A pro-marijuana group is launching another television bid to legalize pot in California — this time with the pitch that legalizing and taxing the drug could help solve the state’s massive budget deficit.It's got to be tempting at this point. Still, one would think the Feds would immediately step in and re-criminalize it, even the Obama administration.
The 30-second spot, airing Wednesday and paid for by the Marijuana Policy Project, features a retired 58-year-old state worker who says state leaders “are ignoring millions of Californians who want to pay taxes.”
“We’re marijuana consumers,” says Nadene Herndon of Fair Oaks, who says she began using marijuana after suffering multiple strokes three years ago. “Instead of being treated like criminals for using a substance safer than alcohol, we want to pay our fair share.”
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Kilmeade and two colleagues were discussing a study that, based on research done in Finland and Sweden, showed people who stay married are less likely to suffer from Alzheimer's. Kilmeade questioned the results, though, saying, "We are -- we keep marrying other species and other ethnics and other ..."The only things pure here are Kilmeade's racism and his bullshit.
At this point, his co-host tried to -- in that jokey morning show way -- tell Kilmeade he needed to shut up, and quick, for his own sake. But he didn't get the message, adding, "See, the problem is the Swedes have pure genes. Because they marry other Swedes .... Finns marry other Finns, so they have a pure society."
"Other species". My ass.
Morgan Stanley plans to repackage a downgraded collateralized debt obligation backed by leveraged loans into new securities with AAA ratings in the first transaction of its kind, said two people familiar with the sale.So...Morgan Stanley is basically freely admitting that they are putting a shiny coat of gold paint on these lumps of slag and selling them as boullion, which, I might add, is exactly how we got into this mess in the first place.
Morgan Stanley is selling $87.1 million of securities that it expects to receive top AAA ratings and $42.9 million of notes graded Baa2, the second-lowest investment grade by Moody’s Investors Service, according to marketing documents obtained by Bloomberg News. The bonds were created from Greywolf CLO I Ltd., a CDO arranged in January 2007 by Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and managed by Greywolf Capital Management LP, an investment firm based in Purchase, New York.
Two years after the credit markets began to seize up, costing the world’s biggest financial institutions $1.47 trillion in writedowns and losses, banks are again taking so- called structured finance securities and turning them into new debt investments with top credit ratings. While the Morgan Stanley deal is the first to involve CDOs of loans, banks have been doing the same with commercial mortgage-backed securities in recent weeks.
A lot of banks and insurers “cannot buy anything but AAA,” said Sylvain Raynes, a principal at R&R Consulting in New York and co-author of “Elements of Structured Finance,” which is due to be published in November by Oxford University Press. “You’re manufacturing AAA out of not AAA, therefore allowing those people who have AAA written on their forehead to buy.”
And we're doing it again. And banks are going to buy these time bombs and act all surprised when they explode in their faces again.
Listen, I really want to meet the fund manager who is going to buy these, so I know who to never, ever, ever invest with. Are we really that confident after the last 18 months to believe A) the housing market is going to go back up and B) just because these turds have "AAA" scribbled on them in Sharpie marker, you believe them?
Yeah, nothing bad will happen here. Check out that free market-based reform making sure something like the financial crisis never happens again! Who needs regulation?
Democratic Attorney General Jack Conway has raised $1.3 million in the first 60 days of his campaign for the U.S. Senate seat held by Republican Jim Bunning, Conway’s campaign announced Wednesday.And that $125,000 from NKY really is significant, because this here's NOBAMA/Creation Museum Country and about as red as it gets. It means Conway has a serious shot at Bunning's seat if he can raise that kind of cash in this state in this economy in just 60 days.
The Conway campaign called the fund-raising effort record-breaking, saying that no other Kentucky Democratic U.S. Senate candidate has raised that much money in one quarter.
Conway will face Lt. Gov. Dan Mongiardo and Darlene Fitzgerald Price, a former U.S. Customs agent, in the May primary for the Democratic nomination. Fitzgerald Price has said she has raised about $15,000 so far.
Mongiardo hasn't yet said how much he raised during the second quarter of the year. In the first quarter, he raised $429,552 between Feb. 17 and the end of March.
Earlier this week, Republican Secretary of State Trey Grayson announced that he raised $600,000 in this quarter. Grayson has formed an exploratory committee to run for Bunning’s seat, but has hedged on whether he will actually run. Bunning said Tuesday that he is still in the race but has not yet released how much money he has raised this quarter.
Mark Riddle, Conway's chief strategist, noted in a press release that of the $1.32 million raised so far, $125,000 came from Northern Kentucky, where both Bunning and Grayson are from.
Dan Mongiardo now has some strong primary competition. I'm going to have to take look at Conway's platform stances. As AG, Conway's current projects have been suing Big Pharma for overcharging for Medicaid supplies and helping Gov. Steve Beshear go forward with his plan for video slot machines at Kentucky racetracks. It doesn't hurt that in his capacity as AG, he's going around the state offering seminars to help stop seniors from being scammed either.
One of these two is going to have to back down here at some point. I doubt the national Democratic party is going to tolerate too much primary infighting when getting this seat out of the Republicans' hands is a top priority in 2010.
Something tells me the Dems are going to need all the help in the Senate they can get if they want to keep 60.
The vote? 399-1.
The one asshole that would actually vote against this? No, not Ron Paul. Not even Bachmanniac (she voted yes). No, that honor belongs to good ol' Iowa Republican Steve King.
Taking a brave stand against the the tyranny of the14th amendment, Steve?
More than two dozen Internet sites in South Korea and the United States, including the White House, were attacked and some disabled by hackers possibly linked to North Korea, South Korea's spy agency said on Wednesday.Ahh, the Denial of Service attack...the 1997 international realpolitik equivalent of egging the neighbor's house. Such a craptastic "attack" pretty much has to be North Korea by default. Or, maybe congressional Republicans tried to overload the sites with tweets about how everything is like A) Iran right now or B) the Minnesota Senate election.
The National Intelligence Service (NIS) said in a statement an organization and possibly a state were behind the attacks on Tuesday in South Korea, the world's most wired nation, and there were signs of "meticulous preparations" for the act.
The statement did not offer further details, but South Korean media, including Yonhap news agency, quoted parliament members as saying after a briefing with NIS officials that the spy agency believes "North Korea or pro-North elements" were behind the attacks.
"Malicious programs" were found targeting 26 U.S. and South Korean websites, including that of the White House, NIS officials reportedly said, Yonhap reported.
The attackers tried to jam the websites by overwhelming their data capacity and knocking them out of service, it said.
Umm, Paulie? Bro? They're called The Village. You work for them. You have worked for them for years. You're just now figuring this out, that they have an agenda and they seek to marginalize opposing voices and pretend they don't exist? They've been doing it since the Clinton years, man. And hey, yeah, if you're asking if you're one of the Village Cool Kids, you're not one of them.
One of the mysteries of the way issues are covered in much of the news media is how certain views get ruled “out of the mainstream” and just don’t get covered — even when many well-informed people hold those views.
The most notorious example was during the buildup to the Iraq war: skepticism about the case for war was treated as a fringe view, even though the evidence being presented by the hawks was flimsy on its face, and the ranks of the skeptics included a number of people with excellent national-security credentials.
But in a way, the implicit censorship on the stimulus debate is even stranger. During the initial discussion of the stimulus, the debate was framed almost entirely as a debate between Obama and those who said the stimulus was too big; the voices of those saying it was too small were largely frozen out. And they still are — if it weren’t for my position on the Times op-ed page, there would be hardly any major outlet for Keynesian concerns.
And here’s the thing: in this case, there isn’t any hidden evidence — you can’t argue that the CIA knows something the rest of us don’t. And the voices calling for stronger stimulus are, may I say, sorta kinda respectable — several Nobelists in the bunch, plus a large fraction of the prominent economists who predicted the housing crash before it happened.But somehow, the pro-stimulus people are unpersons. Who makes these decisions?
Which is good in your case, but bad for the rest of us and the economy.
[UPDATE 2:40 PM] Matt Yglesias also fails to find the bottle of maple syrup.
I think the answer is that largely the President does. When you have a progressive president make a proposal, and then you have conservative politicians attack him, the political debate becomes defined as a polarized debate between Obama and his conservative detractors. It’s a dynamic that I think you can understand a politician having trouble adjusting to immediately.Hey Matt, when you say that the political debate becomes defined as X there, who's doing the defining?
California "IOU" recipients can turn to credit unions and check-cashing storefronts if a state budget deal does not appear by Friday and if three major banks refuse to accepting the notes beyond Friday as planned, analysts said on Tuesday.A whole hell of a lot of people will have to. Banks won't take IOUs after tomorrow. But you'd better believe payday lenders will with their 15%+ fees and triple digit interest rates, leaving thousands of Californians with the choice of sitting on an IOU for three months, or losing half of its value by taking it to a check cashing loan shark outfit.
The willingness of the smaller institutions to take IOUs from the cash-strapped state should also stop the development of a secondary market for trading them, although individuals could end up paying hefty fees to get their hands on cash.
The state government of California, the world's eighth largest economy, is experiencing a severe revenue slump brought on by recession, rising unemployment and the lengthy housing downturn, forcing it to issue IOUs in lieu of some payments.
The government of the most populous U.S. state began its fiscal year on July 1 with a $26.3 billion budget gap and risks burning through its cash unless Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and lawmakers quickly balance the state's books. Most U.S. states are not permitted to run budget deficits.
Three major banks are currently accepting the IOUs, but only through Friday. After that recipients may turn to credit unions to cash them or, perhaps, to check-cashing storefronts.
Their cashiers could see more than $3 billion of the IOUs at their windows this month should the state budget crisis persist and big banks hold to their Friday cut-off for processing them.
Check-cashing storefronts are especially well poised to score IOUs, said Daniel Penrod, a senior industry analyst at the California Credit Union League.
"I could see a lot of bank customers turning to a third-party source and losing a lot of their paycheck," Penrod said.
And it'll only get worse as time goes on.
Sarah Palin's bombshell that she is resigning as Alaska governor actually has boosted her a bit among Republicans, a nationwide USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds, though it also has dented her standing among Democrats and independents.Look, I know a couple of you hardcore Republicans are lurking out there. Explain this to me. I don't get it at all. She up and quit her job because being governor was just too hard for her to handle, and this makes you more inclined to consider her to be your President?
Two-thirds of Republicans want Palin, the party's vice presidential nominee in 2008, to be "a major national political figure" in the future. Three-fourths of Democrats hope she won't be.
Independents by 55%-34% would prefer she leave the national stage.
The findings underscore how polarized opinions of Palin were even before Friday's surprise announcement. Seven in 10 polled say their views weren't affected by her decision. Among those whose opinions shifted, Democrats by a 4-1 ratio and independents by 2-to-1 view her less favorably. Republicans are somewhat inclined to see her more favorably.
"For independents and Democrats, she's already not their candidate, and with Republicans her support is not based on her record as governor of Alaska," says GOP consultant Alex Castellanos.
That's insane. As far as I'm concerned, there's a big, fat segment of the American populace that actually deserves to have this woman destroy the country with her repeatedly demonstrated and uttely complete incompetence.
I give up. You guys want her to run for President in 2012? By all means, do everything in your power to make her the nominee.
Please. I welcome it. And I'm thinking so would every other Democrat in America.
[UPDATE 2:51 PM] Over at ObWings, publius is convinced that Sister Sarah, Our Lady Of Media Persecution, is by extension the martyr representing all of the Republicans as they have endured an entire five months of the unremitting hell that is a Democrat In The White House.
Hey look, Henry's figured it out! Good on him. The GOP on the other hand is already quite pissy about being called out on it.
Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), who has had an eventful couple of weeks to say the least, believes House Republican opposition to climate change legislation and the stimulus indicates they’re cheering against the good ol’ US of A.
“It appears that the Republican Party leadership in the Congress has made a decision that they want to deny President Obama success, which means, in my mind, they are rooting against the country, as well,” the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee chairman told WAMU radio host Diane Rehm on Tuesday morning, promoting his new book, “The Waxman Report.”
Still, he said that one House Republican leader, speaking to him after the climate change squeaker, predicted that “a lot” of GOP-ers would vote for the (presumably) weakened bill when it emerges from the Senate.
Michael Steel, spokesman for House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio), quickly demanded an apology from Waxman — who clashed with Boehner during the climate change vote last month.It's funny how defensive the GOP gets if you hit them right in the mouth like that. Frankly, the Dems need to go to town on the GOP presumption that Obama must fail and that the country must suffer. Destroy Obama by destroying the country, the economy, health care, the environment, and everything else...that's the big plan for the Republicans.
“That is an outrageous statement, and obviously Chairman Waxman owes the American people an apology,” Steel wrote in an e-mail to POLITICO.
“Frankly, this sort of irresponsible rhetoric smacks of desperation from a chairman who just forced members of his own party to walk the plank on an unpopular national energy tax and is having trouble convincing them to do it again on a government takeover of health care,” he added.
Good for Waxman coming out and saying it. As Steve Benen notes:
Really? It seems to me Republicans spent the first few months of the year debating amongst themselves whether routing for failure was a good idea.They're committed to destruction, absolutely...and get all petulant when you point that out.
We're talking about a group of partisans who've argued for half a year now that Democrats are deliberately trying to destroy the country. Waxman suggests GOP leaders are indirectly "rooting against the country" and Boehner's office is once again looking for the feinting couch?
The Obama administration said Tuesday it could continue to imprison non-U.S. citizens indefinitely even if they have been acquitted of terrorism charges by a U.S. military commission.Let's reivew. You try a suspected terrorist. The terrorist is acquitted. You then say the terrorist is too dangerous to release and incarcerate him forever anyway, even though you just went through the process of finding that person innocent of any crime.
Jeh Johnson, the Defense Department's chief lawyer, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that releasing a detainee who has been tried and found not guilty was a policy decision that officials would make based on their estimate of whether the prisoner posed a future threat.
Like the Bush administration, the Obama administration argues that the legal basis for indefinite detention of aliens it considers dangerous is separate from war-crimes prosecutions. Officials say that the laws of war allow indefinite detention to prevent aliens from committing warlike acts in future, while prosecution by military commission aims to punish them for war crimes committed in the past.
Mr. Johnson said such prisoners held without trial would receive "some form of periodic review" that could lead to their release.
We're either a nation of laws, or we're not. This is about the worst of the Odubya moments, and there's no way any American should stand for such a travesty. Period.
"Federal buildings" are office buildings where lots of people come and go every day. They aren't really obvious targets for terrorism, at least any more than numerous other places. There's a limit to how much security is reasonable and practical.That Democrats and ordinary citizens should be terrified beyond the capacity for rational thought and should give Republicans everything they ask for, otherwise why do you hate America so much?
As for Joe Lieberman:
- "It's stunning. It's shocking," said Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., the chairman of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. "It just says that basically some people have forgotten the lessons of 9/11 ," he continued.
Which were what again?
I mean, isn't that what we've been conditioned to do over the last 8 years?
You're supposed to infer that the President is either a gaff-prone buffoon or that he's just not up to being President. If you're really cynical, you're supposed to infer that it's good that President Uppity Black Man got knocked down a few pegs, proving he's mortal after all.
After passing on dinner with the French president to go on a date in the City of Light with his wife last month, President Obama took leave of his Russian hosts on Tuesday night to seclude himself in his Moscow hotel with his wife, Michelle, and their daughters.
The first family enjoyed a relaxed evening at the O2 Lounge, the super-chic, super-pricey rooftop club at the new Ritz-Carlton, although no doubt the Secret Service first cleared the place of most if not all of the swaggering tycoons and leggy models who flock to such Moscow venues.
They could not ask for a more scenic vista. The glass-enclosed O2 offers a panoramic view of Moscow, including Red Square and the Kremlin, all the more striking as the lingering summer sun sets after 10 p.m. The club is “a place to see and be seen,” as its Web site says — that is, unless you are a visiting president who after a day and a half of blinis, beluga and bilats (the diplo term for “bilateral meetings”) just wants to hang out with the clan.
The decision to brush off the Russians on one of his two nights here miffed some in the Moscow government who did not understand why he would not devote the scarce time to his hosts. Mr. Obama had dinner with President Dmitri A. Medvedev on Monday and lunch with him on Tuesday. But with the second dinner slot unavailable, he ended up having breakfast Tuesday with Prime Minister Vladimir V. Putin, a known night owl not given to American-style early morning business meals.
The Obamas, though, wanted some downtime before getting back on Air Force One to head to Italy for three days of meetings at the Group of 8 summit meeting and, from there, to Ghana for a one-day visit.Mr. Obama has seemed tired here, several times fumbling the pronunciation of Mr. Medvedev’s name and Mr. Putin’s title. Beginning a speech here, he mistakenly said he first met his wife in school instead of at the law firm where they actually met. And he misstated his younger daughter’s age.
If you're like me however, you're supposed to infer that the Village media is full of idiots.
It's only fair that Wingers try the same path. I am therefore convinced that Victoria Jackson is an ex-Saturday Night Live cast member who is trying to turn her, um, batshit crazy political commentary into a successful run at being Minnesota's Michele Bachmann.
Democrats are pushing for a government takeover of health care that sounds nice but would have devastating consequences for families and small businesses. A government takeover of health care will raise taxes, ration care, and let government bureaucrats make decisions that should be made by families and their doctors.Where do I start? She's typing up John McCain's talking points from last August. It's not a government takeover. It's not rationed health care. It's not going to cause 100 million anyone from losing any health care plan.
Republicans want to make quality health care coverage affordable and accessible for every American, and let those who like their current health care coverage keep it. Republicans support health care reform that puts patients and their health first, and protects the important doctor-patient relationship.
The Democrats' government-takeover of health care will deny access to medical care and life-saving treatments. An estimated 100-million-plus Americans would lose their current health care under the Democrats' government-run plan. Government mandates in health care already encourage waste, fraud and abuse that result in higher costs and more families without care. We cannot allow politicians and special interests to stand between patients and the care they need. The American people deserve the freedom to choose the health care that is best for their families.
Last month when speaking to the American Medical Association, President Obama praised countries that "spend less" than the U.S. on health care. For instance, the British system is often touted as spending half as much per capita on health care as here in the U.S. But as the Wall Street Journal explained today, you get what you pay for. The very real consequence in the U.K. is the rationing of specific drugs, tests, and treatments dictated by a government-regulatory body known as the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE).
A public option would be a choice. 100 million people would in fact CHOOSE to take the public option because it would be cheaper, portable, and more efficient. And the U.K. system is NOT a public option, but a single-payer mandated system. The two different systems are not the same.
Once again, Bachmanniac thinks you're stupid. She thinks you won't even try to go past the endless GOP talking point lies that have been discredited time and time again.
But if you're reading this, you're clearly smarter than she thinks you are. After all, her record on getting the facts straight is pretty damn pitiful.
White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel reassured House Democrats on Tuesday night that President Barack Obama strongly backs a government-run health insurance plan, seeking to quell a firestorm among liberals upset at Emanuel’s comments in the Wall Street Journal that suggested such a plan could be delayed.BooMan comes to the conclusion that Rahmbo was launching a trial balloon that met a nasty and untimely end. I'm not 100% convinced, but it's clear given the less-than-24-hour about face that President Obama is 100% sure on the public option and told Rahmbo as such.
Progressive Caucus Co-Chairwoman Lynn Woolsey (D-Calif.) warned Emanuel that he would lose the caucus’ votes if the White House compromised on the issue and included a “trigger” that could delay a public insurance plan indefinitely. The trigger idea is backed by conservative Democrats but is anathema to liberals.
“We have compromised enough, and we are not going to compromise on any kind of trigger game,” Woolsey said she told Emanuel. “People clapped all over the place. We mean it, and not just progressives.”
House Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) said he was reassured by Emanuel. “He doesn’t stand by that trigger,” Waxman said. “He said the president and his administration and he are for a public plan as one of the options.”
Still, I'm going to argue that the damage is done by bringing up the trigger option. It wasn't on the table before and while progressives are ignoring it, I'm betting it's the out that the ConservaDems are looking for so they can fold. On top of that, I think the debate is going to quickly shift in the next couple of days to the question of "Should the public option pay for abortions?" This will provide even more political cover to the ConservaDems for saying no.
I still don't see Obamacare passing.
[UPDATE 11:25 AM] And the main reason I don't see it passing is that asshole ConservaDems like Evan F'ckin Bayh have realized that if they don't filibuster bills, they might actually pass or something, and we can't have that.
Gonzales, who was Gov. George W. Bush’s lawyer, Texas secretary of state and then a Texas Supreme Court justice before joining Bush in Washington, will be working as an visiting professor in the political science department, teaching a “special topics” course on contemporary issues in the executive branch, according to Dora Rodriguez, a senior business assistant in the department. The university later said it will be a junior-level course.Everything really is bigger in the Lone Star State, including the hoops people are jumping through to pretend that Gonzo isn't the most corrupt, political, and incompetent AG the country ever had the misfortune of having. But hey, given the number of Bushies pulling teaching gigs these days, it gives creedence to the old saying "Those who can't do, teach." The fact an ex-AG couldn't land a job for six months should tell you all you need to know about how the private sector views the guy's abilities. As one TPM commenter said:
In a press release issued hours after I inquired, the university said that as of Aug. 1, Gonzales will join the Texas Tech University System to assist both Texas Tech University and Angelo State University (in San Angelo) with recruiting and retaining first generation and under-represented students.
The university said he will work with Texas Tech’s Office of Institutional Diversity, Equity and Community Engagement in the planning of a first generation and minority student leadership training and development program.
Their statement continues that he also will teach a junior-level seminar course, “Contemporary Issues in the Executive Branch” in the Department of Political Science at Texas Tech. As a visiting professor Gonzales will guest lecture to classes across the campus.
Kent Hance, Texas Tech’s chancellor, was quoted saying: “I am excited that Alberto Gonzales is bringing his experience to Texas Tech. His own upbringing in Houston as part of a migrant family with eight children makes him qualified to tell underrepresented Texas students that college is possible. He will help Texas Tech and ASU prepare our students for success and to be future leaders in the state of Texas and beyond.”
Please tell me there's at least one Texas Tech political science student with the guts to answer "I do not recall" to every test question. Maybe even "I do not recall remembering."Or even better, make sure you're involved in student government and then claim "I don't have to answer it because these legal theories do not apply to the Student Government executive."
- Plainclothes agents managed to sneak bomb parts into federal buildings, and went ten for ten in a government test of security.
- Several federal government web sites went down from cyber attacks over the July 4th weekend.
- Obama administration officials are discussing civilian trials for 9/11 suspects.
- Switzerland says it will seize client information from banking giant UBS rather than give in to a U.S. court order.
- Webcasting and internet music services like Pandora have finally settled the question of royalty rates for artists.