Conservative idol Glenn Beck spent much of his speech at the Values Voters Conference this weekend lambasting young Americans who are part of the 99 Percent Movement, and those who have the audacity to not be rich but want a college education. Beck all but declared that the 14 million jobless Americans are unemployed by choice — echoing similar sentiments by GOP candidate Herman Cain. “There are many in this country I call the fun-employed,” the former Fox News host told the crowd.
“The violent left is coming to our streets, all of our streets, to smash?to bankrupt?to destroy,” he said of Wall Street protesters who have spread across the country. Beck then turned his vitriol towards poor students who can’t afford a college education on their own:
BECK: We also have the responsibility to understand we are accountable for each of those choices. You go to school, you rack up a lot of school loans, that was your choice. We also have to understand that those choices have eternal consequences. And consequences that ripple throughout society…If you can?t afford to go to college, go to the free public library. I did it. It works.
Obviously, for most students who have to take out loans to pay for college, going into debt is not a choice. But according to Beck, students frustrated by rising tuition, shrinking financial aid and mounting debt should quit whining and just not go to college.
Meanwhile, Beck continues to rake in a fortune through his conspiracy theory-peddling “Glenn Beck university” program. You can learn about the secret history of America hidden by the liberals for just $9.95 per month or $74.95 for the year.
(HT: Washington Independent)
Newt Gingrich reignited the “death panels” meme during Tuesday night’s GOP presidential debate in New Hampshire, arguing that the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force’s draft recommendation that men shouldn’t be routinely tested for prostate cancer was “going to kill people.” The panel found that the test does more harm than good, noting that “The common perception that early detection prolongs lives is not supported by the scientific evidence.” Gingrich disagreed:
GINGRICH: I am really glad you asked that, because I was just swapping e-mails today with Andy von Eschenbach, who was the head of the National Cancer Institute, the head of the Food & Drug Administration. But before that, he was the provost M.D. Anderson, the largest cancer treatment center in the world.
And he wrote me to point out that the most recent U.S. government intervention on whether or not to have prostate testing is basically going to kill people. So, if you ask me, do I want some Washington bureaucrat to create a class action decision which affects every American’s last two years of life, not ever.
I think it is a disaster. I think, candidly, Governor Palin got attacked unfairly for describing what would, in effect, be death panels.
And what Von Eschenbach will tell you if you call him is, the decision to suggest that we not test men with PSA will mean that a number of people who do not have — who are susceptible to a very rapid prostate cancer will die unnecessarily. And there was not a single urologist, not a single specialist on the board that looked at it. So, I am opposed to class intervention for these things.
Some doctors like Von Eschenbach may disagree with the panel’s recommendations, but the scientific evidence demonstrates that the risk of additional testing and treatments — like biopsy, surgery, and radiation — outweighs the benefits of early detection. Part of the problem, the science concludes, is that the PSA doesn’t actually detect prostate cancer, but rather “reveals how much of the prostate antigen a man has in his blood,” so it triggers additional testing. Nor does it “distinguish between the two types of prostate cancer ? the one that will kill you and the one that won?t.” And so the panel concluded that for healthy men who have no other symptoms of prostate cancer, the cancer grows slowly and they end up dying of something else without ever knowing about the disease and avoiding the cascade of treatments and complications that come with diagnosis. For instance, according to the task force, “one million men received surgery, radiation or both as a result of a PSA test from 1986 to 2005,” but about about 0.5 percent of those who received surgery after a PSA test died within 30 days. The treatment also “significantly increased risks for incontinence, impotence and other health problems.”
As Jonathan Cohn observes, ultimately, this is an intensely personal decision. “Do you want to have a test for a cancer that might not be lethal and that might lead you to treatment that could harm or even kill you? Not every patient will answer that question the same way. Not every doctor will either.” This panel or the Affordable Care Act won’t make that decision for you — “nobody is going to stop physicians from giving the test. Nobody is going to stop patients from getting the test. Nobody is going to stop insurers from paying for the test.”
The government will consider the panel’s recommendations when forming the basic benefit packages that insurers will offer beginning in 2014. But its science-based conclusions are just one factor in a complicated process that will certainly take into account the opinions and expertise of doctors like Von Eschenbach and consumer groups that disagree. The Prevention Task Force considered the science and efficacy behind the PSA test, which is a good starting point for making any kind of medical decision.
Florida state Rep. Brad Drake (R) is angry that Valle’s execution took so long. So angry, in fact, that he introduced a bill yesterday to eliminate lethal injection as a execution method altogether in favor of electrocution or the firing squad. “I’m sick and tired of this sensitivity movement for criminals,” Drake declared.
Drake got this ingenious idea to bring back electrocution and firing squads from an equally ingenious place: a Waffle House. Overhearing a constituent call for such methods, Drake said he decided to file the bill. After all, “if it were up to me we would just throw them off the Sunshine Skyway bridge,” he said:
In a Waffle House in DeFuniak Springs, Drake said he heard a constituent say, “‘You know, they ought to just put them in the electric chair or line them up in front of a firing squad.’” After a conversation with the person, Drake, 36, said he decided to file the bill.
“There shouldn’t be anything controversial about a .45-caliber bullet. If it were up to me we would just throw them off the Sunshine Skyway bridge and be done with it,” Drake said.
Under his bill, electrocution would be the standard method of executions, but inmates could opt for an execution by firing squad. This bill “end[s] the debate,” Drake said. “We still have Old Sparky. And if that doesn’t suit the criminal, then we will provide them a .45 caliber lead cocktail instead.” Of course, Florida’s electric chair “Old Sparky” is nowhere near humane. In the late 1990s, “Old Sparky” left one inmate “alive for moments after the electrocution, and sparked a fire on another inmate’s face during the execution.”
Seeing executions by electrocution and firing squad as unnecessarily inhumane, few states now utilize these methods. Almost every state has banned executions by firing squads, with the exception being Utah — where prisoners can still be executed in this manner if a prisoner requested it before the phasing out of the method in 2004 — and Oklahoma, where a prisoner can be executed by firing squad as a secondary method if both lethal injection and electrocution are ruled unconstitutional. Nine states allow electrocution, but lethal injection is the primary method in all of these states.
Of course, Drake does not give a hoot about what is or isn’t humane. “In the words of Humphrey Bogart (sic), ‘Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.‘ I am so tired of being humane to inhumane people,” he said.
As former pizza magnate Herman Cain has surged in Republican primary polls, his 999 tax plan has received more and more attention — it was mentioned 85 times at last night’s GOP debate — and with the attention has come increasing scrutiny. Center for American Progress Director of Tax and Budget Policy Michael Linden studied the plan last week and revealed that it would explode federal deficits, slice federal revenue, and force the poorest Americans to shoulder the cost of a tax cut for the wealthy.
Others have analyzed Cain’s plan and found similar results, and even conservatives have begun calling major parts of it into question. But today, the 999 plan was dealt its biggest blow when one of Cain’s own economic advisers said it wasn’t a tax plan he would back. While Gary Robbins, who scored the plan for Cain’s campaign and is a paid consultant, praised the plan, he made it clear that it wouldn’t be the plan he picked, Politico reports:
While Robbins praised the idea of 9-9-9, he took steps during an interview to distance himself from its author.
?It?s not a plan that I concocted,? Robbins said. ?There?s nothing wrong with the plan, it just wouldn?t be the one I picked.?
Cain has dismissed criticism of his plan as “egregious” and misinformed, but it is telling that a member of his own campaign wouldn’t necessarily back the plan, which was drafted by a Koch-affiliated financial adviser at Wells Fargo, not an actual economist. And though Cain dismissed fellow presidential candidate Rick Santorum’s criticism that the 999 plan would never pass, Robbins agrees with that assessment, telling Politico that the American people would never accept such drastic changes.
Unfortunately, in addition to Robbins’ caveats, there are major problems with Cain’s plan. As Linden noted, it would cut revenue in half and create the largest federal deficits since World War II. It would also raise taxes on the poor to nine times their current rate, and since its 9 percent sales tax also hits food — something only two states currently do at a full sales tax rate — it would hit the poor even harder than already expected.
Of the many Johnny Depp projects in the pipeline, the one I think has the most potential to be genuinely interesting is a biopic of Theodore Geisel, better known, of course, as Doctor Seuss. Geisel’s work is both wildly commercially successful and intensely political, and his political cartooning (which I highly recommend) veers between contradictory impulses of anti-Japanese racism and condemnations of anti-Semitism and racism directed at African-Americans. He both created great entertainment for children (The Cat in the Hat is the result of a challenge to see if he could write an educational book using only 250 words important for young readers) and never had any ? in fact, a long-term affair contributed to his wife’s suicide. I don’t really know that I think Depp is the right person to play Geisel ? he runs the risk of being purely wacky ? but Geisel is an enormously fitting and interesting subject for a biopic, and not merely because I’m so manifestly pleased by anyone who manages to make great entertainment out of serious political ideas.
As the people of Kansas begin to feel the pain of living in Brownbackistan, it was only a matter of time before they decided to join the Occupy Together movement. AP radio news reported today that the Occupy Wall Street protests had spread to "a few other cities" - if you count 1,340 cities to be a"few."
There have been Occupy Together protests in Kansas City and Lawrence, Kansas as shown above. Contrary to the reporting of the corporate media, there is a coherent, focused message:
LAWRENCE ? On Saturday about 150 attended an ?Occupy Lawrence? rally in front of the U.S. Bank building on Massachusetts Avenue in support of the Occupy Wall Street movement in New York.
Melissa from #OccupyLawrence read the Declaration of the Occupation of New York City adopted also by the Lawrence General Assembly. The prolog to that document reads:
As we gather together in solidarity to express a feeling of mass injustice, we must not lose sight of what brought us together. We write so that all people who feel wronged by the corporate forces of the world can know that we are your allies.
Steve Robinson from #OccupyLawrence said he started the local web page about the event since ?America is broken economically and politically and the people need to fix it.?
Gretchen Alvarez, Lawrence, said her attention-grabbing sign, ?The Hand of the Free Market Touched Me in a Bad Place!?, was about her 401(k) retirement savings being ?raped? by events on Wall Street.
Their numbers were small, but mighty and right there in the Koch Brothers' home state no less! Not that they'd notice, mind you, but as the Occupy Together movement continues to grow and spread to cities and towns both large and small, eventually they will have no choice but to sit up and take notice.
“The Republican base doesn’t want Romney. The Republican base doesn’t want Romney.” – Rush Limbaugh’s opening chant on his radio show today …and so it begins. The Republican establishment thinks they’ve[...]
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Last month, the Administration delayed an EPA rule on ozone standards, part of a capitulation on regulatory rollbacks demanded by the business community and Republicans. For years, the Administration told environmental groups not to sue to force new[...]
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(United Wisconsin)Back in June, when the Democratic Party of Wisconsin first announced that it would attempt to recall Scott Walker, chair Mike Tate told Daily Kos that he would prefer if the recall election would coincide with the November 2012 general election. Given this, when the DPW announced on Monday that they would start the process of recalling Walker on Nov. 15, it may have taken some by surprise.
What changed? Four things:
Since any recall campaign triggers a period of unlimited fundraising and spending by the target of the recall, multiple recall drives could have created a longer legal window for Walker to raise and spend without limits.
Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates. 9/12-15. Likely voters, MoE 3.6%:
Recall Walker: 51
Keep Walker: 42
With Walker facing numbers like these now, why wait?
At Daily Kos, we have added the Democratic Party of Wisconsin to Orange to Blue. Please, chip in $5 to help them recall Scott Walker.
Ready for some depressing reading? With the release of the 2010 American Community Survey from the Census Bureau, we can now explore how the financial health of our nation's various congressional districts changed over the 2000-2010 period. (Back at Swing State Project, we already looked extensively at some of the data that the 2010 full count provided, like population change and changes in racial composition. Unfortunately, with the elimination of the Census's long form, we had to wait a while for the ACS data to look at income and poverty; ACS is a yearly survey that contacts enough people to get reliable estimates on all the former long-form data. It's limited to populations over 65,000, but that includes CDs.)
Here, we're more concerned with the change over the last 10 years than the simple raw numbers of which CDs are the richest and the poorest. The same few districts (VA-11, NY-14) are always going to be on top and on the bottom (NY-16), but the real demographic meatiness is where the trends are, who's particularly hard hit, and accordingly who might be receptive to different types of economic messaging.
I also looked at changes in income and poverty at SSP, but interestingly, the last time I did it was in September of 2008 (using the 2000-2007 trend), which is pretty much the very month the economy went kerflooey. So, really, there are two different things we need to look at here: the long-term trend over the entire decade, and what districts were particularly hard hit over the last few years of recession and slow recovery. The National Journal's Ron Brownstein released an excellent piece several weeks ago looking at the 2007-2010 trend on the state level, but here we're going to drill down a little further.
Let's start with median household income (MHI). As you'll see, MHI, per capita income, and poverty levels all tend to track each other fairly closely (so most of our graphs will be over the fold). There can be very different results, though, depending on household size; for instance, suburban/exurban districts like northern Virginia's 10th and 11th fare better on median household income, while affluent downtown districts with many single-family households fare the best on PCI. But since we're in a downbeat mood, here, let's start with the districts (as currently districted, not their future configurations) with the biggest drops in MHI.
Over the full 2000-2010 period, the worst damage seems to be located squarely in Michigan, which was losing ground all decade, even before the rest of the country joined it. Other additions are the suburban black-majority districts in the Atlanta area, which are rapidly moving from narrow African-American majorities to large ones.
Compare that chart with the 2007-2010 one, which presents a more diverse array of districts. Two Michigan districts show up, but they're the state's two most affluent districts, as management apparently felt the pain the rest of the workforce felt earlier in the decade (or at least had further to fall). But there's also a mix of rich districts where there's probably less suffering but shrunken bonuses took at least a large numeric toll (CA-48, CT-04), districts that were particularly hard hit by the implosion of the housing bubble (NV-01, FL-20, FL-08), and one wild card, suburban GA-06, an affluent district but also one which has seen the starts of demographic change (white flight, new African-American residents), just in the last few years.
If you're wondering who has the smallest overall MHI in 2010, the worst off is NY-16 in the south Bronx ($23,773), followed by KY-05, WV-03, CA-31 and AL-07.
More over the flip...