Sunday, July 31, 2011

From The White House Blog

Posted on July 31, 2011 at 09:56 PM EDT

President Barack Obama makes a statement announcing a deal in the ongoing efforts to find a balanced approach to the debt limit and deficit reduction


Tonight, President Obama spoke in support of a bipartisan deal to reduce the nation's deficit and avoid default. It extends the debt limit to 2013, removing the cloud of uncertainty over our economy and ensuring that no one will be able to use the threat of default now or in only a few months for political gain. The bipartisan compromise assures that the United States meets its obligations – including monthly Social Security checks, veterans’ benefits, and the government contracts we’ve signed with thousands of businesses.

In order to receive the support from both parties -- as the President has consistently stressed -- the agreement has a few important elements:

* A down payment on deficit reduction with historic long-term spending restraint: Nearly $1 trillion in spending cuts -- done in a way to not harm the economic recovery, are balanced between domestic and pentagon spending, and protects critical initiatives like aid for college students;

* Expedited process for balanced deficit reduction: Puts in place a longer term process for additional $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction through a committee structure that will put everything on the table, including tax and entitlement reform. To prevent either side from using procedural tricks to prevent Congress from acting, the committee’s recommendations will receive fast track authority, which means they can’t be amended or filibustered.

* Sets the stage for a balanced package, including revenues: The American people and a growing number of Republicans agree that any deficit reduction package must be balanced and included revenue.

* If the Committee does not succeed in meaningful balanced deficit reduction with revenue-raising tax reform on the most well-off by the end of 2012, the President can use his veto pen to raise nearly $1 trillion from the most well-off by vetoing any extension of the Bush high income tax cuts.

* A proven enforcement mechanism: An enforcement mechanism that will compel painful enough cuts to both sides that it will force congress to act. Enforcement mechanisms by their very nature should include measures that neither side supports so as to ensure action.

* If Congress fails to act, beginning in 2013 there will be $1.2 trillion in spending cuts through 2021 – 50 percent from domestic spending and 50 percent from defense spending. Low income programs, including Medicaid, and Social Security and Medicare benefits would be exempted. Medicare cuts would be capped, limited to the provider side.

* Does not accept entitlement reforms without equal consideration of revenue raising tax reform, and ensures that low-income and middle class families are not forced to bear a disproportionate share of the burden from deficit reduction.

This fact sheet provides an even more comprehensive overview of the deal.

Here are President Obama's full remarks (video will be posted here shortly):
Good evening. There are still some very important votes to be taken by members of Congress, but I want to announce that the leaders of both parties, in both chambers, have reached an agreement that will reduce the deficit and avoid default -- a default that would have had a devastating effect on our economy.

The first part of this agreement will cut about $1 trillion in spending over the next 10 years -- cuts that both parties had agreed to early on in this process. The result would be the lowest level of annual domestic spending since Dwight Eisenhower was President -- but at a level that still allows us to make job-creating investments in things like education and research. We also made sure that these cuts wouldn’t happen so abruptly that they’d be a drag on a fragile economy.

Now, I've said from the beginning that the ultimate solution to our deficit problem must be balanced. Despite what some Republicans have argued, I believe that we have to ask the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations to pay their fair share by giving up tax breaks and special deductions. Despite what some in my own party have argued, I believe that we need to make some modest adjustments to programs like Medicare to ensure that they’re still around for future generations.

That's why the second part of this agreement is so important. It establishes a bipartisan committee of Congress to report back by November with a proposal to further reduce the deficit, which will then be put before the entire Congress for an up or down vote. In this stage, everything will be on the table. To hold us all accountable for making these reforms, tough cuts that both parties would find objectionable would automatically go into effect if we don’t act. And over the next few months, I’ll continue to make a detailed case to these lawmakers about why I believe a balanced approach is necessary to finish the job.

Now, is this the deal I would have preferred? No. I believe that we could have made the tough choices required -- on entitlement reform and tax reform -- right now, rather than through a special congressional committee process. But this compromise does make a serious down payment on the deficit reduction we need, and gives each party a strong incentive to get a balanced plan done before the end of the year.

Most importantly, it will allow us to avoid default and end the crisis that Washington imposed on the rest of America. It ensures also that we will not face this same kind of crisis again in six months, or eight months, or 12 months. And it will begin to lift the cloud of debt and the cloud of uncertainty that hangs over our economy.

Now, this process has been messy; it’s taken far too long. I've been concerned about the impact that it has had on business confidence and consumer confidence and the economy as a whole over the last month. Nevertheless, ultimately, the leaders of both parties have found their way toward compromise. And I want to thank them for that.

Most of all, I want to thank the American people. It’s been your voices -- your letters, your emails, your tweets, your phone calls -- that have compelled Washington to act in the final days. And the American people's voice is a very, very powerful thing.

We’re not done yet. I want to urge members of both parties to do the right thing and support this deal with your votes over the next few days. It will allow us to avoid default. It will allow us to pay our bills. It will allow us to start reducing our deficit in a responsible way. And it will allow us to turn to the very important business of doing everything we can to create jobs, boost wages, and grow this economy faster than it's currently growing.

That’s what the American people sent us here to do, and that’s what we should be devoting all of our time to accomplishing in the months ahead.

Thank you very much, everybody.

Amanda Knox is Innocent

by Dee Newman

Shortly after Meredith Kercher's murder a series of lies were leaked to the Italian media for the sole purpose of destroying the credibility of Amanda Knox. By the time the trial began “Foxy Knoxy” had already been found guilty in the court of public opinion.

According to the prosecution the murder of 21-year-old Meredith Kercher was the result of "a satanic ritualistic sex orgy."

The prosecution, however, never presented during the trial any facts to back up the claim.

Without any evidence supporting the prosecution’s theory, the trial judge dismissed the so-called “sex game theory” and came up with one of his own – jealousy.

The judge proposed that Knox and her former boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, after hearing Miss Kercher's screams joined in a sexual attack already in progress by Rudy Guede. He surmised this despite the fact that the testimony delivered in court painted the relationship between Knox and Kercher as friendly. There was absolutely no evidence ever presented to support his supposition.

It is beyond my understanding how a jury would fall for such a ludicrous hypothesis. One would have to imagine that Knox and her boyfriend hearing the attack decided to help a relatively unknown intruder, sexually assault and then stab Miss Knox’s friend and roommate to death.

In the end, lacking any rational motive, the trail came down to DNA evidence.

Unfortunately, for the prosecution, there was not a single piece of DNA from Miss Knox found at the bloody crime scene. Not one.

However, there was abundant DNA evidence matching Rudy Guede found both on and inside Miss Kercher's body, as well as, on her shirt, bra and handbag.

Now get this – the prosecution claimed that Knox and Sollecito while cunningly leaving behind multiple DNA evidence leading to Rudy Guede, thoroughly cleaned up any trace of them being envolved.

Picture for a moment a very bloody murder scene in a small confined student’s bedroom. There was blood everywhere – bloody hand-prints on the headboard of the bed and on the cupboard, and bloody foot prints on the floor – all of which implicated and convicted Rudy Guede of the crime. But, nothing – absolutely no DNA evidence at the crime scene connecting Miss Knox to the murder.

Let’s be honest – it is inconceivable that two young students stoned from marijuana and alcohol, in the grip of a so-called “sadistic sexual fever” would have the wherewithal to mop up just their blood, remove just their hairs and wipe away any and only their bodily fluids before they made their escape.

How, I ask, was a jury ever convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito were murders?

The only DNA evidence supposedly linking Miss Knox to the murder was found on the handle of a kitchen knife recovered not from the crime scene but from her former boyfriend’s flat – a knife that the prosecution claimed had Miss Kercher's DNA on the blade.

The only DNA evidence linking Raffaele Sollecito to the murder was allegedly found on a metal bra clasp of Miss Kercher.

This past Monday two court-appointed independent forensic experts presented findings from a 145-page report they wrote after studying the DNA evidence.

The forensic experts testified that a series of police blunders had severely contaminated the DNA evidence.

They also testified that although Miss Knox’s DNA was found on the handle of the so-called murder weapon, there was no DNA from the victim found on the knife

As for Miss Kercher’s bloody bra clasp that allegedly had DNA from Raffaele Sollecito on it – the experts said it was so badly handled by the police that it was impossible to test.

Their report concluded that the DNA evidence used to convict Miss Knox and Raffaele Sollecito did not adhere to international standards, and therefore, was unreliable, and that the previous test results could have been the result of contamination. The report concludes that the police either mishandled evidence and/or failed to follow proper procedures for the collection of forensic evidence 54 times.

From Chattanooga Times Free Press

Debt

July 29, 2011


The Driver's Seat

July 30, 2011

From PeaceTeam.net




The President Can And Must Invoke 31 USC 3102 To Pay Our National Debts


There has been some talk that the President can act unilaterally to raise the nation debt limit based on Section 4 of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, which provides in pertinent part that "The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law . . . shall not be questioned". The argument has been made that since Congress has ALREADY authorized BY LAW each obligation represented in the national debt, by appropriating the funds for various expenditures, any overall "debt limit" is artificially redundant. It would be like writing a bunch of checks and then refusing to deposit the funds in your account to cover them. While a constitutional challenge of the debt limit law may be a defensible argument in the spirit of the 14th Amendment it is not unequivocally compelling, as the 14th Amendment does not expressly authorize what proponents are asking the President to do.

With this context, it is astonishing that apparently nobody has bothered to read the text of Public Debt Law of 1941 itself, embodied in 31 USC 3101, which is what codifies a national debt limit. That law states that

"The face amount of obligations issued under this chapter and the face amount of obligations whose principal and interest are guaranteed by the United States Government (except guaranteed obligations held by the Secretary of the Treasury) may not be more than [some arbitrary huge number] . . . "

Please take careful note of the words "EXCEPT guaranteed obligations held by the Secretary of The Treasury". By undeniably clear law as passed by Congress, such obligations are NOT constrained by any so-called debt limit. Now all you have to do is run your finger down to the very next section 31 USC 3102 [Bonds] and you will read

"With the approval of the President, the Secretary of the Treasury may borrow on the credit of the United States Government amounts necessary for expenditures authorized by law . . . "

By this section Congress gives the President the EXPRESS, inherent and unilateral authority to direct the Secretary of the Treasury to incur obligations to cover all expenditures authorized by law, which is to say the sum of the appropriations bills Congress has already passed. And as we have just so clearly demonstrated such obligations are immune from any so-called debt ceiling limitation. Surely there is some White House attorney smart enough to figure this all out as we have.

The President must invoke this authority now, as he is fully empowered to do by 31 USC 3102. And then Congress needs to get serious about raising the revenues to pay its bills, and not just on the backs of poor people.

The one click form below will send your personal message to all your government representatives selected below, with the subject "The President Can And Must Invoke 31 USC 3102 To Pay Our National Debts." At the same time you can send your personal comments only as a letter to the editor of your nearest local daily newspaper if you like.

From Business Insider

The TRUTH About Who Really Owns All Of America's Debt

Vincent Trivett | Jul. 20, 2011, 1:50 PM | 706,940 | 54

If you ever try comparing the debt situation in the US and Japan, someone will invariably say: Well, Japan can afford a lot more debt because it's all domestically owned, whereas US debt is owned by the Chinese.

It turns out this isn't really true, though unfortunately this destructive myth continues to dominate political/economic debates.

Yes, China holds a lot, but they're not dominant, and when you add it up, most debt is actually domestically held, just like in Japan.

Hong Kong: Total Holdings of US Treasuries: $121.9 billion

Percent of US Debt that they own: 0.9%


Caribbean Banking Centers: Total Holdings of US Treasuries: $148.3 billion

Percent of US Debt that they own: 1%

The Bahamas, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Netherlands Antilles and Panama, and British Virgin Islands all function as offshore financial centers. Of course, they invest in Treasury Securities as well.


Taiwan: Total Holdings of US Treasuries: $153.4 billion

Percent of US Debt that they own: 1.1%


Brazil: Total Holdings of Treasuries: $211.4 billion

Percent of US Debt that they own: 1.5%


Oil Exporting Countries: Total holdings of Treasuries: $229.8 billion

Percent of US Debt that they own: 1.6%

Oil exporters include Ecuador, Venezuela, Indonesia, Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Algeria, Gabon, Libya, and Nigeria.


Mutual Funds: Total Holdings of US Treasuries: $300.5 billion

Percent of US Debt that they own: 2%


Commercial Banks: Total Holdings of US Treasuries: $301.8 billion

Percent of US Debt that they own: 2.1%


State, Local, and Federal Retirement Funds: Total Holdings of US Treasuries: $320.9 billion

Percent of US Debt that they own: 2.2%


Money Market Mutual Funds: Total Holdings of US Treasuries: $337.7 billion

Percent of US Debt that they own: 2.4%


United Kingdom: Total Holdings of Treasuries: $346.5 billion

Percent of US Debt that they own: 2.4%


Private Pension Funds: Total Holdings of US Treasuries: $504.7 billion

Percent of US Debt that they own: 3.5%


State and Local Governments: Total Holdings of US Treasuries: $506.1 billion

Percent of US Debt that they own: 3.5%


Japan: Total Holdings of Treasuries: $912.4 billion

Percent of US Debt that they own: 6.4%


US Households: Total Holdings of US Treasuries: $959.4 billion

Percent of US Debt that they own: 6.6%

The 'Household Sector' does include hedge funds, by the way.


China: Total Holdings of Treasuries: $1.16 trillion

Percent of US Debt that they own: 8%


The Federal Reserve: The Treasury owes the Fed $1.63 trillion in Treasuries, much of which were bought for the Quantitative Easing programs.

That's 11.3% of US debt, much more than China.


Social Security Trust Fund: Total Holdings of US Treasuries: $2.67 trillion

Percent of US Debt that they own: 19%

The Old-Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI) and Disability Insurance (DI) Trust Funds invest exclusively in special issue bonds that are only available to the Social Security trust fund. These are not publicly traded securities, but they still constitute a huge amount of debt.

In all, the Treasury owes foreigners and foreign governments $4.514 trillion dollars

But Americans own most of their own country's $14,342,909,569,328.74 of debt.

From NPR


The city of Oak Ridge, Tenn., is anticipating the arrival of nearly 1,000 tons of nuclear waste from Germany. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission approved a plan in June for an American company to import and burn low-level nuclear waste from Germany.

Radioactive residue left over from the process will be sent back to Germany for disposal, but opponents have voiced concerns that the U.S. will become the world's radioactive waste processor.

But, very little of that opposition is coming from Oak Ridge.

Located just outside Knoxville, Oak Ridge was created from scratch in 1942 to help build the atomic bomb. The city is home to a 59,000-acre military area and two giant plants where the bomb was produced.

A post-war newsreel calls Oak Ridge "a city where 75,000 people worked in absolute secrecy on history's most sensational secret."

In the years since that newsreel was produced, the city has become a world-renowned center for nuclear research. But, operations here also generate a great deal of radioactive waste.

Some of that waste ends up at EnergySolutions' Bear Creek incinerator plant in Oak Ridge. On an asphalt lot between fences topped with razor wire, trucks rumble in and out of the plant, leaving behind giant dumpster-sized boxes full of low-level nuclear waste.

"This is definitely typical," EnergySolutions' Greg Lawson says. "It's in and out all day long. I don't know the average number of shipments in and out, but there's a lot going on every day."

Lawson says the plant has been safely burning low-level waste from Oak Ridge and other parts of the country for 20 years now. They've even imported waste from Canada and the United Kingdom before.

But, a recent deal with a German company to burn up to two million pounds of their waste got the attention of environmental and watchdog groups. One is the Local Oversight Committee in Oak Ridge, a collection of experts and residents who monitor nuclear activity in the area.

The committee hasn't decided whether it will oppose the plan, but director Susan Gawarecki says the fact that the waste is foreign raises some questions.

"When you're starting to talk about managing the rest of the world's waste, the German waste looks like the beginning of what could be a large flood of material from other countries," she says.

Don Safer of the Tennessee Environmental Council worries about the same thing. After the Fukushima disaster in Japan, he's not ready to accept any of EnergySolutions' guarantees that the process is safe.

"There's a lot of controversy in burning regular garbage, let alone radioactive garbage," Safer says.

What is most baffling to Safer is the fact that Tennesseans don't seem too bothered by it — especially in Oak Ridge.

"I think first and foremost, Oak Ridge has been a company town for a long time and there's just a great reluctance — and almost a social convention — that you don't attack the company that feeds us all," he says.

Oak Ridge City Manager Mark Watson prefers to look at it from a different perspective. He says there are a lot of scientists and workers living in Oak Ridge who deal with radiation every day. As a result, they have a pretty sophisticated familiarity with it.

"There's a fear factor that may be missing from the folks who live here because we understand it a little bit better," Watson says. "And I think that we see some advantages for us as a community to be able to process that."

EnergySolutions officials say they don't know when the first shipments of German waste will arrive in Oak Ridge, but it could be as early as this year. If opponents are hoping to derail the plan, they may not have much time.

Friday, July 29, 2011

From The Nashville Scene

Camden, Tenn., Residents Speak out Against Landfill They Say Is Making Them Sick

Posted by Alex Becker on Fri, Jul 29, 2011 at 10:04 AM

Tuesday evening in Camden, Tenn., more than 150 community members arrived for a public hearing in the Benton County Courthouse to express their anger at a local landfill. Area residents, specifically those living within a one-mile radius of a five-acre dump site operated by Environmental Waste Solutions (EWS), have complained of a strong ammonia smell that arises multiple times a week — an odor they say is so potent they must confine themselves inside their homes to escape the toxic fumes.
“First time I noticed it, I got out of my truck, and I thought I was gonna pass out before I got to the front door,” resident Roy Sharpe said during the hearing.

The Class II industrial landfill — which collects waste from neighboring counties and cities, including Nashville — began recycling aluminum waste in 2007 and processing a waste product called aluminum dross. When dross comes into contact with water, it emits flammable and toxic gases such as ammonia, which can reach unsafe levels if not properly managed. The EWS dump site borders Camden’s wetlands and large creeks.

In the Tuesday hearing, residents living in proximity to the dump spoke of suffering from extreme respiratory illness, breathing problems and other serious medical conditions that they associate with the chemicals being released. “It’s been at least seven to 10 months ago that I started to smell it," Sharpe said. "I’ve got congestive heart failure since. I’ve got cancer since.”
  
Within the last year — which is when residents say they really began to notice and suffer from the smells — multiple complaints have been issued to the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) concerning the unhealthy release of gases from the site of the landfill. 

On Feb. 15, EWS, the company in charge of the landfill, installed a system intended to help mask the ammonia odor and reduce the readings to less than five parts per million, which is considered the level at which people notice the smell. Monitors were installed by EnSafe, an environmental technology consulting company, to detect the exact levels of ammonia in the air. While the company insists that it has taken steps that should monitor and reduce the levels of ammonia, residents say they don’t notice any changes in air quality or their health.

“I thought the federal government, the state and the county government would protect my environment and my right to have a clean environment," said resident Charles Hubbs. "I’m disappointed that they’re not.”

Concerned residents of Benton County say they are even more frightened by what they can’t smell: They worry that other harmful gases such as methane, hydrogen and acetylene are being emitted from the landfill — which along with the ammonia could contribute to extreme health concerns.

Meanwhile, EWS hopes to expand its operation to include another 42 acres, which multiple sources at the hearing said could bring 12 to 17 new jobs to Benton County. For those already living and working near the landfill, though, that's not reason to breathe easier.

Alex Becker, a student at Skidmore College, is a Scene summer intern.

From The New York Times (Krugman)

Op-Ed Columnist
The Centrist Cop-Out

By PAUL KRUGMAN

Published: July 28, 2011

The facts of the crisis over the debt ceiling aren’t complicated. Republicans have, in effect, taken America hostage, threatening to undermine the economy and disrupt the essential business of government unless they get policy concessions they would never have been able to enact through legislation. And Democrats — who would have been justified in rejecting this extortion altogether — have, in fact, gone a long way toward meeting those Republican demands.


As I said, it’s not complicated. Yet many people in the news media apparently can’t bring themselves to acknowledge this simple reality. News reports portray the parties as equally intransigent; pundits fantasize about some kind of “centrist” uprising, as if the problem was too much partisanship on both sides.

Some of us have long complained about the cult of “balance,” the insistence on portraying both parties as equally wrong and equally at fault on any issue, never mind the facts. I joked long ago that if one party declared that the earth was flat, the headlines would read “Views Differ on Shape of Planet.” But would that cult still rule in a situation as stark as the one we now face, in which one party is clearly engaged in blackmail and the other is dickering over the size of the ransom?

The answer, it turns out, is yes. And this is no laughing matter: The cult of balance has played an important role in bringing us to the edge of disaster. For when reporting on political disputes always implies that both sides are to blame, there is no penalty for extremism. Voters won’t punish you for outrageous behavior if all they ever hear is that both sides are at fault.

Let me give you an example of what I’m talking about. As you may know, President Obama initially tried to strike a “Grand Bargain” with Republicans over taxes and spending. To do so, he not only chose not to make an issue of G.O.P. extortion, he offered extraordinary concessions on Democratic priorities: an increase in the age of Medicare eligibility, sharp spending cuts and only small revenue increases. As The Times’s Nate Silver pointed out, Mr. Obama effectively staked out a position that was not only far to the right of the average voter’s preferences, it was if anything a bit to the right of the average Republican voter’s preferences.

But Republicans rejected the deal. So what was the headline on an Associated Press analysis of that breakdown in negotiations? “Obama, Republicans Trapped by Inflexible Rhetoric.” A Democratic president who bends over backward to accommodate the other side — or, if you prefer, who leans so far to the right that he’s in danger of falling over — is treated as being just the same as his utterly intransigent opponents. Balance!

Which brings me to those “centrist” fantasies.

Many pundits view taking a position in the middle of the political spectrum as a virtue in itself. I don’t. Wisdom doesn’t necessarily reside in the middle of the road, and I want leaders who do the right thing, not the centrist thing.

But for those who insist that the center is always the place to be, I have an important piece of information: We already have a centrist president. Indeed, Bruce Bartlett, who served as a policy analyst in the Reagan administration, argues that Mr. Obama is in practice a moderate conservative.

Mr. Bartlett has a point. The president, as we’ve seen, was willing, even eager, to strike a budget deal that strongly favored conservative priorities. His health reform was very similar to the reform Mitt Romney installed in Massachusetts. Romneycare, in turn, closely followed the outlines of a plan originally proposed by the right-wing Heritage Foundation. And returning tax rates on high-income Americans to their level during the Roaring Nineties is hardly a socialist proposal.

True, Republicans insist that Mr. Obama is a leftist seeking a government takeover of the economy, but they would, wouldn’t they? The facts, should anyone choose to report them, say otherwise.

So what’s with the buzz about a centrist uprising? As I see it, it’s coming from people who recognize the dysfunctional nature of modern American politics, but refuse, for whatever reason, to acknowledge the one-sided role of Republican extremists in making our system dysfunctional. And it’s not hard to guess at their motivation. After all, pointing out the obvious truth gets you labeled as a shrill partisan, not just from the right, but from the ranks of self-proclaimed centrists.

But making nebulous calls for centrism, like writing news reports that always place equal blame on both parties, is a big cop-out — a cop-out that only encourages more bad behavior. The problem with American politics right now is Republican extremism, and if you’re not willing to say that, you’re helping make that problem worse.

The Daily Show





Thursday, July 28, 2011

Does Beauty merely exist in the mind which contemplates it?


Click photos to enlarge.
Wild Cougar Traveled East 1,500 Miles, Tests Find

By PETER APPLEBOME

Published: July 26, 2011

From the beginning, the tale seemed to skirt the edges of the possible — a mountain lion reported to be stalking the wilds of Greenwich, Conn., seen near fancy private schools and busy roadways. But the sightings were confirmed in early June by paw prints, photographs and animal droppings, and then, more dramatically, by the lean body of a 140-pound male creature killed by a sport utility vehicle on the Wilbur Cross Parkway in Milford on June 11.

The aftermath was even more surprising. On Tuesday, in what state officials termed “amazing news,” they said that the Connecticut Cougar had made its way east from the Black Hills of South Dakota and that genetic testing matched samples of an animal confirmed as having been in Wisconsin and Minnesota.

That means that the animal traveled more than 1,500 miles to Connecticut, more than twice as far as the longest dispersal pattern ever recorded for a mountain lion. The news stunned researchers trying to make sense of the first confirmed presence of the species in Connecticut in more than a century. Many believed that the animal must have been released or had escaped from captivity.

Daniel C. Esty, commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, said that the journey was a remarkable and positive reminder of the ability of wild animals to survive and adapt, but that there was no evidence that mountain lions were returning to the state.

“This is the first evidence of a mountain lion making its way to Connecticut from western states, and there is still no evidence indicating that there is a native population of mountain lions in Connecticut,” he said.

But the finding may add at least a smidgen of mystery or paranoia to dozens of reports of similar creatures in Connecticut and the Northeast, most of them investigated and then dismissed as mistaken impressions. Before the animal was reported seen in early June in Greenwich, the last confirmed sighting of a mountain lion in Connecticut was in the late 1800s.

Dennis Schain, communications director for the department, said that the development could lead people to wonder if there were other mountain lions, but that there was no reason to believe so.

“We’ve never seen any evidence of that,” he said, “and you can see that in other states where they do get mountain lions dispersing they have evidence — a footprint, scat, DNA. We’ve never had any of that. There’s been no evidence of them moving into this area except for this incident.”


The animal’s origins were determined by genetic tests conducted by the United States Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service Wildlife Genetics Laboratory in Missoula, Mont. DNA tests showed that tissue from the mountain lion killed in Connecticut matched the genetic structure of the mountain lion population in the Black Hills region of South Dakota.

The laboratory also compared this lion’s DNA to DNA samples from creatures found elsewhere in the country. That led to a match with DNA collected from an animal whose movements were tracked in Minnesota and Wisconsin from late 2009 through early 2010. DNA from the Milford lion matched DNA collected from a mountain lion at one site in Minnesota and three sites in Wisconsin. The path of the mountain lion led biologists in Wisconsin to name the cat the St. Croix Mountain Lion, after the first county where a sighting was confirmed.

The travels of the young lion, 2 to 5 years old and not quite full grown, are a familiar pattern called dispersal, in which young males look for mates. But officials said they seldom travel more than 100 miles.

The Midwestern DNA samples were obtained from droppings, blood and hair found at locations where sightings of the animal were confirmed.

Officials said a necropsy, performed at the Sessions Woods Wildlife Management Area in Burlington, Conn., also confirmed that the animal had come from the wild. It had not been neutered or declawed, they said. It had no implanted microchips, which are commonly used in domestic animals. And porcupine quills were found under the animal’s skin, indicating it had come from the wild. Its stomach was empty, but an analysis of food in its intestines was being conducted.

Some of you may recall my encounter with a mountain lion here just north of the Narrows – The Cougar. The mountain lion I saw was beneath high power electrical lines. My theory is that these magnificent creatures are migrating beneath and alone these often remote man-made pathways.



Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Don’t the American people deserve better than this?

by Dee Newman

No! We don’t!

Some of us do, but the overwhelming majority of us deserve what we’re getting. The truth is that most of us who are legally eligible to register and vote – don’t. According to the Pew Research Center:
Roughly the same proportions of self-identified Republicans and Democrats are regular voters ([only] 41% vs. 39%). But Democrats are more likely to be non-voters: 20% of Democrats say they are not registered to vote, compared with 14% of Republicans; among political independents, 27% say they are not registered to vote.

A registration gap also exists between liberals and conservatives, with 29% of self-described liberals saying they are not registered to vote compared with 20% of moderates and 17% of conservatives. However, there are only modest differences in the percentages of conservatives (38%), moderates (35%) and liberals (34%) who are regular voters.
Our excuses for not voting are lame. They range from – “no time” to “don’t care”; from – ignorance to lack of confidence in the process.

And, when we do vote, it is (all too often) for someone who consistently represents not our interests but those of the rich and powerful.

These facts clearly demonstrate that we are getting exactly what we deserve.

A dysfunctional government comes from a dysfunctional electorate.

And, as my daddy use to say, "if you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always gotten." 

From Truthout (A Must Read)

New Court Filing Reveals How the 2004 Ohio Presidential Election Was Hacked

Monday 25 July 2011

by: Bob Fritakis, The Free Press | Report

Tomas Rueda, of the Hispanic Republican Club of Cleveland, a poll challenger, monitors voting at a polling site in Cleveland on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov 2, 2004. (Photo: Andrea Mohin / The New York Times)

A new filing in the King Lincoln Bronzeville v. Blackwell case includes a copy of the Ohio Secretary of State election production system configuration that was in use in Ohio's 2004 presidential election when there was a sudden and unexpected shift in votes for George W. Bush.

The filing also includes the revealing deposition of the late Michael Connell. Connell served as the IT guru for the Bush family and Karl Rove. Connell ran the private IT firm GovTech that created the controversial system that transferred Ohio's vote count late on election night 2004 to a partisan Republican server site in Chattanooga, Tennessee owned by SmarTech. That is when the vote shift happened, not predicted by the exit polls, that led to Bush's unexpected victory. Connell died a month and a half after giving this deposition in a suspicious small plane crash.

Additionally, the filing contains the contract signed between then-Ohio Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell and Connell's company, GovTech Solutions.

Also included that contract a graphic architectural map of the Secretary of State's election night server layout system. 

Cliff Arnebeck, lead attorney in the King Lincoln case, exchanged emails with IT security expert Stephen Spoonamore. Arnebeck asked Spoonamore whether or not SmarTech had the capability to "input data" and thus alter the results of Ohio's 2004 election. Spoonamore responded: "Yes. They would have had data input capacities. The system might have been set up to log which source generated the data but probably did not."

Spoonamore explained that "they [SmarTech] have full access and could change things when and if they want."

Arnebeck specifically asked "Could this be done using whatever bypass techniques Connell developed for the web hosting function." Spoonamore replied "Yes."

Spoonamore concluded from the architectural maps of the Ohio 2004 election reporting system that, "SmarTech was a man in the middle. In my opinion they were not designed as a mirror, they were designed specifically to be a man in the middle."

A "man in the middle" is a deliberate computer hacking setup, which allows a third party to sit in between computer transmissions and illegally alter the data. A mirror site, by contrast, is designed as a backup site in case the main computer configuration fails.

Spoonamore claims that he confronted then-Secretary of State Blackwell at a secretary of state IT conference in Boston where he was giving a seminar in data security. "Blackwell freaked and refused to speak to me when I confronted him about it long before I met you," he wrote to Arnebeck.

On December 14, 2007, then-Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner, who replaced Blackwell, released her evaluation and validation of election-related equipment, standards and testing (Everest study) which found that touchscreen voting machines were vulnerable to hacking with relative ease.

Until now, the architectural maps and contracts from the Ohio 2004 election were never made public, which may indicate that the entire system was designed for fraud. In a previous sworn affidavit to the court, Spoonamore declared: "The SmarTech system was set up precisely as a King Pin computer used in criminal acts against banking or credit card processes and had the needed level of access to both county tabulators and Secretary of State computers to allow whoever was running SmarTech computers to decide the output of the county tabulators under its control."

Spoonamore also swore that "...the architecture further confirms how this election was stolen. The computer system and SmarTech had the correct placement, connectivity, and computer experts necessary to change the election in any manner desired by the controllers of the SmarTech computers."

Project Censored named the outsourcing of Ohio's 2004 election votes to SmarTech in Chattanooga, Tennessee to a company owned by Republican partisans as one of the most censored stories in the world.

In the Connell deposition, plaintiffs' attorneys questioned Connell regarding gwb43, a website that was live on election night operating out of the White House and tied directly into SmarTech's server stacks in Chattanooga, Tennessee which contained Ohio's 2004 presidential election results.

The transfer of the vote count to SmarTech in Chattanooga, Tennessee remains a mystery. This would have only happened if there was a complete failure of the Ohio computer election system. Connell swore under oath that, "To the best of my knowledge, it was not a fail-over case scenario – or it was not a failover situation."

Bob Magnan, a state IT specialist for the secretary of state during the 2004 election, agreed that there was no failover scenario. Magnan said he was unexpectedly sent home at 9 p.m. on election night and private contractors ran the system for Blackwell.

The architectural maps, contracts, and Spoonamore emails, along with the history of Connell's partisan activities, shed new light on how easy it was to hack the 2004 Ohio presidential election.

--
Bob Fitrakis is co-counsel in the King Lincoln case.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis


Sixty-five years ago, on July 24, 1946, Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis made their official debut together at the 500 Club in Atlantic City. According to them they were warned by the owner, Skinny D’Amato, that if they did not come up with a better act for their second show that night, he would fire them.

They decided after huddling together in the alley behind the club that they would drop the pre-scripted jokes they had done earlier in the evening and improvise.

Martin began the second show singing alone. Lewis appeared as a busboy in the audience, eventually disrupting Martin’s performance with a series of inept and clumsy antics – from dropping plates to heckling Martin’s crooning. By the time Lewis was chased from the room being pelted with breadrolls by Martin, the audience was laughing hysterically.

The pair became one of the most successful comedy teams ever, appearing in nightclubs, on radio, television, and film. They split in 1956, 10 years to the day they first officially appeared to together.

Miller's Creek – North of the Narrows (Photos)







From The New York Times

At Least 80 Dead in Norway Shooting

Svein Gustav Wilhelmsen/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
 
By ELISA MALA and  
 
Published: July 22, 2011

OSLO — A lone political extremist bombed the government center here on Friday, killing 7 people, the police said, before heading to an island summer camp for young members of the governing Labor Party and killing at least 80 people.

The police arrested a 32-year-old Norwegian man in connection with both attacks, the deadliest on Norwegian soil since World War II.

Amy Winehouse – Love is a Losing Game

And, So is Life



Amy Winehouse, 27, was found dead at her north London flat.
What a loss. What a tragedy!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

From Truthout

EXCLUSIVE: The Deficit Is Not Default of Obama

Thursday 21 July 2011

by: Greg Palast, Truthout | News Analysis

Charles Dickens' "Oliver Twist" gave debtors' prison a bad rap. Too bad. I'd say that locking away GOP Majority Leader Eric Cantor in a penitentiary for deadbeats seems like a darn good idea.

Let's talk about how we ended up in this pickle, bucking up against the "debt ceiling." From 2001 to 2008, a Republican president took an annual surplus of $86 billion left for him by Bill Clinton and ran up the budget deficit to over half a trillion in a year ($642 billion in 2008). Altogether, George W. Bush blew up the national debt by over $3 TRILLION - then left the bills to Barack Obama.

For eight years, Bush spent like a drunk monkey. The world was the GOP's Bergdorf and they had our credit card. If there was a shiny, new war on the shelf, they just had to have it: Iraq, Afghanistan, and let's not forget the Fantasy Wars, the half a trillion dollars a year on fancy-ass weapons for a war that won't happen. (Example: the Virginia Class submarine. (The V-class was designed to attack Soviet subs. There are no more Soviet subs, but Bush ordered three dozen anyway - at $1.8 billion each.)

And tax cuts? Don't get me started!

The Bush administration acted just like Sarah Palin when she was set loose in that Neiman Marcus in Minneapolis - grabbing whatever she could carry because Sarah could put it on someone else's account.

The GOP's fattened frat boys feasted - but when the waiter arrived with the bill, the belching rich kids looked around, pointed at some poor schmuck sweeping the floor, Mr. John Q. Veteran, and said, "THAT GUY will pay."

By the way: Congressman Cantor, the guy leading the Republicans' refusal to lift the debt ceiling, voted for the V-class sub as well as Bush's bogus scavenger hunt for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. But now Cantor doesn't want to pay the bill.

Y'know, Congressman, maybe you think my parents were fools because they taught me: If you buy it, you pay for it.

Apparently, that's not the rule at Cantor's country club.

The sick assumption of this entire debt ceiling debate, as we hear from talking heads whether on Fox or PBS, is that this is our deficit; as if you and I got a tax break or Amazon delivered that submarine to our door.

And the flapping lips on TV also assume that there must be some kind of "compromise" in which the spending spree by the rich must be paid for by the working class. The Washington elite agree we must pay for tax holidays for hedge funds by closing health clinics.

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Of course, the GOP is right about one thing. President Tiger Wuss will do just that: make the poorest among us pay the debts of the richest. Here we have a bunch of economic terrorists - "Agree to all our demands or the economy gets it!" - and Obama's idea of leadership is to offer the berserkers three-quarters of what they demand.

Thank the Lord and Michele Bachmann that 75 percent isn't enough for these greedsters.

Solution: Don't pay the banksters

There's another wrong assumption controlling this debate over debt, that the banks, the debt holders, must be paid. When the bankers and the Chinese and the Saudis lent Bush three trillion dollars for his wild-ass buying party, they were betting, like any investor, on the good faith of the borrower to pay it back.

So, let Hu Jintao and King Abdullah stick a collection agency on Cantor and the other Republican shirkers. Repossess their limousines or send The Boys around to remind Cantor what happens when you don't pay what you owe.

The president should say to Hu, the Sheik and Goldman-Sachs:

"I have identified $3 trillion in Treasury notes issued between 2001 and 2008 which were lent to fund President Bush's expenditures. Unfortunately, those who borrowed your money don't want to pay it back. You made a bad investment - but that's how the free market works. Therefore, I am suspending payments on these Treasury notes until we can round up the deadbeats and make them live up to their commitments.

"As president, I have the constitutional duty to pay the bills of the Veterans Administration, the Social Security fund, and other vital services already voted and appropriated by Congress. Military pay before banker pay. Get used to it."

Will the bankers have heart attacks? I hope so. (Maybe if bankers are ill, the GOP will vote for universal health care.) Will China refuse to buy more US debt? Not a chance: The Chinese cannot afford a devaluation of the $2 trillion to $3 trillion in US Treasury notes they have in their pokey, a devaluation which would surely follow their abandoning the US treasuries.

Note: Argentina defaulted and thrived. We can tango, too. But that's all detail for me to argue out with other economists in some effete what-if seminar.

Ultimately, "default" is not the issue. "Default," dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in that age-old battle between Them and Us. They spent the money and now they want Us to pay.

Default lies with the Republican spendthrifts, Mr. President. So, I suggest you issue an executive order creating a new wing at Guantanamo: a debtors' prison for trillion-dollar deadbeats.

(Don't you think Eric Cantor would look good in orange?)

From The Washington Post

Editorial Board Opinion
Out from under the anti-tax pledge

By Editorial, Published: July 20

WITH A HANDFUL of exceptions, every Republican member of Congress has signed a pledge against increasing taxes. Would allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire as scheduled in 2012 violate this vow? We posed this question to Grover Norquist, its author and enforcer, and his answer was both surprising and encouraging: No.

In other words, according to Mr. Norquist’s interpretation of the Americans for Tax Reform pledge, lawmakers have the technical leeway to bring in as much as $4 trillion in new tax revenue — the cost of extending President George W. Bush’s tax cuts for another decade — without being accused of breaking their promise. “Not continuing a tax cut is not technically a tax increase,” Mr. Norquist told us. So it doesn’t violate the pledge? “We wouldn’t hold it that way,” he said.

Of course, letting the tax cuts expire is decidedly not Mr. Norquist’s preference. Indeed, as a matter of policy, he is passionately opposed to a single dime in new tax revenue. But the fact that Mr. Norquist interprets his own pledge to permit such conduct suggests that Republican lawmakers who have been browbeaten into abjuring any tax increase, at any time, for any reason, may not be as boxed in as they believe. The official Republican line has been that allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire, even for those earning more than $250,000, would be a job-killing tax increase. The fact that the godfather of the pledge does not interpret the lapse as an increase is significant.

Mr. Norquist’s comments come at a moment of remarkable and welcome fluidity in what had seemed to be a solid wall of Republican opposition to raising any tax revenue at any time for any reason. The surprising reemergence and expansion of the Senate Gang of Six this week was accompanied by a flurry of statements from Republican senators endorsing a proposal that included $1 trillion in new tax revenue. “This is a serious, bipartisan proposal that will help stop Washington from spending money that we don’t have, and I support it,” said Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), the GOP conference chair. “A fair compromise,” said Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Tex.). There may not be time to translate the gang plan into law as the debt ceiling looms, but these reactions suggest that future negotiations could be conducted from a base line of reality.

Too often in recent years, the tax debate has resembled a one-way ratchet: Taxes can go down but never back up, except if a booming economy produces additional revenue. It is important to remember that the Bush tax cuts were passed at a moment when, hard as it may be to believe, enormous surpluses were in sight and a big worry among economic poobahs was whether the debt was being paid off too quickly. There is no policy basis for insisting that these tax rates are graven in stone and immune to change given the changed circumstances. And the Norquist pledge, it turns out, is not a suicide pact preventing such a sober reassessment.

From The Young Turks

Why Cenk Uygur Left MSNBC

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

From Los Angeles Times (A Must Read)

Science and religion: God didn't make man; man made gods

In recent years scientists specializing in the mind have begun to unravel religion's "DNA."

By J. Anderson Thomson and Clare Aukofer

July 18, 2011

Before John Lennon imagined "living life in peace," he conjured "no heaven … / no hell below us …/ and no religion too."

No religion: What was Lennon summoning? For starters, a world without "divine" messengers, like Osama bin Laden, sparking violence. A world where mistakes, like the avoidable loss of life in Hurricane Katrina, would be rectified rather than chalked up to "God's will." Where politicians no longer compete to prove who believes more strongly in the irrational and untenable. Where critical thinking is an ideal. In short, a world that makes sense.

In recent years scientists specializing in the mind have begun to unravel religion's "DNA." They have produced robust theories, backed by empirical evidence (including "imaging" studies of the brain at work), that support the conclusion that it was humans who created God, not the other way around. And the better we understand the science, the closer we can come to "no heaven … no hell … and no religion too."

Like our physiological DNA, the psychological mechanisms behind faith evolved over the eons through natural selection. They helped our ancestors work effectively in small groups and survive and reproduce, traits developed long before recorded history, from foundations deep in our mammalian, primate and African hunter-gatherer past.

For example, we are born with a powerful need for attachment, identified as long ago as the 1940s by psychiatrist John Bowlby and expanded on by psychologist Mary Ainsworth. Individual survival was enhanced by protectors, beginning with our mothers. Attachment is reinforced physiologically through brain chemistry, and we evolved and retain neural networks completely dedicated to it. We easily expand that inborn need for protectors to authority figures of any sort, including religious leaders and, more saliently, gods. God becomes a super parent, able to protect us and care for us even when our more corporeal support systems disappear, through death or distance.

Scientists have so far identified about 20 hard-wired, evolved "adaptations" as the building blocks of religion. Like attachment, they are mechanisms that underlie human interactions: Brain-imaging studies at the National Institutes of Health showed that when test subjects were read statements about religion and asked to agree or disagree, the same brain networks that process human social behavior — our ability to negotiate relationships with others — were engaged.

Among the psychological adaptations related to religion are our need for reciprocity, our tendency to attribute unknown events to human agency, our capacity for romantic love, our fierce "out-group" hatreds and just as fierce loyalties to the in groups of kin and allies. Religion hijacks these traits. The rivalry between Sunni and Shiite Muslims, for example, or the doctrinal battles between Protestant and Catholic reflect our "groupish" tendencies.

In addition to these adaptations, humans have developed the remarkable ability to think about what goes on in other people's minds and create and rehearse complex interactions with an unseen other. In our minds we can de-couple cognition from time, place and circumstance. We consider what someone else might do in our place; we project future scenarios; we replay past events. It's an easy jump to say, conversing with the dead or to conjuring gods and praying to them.

Morality, which some see as imposed by gods or religion on savage humans, science sees as yet another adaptive strategy handed down to us by natural selection.

Yale psychology professor Paul Bloom notes that "it is often beneficial for humans to work together … which means it would have been adaptive to evaluate the niceness and nastiness of other individuals." In groundbreaking research, he and his team found that infants in their first year of life demonstrate aspects of an innate sense of right and wrong, good and bad, even fair and unfair. When shown a puppet climbing a mountain, either helped or hindered by a second puppet, the babies oriented toward the helpful puppet. They were able to make an evaluative social judgment, in a sense a moral response.

Michael Tomasello, a developmental psychologist who co-directs the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, has also done work related to morality and very young children. He and his colleagues have produced a wealth of research that demonstrates children's capacities for altruism. He argues that we are born altruists who then have to learn strategic self-interest.

Beyond psychological adaptations and mechanisms, scientists have discovered neurological explanations for what many interpret as evidence of divine existence. Canadian psychologist Michael Persinger, who developed what he calls a "god helmet" that blocks sight and sound but stimulates the brain's temporal lobe, notes that many of his helmeted research subjects reported feeling the presence of "another." Depending on their personal and cultural history, they then interpreted the sensed presence as either a supernatural or religious figure. It is conceivable that St. Paul's dramatic conversion on the road to Damascus was, in reality, a seizure caused by temporal lobe epilepsy.

The better we understand human psychology and neurology, the more we will uncover the underpinnings of religion. Some of them, like the attachment system, push us toward a belief in gods and make departing from it extraordinarily difficult. But it is possible.

We can be better as a species if we recognize religion as a man-made construct. We owe it to ourselves to at least consider the real roots of religious belief, so we can deal with life as it is, taking advantage of perhaps our mind's greatest adaptation: our ability to use reason.

Imagine that.



J. Anderson Thomson is a psychiatrist at the University of Virginia. He serves as a trustee of the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science. Clare Aukofer is a medical writer. They are the authors of "Why We Believe in God(s): A Concise Guide to the Science of Faith."

From Alan Grayson

“Let the Devil Take the Hindmost.”

Dear Dee,

Cut Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security? Let’s think about this.

Medicare helps to heal people who are old and sick. Medicaid helps to heal people who are poor and sick. And for most people, without Social Security, they would have to work until the day they die.

These are not things that I want to cut. But some people do.

Who are these people who want to cut Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security? I know some of them. For two years, I sat with them in a room – the Floor of the House – for several hours a day.

I got to know some of them quite well. I can summarize their views in six short words: “Let the Devil Take the Hindmost.”

“Let the Devil Take the Hindmost” refers to a situation where the Devil is chasing us. Some of us – the young, the fit, the healthy -- are able to run away from the Devil. And those others – the old, the children, the sick and, frankly, the scared – they can’t run as fast. They’re the hindmost. They’re the ones that the Devil catches, and destroys.

So what should the ones who run faster do? Should they grab hold of the hindmost, lift them up, and help them to run to safety? Or should they just let the Devil take the hindmost, while they escape?

You know what Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity would do in that situation. And Michele Bachmann, Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin. They would let the Devil take the hindmost.

But you wouldn’t. And I wouldn’t.

The phrase “Let the Devil Take the Hindmost” is a venerable phrase; it just celebrated its 400th birthday. It comes from a 1610 play called “Love Lies a-Bleeding.” (All you Elton John fans now know where the song “Love Lies Bleeding” comes from.) Shakespeare didn’t write the play, but it was performed by Shakespeare’s theatre troop, The King’s Men.

In Act V of “Love Lies a-Bleeding,” the people rise in rebellion against a bad government. The character Thrasiline questions whether the people can remain united, however. Thrasiline says that even when a mere “toy” clicks at the people’s heels, “they run all away, and cry, ‘the devil take the hindmost.’”

Dion responds to Thrasiline this way: “Then the same devil take the foremost too, and souse him for his breakfast! If they all prove cowards, my curses fly amongst them, and be speeding!”

(“Sousing” is cooking a cut of meat until it is well done, pulling the meat off the bones, and then mashing it.)

And that’s the point – the 400-year-old point. If the Devil is chasing us, there is no reason to think that he’ll ever be satisfied just taking the hindmost. The Devil will take the foremost, too. Mash them up, and eat them for breakfast.

The Devil in America today is poverty, unemployment, malnutrition, bigotry, selfishness, ignorance, disease and death. When the Right Wing says that we have to cut Social Security, cut Medicare, cut Medicaid, cut unemployment insurance, cut education, cut food stamps, what they’re really saying is “let the Devil take the hindmost.”

I think that we’d all be a lot better off if we stopped running, we all turned on the Devil, and we fought back together. At least we would have a chance.

I’d rather fight, not run away.

What about you?

Courage,

Alan Grayson

P.S. Please sign our petition at www.No-Cuts.com. And pass it on to every friend you have. Let’s stop running, and fight back together.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Bill Maher

The Reason Why Liberals Don't Like Bachmann and Palin

Saturday, July 16, 2011

From The White House

Weekly Address

Securing Our Fiscal Future

President Obama emphasizes the importance of compromise and shared sacrifice so that we can overcome our fiscal challenges and get our economy on a stronger footing going forward.

From The White House Blog

The White House Blog

Compromise Isn’t a Dirty Word

Back in March, I was in the room as President Obama spoke to a group of young Americans of different political persuasions in Massachusetts.  He spoke candidly and openly about the importance of compromise in our democracy — even from people who care passionately about their position.