August 2011

Obama Considers New EPA and Transportation Regs With $1 Billion Price Tag

President Obama is considering 4 EPA regs and 3 DOT regs with an annual federal cost of $1 billion.

President Obama and congressional lawmakers' famous squabble over the debt deal this summer has left some firmly entrenched ideologies on both sides of the economy. In one case Democrats are dead-set against major cuts to entitlements like Medicare and Medicaid, and are advocating further stimulus spending. Among economists that believe in further federal stimulus to bolster the economy, there are estimates that as much as $300 billion would be necessary to prevent backsliding. Of course any kind of increase in spending will be anathema to congressional Republicans that have already established a hard line against any increases to government spending, instead pursuing a strict campaign to cut federal spending and taxes. That makes president Obama's recent announcement, that he's considering seven new regulations that would cost the government up to $1 billion annually, a highly unlikely sell to "limited government" Republicans across the aisle.

More Rick Perry Texas Two Steppin'

Perry slams the Office of the President, yet is running for it. He hates the stimulus, yet goes after the money. Which is it?

Texas Governor Rick Perry has been hammering on jobs and economy since his entrance into the 2012 race. That's not unique, joblessness and economic issues are the bread and butter of this Presidential race already, and will continue to be well after the Republican primary. However, Perry's rhetoric doesn't exactly match up with his record as governor, and that has got some people scratching their heads. In his 2010 book, Fed Up!, he writes,  "We are fed up with bailout after bailout and stimulus plan after stimulus plan, each one of which tosses principle out the window along with taxpayer money." That said, he has captured record amounts of federal stimulus money for his own state. It seems to me this is a case of, "Yeah it's bad, but I don't want to be left out." Compromising his own principles (if any Presidential candidate can be said to have those) for a chance at "free" money from taxpayers.

Chatterjee and Gellner take on political nationalism

Political scientists Partha Chatterjee and Ernest Gellner had two very different opinions about nationalism. Chaterjee argues for different kinds of nationalism in his writing while Gellner asserts only one kind of nationalism with specific characteristics. Both Chatterjee and Gellner’s models stipulate the need for state-education and communication systems that were used to propagate Arab nationalism. Chatterjee’s explanation of a state which opposes any sort of imperialist interference was not originally intended for the Middle East model, but fits as well. Gellner’s theory about a power inconsistency between the people and the ruler fits Arab nationalism, but his argument about a potential “cultural duality” between the people and the ruler does not. Chatterjee makes an argument about an altogether new form of “anticolonial nationalism” opposed the traditional European nationalism which most appropriately fits Arab nationalism while Gellner makes a generalized model into which Arab nationalism only partially fits.

Dismal Congressional Approval Ratings Don't Bode Well For House Lawmakers

New AP-GfK poll shows congressional incumbents on both sides of the aisle are losing faith from home.

It's no secret that congressional approval has fallen to dismal lows since the embarrassing gridlock before the Budget Control Act. However, as to which party or what members are receiving the greatest public furor, it's been pretty inconsistent. House Republicans blame President Obama for not demonstrating more leadership, while Democrats and Obama blame Republicans, particularly the Tea Party-affiliated freshmen, for taking a hardline stance and refusing compromise. The public, at least the public respondents in a new Associated Press-GfK poll, seems to have enough disappointment for both sides of the aisle. That said, there does seem to be a heavier dollop of blame heaped on House Republicans and Tea Party members in particular. A high percentage of respondents are also unhappy with their particular representatives regardless of party lines. With the same budgetary issues coming up before the supercommittee this fall, it's likely that approval will stay low and there will be a frantic effort by both sides of the aisle to heap blame on the other.

Fox Questions National Weather Service During Irene

Maybe it's time to stop calling it news


If you're on the east coast, you might have heard of a little storm called Irene. Compared to previous weather wallops the US has been struck with, it's not all that drastic of an incident, but it still was cause for a number of evacuations and other preparedness methods. And now, as the storm hits the coast, Fox News is calling for an end to the National Weather Service.

The Rick Perry I Want To Hear About

There's a Rick Perry being splashed across the major news networks, and then there's one that governed Texas. They're not the same.

Rick Perry (Dubyah 2?) hit the GOP Presidential field with splash, undermining the Ames Straw Poll by sheer force of his smarmy celebrity. Since then he's peppered the national conversation with enough controversial conservative invective that he's fairly cornered the media's attention. As with any candidate of Rick Perry's brand (and I'm not talking Republican, I'm talking sensationalized), the media short-sightedly enlists his opinion on every subject, furthering the man's place in the national spotlight. Credible or not, he's got the camera's attention. Of course, he's used this attention to paint a fairly specific picture of himself; the Tea Party candidate, the social conservative candidate, the evangelical candidate, the outsider-gonna-shake-things-up-with-my-Texas-twang candidate. Perry set this perception when he now famously said, during his announcement in July, ""I'll work every day to try to make Washington, D.C. as inconsequential in your life as I can."

House Republicans Threaten To Hold Emergency Hurricane Relief Money Hostage

The latest, and perhaps greatest, example of House Republicans sacrificing the public good to right-wing ideology.

The latest effort by House Republicans to force further spending cuts is at the expense of those that are being, or will be, effected by Hurricane Irene. Meteorologists have predicted that Irene have wreak historic havoc along the eastern seaboard, and there has already been massive damage and multiple deaths reported. That aside, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) is requiring that any appropriations for emergency relief funds be balanced by spending cuts somewhere else in the House budget. Cantor insisted in a press conference after the 5.8 earthquake in his home state of Virginia that, "any potential emergency disaster aid be offset by spending cuts," according to a recent report by CBSNews. This will also include emergency relief money for areas his by Hurricane Irene.

Huntsman's Comments On Climate Change Spark Conservative Brainstem

Fox News and Chris Christie acknowledge the truth of climate change...then dismiss it.

There has been a sustained conservative assault on environmental protection, of that there's no doubt. However, GOP Presidential hopeful Jon Huntsman tweeted last week that he, "trusts scientists on Climate Change." He tweeted this in response to comments by fellow Republican candidate Rick Perry along the lines of climate change denial. Huntsman's tweet touched off a media feeding frenzy, mostly because he is the first Republican potential nominee to break from the pack regarding anti-science rhetoric. Mitt Romney has also acknowledged the science behind climate change, and has retained a lead within the primary race that has been slowly diminished by Perry. Here's a break down of a few of the various conservative reactions to the climate change "question".

Mitt Romney is the only other candidate to have professed a belief in the human impact on climate change. briefly touching on that fact during his New Hampshire announcement in May. Of course, it didn't get as much press because it coincided with Sarah Palin's infamous mystery bus tour, but it nonetheless further separated him from many of his Republican compatriots. What's astounding here is that, according to a University of Michigan study done in March, 74% of American believe that human impact on climate change is a problem. (This is also the study that made people switch from calling the phenomenon "global warming" to "climate change") Romney, true to form, may just be following a data trend among constituents, but evidence from his governorship show him passing comprehensive climate change protection legislation while in office.

The Obama 2012 Super Squad

When fear takes the limelight from courage, when justice is threatened by the forces of conservatism, when the fate of the nation hangs in the balance, the democratic base of America need only call upon...

The Obama 2012 Super Squad!

Made up of a team of dedicated campaigners, the Super Squad is here to battle democracy's greatest nemesis. No, not theocratic terrorists. Not law-circumventing ultra-capitalists. Bureaucratic paper-pushers with more respect for rules and regulations than the nuances of life? No! The Super Squad is here to combat the true enemy of the democratic process: The fact that reasonable, informed people tend not to vote as consistently or with as much solidarity as the mix of extremists, the ill-educated and the elderly that make up much of the Republican base! President Barack Obama has assembled a crack collection of outreach specialists to address this dire political climate for his new initiative, Project Vote. Roll call!

Obama Speaks with Buffet About Stimulating Economy and Job Growth

The President talks with the "Oracle of the Plains", Warren Buffet, about ideas for his upcoming address on jobs and the economy.

Warren Buffet turned a lot of heads a week ago when he released an open letter to congress in the New York Times, an Op-Ed asking a "Billionaire-friendly congress" to stop "coddling the super rich" and please "raise [their] taxes." Buffet, CEO of Omaha-based Berkshire Hathaway, has earned an international reputation as a brilliant businessman and entrepreneur. These two facts, no doubt, were Obama's impetus in meeting with him to discuss possible policymaking directions to stimulate job growth and by extension, economic growth. Buffet has been a long-time proponent of a strong middle-class, something he's attributed to his upbringing in the Midwest.

Koch Brothers Rebuff Buffet On Raising Billionaire Taxes

You know the whiny rich kid in class that had everything and still threw tantrums when the teacher didn't treat them first? Meet the Kochs.

Last week free-market guru Warren Buffet wrote an open letter to what he called a "billionaire-friendly congress" that asked them to stop coddling the super-rich and to raise their taxes; a welcome bit of lucidity from the upper-most tier of the upper class. The reactions to Buffet's congressional admonishment were predictable, with many of the Republican conservatives spouting more anti-government rhetoric, and liberals and Democrats hailing him as a capitalist hero. His letter even coincided with another private sector appeal from Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz; for companies and corporations to stop donating to political campaigns until they can come to a "fair and bipartisan agreement" and for the private sector to start hiring. In that moment it almost sounded like big business actually had middle-class backs. Then the Koch brothers put their two cents in, and we're back where we started.

Is Michele Bachmann Secretly a Spy?

Michele Bachmann loves to infiltrate her enemies. What does this mean in terms of her candidacy?


I don’t think that I’m going out on a huge limb when I say that Michele Bachmann is America’s third most hated person--Sarah Palin and Lindsey Lohan are in a dead heat for first place. But Michele Bachmann is gaining ground with every insipid word that escapes from her mouth. 


And she might be a spy. Or worse. Hear me out.  

Lobbyists Forced To Get Creative With Budget Deal Supercommittee

Special interest lobbies are going to have scant access to members of the budget supercommittee...but that won't stop them from trying.


One of the less discussed effects of the August 2 debt deal's supercommittee is the fact that it's creating a bottleneck opportunity for K Street. K Street, the famous boulevard in Washington D.C. where most of our national political lobby groups, from unions to corporations, house their headquarters. These lobbyists were gearing up for an epic round of lobbying, seeing a few members of our federal lawmaking bodies given a lot of power, and placed in close quarters. It was going to be a lobby-dollar saturated feast; "was" being the operative word. Congressional lobbyists, it seems, are not going to enjoy the same kind of unfettered access to the supercommittee members as they may have in the past, and so are going to have to get creative as to how they can make their employer's interests known.

Bachmann Concerned About the Rise of the Soviet Union

Why history class was important to your political career


When you use words it helps to know what they mean. Any high school English student who's wrestled with the difference between "affect" and "effect" or who's tried to use "loath" as an adjective can tell you that. And when you're publicly discussing global politics on your campaign track, it especially helps to have a firm grasp on which countries exist and which countries used to exist but no longer do. Our future ruiner of the free world, however, doesn't exactly see why this sort of knowledge is important. 

My "Vacation"

I knew I'd be getting grief from my so-called political opponents for spending a few days in Martha's Vineyard this month. I mean, it's not like I've been working my ass off on little to no sleep for the entire summer thanks to the GOP's thoroughly manufactured "debt crisis" malarkey. These people have been waging war on me to the detriment of the entire nation and now they're just trying to wear me down by disturbing my latest attempt to actually get some rest. Not that their attacks are all that effective. Donald Trump, if anyone ever listens to that jerk anymore, insists that I take more vacations than anyone he's ever heard of. Apparently he was in a coma for the entire G.W. Bush presidency. You know, the guy who took over 100 days of vacation in three years as President, the guy who remained on vacation while New Orleans drowned? And Mitt Romney... he's having a grand old time trying to negotiate the gaffe minefield I've set up for him by vacationing in his home state. Good luck with that one, you life-size Ken doll. The joke's on them, though, because I'm not really on vacation. No, I've got bigger things up my sleeve.

What corporations really are "people"?

Pondering Mitt Romney's strange and incorrect statement.

In Iowa last week, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney made a statement similar and just as horrifying as “Soylent green is people!” An Iowa group affiliated with the Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement asked Romney why he didn’t support raising taxes for large corporations, but rather favored taxing lower-and middle-class people.  Romney replied, “Corporations are people, my friend.”  He went on to say, “Everything corporations earn ultimately goes to people.  Where do you think it goes?”

Yikes. Romney didn’t do well in the Ames Straw Polls in Iowa, either, and certainly didn’t improve his image as a cold-hearted businessman with this statement. But he was legally correct. Corporations are people in the legal sense. Since 1886, corporations have had the same rights and privileges as people under the law. Also, “everything corporations earn ultimately goes to people” is technically true—a corporation’s earnings do go to people.

Solar for Soldiers: Ohio Kicks Off Clean Energy Jobs Program for Veterans

Senator Sherrod Brown launches new clean energy jobs creation program for veterans.


It's easy to get discouraged listening to the news, or even people in your community, when they talk about the current job market. However, despite the rhetoric and perceptions, there are a few points of light glimmering in the darkness to be optimistic about. One of those is a new program launched in Columbus, Ohio, called "Solar for Soldiers". Solar for Soldiers is run through a clean energy technology company called Tipping Point Renewable Energy and was spearheaded by Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio. The program seeks to recruit returning veterans and retrain them in the installation of clean energy tech, like solar panels, for commercial and residential use. A no-brainer, giving veterans jobs in a market that has had notoriously high unemployment, furthering sustainable energy development, and saving commercial and non-profits in energy costs.

Rick Perry Says Federal Regs Are Killing Jobs; Wants To Freeze Them All

Perry wants a freeze on all government regulations because playing by the rules hurts economic growth.


A couple of months ago Tim Pawlenty (then a Republican challenger) tried to out Tea Party his opponents by calling for a sunset on all federal regulations with a review of each every three years. So of the tens of thousands of federal regulations, Pawlenty would have liked to see our gridlocked congress come to a vote on all regulations on a three-year rotation... effectively shutting down government. Now with Pawlenty out, Perry seems to have picked up the banner of the great deregulator. He has made a call to government to put a moratorium on all federal regulations, which he says are "killing jobs all across America". He specifically cites EPA regulations, saying they're destroying growth for small businesses.