This year's Sept. 11 anniversary in New York will be the first in which politicians are excluded from speaking at the commemoration ceremony at ground zero.Will Giuliani sue?
It is policy of the state of Montana that each elected and appointed official in Montana, whether acting on a state or federal level, advance the philosophy that corporations are not human beings with constitutional rights and that each such elected and appointed official is charged to act to prohibit, whenever possible, corporations from making contributions to or expenditures on the campaigns of candidates or ballot issues. As part of this policy, each such elected and appointed official in Montana is charged to promote actions that accomplish a level playing field in election spending.
"At least 70% of the Taliban are angry at al-Qaida. Our people consider al-Qaida to be a plague that was sent down to us by the heavens," the commander says. "To tell the truth, I was relieved at the death of Osama [bin Laden]. Through his policies, he destroyed Afghanistan. If he really believed in jihad he should have gone to Saudi Arabia and done jihad there, rather than wrecking our country.
Owner Chris Robinson said the funeral home his great-grandfather started was located inside a main street general store where coffee was served, and it has been serving free coffee ever since, so the decision to open a Starbucks was not as far-fetched as it seems.
Adam Abrams, one of the attorneys arguing the case against TCEQ, said Triana?s ruling could be used as a persuasive argument in lawsuits pending in 11 other states.
In Texas, though, a ruling to protect air and the atmosphere has added significance. Republican Gov. Rick Perry is one of the most vocal opponents against widely accepted scientific research that fossil fuel emissions are causing global warming. And the state has refused to regulate greenhouse gases, forcing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to work directly with industries to ensure they comply with federal law.
?The commission?s conclusion that the public trust doctrine is exclusively limited to the conservation of water is legally invalid,? Triana wrote.
On a list of a dozen countries, which together account for 63% of global energy consumption, the U.S.' efficiency efforts are ranked in lowly ninth place. With a score of 47 out of 100, the U.S. outpaces only Brazil, Canada and Russia, according to the report from the nonprofit American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, known as ACEEE.
The United Kingdom ranks first with a 67 score, followed by countries such as Italy, Japan, France and China.
The biggest survey of Native American DNA has concluded that the New World was settled in three major waves.
But the majority of today's indigenous Americans descend from a single group of migrants that crossed from Asia to Alaska 15,000 years ago or more.
Previous genetic data have lent support to the idea that America was colonised by a single migrant wave.
The US corn crop, in the in the height of its vulnerable pollination phase, is already under siege from intense heat and devastating drought. Experts are continuously revising predicted crop yield lower and lower. In fact, as of July 11th, this year’s corn crop is no longer projected to be history’s largest. At the same time, almost 1 billion people world wide are going hungry. However, plans remain in place to use about 40% of America’s corn crop, the world’s largest, for biofuel purposes.
The nearly 5 billion bushels of corn that will be cordoned off for to create ethanol could feed about 412 million people for an entire year. Instead, it will be turned into 13.5 billion gallons of corn ethanol. This is a problem because:
- Life cycle studies show that corn ethanol ranges from barely better than petroleum fuels to significantly worse, especially if you take into account land and water use issues, increased deforestation, and increased fertilizer use.
- Corn ethanol contributes to rises in food prices because of competition for arable land to grow food. With more corn for biofuels taking up that space, the price of grains and other agricultural products increases.
- For many in the developing world, rising prices mean they don?t eat. People in poor countries, especially in import-heavy sub-Saharan Africa, feel the impact of rising food prices far worse than in developed countries. This is because they spend so much more of their income on food….Poor people do not have that luxury. As the UN Reported (in October), 26 countries, mainly in sub-Saharan Africa, are still at extreme risk of hunger, with biofuels playing a significant role in exacerbating the problem.
- Climate change mitigation from biofuels will be ?very limited? before 2050. ?We will not have any greenhouse gas savings for the next 20 years?because they are working with first generation crops,? according to Mahendra Shah, an advisor to Qatar?s food security program.
- By focusing our national investments on corn ethanol, we prevent other technologies, including other biofuels such as cellulosic ethanol and micro algae biodiesel, which are low greenhouse gas emitters, from competing with corn ethanol.
President Bill Clinton believes that an over emphasis on corn ethanol could lead to food riots. A point underscored by the fact corn futures are less than 15 cents from an all time high.
The only reason environmentalists and clean energy advocates even tolerated energy deals with corn ethanol mandates is the hope that jumpstarting the infrastructure for corn ethanol would pave the way for next-generation cellulosic ethanol. That turned out to be a mistake (see ?Are biofuels a core climate solution??).
We have gone far beyond what is tenable. Yes, peak oil (and the energy-intensive nature of food production) means that oil prices will rise in tandem with food prices, thus increasing the profitability of biofuels. And yes, we are a rich country, the breadbasket of the world, politically far more impervious to higher food prices than higher oil prices.
But as population grows, developing countries? diets change, and the extreme weather of the last year increasingly becomes the norm in a globally warmed world, food insecurity will grow and our biofuels policy will, inevitably, collapse. It must.
There are other potential biofuel sources. Some are food by products, others aren’t even food at all. Its time that we realize the failings of corn ethanol, stop devoting so much of a valuable resources to this wasteful project, and feed the hungry.
Max Frankel is a senior at Vassar College and an intern at the Center for American Progress.
Today’s report that Mitt Romney remained at the head of Bain Capital for as many as three years longer than his campaign claimed calls into question the Romney’s past defense of Bain Capital’s job-killing business practices.
Critics have highlighted a number of businesses that were bought by Bain Capital and then reorganized to maximize profit for the investment firm, with several falling into bankruptcy and vanishing entirely. In several instances however, Mitt Romney defended his candidacy by pointing out that he left Bain Capital in 1999 to run the 2002 Winter Olympics, before those companies began their collapse. With a new timeline that shows Romney was the CEO and principle owner of Bain Capital as late as 2003, that defense now sounds much more questionable. Here are four companies that folded or downsized in the three year period after Romney claimed to have left Bain Capital:
– GS Industries – 750 Jobs Lost: In a series of ads earlier this year, the Obama campaign hit Romney over Bain Capital’s purchase of GS Industries, a steel company that closed its Kansas City plant and eliminated 750 jobs in February 2001. The Romney campaign responded by claiming that Romney had left Bain Capital well before 2001, and was therefore not tied to the collapse of the GS. Bain Capital and its executives, including Mitt Romney, earned at least $12 million on the initial investment.
– KB Toys – Up to 3,500 Jobs Lost: During the primary season, Newt Gingrich’s 30 minute documentary on Romney and Bain Capital spent a significant amount of time focused on KB Toys, a retail chain bought by Bain in 2000. At the time, the Romney campaign, with an assist from fact-checking groups like PolitiFact, pointed to the calendar. As these new filings show, Romney was still very much at Bain Capital when they purchased KB Toys, and profited mightily when the company took out crippling loans to pay Bain Capital an $83 million dividend.
– Dade International – 1,700 Jobs Lost: Months after Romney claims to have left the company, Bain Capital received a $242 million bounty for its stake in the medical supply company. Romney profited substantially from the deal. In 2002, Dade International filed for bankruptcy, costing more than 1,700 people their jobs. At the time, Romney was the 100 percent owner of Bain Capital, the new documents show.
–DDi Corporation – 275 Jobs Lost: In 1996, the circuit board manufacturer was bought by a group of investors, with Bain Capital in the lead, for more than $40 million. By December 1999, DDi closed a Colorado plant and fired 275 workers. Bain Capital, with Romney still listed as Chairman and CEO, then proceeded to take DDi public, raising $170 million during the company’s IPO in 2000. Over the next few months, Bain began selling off its stock, raising almost $100 million, more than doubling its investment. The stock plummeted shortly thereafter.
In all, as many as 6,000 jobs were lost at these four companies during the period between when the Romney campaign alleges he retired, and when the Globe’s report suggests he actually stepped down.
A leaked story linking Occupy Wall Street to an unsolved murder went viral Wednesday, but it seems the anonymous law enforcement official spoke too soon. The DNA match between the 2004 murder of Juilliard student Sarah Fox and an Occupy Wall Street protest was revealed to be the result of a botched test contaminated by an NYPD employee. The NYPD swabbed the DNA from a heavy chain used to prop open a subway door during a transit protest in Brooklyn, a move that sparked anger from Occupy Wall Street protesters. Ed Needham, a press officer for OWS, told the New York Daily News, “Obviously it’s a terrible murder, but the story here is really the NYPD rubbing for DNA on some chains at a peaceful Occupy Wall Street demonstration.”
Mitt Romney is in the news this week for receiving a chorus boos when promoting his ideas to the NAACP. But it’s not the first time Romney has received passionate boo’s. Here are the top five so far.
1. When Mitt Romney told Iowans that he believes corporations are people, they let him know they strongly disagree.
2. At a Republican primary debate, audience members booed Romney when he said he has no plans to release his full tax returns.
3. When speaking at the 2012 NAACP Convention, Romney was booed for saying he plans to repeal Obamacare.
4. The audience at a Republican debate booed Mitt Romney’s Mexican roots when a moderator asked him about his father.
5. Mitt Romney was roundly booed when he told the 2012 NAACP Convention that he’d be the best president for the African-American community.
Walsh introduced a resolution late last year supporting a proposal that Israel annex Jewish settlements in the West Bank. “There is no such thing as a two-state solution, and no such thing as land for peace,” Walsh said. West, who co-sponsored the resolution, has offered his fair share of far right rhetoric on Israel too, saying last year that a two-state solution would mean an end to Israel.
The J Street ads single out the Congressmen’s claims, urging constituents to tell them “the two-state solution preserves Israel’s democracy and its security. Opposing it isn’t pro-Israel. It’s playing with fire.” Here’s the text of the ad on Walsh:
The Middle East is a tinder box, more than any place on Earth words matter and Congressman Joe Walsh is playing with fire. Walsh wants Israel to take permanent control over Palestinian territory. He called the two-state solution insane even though Israel’s last three prime ministers supported it. Walsh even says the U.S. shouldn’t broker peace. Tell Joe Walsh, the two-state solution preserves Israel’s democracy and its security. Opposing it isn’t pro-Israel. It’s playing with fire.
Reporting on the video’s this morning, the Washington Post’s Greg Sargent wonders:
Is it possible to make Republicans pay a political price by hitting them from the left for being too confrontational on Israel?s behalf, and too hostile towards Palestinians, when it comes to Mideast peace issues? The left-leaning group J-Street is launching a new experiment to find out.
J Street president Jeremy Ben-Ami said in an interview with the New York Times back in May that ?the assumption has always been that to run for office, you have to run to the right on this issue with a relatively hawkish view on Israel and the Middle East — the ?Israel right or wrong? position,” adding, ?We?re changing that calculus. We are beginning to organize a very, very large network of people in the middle.?
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I can't think of anyone less qualified than the Snowbilly from Wasilla to weigh in on who Mitt Romney ought to pick for his running mate in the upcoming presidential election, but apparently Sean Hannity believes inquiring minds want to know. And of course Palin used it as an opportunity to beat up on that "liberal media" that supposedly treated her unfairly when McCain picked her as his running mate.
HANNITY: Question Governor and four years ago you were selected and you didn't know you were going to be selected, you were telling me, until what, four days until you were, you didn't know you were even being vetted four days prior, which is a pretty amazing story.
The names I hear most often are Portman in Ohio, Rubio in Florida and Paul Ryan, who will be on this program tomorrow night, from Wisconsin. Good choices?
PALIN: They are good choices. They are and I think that Gov. Romney will probably play it safe, relatively speaking in terms of finding someone who is a known commodity, so that the media doesn't do what the media did to me; making things up and kind of trashing somebody's reputation and record in order to distract from what the election really was supposed to be about.
So, those are good names. There are other great names out there being batted around and I look forward to seeing who that one is who can assist Gov. Romney in moving forward.
I hate to break it to you Sarah, but if there was some damage done to your reputation, you brought it on yourself and I think John McCain's staffers like Steve Schmidt and Nicolle Wallace who dished out the dirt for Mark Halperin and John Heilemann's book, Game Change, that HBO made into a movie did your reputation as much or more damage as anything you can blame on the so called "lamestream media" you love to bash and that you now work for. If what was represented in that movie is true, they were pretty horrified by the fact that you were not remotely qualified to be vice president or step in as president if something happened to his health not too long after McCain picked you to run with him.
Now sadly, we can all thank him for inflicting you on the American body politic and as a new member of the wingnut welfare club for years to come over at Fox noise, where propagandist and fellow right-wing flame thrower Hannity thinks you have anything of value to add to the discussion on who else should potentially be allowed to be one breath away from being our next president, that we might rightfully be terrified of, as anyone with an ounce of sense was of you.
I propose we create a brand new award for journalistic excellence to sit side-by-side with the Pulitzer Prize. We could call it "The Needle-in-a-Haystack Award for Resourceful Reporting." And for its very first recipient, I nominate Hillary Chabot of the Boston Herald. Hillary's got my vote because, in a capacity-packed gathering of the NAACP this week that nearly booed Mitt Romney off the stage, Chabot somehow managed to locate and feature the lone black leader supporting the GOP's standard-bearer.
When conservatives accuse the mainstream media of being "liberally biased," it's usually for some exhaustively researched and documented expose depicting big banks and big business - accurately -- as being a bunch of crooks. The conservative "fair and balanced" response to such stories making their side look bad is to offer the sort of flagrant hackery Hillary Chabot served up this week when she insisted a Republican president's doors would always be open to the black community -- based on the say-so of the only black leader in a crowd of thousands who was not heckling their party's presumptive nominee.
"It is not about rhetoric, it is about results. It is not about ideology, it is about results," Chabot quotes the Rev. Jeff Brown as saying, adding that while the co-founder of Boston's Ten Point Coalition was not officially endorsing Romney "his statement nonetheless was dripping with praise."
Chabot did mention that Romney "got a few jeers" when he told NAACP convention-goers in Houston that he would be better for black families than Obama. She also concedes that more than 95% of African American voters backed Obama in 2008 and are likely to support his re-election by similar margins.
Romney did not help his cause with the audience when he said he aimed to "eliminate every non-essential, expensive program that I can find - and that includes Obamacare." That statement provoked an Amen Chorus of boos that lasted more than 20 seconds. Romney got another refrain of boos when he said: "If you want a president who will make things better in the African-American community, you are looking at him. You take a look."
But even Brown's lonely words of support look suspicious. As MSNBC reports, NAACP official Hilary Shelton accused Romney of trying to "rig the crowd" at the NAACP convention by flying in his own group of pro-Romney African American surrogates.
Shelton, who is Senior Vice President for Advocacy and Policy at the NAACP, said the only African Americans Romney met with after his speech were the non-NAACP members he brought with him.
Adding to suspicions, says MSNBC, was the fact that immediately after the rough reception he got with the NAACP, Romney headed "straight for the sweet embrace" of Fox News to report, incorrectly, of the black community's displeasure with President Obama.
"I spoke with a number of African American leaders after the event and they said, 'you know a lot of folks don't want to say they're not going to be voting for Barack Obama, but they're disappointed in his lack of policies to improve our schools, disappointed in urban policies, disappointed in the economy, 14.4% rate of unemployment among African Americans today,'" said Romney. "The president has not been able to get the job done. People want to see someone who can get the economy going, so I expect to get African American votes."
The fact that Charbot's reporting in the Boston Herald aligns so neatly with Romney's intended aims for his NAACP visit reminds me of what conservative blogger and one-time American Spectator reporter Robert Stacy McCain has said about right wing media -- that conservatives judge journalists by an entirely different set of criteria from liberals because conservatives are "hostile to journalism as a profession."
McCain says that Republicans do not judge conservative journalists based on "the accuracy of their reporting or the readability of their prose." Rather, they are judged on their usefulness "in the service of advancing GOP political objectives."
That's right. When right wing conservatives like Brent Bozell of Accuracy in Media speak of "liberal bias" they mean a liberal bias in favor of ideological impartiality and factual accuracy -- since such a liberal "bias" might produce a journalism that disadvantages conservatives and their interests in some way. And Bozell can't have that.
What that means, says McCain, is that "Republicans treat conservative journalists with a special disdain." Conservative reporters are, he says, "mere errand boys or stenographers whose job it is to spread the GOP message."
No wonder, then, that when faced with "an objective fact that doesn't fit the GOP script" conservative writers and broadcasters find they must choose between their "professional self-concept" as journalists and their "prescribed tasks as partisan publicists," says McCain.
Jamelle Bouie of American Prospect gets closer to the reality of Romney's appearance this week before the nation's premier civil rights organization when he says that "appealing to African American voters wasn't the point."
It was instead, says Bouie, echoing the conventional wisdom, "to send a signal to right-leaning, suburban white voters that Mitt Romney is tolerant, and won't represent the bigots in his party."
That was born out at a fundraiser following the speech when Romney told Montana Republicans: "I had the privilege of speaking today at the NAACP convention in Houston and I gave them the same speech I am giving you. I don't give different speeches to different audiences, alright. I gave them the same speech. When I mentioned I am going to get rid of Obamacare they weren't happy. That's ok. I want people to know what I stand for and, if I don't stand for what they want, go vote for someone else, that's just fine. But I hope people understand this. Your friends who like Obamacare, you remind them of this: if they want more stuff from government tell them to go vote for the other guy. More free stuff. But don't forget: nothing is really free."
Bouie says Romney wants it both ways. He wants to reassure hesitant whites who might be put off by the GOP's flirtation with bigots on the far right. But by pledging to repeal Obamacare - and by being booed by his black audience in the process - Romney also ups is standing with those very same bigots.
"By going to an audience of black professionals and sticking with his stump speech, there's a sense in which Romney might receive credit for refusing to pander," says Bouie.
So, to sum up: Mitt Romney might leave a gay campaign aide twisting slowly in the wind (thus forcing him to resign) rather than face the rabid anti-gay bigotry of the Religious Right. He might defer when asked to rebuke Rush Limbaugh when he called a college student a "slut" for speaking out before Congress on behalf of a friend who uses birth control to manage a hormone condition. But Romney has shown he's man enough to stand there like Daniel in the Lion's Den and tell people who would never vote for him in a thousand years where they can get off if they expect anything from him. Yes, he's just the kind of guy we need as our commander-in-chief.
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We've heard a lot about jobs in this presidential election cycle. The idea being, I suppose, that once people have a job, regardless of the wages or the hours, they can bootstrap their way to the top. Probably for similar reasons, we don't hear much about poverty. So long as there are jobs around, political rhetoric seems to say, being poor is a choice. While both campaigns will spend many many millions on ads telling you about jobs, I doubt we'll hear much about economic mobility in America or pathways to escaping poverty.
Just because there's little talk, however, doesn't mean there isn't a terrifying problem. The latest report from Pew Charitable Trusts looks at economic mobility across generations, using real child-parent pairings. As I wrote yesterday, the findings are bleak. While children earn more than their parents did at their age, adjusted for inflation, the rich are getting richer faster than everyone else. That means that while you may be making more than your parents, you're likely still stuck near the same socioeconomic ranking. The trends are even worse among African Americans, who are more likely to fall on the socio-economic ladder.
I called Pew to talk about the report and what findings were particularly notable. I spoke to two researchers with the Economic Mobility Project, project manager Erin Currier and research manager Diana Elliot. They highlighted two particularly disturbing trends.
First, Elliot explained that middle class and poor Americans were actually losing wealth:
One of our new additions to this latest report was a small section on wealth mobility and I think one of the things that was really interesting to see in the data was that one chart that showed the breakdowns of the rungs of the ladder for income. You see the growth in every rung of the ladder. When you look at the wealth figure that looks just like that, there's actually been compression in the bottom three rungs. So in the child's generation, they're reporting less wealth than in the parent's generation. The median is lower in the child's generation than in the parent's generation.
Currier discussed the large gap between white and black economic mobility. Low-income neighborhoods, she explained, may be a major factor. Being raised in a neighborhood where 20 percent or more of the population is poor makes you more likely to experience downward mobility:
This is a finding we've been struggling with for a few years and really trying to understand what's behind that black-white mobility gap. Neighborhood poverty during childhood is actually one of the most powerful explanatory factors that we've uncovered that explains at least that downward mobility we see in the middle. [One report] specifically shows that two-thirds of black children born from 1985 to 2000 were raised in high-poverty neighborhoods and only 6 percent of white children were. That's really hasn't changed in the last 30 years. For a long time, even though we had things like the civil rights movement and there's been quite a bit of economic and social change in this country, what has not changed is the proportion of black children being raised in high poverty neighborhoods.
The percentage of children living in high-poverty neighborhoods does not corrolate to the percentage who are poor. In other words, of the two-thirds of black kids living in high-poverty neighborhoods, some are in families with middle-class incomes. Similarly, more than 6 percent of white children are poor, but those poor families are living in neighborhoods with lower poverty rates. Which gives these children different prospects when it comes to mobility, Currier notes:
We also know that living in a high-poverty neighborhood during childhood increases the chances of downward mobility by 52 percent. So for those African American children whose parents have actually achieved some level of economic security, just the nature of the environment that they're living in is pushing them down the economic ladder themselves as adults. And that really gets to the heart of why economic mobility is so complex. It is not simply income or family socioeconomic status that influences where their children will fall.
Pew is a non-partisan group that's frequently brought together members of both the right and left to find common ground in policy. "No party owns the American dream," Currier told me. The idea that middle-class and poor Americans are losing wealth while income differences get wider and wider should be a cause for outrage or panic (depending on your personality type.) The bleak situation for African Americans is even more complicated and disturbing.
Both parties are heavily rooted in the idea that anything's possible in America and such a dramatic report should have newspapers and candidates declaring their plans to aid the poor and create new pathways to the middle class. Yet poverty has yet to be a major issue in the election this year?it's barely been a minor one.
This shift toward Holder, however, deserves scrutiny. There have been plenty of documented stories of reluctance toward investigation from Treasury and the SEC and HUD. This centers all the attention on DoJ, however. It's not entirely credible that[...]
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