To the surprise of absolutely no one, Senate Republicans blocked consideration of the Buffett rule last night with a filibuster. The bill would have set a millionaire's minimum effective tax rate at 30%, with a phase-in between $1 million and $2 million[...]
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Last week, the Pew Center on the States released "Evidence Counts," a study evaluating state tax incentives for jobs and growth. In an introductory letter for the study, Susan Urahn, Managing Director for the Center says that while every state is looking for ways to attract business, "half the states have not taken basic steps to produce and connect policy makers with good evidence of whether these tools deliver a strong return on taxpayer dollars."
The study focuses on whether states do their homeowork prior to passing laws and to what degree states measure economic impact on the front end. This is important because as the researchers argue, "Tax incentives cost billions of dollars every year, and states rely heavily on them to promote economic development. Policy makers should know whether these tools deliver a strong return on investment. Regular, rigorous, and comprehensive evaluations of tax incentives are critical to their ability to do so."
Sadly, as the following diagram shows, the Pew Center has included Mississippi among those states not meeting any of the criteria for scope or quality of evaluation.
This study is interesting not only because it provides a gauge for how states are investing taxpayer dollars in the name of economic development, it also provides examples of successful incentive programs and some suggestions for legislatures looking to improve their evaluation process.
Run down on the outside, on the inside the brothel offers fun and games with high priced call girls. “From fantasy to reality” is the slogan, but it’s clear that the Secret Service agents and the elite force team members got a lot more than that there. The website of the Cartagena brothel Pley Club is down. The exclusive from ABC News has evidently overwhelmed their servers. The now infamous club may now become an international stop for sex travelers looking for fun. The men were drinking heavily during their night out and enlisted the services of the club?s prostitutes, according to a bouncer at the club and a police source. Prostitution is legal in Colombia and the women who work at the Pley Club, located in the Bosque neighborhood of Cartagena, live on the site of the club. The club, located on a dusty street in the industrial Bosque neighborhood, has a rough exterior but boasts plush ?pley rooms,? according to its website. It’s the worst scandal in Secret Service history. Investigators have determined that as many as 20 U.S. Secret Service and military personnel might have been involved in the hotel misconduct in Cartagena, Colombia, as the scandal that erupted during President Obama?s trip to the country last week put high-level officials on the defensive. A preliminary investigation by the Defense Department, which included a review of video from hotel security cameras, found that nine military personnel were possibly involved in the carousing at the center of the probe, congressional sources familiar with the probe said. Already, 11 Secret Service agents have been placed on leave amid allegations they entertained prostitutes, potentially one of the most serious lapses at the organization in years. The new generation of agents have a different code of honor than the old-timers, though we saw a similar type of arrogant braggadocio with Lt. General Stanley McChrystal’s crew, minus the sex. But what the Secret Service and elite force soldiers ignored was that being untouchable in skill and technique doesn’t apply when it comes to setting yourself up for potential blackmail. They got lucky. They were just caught, instead of putting Pres. Obama’s life in danger, which just as easily could have happened.
Read The Full Article:
Run down on the outside, on the inside the brothel offers fun and games with high priced call girls. “From fantasy to reality” is the slogan, but it’s clear that the Secret Service agents and the elite force team members got a lot more than that there.
The website of the Cartagena brothel Pley Club is down. The exclusive from ABC News has evidently overwhelmed their servers. The now infamous club may now become an international stop for sex travelers looking for fun.
The men were drinking heavily during their night out and enlisted the services of the club?s prostitutes, according to a bouncer at the club and a police source. Prostitution is legal in Colombia and the women who work at the Pley Club, located in the Bosque neighborhood of Cartagena, live on the site of the club. The club, located on a dusty street in the industrial Bosque neighborhood, has a rough exterior but boasts plush ?pley rooms,? according to its website.
It’s the worst scandal in Secret Service history.
Investigators have determined that as many as 20 U.S. Secret Service and military personnel might have been involved in the hotel misconduct in Cartagena, Colombia, as the scandal that erupted during President Obama?s trip to the country last week put high-level officials on the defensive.
A preliminary investigation by the Defense Department, which included a review of video from hotel security cameras, found that nine military personnel were possibly involved in the carousing at the center of the probe, congressional sources familiar with the probe said. Already, 11 Secret Service agents have been placed on leave amid allegations they entertained prostitutes, potentially one of the most serious lapses at the organization in years.
The new generation of agents have a different code of honor than the old-timers, though we saw a similar type of arrogant braggadocio with Lt. General Stanley McChrystal’s crew, minus the sex.
But what the Secret Service and elite force soldiers ignored was that being untouchable in skill and technique doesn’t apply when it comes to setting yourself up for potential blackmail.
They got lucky. They were just caught, instead of putting Pres. Obama’s life in danger, which just as easily could have happened.
Sam Seder has also made it a regular point on the Majority Report to critique Libertarianism and debate actual Libertarians.
The purpose of the Progressive Information Project is to more widely share resources and information created to advance progressive causes. A lot of good work is being done, but the average progressive often doesn't learn about it or know what is available. This series is designed to help alleviate that problem.
For more entries, go to the series index. If you have tips, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I went to a Debbie Stabenow event hosted by a local women?s group. As we were waiting for the Senator to speak, a top county Democrat was sitting several rows behind me trying to convince some of the women not to support Trevor Thomas.Except he isn't. Wheeler again:
?There is absolutely no way he can win,? the guy said (the polling says he?s wrong, and I suspect he knows that).
In addition to saying a gay man can?t win, he also said a pro-choice person can?t win in the district (his listeners pointed out that Stabenow herself had won the district; so have at least two other pro-choice candidates).
Then he described Steven Pestka, using the line Michigan Democrats used to defend Bart Stupak as he was rolling back access to choice for women across the country ... "He?s with us on everything else."
Steve Pestka?s with us on everything else, this guy said at a women?s event. But he?s not just anti-choice. When he was in the State House (the experience locals point to to claim he?s a better candidate than Trevor) he a scored whopping 0% [pdf] on votes to support choice.Again ? "precisely the outrage?at the national level?that Democrats use as the cornerstone of their metaphorical attack on the GOP".
That included a vote for HB 4655, which singled out Planned Parenthood to be defunded, precisely the outrage?at the national level?that Democrats use as the cornerstone of their metaphorical attack on the GOP for its ?War on Women.?
Steve Pestka in the State House had a 100% voting record with the ACLU, Clean Water Action and the League of Conservation Voters. To uncritically call him "conservative" is foolish and not based on facts.To head that off, here are the actual facts. In 2002, when Pestka ran for state Senate, he got no rating from the MI ACLU, because he didn't fill out the questionnaire (pdf; search on "Pestka").
[Dear name deleted] ?? Yet here's is the DCCC page on the Michigan CD-3 race:
There?s no question about this. The Republican War on Women is real, and it?s extremely dangerous. If you agree, add your name to our petition: 1,000,000 strong against the Republican War on Women >>
House Republicans are pursuing the most comprehensive and radical assault on women?s health and reproductive freedom in our lifetime. Over just the last year, Republicans in Congress have voted repeatedly to limit women?s access to health care and reproductive services.
Latest Press Releases: No press releases.It's a clear choice on Choice, DCCC
Our sources tell us that local Democrats, no doubt backed by the DCCC, are looking at a pro-life, multi-millionaire conservative who will run on the Democratic ticket. They think he?s a safe alternative, but most folks admit they don?t believe he has the fire to mount a decent campaign. This election is going to be about fighting for the middle class. And, we need candidates who are from the middle class to make the case to voters. That's Trevor Thomas.Is this true ? are Howie's sources wrong? Only the DCCC can say for sure ? by openly supporting pro-woman Trevor Thomas against anti-choice Steve Pestka.
There is even talk that Republicans are directly involved in helping to set the Democratic ticket. They don't like Amash, but won't set up a primary challenge.
Opponents of same-sex marriage in North Carolina are organizing in support of the May vote on a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, civil unions, and domestic partnerships, but the state’s presumptive Republican nominee would rather talk about something else. As the Charlotte Observer reports, Pat McCrory says he plans to vote for the measure but isn’t spending much time campaigning for it. ?I?m in favor of it, and that?s all I?m commenting on because I?m concentrating on other issues,? McCrory told the Observer. ?I?m not going to get into it. Let me say this: We?re taking it to the people and let them vote. I respect the opinions that are being presented on all sides, and I?ve stated how I plan to vote.? A recent poll found that 45 percent of North Carolina voters believe that marriage equality will be legal within a generation.
– The performance of Afghan troops in responding to a coordinated series of assaults in Kabul and across eastern parts of Afghanistan on Sunday and Monday show that the country’s security forces are prepared to “defend their country” after the departure of international troops next year, Afghan President Hamid Karzai told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour.
– Hamid Karzai and U.S. officials acknowledge that the attacks on Sunday and Monday in Afghanistan were the result of an “intelligence failure” by NATO.
– Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced today that she expects her country to complete its military withdrawal from Afghanistan one year ahead of schedule due to improvements in the security situation there while acknowledging that “the peoples of the world?s democracies are weary of this war.”
– Ongoing violence in Syria, despite the implementation of a U.N.-Arab League brokered ceasefire on Tuesday, could jeopardize plans to extend the U.N. monitoring mission, said U.S. envoy to the U.N. Susan Rice.
– Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey yesterday rejected GOP claims that military leaders don’t support the president’s budget. “The bottom line is that was this was a team effort,” Panetta said.
– Iran’s Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said Monday that Iran was prepared to resolve the nuclear dispute with world powers at their next meeting, in Baghdad on May 23, if the West showed some good will by easing the sanctions imposed on Iran.
– With dim hopes for a breakthrough in negotiations between Iran and world powers that would meet Israeli expectations, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said on Tuesday that Israel is “not committing to anything” when asked if his country would pledge not to attack while talks played out.
– U.S. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said a 300-ship fleet — slated this January for reduction from a 2005 plan for 313 ships — would be able to handle all the global security demands made on the Navy and that criticisms of the plan are based on bad information or resistance to change.
– ?Sexual assault has no place in the military,” said Panetta in a joint press conference with lawmakers and Gen. Dempsey announcing a “strong package” of reforms to the military’s handling of alleged sex crimes.
The New York Times editorial board ran an editorial hitting corporate front group ALEC and highlighting the mass exodus by companies uncomfortable with their association with a group fighting for controversial ?stand your ground? laws. The editorial board notes companies are “embarrassed” by their association with the group.
Although gas prices have fallen, they remain high, so President Obama will speak this morning about curbing oil market manipulation. According to the AP, Obama will propose a $52 million plan for getting such price manipulation under control.
Rick Santorum is still not ready to endorse Mitt Romney, telling supporters on a conference call Monday night that he has not had a chance to speak with his former competitor. And when asked if supporters should still vote for him in upcoming primaries where he’s on the ballot, Santorum did not dissaude them.
Aides downplayed Mitt Romney’s comments about raising taxes on the wealthy, saying he was only tossing around ideas while chatting with donors instead of making policy announcements. Romney opened the door to higher taxes on the wealthy in comments at a closed-door fundraiser.
Norwegian mass killer Anders Breivik said in court yesterday, “I would have done it again.” Breivik, the anti-muslim, anti-immigrant man who killed 77 people in Norway over the summer, is defending himself in court on the basis that his attacks were in self-defense — against Norwegian immigration and multiculturalism. His trial will last five days.
Musician and conservative activist Ted Nugent made an appearance at the NRA?s annual convention last weekend, and during an interview laced with violent rhetoric, he said that if President Obama wins re-election in November, he would ?either be dead or in jail by this time next year.?
And finally: Remember that Herman Cain ad with aide Mark Block staring at the camera while smoking a cigarette? Fans do, and Block now “carries around a small pen to sign cigarettes for fans who recognize him at the airport.”
Rep. Peter King (R-NY) is one of the House’s most high-profile and media-savy Republicans, but it doesn’t sound like he’s too excited to use his perch to promote Mitt Romney. Appearing on MSNBC’s Morning Joe today, King was asked “how excited” his constituents are about the presumed GOP nominee. “They’re not,” he replied frankly. “There is not that excitement level, it’s not what you would see with a Bill Clinton or a George Bush, for that matter, who were able to identify with people. So far, Governor Romney has not shown that,” he said. Watch it:
The U.S. military seems to be trying to deal with its troubling pattern of sexual assault cases. Yesterday, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced that the military will begin new procedures for handling sex crimes, including creating a minimum rank for service members who deal with those cases.
This news comes after a story that ran this weekend on CNN detailing cases of women in each branch of the military who were diagnosed with a mental disorder and dismissed from the military after filing a sexual assault or sexual harassment complaint.
The stories are gruesome, telling of several women’s experience of serious sexual trauma, who are then essentially rejected from the military when they share what happened to them.
CNN has interviewed women in all branches of the armed forces, including the Coast Guard, who tell stories that follow a similar pattern — a sexual assault, a command dismissive of the allegations and a psychiatric discharge.
Schroeder says a fellow Marine followed her to the bathroom in April 2002. She says he then punched her, ripped off her pants and raped her. When she reported what happened, a non-commissioned officer dismissed the allegation, saying, “‘Don’t come bitching to me because you had sex and changed your mind,’” Schroeder recalls.
Moore says she was alone in her barracks in October 2002 when a non-commissioned officer from another battery tried to rape her. When she filled out forms to report it, she says, her first sergeant, told her: “Forget about it. It never happened,” and tore up the paperwork.
“It felt like a punch in the gut,” Moore says. “I couldn’t trust my chain of command to ever back me up.”
McClendon says she was aboard a Navy destroyer at sea when a superior raped her on the midnight to 2 a.m. watch. After reporting the attack, she was diagnosed with a personality disorder and deemed unfit to serve.
ThinkProgress reached out to Kayla Williams, a female veteran and author of Love My Rifle More Than You, who has written extensively about women in the military, to see if the CNN report sounded correct to her. Williams not only confirmed the CNN article; she told a similar sexual assault experience she witnessed:A judge ruled recently that the armed forces were too slow in fufilling a Freedom of Information Act request for records of sexual assault, and ordered the records released by this time next month. The military has not yet complied.
While I was at the Defense Language Institute, a woman reported sexual assault – and was threatened with disciplinary action for having been drinking underage when the assault happened. She was later discharged with a personality disorder diagnosis. Stories like that [discourage] victims from coming forward, which prevents justice from being done. Since those who commit sexual assault are often repeat offenders, discharging victims while not vigorously prosecuting those who commit assault could also ruin the careers – and lives – of multiple victims while allowing criminals the freedom to continue. The Department of Defense has been making progress in fighting sexual assault within the military, but it has a long way to go. Treating victims of sexual assault seriously and with the dignity and respect they deserve, rather than sweeping cases under the rug with this type of discharge, is an important step in continuing that progress.
Military sexual traumas, as they are called within the armed forces, are shockingly common and on the rise. 19,000 incidents were reported (PDF) last year alone. The new regulations announced by Defense Secretary Panetta will hopefully provide some relief: Not only does it change minimum ranking, it also requires military investigators to be trained in helping sexual assault victims and requires troops to have sexual assault awareness training when they go into active duty.