Disappointed that official government data showed his state was the worst in the nation for job creation over the last 12 months, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) decided to release his own numbers today. But even if Walker’s new calculations have merit, he’s nowhere close to the pace necessary to create the 250,000 new jobs he promised in his first four years in office.
Walker had no problem touting the official Bureau of Labor Statistics’ job report last year when it showed that Wisconsin was adding jobs. Now, he has decided to cite a different report that still shows relatively weak job growth, the Wasau Daily Herald reports:
But even these latest figures indicate he is far from achieving that goal. The data compiled by the state Department of Workforce Development show a net gain of 23,300 public and private jobs during 2011, up from the previously reported 33,900 drop. The difference lies in how the numbers were generated.
The new numbers come from the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages, produced for inclusion in the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics? national report to be issued on June 28 ? more than three weeks after the recall. Those figures are based on actual job counts reported by 160,000 Wisconsin employers as required by law as part of their tax and unemployment insurance reports.
Last month, BLS found that Wisconsin had the “largest over-the-year percentage decrease in employment,” losing nearly 1 percent of its jobs from April 2011 to April 2012. Wisconsin was one of only four states to lose jobs over that period.
That hampered Walker’s message — targeted at voters who will choose whether to retain him as their governor in three weeks — that his union-busting, corporate tax-cutting, budget-slashing policies have helped the state’s economy rebound. So instead, Walker decided to use numbers that, according to Wisconsin’s own Department of Workforce Development, are “estimations based on surveys and do not represent a census of jobs, per se.”
Ex-gay fringe group Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays (PFOX) has filed a complaint with Maryland’s Montgomery County Board of Education against School Superintendent Joshua Starr over alleged sexual orientation discrimination. The group charges that Starr engaged in “hate speech” when he publicly criticized PFOX for distributing offensive ex-gay flyers to high school students:
STARR: I find the actions of PFOX to be repressible and deplorable. We are bound by law? to enable nonprofits to distribute flyers [...] This group has figured out a way to use that law to spread what I find to be a really disgusting message, quite frankly.
The problem with PFOX is that the group places being LGBT on par with being plagued by a mental illness that can be treated with therapy, a theory that has been disavowed and disproven time and time again. The organization’s entire premise is built on the belief that being gay or transgender is mainly a matter of gender confusion, and that “no one is born gay” and “same-sex attractions can be overcome and gender identity disorder reversed.” Such messages have a harmful stigmatizing effect on all LGBT students, and parents swayed by the pamphlets might force their children to endure the bogus therapy.
While the PFOX flyers never explicitly mention the use of a harmful and ineffective practice most commonly referred to as ‘reparative therapy,’ the group’s website does include a referral directory for obtaining ‘ex-gay’ counseling, as well as Christian prayers for those ?tired of living a gay life and wants a fresh start and a new life.” As reparative therapy has been ruled dangerous by numerous medical experts, California is currently pushing through legislation that would ban the practice.
Mitt Romney didn't play by the same rules as everyone elseIt wasn't too long ago that Mitt Romney was so eager to tout his experience as CEO of Bain Capital that he didn't even mention that he had once been governor of Massachusetts. Romney talked about Bain as if it were the only thing on his resume. And on Monday after the Obama campaign released its anti-Bain ad, the Romney campaign responded with a video touting a Bain success story.
However, 48 hours later, Romney's Bain record is still under attack ... but he has suddenly gone silent. According to Politico, not only did Romney fail to respond to those attacks in a speech earlier today ... he didn't even mention the word Bain.
He delivered a 22-minute standard stump speech and didn't make a single mention of it. He didn't even repeat his standard line about knowing how the economy works and how to create jobs because of his time in the private sector.So not only did Romney fail to mention Bain ... he didn't make a generic plug about having private sector experience, something he does in virtually every speech. Apparently, he's so afraid to talk about Bain that he won't even say one word in his own defense. And if he won't even defend himself, then doesn't that tell you everything you need to know?
The polling showing that voters hold negative opinions of the President's performance in housing policy and Wall Street accountability suggests that Americans have a hungering for a much tougher policy on these issues and will reward candidates who[...]
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The Catholic Church's U.S. hierarchy warned Tuesday that without quick action by Congress, it will sue the Obama administration for mandating that insurance plans provide birth control to women without a co-pay.Talk about sore losers. The bishops had their chance to weigh in on the Obama administration's new policy to require health insurers to cover birth control without co-pays. The Obama administration generously carved out a boatload of exemptions for them to address their "concerns." The bishops even got their puppets in Congress to introduce bills on their behalf?which the American people overwhelmingly opposed. They even got themselves invited to the boys-only congressional hearing on birth control?because who understands birth control better than a bunch of supposedly celibate men?
"[F]orcing individual and institutional stakeholders to sponsor and subsidize an otherwise widely available product over their religious and moral objections serves no legitimate, let alone compelling, government interest," lawyers for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops wrote in a letter to federal regulators.
At the end of the day, though, they lost. They made their case that basic health care for women violates their "religious liberty" and makes Jesus sad?and they lost. They launched a charm offensive to "set the record straight," arguing that the Catholic Church totally loves women's health care and has been "the most effective private provider of such care anywhere around," and people better stop saying mean stuff about them or they won't be able "to live out the imperatives of our faith to serve, teach, heal, feed, and care for others." And no one bought it.
You'd think, after such a resounding "fuck off" from the American public, the bishops might leave women's health care alone and go back to focusing on those important things they claim to care about. But when the Administrative Committee of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), led by Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, archbishop of New York and the president of the bishops' conference, met to decide whether to accept defeat or keep whining, they of course decided to keep whining, even as they concluded:
Prayer is the ultimate source of our strength?for without God, we can do nothing; but with God, all things are possible.Well, apparently their prayers didn't work, so they've decided to scrap the God plan in favor of litigation:
"We believe that this mandate is unjust and unlawful ? it is bad health policy, and because it entails an element of government coercion against conscience, it creates a religious freedom problem," wrote Anthony Picarello, USCCB associate general secretary and general counsel, and Michael Moses, associate general counsel. "These moral and legal problems are compounded by an extremely narrow exemption that intrusively and unlawfully carves up the religious community into those that are deemed 'religious enough' for an exemption, and those that are not."That would be the same Anthony Picarello who introduced the world to the laughable Taco Bell theory?that the boatload of exemptions to this mandate do not cover someone who opens a Taco Bell and thinks his employees should not be allowed to use birth control because of Jesus 'n stuff. Yeah, he's a real legal eagle, that one.
Given that one federal court has already ruled against the bishops' absurd argument that their definition of religious liberty trumps all else, any future lawsuits are most likely destined for the same fate. But since stopping women from having access to affordable health care has now become the Most Importantest Issue Evah!, little things?like being completely wrong?probably won't stop the bishops from continuing to stamp their feet like petulant two-year-olds who don't want to take a nap.
Because that is totally what Jesus would do.
Would he not say so?
Some John Doe investigators come around asking questions, I look into their eyes and tell them what's what.
Why doesn't Scott Walker?
Tim Russell, Kelly M. Rindfleisch, Darlene Wink are co-conspirators.
Walker refuses to explain the creation of his criminal defense fund, and no one can even get a statement from Walker that he is innocent of criminal misuse of his office.
The prosecutions are not yet closed and Walker is hoping he can run out the clock.
JP Morgan can do all the proprietary trading it wants, Paul Volcker tells Bill Moyers -- it just has to surrender it's banking license. [...]
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An amazing photo of San Francisco following the great earthquake of 1906. At first, it looks like simply a beautiful panorama of a great city.Then you zoom in on any part of the photo you want and realize that the resolution is so good you're starting to see buildings torn in half, and entire lots razed to the ground. It reminds me of images of Japan following the recent...
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From New York Magazine, James Lipton has some advice for Mitt Romney.
A few months ago, Brian McFadden?s weekly comic strip in the Sunday Times offered ways for Mitt Romney to improve his image. One panel showed him with me on the set of Inside the Actors Studio, under the heading ?Take Acting Lessons to Appear More Relatable.?
Initially amused by this unsolicited enlistment, I?ve found myself returning spontaneously and with increasing frequency to the task, sometimes starting awake in the middle of the night with acting advice for the candidate. Convinced that the only way to exorcise this possession is to confront it, I offer the following counsel. Read on...
Even with the wettest April on record, some areas of England are still facing “exceptional” drought conditions. After two years of dry winters — including the fifth-driest March — the ground hasn’t been able to soak up the heavy rainfall that hit in April.
The situation in the country illustrates the cruel reality of “rollercoaster” extreme weather — a problem that will only be exacerbated by accumulating heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere. Recent research also finds that the loss of Arctic ice favors extreme, prolonged weather events “such as drought, flooding, cold spells and heat waves.”
The rain has certainly helped some regions. But other parts of England were so dry, it could take months of record rainfall to bring groundwater levels back to normal. One aquifer close to London is 90 percent below normal levels for this time of year.
Experts in the country are explaining why the combination of extremely dry and extremely wet conditions make it harder to recover from drought. Climatewire reported on the problem:
“Heavy rain on parched ground is like pouring water on an old, dry sponge. Much of it will bounce off. The sponge needs to be wet in order to hold the water. Farmers are in a much better position than they were thanks to the rains. River levels have risen, soil moisture has increased and their water reserves have been replenished. But aquifers take much longer to fill,” said a spokeswoman for England’s Environment Agency.
According to figures from the Environment Agency, 42 percent of groundwater “indicator sites” are “exceptionally low.”
“Over the last two winters, the amount of rainfall we have had has been down 20 to 30 percent on what we would normally have. Most of the recharge of groundwater happens over the winter. We lost three to four months of groundwater recharge in total over that two-year period,” [explained Andrew McKenzie of the British Geological Survey McKenzie to Climatewire.]
“We have now had the wettest April ever, and you might think that would go halfway to recharging the groundwater. But we also had a very dry March, and the soils had already switched to summer, dry mode and had to switch back,” he added.
Ironically, when the rains hit in April after a dry March, the Environment Agency issued 13 severe flood warnings and 42 flood alerts for areas around the country — all while homeowners were banned from watering their gardens.
This will eventually be normal weather under a business as usual emissions scenario.
According to a study from the National Center for Atmospheric Research, our current rate of emissions puts us on a path to dust bowl conditions in many areas of the world, while “precipitation may become more intense but less frequent (i.e., longer dry spells) under GHG-induced global warming. This may increase flash floods and runoff, but diminish soil moisture and increase the risk of agricultural drought.”