both "rejection front" states detailed opposition to the fundamentlist governors in the ranks of the Republican parties. Such fights will shape national political outcomes in a more interesting way than the defective fanatics of the Washington rejection frontistas like Bohner, Blunt and McConnell. Make the jump»

Open Thread -- Zombie Chaperones, xkcd Edition

Times change.  People change.  Trends develop, thrive and fade. And political power and influence grows, adapts and sometimes swings like a pendulum from one extreme to another. Sometimes, it takes a while for people to notice that something has changed until it bites them in the backside.


Attribution: xkcd.1

The marriage of "Christian" conservatives -- including some extremist, radical fundamentalists, evangelicals and politically motivated pseudo-(psycho?)-cults -- to politics via the Republican Party's attempts to establish a core base of blindly faithful followers appears to be suffering some reality burns.  According to a recent story by Cathy Lynn Grossman of USA TODAY, "Most religious groups in USA have lost ground, survey finds."

The percentage of people who call themselves in some way Christian has dropped more than 11% in a generation. The faithful have scattered out of their traditional bases: The Bible Belt is less Baptist. The Rust Belt is less Catholic. And everywhere, more people are exploring spiritual frontiers — or falling off the faith map completely.

These dramatic shifts in just 18 years are detailed in the new American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS), to be released today. It finds that, despite growth and immigration that has added nearly 50 million adults to the U.S. population, almost all religious denominations have lost ground since the first ARIS survey in 1990.

In other words, thank your God, gods and/or goddesses -- if you have any -- that the extreme (and sometimes militant) wings of the radical religious right have begun to lost power as the nation begins to shift course. The radical might think this will lead to an immoral, unethical populace, but they never did seem to "get" the fact that there was a blatant hypocrisy about whether religion actually led to a more just and chaste life. In truth, the opposite has often appeared to be the case, with extremist religions leading the way (Taliban, anyone? American or Middle Eastern, take your pick...or Christian Crusaders, perhaps?)

Below the fold, a quick dip into healthcare and stem cell research.

This is an Open Thread. Make the jump»

What's In the Stimulus Package?

Shortly before the Economic Stimulus package became law I wrote a short piece outlining the kind of coverage of the plan which I would have liked to be able to read while it was going through Congress. I never did find that article so I never got to read it. Probably someone did write something like what I was looking for.
 
Meanwhile I put together a profile of stuff that is in the package with links to other places which seem to be relevant. This is not so much a collection of links to opinion pieces about the Stimulus. It is an attempt to put together a viewof what is in the bill which became law, what the money was appropriated for, and where it should be spent, over what kind of time frame.

The Republican Party–a Threat to America

One of the Republican Party's most enduring talking points is that the Bush administration has kept America safe since 9-11, but what evidence do we have of that?  Even as the Bush administration bragged about their security efforts, they left both our front and back doors wide open. The two primary entry points into the United States are all but short of a welcome sign.   Make the jump»

Fractured Priorities - USA Gets a D in Infrastructure

Fractured Priorities

USA Gets a D in Infrastructure

kodama cc

Civil Engineers Deliver the Bad News

Michael Collins

"The overall grade for the nation's infrastructure is again a D
and the cost to bring it up to good condition has risen to $2.2
trillion. In more than a decade, the
United States has
made no measurable progress in improving either the condition or
performance of our roads, bridges, water systems or other vital
infrastructure when viewed in aggregate."

American Society of Civil Engineers, 2009 Report Card on U.S. Infrastructure


Read it and weep.  This the nation's infrastructure report card from the American Society of Civil Engineers.
We're not doing too well.  Maybe our fearless leaders of the last 40
years forgot their glasses or got into some of that Indian Hemp that
George Washington talked about.   Without any doubt, they were not
paying attention to the fundamentals. Make the jump»

Saving the financial system without a national industrial policy is worse than useless

Sorry, President Obama, there simply is no time for a honeymoon. As you said in your Inaugural Address yesterday, "The ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet." Unfortunately, it seems that this idea has not yet filtered into your administration’s thinking and planning regarding what to do about the financial collapse. Make the jump»

Stumbling Toward Stimulus: Are Entitlements in Danger?

Originally published 2009-01-08 14:14:40 -1000 - promoted by Roxy

In contrast to the mainstream media, there were many warnings in the progressive blogosphere over the past two years about the dangers of economic imbalances – most particularly the gap in incomes resulting from the 28-year old war Ronald Reagan initiated on the working and middle classes  – leading to a financial crisis. There is one primary and very important reason for this blindness of the mainstream media and prescience of the progressive blogosphere – the mainstream media is infested with the reigning economic paradigm of monetarism and financial economics which places emphasis on financial and monetary capital, while the progressive blogosphere throbs with populist economics focused on how well the least in society are uplifted and supported - the hoary old idea of developing human capital. Make the jump»

The New Biden Task Force to Oversee Economic Recovery

The latest announcement from the Obama transition is that Joe Biden will be leading a task to oversee Administration policies to rebuild the domestic economy and protect jobs. You can listen to George Stephanopoulis's broad-ranging, Sunday interview with Biden  on This Week.

To me a high point of the interview was Biden's answer to the question, (I'm paraphrasing): Isn't the current deficit so large that Obama will not be able to carry out all his recovery plans? Biden's answer was a decisive negative. Obama's economic recovery package is THE priority of the incoming Administration, he said. Make the jump»

Robert Reich has a proposal on taxes to stimulate the economy

In his latest blog, posted below with his permission, he suggests the way to stimulate the economy and avoid recession is to take the route of fairness. Now that's a radical proposal. here is the link to his blog

How to Avoid the Coming Recession Make the jump»

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