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Chernynkaya On February - 22 - 2011

Hello! Here is a roundup of some of the most interesting items from a very few of my favorite sites. I hope you find them interesting.

I thought I’d organize today’s opinions a little differently—First, some articles about what is happening and next, some great ideas on what to do. After that, some general news.

____________________________________________________________

A nice rant:

When a Country Goes Insane

Hate is stronger than logic and more than anything else, Republicans love their hate. It’s the only thing that gives them power. The more vicious, the more loony they are, the more they are treated like savants, like prophets channeling some higher wisdom, come though it may from the self-loathing gutter of political prostitution. They pull stuff out of their ass and brazenly pass it off as stone tablets. And people swoon.

Of course, you can understand why. The media genuflect before gibberish and idolize idiocy. They are the media-tors of a Gresham’s Law of public discourse where bad information drives out good. For their own slick whoring they become “players,” while everybody else is left with a debauched civic currency, a crushed economy, and a collective impotence that makes true democracy and true prosperity impossible.

***

 

Tensions Rise As Indiana Legislators Plan to Put Collective Bargaining to a Vote (UPDATED)

***

Great piece at Think Progress. It goes through the budget responses of Republican governors in Arizona, Florida, Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio, Texas and Wisconsin.

Priorities? GOP Governors Shift Burden To Poor, Middle Class To Pay For Tax Breaks For Rich, Corporations

Instead of making the tough choices necessary to help their states weather the current crisis with some semblance of the social safety net and basic government services intact, Republican governors are instead using it as an opportunity to advance several longtime GOP projects: union busting, draconian cuts to social programs, and massive corporate tax breaks. These misplaced priorities mean that the poor and middle class will shoulder the burden of fiscal austerity, even as the rich and corporations are asked to contribute even less. Here’s a detailed look at how the GOP’s war on the poor and middle class is playing out at the state level.

***

 

Rachel Maddow uncovers the fact that WI Gov is using those same jerks –the private security firm Wackenhut—the ones who were filmed drinking vodka shots out of each other’s butts while supposedly guarding the US Embassy in Kabul—to guard the Courthouse in Milwaukee. He fired the state security guards to hire these cretins. And guess what? They COST MORE.

VIDEO:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26315908/vp/41710135#41710135

What’s the deal with Wisconsin? Power.

It’s not just about union busting now—it’s about making voting harder too.

In a move meant to lure boycotting opposition senators back to Wisconsin, the Republican leader of the state Senate threatened Monday to force a vote soon on a bill that is abhorred by Democrats: requiring people to show an ID at the polls.

GOP raises the stakes


***

 

The Uprising Spreads–And Wal-Mart Profits Rise: The Connection

The juxtaposition cannot be clearer. On the one hand, we have the people who make this country work–the teachers, the firemen and all the public sector workers–and who represent an important part of a long struggle to create a decent standard of living in America.

And, on the other hand, we have the the shining example of corporate greed and of the destruction of the American Dream. Wal-Mart makes its billions on a strategy of exploiting poverty . It pays low wages and its low prices cater to the increasingly destitute class of millions of people who cannot afford to shop anywhere but Wal-Mart because Wal-Mart wages–or, more broadly, the strategy to lower wages as much as possible–is the economic strategy of corporate America, and of those elected leaders who want to destroy what public workers have fought for.

The people with their hands on the economic levers want us to believe that embracing Wal-Mart is a false choice between  “The Soviet Union” and “the free market” .

Wal-Mart Whitewashing

***

 

Van Jones is a hero to me. (Sorry for where the link leads, but I found it nowhere else.)

Introducing The ‘American Dream’ Movement

This Is Our ‘Tea Party’ Moment — In a Positive Sense

It is time to draw a line in the sand — nationally. Someone has to stand up for common sense and fairness. It is time to use all nonviolent means to defend the American people and our American principles from these abuses.

The steps needed to renew and redeem the American Dream are straightforward and simple:

  • Increase revenue for America’s government sensibly by making Wall Street and the super-rich pay their fair share.
  • Reduce spending responsibly by cutting the real fat – like corporate welfare for military contractors, big agriculture and big oil.
  • Simultaneously protect the heart and soul of America – our teachers, nurses and first responders.
  • Guarantee the health, safety and success of our children and communities by leaving the muscle and bone of America’s communities intact.
  • Maintain the American Way by treating employees with dignity and respecting their right to a seat at the bargaining table.
  • Rebuild the middle class – and pathways into it – by fighting for a “made in America” innovation and manufacturing agenda, including trade and currency policies that honor American workers and entrepreneurs.
  • Stand for the idea that, in a crisis, Americans turn TO each other – and not ON each other.

A Return to the Moral Center

These are not radical notions. They are the common sense ideas that form the core of who we are as a nation. We can rally Americans, once again, to stand up for these values. We can make America, once again, a land where it is safe for everyday people to dream.

We will prevail because — in truth — we are not in a right-wing period of American history, nor are we in a left-wing period. We are simply in a volatile period.

Let Saturday, February 26, 2011, mark the beginning of the national movement to renew the American Dream and return us to the moral center — where everybody counts, and everybody matters.

***

Two more ideas on what we must do:

Reclaiming Middle-Class America

If progressives want a winning theme that the right can’t match, this is it.

A Message for Progressives

It’s time we started growing the economy and stopped shrinking the middle class.

***

 

Matt Taibbi writes a long piece, and of course he is right. But I spent just a little time at the Department of Justice web site and it’s not that the government is doing nothing. Just not enough. I also added some links to a very few stories about what the DOJ is doing.

Why Isn’t Wall Street in Jail?

Financial crooks brought down the world’s economy — but the feds are doing more to protect them than to prosecute them

DOJ Plans to Take Down ‘As Many As a Dozen Hedge Funds’ : Report

DOJ Asks SEC to Cap Wall Street Control of Swaps Shops

***

 

What is so encouraging about this article is that it is written by Jacob Lew, director of the White House’s Office of Management and Budget. I am very pleased to see where the Obama Administration stands on Social Security!

The Opposing view: Social Security isn’t the problem

and Steve Benen of The Washington Monthly writes:

I have no idea if arguments like these are connecting, but I’m glad officials are making them. Last week, at a White House press conference, the AP’s Ben Feller noted in his question “the the long-term crushing costs of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid — the real drivers of long-term debt.” President Obama took the time to emphasize the distinctions between them: “The truth is Social Security is not the huge contributor to the deficit that the other two entitlements are… Medicare and Medicaid are huge problems because health care costs are rising even as the population is getting older.”

I suspect we’re seeing this push because the White House realizes congressional Republicans want to cut Social Security, and the administration is laying the groundwork for the larger argument: Social Security just isn’t in the same category as Medicare and Medicaid, so it’s a mistake to treat them all as equivalent “entitlements.”

Social Security is in pretty good shape. Its long-term finances could be improved even more with some minor tweaks that most folks probably wouldn’t even notice, but there’s no crisis, the system isn’t going bankrupt, and if policymakers decided not to do anything for a while, that’d be fine, too. The more the White House reminds folks about this, the better.

***

 

Finally, a tidbit of stupid:

She created a Facebook account under the name of Lou Sarah in order to make positive comments on the official Palin Facebook page – and Bristol’s! Great catch by Wonkette. Yes, I’ve read much of the Bailey manuscript by now. Here’s a post on one aspect of it – Palin’s media whores – that you might have missed. The description of Bill Kristol is priceless.

Sarah Palin Has Secret ‘Lou Sarah’ Facebook Account To Praise Other Sarah Palin Facebook Account



Written by Chernynkaya

I am an artist and have lived in Los Angeles all of my life, except for a brief hippie period when I lived in SF. I am currently (semi-unwillingly) retired, but have had several careers.

101 Responses so far.

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  1. jdmn17 says:

    In news from MN -- like you all really care!

    Medtronic, one of the worlds largest medical device companies, announced layoffs today, about 2,000 the first wave. I’ve known this company for about 30 years, this is the first wave so expect more.

    For you Canadian baseball fans -- Justin Morneau made his first appearance at spring training -- he was rumored to be quite possibly done for good because of a concussion he suffered last season.

    Tomorrow above freezing so more snow will melt.

    Of the three, I’ll take Morneau, one awesome Les Canadian

  2. Cher, regarding Wackenhut. One of my exes was briefly a corrections officer in Michigan, employed by Wackenut. After some high profile deaths of inmates, including in a supermax prison where guards are not even supposed to be accessible by inmates or vice versa, Michigan was not supposed to employ Wackenhut any further, for any contract in any area.

    However, that was quietly over-ridden somehow by Governor John Engler, without fanfare or legislative vote.

    Wackenhut has been sued so many times by so many different agencies and families of victims, I’m surprised they do not have a “shoot on sight” policy for lawyers and judges.

    • Chernynkaya says:

      2CCP== it absolutely baffles me why this group is allowed to do business. Where the hell are the local investigative journalists???? Or is it that we, as a nation, are disgustingly uncaring about prisons? Oh, man. Another source of outrage.

  3. PocketWatch says:

    Re: Buying cheap vs. quality

    My dad was a union carpenter, a master. He always told me to buy the best quality I could afford in tools. If you buy a cheap hammer, you’ll end up buying another, and another, and another, and in the end, spend more than if you just bought that expensive, high quality unbreakable one in the first place. That doesn’t even mention the work you ruin using poor tools…

    I apply that to everything I can.

    About L.L.Bean… They now carry a lot of foreign-made products, it’s true, especially shoes. But if you shop carefully and closely, they still have the old, high quality products. They are just mixed in with the other stuff. And they ALWAYS say if it’s American made.

    I like the Bean! They are the only place I can order clothes by catalog and they actually fit. Their good stuff wears like iron, and if you break a zipper or a belt loop breaks, they WILL replace it free of charge, no matter how long ago you bought the item.

    • BigDogMom says:

      PW-We buy a lot of my husbands work shirts from LL Bean, but for better quality he shops at Orvis and another outfitter that I can’t remember the name of, (those shirts are about 15 yrs old),better fit for him. He’s a XL-Tall shirt kinda man, hard to fit, big shoulders, small waist, no ass. Thank God Levi’s still makes slim cut jeans!

      And Bean is great with repairs, he had a pair of boots he sent back three times…if you had seen them you would have laughed, gunked up with resin and filler, but they took them back because the upper part was separating from the sole. Can’t beat that!

      • jdmn17 says:

        BDM

        Ever hear of Duluth Trading? On the web, they make work clothes and they are top notch, even sell tee long in the back as anti-plumber butt covers, unless you enjoy the free peeks LOL

  4. jdmn17 says:

    Not sure exactly how they intend to do it but WI legislature supposedly is passing a bill requiring lawmakers to pick up paychecks in person, no more direct deposit for you!

    Wonder if they’ll try to arrest them if they come for their checks and refuse to enter the legislative chamber?

    It’s getting interesting. Let’s hear it for WI, OH, rumblings about IN and MI too?

    • PocketWatch says:

      jdm -- if they have no quorum, how can they pass anything? LOL Boneheads!

      • Chernynkaya says:

        PW-- As I understand it, they only need a quorum for budget issues.

        • PocketWatch says:

          Cher -- Ah! So it’s just a way to get the Dems back in house… LOL Good luck with that…

          Most state level politicians are small business men or have other means of support… It don’t pay all that much.

          Hell, if any of them need it, I’m sure someone will pass the hat.

        • I fail to see how doing away with Direct deposit is a budget issue, especially since they will still be using the service for state employees.

          Most banks will offer Direct Deposit for free to any employer, since it helps cut down the number of people needed to process paper checks.

          • jdmn17 says:

            2nd

            It’s nothing more than a scam to get the dems back in state where they can be “arrested”? What are they going to do, cuff them and take them into chambers? Do these people think that isn’t going to blow up in their faces?

            God, I really want this thing to go nuclear. It’s time to face these clowns down

          • Chernynkaya says:

            It’s not a budget issue. That is why they DON’T need a quorum.

  5. BigDogMom says:

    Cher, if it makes you feel any better, Wal-Mart shares and sales have gone down:

    Wal-Mart stocks decline, miss sales forecast:

    Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the largest retailer, fell the most in nine months in New York trading after posting a seventh straight sales decline at its U.S. stores, short of its own projections for the holiday period.

    The shares sank 3.1 percent after Wal-Mart said today that sales at U.S. stores open at least a year fell 1.8 percent in the quarter ended Jan. 28. Chief Executive Officer Mike Duke said in October that U.S. comparable sales would be “positive.”

    Duke, 61, said Wal-Mart is “disappointed” by the results and that it will take time to revive Wal-Mart store sales in the U.S., which account for almost two-thirds of total revenue. The CEO put thousands of products back on shelves, offered $5 Barbie dolls to holiday shoppers, and began focusing on smaller stores to lure back U.S. consumers living paycheck to paycheck.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-02-22/wal-mart-fourth-quarter-u-s-comparable-sales-decline-more-than-forecast.html

    • ADONAI says:

      BDM, Even if they don’t meet profit expectations, Wal-Mart still made more in the last year than every other major retail chain in America combined.

      But what is “cheap”? You see a product there for 20 or 30 dollars and you think, “wow, that’s a bargain.” But it probably only costs 5 bucks to make the product in question. About 50 cents apiece to import them to their stores.

      They could charge only $10 and still make an obscene profit. Especially considering that 90% of their “merchandise” comes from the same area in southeast Asia.

      The biggest costs to any company are production and labor. Materials can be procured for almost nothing. So you find a place where you can have cheap labor combined with mass production. China.

      • jdmn17 says:

        Especially since most of the internal components are identical, that cuts material costs a ton.

      • Abbyrose86 says:

        AND here’s the worst part, it’s junk…absolute junk. It’s not the same quality level as it was years ago…the quality has seriously deteriorated, so that $20 is just flushing money down the drain!

      • BigDogMom says:

        Adonai, yes your right, they are still making money. All this means is that the greedy bastards over stated their sales forecasts, thinking that they, the “Great Wal-Mart”, would be immune to the down turn in the economy…

    • snoskier says:

      Important in this note is “seventh straight sales decline.” That is 7 Quarters of same store sales decline. I just went to the annual meeting of my wholesaler (which is a co-op). This is really a big deal. Higher quality products (even food products) can ultimately be cheaper than the cheap stuff. If you buy a pair of cheap shoes for $30,, for example, they might last 6 months. Paying $45 dollars, they might last a year. These scenarios are being weighed by consumers all the time.

      My store has hired 2 people from Walmart, and they are happy to be here. I pay more, the benefits are better, and we are not so autocratic.

      • I wish you were closer.

        However, I am glad I found a part-time, erratic job as “renovation helper”. Much better than nothing. We will see how this next weekend goes, my first job with them.

      • jkkFL says:

        Eventually unemployment and foreclosures are going to impact everyone- even Walmart.
        Food banks and charity organizations are running out of supplies in a week or two; many receive donations on the 1st, and they don’t have enough to make it thru the 1st 2 weeks.

        • BigDogMom says:

          jkk, here in the N.E. our foreclosure problem is not that bad, but housing prices have dropped dramatically, I’m sure many mortgages are underwater.

          Not only the food banks are suffering, I’m getting cards in the mail requesting donations from Goodwill, they can’t keep an inventory. Never in my life have I seen that, years ago they were really picky on what they would take.

          As soon as spring comes around, there will be the plethora of Tag Sales, one of my neighbors has a one every weekend, I think they are supplementing their income that way.

      • jdmn17 says:

        Snoskier

        There are so many things to say. I make tables from reclaimed lumber, my price points are more than the cheap and even “Chic” stores and less than the high end furniture stores. When you talk about cheap goods I can attest that about one in six tables I build are replacing the junk pieces they bought, took home and “snapped” together. The things look good for a year then gradually become rickety and fail. So a customer pays $299 for the first table then two years later come to me and spend $800. So they seem to accept the money is throw away on the first table. Or something. Maybe they just don’t know.

        For food, your business, I tend to buy for quality not price. For one thing I’m vegetarian and make much of my food from scratch. I have found out the hard way that when you have a recipe and it calls for something like butter, you can use cheap oleo but it does make a difference in outcome. Same with fresh herbs versus dried.

        The list goes on but in general I tend to buy things for quality, esp US made goods, rather than go cheap or go for a “logo”. The latter you pay more for and still get the cheap manufacture. IMHO of course.

        • The problem I have with “buying for logo” is that you pay out the nose, provide free advertising for the manufacturer, and it is still crap.

          I had an acquaintance try to tell me I would look so sexier in Hilfiger jeans. I asked him how much Hilfiger would pay me for being a walking billboard, and then pointed out that Hilfiger doesn’t even make jeans in my size.

          • snoskier says:

            Indeed. In the food business, many of the products are not only equivalent, but better than the national brands. The food items of our private label are generally made by smaller manufacturers (not always) on a regional basis. That, in turn, helps support or regional ag economy.

        • Chernynkaya says:

          JDMN-- you are so right. (Again.) I read this some time ago, about IKEA:

          The Eco-Perils of Cheap Decor

          http://www.slate.com/id/2228261/

          • jdmn17 says:

            I may not be profound like so many of you but I have a pretty practical head on my shoulders.

            I still remember going out to my first customers house to deliver a table and the Ikea one was wobbly when you walked by it. Two years old and look fifty. Mine are new and look 150! But that’s intended :-)

            • Chernynkaya says:

              Jdmn-- I ALWAYS enjoy reading your comments. You are prolific and a really good writer!

      • BigDogMom says:

        snoskier, I am so glad to hear that you are hiring, good for you! :smile:

        I believe in this day and age, consumers want more bang for their buck, I know I do. Being a small business owner I try shop local stores when I can…we have a local butcher shop/grocery store in my neighborhood, part of the IGA co-op, meat is ten times better than from a big grocery store and not that much higher. The thing I like, is that they cut my meat fresh and to my needs, for that I am willing to pay more because I’m not wasting it!

        Don’t get me started on shoes! 😆

        I was taught to buy quality even if it cost more, because in the long run it’s always cheaper.

        • snoskier says:

          Independent grocery stores like mine, do appreciate your business!! I am not currently an IGA, but belong to similar marketing group.

          We have worked hard to improve our meat, and our produce department is fresher and cheaper than our competition. Our community involvement also helps create loyal customers.

        • jdmn17 says:

          BDM

          The co-op near me is the only grocery store my son will go to with me. The big stores he sits in the car (he does eat the food of course). You pay more but I love the flavor of the foods from there.

          Shoes? I buy for quality and don’t care about cost. They USMC broke my feet years ago and I do need the best. And I am still wearing a pair of boots I bought at LL Bean (Maine made) in 1972. Many soles and one upper body repair, otherwise tried and true.

          • BigDogMom says:

            Unfortunately LL Bean’s quality has gone down over the last years, your 1972 boots now only last a couple of years and the fit is defferent. My husband has stopped buying them because he swears they fit funny.

            I still have my LL Bean barn coat from 1980 that I wear in my garden, still hasn’t worn out, just out of style!

            • Abbyrose86 says:

              I’ld wear it anyway! Being chic and being trendy are two different things!

              I have my own clothing style…I rarely wear trends and if I do, it’s just a hint of a trend, but I wear it with a vintage clothing and hats, or odd pieces of jewelry or accessories I find at antique stores.

              It’s actually more fun that way…to create your own style!

              I have clothes in my closet of my mothers from the 50’s and 60’s , and 70’s which I pair with clothes of my own from the 80’s 90’s and aughts. I come up with some really cool outfits this way!

            • jdmn17 says:

              BDM

              Your comment about the plantation got my mom’s attention. I’ll check in over there later, we might well be cuz’s

            • BigDogMom says:

              @jdmn -- I read that this morning, but didn’t have time to reply, hey cuz!

              My Belcher family is from the Wise, VA, area, but more than likely originated in KY.

              We all may be related!

            • jdmn17 says:

              BDM

              Have you read ADONAI’s KY post lately?

              I am a Belcher from KY/VA (mom’s side). Based on what my mom told me, you and I might be fairly closely related. How’s that for you?

            • jdmn17 says:

              I still have my barn coat too!

              Are they out of style now? Oh shit, no wonder everyone looks at me so strange.

            • jdmn17 says:

              I stopped buying from them when they stopped selling stuff made in USA. I went through their catalog before Christmas and was stunned that very little in there was US made. I know my boots came from Dexter or Bass. Both were made in Maine. Shame really. Now I get mine from Red Wing boots. Still made in Red Wing, for now.

    • Chernynkaya says:

      Gee, BDM-- that DOES make me feel good today! (Hmmm…Unless it reflects more pain for those shoppers who can’t afford even WM prices.) I just hope the reason for the bad quarter is that people don’t like WM.

      • Cher, if you want to have a lot of fun decorating your home-space (from apartment to house), see if you have any “architectural salvage” outfits in your area.

        There’s a really fun place in Aurora, Oregon, not too far from where I am, where you can get pieces of old houses that were deemed too valuable to destroy. Benches, trestle tables, old windows, old cabinets, wooden columns, etc.

        You can do a lot with that stuff, even if you don’t refinish it yourself. A friend of mine has a ton of old salvaged materials from Vermont farmhouses, decorating the inside of his Spanish hacienda-style house in Palm Springs, and everybody loves it.

      • BigDogMom says:

        Cher, I’d like to think that that is the reason for the decline in sales, Wal-Mart has jumped the shark, and people are tiring of their junk.

        But I don’t think that’s the case, the decline in sales has happen for the last seven reporting periods, 2nd Qtr 2009 to 4th Qtr 2010, the height of the down turn and unemployment.

        They are trying to “lure” shoppers who live paycheck to paycheck back…nice, dickwads. I’d loved to know how they are going to do that when unemployment is still above 9%….

        • snoskier says:

          Their results have been so disappointing that they have replaced much of their executive staff, including the guy that ran Walmart in Mexico. The reduction of SKU’s (items) has hurt them, and they have been playing around with their pricing to get margins up. I look for more of this in the future.

          I think their suppliers are re-thinking their relationship with them as well. They drive production offshore because they dictate the price they will pay for items. Suppliers are looking for alternative channels such as dollar stores to sell products.

          • jdmn17 says:

            And around MN. Yard and house sales are booming. I have a Cuisinart I got at an estate sale, in the box and unused for ten bucks two years ago. You don’t HAVE to shop at WM etc if you can stand not having the newest design and coming with some mileage on it -- the blade on mine was so sharp still I cut myself three times on it.

            • Chernynkaya says:

              When I was first divorced many years ago, I wanted to refurnish my home. I refused to buy IKEA, and besides their furniture wasn’t to my taste. I discovered auctions. WOW--what fun. GREAT furniture of good quality. And the same or less price than IKEA.

          • Chernynkaya says:

            U.S. Corps Blocking China Labor Law

            http://www.workinglife.org/blogs/view_post.php?content_id=4665

            Leading the way is Wal-Mart. I will NEVER ever shop for one thing at Wal-mart. It would be the same as contributing my hard earned money to the worst anti-Americanism there is. It would be like sending the Kochs, XE, Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck combined a hundred dollars a month. NO bargain is worth that!

            • snoskier says:

              Great article, thanks. I read last fall that these corporations are moving to the interior of China in search of EVEN CHEAPER labor!! Unbelievable. The exploitation continues.

  6. Truth says:

    From “A Message For Progressives”

    Did we really need to give tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires, paid for by the working- and middle-class kids of the future as they stock Chinese goods at Wal-Mart (the much vaunted “service economy”)? No. A simple, value-laden statement that I tested in September beat John Boehner’s and Mitch McConnell’s toughest language about “job creators” and “job-killing taxes” by nearly 40 points: “Millionaires and billionaires should be giving to charity, not getting it.” Those words, had they been repeated by the White House and Democrats at all levels of government, could have seared into the brain of every American the difference between the two parties. Contained within that six-second sound bite were several key American middle-class values — fairness, responsibility, opportunity, generosity, community — that could have rolled off of every progressive tongue from mid-September until the Great Capitulation three months later — and made that capitulation not only unnecessary but politically untenable.

    Messaging and creating useful talking points is one issue Dems and the WH really need to work on.

    • KQuark says:

      In essence you need a vertical monopoly of media to have the kind of right wing echo chamber the right now has.

      It’s just a catch 22 for the left. Dems correctly don’t want to give up their independence to regurgitate talking points. They understand democracy is about criticizing and pushing their leaders. Whereas Republicans by their nature have no problem subjugating themselves to the orthodoxy of their leaders.

      Hell Dems just ask people on the left to be fair and at least promote the good things Dems do and not just focus on what they don’t like and they won’t do that.

      Bottom line it’s not the messaging it’s the willingness for people to accept the message even when realizing the goals of the message are far down the road in a center right country. Face it the left has no such patience and Dems will be lucky to control congress and the executive in little two year spurts while we enable domination of the right.

  7. KQuark says:

    The public strongly opposes laws taking away the collective bargaining power of public employee unions as a way to ease state financial troubles, according to a new USA TODAY/Gallup Poll.

    The poll found that 61% would oppose a law in their state similar to one being considered in Wisconsin, compared with 33% who would favor such a law.

    http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2011-02-22-poll-public-unions-wisconsin_N.htm

  8. Buddy McCue says:

    Thanks for collecting all these things together for us. It’s going to take me awhile to read through them all!

  9. Truth says:

    [img][/img]

    • PocketWatch says:

      Truth -- Snooki & Sarah Palin? Isn’t that redundant?

      ” alt=”Smiley” border=”0″ />

      • Truth says:

        PW -- I don’t know how any of those ditto heads ever made it to the news. Only in America… Yet the sad thing is, that America is still the trendsetter. There are now reality shows and the like in Europe too. Establish some intelligent trends for a change, I say!!!

      • Chernynkaya says:

        Well, in fact I’ve never seen them together…

    • Chernynkaya says:

      Hooray, Truth! You did it!

      • PocketWatch says:

        Cher & Truth -- TIFF files are typically graphics files used by graphic artists and contain HUGE amounts of data and metadata. They are usually uncondensed, unlike JPEGs, which is why it kept coming out so large.

        Just an FYI… (I’m a photo geek… I have much wisdom…)

        • Truth says:

          PW, thanks for briefing us on this -- but to me the picture looks exactly the same as before. Do you see something else on your screen?

          • PocketWatch says:

            Truth -- when you convert the image from TIFF (large physical size, mondo data) to JPEG (compressed image information, no metadata) the physical size remains the same as before. You need to resize it to something reasonable before saving.

            TIFF files are used by commercial printers and others to print posters and signs, usually. JPEGs, of course, are used for everything from printing an 8x10 photo on down to tiny stuff like for here.

        • Chernynkaya says:

          You actually do, PW.

      • Truth says:

        ? To me it looks exactly the same, but ok, from now on I take care to use jpeg.

  10. KQuark says:

    Cheers for this new feature Cher. Now along with the great international references Kalima provides with Morning blog and really all the members supply throughout the site I get most of the significant news stories that affect us.

    • Chernynkaya says:

      That’s what I am hoping, KQ--for the Planet to become a quasi news aggregate. I deliberately stay away from international news, as that is covered perfectly well by Kalima, and lots of other news is covered by bito’s TO/OT. I try to stick with opinions and analysis if I can.

  11. Chernynkaya says:

    Truth, and then, as you might know, just C&P the jpg file into the box that appears when you click on “Add an image to your comment by clicking here.”

    • Truth says:

      Now both the tiff and the jpeg are in the media library. I uploaded the pic there and then copied the link to the box you mentioned. Was this what you meant or is there another way?
      No idea why the pic became so large again.

  12. PocketWatch says:

    Truth -- convert that tiff file to a jpeg and repost.. just open it and do a Save As.

  13. Chernynkaya says:

    Truth-- I can’t access your link. What is .tiff?

  14. PocketWatch says:

    A previous rant from a previous place, partly addressing privatization:

    There are 3 pillars of conservatism these days, and only 3. They are:

    1. Tax cuts help ‘the economy.’

    2. Deregulation helps ‘the economy.’

    3. Privatization is cheaper and more efficient, therefore it helps ‘the economy.’

    Let’s debunk each in turn.

    1. There is absolutely NO historical evidence that tax cuts grow the economy. CBO reports going back 50 years show that as soon as the Reagan tax cuts became effective, the GDP flatlined around 2.5% and hasn’t changed much since. Alan Greenspan has admitted in sworn testimony to Congressional committees that tax cuts for the rich return a -20% to the economy. (20 cents on every dollar of tax cuts literally disappear and they don’t know what happened to them)

    2. Savings & Loans in the 90’s and now banks and insurance companies …. need I say more?

    3. I challenge ANYONE to name any effort, program, or initiative of local, state, or federal government that was privatized that became cheaper or more efficient or both.

    I’ve asked that question for 20 years and have only ever been given one or two examples.

    • KQuark says:

      Three pillars like cats dropping turd on a marble floor.

    • Chernynkaya says:

      PW-- so right you are! This from the first article at Common Dreams:

      And the Republicans’ response? The working and middle class need to pay. Never mind that it was Reagan and Bush I who quadrupled the national debt in only 12 years, and Bush II who doubled it again in only eight, all to grease the pockets of their wealthy base. It’s the working and middle class who need to be bled. They still have assets that can be milked from them. They can still be made more subservient, more docile.

      They need to give up the union protections that have afforded them the slightest bargaining power against the largest organizations on earth. They need to give up environmental protections, even though every one of them have rocket fuel in their bodies from water contamination. They need to give up the mortgage interest deductions that allowed them to buy and own their own homes.

      They need to give up government help with college loans that allowed their children to get the education they could never have. They need to give up any expectation of extended unemployment insurance, even though there are five people looking for every job available. They need to give up the retirement protections that Social Security has promised them for the past 75 years.

      In other words, they need to give up any expectation of security, or dignity. They need to give up any childish illusions that they have any say in the government, that it is operated for any such quaint Madisonian ends as “the general welfare.” They need to put on their kneepads and accustom themselves to being grateful servants to their new feudal masters, assuming their masters will have them. It’s sickening.

      Even though it was trillions of dollars of government bail-outs that saved the banks and their shareholders from bankruptcy… Even though it was government stimulus that reversed the 750,000 monthly job losses that were savaging the economy when Obama took office… Even though it was government FDIC insurance that protected millions of savers from being wiped out, and unemployment insurance that mitigated the collapse of aggregate demand, staving off another Great Depression…

      Makes me CRAZY!

    • ADONAI says:

      That’s what kills me about all this Pocket. There is scant historical evidence that the current Republican policy of reducing taxes, cutting spending, or both has EVER worked.

      Even their homeboy Reagan adopted the policy only AFTER he had raised taxes across the board in his first term AND set in motion some of the most expensive and beneficial social spending programs in American history.

      I think most people were convinced he would ruin it eventually and he sure did. But it was too late to do anything about it. He had already been re-elected in a landslide.

      • PocketWatch says:

        AADONAI -- the privatization thing drives me up the wall. I ask that question all the time, and NO ONE can tell me one thing that has ever cost less. Not one. Ever.

        ” alt=”Smiley” border=”0″ />

        • ADONAI says:

          Indeed. When you turn something over to the private sector you are dooming it. Their only concern is profit.

          I don’t know if you saw Michael Moore’s movie Capitalism: A love Story but he has this story about these people in, I believe, Pennsylvania.

          Anyways, they closed their county facilities and basically “privatized” their juvenile legal system. A private company built the prison, AT THE EXPENSE OF TAXPAYERS!, and basically got paid for every kid they could throw in there.

          And the guy who owned it already had a judge in his pocket so he kept a petty steady stream of kids going into the facility for months or years at a time for nothing. It was pretty sad

          • PocketWatch says:

            ADONAI -- THIS is why I call myself a Socialist! I’m not really, but I say it to make the point that responsible government must take charge of certain areas of society.

            It cannot be left to for-profit entities ” alt=”Smiley” border=”0″ /> that are essentially never held accountable by all of us.

          • Chernynkaya says:

            And just look how the private prison system makes Arizona laws.

            For one thing, they WROTE that immigration law. They are motivated to imprison as many as possible. And the Lt Governor is on their payroll.


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