Tag Archives: Texas

Photo of the Day: NCAA Basketball Tournament – First Round – Oklahoma City

A member of the North Texas Mean Green wears a mask with the likeness of President Barack Obama as they perform against the Kansas State Wildcats during the first round of the 2010 NCAA men's basketball tournament at Ford Center on March 18, 2010 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images North America)

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Son of Texas Plane Crash Victim Vernon Hunter: Calls Attack an Act of Terror

Posted by: Audiegrl

Feb. 22: Ken Hunter, son of the sole IRS worker killed when Joseph Stack flew his plane into the building where he worked.

Ken Hunter, son of the sole IRS worker killed when Joseph Stack flew his plane into the building where he worked.

CNN/Associated Press~ The son of the IRS worker who was the sole person to be killed last week when a tax protester piloted his plane into a Texas office building says his father was an innocent bystander who died at the hands of a terrorist.

And Ken Hunter, whose father, Vernon, was killed in Thursday’s plane attack said it was “disgusting” that the pilot’s daughter had called her father a hero — a statement she later retracted.

Joe Stack, 53, set fire to his family home before plowing his single-engine plane into the office building, killing himself and Hunter, a tax service employee and two-tour veteran of the War in Vietnam.

How is it heroic to take upon acts that Al Qaeda used on September 11 of 2001? What makes that heroic?” Hunter said in an interview Monday.

He spoke after Stack’s adult daughter, Samantha Bell, told ABC News that her father’s beliefs were heroic, and “Now maybe people will listen.”

Stack targeted the building, where nearly 200 IRS workers were employed, after posting a ranting manifesto against the agency and the government.

He did not write the tax law,” Hunter said of his father. “No one in that building wrote the tax law.”

Vernon Hunter

Vernon Hunter ~ RIP

Are you telling me that an American citizen committing an attack of terrorism against the United States is heroic?” he continued.

Bell said she offered her deepest condolences to Hunter’s family, and she said her father’s last actions were “inappropriate.”

But if nobody comes out and speaks up on behalf of injustice, then nothing will ever be accomplished,” she said in the interview. “But I do not agree with his last action with what he did. But I do agree about the government.”

Bell later retracted her statement that her father was a hero, telling ABC that the only hero who died that day was her father’s victim. “I don’t want to hurt anybody,” she told ABC. “We are mourning for Vernon Hunter.”

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President Obama Sends Condolences To Austin

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Last week, tragedy befell public servants in Austin, Texas. Earlier today, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner met with IRS employees in Austin to express his sympathies and support, and he read this note from the President:

“To the men and women of the Internal Revenue Service at Austin:

I asked Secretary Geithner to carry this message to you.

It is with great sadness that I write to you on the tragic events of February 18th. You, your families and colleagues are in my thoughts and prayers.

Michelle and I extend our condolences to you on the death of your colleague, Mr. Vernon Hunter. Vernon dedicated his life to service to this great country, serving over 20 years in the military before joining the IRS. We mourn his death.

As we work with law-enforcement agencies to investigate the events leading up to this plane crash, I want the dedicated employees of the IRS to know that I am thankful for your dedication, courage and professionalism as we rebuild in Austin. And as you continue your work, we will do what is needed to ensure your safety.

We are grateful for your service to this country.

May God bless you and the United States of America.

President Barack Obama”

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The Death of U.S. Political Democracy For The People

Posted by: LibbyShaw

Will the Senator from Wal-Mart please yield to the Senator from Halliburton? The Congressman from Black Water has 5 minutes remaining before the Congresswoman from United Health may speak.

Mark your calendars, folks. January 21, 2010 is the day the radical and activist Supreme Court of the United States delivered the U.S. Democracy into the hands of the corporate sector and special interests groups. According to an article in the New York Times corporations, lobbyists and unions can now legally purchase their candidates of choice.

“We have got a million we can spend advertising for you or against you – whichever one you want,’ ” a lobbyist can tell lawmakers, said Lawrence M. Noble, a lawyer at Skadden Arps in Washington and former general counsel of the Federal Election Commission.

The decision yesterday will usher in unimaginable numbers of Swift Boat attack ads. Corporate fat cats can now threaten and bully politicians to do their bidding or else.

“It will put on steroids the trend that outside groups are increasingly dominating campaigns,” Mr. Ginsberg said. “Candidates lose control of their message. Some of these guys lose control of their whole personalities.”

“Parties will sort of shrink in the relative importance of things,” he added, “and outside groups will take over more of the functions – advertising support, get out the vote – that parties do now.”

Front row: Associate Justices Anthony M. Kennedy, John Paul Stevens, Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Antonin G. Scalia, and Clarence Thomas. Back row: Associate Justices Samuel A. Alito, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer, and Sonia Sotomayor.

Some have called the SOTUS decision a power grab that is intellectually dishonest.

In opening the floodgates for corporate money in election campaigns, the Supreme Court did not simply engage in a brazen power grab. It did so in an opinion stunning in its intellectual dishonesty.

Many of those commenting on the decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission have focused on the power-grab part. I agree with them. It was unnecessary for the court to go so far when there were several less-radical grounds available. It was audacious to seize the opportunity to overrule precedents when the parties had not pressed this issue and the lower courts had not considered it. It was the height of activism to usurp the judgments of Congress and state legislatures about how best to prevent corruption of the political process.

“If it is not necessary to decide more, it is necessary not to decide more,” a wise judge once wrote. That was Chief Justice John G. Roberts — back when — and dissenting Justice John Paul Stevens rightly turned that line against him.

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Republicans naturally and predictably love this recent ruling. But of course they would. Republicans embrace and fully support authoritarian forms of government. And the sad truth of the matter is the GOP has always worked for the corporate sector.

It is devastatingly unfortunate that Republican voters have never been able to understand the hard, cold and mean reality of those they elect into office. Politicians take an oath to serve the people in their districts but many merely give their constituents nothing but empty rhetoric. If one were to closely examine one’s Republican lawmakers’ voting records one would find who their elected officials really work for.

My guess is the teabaggers will wraps it head around the reality of the SCOTUS decision like we progressives have, for the only one imperative we do share in common is a collective outrage over the corporate takeover of the U.S. government and its legislative process by special interest groups and corporations.

But unfortunately teabaggers, unlike progressives, are far too easily led astray by the likes of Dick Armey, one of the numerous behind the scenes leaders of the teabagger movement. Armey’s main mission is to promote the interests of the health care industry. He and his organization, Freedom Works, uses teabaggers as its tools.

Republicans and teabaggers alike have been led to believe that the government is the root of everything evil while progressives know that government is the only force that can and will protect us from the evils of self-serving greed mongers of the corporate sector.

We are where we are today b/c the corporate sector has been enabled to run rough shod over the American people. We are broke. There are no jobs. We lost homes. We lost retirement savings. Meanwhile on Wall St. the fat cats who can now purchase politicians get richer by the minute.

Elections have consequences. The nice guy or girl candidate with whom to have a beer could very well be an anti-political democracy devil in disguise who has every intention of throwing the middle and working classes to the lions.

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Oh, and Prince Alwaleed, grandson of the King of Saudi Arabia and the largest individual shareholder in Citigroup and second biggest shareholder in News Corp (Murdock’s FOX “News”) doesn’t like Obama’s tax on the banks.

Who would have thought?

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Republicans Stand by Their Man: Fat Cat The Banker

Posted by: LibbyShaw

Meet Fat Cat the Banker

Meet Fat Cat the Banker

Who would have thought? In its true and hypocritical form The Party of No and Obstruction opposes President Obama’s proposed fees on banks.

Dick Cheney must be hard at work at that printing press in his undisclosed basement.

Prominent Republicans are coming out in opposition to President Barack Obama’s proposal for a $90-billion fee on large banks that took bailout money, a move that political observers say could force the GOP to choose between their traditional anti-tax position and populist anger over the bailout.

On Thursday, GOP Chairman Michael Steele declared that the bank fee — which would be levied only on banks that took bailout money and have more than $50 billion in assets — is “another tax on the American public.”

The GOP is standing by fat cat the banker in yet another effort to oppose President Obama. Republicans demonstrate time and time again that they are willing to put politics ahead of working on solutions to solve the daunting challenges that we face on local, state and national levels.

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All of the Republican’s ranting and raving about the federal bailout is nothing but ginned up rhetoric. Apparently GOP lawmakers hate the bailout and yet they love the banks so much that they do not believe Wall St., aka gambling casinos that put Las Vegas to shame, should have to make reparations to the taxpayers for squandering and stealing our money. God forbid should the big banks have to pay fines for its appallingly irresponsible and over the top reckless behavior that annihilated the U.S. and global economy.

The financial services industry lobbied for the repeal of the Glass Steagall Act in 1999. That allowed banks to use their custodial power over your money to assume huge risks in investment markets.

They also lobbied for the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000, which allowed banks to trade their crooked insurance in secret and exempted from all supervisory authority.

And to help grow the hurricane, then CEO of Goldman Sachs Hank Paulson made a personal plea to the SEC to allow banks to leverage more money against their capital. As much as $4,000 for every $100 in capital they held.

Wall Street may claim this was caused by a perfect storm, but the only thing perfect about it was their ability to line their pockets at the expense of our country.

Republicans apparently think it is a good idea for the banks to return to its wild, careless and out of control gambling practices that all but destroyed our financial security.

The proposed tax would apply to bank, thrift and insurance companies with more than $50 billion in assets and would start after June 30. It would not apply to certain holdings, like customers’ insured savings, but to assets in risk-taking operations. The levy would raise an estimated $90 billion over 10 years, according to the White House.

But it would remain in force longer if all losses to the bailout fund, the Troubled Asset Relief Program, were not recovered after a decade. The Treasury now projects that the losses from the $700 billion loan program, which was created in October 2008, could reach $117 billion, about a third of the loss that it projected last summer — an improved forecast that reflected the renewed strength on Wall Street.

After all, last week during the Texas Republican gubernatorial debate Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison said she and John Cornyn hated voting for the bank bail out. But, alas, they did so only because then President G.W. Bush instructed them to do so in order to save the U.S. and global economy from a complete melt down.

A glimpse at a Texas Republican clown show.

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In their twisted logic Republican politicians insist they hated saving the banks but now they hate imposing punitive fees on the banks’ biggest gamblers.

I suppose now that Sarah Palin has been hired as a professional analyst by FOX, the Propaganda Arm for the RNC, all of the GOP’s verbal inconsistencies and contradictions will soon be fully explained.

Republican lawmakers will howl like possessed banshees about terrorism and the profound urgency for our national security. They also routinely cry for border fences, racial profiling and full body scanners at all airports. And yet when it comes to safeguarding our financial and economic security, Republicans, it appears, are not in the least bit concerned. For them Fat Cat the Banker can do no wrong.

According to an article written by Mr. Frank Rich of the New York Times:

The Other Plot to Wreck America

Americans might be fluent in global terror and the horrors of terrorism but we are woefully uninformed about our domestic financial weapons of mass destruction.

Americans must be told the full story of how Wall Street gamed and inflated the housing bubble, made out like bandits, and then left millions of households in ruin. Without that reckoning, there will be no public clamor for serious reform of a financial system that was as cunningly breached as airline security at the Amsterdam airport. And without reform, another massive attack on our economic security is guaranteed. Now that it can count on government bailouts, Wall Street has more incentive than ever to pump up its risks — secure that it can keep the bonanzas while we get stuck with the losses.

The Director of the Financial Crisis Commission intends to shed some light on the big banks and its financial practices (greed, hubris, stupidity – gosh, why this sounds like a typical old home week of the W. Administration of arrogance and incompetence) over the last several years.

He wants to examine the financial sector’s “greed, stupidity, hubris and outright corruption” — from traders on the ground to the board room. “It’s important that we deliver new information,” he said. “We can’t just rehash what we’ve known to date.” He understands that if he fails to make news or to tell the story in a way that is comprehensible and compelling enough to arouse Americans to demand action, Wall Street and Washington will both keep moving on, unchallenged and unchastened.

Maybe the W. Administration and all of its lackeys including Senators John Cornyn and Kay Bailey Hutchison were far too distracted by non-existent WMD’s in Iraq and no bid contracts to the military/industrial complex to worry much about Wall St.

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MSNBC Premieres Hope and Fear in Obama’s America with Hosts Chris Mathews and Tom Joyner

Posted by: Audiegrl

A Two Hour Special Event on Race Relations in America On Martin Luther King Day

Tom Joyner and Chris MatthewsOne year after the inauguration of the first African-American President, MSNBC will present “Hope and Fear in Obama’s America,” January 18, 2010, 10 p.m. ET, an extended discussion surrounding race and post-racial identity in America. Moderated by “Hardball’s” Chris Matthews and featuring syndicated radio host Tom Joyner, live from Texas Southern University, a historically Black university in Houston, Texas. The two-hour special event on Martin Luther King Day will explore some of the most pressing and provocative issues connected to race and race relations in the U.S.

Hope and Fear in Obama’s America” will discuss the progress we’ve made in the United States and the challenges we continue to face around racial equality, addressing issues ranging from whether there is such a thing as generational colorblindness, to the “burdens of the first,” and whether there are a unique set of expectations and challenges attached to being the first to break a racial barrier. Panelists and guests will be announced at a later date.

MSNBC.com will soon feature additional information on the special and its guests and will also allow viewers to participate in live votes and continue the discussion online.

In a message to his audience of 8 million listeners, Joyner said, “This is an important story because it will give me and you a rare opportunity to participate in a much needed discussion about whether racism is still a relevant topic now that President Obama has been elected.” Joyner added, “It’s a crucial thing when mainstream America wants to know what’s on our minds. Together, we can give provide honest questions and answers about racism in this country. ”

Joyner reassured his listeners, that “of course, the traditional, easy way to tackle these topics is to get the same old people to say the same old things. Not knocking any of the people who have sat on panel after panel after panel to talk about race in America in past years. But it’s almost impossible to get any new perspectives on issues unless we solicit information from varied sources, and from what I can see, at this point, that’s what this MSNBC town hall Meeting will attempt to do. Chris Matthews and I will not talk to a panel of your “usual suspects” about hopes and fears in Obama’s America.”

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Republicans Delivered the Worst Decade in Modern U.S. History

posted by: LibbyShaw

Republicans ruled for 80% of the last decade, 60% of which Republicans were in total control

At least when W. ran his companies into the ground Daddy’s friends would step up and bail junior out. But Daddy’s buddies are nowhere to be found now that W. and his GOP drove the country straight to hell. Tragically for the American taxpayers, we, our children, our grandchildren and great grandchildren will have to clean up the squalor. It will take generations to undo the GOP’s financial carnage.

A recent article published in the Washington Post reveals that the American worker lost big time during the past decade.

This news should come as no surprise to any hard working middle class American. We have been living the pain for 10 long years.

The past decade was the worst for the U.S. economy in modern times, a sharp reversal from a long period of prosperity that is leading economists and policymakers to fundamentally rethink the underpinnings of the nation’s growth.

It was, according to a wide range of data, a lost decade for American workers. The decade began in a moment of triumphalism — there was a current of thought among economists in 1999 that recessions were a thing of the past. By the end, there were two, bookends to a debt-driven expansion that was neither robust nor sustainable.

The Washington Post also reveals that there has been zero net job creation since December 1999. Conditions have not been this grim for decades. Essentially, the American worker has not had a raise in a very long time.

Middle-income households made less in 2008, when adjusted for inflation, than they did in 1999 — and the number is sure to have declined further during a difficult 2009. The Aughts were the first decade of falling median incomes since figures were first compiled in the 1960s.

Click to enlarge

As we well know, our home values have declined as have our retirement and savings accounts.

What happened?

Economists attribute the decline to economic stagnation, an out of control housing bubble, too much risk and too much debt. Money was invested in mini mansions instead of business investments that would have created jobs and economic growth.

The housing bubble both caused, and was enabled by, a boom in indebtedness. Total household debt rose 117 percent from 1999 to its peak in early 2008, according to Federal Reserve data, as Americans borrowed to buy ever more expensive homes and to support consumption more generally.

An experiment called an unbridled free market economy ended very badly for we the people.

The first decade of the new century was an experiment in what happens when an economy comes to rely heavily on borrowed money.

A big part of what happened this decade was that people engaged in excessively risky behavior without realizing the risks associated,” said Karen Dynan, co-director of economic studies at the Brookings Institution. “It’s true not just among consumers but among regulators, financial institutions, lenders, everyone.”

The experiment has ended badly. While the stock market bubble that popped in 2000 caused only a mild recession, the housing and credit bubble has had a much greater punch — driving the unemployment rate to a high, so far, of 10.2 percent, compared with a peak of 6.3 percent following the last such downturn.

In short, the big banks, enabled by Republican free market ideology, gambled with our money and they lost it. And they lost it big time. As we know we the taxpayer had to step up and bail out the banks so there would not be a complete and thoroughly devastating global economic melt down.

The G.W. Bush era was one in which the GOP rewarded every one of its fat cat sugar daddies, including Halliburton with its no bid contracts for a ginned up war called Iraq.

We the people are dearly paying the price for the Bush era’s unforgivable mistakes.

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I am with Dylan Ratigan on this one. The banks should pay the taxpayers back with interest. Why on earth did Hank Paulson give away our money with no strings attached? What was he thinking?

So next time we hear about the virtues of an unbridled free market economy we need to say no way in hell. Any politician who embraces this voodoo notion of economic devastation should be run out of office on a rail for they are unfit to serve the people.

Speaking of unfitness to serve, why is that Republicans have to blame their short comings on others? Why can’t Republicans ever step up and take responsibility for their mistakes?

Republicans are obviously inept at running the economy and they are also incompetent at keeping our nation safe whether from terrorist attacks or national disasters like Hurricane Katrina. It seems that the only thing Republicans are good at is playing the blame game.

A coordinated, successful attack, with sufficient warning, carried out by 19 terrorists, killing 2,973 people, on the 234th day of an administration… that’s completely and totally and absolutely and so gosh-durn’t the fault of the previous President… who happened to be a Democrat.

HOWEVER, an unsuccessful attack, attempted by 1 terrorist, killing absolutely no one on the 339th day of an administration… that’s completely and totally and absolutely and so gosh-durn’t the fault of the current President… who happens to be a Democrat.

SIMILARLY, a complete and total meltdown of the financial system, including a stock market collapse and levels of bankruptcy/foreclosure not seen since the Great Depression on, or around, the 2415th day of an administration… that’s completely and totally and absolutely and so gosh-durn’t the fault of the previous President (and Congress)… who created Acorn, and just happened to be Democrats.

BUT, 10% unemployment and lackluster job growth on the 215th day of an administration… that’s completely and totally and absolutely and so gosh-durn’t the fault of the current President (and Congress)… who want to institute socialism (in the form of Acorn) and happen to be Democrats.

NOW, making a statement from your “brush farm” 144 hours after a dude with bad facial hair is prevented from blowing up an airplane… that’s fighting some serious war on the baddies.

AND YET, making a statement from the beach 72 hours after a dude with bad genital burns is prevented from blowing up an airplane… that’s “pretending the war on terror doesn’t exist“.

If folks really have a desire to destroy what is left of their financial security, go ahead and continue to vote for Republicans. Hopefully most of us won’t have this death wish in November.

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Houston Swears In First Openly Gay Mayor Annise Parker

Posted by Audiegrl

Houston Mayor-elect Annise Parker, center, celebrates with her partner Kathy Hubbard, left, Parker's runoff election victory at a campaign party on December 13, 2009 in Houston.


Annise Parker leads supporters at a campaign event

Annise Parker (born May 17, 1956, Houston, Texas) is a Houston-area politician, the Mayor-elect of Houston, and the current Controller of the City of Houston, which is a position second only to that of Mayor. Previously, she served as an at-large member of the Houston City Council since 1997. Parker was victorious in her run for controller in 2003. She ran unopposed in 2005 and 2007; as of December 2009, she is into her final term.

Parker placed first in the November 2009 mayoral election, but failed to capture a majority of the vote. She decisively defeated attorney Gene Locke, the second-place candidate, in the December runoff. Upon taking office as mayor in January, Parker will be the highest-ranking municipal official in the LGBT community of the United States. (from Wikipedia)

Annise Parker sworn in as Mayor of the city of Houston – January 4, 2010. Houston becomes the largest American city with an openly-Gay Mayor

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The GOP Refuses to Read a Bill it Opposes

Posted by: LibbyShaw

What is it with Republican Party? Does it utterly despise hard working and desperate Americans?

Is the GOP too stubborn, lazy or too dumb to wrap its head around a very complex bill? Or maybe reading is a very tedious and beyond boring act that takes time that could be otherwise spent playing golf or sipping martinis with health insurance lobbyists.

Hundreds of Americans die every month because they lack health care insurance. Do Republicans, including the self-serving,vindictive and tool for the health insurance companies, Joe Lieberman care?

Can obese pigs fly?

I did not think so.

Everyone is entitled to one’s opinion but not to making up the facts.

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Whether it is health care reform or the economic meltdown, Republicans refuse to realistically acknowledge the domestic disasters that confront us whether it has to do with thousands upon thousands of Americans who die because of lack of access to health insurance. Republicans are also unmoved by the thousands upon thousands of Americans who have lost their jobs, homes and everything they have worked so hard to achieve.

Check out how the Republican tools for health insurance lobbyists operate.

Witness a work in narcissism.

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Oh, so, Republicans want to improve the bill? For whom? The insurance health care industry?

You betcha.

Oh, Joe, come on, be brave and come out of your Republican closet. Admit that you are a tool for the fat cat health insurance lobbyist. And so is your wife. Come on Joe, admit this is all about you and you don’t give a rat’s derriere about your constituents who will die sooner than they should because you care about your ego more than you do about the people who elected you.

The inconvenient facts.

Disaster and Denial.

Given this history, you might have expected the emergence of a national consensus in favor of restoring more-effective financial regulation, so as to avoid a repeat performance. But you would have been wrong.

Talk to conservatives about the financial crisis and you enter an alternative, bizarro universe in which government bureaucrats, not greedy bankers, caused the meltdown. It’s a universe in which government-sponsored lending agencies triggered the crisis, even though private lenders actually made the vast majority of subprime loans. It’s a universe in which regulators coerced bankers into making loans to unqualified borrowers, even though only one of the top 25 subprime lenders was subject to the regulations in question.

Oh, and conservatives simply ignore the catastrophe in commercial real estate: in their universe the only bad loans were those made to poor people and members of minority groups, because bad loans to developers of shopping malls and office towers don’t fit the narrative.

In part, the prevalence of this narrative reflects the principle enunciated by Upton Sinclair: “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” As Democrats have pointed out, three days before the House vote on banking reform Republican leaders met with more than 100 financial-industry lobbyists to coordinate strategies. But it also reflects the extent to which the modern Republican Party is committed to a bankrupt ideology, one that won’t let it face up to the reality of what happened to the U.S. economy.

Republicans are not going to lift a finger to help our country recover from the carnage wreaked by its ideologies and agendas since Ronald Reagan.

I think we can safely trust that Republicans will never get it b/c their salaries, as quoted above, depend upon their never getting it.

Nor do the Republicans give a rat’s derriere about the recent poll that reveals the full extent of the horrible misery and suffering taking place throughout the United States.

A few mere examples of the extent of the suffering.

More than half of the nation’s unemployed workers have borrowed money from friends or relatives since losing their jobs. An equal number have cut back on doctor visits or medical treatments because they are out of work.

Almost half have suffered from depression or anxiety. About 4 in 10 parents have noticed behavioral changes in their children that they attribute to their difficulties in finding work.

Joblessness has wreaked financial and emotional havoc on the lives of many of those out of work, according to a New York Times/CBS News poll of unemployed adults, causing major life changes, mental health issues and trouble maintaining even basic necessities.

The results of the poll, which surveyed 708 unemployed adults from Dec. 5 to Dec. 10 and has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus four percentage points, help to lay bare the depth of the trauma experienced by millions across the country who are out of work as the jobless rate hovers at 10 percent and, in particular, as the ranks of the long-term unemployed soar.

Roughly half of the respondents described the recession as a hardship that had caused fundamental changes in their lives. Generally, those who have been out of work longer reported experiencing more acute financial and emotional effects.

Republican solution: Tax cuts for the wealthy. Trickle down economics works.

With unemployment driving foreclosures nationwide, a quarter of those polled said they had either lost their home or been threatened with foreclosure or eviction for not paying their mortgage or rent. About a quarter, like Ms. Newton, have received food stamps. More than half said they had cut back on both luxuries and necessities in their spending. Seven in 10 rated their family’s financial situation as fairly bad or very bad.

But the impact on their lives was not limited to the difficulty in paying bills. Almost half said unemployment had led to more conflicts or arguments with family members and friends; 55 percent have suffered from insomnia.

“Everything gets touched,” said Colleen Klemm, 51, of North Lake, Wis., who lost her job as a manager at a landscaping company last November. “All your relationships are touched by it. You’re never your normal happy-go-lucky person. Your countenance, your self-esteem goes. You think, ‘I’m not employable.’ “

Republican solution: Let the banks continue to rip off and rob the American people. Block all efforts at regulating the banks. Fight President Obama’s job efforts. Solution: tax cuts for the wealthy. Trickle down economics is what we need.

“Every time I think about money, I shut down because there is none,” Ms. Linville said. “I get major panic attacks. I just don’t know what we’re going to do.”

Nearly half of the adults surveyed admitted to feeling embarrassed or ashamed most of the time or sometimes as a result of being out of work. Perhaps unsurprisingly, given the traditional image of men as breadwinners, men were significantly more likely than women to report feeling ashamed most of the time.

There was a pervasive sense from the poll that the American dream had been upended for many. Nearly half of those polled said they felt in danger of falling out of their social class, with those out of work six months or more feeling especially vulnerable. Working-class respondents felt at risk in the greatest numbers.

Nearly half of respondents said they did not have health insurance, with the vast majority citing job loss as a reason, a notable finding given the tug of war in Congress over a health care overhaul. The poll offered a glimpse of the potential ripple effect of having no coverage. More than half characterized the cost of basic medical care as a hardship.

Many in the ranks of the unemployed appear to be rethinking their career and life choices. Just over 40 percent said they had moved or considered moving to another part of the state or country where there were more jobs. More than two-thirds of respondents had considered changing their career or field, and 44 percent of those surveyed had pursued job retraining or other educational opportunities.

Joe Whitlow, 31, of Nashville, worked as a mechanic until a repair shop he was running with a friend finally petered out in August. He had contemplated going back to school before, but the potential loss in income always deterred him. Now he is enrolled at a local community college, planning to study accounting.

“When everything went bad, not that I didn’t have a choice, but it made the choice easier,” Mr. Whitlow said.

Republican reaction: Fight, block and obstruct the Obama Administration and Democratic Party’s efforts at reform. Solution: tax cuts for the wealthy. Trickle down economics is the solution we need.

Sure, that and there is a boatload of cheap oceanfront property for sale in the middle of the blistering Mojave Desert.

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Houston Is Largest City to Elect Openly Gay Mayor

Posted by Audiegrl

Houston Mayor-elect Annise Parker, center, celebrates with her partner Kathy Hubbard, left, Parker's runoff election victory at a campaign party on December 13, 2009 in Houston.


New York Times/James C. McKinley Jr.—Houston became the largest city in the United States to elect an openly gay mayor on December 13, 2009, as voters gave a solid victory to the city controller, Annise Parker.

Cheers and dancing erupted at Ms. Parker’s campaign party as her opponent, Gene Locke, a former city attorney, conceded defeat just after 10 p.m. when it became clear he could not overcome her lead.

Twenty minutes later, Ms. Parker appeared before ecstatic supporters at the city’s convention center and then joked that she was the first graduate of Rice University to be elected mayor. (She is, by the way.) Then she grew serious.

Tonight the voters of Houston have opened the door to history,” she said, standing by her partner of 19 years, Kathy Hubbard, and their three adopted children. “I acknowledge that. I embrace that. I know what this win means to many of us who never thought we could achieve high office.”

With all precincts reporting, Ms. Parker, the city controller, had defeated Mr. Locke 53 percent to 47 percent.

Annise Parker, the city controller, arriving at her election night party.

Throughout the campaign, Ms. Parker tried to avoid making an issue of her sexual orientation and emphasized her experience in overseeing the city’s finances. But she began her career as an advocate for gay rights in the 1980s, and it was lost on no one in Houston, a city of 2.2 million people, that her election marked a milestone for gay men and lesbians around the country.

Several smaller cities in other regions have chosen openly gay mayors, among them Providence, R.I., Portland, Ore., and Cambridge, Mass. But Ms. Parker’s success came in a conservative state where voters have outlawed gay marriage and a city where a referendum on granting benefits to same-sex partners of city employees was soundly defeated.

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Statement by Mayor-Elect Parker:

To my Friends, Supporters and all Houstonians,

In this campaign, I met many Houstonians.

I met fathers worried about finding a good job. I met mothers worried about crime. I met young men and women who only want a chance for a good education. Families worried about taxes. Homeowners who just want to protect the neighborhood they love. Hear me: the city is on your side.

I learned about the problems and the needs and the hopes of our city at the neighborhood level, where families work and live. This election has changed the world for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities, just as this election is about transforming Houstonians’ lives for the better.

Let us begin from this moment to join as one community, united in the goal of making Houston the city it could be, should be, can be and will be. That’s what this city will be about under my administration.

Houston is a city that invites entrepreneurs – and shelters evacuees. A diverse city. A city built on dreams powered by hard work, creativity, common sense and cooperation.

Public service is a noble calling, and I appreciate that Gene Locke was willing to answer this call. He is a man who has been deeply involved in our community for many years and I hope he will continue to serve Houston. I wish for him and his family the very best.

Let me close by saying that while this is an exciting night, it is also a humbling experience. Our citizens deserve our best effort and I pledge to give them an administration that values honesty, integrity and transparency above all else. My administration will be concerned with only one interest: the public good.

Thank you so much. Together, we will make a difference.

Annise Parker leads supporters at a campaign event

Annise Parker (born May 17, 1956, Houston, Texas) is a Houston-area politician, the Mayor-elect of Houston, and the current Controller of the City of Houston, which is a position second only to that of Mayor. Previously, she served as an at-large member of the Houston City Council since 1997. Parker was victorious in her run for controller in 2003. She ran unopposed in 2005 and 2007; as of December 2009, she is into her final term.

Parker placed first in the November 2009 mayoral election, but failed to capture a majority of the vote. She decisively defeated attorney Gene Locke, the second-place candidate, in the December runoff. Upon taking office as mayor in January, Parker will be the highest-ranking municipal official in the LGBT community of the United States. (from Wikipedia)

Note: Though the race for Houston mayor is strictly non-partisan, she identifies as a Democrat, as did her opponent, Gene Locke.

Annise Parker sworn in as Mayor of the city of Houston – January 4, 2010. Houston becomes the largest American city with an openly-Gay Mayor

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John Cornyn’s Serial Lies About the Senate Health Care Reform Bill

Posted by LibbyShaw

Cross posted on Daily Kos, Texas Kaos and The Burnt Orange Report.

This morning I received the following electronic newsletter from Senator John Cornyn on the Senate Health Care Reform Bill.

Last night, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid released his 2,074-page health care bill, which Senate Budget Committee analysis shows will cost American taxpayers $2.5 trillion when fully implemented over ten years. (My bold.)

Until we have had a chance to read the full 2,074 page Reid Bill, it’s impossible for Americans to fully grasp what the Majority Leader has cooked up behind closed doors. It is my hope that Sen. Reid will afford all Americans the same courtesy that he had: ample time to study the legislation and deliberate the best way to proceed.

Lie 1 debunked: The proposed Senate bill saves $127 billion over first ten years.

And in the second ten years we will realize even more savings.

Over the second 10 years, CBO projects even greater cost savings–up to $650 billion, with the caveat that after 10 years, their analyses become highly uncertain.

Do you have a problem with saving lives and money, Senator?

Why are Republicans constantly moaning and bellyaching about having to read a long and complex bill? If they are too dumb or lazy to read, why bother running for office? And as far as cooking stuff behind closed doors, isn’t that what you Republicans did since Ronald Reagan?

Come on sore loser, give us a break.

There is more.

What we do know so far, as reported by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO), is that this bill will have a wide, negative impact on Americans across the board – from seniors on Medicare to small business owners to future generations of Americans who will be footing the bill. The bill will increase taxes on all Americans by nearly half a trillion dollarsand breaks the President’s pledge not to raise taxes on working families earning less than $250,000—at a time that unemployment is at a 26-year high.

Huge whopper 2 in bold above.

This is a disgusting fear mongering LIE. The vast majority of Americans will not receive a tax increase. The link above will give readers a glimpse into the Republican’s record of lying on just about every piece of legislation proposed by Democrats. Lie, obstruct, scare. Repeat lie, obstruct, scare. That is what the GOP has become.

And there will be a wide negative impact on Americans across the board from Seniors on Medicare to small business owners to future generations? Huh?

Lies 3, 4. 5. That, Sir, is called a bold face lie and you are using scare tactics. The bill is not going to hurt Medicare. Period. It will impact Medicare Advantage which some folks, not all, have. Honestly, I find it disingenuous and hypocritical for Republicans, who have wanted to get rid of Medicare for years, are suddenly concerned about and defending it.

A national public option means competition. Therefore small businesses will finally be able to afford to cover employees, or at least offer plans that their employees can afford. What on earth is wrong with that? And as far as hurting future generations this is all a bunch of fear mongering sewage. If anything we’ll have a healthier population precisely b/c 94% of Americans will have access to affordable health care coverage.

While CBO has not been given time to analyze the Reid bill’s impact on premiums, every other independent analysis to date has found that Reid’s new mandates and taxes will increase health care premiums on American families. The Reid bill increases taxpayer spending and liability for health care over the next ten years—instead of reforming our already insolvent entitlement programs. It will gut the already insolvent Medicare program by $464.6 billion, hurting access to care for seniors. It includes a government-run public option that will, according to CBO, have premiums higher than private plans and cause millions of Americans to lose the coverage they currently have. The largest expansion of Medicaid since it was created means the Medicaid program will be the only coverage option for 60 million Americans. It will also impose $28 billion in punitive taxes on employers who do not comply with Washington’s new job-killing mandates.

I should put this entire excerpt in bold b/c it one pack of lies after another.

Lie 6. The so-called independent analysis comes from the Lewin Group that is tied to big insurance.

The Washington Post reported on Thursday that the Lewin Group, a health care research consulting firm, is owned by Minnetonka-based UnitedHealth Group.

Sure, they are independent.

Huge whopper 7. Cornyn said the bill would gut Medicare.

U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), Alliance for Retired Americans Executive Director Edward Coyle, AFSCME Director of Retiree Programs Steve Regenstreif and the Florida Democratic Party today responded to the lies and misinformation the GOP is spreading about seniors and health insurance reform–including RNC’s lies, which today announced a misleading ad on their “Seniors Bill of Lies.”

Since the health insurance reform debate began, the GOP has attempted to spread lies and misinformation about how health insurance reform will affect seniors. But the truth is, President Obama’s reforms will lower costs, protect choice and provide more options. Seniors in particular will benefit from health insurance reform as it will eliminate waste, fraud and abuse in Medicare, will end wasteful subsidies to the insurance companies and close the Medicare Part D prescription drug “donut hole.” For seniors age 50 to 64 who are not yet eligible for Medicare, the reforms proposed by President Obama will ensure that seniors who are between jobs or have a pre-existing condition cannot be denied coverage by the insurance industry.

Indeed, AARP has come forward to debunk the lies spread by Republican lawmakers.

There are many naysayers who have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo and will stop at nothing – including lies — to derail health care reform. Many will try to scare Americans with myths and fabrications about proposed health care legislation —tactics they believe will block vital changes to our nation’s broken health care system.

Make no mistake: opponents of health care reform have powerful tools at their disposal, including the ability to spend exorbitant amounts of money on television, newspaper, and radio ads to spread their myths.

AARP is committed to debunking these myths so that our nation can move toward the ultimate goal of quality, affordable health care for ALL Americans. Here are a few of the most popular myths about health care reform, followed by the facts that debunk them.

The link above debunks the lies one by one.

Myth: Health care reform will weaken Medicare and reduce benefits.

Fact: This is a scare tactic used by special interest groups trying to block progress on health care reform. The plain fact is that none of the health care reform proposals being considered by Congress would cut Medicare benefits or increase out-of-pocket costs for Medicare services. In fact, rather than weaken Medicare, real health care reform will strengthen the financial solvency of the Medicare program. Let me make this absolutely clear: AARP does not support legislation that would weaken Medicare benefits.

Huge whopper 8. Cornyn says the health care reform bill includes a government run public option that will have premiums higher than private insurance. This is where we see just how joined at the hip John Cornyn is with the health care industry.

Fact: CBO Estimates Show Public Plan With Higher Savings Rate.

In total, a public plan based on Medicare rates would save $110 billion over 10 years. That is $20 billion more than earlier estimates, a spokesman for House Speaker Pelosi said.

There is more.

Lie #1: “trouble … for the national debt.” The public option has been deemed a cost-saver by the Congressional Budget Office, $110B for the strongest proposed plan, $25B for the weaker plan (that is in the Senate bill).

Huge whopper 9. Senator Liar, Liar Pants on Fire insists that millions of Americans will lose coverage they already have. As we know by now, this laughable and is pure nonsense. Cornyn as all other delusional Republicans who are 100% pimped out to the health care industry believes if we have a robust public option, folks will be automatically pushed into and it and the poor innocent health insurance companies will lose patients. Please. Cry me a freaking river. Republican lawmakers should be reminded that insurance companies are spending millions upon millions of dollars to fight health care reform. Even Fox Fixed News gets it! Maybe if the health insurance industry put those millions into actual health care instead of denying it and handing out death sentences we wouldn’t have needed major HCR in the first place.

The five largest private insurers and the trade group America’s Health Insurance Plans spent a total of $6.4 million in the first quarter, an increase of more than $1 million from the same quarter last year. The industry is working to counter proposals endorsed by the White House that would offer a government health insurance option for millions of Americans.

Besides as Paul Krugman states below, the magic of the marketplace does not work in health care. A public option is less expensive than no public option.

Serious students of health care have known for a long time that the magic of the marketplace doesn’t work in health care; the United States has the most privatized health-care system in the advanced world, and also the least efficient. The pale reflection of this reality in the current discussion is that reform with a strong public option is cheaper than reform without — which means that as we get closer to really doing something, rhetoric about socialism fades out, and that $100 billion or so in projected savings starts to look awfully attractive.

It has also been clear from international evidence that universality is cheaper than leaving a few people expensively without care. That’s reflected now in the projected savings from a strong employer mandate.

Lie 10. John Cornyn implies that health care reform will introduce a new level of entitlement. There they go again with their big ugly entitlement obsession. God forbid should poor folks and the struggling working and middle classes receive something they deserve as everyday hard working Americans.

Lie #2: “it still creates a whole new government entitlement program”. An entitlement program is a government program that people of a certain criteria have a legally enforceable right to get benefits from, meaning the government has to find the funds one way or another. Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are entitlement programs.

The public option simply is not an entitlement program. It would be a choice alongside private plans in a health insurance “exchange” or marketplace. And it would be “self-sustaining,” funded primarily by the premiums of its customers, just like with private insurance.

Government subsidies would help those who couldn’t affordable the premiums. But that is true with any of the plans in the health insurance exchange, public or private.

That big bad guvmint run socialized health care is really about choice and competition. And if our esteemed Republican lawmakers have such a problem with big guvmint run single payer socialized taxpayer funded health care, well, why don’t they give up their own?

It must be nice for folks to have a representative in Congress who will actually stand up for his constituents.

John Cornyn has not only been busted as a serial liar on health care reform, he’s also been outed for his heartless cruelty in blocking health care reform.

John Cornyn say he and his staff will be pouring over the bill.

These initial findings are troubling, to say the least. My staff and I will be pouring over the 2,074 pages, assuming we are given the time to do so. You can access the full text of the Reid bill from my web site:http://cornyn.senate.gov/public/?p=HealthCareReformHQ.

Is that right? It seems to me, Senator, that you have been against this bill before it was even written. If you and your staff really poured over the bill you would have never sent me your misleading, disingenuous and fictional newsletter either. Representatives Weiner and Grayson show respect for their constituents. You, on the other hand, continue to ignore the needs of most of yours, Sir, and you continue to insult our intelligence on a daily basis. Texas has the highest number of uninsured residents and yet you and Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison simply do not care. Period. The two of you have the finest health coverage tax payer money can buy so to hell with the people of Texas.

Republican Talking Points:

Lie. Obstruct. Scare.

Lie. Obstruct. Scare.

That and this:

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