House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, trying to change the subject on tax fairness. (John Gress/Reuters)
Next week, the House will vote on another Republican "jobs" bill; tax cuts, of course, for small business. A group of progressive organizations representing small businesses is calling for what they say would be a much more effective jobs and economy stimulator: closing corporate tax loopholes.
But the three groups? the American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC), Business for Shared Prosperity (BSP) and The Main Street Alliance (MSA)?argued Thursday that the revenue generated by eliminating corporate tax loopholes would be the better jobs plan. Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), the senior Democrat on the ouse Budget Committee, joined them at the press conference. [...]The Republican bill is championed by Majority Leader Eric Cantor, and would give a significant tax break, 20 percent, to businesses with fewer than 500 employees. The businesses represented by the above groups argue that the tax break doesn't do a great deal for them, particularly in new hiring, if there continues to be a lack of demand for their products. They argue that a larger investment in infrastructer and public services is needed to spur the economy.
Joseph Rotella, owner of the Spencer Organ Company, a 10-employee shop based near Boston, echoed that message.
"Taxes are not just numbers on a spreadsheet. They provide revenues that pay for roads, bridges, public safety, public transportation, and other infrastructure [projects] and services that my business and customers count on," Rotella said. "There's nothing sensible about allowing big corporations big tax breaks while we cut the public services that are so important to a healthy economy and a harmonious society."
Thursday's press event coincided with the release of a new report from U.S. PIRG finding that America's small businesses would each have to pay more than $2,100 to fill the estimated $60 billion tax-gap created each year by large corporations shifting assets and earnings overseas.
It's another Republican tax gimmick, offering up unnecessary tax cuts to try to divert attention from the debate over tax fairness, from the Buffett Rule, and income inequality. You know, all those issues they're losing on.
Jess talked about this earlier in the week and now it's official. In 90 days Arizona law will state that life begins at menstruation. According to the law it's possible to be pregnant while still a virgin.
Despite its name, critics derided the Women’s Health and Safety Act that Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed into law today as cruel, dangerous, and hostile to women—likely to deter many Arizona women from seeking an abortion, and to distress those who nonetheless go through with one.
Life starts earliest in Arizona, which now defines gestational age as beginning on the first day of a woman’s last period, rather than at fertilization. In practice, that means the state has banned abortions after about 18 weeks (20 weeks from the last menstruation) except in the case of medical emergencies. While that provision has been much discussed, abortions after that point account for only about 1 percent of the procedures currently performed. - Daily Beast
For today's edition of Just Because It's Awesome, we have a terrific 1976 performance of the sadly departed Warren Zevon doing "Mohammed's Radio" with some help from Jackson Browne. Just because it's awesome.
Local superhero Cory BookerNext time you find yourself trapped in a burning building, you know what you'll be praying for? Not a fire extinguisher. Not an asbestos suit from 1972 the EPA forgot to confiscate. Hell, you might even forget about the fire department for a moment. Why? Because you'll be fervently hoping for Cory Booker to come save you:
Newark Mayor Cory Booker was taken to a hospital Thursday night for treatment of smoke inhalation he suffered trying to rescue his next-door neighbors from their burning house.Now mind you, Cory Booker is not just some guy who rescues people from houses engulfed in flames, suffering smoke inhalation and burns. He's a guy who rescues people from houses engulfed in flames, suffers from smoke inhalation and burns, and makes sure to Tweet about it so that everyone knows all's okay:
"I just grabbed her and whipped her out of the bed," Booker said in recounting the fire. Booker told The Star-Ledger he also suffered second-degree burns on his hand.
The fire started in a two-story building on Hawthorne Avenue in the Upper Clinton Hill neighborhood, shortly before the mayor arrived home after a television interview with News 12 New Jersey.
Five people were taken to the hospital for treatment: the mayor, a woman from the house and three members of his security detail. The woman was listed in stable condition at Saint Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston with burns to her back and neck.
Before going to the hospital, Booker confirmed on his Twitter account that he suffered from smoke inhalation, and said he was being taken by EMS to University Hospital for treatment.Now this is a hero for the 21st century: knows how to save lives and knows how to use social media. This, my friends, is Cory Booker. And I'm definitely voting for him for Superman this November.
"Thanks 2 all who are concerned. Just suffering smoke inhalation," Booker tweeted. "We got the woman out of the house. We are both off to hospital. I will b ok."
P.S. If you haven't checked out the #CoryBookerStories hashtag on Twitter, trust me, you'll want to.
Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden at a Joining Forces nurses event (Lawrence Jackson/Official photo)
Michelle Obama is on the road marking the first anniversary of her "Joining Forces" initiative to help veterans find jobs. The unemployment rate among young veterans has been persistently high, and, as Meteor Blades has written, "getting more veterans into employment is ultimately about putting the nation back to work."
Short of an employment turnaround in the nation as a whole, though, the Joining Forces program attempts to recruit private-sector employers to hire veterans and military spouses and to mitigate some of the challenges military families face in finding work. At an event in Shreveport, Louisiana, Michelle Obama touted some of the program's successes:
...the truth is, is that when we started to plan this event a couple of months ago, we had planned on announcing the 50,000th hire. That?s what this was going to be. ... but by the end of March we had already hit that mark. And then a week later, we added 5,000 more. And by April, another 3,000.She also cited commitments for the future:
So today, I couldn?t be more excited to announce that America?s businesses have hired 60,000 veterans and military spouses in the past year.
And just last week, a group of 11 companies said that they would devote 15,000 portable, flexible jobs to military spouses and veterans. More than 1,600 companies ? from Sears and Siemens, to NBC and Disney, to Honeywell and Snap-On Tools ? they?ve all joined this effort. Everyone is stepping up. And in total, they?ve committed to hiring at least 160,000 veterans and military spouses in the coming years. And that?s above and beyond the 60,000 that we?re talking about here today. That?s on top of it.The unemployment rate for post-9/11 veterans has been consistently higher than for the population as a whole; however, in recent months it has been on a downward trajectory, despite a rebound in March.
The Justice Department has responded to allegations that they have not staffed the RMBS working group, the division within their financial fraud task force co-chaired by Eric Schneiderman which is supposed to investigate and prosecute banks for[...]
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Via Sarah Kliff, here's a great graphic from Kaiser Family Foundation laying out how funds from the Affordable Care Act are being distributed across the country:
In total, over $12 billion has been handed out to state governments and private entities to implement the provisions of the ACA. Breaking it down by state, California?the first state to setup their own health exchange?has received the lion's share of funding, taking in over $1.1 billion. Other population heavy states such as New York, Texas, Michigan, and Ohio have taken in large sums as well. These funds aren't just being channeled to state governments; rather the lion's share has been directed to assist private entities. In Michigan, for example, $184 million in federal funds have gone to the state government but $630 million has been directed to private entities, mostly business to help with the costs of providing care.
You can look at the full breakdown of funds on Kaiser's interactive map here.
If the fact that she brought a second-degree murder charge against George Zimmerman earlier this week didn't make it clear enough, a Florida special prosecutor released a document late Thursday that makes plain she doesn't buy his story about the killing of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin.
An affidavit made public by special prosecutor Angela Corey said her investigators determined Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer in a gated community in Sanford, Fla., was the one who pursued and confronted Martin.
It said Zimmerman was on the phone with a 911 dispatcher on the night of Feb. 26, just minutes before the confrontation. The dispatcher told him not to chase after the teen.
"Zimmerman disregarded the police dispatcher and continued to follow Martin who was trying to return to his home," the document said. "Zimmerman confronted Martin and a struggle ensued."
That account contradicts what Zimmerman's family has said publicly. Zimmerman's brother and father have said Zimmerman was walking back to his vehicle when Martin came up from behind and attacked him.
The document also said Zimmerman shot Martin in the chest, and later admitted to police officers he was the one who did it.
Zimmerman was charged on Wednesday with second-degree murder after weeks of national debate over the case and whether he should have been arrested in the killing.
Jon Stewart on Thursday took on the "mediagasm" surrounding charges against George Zimmerman -- or, as Stewart dubbed it, "Zimdecision 2012."
After the initial tragic shooting of Trayvon Martin and "the subsequent lack of anybody getting in trouble for it," Stewart turned to the news conference where Florida special prosecutor Angela Corey announced second-degree murder charges against George Zimmerman.
Now for the reactions: Zimmerman's parents were tearful, and Zimmerman's lawyer spoke eloquently about letting the justice system run its course. "I'm sorry, I should have been more specific," Stewart said. "Not the calm, rational, heartfelt reactions of the people directly involved in the case ... I mean the reactions of the people who really matter: the media."
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Newark Mayor Corey Booker continues near comically heroic string of feats, last night rushing into a burning building to save a woman a house fire. And if that wasn't enough, his tweet about the incident last night seems to have understated his (quite[...]
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