Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Gavel: More Than 1 Million Seniors Receiving Medicare Prescription Drug Checks

August 30th, 2010 by Karina
Today, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that more than 1 million Medicare beneficiaries have already received their one-time, tax-free checks of $250 to help pay for prescription drug costs.

These checks will continue to be mailed out as seniors hit the ‘donut hole’ prescription drug coverage gap, with an estimated 4 million seniors and people with disabilities receiving this assistance over the next several months. From HHS:

Nationwide, 1 million Medicare beneficiaries have already been mailed their rebates and more beneficiaries will be receiving checks in the coming months as they enter the coverage gap. Eligible beneficiaries receive these checks automatically in the mail when they reach the donut hole.

Seniors don’t have to sign-up to be eligible for the rebates.

Rebate checks will help people with their drug costs this year. Next year, those who fall into the donut hole will receive a 50-percent discount on covered brand name medications while in the donut hole.

Every year, the amount Medicare beneficiaries pay in cost sharing will decrease markedly until the coverage gap is closed.

The closing of the donut hole is just one of the ways seniors benefit from the Affordable Care Act. In addition to savings on prescription drugs, the law provides new benefits to Medicare beneficiaries when they visit their doctor.

All beneficiaries will receive free preventive care services like mammograms and certain colon cancer tests and a free annual physical starting in 2011 in Original Medicare.
Additionally, seniors can expect to save an average of nearly $200 per year in premiums by 2018 compared to what they would have paid without the new law, and most beneficiaries will also see a significant reduction in their Medicare coinsurance as a result of the Affordable Care Act.

Speaker Pelosi on the news

More than 1 million Medicare beneficiaries have now received a rebate check to help begin closing the prescription drug ‘donut hole’ coverage gap and make their prescription drugs more affordable. Starting in January, those who fall into the donut hole will begin receiving a 50-percent discount on brand name drugs while in the donut hole. They are receiving these benefits because of the health care law Congress passed to strengthen Medicare, lower costs for our seniors, and give seniors more control over their medical care.
Congressional Republicans have voted to repeal this law, and undercut Medicare by making it a voucher system.

While Democrats are closing the donut hole and making Medicare fiscally sound for decades to come, Republicans are promising they will go back to the days of higher drug costs, shrinking benefits, and insecurity for our seniors.

We will not go back to the failed Bush agenda that placed insurance industry profits ahead of care for our seniors.

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Happy Planet Index: US is 114th

click on graphics to enlarge

In an age of uncertainty, society globally needs a new compass to set it on a path of real progress. The Happy Planet Index (HPI) provides that compass by measuring what truly matters to us – our well-being in terms of long, happy and meaningful lives – and what matters to the planet – our rate of resource consumption.

The HPI is not based on economics. But there is also a more subtle and no less damaging aspect to all this focus on personal consumption. People who are strongly motivated by the idea of getting rich and famous are what psychologists refer to as materialistic.

Using an engaging metaphor, psychologist and author Oliver James describes
them as having caught the ‘affluenza’ virus.The scientific evidence for the
negative impacts of materialism is overwhelming; they range from poorer
personal relationships through fewer good moods and lower self-esteem, to
The Happy Planet Index 2.0                                                               

In short, people whose main aspiration is to be wealthy are inclined to be less satisfied with their lives in general than those who focus their energies elsewhere.81 What is worrying, but perhaps unsurprising, is the extent to which materialism is on the rise.

Rich developed nations fall somewhere in the middle o the HPI. The highest-
placed Western nation is the Netherlands – 43rd out of 143. The UK still
ranks midway down the table – 74th, behind Germany, Italy and France. It is
just pipped by Georgia and Slovakia, but beats Japan and Ireland. The USA
comes a long way back in 114th place.

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EPA to Letter Grade Cars on Fuel Efficiency

August 31, 2010 (2:34)

The Environmental Protection Agency is proposing letter grades be added to window stickers on new vehicles to reflect their effect on the environment.

Rightardia thinks this is a simple, but effective way to save fuel and reduce pollution.

Sources:EPA TreeHugger Detroit News  Fox News  WDIV

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Glen Beck: The end is near so come to Jesus before it's too late.

Father Glen Beck: "I believe we're approaching a last call: All aboard God's train. Buckle up, because trouble is coming."

Beck suggests Americans need to get behind the shield of God to be protected against this 'trouble."

This suggests Beck believes the anti-Christ is coming which bring the rapture and the end of days.

People who make such predictions are usually called prophets. What does the Bible say about the end of days?

And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. Luke 21:25-26 

Many Bible verses are referring to the end of the AGE of Pisces (the fish, the Church age) and the beginning of the AGE of Aquarius (the water-bearer.).

It is possible the age of Aquarius could begin around 2050. Wikipedia says the Age of Aquarius won't start until 2600. Christ's reign on earth is supposed to end when the Age of Aquarius starts.

This could suggest the power of Christianity will subside when the age of Aquarius starts. The non-believer community looks forward to that day.

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Haaretz: IDF boarded Gaza flotilla ships with intent to kill

Nazareth press conference in June 2010--Israeli Arab MK Hanin Zuabi testified before a United Nations panel probing Israel's deadly raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla in May, telling the panel that commandos who boarded the ships intended to kill, Army Radio reported on Tuesday.

A UN inquiry team began hearings on Monday with Jordanian activists about the May 31 Israeli raid on a Turkish ship trying to break an Israeli naval blockade of the Gaza Strip. Nine Turkish activists were killed in the raid.

So far, Israeli Knesset member Zuabi and six others have been interviewed.

"It was evident from the beginning that the commandoes viewed all of us activists as terrorists, Zuabi told The Associated Press after her testimony before a three-member UN team headed by Karl Hudson-Phillips, former judge of the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

Israel's use of large numbers of elite troops with sophisticated weaponry showed it intended to kill the passengers, added the lawmaker, who was aboard the Turkish-flagged Mavi Marmara, where the killing took place.

"We were very peaceful activists, but the commandoes came to kill," she said.

Israel has refused to cooperate with this probe, accusing the UN Human Rights Council of bias. But it is working with a separate UN group led by New Zealand's ex-Prime Minister Geoffrey Palmer and Colombia's ex-President Alvaro Uribe that is examining the legal ramifications of the incident.

Israel's military has already wrapped up its own investigation, finding that intelligence failed to predict the violent response but troops acted properly under the circumstances.

The panel is due to report back to the UN Human Rights Council during its next session, between September 13 and October 11.

The Knesset in mid-July voted to revoke three parliamentary privileges from Zuabi (Balad) due to her participation in the aid flotilla that sailed to Gaza.

Thirty-four lawmakers voted in favor of stripping Zuabi's privileges and 16 voted against, after a heated debate, in which Zuabi accused her fellow lawmakers of punishing her out of vengeance.

Zuabi responded to the Knesset vote by saying, "It's not surprising that a country that strips the fundamental rights of its Arab citizens would revoke the privileges of a Knesset member who loyally represents her electorate."

The UN fact-finding mission is chaired by Karl Hudson-Phillips, former judge of the International Criminal Court at The Hague.

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New cast of Dancing wih the Stars

This season doesn't seem to have any ringers like the past seasons when there was usually an ice skater, an Olympian  of someone with extensive dance experience. 

We would expect Kurt Warner and Rick Fox to have an early edge as a former professionl athletes.

Whoever is teamed with dance pros Derrick Hough. Louis Van Amstel, Kym Johnson,  or Cheryly Burke will have an advantage. The best choreographers are Derick Hough and Cheyrl Burke.

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The WH blog: Agent Orange and Veterans

Posted by Secretary Eric K. Shinseki on August 30, 2010 at 04:59 PM EDT
With the unwavering support of President Obama, VA is transforming to meet its 21st Century responsibilities. Advocacy, on behalf of every generation of Veterans, is central to this transformation.

Agent Orange was a blend of herbicides used by the U.S. military, during the Vietnam conflict, to deny concealment to enemy forces.

More than 19 million gallons of herbicides were sprayed to remove foliage and undergrowth. The most common, Agent Orange, was sprayed in all four military zones of South Vietnam.

Heavily sprayed areas included the inland forests near the Demilitarized Zone; inland forests at the junction of the borders of Cambodia, Laos, and South Vietnam; inland forests north and northwest of Saigon; mangrove forests on the southernmost peninsula of Vietnam; and mangrove forests along major shipping channels southeast of Saigon.

The issue of Agent Orange’s toxic effects on Veterans, who served in Vietnam, has simmered for decades. Its insidious impact on those exposed to it has become increasingly apparent.

That growing awareness has resulted in the Congress’, this Department’s, and the Institute of Medicine’s previous validations of some 12 diseases, which, to date, have been granted presumption of service connection for those exposed to Agent Orange.

Last October, based on the requirements of the Agent Orange Act of 1991 and the Institute of Medicine’s report, “Veterans and Agent Orange: Update 2008,” I determined that the evidence provided was sufficient to support presumptions of service connection for three additional diseases: Parkinson’s Disease, Hairy Cell and other Chronic B-Cell Leukemia, and Ischemic Heart Disease.

After a public rulemaking process, we are now issuing a final regulation creating these new presumptions.

This action means that Veterans who were exposed to herbicides in service and who suffer from one of the “presumed” illnesses do not have to prove an association between their medical problems and their military service.

This action helps Veterans to overcome the evidentiary requirements that might otherwise make it difficult for them to establish such an association in order to qualify for healthcare and other benefits needed as a result of their diseases.

The “Presumption” simplifies and accelerates the application process and ensures that Veterans will receive the benefits they deserve.

As many as 150,000 Veterans may submit Agent Orange claims in the next 12 to 18 months. Additionally, VA will review approximately 90,000 previously denied claims from Vietnam Veterans for service connection for these three new diseases.

All those who are awarded service-connection, and who are not currently enrolled in the VA health care system, will become eligible for enrollment.

Veterans who served in the Republic of Vietnam, including its inland waterways, between January 9, 1962 and May 7, 1975, are presumed to have been exposed to herbicides.

If you know a Veteran who may have been exposed to herbicides in service and who suffers from one of the diseases that may be presumptively service connected, the Veteran or the Veteran's family can visit our website to find out how to file a claim for presumptive conditions related to herbicide exposure, as well as what information is needed by VA to determine disability compensation or survivors’ benefits.

Additionally, VA’s Office of Public Health can answer questions about Agent Orange and VA’s services for Veterans exposed to it.

This rule is long overdue. It delivers justice to those who have suffered from Agent Orange’s toxic effects for 40 years. I have been invited to testify before the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee on 23 September to explain these decisions, and I am happy to do that.

It was the right decision, and the President and I are proud to finally provide this group of Veterans the care and benefits they have long deserved.

VA is committed to addressing the health care needs of Veterans from all eras. Forty years from today, a future Secretary of VA should not be adjudicating presumptive disabilities associated with our current conflicts.

Change is difficult for any good organization, but we are transforming this Department to advocate for Veterans. We will not let our Veterans languish without hope for service-connected disabilities resulting from their service.

Eric K. Shinseki is Secretary of Veterans Affairs
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Workers Independent News: Obama Economic Recovery Board Member Calls For Second Stimulus

Submitted by Doug Cunningham on August 30, 2010 - 5:10p
Dr. Laura Tyson of the Haas School of Business at Berkeley says a second economic stimulus is needed to help create jobs in the face of nearly collapsed private sector demand.

Dr. Tyson is on President Obama’s economic recovery board. She says the first stimulus is working as intended. The Congressional Budget Office says without it, there would be three million fewer jobs.

Dr. Tyson says the government should create and capitalize a National Infrastructure Bank to help spur a trillion dollars in infrastructure investment over five years while enacting a credible plan to stabilize the ratio of federal debt to GDP gradually as the economy recovers.

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Monday, August 30, 2010 Orange County Is No Longer Whitopia

Monica Almeida/The New York Times published: August 29, 2010

SANTA ANA, CA — Orange County has been a national symbol of conservatism for more than 50 years.

It was the birthplace of President Richard M. Nixon and home to John Wayne, a bastion for the John Birch Society, a land of orange groves and affluence.

It is a region of California where Republican presidential candidates could always count on a friendly audience.

But this iconic county of 3.1 million people passed a milestone in June. The percentage of registered Republican voters dropped to 43 percent, the lowest level in 70 years.

It was the latest sign of the demographic, ethnic and political changes that are transforming the county and challenging long-held views of a region whose colorful reputation extends well beyond the borders of this state.

It is the home of Orly Taitz, a classic Orange county wing nut.

At the end of 2009, nearly 45 percent of the county’s residents spoke a language other than English at home, according to county officials.

Whites now make up only 45 percent of the population; this county is teeming with Hispanics, as well as Vietnamese, Korean and Chinese families.

Its percentage of foreign-born residents jumped to 30 percent in 2008 from 6 percent in 1970, and visits to some of its corners can feel like a trip to a foreign land.

The demographic changes that have swept the county reflect what is happening across the state and much of the nation.

In 2008, Barack Obama drew 48 percent of the vote here against Senator John McCain of Arizona. In 1980, Jimmy Carter received just 23 percent against Ronald Reagan, the conservative hero whose election as California governor in 1966 and 1970 from Orange County.

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CBSNews: The Bloom Box

Large corporations in California have been secretly testing a new fuel cell that can generate power on the spot, without being connected to the electric grid.

They're saying it's efficient, clean, and saves them money. Will we have one in every home someday? Lesley Stahl reported on the Bloom Box, Sunday, Aug. 29, at 7 p.m. ET/PT.

Fuel cells were invented over a century ago and have been used in practically every NASA mission since the 1960's, but until now, they have not gained widespread adoption because of their inherently high costs.

Legacy fuel cell technologies like proton exchange membranes (PEMs), phosphoric acid fuel cells (PAFCs), and molten carbonate fuel cells (MCFCs), have all required expensive precious metals, corrosive acids, or hard to contain molten materials.

Combined with performance that has been only marginally better than alternatives, they have not been able to deliver a strong enough economic value proposition to overcome the status quo.

Some makers of legacy fuel cell technologies have tried to overcome these limitations by offering combined heat and power (CHP) schemes to take advantage of their wasted heat.

For decades, experts have agreed that solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) hold the greatest potential of any fuel cell technology. With low cost ceramic materials, and extremely high electrical efficiencies, SOFCs can deliver attractive economics without relying on CHP.

But until now, there were significant technical challenges inhibiting the commercialization of this promising new technology. SOFCs operate at extremely high temperature (typically above 800°C).

Bloom has addressed these engineering challenges. With breakthroughs in materials science, and revolutionary new design, Bloom's claims its SOFC technology is a cost effective, all-electric solution.

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Rick Scott needs to grow a pair

Democrat Alex Sink has challenged Republican Rick Scott to take part in five statewide televised debates on the issues that are important to Floridians -- growing our economy, fixing our education system and cleaning up Tallahassee.

They're the issues Alex talks about every day. And they're the same issues Floridians wish they had a chance to hear about instead of the mud-slinging politics during the Republican Primary.

Rick Scott wouldn't agree to a statewide-televised debate in his Primary. And Alex hasn't heard from him about her proposal to debate in the General Election.

We need your help to make sure Rick Scott debates. If he won't talk openly and honestly with Floridians now, what would he do as Governor?

Add your name to Alex's letter calling on Rick Scott to debate today.

We'll make sure that Rick Scott receives the signatures of everyone who joins Alex's call.

He needs to know that Floridians want to hear the truth about his record and plans for Florida. And that 30-second attack ads have never created a job or improved public education.

Floridians deserve an honest debate on the candidates' visions for the future of our state.

Add your name to Alex's letter calling on Rick Scott to debate today.

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St. Petersburg Times: Republicans spent $70 billion in GOP gubernatorial primary

How much do you have to spend to become the governor of Florida. The St. Petersburg times predicts Scot may spend $100 million in his quest to become the next governor of Florida. He has already spent $50 million in the primary.

Rick Scott and football broadcasting legend Pat Summerall worked the Jacksonville Jaguars stadium, shaking hundreds of hands and mugging for photos for more than an hour before the game.

But it was Scott — not the famed sportscaster — who was instantly recognized by throngs of fans.

Florida voters can expect to see Slick Rick a lot more on their TV sets between now and Nov. 2.

Scott already ran so many 30-second commercials that it could take almost 25 days to watch all of them if one station showed each spot back to back, according to data from media buyers and the Campaign Media Analysis Group.

The Naples millionaire, who spent $50 million-plus to be the most marketed candidate ever in a primary, could double down by the end of the race and drop a record total of $100 million with the help of Republican donors.

Scott faces Democrat Alex Sink, the state's chief financial officer, and independent Bud Chiles — both of whom have far less money and much less name recognition. Sink, who spent less than $3 million in a battle against a little-known opponent, is familiar with campaigns against well-known, well-funded Republicans.

Her husband, Bill McBride, was crushed in Gov. Jeb Bush's 2002 re-election.

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The conservative solution to fixing America's ills

"Something that is beyond man is happening. America today begins to turn back to God. For too long, this country has wandered in darkness."--Father Glen Beck.

That's the conservative solution. Go to church, white scheeple, and get dumbed up with Bronze Age writings of the ancients.

Where did all of the black sheep go during the Restoring Honor event?

God will just wave his hand and America will be fine again. Yep, that's the conservative ticket.

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Politico: VA is changing the Agent Orange regulations

The bill for Agent Orange comes due - David Rogers -

By DAVID ROGERS | 8/30/10 4:32 AM EDT Updated: 8/30/10 9:51 AM EDT

Age and Agent Orange are closing in on Vietnam veterans, a legacy of hurt for those who served. It will be a very big bill for American taxpayers.

It’s a world turned upside down from decades ago when returning soldiers had to fight to get attention for deadly lymphomas linked to the herbicide. Now the frailties of men in their 60s — prostate cancer, diabetes, heart disease — lead the list of qualified Agent Orange disabilities, and the result has been an explosion in claims and the government’s liability.

The latest expansion, approved by Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki in October, adds ischemic heart disease and Parkinson’s and will cost at least $42 billion over the next 10 years. The VA estimates 349,000 individuals are already receiving Agent Orange disability benefits, and that number could soon reach 500,000 — or one out of every four surviving Vietnam veterans by the VA’s count.

As the costs rise, so do the questions about the science involved and the box Washington put itself in by failing to address Agent Orange’s impact more directly at the outset.

And because Vietnam service is still such a political minefield for American politicians, the most telling, often edgy debate is among veterans themselves.

“It is what it is. The anecdotal evidence of Vietnam veterans dying and getting diseases earlier is enormous,” said an exasperated Richard Weidman, an Army medic in the war and now legislative director for Vietnam Veterans of America. “I know five people in the VVA leadership alone who have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s. In no other side of my life have I seen anything like that.”

Yet for many who saw Vietnam firsthand, a 1-to-4 ratio of service-connected disabilities for Agent Orange strains credibility. And this is especially the case when the top conditions are heart disease and diabetes, two illnesses so linked to diet and lifestyle.

“Heart disease is a common phenomenon regardless of potential exposure to Agent Orange,” wrote Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) in a June letter to Shinseki challenging the secretary’s decision. A decorated Marine infantry officer in the war, Webb has since softened his tone after catching heat for his stance. But with his urging, the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee has scheduled a hearing for Sept. 23 on the new regulations, slated to take effect by December.

“I just want to understand the logic of how they decided this latest service connection,” said Webb. “This is a helluva awkward position to be in where I’ve been an advocate all my adult life on veterans’ benefits. I just want to know how they got to this point.”

Backing Webb is Anthony Principi, also a Vietnam veteran, and VA secretary under former President George W. Bush.

“He’s gotten some heat, but how can anyone question his patriotism and what he has done?” Principi said of Webb. “It’s got to be looked at; it’s got to be addressed. ... This is serious. The numbers are dramatic.”

“We’re 40 years later and we need to ask, is there a better way to do this? You want to do what’s right for veterans,” he told POLITICO. “At the same time, you want to protect the integrity of the disability compensation program.”

The convergence of cost pressures now is striking as captured by events on Tuesday this week.

That morning, the VA expects the Federal Register to publish the new Agent Orange rules to implement the latest expansion of benefits, including heart disease coverage. And that evening, President Barack Obama will speak to the nation on the U.S. transition between Iraq and Afghanistan, two fresh post-Vietnam wars with their own legacies of new disability claims.

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Obama to Senate GOP: Stop blockading Small Business Relief Bill

President Obama is accusing Senate Republicans of harming the U.S. economy by blocking a bill to aid small business. He said the measure should be the Senate's "first order of business" when it returns Sept. 13 from its summer recess.
President Obama:

Here’s what’s happening:  Up until a few months ago, SBA was able to waive the fees for SBA loan borrowers.  This allowed small business owners to put more money back into their business. . .

At the same time, we  were able to increase the government guarantee on SBA loans, to encourage more banks and credit unions to go ahead and make SBA loans to good, creditworthy small businesses.

This worked.  SBA lenders approved about 70,000 SBA Recovery loans for small businesses since the Recovery Act passed, nearly $30 billion in total. And, we brought more than 1,300 lenders back to making SBA loans at a time when other banks were cutting back their small business lending.

Unfortunately, the funding for these popular enhancements ran out at the end of May . . .With support in Congress for extending these successful loan enhancements, we started the Recovery Loan Queue, a stand-by list just like at the airport.

Today, that list is at nearly 1,000 small businesses long . . . With the passage of the Small Business Jobs Act, SBA will be able to fund these loans. Additionally, among other programs, the Act will create the Small Business Lending Fund to provide additional capital to small, community banks so they can boost their lending to small businesses locally.

Some Republicans objected to the loan fund. Some supported the bill but objected to limits that Democrats put on amendments.

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The Gavel: If you think things are bad now . . .

August 27th, 2010 by Karina
Our nation has been facing the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression because of the failed economic policies of the Bush-Republican years which led to 8 million American jobs lost, the national debt nearly doubling, $17.5 trillion in household wealth lost, and the worst private sector jobs record of any administration in 75 years.

And the GOP promises to return to the “exact same agenda” if they gain control of Congress.

Newsweek this morning paints a grim portrait of what the American economy would look like if Republicans had been in charge of responding to the recession that their policies created: fewer American jobs and larger deficits.

These conclusions are consistent with other analyses including reports from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO). the CBO found the Recovery Act is responsible for boosting GDP by as much as 4.5 percent in the second quarter of 2010 and adding as many as 3.3 million American jobs.

Economist Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics and former adviser to Sen. John McCain in 2008, and Alan Blinder, Princeton Professor and former vice chairman of the Fed, said the government’s total response to the economic crisis, including the Recovery Act:

probably averted what could have been called Great Depression 2.0…

without the government’s response, GDP in 2010 would be about 11.5% lower, payroll employment would be less by some 8½ million jobs, and the nation would now be experiencing deflation.

From Newsweek’s blog the Gaggle:

…There’s only one problem with [House Republican Leader John] Boehner’s message: so far, the things that Republicans have said they want to do won’t actually boost employment or reduce deficits. In fact, much the opposite… if they were now given carte blanche to enact the proposals they want to enact—the projected 2010-2020 deficits would be larger than they are under Obama, and fewer people would probably be employed…

…Even if we assume that the Republicans would’ve spent $0 to stimulate the economy in the wake of the largest economic collapse since the Great Depression—an unlikely scenario, given the very real risks of inaction—their proposed policies would still produce a deficit $371 billion larger than President Obama’s…
On jobs, it’s a similar story

History isn’t on the GOP’s side, either. If keeping the top marginal tax rate at 35 percent–the rate under Bush, and the rate that Republicans are fighting to preserve—spurs so much hiring, why didn’t America experience any job growth at all during Bush’s time in office?

And if a top marginal tax rate of 39.6 percent—the rate under Bill Clinton, and the rate that Democrats are fighting to restore—is such a job-killer, why did payrolls grow by 20 percent during the 1990s?…

But there’s simply no evidence, either in the history books or the latest projections, to suggest that extending all of the Bush tax cuts would provide an employment boost large enough to offset the number of jobs that would’ve been lost if the GOP had succeeded in blocking the stimulus—let alone lasting enough to justify adding another $700 billion to the deficit…

We can't go back to the failed policies of the Bush-Republican years. The American people can’t afford it

Read the full article»

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The civil rights simpleton and the the civil rights leader

On August 28th, I will stand with Martin Luther King Jr.’s vision of a just, diverse and equal society. I do not stand with Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin and their attempt to destroy and distort King’s vision.

Beck seems to think he is also presidential material. 

“I don't know what Sarah's doing, [but] I have no desire to be president of the United States — zero desire,” Beck said.

Read more:

source: Brave New Films

Watch the video and sign the petition: Glenn Beck is not Martin Luther King Jr.

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The GOP Plan for Social Securty

The Catfood Commission is a private organization that  wants to privatize Social Security so that Wall Street can loot the Social Security Trust Fund.

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Urantian Sojourn: The Tower of Beckel

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Sunday, August 29, 2010 U.S. Birth Rate Drops

August 29, 2010 (2:18)

The U.S. birth rate dropped 2.6 percent from 2008 to 2009, and some analysts suspect people’s uncertain financial futures are at fault. Other factor may also be at paly: immigration is down and some women are delaying having families.

Something needs to be done to fire up the middle class to have more kids. Apparently this trend started after 9/11. Birth rates were also down during the Great Depression.

Sources:  CBC News  The Washington Post  NECNNPR

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Did Glen Beck's Black Robed Regiment say 'all men are created equal?'

This Black Robed Regiment looks like early Klan

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: John F. Kennedy in his book A Nation of Immigrants, in which he states

The great doctrine 'All men are created equal' incorporated into the Declaration of Independence by Thomas Jefferson, was paraphrased from the writing of Philip Mazzei, an Italian-born patriot and pamphleteer, who was a close friend of Jefferson). 

A few alleged scholars try to discredit Mazzei as the creator of this statement and idea, saying that "there is no mention of it anywhere until after the Declaration was published". This phrase appears in Italian in Mazzei's own hand, written in Italian, several years prior to the writing of the Declaration of Independence. 
Mazzei and Jefferson often exchanged ideas about true liberty and freedom. No one man can take complete credit for the ideals of American democracy.

Rightardia cannot find a reliable source about the Black (Robed) Regiment that Glen Beck talked about yesterday. According to wingnut Chuck Baldwin:

The "Black (Robed) Regiment" was a group of patriot-preachers from virtually every protestant denomination located throughout Colonial America at the time of America's fight for independence who courageously preached the Biblical principles of liberty and independence. The moniker stems from the tendency of these patriot-preachers to wear long, black robes in their pulpits.

Rightardia can confirm that Jefferson borrowed the phrase 'all men are created equal from his friend, Philip Mazzei.  Jefferson was a deist not a theist. Thomas Jefferson, in Notes on Virginia, said this:

Millions of innocent men, women and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined and imprisoned; yet we have not advanced one inch towards uniformity.

Rightardia thinks Beck's comments on the "Black (Robed) Regiment" is another example of Republican historical revisionism.

Update: This article went viral. We have been getting hits on it all night.  Rightardia checked Conservapedia and could not find any references to the Black Robed regiment in it either.

It appears the Black Robed Regiment is a fabrication of evangelical blogers. One anonymous commenter suggested we check out Peter Muhlenberg, a revolutionary general and clergyman. The search for references shed no light on the Black Robed regiment.

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A view of IT from India: Are IT jobs losing sparkle?

-- After trimming payroll and tightening perks to cope with the economic slowdown last year, software companies are finding that a rising number of engineering and management graduates are transferring their affections to vocations such as manufacturing and banking -- a shift that could force tech firms to scramble harder than ever before for talented employees.

For years, college graduates and professionals working in India's $50 billion outsourcing sector moved from one tech firm to another, often getting 20-30 % higher salaries in the bargain. Now, recruitment experts and industry officials say the churn of experienced staff from IT to other sectors has increased by 15-20 % over the past year.

The main reasons, they say, are the perceived job security in the core sector and rising salary levels in manufacturing and telecom companies. Among those who made the switch is Amit Bhargava, 29, who quit his job as business analyst at one of India's top tech firms last month to join a multinational bank's technology centre in Pune.

The technology sector has not really lost its sheen, he says, but he wants to build specialist banking skills. "And it is not as prone to export risks," he adds, referring to his new vocation.

Another reason for the shift away from IT companies is that they are now visiting college campuses for recruitment only during the eighth semester, giving an opportunity to firms from other sectors to attract the best talent before them.

Software industry grouping Nasscom asked its members last year to recruit graduating students during their final, eighth semester and not disrupt academic sessions. Until two years ago, top Indian software firms competed aggressively with each other to hire engineering graduates. With the halo around working for a tech company beginning to fade, the competition is getting fiercer.

Infosys Technologies alone plans to hire 36,000 employees in the fiscal to March and its chief executive S Gopalakrishnan has listed the competition for talent as the industry's top challenge.

Rightardia estimates that India has been exporting about 100,000 IT people to the US. This started during the Bush administration when more Hi-B visas were issued.

According to Wirehead, there was never a shortage of US IT workers. US corporations liked the Indian IT workers because they will work for about half of what a US IT worker will accept.

In contrast, immigrants from Mexico and Central America compete with US high school dropouts.

Why would the GOP import workers to compete with highly trained IT people, then make immigrants who work for minimum wage jobs a political issue?

source: Times of India

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Is the GOP finally coming out-of-the-closet?

Rightardia expects other GOP gays and lesbians to come forward, but the Republicans don't want to offend the Evangelicals and their Biblical views on human sexuality.

You will never see anything in the GOP platform that will support the civil rights of the LGBT community.

Acordingly to Glen Beck his weekend revival-style rally at the Lincoln Memorial was meant to reclaim the U.S. civil rights movement "from politics," arguing that the (civil rights) movement was about "people of faith."

Beck told Fox News that the essence of the movement was about "people of faith who believe you have an equal right to justice."

This a very vague statement.  Certianly MLK was a minister and the civil rights movement initially had religious elements.

But civil rights are based on the US Constitution, not the Bible. They are also based upon landmark civil rights legislation such as that which occurred during the LBJ administration.

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GOP-The Party of Hatriots

Rightardia is a big fan of the Young turk, Cenk Uygur, but we wish he could produce smaller videos. Most blogs like vidies in the one to two minute range. We are glad Cenk is being featured on MSNBC.

Cenk is right on, but the Party of Hate is poised to take over the US Congress in 2010 unless the Democrats can stop them with reason and contributions. 

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Israeli religious leader calls for genocide

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat on Sunday slammed remarks by the spiritual leader of Israel's leading ultra-Orthodox party, who said the Palestinians should "perish", saying that it was paramount to incitement to genocide.
Erekat called on the Israeli government to denounce the remarks by Israel's former chief rabbi Ovadia Yosef, and to take action against racist remarks by other elected officials. He also criticized Israel for allowing the incident to pass without condemnation.

Yosef had said during his weekly Shabbat sermon that the Palestinians, namely Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, should perish from the world. Yosef, a founder of the Shas Party, also described Palestinians as evil, bitter enemies of Israel.

Yosef said

All these evil people should perish from this world ... God should strike them with a plague, them and these Palestinians.

The 89-year-old is a respected religious scholar but is also known for vitriolic comments about Arabs, secular Jews, liberals, women and gays, among others.

"Is this how the Israeli government prepares its public for a peace agreement?" Erekat said, days before Israeli and Palestinian leaders were scheduled to meet in Washington for the launch of renewed direct peace negotiations.

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Rick Scott for governor?

The Freaking News did some nice art work on Rick Scott. This is one example. 

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Middle east conflict has cost $12 trillion

CAIRO, Aug. 29 (Xinhua) -- The 20 years of conflict has cost the Middle East region 12 trillion U.S. dollars during the period from 1991 to 2010, Egypt's official MENA news agency reported on Sunday quoting an Indian report.

The report was published in a book entitled "The Cost of Conflict in the Middle East" by the Strategic Foresight Group in India and translated by the Institute for Peace Studies of Egypt.

The Middle East region afforded a high record of military expenses in the past 20 years and is considered the most armed region in the world, the report said.

The conflict had a negative effect on the Palestinians. The death toll from the conflict has increased to 4,000 Palestinians since 2000, while the number of people living under poverty line has risen to more than one million since 2006, the report said.

The report added that 42 percent of Palestinian families were barred from health care facilities due to the segregating walls that divide their lands.

Countries in the region could have reached a 6 percent growth of its national domestic production, but they failed due to the lack of political stability, it added.

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Another fire tornado spotted in Hawaii

On Wednesday, video surfaced of an eerie 'fire tornado' that sent flames spinning high into the sky in Brazil that Rightardia featured earlier in the week.

Now, CNN brings us a strikingly similar clip of a 'fire tornado' in Hawaii.

According to KITV, the spectacle was a product of a brush fire that firefighters were attempting to contain near the Pohakuloa Training Area on the Big Island on Sunday.

The blaze claimed at least 1,400 acres. The sound the tornado produced was peculiar.

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Al Jazeera: 'Bullied' but not surrendering

By Lamis Andoni
The resumption of direct talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) will allow Barack Obama to have his day presiding over the launch of another series of futile negotiations.  It will provide an opportunity for Binyamin Netanyahu to assert his unwavering commitment to Israel’s colonial policies, will earn the Israeli prime minister further bragging rights.

But while the talks may serve immediate American and Israeli interests they will do nothing for the cause of peace.

In fact, the mere announcement that talks will resume has emboldened the Israeli prime minister to declare that settlement-building will continue and to demand Palestinian recognition of the Jewish character of the Israeli state as a precondition for any future agreement.

So, at the same time that it has pressured the PA into dropping its preconditions for participating, the US has allowed Netanyahu to impose his on the whole process with impunity.

The Palestinians have already made clear that they will withdraw from talks should Israel not extend its freeze on settlement construction when it expires on September 26. But regardless of how long they last, the talks will have already started a process that will only perpetuate the Israeli occupation.

This is simply the old new story of the 'peace process' - which, since it started in 1993, has consolidated Israeli control over the Palestinians while brutally crushing their resistance.

Arab complicity

Responsibility for the decision to participate - despite overwhelming Palestinian opposition - must rest with the PA. But, it is important to recognise the growing American and Arab complicity in pushing the PA to surrender.

Arab countries have collectively and individually exerted tremendous political and financial pressure on the PA to enter into direct talks. Qatar, the country that presided over the special Arab League committee that gave the green light for the talks, has played a pivotal role in negotiating their 'terms'.

For their part, Jordan and Egypt, driven largely by their own self-interests, have long argued for an immediate resumption of direct talks under the guise that they would give the US an opportunity to support the Palestinian cause.

In reality, Arab support for the PA has always been conditional on the Palestinian leadership's willingness to appease the West and the divisions between Fatah and Hamas have made the threat of Arab states withholding political support all the more real for the PA.

But, the main pressure has been financial. Arab states have paid only $115mn of the $550mn pledged to PA institutions, leaving it with very real fears of financial collapse. Western donors have also failed to deliver on aid promises, much of which is linked to 'progress' in the 'peace process'.

And when Obama sent a letter to the Palestinian leadership last month threatening to withdraw US recognition of the PA, the authority found itself facing the prospect of political and financial isolation - much like that experienced by the late Yasser Arafat when Arab and Western countries left him and the Palestinians at the mercy of an Israeli invasion and siege.

No mandate, no surrender

Despite this, many within the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) and the Fatah movement advised the PA not to succumb to American threats and Mahmoud Abbas would have gained much popular support had he resisted. But the PA leader and some of his aides feared that the international backlash from not participating would cost them and the Palestinians dearly.

However, few Palestinians outside the narrow decision-making circle agree with them and the only reason why the decision has not yet been met with an outpouring of anger is because Palestinians are convinced the talks will not result in an offer that could lead to a Palestinian compromise.

As one PLO official who asked not to be named told me: "We are not afraid of the outcome of the talks. There is nothing Abu Mazan (Abbas) would or could accept. But going to the talks has undermined our battle to isolate Israel."

More than 700 prominent Palestinians in the West Bank, including leaders of all the PLO factions, signed a statement opposing the resumption of talks and called for a protest rally to be held on September 1 - the day negotiations are due to resume in Washington.

But a press conference held by opponents of the talks was interrupted by security forces, in a crackdown that has been widely criticised and interpreted as revealing the depth of the divisions generated by the decision to participate.

Lamis Andoni is an analyst and commentator on Middle Eastern and Palestinian affairs.

Rightrdia agrees. Obama is wasting precious diplomatic resources on the Israle-Palestine conflict and nothing will be resolved as long as Binyamin Netanyahu is the Israeli PM. Any US peace initiatives between Israel and Palestine are a charade at this time. 

The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera's editorial policy.

See the rest of the article at

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Saturday, August 28, 2010

Another disastrous season with no playoff hopes facing the TB Bucks

Rightardia has never been a fan of professional football.  Perhaps it is because the Tampa Bay Bucks are the local pro team. At one time we thought the Bucks were just a bad team, but then we found the first owner was just cheap.

He had the slimmest payroll in pro football and also made the biggest profits.
The first owner, Hugh Culverhouse, was even a piker in death. He was able to cheat his wife and daughter out of their inheritances.

When the new owners showed up, the Glazers, the fans were hoping for big changes. the new owner, Macolm Glazer assured the media he would rebuild the team in 1996.

Fourteen years latter the Bucks are tied  with the Chiefs with the lowest payrolls in the NFL ($79 million). The average NFL team spend $107 million. This is why the Bucks suck. This is also why the Bucks never draft free agents.

To make matters worse, the team has a second year rookie coach, Raheem Morris, who had a terrible season last year and may be the worst coach in pro football.

The first team quarterback, Josh Freeman, broke his thumb against the other cheapskate team, the Chiefs. It usually takes minimally one season to train a new quarterback so it look like the Bucks are finished for another season.

What are the chances for the playoffs: slim and next to none. 

To add injury to insult, the Glazers have blacked out the last two pre-season games to be simulcast because Bucks field attendance has been so low. It is likely the entire season will be kept off of the air. Rightardia has also heard that eight malls the Glazer's own are in receivership so the family is having financial problems.

Perhaps the the Glazers have done Tampa Bay a favor by keeping the Bucks off of the air. At least the fans will not have to watch the worst team in football play.

I'll be catching up on some international football (soccer) on Sundays when the NFL seasons starts.

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Gearturbine - New atypical turbine technology

GEARTURBINE Monterrey, Mexico -Geraturbine is an atypical Combustion Turbine Engine, that uses the "Dextrogiro vs Levogiro" Effect, is when the inflow direction moves is against the variable speed? [VS] of the circular rotary dynamic.

When the inflow has more velocity,  the rotor will increase its revolutions per minite (RPM) because of the  push the single turbine provides with the planetary gear.

Some of the features of this new turbine are:
  1. RPM Rotor Move VS Inflow Conduits Way
  2. Wide cylindrical shape dynamic mass (continue Inertia kinetic positive tendens motion / all the motor weight is going with the power thrust direction), -Non Waste, parasitic losses form-function engine system for; cooling, lubrication & combustion;
  3. Lubrication & Combustion inside a conduit radial position, out way direction, activated by centrifugal force Fueled Injected (centripetal to in) , -Cooling in & out; In by Thermomixing flow & Out by air Thermo transference, activated by the dynamic rotary move,
  4. Increase the first compression by using the reduction of one big circumference fan blades going to two very long distance captive compression inflow propulsion conduits
  5. Inside active rotor with 4 pairs of retro-dynamic turbos (complete regeneration power system), 
  6. mechanical direct "Planetary Gear" power thrust using two small gears in polar position inside a bigger shell gear, wide out the rotor circumference were have much more lever power thrust, lower RPM in a simple way solution for turbines, to make possible for a some new work application (land).
  7. 3 Stages of inflow turbo compression before the combustion.There are 3 points of united of power thrust: 1- Rocket Flames, 2-Planetary Gear  &amp 3-Exhaust Propulsion, all in one system.
  8. two continuous circular moving inside combustion (rocket flames). 
  9. Hybrid flow system different kind of aerolasticity thermoplastic inflow propulsion types; single, action & reaction turbines applied in the same system,
  10. Military benefits, No blade erosion by sand & very low heat target profile. -Power thrust by barr (tube); air sea land & generation application,
  11. It emulates  a very high % per cent efficient power plant engine.
-Patent; Dic 1991 IMPI Mexico #197187

This is a project promotion, with out any compromises (compensation?). 
I hope looks interesting to you. Thanks.

Carlos Barrera Garza.
Monterrey, Mexico.

Disclaimer: Rightardia has technical people in our organization, but none are engineers who can evaluate this product. We apologize for any factual errors made in this article. We would appreciate comments from any readers who are familiar with this sort of technology.

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Glen Beck invokes God to solve America's problems

God has been used by churches for 2,000 years to control the flock and install conventional values that kings, princes and dictators have enjoyed.

Don't worry about the lousy economy because you will get your rewards in heaven when you die! that is the fundamental belief or religious conservatives.

There is a word for a person like Beck. it is called a demagogue. 

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

Demagogy or demagoguery (Ancient Greekδημαγωγία, from δῆμος dēmos "people" and ἄγειν agein "to lead") is a strategy for gaining political power by appealing to the prejudices, emotions, fears and expectations of the public—typically via impassioned rhetoric and propaganda, and often using nationalist, populist or religious themes.

Rightardia was hoping Glen would get red faced and start talking in tongues.

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HYSTERICAL RAISINS: Alex Sink needs to exploit GOP primary death match

From The Miami Herald:
Two days after he lost the Republican nomination for governor, Bill  McCollum still refuses to support winner Rick Scott. McCollum continues to raise questions about his former rival’s character.

In his first public appearance since conceding the race, McCollum said Thursday that he called Scott to “congratulate him and wish him well.” But he didn’t bury the hatchet in one of the nastiest primary’s in state history. Rightardia described the primary battle as a death match.

The Republlican establishment came out hard for McCollum because it knew he would be stronger candidate in the general election. NewsMax and Jeb Bush endorsed Mccollum and it appeared he had a nine point lead in the last poll prior to the primary.

Scott's "let's get to work" rhetoric worked with unemployed Republicans.

Scoot has been blaming the economic downturn on Obama, but the GOP has controlled the governor's office and the statehouse for the last 12 years. Clearly the lion's share of the blame for the sour Florida economy has to do with Republican Party and its reactionary tax and economic policies.

Scott will not win if he attacks Obama in the general election. He will be forced to address real issues in Florida. Scott's deep pockets resulted from his force out from (Columbia) HCA after the federal government fined it $1.7 billion for Medicare and Medicaid fraud. Scott walked away form HCA with $330 million Golden Parachute.

McCollum supporters referred to Scott as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Medicare fraud case. Scott founded another company and was promptly sued. He took the Fifth Amendment 75 times in a video deposition.

Oligarch Scott has deep pockets and he will spend what he thinks he needs to win.

The GOP is divided after the primary and Alex Sink, the Democratic challenger needs to exploit these division with a "Republicans for Sink" sub-campaign. She should continue to attack Scott as an unindicted co-conspirator and demand he release the video deposition.

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China Daily: Death penalty proposal meets opposition

China Daily Updated: 2010-08-28 07:36
BEIJING - A proposal to abolish the death penalty for 13 economic crimes is facing opposition from some members of the National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee. Legislators began reviewing the eighth draft amendment to the Criminal Law earlier this week.

Economic crimes are on the rise in China at the moment. So it might not be a good time to abolish capital punishment for such crimes, especially those that have a negative social effect," said Cong Bin, an NPC Standing Committee member and professor at the Hebei Medical University, during a group discussion.
According to some other legislators, limiting the application of capital punishment "does not necessarily require an abolishment" of the death penalty.

"Our focus should be on improving financial supervision and curbing economic crimes," said Shi Taifeng, another lawmaker.

Shi added that "ineffective supervision" on the death penalty has contributed to the high execution rate in the country.

Two crimes that, according to the draft, do not deserve the death penalty - falsely issuing exclusive value-added tax invoices to defraud export tax refunds, and carrying out fraudulent activities using financial certificates, bills and letter of credits - were particularly questioned at the meeting.

"Harsh punishment needs to be meted out to ease public indignation for financial crimes, which usually involve large amounts of money and carry a negative social effect," Cong said.

As China is in a period of transition, with an increasing number of social conflicts, the death penalty is required to deter criminals, Cong added.

However, legal experts argued that the "deterrent effect is being overstated".

"Blindly worshiping capital punishment results in a high execution rate," Liu Wenren, a criminal law expert at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told China Daily.

Besides, criminals who have already transferred their illegal funds overseas are not afraid of death, Liu said, adding that life sentences work better to frighten them.

China's top legislature moved to review the eighth amendment to the Criminal Law with an aim to restructure the country's criminal system.

The revision, if enacted, will cut the current 68 crimes punishable by death under the Criminal Law by about one-fifth to 55. It will be the first time the number of crimes carrying the maximum penalty would be reduced since the People's Republic of China enacted its Criminal Law in 1979.

A draft law or amendment usually receives at least three readings at the top legislature before being adopted.

Rightarrdia thinks the Chinese have the right idea about executing criminals for economic crimes. Perhaps the Wall Steeters would think twice about destroying the US economy if they knew they could be executed. 

Most of the people responsible for the destruction of the US economy were rewarded with generous Golden Parachutes.

Someone like Bernie Madoff would have been executed in China right after sentencing.

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The WH Blog Weekly Address: The End of Combat Operations in Iraq

Posted by Jesse Lee on August 28, 2010 at 6:00 AM EDT

With the end of combat operations in Iraq days ahead, the President salutes our troops for their service and pledges to fulfill America’s commitment to them as veterans.

Ninety thousand troops have left Iraq since the President came into office, and by the end of next year even the troops taking part in the non-combat mission will be home.

The administration is upholding the sacred trust with our veterans by building a 21st century VA. 

The VA ismaking it easier for veterans with PTSD to receive the benefits they need, funding and implementing a Post-9/11 GI Bill, and devoting new resources to job training and placement to help those veterans looking for work in a tough economy.

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Workers Independent News: AFL-CIO wants Obama administration to do more for jobs

Submitted by Jesse Russell on August 27, 2010 - 2:42pm

Pedrotty: “Millions of people are out of work today because Wall Street played Russian Roulette with our economy and our future. So the AFL-CIO will be holding more than two hundred rallies and demonstrations across the country where we’re calling on the biggest banks to pay to replace the jobs that they destroyed.”

AFL-CIO Director of Investments Dan Pedrotty. While jobs creation is critical, Pedrotty says this is about much more than just jobs. The entire financial system must be reformed. Pedrotty says so far not nearly enough has been done by Congress and the Obama administration to actually deliver the economic reforms needed to help unemployed workers now and into the future.

Pedrotty 2: “Not nearly enough to get at the scale of the crisis. We need to create eleven million jobs to address what is record unemployment in our economy. The jobs bills are a good start, but it’s like putting a Band-Aid on a gaping wound. We need to do much, much more. And people are frankly hurting out there.”

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Friday, August 27, 2010

Newsweek: The US is not the greatest country in the world

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Newsweek Ranks the World's Best Countries
Colbert Report Full Episodes2010 ElectionFox News

Stephan becomes indignant when he finds that Canada is rated higher than the US. 

Of course, the right wing has been claiming the US is the greatest country in the world and 'to love it or leave it."

The left has told the wing nuts if they like guns and low taxes, they should move to Somalia.

Here are the top 25 of the World's Best Countries, according to Newsweek:
1. Finland
2. Switzerland
3. Sweden
4. Australia
5. Luxembourg
6. Norway
7. Canada
8. Netherlands
9. Japan
10. Denmark
11. United States
12. Germany
13. New Zealand
14. United Kingdom
15. South Korea
16. France
17. Ireland
18. Austria
19. Belgium
20. Singapore
21. Spain
22. Israel
23. Italy
24. Slovenia
25. Czech Republic

Rightardia has posted about about 10 of these international  indexes and the US scored higher than normal in the Newsweek ratings.

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