When you decide that you need to take your children on a tour of the slums of New Delhi to see how the other half lives, there is something wrong in your world. You make too damn much money. If you have to see how the other half lives by touring their neighborhood, there is something
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Not to be outdone by the Arizona secretary of state?s recent flirtation with birtherism, Sheriff Joe Arpaio escalated his probe into President Obama?s birth certificate this week by dispatching a deputy from his ?threats unit? to Hawaii.The "threats unit" in question is Arpaio's Threats Management Unit. In theory, they investigate threats to judges and other government officials, but under Sheriff Joe they seem to also be in the business of "investigating threats to Sheriff Joe's career," which is only surprising if you were still under the impression that Arpaio had a non-crooked bone left in his body. So in this case, the "threat" is that people are laughing at Arpaio and his outsourcing of a "birther" investigation to the small set of loons and crackpots that have the most to gain, financially, from propping those fantasies up. So off goes a deputy sheriff to Hawaii, to ask the folks there if they're super-duper really certain that the birth certificate they have repeatedly confirmed having is, once again, really there.
Both the Arizona Republic and the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported deputy Brian Mackiewcz traveled with Arpaio?s volunteer posse member Michael Zullo on Monday to try to get an official confirmation that Hawaii has the president?s birth certificate on file.
But wait, you say: Why is Arpaio spending taxpayer money to send a deputy to Hawaii, when he previously said he wouldn't do that? Oh, that would be because Sheriff Joe does not have a non-crooked bone in his body. I think I may have mentioned that. And given that the other person on this Hawaii junket is Michael Zullo, who's currently selling an e-book on the vast, damning pile of whatever he and Jerome Corsi found and put under the Sheriff Dumbass letterhead, you would think that maybe some of the proceeds of that book could go to bringing along a guy with a badge (I don't know that they've earned actual plane fare money, but I'm just saying) instead of having the people of his county pick up the tab, but nope. Not bloody likely.
Oh, Sheriff Joe. How can we miss you when you won't go away? Stay tuned for the results of this latest twist in the investigation, which will either be "Hawaii didn't let us see the birth certificate, so they're mean and that proves Obama is from Kenya," or perhaps "Hawaii did let us see the birth certificate, but, um, pixels and stuff," or more likely still "Hawaii let us see the birth certificate, but then Michael Zullo tore it out of their hands and ate it, so now it's not there anymore. Isn't that suspicious?"
My money's on number three. Oh, and that Sheriff Joe drags his little "investigation" out for the entirety of the election season. Not because he's pissed at the feds for suing his department, and not because he's a famously narcissistic dumbass with a god complex, but for the people.
After days of ridicule for launching a conspiracy theory-fueled investigation into Barack Obama's birth certificate, Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett on Tuesday backed off his threat to keep the president off the ballot in November and apologized to his state.
"If I embarrassed the state, I apologize but that certainly wasn't my intent," Bennett said in an interview with Phoenix radio station KTAR. "He'll be on the ballot as long as he fills out the same paperwork and does the same things that everybody else has."
Bennett said he still intends to keep asking Hawaii for verification that Obama's birth certificate is authentic. But he said he only plans to use Hawaii's answer as a way to satisfy demands from constituents who remain unconvinced Obama is a natural born citizen of the United States and so therefore eligible to be president.
He also said he talked to Hawaii's attorney general on Monday night and clarified what he is looking to have verified. He said he "reworded" his request and expects to receive a response from Hawaii officials "in the next 24 to 48 hours."
Last week, Bennett told a different Phoenix radio station that he would keep Obama off the state's ballot in November if Hawaii did not provide him with a satisfactory answers to his investigation.
President Obama has said that relentless deregulation and tax cuts -- "you're on your own" economics -- don't result in a strong economy and have "never worked." Rush Limbaugh has repeatedly twisted these words and falsely claimed that Obama is attacking "capitalism" and America itself.
Obama In December: Trickle-Down Economics "Doesn't Work. It's Never Worked." From President Obama's December 6, 2011, speech on economics in Osawatomie, Kansas:
Now, just as there was in Teddy Roosevelt's time, there is a certain crowd in Washington who, for the last few decades, have said, let's respond to this economic challenge with the same old tune. "The market will take care of everything," they tell us. If we just cut more regulations and cut more taxes -- especially for the wealthy -- our economy will grow stronger. Sure, they say, there will be winners and losers. But if the winners do really well, then jobs and prosperity will eventually trickle down to everybody else. And, they argue, even if prosperity doesn't trickle down, well, that's the price of liberty.
Now, it's a simple theory. And we have to admit, it's one that speaks to our rugged individualism and our healthy skepticism of too much government. That's in America's DNA. And that theory fits well on a bumper sticker. (Laughter.) But here's the problem: It doesn't work. It has never worked. (Applause.) It didn't work when it was tried in the decade before the Great Depression. It's not what led to the incredible postwar booms of the '50s and '60s. And it didn't work when we tried it during the last decade. (Applause.) I mean, understand, it's not as if we haven't tried this theory. [WhiteHouse.gov, 12/6/11]
Obama In December: " 'You're On Your Own' Economics ... Doesn't Result In A Strong Economy." From the Osawatomie speech:
Remember in those years, in 2001 and 2003, Congress passed two of the most expensive tax cuts for the wealthy in history. And what did it get us? The slowest job growth in half a century. Massive deficits that have made it much harder to pay for the investments that built this country and provided the basic security that helped millions of Americans reach and stay in the middle class -- things like education and infrastructure, science and technology, Medicare and Social Security.
Remember that in those same years, thanks to some of the same folks who are now running Congress, we had weak regulation, we had little oversight, and what did it get us? Insurance companies that jacked up people's premiums with impunity and denied care to patients who were sick, mortgage lenders that tricked families into buying homes they couldn't afford, a financial sector where irresponsibility and lack of basic oversight nearly destroyed our entire economy.
We simply cannot return to this brand of "you're on your own" economics if we're serious about rebuilding the middle class in this country. (Applause.) We know that it doesn't result in a strong economy. It results in an economy that invests too little in its people and in its future. We know it doesn't result in a prosperity that trickles down. It results in a prosperity that's enjoyed by fewer and fewer of our citizens. [WhiteHouse.gov, 12/6/11]
Obama In February: America Won't Win With "The Same Old, Tired, Worn-Out, 'You're On Your Own' Economics That Hasn't Worked." From Obama's February 23 speech at a campaign event in Coral Gables, Florida:
[W]e've got to make sure that everybody is doing their fair share. Everybody needs a fair shot; everybody has got to play by the same set of rules; everybody has got to do their fair share.
And when it comes to paying for our government and making sure the investments are there so that future generations can succeed, everybody has got to do their part. Which is why I put forward the Buffett Rule: If you make more than a million dollars a year you should not pay a lower tax rate than your secretary. (Applause.) That's common sense. We've said if you make $250,000 a year or less, you don't need your taxes going up right now. But folks like me, we can afford to do a little bit more.
That's not class warfare. That's not envy. It has to do with simple math. If somebody like me gets a tax break that the country can't afford, then one of two things happen: Either the deficit goes up, which is irresponsible -- or we're taking it out of somebody else -- that student who is now suddenly having to pay a higher student loan rate, or that senior who's having to pay more for Medicare, or that veteran who's not getting the help they need after having served our country.
That's not right. That's not who we are. Everybody in this room, we are here, successful, because somebody down the road was not just thinking about themselves, they were taking responsibility for the country as a whole. They we're thinking about their future. The American story has never been about what we just do by ourselves; it's about what we do together. We're not going to win the race for new jobs and new businesses and middle-class security if we're responding to today's challenges with the same old, tired, worn-out, "you're on your own" economics that hasn't worked.
What these other guys are peddling has not worked. It didn't work in the decade before the Great Depression. It did not work in the decade before I became President. It will not work now. (Applause.) [WhiteHouse.gov, 2/23/12]
Limbaugh: Obama Said "The Country Has Never Worked" And "Capitalism Has Never Worked." From Limbaugh's February 24 show:
LIMBAUGH: Here's the next sound bite.
OBAMA [audio clip]: We're not going to win the race for new jobs and new businesses and middle-class security if we're responding to today's challenges with the same old tired, worn-out "you're on your own" economics that hasn't worked. What these other guys are peddling has not worked. It didn't work in the decade before the Great Depression. It did not work in the decade before I became president. It will not work now.
LIMBAUGH: Do you believe this? The country has never worked? Capitalism has never worked? America was not great until the New Deal. And then America plunged into the abyss again and only is on the path to reclaiming its greatness now that he is replicating the New Deal by a factor of 10. Has he ever heard of the Roaring '20s? Has he ever heard of the boom in the '50s and the '60s and the '70s. Has he ever heard of what happened in the 1980s? It never worked?
This is the second time he's said this such -- in such a prominent way. Last time was when he made his speech -- I guess it was in December, might have been January, the days run together so quickly now -- in Osawatomie, Kansas. Where he said America, as founded, hasn't worked. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 2/24/12]
Limbaugh: Obama Is "Essentially Saying That America Has Never Worked Since The Days Of Its Founding." From Limbaugh's April 2 show:
LIMBAUGH: It might have been in his Saturday radio address. I'm not sure. He said it before, so it's not new, but he said it again. He said, "We won't win the race for new jobs and new businesses and middle-class security if we cling to this same old worn-out, tired 'you're on your own' economics that the other side is peddling. It was tried in the decades before the Great Depression. It didn't work then. It was tried in the last decade. It didn't work. You know, the idea you would keep on doing the same thing over and over again, even though it's been proven not to work. That's a sign of madness."
This is Barack Obama essentially saying that America has never worked since the days of its founding. That this "you're on your own" economics hasn't worked. I would love to sit down -- I would love to have a conversation with him and say, "We've got $16 trillion in debt. No end in sight because of the deficits you're running up. Every program that you have put in place has failed, and every program that people like you have put in place has failed in its objective. Would you give me one instance where what you believe in has resulted in private-sector economic growth and prosperity? And would you please look back over the history of this country and tell me it didn't work and give me examples. I want to know what was it before the New Deal that didn't work? What was it --"
By the way, the thing that saved this country economically after the New Deal -- because the New Deal was destroying this economy -- was World War II. The New Deal was an abject failure, just like Obamanomics is an abject failure. But it's even -- the characterization of capitalism as "you're on your own" economics is so flawed as to be insulting. This is what I mean about these people being ignorant. Conceited, ignorant. I have no doubt he believes this. He's been taught this. He's theorized about it in the faculty lounge. He believes that capitalism is, "You're on your own." He believes that capitalism is people destroying each other, stealing from each other. That's what he thinks of competition. Competition is immoral. It's unhealthy because all it does is lead to cheaters. And who are the cheaters? The people that win. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 4/2/12]
Limbaugh: "Obama Said That. Quote Unquote, 'This Country Has Never Worked.' " From Limbaugh's May 21 show:
LIMBAUGH: So, once again, it's an attempt here to take on the majority as some evil -- the ruling class in this country, now, the Obamaites, they believe the country was founded unjustly, that it was founded by the 1 percent for the 1 percent, that it's never worked. Obama said that. Quote unquote, "This country has never worked." And now it's time to transform it. And part of that's payback. Part of it is payback because the majority, this evil white majority, has arranged things so that they get all the spoils, and then whatever they don't want is what gets handed down. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 5/21/12]
The foreign press is warning of the potential for a major catastrophe for the northern hemisphere from the remaining fuel pools at Fukushima - but the American media is strangely silent. Their focus is on Reactor 4, which is open to the elements and at high risk of disaster in the event of another major earthquake:
More than a year after a devastating earthquake and tsunami triggered a massive nuclear disaster, experts are warning that Japan isn't out of the woods yet and the worst nuclear storm the world has ever seen could be just one earthquake away from reality.
The troubled Reactor 4 at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant is at the centre of this potential catastrophe.
Reactor 4 -- and to a lesser extent Reactor 3 -- still hold large quantities of cooling waters surrounding spent nuclear fuel, all bound by a fragile concrete pool located 30 metres above the ground, and exposed to the elements.
A magnitude 7 or 7.5 earthquake would likely fracture that pool, and disaster would ensue, says Arnie Gundersen, a nuclear engineer with Fairewinds Energy Education who has visited the site.
The 1,535 spent fuel rods would become exposed to the air and would likely catch fire, with the most-recently added fuel rods igniting first.
The incredible heat generated from that blaze, Gundersen said, could then ignite the older fuel in the cooling pool, causing a massive oxygen-eating radiological fire that could not be extinguished with water.
"So the fear is the newest fuel could begin to burn and then we'd have a conflagration of the whole pool because it would become hotter and hotter. The health consequences of that are beyond where science has ever gone before," Gundersen told CTVNews.ca in an interview from his home in Vermont.
There are a couple of possible outcomes, Gundersen said.
Highly radioactive cesium and strontium isotopes would likely go airborne and "volatilize" -- turning into a vapour that could move with the wind, potentially travelling thousands of kilometres from the source.
The size of those particles would determine whether they remained in Japan, or made their way to the rest of Asia and other continents.
"And here's where there's no science because no one's ever dared to attempt the experiment," Gundersen said. "If it flies far enough it goes around the world, if the particles stay a little bigger, they settle in Japan. Either is awful."
Essentially, he said, Japan is sitting on a ticking time bomb.
And this isn't very reassuring, considering how many similarly flawed plants of the same kind are here in the U.S.:
Gregory Jaczko, chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, announced Monday he would resign from the five-member commission that oversees US nuclear power plant safety after a tenure in which he wrangled with other members of the commission over the direction of safety regulations.
Mr. Jaczko's chairmanship, which began with tumult three years ago over the NRC's controversial decision to cancel the proposed Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository ? now concludes on the heels of a tumultuous year attempting to implement "lessons learned" from the Fukushima nuclear meltdowns. He announced his resignation amid an ongoing battle over his proposals to tighten safety regulations at US nuclear power plants in the wake of the Japanese disaster.
Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett backs off his birther quest ... more soon.[...]
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Much like George Bush, Newt Gingrich has the reverse Midas touch. Not only did his campaign finish millions in debt, but his previously profitable private businesses are falling apart as well.Quite the fiscal conservative, isn't he?When he entered the race for the Republican presidential nomination in May 2011, Newt Gingrich was the prosperous head of a small empire commonly known as Newt...
Hello, human diary. Mitt Romney, here to again put things in you.
Today was a good day. I have been fundraising on Wall Street, which is always a satisfactory experience. Tomorrow I will be giving a speech to the Chamber of Commerce. Being among my peer units is much more relaxing than the usual required campaign banter. There is no complimenting of local foodstuffs involved, or requirement that I feign interest in sporting events frequented by commoners. No, here we simply discuss money. How to get more of it; how to pay less taxes on it; how to circumvent irritating regulations on taking it from others; how much of it should be given to me, personally. Normal, upstanding things.
Attacks on my Bain Capital record continue. We were frankly unprepared for our opponent units to bring it up during this election, but apparently purchasing American companies, extracting all available profits from them and then shutting them down can, to some people, be turned into a negative thing. My insistence that opponents not bring any of this up continues to be ignored, necessitating alternative approaches. After discussing the matter, my advisers have settled on a proposed plan of action, which is to ignore the whole thing. (We may see if the Super PAC can mount a new campaign to call the president anti-American for some reason, just to change the subject.)
While I believe my attempts at bonding with the common folk are progressing reasonably well of late, there continues to be discussion among my advisers of how to institute policies that would better target my attentions on only those units that would most benefit from my campaign wisdom. The success of these Wall Street efforts suggest that perhaps instituting a minimum yearly income requirement for questioners could be beneficial; for example, allowing contact only with humans who have achieved $500,000 in profits per year for the last three years? Eric F. is not impressed, saying the commoner vote continues to be needed, and thus speaking to them continues to be necessary. He seems to be under the impression that during the actual general election, each individual will be granted only one vote regardless of their income level. This seems absurd.
Has this nation gone that far down the path of communism already? There are no laws saying that both wealthy Americans and common Americans are entitled to exactly one automobile per person, and yet the wealthy are limited to only one vote per person, regardless of income level? I have directed Eric F. to give a presentation on his findings to the rest of the staff, but I can only hope he is mistaken.
I am currently working on ideas for my Chamber of Commerce speech tomorrow. I note that the Chamber has recently engaged in a new effort to rescind laws against bribery of foreign officials, as the constant investigations and fines have been causing no small amount of irritation to many Chamber members. No doubt this can be worked into my standard anti-Obama stump materials. The people at Wal-Mart (it appears to be some sort of family company devoted to the Chinese import business) seem especially put out about it, which is fortuitous for me, as I understand family members there literally swim in large pools filled with their own money. With luck, a suitably pro-bribery stance on my part could pry forth quite a bit of cash.
When AMC announced earlier this week that Breaking Bad will premiere its fifth season on July 15, it was met with so much rejoicing that many missed the second half of the press release: AMC will also be premiering the first of eight episodes in a new reality series called Small Town Security, about ?a family-owned private security company in Georgia.?
Even for AMC, which has made several high-profile missteps over the past few years, this seems like a strange detour. Over the past year, the network has dabbled in both talk shows and reality shows with Talking Dead, Comic Book Men, and The Pitch. But those series were clearly piggybacking on the success of AMC?s two most prominent (and most profitable) successes: The Walking Dead and Mad Men.
It?s admittedly harder to make a reality series about manufacturing meth, though I?d definitely tune in for a Breaking Bad talk show (Talking Bad? Breaking Chat? Just spitballing here). But Small Town Security is AMC?s first step toward standalone reality programming.
The conventional narrative ? and in my opinion, the correct one ? is that AMC grew too fast, too soon. After quietly rolling along as the premiere channel for commercial-filled American movie ?classics? for decades, the network experimented with original content and hit two unprecedented home runs: Mad Men and Breaking Bad. But quality costs money, and each of AMC?s attempts to curb the costs of its original programming resulted in an embarrassing loss of face, from protracted salary and creative arguments with Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner to rumblings about Breaking Bad moving to FX, amid rumors that AMC was demanding a shortened (read: cheaper) final season.
I?m a TV critic, not a businessman, and I?m well aware that my priorities are different than the priorities of AMC executives. But I can?t see how it?s a good idea to invest in reality programming that has no ties to AMC?s flagship series. Small Town Security is being developed by producers Ken Druckerman and Banks Tarver, whose biggest success is VH1?s so-bad-it?s-awful Mob Wives. The sky certainly isn?t falling ? AMC has already greenlit pilots for two new scripted dramas ? but I don?t know any Breaking Bad fans who will stick around to watch a reality that would seem much more at home on Discovery or A&E.
High-quality television obviously costs money, and if the price of Mad Men and Breaking Bad means filling other time slots with cheap-to-produce supplemental content, I can live with it. But it wasn?t so long ago that the network was investing in genres that no other network would touch, which led to successes like The Walking Dead and failures like the miniseries remake of The Prisoner. I don?t see any of that pilgrim spirit in AMC?s latest moves, which may be good business. But let?s not forget that AMC?s willingness to invest real money in something risky and brave is how we got Mad Men and Breaking Bad in the first place.