Case study shows Moody’s credit rating agency at the heart of the financial crisis starting in 2004.| We’ve given much attention to S&P and the prospect of Moody’s following S&P’s lead with the second cardinal sin behind a debt default, a downgrade. Historically, however, all this began the other way around when S&P followed Moody’s in an act of one-up-man-ship during the last financial meltdown.
Classic, a Target clothing factory in Jordan, escalates abuse of whistle-blower rape victims ahead of rape trial.|My friends at Change.org need our help in stopping what’s happening in Jordan. Supervisors at Target’s clothing factory in Jordan routinely rape young girls who go there to work. Some brave young girls have stood up to this abuse and are set to testify at trial within days. Instead of backing away from abuse, Target’s supervisor’s are escalating their abuse of these young girls.
More Hostage-taking. Standard & Poor’s downgrade reckless, criminal behavior.|Just like a misguided few in Congress, namely the Tea Party, Standard & Poors’ reckless downgrade is yet another hostage-taking situation. This time, however, they’re determined to kill the hostage. First of all, S&P should have its license as a credit rating agency revoked. Their actions during the housing bubble were criminal at best.
America to Congress: Its the economy, now!|The debt ceiling should have not been an issue. It was a waste of time, money and ingenuity that lawmakers could have spent on dealing with growing our economy. And what is so insulting is all the discussion about winners and losers focusing on political parties and politicians but no focus on the American people. We’re the biggest losers in this Tea Party debacle. This gang of ragtag individuals who claim that they support the “real” voices of America are mean-spirited and hateful.
Debt Ceiling talks: Let’s make a deal or hostage-negotiation.|In his articlethe other day, Matthew Norman (The Telegraph UK) quite aptly compares President Obama’s problems with trying to negotiate with the Tea Party to that of the fictional American President in the 1998 movie “Deep Impact.” The president in that movie, portrayed by the Academy Award winning actor, director and narrator Morgan Freeman, is faced with an apocalyptic moment, a comet is on a path to earth set to hit the Atlantic coast. It’s up to Freeman in his role as US president to do the unthinkable and use nuclear weaponry to stave off complete annihilation of the human race. His character, “Tom Beck,” does the unthinkable. Many lives are lost in the US and around the world but total disaster was avoided and millions lived to see another day, to rebuild what was lost.
Firedog Lake to SEC: Revoke S&P’s authority as a credit rating agency.|So what’s up with Firedog Lake and its petition to the SEC to revoke Standard & Poor’s authority as a credit rating agency? Standard & Poors has gotten into the political arena doing its best to be a kingmaker for the 2012 elections and to decide the course of our economy on behalf of Wall Street and the super wealthy, that’s what. S&P threatened to “downgrade the US credit rating if cuts were not made to Social Security and Medicare to reduce the deficit,” blatantly ignoring Social Security’s long-term surplus of $22 trillion, the needs of the elderly, and more.
Speaker Boehner does what we thought he would do all along – cave into Tea Party demands.| House Speaker John Boehner says today he’s talking about jobs — NOT. He says he put revenues on the table and yet there isn’t anything in his current bill that remotely resembles revenues. It’s just more show, albeit a little more frustrated, with Boehner as the centerpiece.
Made in America. Refrigerators, water heaters, ATM machines, bowling pins and more, hopefully. |CNN reports today that the cost of shipping and the ability to have better quality control inspires a bowling ball manufacturer to begin manufacturing bowling pins in its US plant instead of continuing to outsource the pins to a plant in Mexico.
Blue Shield one-time $1.8 million refund pales in comparison to its $3 billion in reserve |iWatch reported today that California’s non-profit health insurer, Blue Shield, will issue a one-time, 1.8 million refund to its policy holders in October. “The $180 million refund from Blue Shield of California may sound like a lot of money, but to customers it’s sofa change.”
Ending ethanol subsidies could save taxpayers billions. |A vote could take place in the Senate today to finally end a major dirty ethanol subsidy. Senators Coburn (R-Okla.) and Feinstein (D-Calif.) have introduced a bipartisan amendment that would end a 30-year-old subsidy for corn ethanol by July 1 — saving U.S. taxpayers billions of dollars. We’re so close to ending these wasteful, expensive subsidies to dirty corn ethanol and need your help to make sure that the amendment passes.
The Campaign To Cut Waste. Billions of dollars already identified. |This is a welcome relief! Instead of cutting Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security and replacing these vital programs with mysterious vouchers, President Obama and his administration and looking at realistic cuts that seem small on their own but when added up, save billions.
Online petition drive saves AmeriCorps from being defunded | This is a great story and one that merits repeating. It’s about a simple action taken by one person that created a ripple effect. What began in a coffee shop in Boston in February 2011 ultimately saved AmeriCops from being defunded in the GOP’s horrific budget plan created by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI).
Paul Ryan’s Budget History Worse than Previous Admin’s Spending Woes |Before the budget debate, I never even heard of Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI). But anytime someone comes up with a “national budget plan” for the rest of us, I figure its time to find out who this person is and what their track record has been since they were elected to public office.
Obama’s economic plan makes more sense than Rep. Paul Ryan’s | by George Kennedy |Must Read! |I’ve tired of all the noise from the far right over the budget cuts. It’s hard to keep wading through the bluster — one cat call after another. And then I came across this article that is not only on point, its refreshing.
Wall St set for higher open after JPMorgan results|Must be that tax loophole — you know the one I’m talking about. The one where mega industries don’t have to pay taxes like the rest of us. JP Morgan must have heard from Boehner over the weekend telling the bank shareholders not to worry, the GOP has them covered.
This is No Time to Cut Funding for the FAA |Its incidents like this, and other recent issues, that are evidence we cannot afford cutbacks on the FAA and other similar programs that are vital to our safety and well-being. We need to stop trashing our government.
Obama Strikes Budget Deal – No government Shutdown |Let’s continue to preserve programs like Planned Parenthood and agencies like the Depts. of Education, EPa, OSHA and others. Our determination to ensure we are all that we can be is what sets us apart. Eliminating these programs under the guise of “government reduction” would make us less than ordinary.
GOP Turns Back the Clock 90 years: Guts Child Labor Laws |While we’re all glued to the news wondering whether in a matter of hours Republicans will succeed in shutting down the government, there’s another equally sinister GOP effort underfoot; the erosion of child labor laws.
GOP Sen. Toomey – Republicans Should Move On| [Video] US Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) is on point in noting that the Republicans need to move on and stop fighting about Planned Parenthood (abortion). Hopefully, his colleagues will agree.
Republicans Hold Federal Budget Hostage Over Abortion. |Its beyond belief that an entire political party is willing to put our economy at risk because of their personal ideology. They don’t care if 800,000 American workers — some of whom are Republicans — have their paychecks abruptly halted.
No Deal Yet on a Budget.| [Video] Meanwhile, 800,000 government employees brace for a sharp dose of GOP culture-war-tactics.
Obama: ‘Politics and ideology’ should not trigger shutdown|After speaking with House Speaker Boehner, President Obama said that a budget agreement is close and that a government shutdown can be avoided stating that ”the only question is whether politics or ideology is going to get in the way.”
Update: GOP Multitasking: Shutdown government, defund anything liberal and bust unions. |By now, we’ve all heard or read the news that on Tuesday, “the Obama administration rejected a short-term House Republican demand to cut $12 billion now in exchange for keeping the government open for one more week.” [....] Why? Because Republicans’ version of budget cuts is gut government and anything else that looks even remotely liberal. This is a culture war and, like union-busting, it has nothing to do with balancing a budget and protecting American citizens.
Obama: ‘Politics and ideology’ should not trigger shutdown |Update: After speaking with House Speaker Boehner, President Obama said that a budget agreement is close and that a government shutdown can be avoided stating that ”the only question is whether politics or ideology is going to get in the way.”
Nat’l Conf of State Legislatures track 744 Union-Busting Bills |This isn’t about budgets, its about the 2012 election and American workers/middle-class are the scape goat. While the President and his administration do all they can to promote job growth and shore up the economy, Republicans do all they can to crush American workers and the American dream.
Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder’s Financial Martial Law on Poor Cities |It’s no wonder the GOP wants to defund wireless efforts across our country — then, we wouldn’t find out about and respond to their egregious acts on the local level as quickly as we do now. Here’s an item that somehow I let slip past my ever-watchful eye. Michigan’s new law that every sane person in this country should be concerned about — especially real Libertarians — its government over-reach at its worst and so much more.
Slow & Steady Decline: Unemployment rate drops to 8.8% | President Obama’s economic plan is working! 1.8 million jobs created in 13 months. And the President is right, we haven’t seen these kinds of economic gains since 1984. The GOP’s take on this? Well, that depends on who you listen to; like their message, its complicated. But let’s celebrate our progress!
OH Gov. Kasich will sign collective-bargaining bill Thursday night |The Toledo Blade reported earlier this afternoon that “Gov. John Kasich plans to … to sign into law a bill severely restricting the collective bargaining power of some 350,000 public employees in Ohio.”
Gov. Malloy takes on New York’s budget deal |Dan Malloy’s approach to addressing the budget is a welcome change from his predecessor. His budget town hall meetings give us a chance to express our concerns, and more. We all know that the road ahead for Connecticut’s budget ($10 billion shortfall) is steep. But unlike some governors (GOP), Malloy is not looking to slash aide to municipalities while not increasing taxes. He’s actually looking for a “balance” of cuts and tax increases.
Wisconsin Judge Reaffirms Collective Bargaining Law Restraining Order |Despite Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s efforts to defy the court’s order, Judge Maryann Sumi says her order is “crystal clear” that the law that severely limits Wisconsin public employees has not gone into effect yet as she is still reviewing it.
Wisconsin Gov. Walker Continues to Ignore Legislative Rules and a Court Order |Despite a court injunction on implementing the bill that would strip state and locals workers of most of their collective bargaining rights, on Saturday, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker had the state’s Legislative Reference Bureau publish the bill online. By doing so, Walker claims the bill is now “law” and announced his plans of carrying out the “law.”
Political Watchers: Publishing Collective Bargaining Law Could Damage GOP | WTAQ | Marquette professor Rick Esenberg said Friday’s move to have the Legislative Reference Bureau publish the bargaining law may have riled up the public unions and their liberal base just a week before the Supreme Court election. … Esenberg said it could hurt conservative Justice David Prosser in his re-election bid, while helping his opponent JoAnne Kloppenburg. If Prosser loses, the court loses its 4 to 3 conservative majority – presumably making it easier for opponents of the union restrictions to strike them down.
Losing Our Way | New York Times Columnist Bob Herbert’s Last Op-Ed | He’s off to “write a book and expand my efforts on behalf of working people, the poor and others who are struggling in our society.” Herbert’s op-ed focuses on the state of our nation saying, “So here we are pouring shiploads of cash into yet another war, this time in Libya, while simultaneously demolishing school budgets, closing libraries, laying off teachers and police officers, and generally letting the bottom fall out of the quality of life here at home.” With 14 million people out of work and only enough jobs for one out of every five, things do look rather grim. Those office-based physician jobs clearly haven’t reached the masses as yet. This is a good read, in my opinion. Thanks Bob, and good luck!
Report Claims Office-Based Physicians Pumped 1.4 trillion into Economy in 2009 |Could this report actually be real? Is it true? Medpage Today (affiliated with the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine) reported today that office-based physicians pumped$1.4 trillion into the economy for 2009 along with thousands of jobs. Are these folks talking about the US? Is this a joke? Shut the door, man! How come nobody told the GOP? By now, they would have found a way to blame President Obama for something bad, really bad about this in some convoluted way.
Will AT&T-T-Mobile deal be good for consumers? NO. |[Video] Bill Lazarus has it right. Two bad companies getting together not good. In my opinion, we lose. Rates will go up and poor service will go from bad to worse.
Ma Bell and Geraldine’s Purse Phone |Almost thirty years after the big break up, AT&T is making its move to become “Ma Bell” once more with its proposed buyout/merger of T-Mobile USA, a deal worth $39 billion. No doubt, AT&T’s lobbying apparatus is in full swing, vying for support in Congress. My concern with this merger is the potential to lose competition in the wireless market by allowing Ma Bell to become a monopoly once again.
Wisc. Judge Blocks Controversial Union Law |Wisconsin Judge agrees that the final vote broke the law and has blocked passage at least for now. The battle is long from over. Collective bargaining, union busting and attempts at reducing the minimum wage in some states equals nothing more than GOP’s Waterloo.
Gov. Walker’s All-or-Nothing Style Political Folly?|The battle in Wisconsin seems to be coming to a head. It’s important to note at every opportunity that unions have already conceded to demands that will result in an 8 percent pay cut for the average worker. Walker and conservatives refuse to believe the unions. I believe they are making a big mistake in not taking the unions at their word. The “all or nothing” approach is beginning to swallow the conservative message in Wisconsin and the GOP governor along with it.
Republican War On Working Families| [Video]
GOP’s Muddying of the Waters is giving them the Blues|Texas is an interesting case study because, while it prides itself as a model for conservative values and spending, it is fast becoming a tale of two states. Texas conservative spending is fine if you enjoy a high income. If not, you are in trouble.
American Workers Vs Multi-Billionaires | [Video] GU VIDEO OF THE WEEK. Set to music and a rap you don’t want to miss. The message is clear. This is not about Republicans vs. Democrats, its the economy.
Is Unrest in the Middle East and North Africa Similar to our Own? |The conservative push to the far right in our country that is cultivating a growing gap between the rich and the poor is equally unsustainable. While I often write about that push using phrases such as “the GOP” or “conservatives” or “Republicans,” the line between parties and ideological issues is beginning to blur as people from all across the political spectrum lose their ability to maintain a stable, middle class life style. We saw this at mass pro-workers’ rights rallies this past weekend.
Rally For America Feb. 26, 2011 |[Video of Save the American Dream rallies around the country Feb. 26]
Pro-Union Rallies in 50 States |Cold, raining, freezing temperatures, nothing stopped people all across the country coming out in support of what has turned into a fight for the constitutional right of free speech, of self-determination to organize and select a representative.
We Can’t Afford to Cave to GOP Extremists on the Budget.|byCREDO Action |Tell Democratic Leadership: Don’t cave to Republican extremists on the budget. It’s breathtaking to think that the Republicans would risk a government shutdown because Democrats won’t unilaterally capitulate to their demands for concessions in some of the most intractable ideological wars of our time.
Is Gov. Walker Poster-boy material for GOP or another Palin bomb? |There’s a bump in the road for Republicans with the fight they have chosen and the champion they picked as their poster-boy. Neither adds up to true conservative values; especially when the union has met the demands of give-backs allowing Walker to balance the state’s budget.
OH Public Employee Collective Bargaining Law |A friend of mine who is a teacher in Ohio sent me and a group of teachers a summary of Ohio’s Senate Bill 5 which, clearly kills unions. Here’s the summary:
CT Gov. Malloy Joins Union Rally at the State’s Capital |On February 23, 2011, over 500 Connecticut workers came out to a rally at the state’s Capital to show their solidarity with Wisconsin unions and workers everywhere.
IN AG Dismisses Deputy for “Live ammunition” Tweets Against Protesters |Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller has dismissed a deputy, Jeff Cox, for posting inappropriate comments online critical of the labor union protesters in Wisconsin. … Cox sent out a message on his Twitter account saying that police should “use live ammunition” against the protesters.
This is what solidarity sounds like! | [Video]
GOP Seeks to Defund AmeriCorps Leaving 85,000 Workers at Risk| Next item on the GOP chopping block? DefundAmeriCorps, the “groundbreaking national service program that has transformed the lives of millions of Americans,” offering 85,000 opportunities for adults of all ages and backgrounds to serve through a network of partnerships with local and national nonprofit groups.
Will Eliminating Unions and Collective Bargaining Rectify States’ Budget Shortfalls?| After proposing to gut government agencies and programs at the federal level, the GOP turns its attention to the local level. On the chopping block, unions. Will that ease or rectify state’s budget falls? No. And despite bills cropping up in state legislatures seeking to either limit or eliminate collective bargaining, everyone knows that this is not about the budget, its about the GOP winning the White House in 2012.
House GOP Passes $61 Billion Budget Cut | [Video] The real result of the House GOP actions today: cover the cost of their obscene tax cuts for the wealthy by taking away from those who need it the most. This is not balancing the budget. Not even a little.
Wis. Democrats Could Stay Away for Weeks | [Video] The Governor’s determination to unilaterally take away state employees right to collective bargaining has no place in our democracy. We cannot allow this to happen in Wisconsin. This is only the beginning and we have to stand firm and in solidarity.
30,000 and Growing. Wisconsin Says No to Union Busting| Instead of sitting down with union leaders and discuss the budget shortfalls the state is facing, Wisconsin’s Governor Scott Walker (R) proposes to strangle workers’ rights by eliminating the right for cops, firefighters, teachers, or any other government employee to let their union negotiate their pay and benefits through collective bargaining. That’s not budget negotiations, that’s union busting.
Gov’t to wind down Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae|While some GOP lawmakers express concern that the President’s plan does not have enough details, one key Republican lawmaker looks forward to working with the President on this issue stating that, “While there are obviously going to be some differences between the administration’s long-term vision and my own, I look forward to working with Secretary Timothy Geithner and President Obama to find a solution we are all amenable to.”
Food Price Shocks and Shortages. Make Soup! | Cyclones in Australia, flooding in Russia, snow in the US, fuel prices rising, crops being damaged, food prices are rising, and there’s snow everywhere I look. And the growing concern globally — food shortages.
Sen. Rand Paul Proposes to Cut US Budget Based on US Constitution |Freshman Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) is wasting no time in implementing the politics of his colleagues in the GOP but on a grander scale; especially when it comes to supporting the Constitution.
Unemployment Rate Drops to 9 Percent Nationwide |We like good news; even when it is not as good as we would like. We were at the brink but are steadily digging ourselves out of an unprecedented economic quagmire.
Kentucky Hospitals Face $500M a Year in Costs for Uncompensated Care | While Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) rallies the Senate GOP to vote for repeal of the Affordable Care Act, he’s neglecting to share with folks in his home state just what the cost of his actions mean to them. Instead, “Republican members are trying to sneak grenades into the heart of the law, crafting modifications which they admit are meant to destroy it.[TPM]
Obama: State of the Union to focus on jobs, deficit | [Video] It is and will always be about the economy!
Eric Cantor Wrong on Social Security. Go Figure |Democracy for America and other organizations are fighting to protect Social Security. Its one thing to review something and improve upon it. It is quite another to take our hard-earned money (remember that we pay into it) and allow some private financier to toss it at the stock market and hope for the best.
GOP’s Pledge to America Falls Short in 112th Congress | Despite their win of many new seats in Congress during the 2010 midterm elections, and their vows to respond to the “call of the people,” they have done nothing but put forth a bill to repeal a law that is saving American lives, stabilizing a flawed health care system through elimination of waste and smarter work procedures, and so much more — and all for the sake of scoring political points.
Health Industry Investors Optimistic Over Affordable Care Act Impact on the Industry |Despite GOP’s claims that the Affordable Care Act will kill grandma and jobs, health insurance investors, who first came down on the side of the GOP, are now stating the opposite.
What’s In Your Bank Statement Starting in 2011? |ATM fees could go up to $25-35 for some transactions. Free checking will probably phase out. Checking your bank statement is a smart start to financial health this year.
CT OFA Offers to Review Proposed Legislation for Potential Job Growth |Connecticut’s “legislature’s non-partisan Office of Fiscal Analysis, which analyzes every bill to determine its potential cost to state government, recently filed a plan outlining how it could take a similar look at possible impacts on public- and private-sector jobs.”
Hartford Made a “10 Best Cities” List for Jobs in April 2010 | On April 30, 2010, CNBC posted the top (12) cities to get a job and Hartford ranked seventh. Their listing also noted that the ratio for jobs and the unemployed in Hartford was “two unemployed people for every job opening” and a median salary for those jobs at $50,340.
Daily Kos: Obama’s Tax Deal GOOD! |Daily Kos is as progressive as any other standing left and forward media group out there. So, when Daily Kos publicly states that the President’s tax deal is a good thing, we need to do what the author of this article did — read what is in the tax deal.
Gov-Elect Malloy. A “light of hope” as State faces $3.67 Billion Deficit |With a potential $3.67 billion deficit looming over us, its hard to be hopeful about Connecticut’s future. But hopeful we are that Governor-Elect Dan Malloy can right the rudder on our ship and prevent us from sinking.
Is It Time to Toss the Sausage Out with the Sour Milk? |We all know that there is a process when you get to Washington called “let’s make a deal” or “sausage making.” Lawmakers get together behind closed doors and then start bartering with each other.
The Clock is Ticking on the Unemployed |[Video] Mitch McConnell, John Boehner and their supporters obviously will stop at nothing in order to ensure that the wealthiest two percent of Americans continue to grow their wealth on the backs of the other 98 percent of americans.
GM Stock Sale in High Gear | [Video Update]
G.M. Stocks Bring Billions to Taxpayers |This is why we elected Barack Obama to be president. Conventional wisdom says that our attention span is short; and more than likely so is our memory. But not too long ago, there was a lot of chatter about putting someone at the helm of the ship who would tackle the desperate problems we faced with tenacity, thoughtfulness and intelligence. Someone who would get the job done and not respond in a knee-jerk reaction.
Made in America | Growing up, there was a phrase that I heard often, “an honest day’s work in exchange for an honest day’s wage.” One took pride in one’s work, whether it was in being a carpenter, a plumber, a dressmaker, a welder, or a craftsman of some kind.
Dems Pass Bill to help Small Businesses. Reps Pass Out Pledge to Keep Bush Economic Meltdown Growing |Democrats achieved a significant win for small businesses, the backbone of our economy, by passing a bill that provides real assistance: Specifically, small businesses will get:
Sen. Lieberman Supports Tax Cuts for the Wealthiest 2% |Have you heard that Senator Lieberman supports tax cuts for the wealthiest 2% of Americans over real relief for working families?
Vote on Unemployment Insurance Benefits Tuesday 7/20 |As early as Tuesday, July 20, the Senate will likely vote onThe Restoration of Emergency Unemployment Compensation Act of 2010 (H.R. 5618), a bill that would extend unemployment insurance benefits to laid-off workers through the end of November 2010.
CREDO Action to Congress: Close the Hedge Fund Loophole! |CREDO, along with MoveOn.organd other progressive organizations, has issued a call to action about one of the of the most egregious tax loopholes, the “hedge fund loophole.” This loophole allows for money mangers, some of whom earn more than $1 billion per year, pay just a fraction of the tax rate paid by working people.
Move Your Money Campaign Heats Up. Should we Wait for Reform or Move our Money Now? | “According to the Credit Union National Association (CUNA), more than 1.2 million Americans joined a credit union in 2009. … Memberships increased more than one-and-a-half times faster than the growth in the U.S. population,” says CUNA’s CEO Dan Mica, who points out that nearly one in four Americans now belongs to a credit union.”
Vote on Unemployment Insurance Benefits Tuesday 7/20 |The level of long-term joblessness is staggering. In May, up to 46 percent of the unemployed had been out of work for more than 6 months. And while overall unemployment is at 9.7 percent, a level not seen since the deep recession of the early 1980′s, conditions are especially bleak for minorities, women, and low-income communities, with the jobless rates soaring into double digits.
Vote “Yes” for West Hartford’s Budget Referendum |On June 15th, there will be a budget referendum and many of us are asking folks to support by voting “Yes.” We’ve got the best schools, town services and more. Here’s what Mayor Scott Slifka had to say about the budget referendum.
Wall Street Banking Bill in Senate’s Hands. Tell them to Stand for the People | I went to fill up my car today and gas jumped from $2.85 to $3.07 a gallon. It really gets under my skin when I see how much money I am shelling out for everyday items and then hear GOP leadership express their determination to stop every effort to right our economy and put in the necessary regulations and laws to prevent us from failing again with the Wall Street accountability bill.
Are Our Students Employable? | In speaking with one of Education 2010′s panelists about the public school system’s graduation rate, I learned, much to my horror, that the Department of Correction graduates as many — and in some towns more than — as the public school system. Several days later, I am still reeling from that information. There are so many obstacles to overcome with our current system. It is no wonder that companies seek to employ students from outside of our borders.