"Everyone likes being warm, right? So what's the problem?"
Candidate Derp Derpington (Correction: I'm being told his name is Rick something ... Santorum? Wow, that's unfortunate) "refuting" climate science with his enormous brain-thingy:
"The dangers of carbon dioxide? Tell that to a plant, how dangerous carbon dioxide is"Ah ha ha ha! Get it? Plants like carbon dioxide, and since people are plants, we've got nothing to worry about! Silly scientists!
Please stay in the race, Rick. You're my favorite caricature of a dumb guy ever. If that ever starts not working out for you, though, I hear the tobacco lobby needs a new spokesman to talk about how cigarettes can really clear up the ol' lungs.
A video posted to the YouTube account of Rep. Peter King (R-NY) has sparked an investigation by the U.S. Marshals Service into why a videographer accompanying the New York Republican was allowed to film inside private residences against a federal policy.
Shortly after noon on Tuesday, a tweet from King's account linked to an eight minute video of a ride-along with a "fugitive task force" including U.S. marshals on Monday. It showed King, the chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, joining police as they broke down doors and arrested a suspected fugitive. The video, in an apparent joke by King, carried the logo of the "Manhunters" reality TV show.
After TPM made inquiries about the video with King's office, it was marked "private" and no longer available to the public on YouTube. Later, the video was removed from YouTube entirely.
A shorter version, with almost a minute of footage cut out, was posted later in the day, and tweeted from King's account. Clips of an officer kicking in a door, a joke about how King "got" a suspect and an officer describing to King how he kicked someone, perhaps the suspect, off a ladder were cut out.
But even the new video features shots that appear to have been filmed within the confines of a private residence in violation of federal policy.
"The policy restrictions which prohibit individuals who are not U.S. Marshals employees or Task Force Officers from filming inside a private residence are intended to be in place during all ride-alongs," U.S. Marshals spokesman Jeff Carter told TPM in a statement. "We are currently investigating this matter to determine exactly what happened in this instance."
King's office did not respond to TPM's request for comment.
Criminal defense attorney Bruce Barket, from King's home area of Long Island, N.Y., watched the unedited video, which TPM obtained from King's YouTube page before it was removed, and said it could be a problem for law enforcement, particularly since it was edited.
"It turns out maybe more often than not that the camera is not the policeman's friend, so I find it curious that agents would say, come along, witness congressman, and bring your video crew so you can observe us engaging in whatever conduct we're engaging in," Barket said. "The fact that they've edited some raises some questions about what they were doing."
He also said it's almost unheard of to have somebody of the congressman's profile tagging along with a fugitive task force.
"Somebody accompanying them is rare," Barket said. "Somebody accompanying them with a video camera is very rare."
Barket also questioned King's attire. "Why was he wearing a police coat and a badge?" he said. "I'm just searching for a legitimate reason why he'd be wearing a badge and a coat like that. If you did it, you'd be arrested for impersonating a police officer."
King's accompanying camera crew may not fit the traditional definition of "press," but a Justice Department policy written long before handheld video devices and YouTube banned media ride-alongs during search and arrest warrant raids. The 1993 DOJ policy was instituted after a cameraman tipped off a mailman who was also a Branch Davidian about the upcoming and subsequently famous raid in Waco, as Politico's Josh Gerstein wrote in 2009. The subsequent raid and siege left 76 members of the Branch Davidians and four agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) dead.
Here's the original video posted on King's YouTube account, which TPM grabbed before it was pulled down:
This is the shortened version they posted later on Tuesday afternoon:
And here are the tweets from King's account:
After inquiries from TPM, the U.S. Marshals Service is probing why a cameraman accompanying Rep. Peter King (R-NY) was allowed to film inside a private residence in violation of federal policy during a raid yesterday to apprehend fugitives. King posted[...]
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Very interesting tidbit from a press release sent out by Gov. Phil Bryant (R) today:
"Gov. Phil Bryant today reestablished by his first Executive Order the Mississippi Military Communities Council. The council will promote Mississippi?s military missions at the national level and advise Gov. Bryant and legislative officials on actions that could potentially impact the missions and Mississippi communities that support military operations." - March 13, 2012 Phil Bryant Press Release (link)Compare that to this excerpt from Gov. Bryant's State of the State last month:
"Currently in Mississippi, there are more than 150 Boards and Commissions that were often created when we could not make a decision on a difficult subject and appointed a committee to study the problem. Good people serve on these committees and boards but the purpose of many has been exhausted and their existence should be reviewed. Tonight, I am asking Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, who has the statutory authority to record each appointment, review the necessity of these boards and commissions and offer recommendations to the executive and legislative branches on possible termination or consolidation of our boards and commissions. Any final decision would obviously rest with the Legislature but I trust Secretary Hosemann to help vet these recommendations before we take action." - January 24, 2012 Phil Bryant State of the State (link)
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Monday was Mitt Romney's 65th birthday. Happy birthday, Mittens. In honor of his 65th birthday he announced that he would not be enrolling in Social Security or Medicare. How noble. Except, it's not.
In deference to the conservative dogs nipping his heels, Romney has endorsed the Paul Ryan Medicare plan which would voucherize Medicare and leave senior citizens floundering on their own with private insurance companies. Of course, if you asked Mitt Romney about it, what you'd get is a bunch of lies. Really awful, cynical, blatant lies. Here is a Romney campaign press release:
?There are two proposals on the table for addressing the nation?s entitlement crisis. Mitt Romney ? along with a bipartisan group of leaders ? has offered a solution that would introduce competition and choice into Medicare, control costs, and strengthen the program for future generations. President Obama has cut $500 billion from Medicare to fund Obamacare and created an unaccountable board with rationing power ? all while America?s debt is spiraling out of control and we continue to run trillion-dollar deficits.
?If President Obama?s plan is to end Medicare as we know it, he should say so. If he has another plan, he should have the courage to put it forward.?
And as Greg Sargent points out, that's just a lie:
Get the trick here? The Romney campaign is accusing Obama of slashing Medicare, and hence ?ending Medicare as we know it,? while simultaneously accusing him of failing to curb entitlement spending in ways that pose grave danger to the nation?s finances. This, even asRomney has endorsed a plan that would quasi-voucherize Medicare and end the program as we know it.
This debate is about to ramp up and yet it seems our press cannot call a lie a lie. They'll call it a falsehood, or as one headline read yesterday, a "mistruth." All of which leaves me nodding my head at Lawrence O'Donnell's rant last night about why it is that the word "lie" seems to be gone from the vocabulary of the Village press.
Romney won't take Medicare or Social Security because he's so incredibly rich that he doesn't need it. But lots of people do, and privatized accounts and vouchers aren't going to cut it. If seniors truly understood what Mitt Romney and all of the Republican candidates had in mind for Social Security and Medicare, they'd think twice before voting for any of them. But because our political reporters have some aversion to the word "lie", they may never realize what's in store under President RomneySantorumGingrich.
Takes a minute to get fun, but then it just takes off. Love the kid on the fiddle, wish they'd shot more of him.
Families that depend on government assistance face countless threats, but a new study from the Urban Institute shows just how devastating budget cuts could be to America?s poorest families.
According to the report, as of 2009, low-income children received 70 percent of government funding for children — a respectable portion of overall federal spending dedicated to the needs of those under 18. But while the straight numbers look good for poor kids, those children’s future prospects are frightening.
The Urban Institute ?estimate[s] that low-income children receive 99 percent of housing expenditures, 98 percent of expenditures on nutrition, 97 percent of health expenditures, and 94 percent of expenditures on social services.? So, of course, cutting the budgets for these areas would disproportionately affect children:
Millions of children have been kept out of extreme poverty by programs like food stamps, and the overall poverty rates would have been twice as high in 2010 without the social safety net. Surely, the opposite effect would occur with any cuts to welfare, social security, medicaid, or the other programs that keep these kids afloat.
Last year saw record levels of investment in solar, biofuels, and wind energy. Those 3 markets rose 31% to $246 billion, according to the Clean Energy Trends 2012 report (here) issued today by the research and advisory firm Clean Edge, Inc.
The report is filled with some great charts. For instance, if you thought clean tech VC investment in this country was petering out, it turns out reports of that death appeared to be exaggerated:
U.S.-based venture capital investments in clean tech increased 30 percent from $5.1 billion in 2010 to $6.6 billion in 2011, according to data provided by Cleantech Group. Clean Edge analysis found that clean-tech?s percentage of total U.S. venture capital investments accounted for a record 23.2 percent of total U.S. venture activity last year.
As you can see, clean tech venture investments in US companies are near an all time high — and almost a quarter of all venture investment. I can tell you that back in the mid-1990s, when I was helping to oversee the DOE’s billion-dollar Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, we could only dream of VC investments some day matching our spending. Now it exceeds what we spend on R&D by a factor of 10.
The point is that increases in global and U.S. clean energy investment by the private sector — driven by government policy at the state and national level — drive private sector clean-tech VC investment.
And investment in key clean energy technologies is soaring:
These investments have led to remarkable drops in the cost of wind and solar power:
Solar cells, which are mostly made from silicon (the same basic material used in manufacturing computer chips), are now exhibiting economies of scale seen in earlier high-tech revolutions such as personal computers and cell phones. Between 2007 and 2011, solar PV total system costs (including PV modules, balance of system components, and installation) dropped by more than half, with complete systems being installed globally in 2011 at an average $3.47 a peak watt or 14 to 23 cents per kWh. Contrary to Solyndra?s critics who say the industry isn?t ready for prime time, solar is, in fact, becoming increasingly cost-competitive (making it difficult for high-cost providers like Solyndra to survive)….
In less than a decade, Clean Edge projects that in 13 states (Alaska, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont) solar PV will be cost-competitive at the residential level without any subsidy requirements. And solar will become increasingly attractive with a likely explosion in a new breed of power providers (such as solar installers/financiers SolarCity, SunEdison, and SunRun) providing residential, commercial, and industrial customers with a hedge against fluctuating retail electricity rates tied to volatile prices of fossil fuels.
The study makes many important points about the value of government investment:
The whole report is worth reading. It focuses on ”five major trends for 2012″:
Since the recess appointments President Obama made to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and National Labor Relations Board, Senate Republicans have been even more determined, if possible, to obstruct and to prevent any Obama nominee be confirmed. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has decided to force the issue, and on Monday filed for cloture on 17 district court judicial nominations, with votes coming as early as Wednesday.
None of the judges are controversial. Out of the 17, 14 were referred out of the Judiciary Committee unanimously, and none of them have been singled out by Republicans as too controversial to confirm. They are being held hostage for the sole purpose of hostage-taking, of sucking up the small amount of time the Senate actually uses on the business of the nation. This time, however, Reid has a bit of leverage.
Reid pulled procedural levers Monday to force action on 17 stalled, non-controversial judicial nominees to federal trial courts?just as the Senate was expected to take up the House-passed JOBS Act, a modest GOP-led bill to encourage economic growth by loosening regulations on small business capital formation.If McConnell says that no nominees will be confirmed, then it's a good bet no nominees will be confirmed. The nation's judicial crisis will worsen. Here are some details on judicial nominations in the Obama administration provided by a Senate Democratic aide.
That presents Republicans with a conundrum: proceed with the promised filibusters and eat up weeks of floor time while the JOBS Act sits in limbo; or accede to Reid?s demands and hand Democrats a win?and a bunch of federal judges.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell indicated in a floor speech Tuesday he has no intention of letting the nominees be confirmed and blamed Democrats for trying to gum up the works on the small business JOBS Act.
Beyond all that, no district court nominee has ever been successfully blocked by a filibuster?if Republicans deny cloture on these nominees, they'll be setting a new and dangerous standard. As if their new filibuster record wasn't enough.
Supporters listen to Rick Santorum in Huntsville, Alabama (Billy Weeks/Reuters)Given the early exit polls, you'd be justified in thinking voters in Alabama and Mississippi were headed to a revival rather than election.
Around 8 in 10 Mississippians participating in Tuesday's contest were white evangelical or born-again Christians, the largest share measured in any state so far. Those same voters accounted for nearly three-quarters of those surveyed in Alabama, a proportion reached previously only in Tennessee and Oklahoma.If demographic trends hold from previous southern primaries, and assuming the exit polls are accurate (two big IFs), that's good news for Rick Santorum. Remember, he won Tennessee and Oklahoma handily.