Saturday, December 31, 2011

STEELERS FOOTBALL 01-01-12



STEELERS vs. BROWNS
SUNDAY, JANUARY 1, 2012
KICKOFF – 4:15 PM

Happy New Year
From the Pittsburgh Steelers

This Week: The Steelers are on the road against the Cleveland Browns on Sunday, January 1 at Cleveland Browns Stadium. Kickoff for the game is 4:15 p.m. (ET) on CBS.

Game Information:
Teams: Steelers vs. Browns
Date: Sunday, January 1, 2012
Kickoff: 4:15 p.m. ET
Site: Cleveland Browns Stadium
TV: CBS (KDKA-TV Channel 2 in Pittsburgh)
Radio: WDVE-FM (102.5)/WBGG-AM (970 ESPN)
Bill Hillgrove, Tunch Ilkin and Craig Wolfley

Steelers Notes for Browns Game

Zillionaire Mitt Romney Tells Obama To Stop Acting So Rich All the Time


Ol’ moneybags Mitt Romney is estimated to be worth over $250 million, a rather grotesque embarrassment of riches and presumably the reason why Mittens refuses to release his tax returns, in hope of avoiding a couple of news cycles’ worth of “How many thousands of struggling homeowners could Mitt Romney’s wealth instantly save from foreclosure, right now?” types of stories.

Releasing them would also undermine his favorite bizarre rhetorical strategy, trying to speak Poor. He’s unemployed! He’s underpaid! And now, he’s shivering in the gutter: “[Obama is] in Hawaii right now,” he said. “We’re in the cold, in the rain, in the wind because we care about America.” What the hell is he talking about? READ MORE »

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Jon Stewart Crushes Fox News In The 2011 Ratings

politicususa

By losing 9% of their audience in 2011, Fox News’ prime time lineup now averages fewer viewers than Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show.

According to TVNewser, Fox News averaged 1.868 million total viewers in prime time compared to 2.3 million for The Daily Show.

The audience erosion continued over at Fox News as the network lost 8% of its total viewers and 14% of their viewers in the 25-54 demo. The total number of daytime Fox News viewers slipped to 1.073 million.

“Red Eye” was the only Fox News show to post ratings gains in 2011. Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, and On The Record With Greta Van Susteren all lost viewers. In the morning, Fox and Friends remained flat. Fox News still showed its dominance by having the top 13 rated cable news programs, but a certain program hosted by a comedian that Fox News loves to hate on Comedy Central blew past most of the Fox News shows in the ratings.

According to Comedy Central, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart averaged 2.3 million viewers per episode in 2011. Unlike Fox News, “The Daily Show” was up in total viewers (+7%) and all key demos: adults 18-49 (+6%); men 18-34 (+2%); men 18-24 (+4%).” The Daily Show was also the top cable late night talk show in terms of total viewers, and was generally dominant. While Fox News was losing 14% in the demo in 2011, Jon Stewart was gaining 6%.

Jon Stewart has become Fox News’ #1 media nemesis. To put Stewart’s ratings into a head to head context, The O’Reilly Factor tends to hover around the 3 million viewers range. Hannity is at around 2+ million, and On The Record with Greta Van Susteren varies between 1.1 million and 1.5 million as an average. This means that The Daily Show is more popular than both Hannity and On The Record, and trails O’Reilly by about 700,000 viewers.

The reason why Fox News feels so threatened by Jon Stewart is because his program is more popular than anything not named Bill O’Reilly on the network. Not only is Stewart popular, but he is popular with the coveted young demographics that Fox News struggles with. The average Fox News viewer is 65 years old. For years, the Fox News model of success has been powered by viewers literally aging in to watching Fox.

However, Jon Stewart has thrown a wrench in the Fox News cycle of life by educating his millions of younger viewers about Fox News. Stewart spends segments debunking the propaganda, exposing facts, and uncovering the edited video that is the bread and butter of America’s top cable news network.

Every night Stewart is teaching Americans how to not watch Fox News. The Daily Show host has become the media critic with the biggest platform and loudest voice in our country, and most often that voice is targeting Fox News for their brand of “journalism.”

Overall Stewart beat Fox News’ prime time lineup 2.3 million-2.2 million (which is a different number than the above mentioned 1.8 million, but when The Daily Show is matched up against every non-O’Reilly FNC program, it leads and/or dominates. As we head into 2012, the news that Stewart’s entertainment program based in large part on debunking the misinformation in the mainstream media is doing so well should provide hope that maybe someday sanity will return to our national discourse.

Federal Judge Orders Sheriff Arpaio To Stop Arresting People Simply Because He Thinks They Are Undocumented

Federal Judge Orders Sheriff Arpaio To Stop Arresting People Simply Because He Thinks They Are Undocumented

Less than two weeks after the Department of Justice found widespread lawlessness and abuse of Latinos by Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and his deputies, an Arizona federal judge ordered Arpaio to end one of his most abusive practices — detaining and arresting people who have committed no crime merely because his office suspects them of being undocumented. The court also certified this lawsuit against Arpaio as a class action, thereby empowering any Latino stopped or detained by Arpaio’s office since 2007 or at any point in the future to enforce the court order.

The GOP’s Year Of Living Dangerously: What Did Its Hardline Strategy Produce?

TPM

When the House GOP’s enormous freshman class arrived on Capitol Hill in January, it wasn’t uncommon to hear them sound off on the mistakes their predecessors made in 1995. Despite having shut down the government — twice! — House Republicans under Newt Gingrich had caved too easily, didn’t push hard enough, didn’t embody the true spirit of conservatism.

But the new House leadership wasn’t so sanguine. Many had lived through the Gingrich revolution and its aftermath. Others had been around long enough to hear tales of it. And so they mapped out a strategy specifically designed to avoid what they believe were the party’s ’90s-era mistakes.

In other words, the two factions — the newly energized backbenchers and the veteran leadership — were pulling each other in opposite directions. The tug of war left the House GOP’s strategic center of gravity stuck in an unstable position. The party was committed to fighting as hard as possible, but stopping short of its most conservative members’ slash and burn instincts.

The 2011 version of the House GOP, in not always easy coordination with Senate Republicans, would approve must-pass bills, but only after dragging negotiations down to the wire and extracting as many concessions as possible from Senate Dems and the White House each time. We saw that strategy play out over and over again this year, with mixed results for both parties and largely poor results for the country at large.

Here’s a quick lookback at a year of living dangerously — and the series of recurring crises that it produced.

APRIL: Government Shutdown

This fight set the tone for the remainder of the year. At the tail end of the last Congress, Republicans blocked a bipartisan effort to fund the government through the end of the fiscal year in September 2011. They’d made big gains and wanted an early bite at the apple in the new Congress. With government funding set to expire, House Republicans sought to make good on their pledge to cut $100 billion from domestic federal programs right away. In addition, they sought to attack the Obama administration’s power to govern from the executive branch with scores of legislative riders meant to limit access to women’s health centers, weaken environmental regulations and so on. The administration and Senate Dems sought to limit the damage — but it wasn’t easy. In negotiations that lasted until minutes before the government shutdown, Republicans locked in billions of dollars in budget cuts, and even a few riders, including one that reinstated a ban preventing the District of Columbia from spending local tax dollars on abortion services.

AUGUST: Debt Limit

This is where House Republicans overplayed their hand — but also made, from a conservative point of view, the most substantive gains. Republicans held the country’s borrowing authority hostage. They implicitly threatened to let the country default on its debt obligations unless Democrats agreed to massive cuts to federal programs over the course of a decade. For a time, the White House genuinely saw this as an opening to strike a fiscal “grand bargain” with House Speaker John Boehner. But in an early indication of the limited room Boehner’s conference would give him to deal, those negotiations fell apart over the GOP’s reluctance to increase taxes on the wealthy. So Democrats reverted again to a “contain the damage” strategy. The damage was pretty severe: $1 trillion in cuts to defense and domestic discretionary spending over the next year, enforced through statutory budget caps; a downgrade to the country’s AAA rating by Standard & Poor’s; and, because the Super Committee the debt deal created would ultimately fail, the prospect of another $1.2 trillion in across the board cuts to national security programs, Medicare providers, and other parts of the budget, which are set to kick in on January 1, 2013, unless Congress finds savings elsewhere.

The good news for now is that the budget cuts are somewhat backloaded and won’t become too severe until later in 2012 and 2013. In the meantime, the country’s fiscal fate — whether we’re on a bumpy path toward unwinding the New Deal or toward shoring it up — now hinges on the outcome of the 2012 elections. If a Republican beats President Obama, the GOP will continue to put the squeeze on government revenue and pursue a course of swapping out the automatic defense and Medicare provider cuts with cuts to other key support programs.

SEPTEMBER: Disaster Relief

The debt limit fight was a political disaster, and an embarrassment for Dems who found themselves outmaneuvered throughout. But it also marked the point at which they adopted a new, more confrontational strategy with the GOP. That manifested itself in a small skirmish over funding the government in the new fiscal year that began in October. Republicans attempted to use the expiration of government funds at the end of the fiscal year as leverage to force Democrats to offset the cost of federal disaster relief with cuts to a successful hybrid vehicle incentive program. Indeed, House Republicans they tried to jam Senate Dems and skip town. In the end, Democrats refused to budge, FEMA managed to squeak by with the disaster relief funds it had, and a shutdown was again averted.


NOVEMBER: Super Committee

The debt limit fight led to the creation of the Super Committee, and a whole new fight over reducing federal deficits. But this fight was completely different. With the threat of a debt default off the table, Democrats drew a line: no cuts to entitlement benefits until Republicans agreed to break the stranglehold anti-tax conservatives have on their party. That break never really happened, and so the 12-member panel failed. As a result, major across the board cuts to defense, Medicare providers and other programs are set to kick in on January 1, 2013, unless Congress comes up with something better. That’s why the coming year and the presidential election are so high-stakes. They’re all about the nation’s priorities.

DECEMBER: Payroll Tax Cut

The GOP strategy of pushing negotiations to the brink of crisis finally caught up with them in the fight over extending the payroll tax cut, giving Democrats their most decisive victory of the year. Not only did Dems manage to turn the Republicans’ reluctance to renew the 2011 payroll tax cut into a huge political liability, they reset the consensus entirely. And in the process they left the House GOP conference — and the relationship between House and Senate Republicans — in shambles. In the end, Congress renewed the payroll tax cut for two months, and both parties have committed to extending it through the end of 2012. But Republicans will have to do so on Democrats’ terms. If they learned nothing from the last month, and try to pick another fight over payfors and unrelated riders, they risk a much more severe political embarrassment in the middle of primary season and, many observers have speculated, losing control of the House in 2013.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Web gambling gets boost from Obama administration

(Reuters) - The Obama administration cleared the way for states to legalize Internet poker and certain other online betting in a switch that may help them reap billions in tax revenue and spur web-based gambling.

A Justice Department opinion dated September and made public on Friday reversed decades of previous policy that included civil and criminal charges against operators of some of the most popular online poker sites.

Until now, the department held that online gambling in all forms was illegal under the Wire Act of 1961, which bars wagers via telecommunications that cross state lines or international borders.

The new interpretation, by the department's Office of Legal Counsel, said the Wire Act applies only to bets on a "sporting event or contest," not to a state's use of the Internet to sell lottery tickets to adults within its borders or abroad.

"The United States Department of Justice has given the online gaming community a big, big present," said I. Nelson Rose, a gaming law expert at Whittier Law School who consults for governments and the industry.

The question at issue was whether proposals by Illinois and New York to use the Internet and out-of-state transaction processors to sell lottery tickets to in-state adults violated the Wire Act.

But the department's conclusion would eliminate "almost every federal anti-gambling law that could apply to gaming that is legal under state laws," Rose wrote on his blog at www.gamblingandthelaw.com.

If a state legalized intra-state games such as poker, as Nevada and the District of Columbia have done, "there is simply no federal law that could apply" against their operators, he said.

The department's opinion, written by Assistant Attorney General Virginia Seitz, said the law's legislative history showed that Congress's overriding goal had been to halt wire communications for sports gambling, notably off-track betting on horse races.

Congress also had been concerned about rapid transmission of betting information on baseball, basketball, football and boxing among other sports-related events or contests, she summarized the legislative history as showing.

"The ordinary meaning of the phrase 'sporting event or contest' does not encompass lotteries," Seitz wrote. "Accordingly, we conclude that the proposed lotteries are not within the prohibitions of the Wire Act."

The department expressed no opinion about a provision in the law that lets prosecutors shut down phone lines where interstate or foreign gambling is taking place.

Many of the 50 U.S. states may be interested in creating online lotteries to boost tax revenues and help offset the ripple effect of a federal deficit-reduction push.

The global online gambling industry grew 12 percent last year to as much as $30 billion, according to a survey in March by Global Betting and Gaming Consultancy, based on the Isle of Man, where online gambling is legal.

Federal prosecutors in April charged three of the biggest Internet poker companies with fraud and money-laundering along with violations of another federal law, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Act of 1986.

The government outlined an alleged scheme by owners of the three largest online poker companies - Full Tilt Poker, Absolute Poker and PokerStars - to funnel gambling profits to online shell companies that would appear legitimate to banks processing payments.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Lady Gaga - Stuck On Fuckin' You

O Holy Night - Susan Boyle

Gingrich Will Run An ‘Aggressive Write-In Campaign’ In Virginia Primaries, Where Write-Ins Are Illegal


THINK PROGRESS

There won’t be any homefield advantage for Newt Gingrich come Super Tuesday, when Virginia holds its presidential primary. Gingrich, who actually lives in McLean, Virginia, will not be listed on the ballot in his home state because his campaign did not collect the minimum signatures to be a contender.

The Republican Party of Virginia announced late last night that only former Massachussetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) qualified to be listed. But Gingrich’s notoriously troubled campaign did not collect enough valid signatures to put him over the 10,000 signature mark required by state law, although Gingrich claimed he was safely over the threshold the other day. (Virginia laws also requires 400 signatures from each of the state’s 11 congressional districts.)

Responding to the blow just days before the primary season begins, Gingrich campaign director Michael Krull blamed a “failed system” and announced the camp’s next tactic — a write-in campaign:

Only a failed system excludes four out of the six major candidates seeking access to the ballot. Voters deserve the right to vote for any top contender, especially leading candidates. We will work with the Republican Party of Virginia to pursue an aggressive write-in campaign to make sure that all the voters of Virginia are able to vote for the candidate of their choice.

There is a small problem with this strategy, though. Write-ins for primary elections are illegal, according to Virginia state code. Thus, it appears that if Gingrich heads to the polls in his home state’s primaries on March 6, he would have to vote for someone else.

Ron Paul blames spooks for racist newsletters

Ron Paul calls the publication of racist newsletters a “lack of oversight”, says he should have paid more attention to the “ghost writers” who were responsible for the distasteful articles.

Friday, December 23, 2011

STEELERS FOOTBALL 12-24-11



STEELERS vs. RAMS
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 24, 2011
KICKOFF – 1:00 PM

Merry Christmas From
The Pittsburgh Steelers

This Week: The Steelers host the St. Louis Rams on Saturday, December 24 at Heinz Field. Kickoff for the game is 1:00 p.m.(ET) on FOX.

Game Information:
Teams: Steelers vs. Rams
Date: Saturday, December 24, 2011
Kickoff: 1:00 p.m. ET
Site: Heinz Field
TV: FOX (WPGH-TV Channel 53 in Pittsburgh)
Radio: WDVE-FM (102.5)/WBGG-AM (970 ESPN)
Bill Hillgrove, Tunch Ilkin and Craig Wolfley

Steelers Notes for Rams Game

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Gays Sorry For Causing Straight MN GOP Senator To Cheat on Her Husband

Oh, here’s a tragedy: Minnesota’s (now former) Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch had been working so hard on a constitutional amendment barring same-sex marriage in her state, but ALAS, the amendment couldn’t be approved in time to keep her own straight marriage safe from harm — she resigned her Senate leadership post last week after being caught having an affair with a male staffer. Minnesota’s homos feel just terrible about all of these problems she is having as a straight married lady, on their account, so they have kindly decided to apologize, aww. READ MORE »

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

I Promise if I am elected ....


... a Hindu in every pot.

Everything You Know Is Wrong

Want to catch up on the twists and turns of the payroll tax imbroglio? Brian Beutler's got your back here and here. Or you could get the parallel universe take on matters by watching Fox News.

Thomas Lane

White Supremacist Harpham Gets 32 Years For Failed MLK Parade Bomb Attack

TPM

Kevin Harpham, the white supremacist who admitted to plotting a racially-motivated attack on a Martin Luther King, Jr. Day parade in Spokane, Washington in January 2011, as was sentenced to 32 years in federal prison on Tuesday.

Harpham, the Justice Department announced, will serve the rest of his life under court supervision. He pleaded guilty to two counts of a superseding indictment that charged him with attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction as well as a hate crimes charge.

“Today, Mr. Harpham faces the consequences of his hate-filled act,” Laura M. Laughlin, special agent-in-charge of the FBI’s Seattle office, said in a statement. “A prototypical ‘lone wolf’ such as Mr. Harpham presents a particularly vexing threat—with nothing foreshadowing a carefully planned attack.”

As TPM reported, federal authorities were able to track down Harpham because they noticed an unusually high number of sales of quarter-ounce fishing weights — the kind used in the bomb — at a Walmart in Colville, Washington.

Instead Of Extending Tax Cut For 160 Million Americans, House Commissioned Bust Of Winston Churchill

THINK PROGRESS

While House Republicans couldn’t get their act together to approve an extension of the payroll tax holiday and unemployment benefits last night, they were able to do something far more frivolousness — commission a bust of former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill to be placed in the Capitol. The House “adjourned moments after” passing the bill, which directs:

That the Architect of the Capitol place an appropriate statue or bust of Sir Winston Churchill in the United States Capitol at a location directed by the House Fine Arts Board in consultation with the Speaker.

The resolution was seen as a rebuke to the White House, which returned a bust of Churchill to the British Embassy in 2009.

House Speaker John Bohener (R-OH) shocked Washington Sunday when he said his caucus would reject the Senate’s compromise on the payroll tax package, even though it passed with an overwhelming bipartisan majority of 89-10. The House planned to reject the Senate bill last night, but postponed the vote after it became clear that some Republicans were going to agree with the Senate. Now, a $1,000 tax break for 160 million Americans hangs in the balance.

The Churchill bill was approved via unanimous consent, meaning the House didn’t have to waste much time considering it, but it underscores the absurdity of Boehner’s gaming of the payroll tax holiday vote.

Texas College Republican Would So Get an ‘A’ in Racist Twitter Poetry

Aw, yet another awful tweet about Barack Obama from the second president of the U of Texas College Republicans in as many months. (The first one was from that other popular genre of Republican poetry, “assassination jokes.”) The group’s current president, Cassie Wright, has even twatted out her thoughts in an adorable rhyme format! Maybe if “college education” doesn’t work out so well for Cassie, she can write racist children’s books? READ MORE »

Monday, December 19, 2011

Racist Teabagger Calls For Assassination of Entire Obama Family

nullThey just don’t come more charming than Southern California Tea Party knob and failed local politician Jules Manson, previously known for not being elected as a councilman for the City of Carson and also for posting Obama=Hitler pictures. Jules Manson was not done with his Internet fame, however. Because now he has issued a CALL FOR OBAMA’S ASSASSINATION, on Facebook, because the Constitution demands it, that’s why. READ MORE »

Sunday, December 18, 2011

STEELERS FOOTBALL 12-19-11




STEELERS vs. 49ERS
MONDAY, DECEMBER 19, 2011
KICKOFF – 8:30 PM

This Week: The Steelers are on the road against the San Francisco 49ers on Monday, December 19 at Candlestick Park. Kickoff for the game is 8:30 p.m.(ET) on ESPN.

Game Information:
Teams: Steelers vs. 49ers
Date: Monday, December 19, 2011
Kickoff: 8:30 p.m. ET
Site: Candlestick Park
TV: ESPN (Also on WTAE-TV Channel 4 in Pittsburgh)
Radio: WDVE-FM (102.5)/WBGG-AM (970 ESPN)
Bill Hillgrove, Tunch Ilkin and Craig Wolfley

Steelers Notes for 49ers Game

Tim Tebow Becomes First Christian To Play In NFL - Sports Year in Review


Tim Tebow Becomes First Christian To Play In NFL - Sports Year in Review

‘The War Is Over’ Last Convoy Of U.S. Soldiers Leaves Iraq



TPM

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - The last convoy of U.S. soldiers pulled out of Iraq on Sunday, ending nearly nine years of war that cost almost 4,500 American and tens of thousands of Iraqi lives and left a country grappling with political uncertainty.

The war launched in March 2003 with missiles striking Baghdad to oust President Saddam Hussein closes with a fragile democracy still facing insurgents, sectarian tensions and the challenge of defining its place in an Arab region in turmoil.

The final column of around 100 mostly U.S. military MRAP armored vehicles carrying 500 U.S. troops trundled across the southern Iraq desert from their last base through the night and daybreak along an empty highway to the Kuwaiti border.

Honking their horns, the last batch of around 25 American military trucks and tractor trailers carrying Bradley fighting vehicles crossed the border early Sunday morning, their crews waving at fellow troops along the route.

"I just can't wait to call my wife and kids and let them know I am safe," Sgt. First Class Rodolfo Ruiz said as the border came into sight. Soon afterwards, he told his men the mission was over, "Hey guys, you made it."

For U.S. President Barack Obama, the military pullout is the fulfillment of an election promise to bring troops home from a conflict inherited from his predecessor, the most unpopular war since Vietnam and one that tainted America's standing worldwide.

For Iraqis, though, the U.S. departure brings a sense of sovereignty tempered by nagging fears their country may slide once again into the kind of sectarian violence that killed many thousands of people at its peak in 2006-2007.

Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's Shi'ite-led government still struggles with a delicate power-sharing arrangement between Shi'ite, Kurdish and Sunni parties, leaving Iraq vulnerable to meddling by Sunni Arab nations and Shi'ite Iran.

The intensity of violence and suicide bombings has subsided. But a stubborn Sunni Islamist insurgency and rival Shi'ite militias remain a threat, carrying out almost daily attacks, often on Iraqi government and security officials.

Iraq says its forces can contain the violence but they lack capabilities in areas such as air defense and intelligence gathering. A deal for several thousand U.S. troops to stay on as trainers fell apart over the sensitive issue of legal immunity.

For many Iraqis, security remains a worry - but no more than jobs and getting access to power in a country whose national grid provides only a few hours of electricity a day despite the OPEC country's vast oil potential.

U.S. and foreign companies are already helping Iraq develop the world's fourth-largest oil reserves, but its economy needs investment in all sectors, from hospitals to infrastructure.

"We don't think about America... We think about electricity, jobs, our oil, our daily problems," said Abbas Jaber, a government employee in Baghdad. "They (Americans) left chaos."

GOING HOME

After Obama announced in October that troops would come home by the end of the year as scheduled, the number of U.S. military bases was whittled down quickly as hundreds of troops and trucks carrying equipment headed south to Kuwait.

U.S. forces, which had ended combat missions in 2010, paid $100,000 a month to tribal sheikhs to secure stretches of the highways leading south to reduce the risk of roadside bombings and attacks on the last convoys.

Only around 150 U.S. troops will remain in the country attached to a training and cooperation mission at the huge U.S. embassy on the banks of the Tigris river.

At the height of the war, more than 170,000 U.S. troops were in Iraq at more than 500 bases. By Saturday, there were fewer than 3,000 troops, and one base - Contingency Operating Base Adder, 300 km (185 miles) south of Baghdad.

At COB Adder, as dusk fell before the departure of the last convoy, soldiers slapped barbecue sauce on slabs of ribs brought from Kuwait and laid them on grills beside hotdogs and sausages.

Earlier, 25 soldiers sat on folding chairs in front of two armored vehicles watching a five-minute ceremony as their brigade's flags were packed up for the last time before loading up their possessions and lining up their trucks.

The last troops flicked on the lights studding their MRAP vehicles and stacked flak jackets and helmets in neat piles, ready for the final departure for Kuwait and then home.

"A good chunk of me is happy to leave. I spent 31 months in this country," said Sgt. Steven Schirmer, 25, after three tours of Iraq since 2007. "It almost seems I can have a life now, though I know I am probably going to Afghanistan in 2013. Once these wars end I wonder what I will end up doing."

NEIGHBOURS KEEP WATCH

Iran and Turkey, major investors in Iraq, will be watching with Gulf nations to see how their neighbor handles its sectarian and ethnic tensions, as the crisis in Syria threatens to spill over its borders.

The fall of Saddam allowed the long-suppressed Shi'ite majority to rise to power. The Shi'ite-led government has drawn the country closer to Iran and Syria's Bashar al-Assad, who is struggling to put down a nine-month-old uprising.

Iraq's Sunni minority is chafing under what it sees as the increasingly authoritarian control of Maliki's Shi'ite coalition. Some local leaders are already pushing mainly Sunni provinces to demand more autonomy from Baghdad.

The main Sunni political bloc Iraqiya said on Saturday that it was temporarily suspending its participation in the parliament to protest against what it said was Maliki's unwillingness to deliver on power-sharing.

A dispute between the semi-autonomous Kurdish region and Maliki's central government over oil and territory is also brewing, and is a potential flashpoint after the buffer of the American military presence is gone.

"There is little to suggest that Iraq's government will manage, or be willing, to get itself out of the current stalemate," said Gala Riani, an analyst at IHS Global Insight.

"The perennial divisive issues that have become part of the fabric of Iraqi politics, such as divisions with Kurdistan and Sunni suspicions of the government, are also likely to persist."

Friday, December 16, 2011

Nine Inch Nails - Head Like A Hole

Rob Zombie - Never Gonna Stop

Incubus - Wish You were Here

Foo Fighters - Pretender

Rick Perry’s Rumored Adventures In Gay Sex, Now in Book Form!

Biblehumper bozo barbie Rick Perry has been annoying everyone lately with his truly awful attempts to prove to the Jesus People contingent that he deserves to rule the country for his Tex-ass tuff talk on gays in the military, so it’s fitting and timely that openly gay former Texas legislator Glen Maxey (a Democrat, we said “openly”) has just released a hilarious new book-form collection of the many sordid rumors indicating that Rick Perry may just be the most monstrously self-loathing closeted old queen in America. Sneak peek “revelation” from the book: some guy who claims he had anonymous sex with Perry says the hair monster has a small penis! READ MORE »

stephen lynch - Beelz aka satan song

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Study: People Receiving Unemployment Insurance Work Harder To Find Jobs

THINK PROGRESS

A new study from Congress’ Joint Economic Committee (JEC) debunks the prevailing conservative notion that Unemployment Insurance (UI) dissuades people from looking for a job. “On the contrary,” the report finds, “beneficiaries of federal UI benefits have spent more time searching for work than those who were ineligible for UI benefits.” “In fact, since Congress enacted federal unemployment benefits, time spent looking for a job has tripled among the long‐term unemployed who are out of work as a result of job loss,” the report adds.

As this chart shows, while unemployment rose during the recession, people who received UI benefits spent more time looking for work than those who didn’t qualify for the federal program:..................

Wingnuts Refuse to Sell Breast Cancer-Fighting Bibles, Out of Love for Cancer

What a charming holiday story: the nutsack owners of a Christian bookstore mega-chain are discontinuing sales of a particular Bible that donates one dollar of every sale to a breast cancer research charity, because of… what this time, charity being anti-free market or something? (Oops, we shouldn’t give them more ideas.)

NO, it’s because the charity in question, the Susan G. Komen Foundation, donates some part of its monies to “breast cancer health programs” run by wingnut bogey-woman Planned Parenthood. So, um, breast cancer screenings are giving people abortions now or what? READ MORE »

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Bill O’Reilly Not Sure Who Runs U.S. Military, Maybe Moon Monsters?



Good god, this is what we get for having already posted something early-ish about the collective negative IQ of the radioactive mutant cow chips employed at Fox News and then figuring we were done hearing about them for the day. Ugh. So, Bill O’Reilly, who controls the U.S. military? (“Relevant” part starts at 1:20.)


Is it possibly the
United States government, as denoted by the initials “U.S.” right before the name of the military and Article Two of the Constitution? Nah, sayeth the loofah dragon, can’t be, more likely it’s the same guys who run the country “Pentagon.” Huh. Well, this at least explains why the government can cut billions of dollars from the social safety net without touching the defense budget, because apparently they aren’t even funding them! READ MORE »

Ever Since Arafat Turned Him Down, Newt Swears Palestinians Don’t Exist


A long time ago, when amoral sperm whale Newt Gingrich was simultaneously banging another extramarital bimbo and prosecuting Bill Clinton for an extramarital sexytime, Newt was also deeply in love with Palestinian heartthrob Yasser Arafat. READ MORE »

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

2012 Federal Deficit Shrinks To Less Than $1 Trillion

2012 Federal Deficit Shrinks To Less Than $1 Trillion

Under President Obama, the nation’s deficit will shrink to less than $1 trillion in 2012, the Treasury Department announced yesterday. The deficit in 2011 and 2010 was $1.3 trillion. Treasury projects that the budget deficit for fiscal year 2012 will come in at $996 billion. Additionally, as a result of the debt super committee’s failure to reach an agreement, an automatic $1.2 trillion in cuts will kick in over the next decade. Obama has pledged to veto any attempt to curb those cuts.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Godsmack - Voodoo (lyrics)

Nobody Wants To Buy Sarah Palin’s Dumb New Reality Teevee Show

Uh-oh, guys, no one wants to pay money to yapping imbecile Sarah Palin for her job of “doing nothing” anymore! RLY SAD BUT TRUE: her insipid, publicly-funded reality teevee show about naked grizzly bear hunting in Alaska or whatever was not renewed for a second season, so she is apparently trying to shop around a new show starring Todd Palin pissing moose figurines into the snow. Absolutely none of the networks want to buy it, though! READ MORE »

Gary Johnson: Gingrich ‘proposed the death penalty for marijuana’

RAW STORY

Over the weekend, struggling Republican presidential candidate Gary Johnson reminded MSNBC viewers that GOP frontrunner Newt Gingrich had once to called to punish some drug offenders with death.

“Newt Gingrich, in 1997, proposed the death penalty for marijuana — for possession of marijuana above a certain quantity of marijuana,” Johnson explained. “And yet, he is among 100 million Americans who’ve smoked marijuana.”

“I would love to have a discussion with him on the fact that he smoked pot, and under the wrong set of circumstance he proposed the death penalty for, potentially, something that he had committed. I have troubles with that,” he added..........................

ObamaCare Challenge Exposes Conservative Hypocrisy On Federal Power

TPM

Next year policy wonks, politics junkies, and legal experts will wait with bated breath for the Supreme Court to determine the constitutionality of a key section of President Obama’s health care law: the mandate that uninsured individuals purchase health care coverage.

But the court will also review another major piece of the law — the requirement that states expand Medicaid eligibility to people with incomes of up to 133 percent of the federal poverty line. This is no small expansion. Of all the millions of people expected to become insured under the law, about half will be covered through Medicaid.

For the first several years, the federal government will pay the states for the full cost of the expansion. After 2020, the federal contribution will drop to 90 percent. States with conservative governors don’t like this one bit. But Medicaid is a voluntary program — if states don’t like the terms and conditions the government sets for the program, they’re free to drop out of it.

So 26 conservative state governors and attorneys general are seeking to get the coverage expansion tossed on the grounds that it’s too coercive — an unconstitutional application of the Constitution’s Spending Clause.

Most legal experts say this is a long-shot. But however the court rules, the challenge in itself exposes the inconvenient fact that the conservative movement has been opportunistically on differing sides of federalism for a long time now. And a favorable court ruling for the plaintiffs would have severe and adverse implications for a number of right wing causes which rely heavily on federal government coercion.

“When it has suited social conservatives, they’re all for coercion,” says Sara Rosenbaum, a law professor at George Washington University, where she’s also the chair of the Department of Health Policy.

The plaintiffs will ask the Supreme Court to rule narrowly that the Medicaid expansion is an unconstitutional use of Congress powers to tax and spend. If the court follows suit, though, it will invite a flood of challenges to other statutes, many of which conservatives adore, but all of which rely on Congress’ power to impose conditions on money they provide to states.

“It opens a tremendous Pandora’s box of other spending clause statutes that might be considered coercive with no clear limiting principles,” Rosenbaum said. “At what point does something become a coercion.”

Timothy Jost, a law professor at Washington and Lee University who has been monitoring the health care lawsuits very closely runs through some of these: “Title IX of the Civil Rights Act and national security programs and No Child Left Behind and all kinds of other programs.”

The list is long. It includes requirements that universities receiving federal funds allow the military to recruit on their campuses. And, both Jost and Rosenbaum note, if conservatives get their way, it will also include a stronger version of the so-called Hyde Amendment, which severely restricts the use of federal funds to provide abortions.

“The House of Representatives has been fashioning a very different kind of Hyde amendment … restrictions say that no federal funds go to the insurance program if that coverage offers more than the [federal] minimum for abortions,” Rosenbaum said.

What are the implications here? Several states that help provide abortion coverage with their own funds would have to pare back that funding or drop out of Medicaid. That’s a federal power conservatives are happy to exercise — but one they’d stand to lose if they get their way in the Supreme Court next year.

“If the states were to prevail on the issue of expansion, then the [abortion] mandate would presumably fall,” Rosenbaum said.

In other words, be careful what you wish for.

“The thing is that Medicaid is already conditioned on all kinds of thing,” Jost said. “And some of them are things that people who are trying to strike the mandate think are pretty good ideas.”

Glenn Beck Suggests Tea Party Is Racist

THINK PROGRESS

In a startling admission from a major Tea Party champion, former Fox News host Glenn Beck said Friday that race may be a motivating factor in the Tea Party’s opposition to President Obama. In an interview with Fox Business host Andrew Napolitano, Beck said Obama and GOP front-runner Newt Gingrich are both “big government progressive[s],” so he doesn’t understand why Tea Party members are supporting Gingrich. “If you’re against [Obama] but you’re for [Gingrich], it must be about race,” Beck said:

BECK: And I issued a challenge to Tea Party members. … [Gingrich] is a progressive. … If you have a big government progressive, or a big government progressive in Obama, one in Newt Gingrich, one in Obama, ask yourself this, Tea Party: is it about Obama’s race? Because that’s what it appears to be to me. If you’re against him but you’re for this guy, it must be about race.





The comment is striking coming from Beck, who organized major Tea Party events and strongly defended the movement against charges of racism. “The NAACP adopted a resolution condemning the racist elements of the Tea Party. Well, I’d do that, too, if I knew where they were,” Beck said in July 2010. Now, it seems he finally knows there are. And he’s being disowned by conservative blogs for expressing this. Conservative provocateur Andrew Breitbart responded by calling Beck a “coward,” a liar, and a “huckster,” saying the race comments “jumped the gun, and in essence jumped the shark.”

Indeed, just this weekend, a Tea Party group in Kansas drew condemnations from the local NAACP for depicting President Obama as a skunk. “It is half black, half white, and almost everything it does, stinks,” reads the website of the Patriot Freedom Alliance, a Tea Party of Hutchinson, under a picture suggesting “the skunk has replaced the eagle as the symbol for the president.” Darrell Pope, president of the Hutchinson NAACP, called it “a blatant statement of racism.”

Anti-gay Alabama Republican Masturbates for Lesbians

TPM

We feel safe in saying this is probably the weirdest story you’ll read all day…

An anti-gay Alabama Republican was reportedly making secret sperm donations to at least nine New Zealand women he met over the internet, unbeknownst to his wife back in America.

Bill Johnson, who made a failed bid for governor of Alabama in 2010, anonymously donated sperm to lesbian couples in New Zealand, according to a report by the New Zealand Herald.

Johnson has spent much of the last year in Christchurch, where he moved without his wife and her three kids (from a previous marriage), in order to help the country’s recovery from the February earthquake.

All the while Johnson was reportedly trolling the internet under the username “chchbill” for women who needed help getting pregnant. He reportedly had exchanges with at least nine women — among them several lesbians — at least three of whom are now pregnant.

From the Herald:

The Herald on Sunday approached Johnson on Thursday at a restaurant in Christchurch where he had just finished dining with one of the women he had successfully impregnated.

He said the urge to become a biological father was “a need that I have”.

“I am married to the most beautiful woman in the world. When I married her I knew we couldn’t have any more children. She had a hysterectomy 10 years ago,” he said. “There is nothing my wife would want to give me more in the world than a child of my own.”

“Reproduction and having children is as basic a human need as eating,” he told the Herald.

His wife, Kathy Johnson, said the revelations were “the utmost of betrayal.”

“This is a really, really difficult time for our family,” Kathy Johnson said in an email to the Mobile Press-Register. “I’m still in disbelief and very hurt, and our family has a lot of healing to do.”

Johnson ran as a Christian conservative in his 2010 bid for governor, during which he said he was against gay marriage. He finished fifth out of seven Republican primary candidates.

Read the full, bizarre report here.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Donald Trump's Companies Filed for Bankruptcy 4 Times

ABCNEWS

Donald Trump -- or companies that bear his name - have declared bankruptcy four times.

Trump has built an American empire from Las Vegas to New York with towering hotels and sparkling casinos. Forbes estimates he's worth $2.7 billion. But not all of Trump's business ventures have been constant money-makers. In 1991, 1992, 2004, and again in 2009, Trump branded companies or properties have sought Chapter 11 protection.

"I've used the laws of this country to pare debt. ... We'll have the company. We'll throw it into a chapter. We'll negotiate with the banks. We'll make a fantastic deal. You know, it's like on 'The Apprentice.' It's not personal. It's just business," Trump told ABC's George Stephanopoulos last Thursday.

A business declaring bankruptcy is nothing new in corporate America, where bankruptcy is often sugar-coated as "restructuring debt." But it might seem alarming to everyday Americans who can't get a bank to restructure their home loans. If you want to get Donald Trump hot under the collar, accuse him of declaring bankruptcy....................

Gingrich fuels more Mideast conflict: Palestinians


(Reuters) - Palestinian leaders said on Saturday U.S. Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich had invited more conflict in the Middle East by calling the Palestinians an "invented" people who want to destroy Israel.

Saeb Erekat, a senior Palestinian official, described his comments in an interview as "despicable." Hanan Ashrawi, another top official, said Gingrich's "very racist comments" showed he was "incapable of holding public office."

"This is the lowest point of thinking anyone can reach," Erekat, a close advisor to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, told Reuters. Such comments served only to "increase the cycle of violence," he added.

"What is the cause of violence, war in this region? Denial, denying people their religion, their existence, and now he is denying our existence," said Erekat, for years a leading figure in peace talks aimed at the creation of a Palestinian state alongside Israel.

In an interview on Friday with the Jewish Channel, Gingrich predictably sided with Israel in its conflict with the Palestinians, who are seeking a state of their own on land occupied by Israel in a 1967 war.

But the former speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives departed from official U.S. policy that respects the Palestinians as a people deserving of their own state based on negotiations with Israel.

"Remember, there was no Palestine as a state. It was part of the Ottoman Empire" until the early 20th century, said Gingrich, who has risen to the top of Republican polls with voting to start early next year to pick a nominee to challenge Democratic President Barack Obama in the November 2012 election.

NO "CONTRIBUTION TO PEACE"

"I think that we've had an invented Palestinian people who are in fact Arabs, and who were historically part of the Arab community. And they had a chance to go many places, and for a variety of political reasons we have sustained this war against Israel now since the 1940s, and it's tragic," he said.

There are around 11 million Palestinians around the world, Palestinian officials say. They include refugees and their descendants who left or were forced to flee their homes during the 1948 war that led to the creation of Israel. More than 4 million of them live in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

The 1948 war erupted after Arab states rejected a U.N. plan that would have divided British mandate-ruled Palestine into Arab and Jewish states.

Gingrich along with other Republican candidates are seeking to attract Jewish support by vowing to bolster U.S. ties with Israel if elected.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Republicans And Business Groups Unable To Find One ‘Job Creator’ Who Opposes A Tax On Millionaires

THINK PROGRESS

Yesterday, Republicans again shot down an extension of a payroll tax break for middle-class families due to their objection to a 1.9 percent tax increase on the top 0.2 percent of income earners. Naturally, Republicans are recycling their spurious claim that taxing America’s millionaires will somehow hit small businesses and stifle job creation. “It’s just intuitive that, you know, if you’re somebody who’s in business and you get hit with a tax increase, it’s going to be that much harder, I think, to make investments that are going to lead to job creation,” said Sen. John Thune (R-SD).

Hoping for more than Thune’s intuition, NPR put out a request to Republican offices and the business groups that have been lobbying against the surtax to find business owners who’d be affected. Unsurprisingly, Republican leadership and the business groups came up empty:

We wanted to talk to business owners who would be affected. So, NPR requested help from numerous Republican congressional offices, including House and Senate leadership. They were unable to produce a single millionaire job creator for us to interview.

So we went to the business groups that have been lobbying against the surtax. Again, three days after putting in a request, none of them was able to find someone for us to talk to. A group called the Tax Relief Coalition said the problem was finding someone willing to talk about their personal taxes on national radio.

There’s good reason why Republicans came up empty. Just 2 percent of people with any business income, large or small, would be affected by this tax increase.

Contrary to the GOP’s rhetoric, NPR found several business owners who’d be affected who insisted that the tax wouldn’t hurt hiring at all. “It’s not in the top 20 things what we think about when we’re making a business hire,” said one business owner. It “didn’t even make it on the agenda.” Another business owner said that, even with slightly less disposable income, the marginal tax rate “has nothing to do with what my business does.”

Indeed, business owners have long been telling Republicans that the marginal tax change makes “zero difference” in hiring. “I’m no sure what the connection is” between raising tax rates and hiring, said Anchor Brewing CEO Keith Greggor, adding that not a lot of “small-business owners I know are millionaires.” But Republicans like Thune refuse to let facts challenge their dogma. “I think most small-business owners who are out there right now would argue that raising their taxes has the opposite effect that we would want to have in a down economy,” he said.

Why Is Elizabeth Warren Doing So Well in Polls When Karl Rove Told Everyone To Hate Her?

Hey, everyone remember that weird attack ad Karl Rove’s sweatshop of joyless video editor-slaves at Crossroads GPS slapped together a few weeks ago accusing Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren of hating “job creation” because she, um, sympathized with the concerns of the unemployed and Occupy Wall Street? Yeah, so: how well has this strategy worked for Team Karl? Warren is up seven points in a new poll and leading in the race against Scott Brown for the first time, is how well!

The poll also found that voters think Warren is a better advocate for the dwindling middle class than Wall Street knob-gobbler Brown by a ten-point margin. Hmmmmm. Well, crap. No, hey, look guys, Team Karl does not panic, the thing to do here is oh, uh, gah, URGH… OH THEY KNOW, just make the exact opposite ad, this time accusing Elizabeth Warren of sinister, cold hatred for the working class. READ MORE »