As part of the foreclosure fraud settlement, Lynn Szymoniak won an $18 million judgment for her work in helping expose document fraud. However, she has to wait at least a couple months for the formal blessing of the settlement by a US district court[...]
Read The Full Article:
The House is working feverishly through a number of budget proposals in order to get back to what they were elected to do, go on recess. A handful of budget proposals are being considered as substitute amendments for the big one, the Ryan budget, which will be voted on Thursday. And a doozy of a budget it is.
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center (TPC) continue analysis of this, the House Republican budget, authored by Rep. Paul Ryan. This time they focus on the tax rates and just how much a giveaway to the very wealthy his plan would be.
New analysis by the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center (TPC) finds that people earning more than $1 million a year would receive $265,000 apiece in new tax cuts, on average, on top of the $129,000 they would receive from the Ryan budget?s extension of President Bush?s tax cuts.Putting a finer point on that, "[P]eople making more than $1 million a year would receive 37 percent of the new Ryan tax cuts even though they constitute less than one-half of one percent of U.S. households." This is the budget that isn't extreme enough for some House Republicans.
The new tax cuts at the top would dwarf those for middle-and lower-income families. After-tax incomes would rise by 12.5 percent among millionaires, but just 1.9 percent for middle-income households. [...]
The Ryan budget includes a number of specific tax cuts, on top of making the Bush tax cuts permanent. All of its new tax cuts are both expensive and tilted toward high-income households. It would cut the top individual tax rate to 25 percent, the lowest level since the Hoover Administration more than 80 years ago.
The nostalgia for the good old days really has gotten out of control with Republicans. They won't be satisfied until the riff-raff is living in Hoovervilles again.
Right-wing media have attacked President Obama for his recent comments about shooting victim Trayvon Martin and his family, accusing Obama of "inject[ing]" himself into the debate using "racial code" and claiming that his statement is evidence that "he's got it in for this country."
Obama: "If I Had A Son, He'd Look Like Trayvon." In a March 23 appearance to announce Dr. Jim Kim as president of the World Bank, President Obama was asked by a reporter to "comment on the Trayvon Martin case." Obama responded by calling the incident a "tragedy" and saying, "If I had a son, he'd look like Trayvon." From the White House:
Q: Mr. President, may I ask you about this current case in Florida, very controversial, allegations of lingering racism within our society -- the so-called do not -- I'm sorry -- Stand Your Ground law and the justice in that? Can you comment on the Trayvon Martin case, sir?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I'm the head of the executive branch, and the Attorney General reports to me so I've got to be careful about my statements to make sure that we're not impairing any investigation that's taking place right now.
But obviously, this is a tragedy. I can only imagine what these parents are going through. And when I think about this boy, I think about my own kids. And I think every parent in America should be able to understand why it is absolutely imperative that we investigate every aspect of this, and that everybody pulls together -- federal, state and local -- to figure out exactly how this tragedy happened.
So I'm glad that not only is the Justice Department looking into it, I understand now that the governor of the state of Florida has formed a task force to investigate what's taking place. I think all of us have to do some soul searching to figure out how does something like this happen. And that means that examine the laws and the context for what happened, as well as the specifics of the incident.
But my main message is to the parents of Trayvon Martin. If I had a son, he'd look like Trayvon. And I think they are right to expect that all of us as Americans are going to take this with the seriousness it deserves, and that we're going to get to the bottom of exactly what happened. [White House, 3/23/12]
J. Christian Adams: Obama "Injected Himself Into" Martin Case "Using Racial Code." On the March 28 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, former Justice Department employee and right-wing activist J. Christian Adams claimed Obama "injected himself" into the case using "racial code." From Fox & Friends:
BRIAN KILMEADE (co-host): Besides Eric Holder, is there a fear of inflaming race relations if you crack down on people who want to inflame race relations like the Black Panther Party.
ADAMS: Well, there's a fear among some, but there's no fear among people like Al Sharpton. He doesn't care about inflaming race --
KILMEADE: He was there in a matter -- in hours.
ADAMS: That's right. And even the president has inserted himself in a racial way saying that Trayvon looks like he might be his --
KILMEADE: You think wrongly?
ADAMS: Absolutely wrongly. No president in our country's history would have injected himself into a criminal matter using racial code like Barack Obama did. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 3/28/12, via Media Matters]
Fox's Ablow Offers "Diagnosis" Of Obama's Comments: "He's Got It In For This Country." On the March 27 edition of Fox Business' Lou Dobbs Tonight, Fox News contributor Dr. Keith Ablow reacted to Obama's comments by claiming, "It's irresistible to this president to enter the fray when there seems to be an opportunity for a kind of furious splitting," and said that his "diagnosis" of the president is, "He's got it in for this country." From Lou Dobbs Tonight:
ABLOW: It is outrageous to me. It's beneath the office to be reaching into one case as opposed to many others. There are tragedies, believe me, I am a forensic psychiatrist. There are enough tragedies to go around that if the president wanted to comment on all of them, that would be his whole job. It's irresistible to this president to enter the fray when there seems to be an opportunity for a kind of furious splitting. How can I make a comment that aligns with those I feel are oppressed, and marginalizes those I feel have been oppressive? And that is a call to the president he can't seem to resist.
ABLOW: It's time, probably -- it's been overdue that we believe the data. Like as a psychiatrist, there is a certain point when you get a diagnosis. You say, "OK, look, absent something that refutes this, this is the diagnosis." A president who hangs around with Reverend Wright, whose wife said she was never proud of this country, has an edge. He's got it in for this country. At moments when there is an opportunity to fracture the unity, he does. [Fox Business, Lou Dobbs Tonight, 3/27/12, via Media Matters]
Fox's Dobbs: The Trayvon Martin "Controversy" Was "In Part Created By The President Himself." Earlier on the March 27 Lou Dobbs Tonight, host Lou Dobbs claimed:
DOBBS: As we reported here yesterday, it's highly unusual for the president to comment on shootings publicly, even the hundreds of shooting deaths that have taken place in his hometown of Chicago each year since he took office. They've gone without presidential comment. So why would his campaign suddenly advertise hooded sweatshirts in the middle of a national controversy in part created by the president himself? [Fox Business, Lou Dobbs Tonight, 3/27/12, via Media Matters]
Malkin: "Barack Obama Is All Too Willing To Pour Gas On The Fire" Of The Martin Story. In a March 23 post on her blog, conservative commentator Michelle Malkin wrote:
This week, progressives and lib media activists elevated a tragic Florida shooting involving a 17-year-old boy into the cause celebre of the week. Over at my new startup, Twitchy, our editorial team has covered all aspects of the story. But for the past several days, zealous libs on Twitter have demanded that I "say something." Why? Because they've turned the horrible death of Trayvon Martin into a racial litmus test.
And now, Barack Obama is all too willing to pour gas on the fire.
What do Trayvon's race and looks have to do with anything? The political opportunism undercuts the very "seriousness" Obama purports to display. [MichelleMalkin.com, 3/23/12]
Daily Caller Suggests Obama "Jumped Into The Fight" Due In Part To "Demands By The New Black Panthers." In a March 23 post, Daily Caller reporter Matthew Boyle suggested Obama "jumped into the fight" following "demands by the New Black Panthers and others on scene in Sanford, Fla." From The Daily Caller:
Obama and the White House had previously refrained from commenting on the case. Following demands by the New Black Panthers and others on scene in Sanford, Fla. that the White House get involved, Obama jumped into the fight. When first asked about the case, White House spokesman Jay Carney essentially declined comment, offering a boilerplate statement of condolence to Martin's family. [The Daily Caller, 3/23/12]
Hoft Reacts To Obama's Statement By Claiming Obama Thinks, "It's All About Me!" In a March 23 post on Gateway Pundit, Jim Hoft wrote: "It's all about me! Barack Obama says, 'If I had a son, he'd look like Trayvon.' Funny how everything always revolves around planet Obama, huh?" [Gateway Pundit, 3/23/12, emphasis in original]
The Obama administration seems to believe that the group health insurance market currently "works." That is why the Affordable Care Act doesn't change much about the group market. This creates a logical problem for the administration when it tries to[...]
Read The Full Article:
My girlfriend noticed these giant tomatoes the size of cantaloupes at Harris Teeter the other day. It's a produce-wide trend - softball-sized avocados, strawberries that are no longer bite-sized, apples that are more of a meal than a snack.
Many people look at giant portions and see a bargain, but abnormally large fruits and vegetables are a terrible value. Especially since many fruits and vegetables are sold by weight, you're paying an inflated price for watered-down taste and nutrition:
As Jamelle noted, a new Washington Post/ABC News poll reinforces what other polls have shown, that folks haven't really taken a cotton to Mitt Romney. Most worrying for him is that only 35 percent of independent voters view him favorably. The good news for him is that voters, having already been disappointed with him, won't go through that inevitable period of a presidency in which your unreasonably high hopes are dashed and you turn against the president.
The creation of those unreasonable hopes requires two things: an inspiring individual and an inspiring story. Sometimes "change" is enough of an inspiring story, but without the inspiring individual, change doesn't sound poetic and glorious. And all along, Romney has presented himself primarily as an effective manager, which might be what you need, but it won't make your heart go all aflutter.
Nevertheless, the Post has also managed to find a few people who are nuts for the Mittster:
These are the sasquatches of American politics: rumored, hoped-for, so elusive that they can seem imaginary.
They are Mitt Romney's superfans.
To be clear: These "Romniacs" are not Wall Street bigwigs or paid campaign operatives. Many of them, but not all, are Mormons like Romney. What unites them is a powerful ? and unusual ? excitement for a candidate who struggles to excite anybody else.
The good news for Romney is that they exist, these people who call him a "geek," and "Ward Cleaver," and love him deeply for it.
The bad news is that there doesn't appear to be that many of them ? a small, eclectic scattering in a nation with 137 million registered voters.
The paucity of these people doesn't in and of itself mean it's impossible for Romney to win. George H.W. Bush didn't have many superfans, and he got elected. But Romney will need the right combination of events?like a dramatic downturn in the economy, combined with some Obama administration scandals?to make the general election public respond to him with, "Oh, all right, I guess," which is how the Republican electorate is feeling about him right now.
The International Brotherhood of Electical Workers has come out strongly against a proposed plan that would allow Comcast, Verizon and other companies to "combine" services and to no longer compete against each other. The deal would eliminate competition in the areas where the plan goes into effect and would raise prices for consumers and limit services.
Verizon Wireless and the nation's major cable companies are facing tough scrutiny and growing criticism over plans to cross-market products. The plan would allow the wireless carrier to offer its customers bundles that include cable service from Comcast and other companies, while allowing cable companies to offer Verizon plans to their customers. The agreement would likely put an end to Verizon's popular FIOS fiber-optic cable service that keeps thousands of workers on the job. Critics say the deal would stifle competition and ultimately drive up prices for both cable and phone service.
KNOWYOURCARE ALLENTOWN, PA ? Tomorrow, March 29, 2012, former insurance industry executive and author Wendell Potter will join Reverend David Charles Smith to call for healthcare reform and discuss the consequences of repealing the Affordable Care Act at the Jordan United Church of Christ in Allentown.
WHO: Wendell Potter, Former Insurance Executive and Whistleblower,
Reverend David Charles Smith, Congregations United for Neighborhood Action and PICO National Network
WHAT: Former insurance industry executive and congregation leader call for healthcare reform, and discuss consequences of repeal
WHEN: March 29 at 7 PM
WHERE: Jordan United Church of Christ, 1837 Church Road, Allentown, PA
About Wendell Potter; after a 20-year career as a corporate public relations executive, he left his job as head of communications for one of the nation's largest health insurers to try his hand at helping socially responsible organizations -- including those advocating for meaningful health care reform -- achieve their goals.
About Rev. David Charles Smith began his ministry as the fifteenth Pastor and Teacher of Jordan United Church of Christ in June 2002.
Know Your Care is a 501c3 organization affiliated with Keystone Progress Education Fund and is dedicated to educating the American people about the Affordable Care Act?s life-saving consumer and patient protections that are already benefiting millions of Americans and will benefit millions more in the coming years as additional provisions are implemented ? www.knowyourcare.org
Read The Full Article:
TPM Reader PM checks in with a smart take on the HCR oral arguments:I'm sure you're getting a ton of comments from lawyers, and I don't want to add to that deluge except for two short points:1. You're right to point out that the argument sounded like a[...]
Read The Full Article:
There’s no security or humility in Gingrichland, all that’s left is a disgraced politician’s vindictiveness.
Only Newt Gingrich would consider a $50 photo of his puss a “nominal fee.”
What makes this embarrassing, however, is that Newt Gingrich can’t let go of the spotlight that’s already swung away from his stage.
It’s never Newt Gingrich that has lost the people. It’s the people who have lost their way.
There are few things more embarrassing that watching someone who can’t pick up the spoils to join a cause larger than yourself, because you can’t accept the verdict that’s been rendered, thinking everyone else made the wrong choice and if you keep screaming they’ll get that you’re the one.
From Mike Allen, Newt’s slashing and burning his campaign staff as fast as he can.
Newt Gingrich is cutting back his campaign schedule, will lay off about a third of his cash-strapped campaign?s full-time staff, and has replaced his manager as part of what aides are calling a ?big-choice convention? strategy, communications director Joe DeSantis told POLITICO.
Michael Krull, a former advance man and a college friend of Callista Gingrich?s who took over the campaign after a staff exodus in June, was replaced last weekend by Vince Haley, who has worked for Gingrich for nine years and currently is deputy campaign manager and policy director.
?We?re focusing exclusively on what it?ll take to win what we?re going to be calling a big-choice convention in August,? DeSantis said in a phone interview Tuesday night.
It’s always been about Newt Gingrich, never the larger case for conservatism. His hunger for the spotlight and what he feels is his due, which is the presidency. But mostly his entrepreneurial masochism, which efforts to turn everything political that has to do with him into a potential jackpot.
That he’s been reduced to selling pictures of his puss to pay off his campaign debt seems like a bad joke on him. You do the math. There aren’t enough people still interested in Newt Gingrich’s campaign to cover his gargantuan vanity.
Only Callista will be left to lick his wounds.