Some Republicans Come to the President’s Defense


Barack Obama's 2009 presidential inauguration ...
President Obama's Inauguration in 2009

THE HUFFINGTON POST

By Sam Stein

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Some of the leading Republican governors are coming to President Barack Obama’s defense against charges from former Senator Rick Santorum that the president’s push for universal higher education amounts to intellectual and political snobbery.

Speaking to reporters outside of the White House after a meeting between the nation’s governors and the president, Gov. Bob McDonnell went out of his way to praise the administration’s education policy, calling it one of the few areas of bipartisan consensus. He added that the pursuit of a college education was something that all lawmakers should push students to consider. MORE

 

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NY Court Rules in Favor of a Town Having the Authority to Ban “Fracking” Trumping State Law


ENVIRONMENT

New York Court Affirms Town Authority To Ban ‘Fracking’

In a decision that could set a national precedent for how local governments can regulate gas drilling, a New York state court yesterday ruled for the first time that towns have the right to ban such drilling, despite a state regulation asserting they cannot. READ MORE

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Santorum: “Trial by Media”


Rick Santorum’s Trial by Media

On Face the Nation Sunday, the former senator generated a storm of controversy when he criticized prenatal testing as leading to more abortions, and said the president “has a very bad record on the issue of abortion and on children who are disabled in the womb.” Santorum’s campaign complains that the press is unfairly targeting him, but as The Daily Beast’sHoward Kurtz writes, the candidate is inviting the criticism by pushing his religious views.

“WHO GETS FEDERAL BENEFITS?”


MOTHER JONES February 17, 2012

THIS WEEK IN THE BLOGOSPHERE

Who Benefits From Federal Benefits?

Republican candidates have lately been parroting Charles Murray‘s argument that our “entitlement society” has created a nation of deadbeats who would rather live off government benefits than find a job. In response, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) released a study earlier this week showing the fraction of government benefits that go to able-bodied workers…

 

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Time for Elizabeth Warren’s Work to be Fully Implemented! Say a Prayer.


News from The Hill:

English: Richard Cordray, Attorney General of Ohio
Image via Wikipedia - Richard Cordray

Obama won’t rule out recess appointment at consumer bureau
By Peter Schroeder and Amie Parnes

President Obama is not ruling out a recess appointment of Richard Cordray to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), White House officials said Tuesday.

Officials said the president is leaving all options on the table when it comes to recess appointments, and that includes Cordray’s bid to head the CFPB.

While a senior White House official said Obama would not be making any recess appointments Tuesday, the official would not say whether the president would make them in the coming days.

Read the story here.

Obama, “Warrior for the Middle-Class” Remained Strong. Speaker Boehner and GOP Caved!


The Republican-controlled House of Representatives passed an amended version of the two-month payroll tax cut extension Friday, following approval in the Senate, and sent it to President Obama for his signature.

The measure passed in both chambers by unanimous consent, a procedural move allowing the measure to go forward even though most members of Congress are home for the holidays.

Obama is expected to sign the bill shortly, handing a defeat to House Republicans and wrapping up a legislative year marked by repeated partisan brinksmanship and declining public approval of a seemingly dysfunctional Congress.

House and Senate members are now expected to resume negotiations on a year-long extension of the tax cut when Congress reconvenes in January.

GOP leaders first questioned the merit of the tax cut and then complained that a short-term extension would be more trouble than it’s worth, but Obama used the standoff to portray the Republicans as de fenders of the rich with a callous attitude toward the burdens of the middle class.

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, finally succumbed Thursday to calls from across the political spectrum for House Republicans to stop blocking congressional approval of the bipartisan two-month extension previously approved by the Senate.

Under the deal, the payroll tax will remain at the current 4.2% rate instead of reverting to the 6.2% rate it was at before the cut was enacted last year. Without congressional action, the higher rate would have returned in 2012, meaning an average $1,000 tax increase for 160 million Americans. The typical worker’s take home salary will shrink by about $40 per pay period without the tax cut.

The agreement also includes the addition of legislative language to ease the administrative burden on small businesses implementing the plan, and a commitment to the negotiations on a one-year extension of the payroll tax cut as well as other benefits. [QUOTE: CNN]

TOP 1% BANKERS USED AND ABUSED BLACK PEOPLE FOR PROFIT – What do they care about a $1000 tax raise, huh, Grover Norquist?


Bank of America will pay $335 million to settle federal claims that its Countrywide unit discriminated against minority borrowers, Justice Department officials announced.

Attorney General Eric Holder said a federal probe found discrimination against 200,000 qualified African-American and Hispanic borrowers from 2004 to 2008 during the height of the housing market boom. He said minority borrowers who qualified for prime loans were steered into higher interest rate subprime loans.

Bank of America purchased Countrywide in 2008 for $4 billion in a deal that made the bank the nation’s leading mortgage lender at the time. The deal closed in July 2008 ahead of the meltdown in financial markets that fall. [QUOTE: CNN]

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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, said Monday he will not agree to reopen negotiations with House leaders on a payroll tax cut until the House passes the two-month extension already approved by the Senate.


Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, said Monday he will not agree to reopen negotiations with House leaders on a payroll tax cut until the House passes the two-month extension already approved by the Senate.

Earlier Monday, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said he expected the House to reject the tax cut bill that the Senate approved Saturday.

Boehner also said that he expected the House to pass legislation reinforcing the need for a one-year extension and that he wanted the matter to be taken up by a House-Senate conference committee.

Reid said in a statement that, “My House colleagues should be clear on what their vote means today. If Republicans vote down the bipartisan compromise negotiated by Republican and Democratic leaders, and passed by 89 senators including 39 Republicans, their intransigence will mean that in ten days, 160 million middle class Americans will see a tax increase, over two million Americans will begin losing their unem ployment benefits, and millions of senior citizens on Medicare could find it harder to receive treatment from physicians.”

The payroll tax cut extension expires at the end of the year and is worth roughly $1,000 a year for an average family. [QUOTE: CNN]

Penn State Witness Mike McQueary’s Testimony: “Some Kind Of Intercourse Was Going On”


Penn State assistant coach Mike McQueary testified this morning that he had not used the specific words “sodomy,” “rape,” or “anal sex” when he first told Penn State athletic director Tim Curley and then-vice president Gary Schultz what he had seen Jerry Sandusky doing to a boy in the football showers on March 1, 2002. But at today’s preliminary hearing on the charges against Curley and Schultz, according to an account of McQueary’s testimony written by Sara Ganim of the Patriot-Newsof Harrisburg, McQueary made it clear he had told those officials that what he saw was “severe”:

“I would have said that Jerry was in there in very close proximity to a boy with his arms wrapped around him. I said I heard slapping sounds. I described it was extremely sexual and that some kind of intercourse was going on. … There’s no question in my mind that I conveyed to them that I saw Jerry in the showers and that it was severe acts and that it was wrong and over the line.”

McQueary’s previous testimony to the grand jury investigating Sandusky led to the charges against Curley and Schultz, for perjury and failure to report abuse. McQueary’s testimony this morning seemed consistent with what he had told the grand jury, based on the summary of the grand jury’s findings that has been made public.

According to Twitter accounts of McQueary’s testimony from this morning provided by the Patriot-News, McQueary said that he had gone to the Lasch Football Building that night to pick up a pair of sneakers and a football game film from his locker. While there, he heard a “rhythmic slapping sound” and saw in a mirror Jerry Sandusky in the shower with a boy who appeared to be 10 or 12 years old. He believed Sandusky was “molesting the boy”:

“I stepped back, didn’t want to see it anymore to be frank with you. I closed my locker door,” McQueary said.

McQueary then decided to move toward shower and look in before leaving. Jerry and the boy were apart.

“They both turned so their bodies were facing me. They were four or five feet apart,” McQueary said.

“I know they saw me. They looked directly in my eyes,” McQueary said.

“Seeing that they were separated, I thought it was best to leave locker room. Frankly you can’t describe what I thought or was feeling.”

McQueary said he didn’t say anything to Sandusky or the boy. Didn’t intervene. Decided to go to his office in building.

McQueary: “I called my father,” upon going to office.

McQueary on why he called dad: “I really didn’t know what to do.”

Told him what he saw, said “what i saw was wrong.” Said he needed advice. Father told him to come home right away.

McQueary called Paterno next morning between 7:30 a.m. to 8 a.m. Said: “Coach, I need to talk to you.”

McQueary: “(Paterno) said ‘if it’s about a job, don’t bother, I don’t have one for you.’ McQueary tells him it’s not.

“The rough positioning I would have described, but not in very much detail,” McQueary said of what he told Paterno at his house.

Never said the words “anal intercourse” to Paterno “out of respect,” McQueary said.

McQueary: Paterno needed to know since he was the head coach.

McQueary said Paterno told him: “Sorry you had to see that. You did the right thing.”

Sometime after that, McQuery testified, Curley called him and he met with Curley and Schultz. He told them that “what I had seen was extremely sexual, extremely wrong,” and they told him they would investigate. Later, they told him that they had reported the incident to The Second Mile and that Sandusky had been told to stay away from the football facility, though McQueary said Sandusky showed up later anyway. McQueary testified that the officials had told him not to discuss the incident.

In the cross-examination by Curley’s attorney, Caroline Roberto, the judge would not allow questioning about a conversation McQueary reportedly had with Dr. Jonathan Dranov, his father’s best friend, at his father’s house after he left the football building. Pressed as to why he didn’t use the term “anal sodomy” when relating the incident to Paterno, McQueary said, “Ma’am, you don’t go to Coach Paterno and go in great detail about sexual acts,” adding, “I would not have used the words ‘anal intercourse.’ I said ‘extremely sexual act.'”

Under questioning from Tom Farrell, Schultz’s attorney, McQueary said he believed what he had seen to be a crime. Questioned further about the details, McQueary said that boy was not bent over, and he had not seen Sandusky with an erection. Asked why he did not report the incident to police, McQueary said, “Because it was delicate in nature.” McQueary said he left the boy alone with Sandusky because he was sure the sexual assault was over. By meeting with Curley and Schultz, McQueary said, he felt he had gone to the police, since Schultz’s oversight included the campus police. McQueary said he “without a doubt” tried to avoid Sandusky after the incident. He also said Curley and Schultz gave him no indication they had discussed the matter with police officials.

Mike McQueary told Joe Paterno he saw something ‘extremely sexual’ between Jerry Sandusky, young boy [PennLive]
Mike McQueary’s testimony at Tim Curley, Gary Schultz preliminary hearing – Twitter timeline [PennLive]

[QUOTE: deadspin.com]

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Dylan Ratigan Reviews the Fighting


Dylan Ratigan, American Hero

If you haven’t noticed, your fellow Americans are somewhat pissed about our political situation. No, I take it back — they’re mad as hell. Back in August, I was mad as hell too. I watched in disgust as Washington’s debt ceiling debacle grew from a tremor into an earthquake — one that tore deep fissures in our confidence as a nation to get anything done.

What made it even more frustrating for me, and everyone that I spoke to in late summer of 2011, was that there was little one could do about it but lose your temper. Which of course, I did.

Then, I watched as a funny thing began to happen. Something unexpected, but something so necessary. A summer of simmering frustration turned into a September of action.

People woke up. And then, finally, they began to fight back. [Quote: Huffington Post] READ FULL POST BY CLICKING HERE.