Filtered news 7/13 (late) | Wis.Community

Filtered news 7/13 (late)

Sorry this is late.  Techie problems. --RK

---Jay Leno

---David Letterman

---Conan O&;Brien

---Stephen Colbert

 On this most important date in 1568, the Dean of St Paul&;s Cathedral perfected a way to bottle beer.  Try stashing a keg under your robe and you&;ll understand why.

  “More U.S. children breathe air and drink water that is polluted, more are living in crowded, costly housing that strains the family budget and more babies are being born at low birth weights that threaten their survival and .”

     Here we have a headline from the :  "Senate Narrowly Backs Bush in Rejecting Debate on Increasing Time Between Deployments"  Well, no, I&;m sorry. That&;s not right. The vote was 56 to 41. A solid majority of senators supported increasing time between deployments.

Republicans blocked a vote on the bill. Say it again: They blocked a vote. They filibustered it.

Don&;t mistake me. I support the right of the minority party in the senate to do this, just as I did in the previous Congress when Democrats were in the minority. And I would completely oppose any effort to changes the rules, as Republicans effectively threatened to do in the previous Congress. But you can entirely support the right to filibuster, as the Republicans are now consistently doing, while also insisting that the party in question be held to account for exercising the power.

It&;s about accountability. Inaccurate reporting undermines accountability. All the big press outlets seem to suddenly have forgotten how this works. The headline is Republicans block the vote. That&;s not spin. That&;s what happened.

  Watch our own genius, John Nichols, the associate editor of the Madison, WI, Capital Times, national correspondent for the Nation magazine and author of tonight as he is interviewed by Bill Moyers on ; Journalon PBS. This is not a five minute interview, it is the focus of tonight&;s Journal.  The interview comes as more and more members of Congress are uttering the forbidden word--impeachment. (Could we start with Alberto Gonzales? Please.) Watch Nichols tonight and send us your comments. Is there time to impeach?

  As you may know, hedge fund managers don&;t like to pay taxes. To facilitate this desire, they&;ve decided that their management fees aren&;t really management fees. They&;re capital gains and should be taxed at the capital gains rate of 15% instead of the 35% rate that you and I would have to pay if we earned several million dollars a year.

This is an absurd loophole, and Congress is now dithering about whether to close it. (The fact that they&;re dithering, instead of competing with each other to express outrage and then closing it immediately on a unanimous vote, is yet another demonstration of the immense stranglehold that the rich have on American politics right now, but that&;s another story.) However, David Cay Johnston tells us today that even if this loophole gets closed, ;s another one waiting in the wings.

It&;s much too complicated to explain, but the end result is that hedge funds that go public are able to avoid taxation on a huge chunk of the money they raise for their principals. In fact, it&;s even worse: in the case of the $4.75 billion Blackstone IPO, the principals may actually get a tax refund on $3.7 billion of their bounty. This stuff really is capital gains, but they aren&;t even willing to pay capital gains rates on it. They want us to pay them.

Ain&;t that sweet? Don&;t you wish you didn&;t have to pay taxes either? It&;s a grand time to be rich and powerful in America, isn&;t it?

I may have missed any commentary on this, but no one seems to be pointing out that Bush spent the whole press conference saying we are fighting Al Queda, then concluded by disagreeing that Al Queda is stronger then it was in 2001. In 2001, they highjacked four airliners using box cutters and today, according to administration spin, they have the entire United States Army bogged down! How do people sit there and not start laughing, I don&;t know.

  ;18/1R4/Wa&;)">Evangelical Teens Leaving the Faith in Droves?Newsflash! Conservative evangelical leaders have made a startling and earth-shaking discovery: evangelical teens have a tendency to become less religious over time! Even more amazing is the fact that exposure to lots of non-evangelical teens in public schools increases the chances that a person will adopt new and non-evangelical beliefs!

Republicans invented the punch clock, Democrats invented the weekend.

  “Since 2001, more than 22,000 servicemen and women from all branches of the military have been separated under the personality disorder discharge.” ABC News explains, “This diagnosis means the personality disorder existed before military service, and therefore .”

  “In an unusual expression of frustration, the judge who sentenced former White House aide I. Lewis ‘Scooter’ Libby to 30 months in jail, only to see the sentence commuted by President Bush, said he was .”

  ;After Vitter, DeMint worried he could ‘be next.’&;">After Vitter, DeMint worried he could ‘be next.’  Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) is not surprised by revelations that Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) “patronized brothels and call girls.” In an interview with Capitol News Connection radio service, DeMint said, “I think all of us have to look at it and say, ‘. … This can be a very lonely and isolating place.’ I’m fairly surprised at how little it does happen.” 

;Report: Government secrecy on the rise.&;">Report: Government secrecy on the rise.  In a new released today, concludes that the increase in government secrecy during the Bush administration has been “unprecedented”:

In the past six years, the basic principle of openness as the underpinning of democracy has been serious undermined. The Administration has taken an extreme view of the power of the presidency. In its view, its powers to operate are largely unchecked by the Congress, courts, states or the public.

Existing laws on openness have been undermined while secrecy is increased. The Administration has issued executive orders placing limits on the Freedom of Information Act and Presidential Records Act, expanded the power to classify information for national security reasons, and created a whole range of new categories of “sensitive” information. Classification of information has nearly doubled while efforts toward declassification have largely been stopped and many records were secretly reclassified.

Read the full report

Democrats in the House yesterday passed a bill that would start within 120 days.  Pelosi:

"Passage of Chairman Skelton’s bipartisan bill will reflect the will of the American people and reaffirm the judgment of the House that the redeployment of our troops is a central element and an effective way forward in Iraq. We will repeat that judgment legislatively as often as necessary, hopefully with an increasing level of support from our Republican colleagues, until pressure from the American people causes the President to change his mind and change his policy."

Thank you---that&;s more like it.  But, uh, we&;re not quite ready to remove your electric neck collars just yet...

   When Lilly Ledbetter discovered that she was paid much less than her male coworkers over many years, she sued her employer for pay discrimination. A jury ruled in her favor, but the Supreme Court rejected her case. Don’t let others suffer the same fate. We have a unique chance to correct the Court’s decision in this case. Learn more and take action now!  >>     >>

OK, OK, I&;ll never complain about having to wait three months for a dental checkup again. Mark Kleiman, who nearly died thanks to waiting times for his cancer diagnosis,

The claim that replacing the current insurance mishmash with a better-integrated payment and decision-making process would mean more rationing, or even more rationing-by-queuing, is the sort of palpable falsehood that people who are perfectly honorable in real life are only too willing to utter in ideological conflict, especially if paid to do so. Under a single-payer system we&;d have an idea who was waiting how long for what, while under the current system no such data are available. In all my waiting, I was never in a formal "queue," and if the cancer had gotten me before the pathologist figured out what it was no one would have counted that death as the result of rationing. But only in wingnut health-policy fantasyland is not measuring a problem the same as not having a problem.

The punchline is here:

It was only later that I discovered why the insurance company was stalling; I had an option, which I didn&;t know I had, to avoid all the approvals by going to "Tier II," which would have meant higher co-payments. The procedure is designed to get very sick or prosperous patients to pay to jump the queue.

The insurance company almost killed a man to try to persuade him to buy more expensive services.

This is a point that&;s worth keeping in mind when you hear about waiting times in other countries. The only reason we even know they have waiting times is because they measure it. We don&;t. That doesn&;t mean we don&;t have waiting times. It just means we don&;t know how long they are, which in turn implies that we don&;t have any interest in reducing them. After all, if we did, we&;d measure them, wouldn&;t we?

  AP: "Report Hints Troop Surge May Extend".   Gee, d&;ya think? The story&;s author, Robert Burns, gives us the much better "strongly implies."

Anyone heard anything from him lately? Shouldn&;t he be pretty prominent what with all the news from Iraq and the surge in full swing now? Oh, maybe he&;s off "coordinating" or something. Here&;s, arguably, the most powerful military man in the country and I&;ll bet 9 out of 10 Americans (even the informed ones) don&;t even know the guy&;s name (it&;s Lt. Gen. Douglas Lute). Talk about another brilliant idea.



July 16, 2007 - 6:27am