Open thread below....
Today's Top Comments are here.
It takes a lot for me to get as angry with President Hopey Changey as I am now for the reasons described by Brian Beutler in this clip (background here) - we need a fighting Dem, but instead, what we apparently have is an African American version of Stuart Smalley (sorry Al...somehow I think this will at least partly overshadow The Great Jobs Speech scheduled for next week; part of me thinks he's so freaking desperate for any halfway decent news on jobs that he caved, but that definitely isn't an excuse)...
..."Worst Persons" (some idiot tries to spray paint his name in the vicinity of The Grand Canyon, another teabaggin' U.S. House rep wants Irene hurricane disaster funding to be offset - but God forbid they do that to any of their stinkin' tax cuts, but Mike Shaw of the Pima County, AZ Repug Party gets it for continuing to dig the proverbial hole over his gun promotion involving the weapon that damn near killed Gabby Giffords and did in fact kill several others...more great video editing from Current - one-year anniversary of the shooting, K.O. said)...
...and I have just one word to say in response to this clip of Ed Schultz going after Marco Rubio (with Alan Grayson at the end): GOOD! (more here)...
So, um... did everybody here go out and buy Dick Cheney's autobiography (In My Time, which came out earlier this week) yet?[...]
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Title: MercyArtist: Wire
Happy Friday!!! Let's do some Wire.
Here is pack of cigarettes at my mom’s house in Cincinnati that my late father opened and started, but will not finish.
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Early we brought you the news that a group of Apple 'investigators' apparently posing as San Francisco PD officers had tossed a young San Franciscan's house looking for a missing or purloined prototype of the next iPhone. But now after initially denying[...]
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We wrote about the Michigan GOP governor's use of the Emergency Manager laws here. It's basically the power to place "financially troubled" cities, towns, and public entities (like school boards) under the control of a governor-controlled czar with full power to:
(1) kill any contract the town entered into AND (2) dismiss elected officials AND (3) "disincorporate" the town itself. Oh, and the emergency manager can be a corporation.That power has already been used against the town of Benton Harbor and others. Now it looks like the old GM factory city of Flint is next (my emphasis; h/t Emptywheel and Eclectablog):
Flint could become the first city to get taken over by the state since Gov. Rick Snyder approved sweeping new powers for appointed Emergency Managers.Flint is the seventh largest city in Michigan, and Genesee county (don't you love those midwestern Indian names?) is the state's fourth largest metropolitan area, with a population of almost 500,000.
On Friday Flint Mayor Dayne Walling announced that the [Michigan] Treasury Dept. has initiated an official review of the city?s finances.
Under Public Act 4 ? the Emergency Manager law ? financial review is the first step in a process that can confer new powers to elected officials or transfer all decision-making power to an Emergency Manager who reports only to the Treasury Dept. and the governor.
Benton Harbor, Pontiac, Ecorse and the Detroit Public Schools are now being run by Emergency Managers.
Gov. Rick Snyder is to appoint a team to conduct a "financial management review" of Highland Park Schools, moving the troubled district closer to appointment of an emergency manager.Highland Park is a small town bordered by Detroit and Hamtramck (another great name); its population is nearly 95% African-American.
Superintendent of Public Instruction Mike Flanagan sent a letter to Snyder this month asking him to order the review after Flanagan's preliminary study determined the district had the state's worst deficit and most drastic enrollment drop. ... Under a controversial new law, the manager would control the district's finances and operations and have the power to amend union contracts.
Board Secretary Robert Davis said the board and Superintendent Edith Hightower are following the state's directions to reduce its deficit. "I don't think an emergency manager will be necessary," Davis said. ... Davis said the drop was mainly due to the 2009 closure of the Career Academy, an alternative high school [and] said the board is consolidating and privatizing services to eliminate the deficit in three to four years.
One of Governor Rick Snyder's top priorities this fall is phasing out the personal property tax.Mmm, more Emergency Managers in their future.
Summer Minnick with the Michigan Municipal League doesn't disagree with that part of the plan so much. Minnick says administrating the tax is complicated and costs local governments quite a bit of money to assess. The problem is, it also generates about $1.2 billion annually with around $800 million of that money going to those same local governments.
"It is a critical component of a municipality's budget," said Minnick. "In many cases it can be 20 to 50 percent of the city's entire taxable value so it's something we're very concerned with."
If you've heard it once you've heard it a thousand times: states' rights. Along with "states' rights" goes the idea of "small government" which is actually "small federal government." Only this idea of a smaller government and states' rights is a formulated, poll tested, concept that means "no federal taxes" and the South doesn't have to be bossed around by Yankee Presidents any more.
What's rarely talked about is if these ideas were actualized. What would that mean for our country?
Rick Perry is the latest in a long line of rogue statesmen who shout the rallying cry of the 10th Amendment, but the New York Times questions if he's just opportunist.
"In one of his more well-publicized shifts, Mr. Perry proclaimed that gay marriage was an issue for individual states to decide, but backtracked in recent weeks and now says he supports a federal amendment banning gay marriage. He has also signaled support for various federal actions to restrict abortion rather than leaving the issue to states. And he used $17 billion in federal stimulus money to balance the state?s last two budgets."
the Texas Tribune similarly details the struggle Perry seems to have with women's reproductive choice, which, according to a true states rightsman, should be left up to the states to decide. Not according to Perry. The Tribune interviews an anti-choice advocate who, twelve years ago, couldn't get Perry to even push parental notification in the state legislature. Today, it's a different story as he advocates for "personhood" and the "preciousness of life" across the early primary and caucus states.
But Rick Perry isn't the only presidential candidate to advocate for a small federal government while conveniently ignoring social issues. Texas Congressman Ron Paul was the poster boy for libertarian politics, bringing about a movement within the GOP before the tea party was ever AstroTurf-ed.
In an astounding statement this past weekend Paul said he didn't believe natural disasters should fuel increased money to the states. If we lived under a Paul-pocracy these dollars wouldn't have left the states to begin with, and if the state ran out of money do to a preponderance of disaster - they would just file for bankruptcy. Paul doesn't just believe in states' rights; he proved that even when it's unpopular, he believes in states' rights. Except, of course, for the social issues.
Paul voted for the ban on late term abortions in 2003. Paul voted for Don't Ask Don't Tell in 1993 - but then voted to repeal in 2010, but then he condemned President Obama for not abandoning the Defense of Marriage Act. So much for states rights.
It doesn't stop at Presidential candidates, however. Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn is a big fan of states rights ?. except of course on gay marriage and abortion, which according to him, the federal government should ban on both accounts. I wrote a few weeks ago about his idea to pull funding from his own state for critical USDA and agriculture programs that were the only line of defense against another Dust Bowl. I also wrote about Coburn and Republican freshman Congressman James Lankford's bill to send back transportation and infrastructure money because they don't believe the federal government should be in the roads and bridges business.
It seems the only consistency with Republicans is the strive for this kind of focus group politics that makes everything sound like a great idea until you sit down and actually think about how it will impact our country. My guess is they're not expecting voters to think about it at all.
When it comes to the states rights argument, the most disappointing (or perhaps amusing) thing is that it destroys the "Republicans are the only patriots" image the Bush Administration worked so hard to manufacture after 9/11. While Bush's America, with its warrentless wiretaps, state sanctioned torture, multicolored threat levels, and warmongering wasn't my ideal America, I did really love that for a while we were all one country. His, and his party's, attempts to own patriotism in those elections after 9/11 forced me to stand up stronger and demand recognition of my own party's faith in our country. It didn't make me be a stronger patriot it made me a louder one in efforts to show that peace and protests were just as patriotic as the fabricated threats.
Remember what it was like after 9/11? Those few weeks as we watched New Yorkers post photos of loved ones across their fallen city. The tears we all shared for the loss of an innocence we never really understood we had. We were all together in what followed, just like we were all together during World War 2. Whether we win Olympic metals or lose our treasured heroes, we have always been a stronger people because these things we share together.
What happened to that America? And why do Republicans want to take it away?
I apologize for posting late tonight, but a very rare event happened. The International Space Station made a transit directly overhead at posting time, and I did not want to miss it. Besides, my lovely friend wanted to watch it with me.[...]
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