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Chernynkaya On April - 8 - 2011

You can access all the past editions of The Daily Planet on the green Category bar on the top of each page under the heading PlanetPOV.




The only poll you need to understand the shutdown

Ezra Klein:

Nothing explains the current contretemps in Washington as well as this NBC/WSJ poll (pdf). First, they asked Democrats and independents, “Do you want Democratic leaders in the House and Senate to make compromises to gain consensus on the current budget debate, or do you want them stick to their positions even if this means not being able to gain consensus on the budget?” Turns out they want compromise:

Then the poll asked Republicans and independents, “do you want Republican leaders in the House and Senate to make compromises to gain consensus on the current budget debate, or do you want them stick to their positions even if this means not being able to gain consensus on the budget?” The answer for independents was very similar, but for Republicans, it was almost the precise opposite:

The problem for Republicans is that what their base wants them to do is not what independents want them to do. Democrats, meanwhile, can work to prove their openness to compromise because that’s what both their base and independents want them to do. Their political incentives are a lot easier to navigate than the GOP’s.


FLASHBACK: GOP Insistence On Unrelated Policy Riders Shut The Government Down In 1995


Can anyone name literally anything Boehner has said he’s willing to compromise on?


Here’s an agency-by-agency breakdown of what will happen if a GovtShutdown goes into effect


What’s Really Driving America’s Budget Deficit In One Chart


Why Pay Congress?

Nicholas Kristof:

Imagine how disastrous it would be if the Republicans shut down government for any length of time. Unpaid federal employees would cut back on shopping. Some would miss house payments. Family members might drop out of college. The I.R.S. might not be able to deliver some tax refunds. Small businesses would stop getting government loans. In sum, after the Democratic stimulus, we would have the Republican drag.

Republicans are also threatening to refuse to raise the government debt ceiling. By July, that could mean a default on U.S. government bonds. The Federal Reserve chairman, Ben Bernanke, says that would be “catastrophic,” and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner warns that we could see “a financial crisis potentially more severe than the crisis from which we are only now starting to recover.”

All this seems mind-bogglingly petty and pusillanimous. If members of Congress shut down government and trigger a new financial crisis, then they shouldn’t just have their own pay docked. They should also learn the discipline of a market economy and be fired by the public that they are betraying.



Shutdown It Is


In ordinary times, you might think that an over-the-top grassroots base would be restrained by party elites. But Tea Party millennialism is reinforced, not constrained, by key conservatives. Matt Continetti of the Weekly Standard published a long article this week accusing liberals of “paranoid” dislike of the billionaire Koch brothers, who have emerged as the leading money-men of the American right. But according to Continettit’s own reporting, it’s the Kochs who seem paranoid. David Koch said to Continetti, “He’s the most radical president we’ve ever had as a nation,” he said, “and has done more damage to the free enterprise system and long-term prosperity than any president we’ve ever had.” Koch attributed this to Obama’s admiration for his father, who, he explains “was a hard-core economic socialist in Kenya.”

On this theory, despite his stated views, Obama is secretly a hard-core economic socialist, an ideology he picked up from his father without actually speaking to him. Newt Gingrich, who stands right at the center of the money men and the grassroots, worried on Monday about his grandchildren. “By the time they’re my age,” he fretted, “they will be in a secular atheist country, potentially one dominated by radical Islamists and with no understanding of what it once meant to be an American.” And why shouldn’t secular atheism and radical Islam coexist if Obama’s brand of hard-core socialism can bring record profits to corporate America? […]

That the midterm elections change this calculus is clear. But the rise of apocalyptic conservatism does more than shift the terms of the negotiation. It likely makes compromise impossible.


Ryan’s budget would undermine economic security for millions

Economic Policy Institute:

Read Policy Memo

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s fiscal year 2012 budget resolution would undermine the modern social safety net, reversing the gains America has made in health and economic opportunity. This resolution would deny millions of middle- and low-income households access to the American Dream. A number of vital federal government programs are targeted for near-destruction by Ryan, including Medicare and Medicaid; and other programs, such as Social Security, likely would be radically weakened.


The budget resolution eliminates Medicare as we know it, shifting costs onto seniors. Instead of today’s system, Ryan’s proposal would provide seniors with vouchers to purchase health care from private insurers. Payments would be adjusted so that wealthier beneficiaries would receive lower subsidies. Though Ryan is vague about what level of income constitutes “wealthy,” the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has suggested in previous analyses of Ryan’s so-called Roadmap for America’s Future (2010) that “beneficiaries with incomes over $80,000 ($160,000 for a couple) would receive a voucher for half the basic amount or less.”1 In essence, Medicare would shift from being a program that guarantees benefits to one that guarantees only a specific level of contribution toward beneficiaries’ health care costs.

This plan puts money directly into the pockets of insurance companies, which are much less efficient than Medicare.


The Ryan Plan’s Biggest Flaw:  Robert Greenstein graphs it

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s budget plan would get about two-thirds of its more than $4 trillion in budget cuts over 10 years from programs that serve people of limited means, which violates basic principles of fairness and stands a core principle of President Obama’s fiscal commission on its head.

The plan of Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, who co-chaired President Obama’s National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, established, as a basic principle, that deficit reduction should not increase poverty or inequality or hurt the disadvantaged. The Ryan plan, which the chairman unveiled in a news conference, speech, and Wall Street Journal op-ed today, charts a different course, turning its biggest cannons on these people.


FACT CHECK: The Ryan budget plan



Kasich’s Ohio Budget Bill Would Kill 51,052 Jobs | AFL-CIO NOW BLOG


Eleven ways the Tea Party inspired shutdown will hurt the economy

SLOWER ECONOMIC GROWTH: According to analysts at Goldman Sachs, a shutdown “could shave 0.2 percent off the growth of Gross Domestic Product for every week it continued.”

HOUSING MARKET THREATENED: During a shutdown, the Federal Housing Administration, “which insures and guarantees a large number of single-family mortgages and even more rental and multifamily properties,” would cease operations, blocking home loan and insurance applications.

BLOCKED TAX REFUNDS: A shutdown would “delay $42.1 billion of refunds to about 14 million U.S. taxpayers,” the majority of whom are middle-class or low-income.

INCREASED DEFICITS: By increasing the costs of funding the debt, a shutdown could actually increase the federal deficit.

SMALL BUSINESS LOANS BLOCKED: During the shutdown, the Small Business Administration’s processing of loan applications is halted. The SBA approves about $50 million in small business loans per day.

INSIDER TRADING INVESTIGATIONS HALTED: At the Securities and Exchange Commission, the shutdown would stop most investigatory activities, “including routine sweeps and examinations of investment advisers and broker-dealers and most work on in-progress enforcement cases.”

SOCIAL SECURITY ENROLLMENTS SLOWED: While Social Security checks still go out during a shutdown, applications for new enrollment will be processed more slowly and “a huge backlog of applications for Social Security disability benefits would grow even larger.”

WORKPLACE SAFETY INSPECTIONS STOPPED: At the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which polices workplace regulations, only “‘imminent dangers’ to life or property could be investigated,” leaving 95 percent of workplace complaints unanswered.

TOURIST INDUSTRY AROUND NATIONAL PARKS HURT: National parks close during a shutdown, while “tourists spend about $32 million a day in the communities just outside the parks,” according to the National Park Service.

800,000 FEDERAL WORKERS FURLOUGHED: A shutdown would force the furlough of about 800,000 federal employees, and “leave the Treasury owing them $174 million a day in back wages.”

STATE BUDGET WOES EXACERBATED: If a shutdown occurs, “the federal money that helps states pay the administrative costs of their stretched unemployment programs could dry up, forcing states to advance the money to keep the programs running.”


20 Facts About U.S. Inequality that Everyone Should Know

Click an image to learn more about a fact!


Senate Rejects Bills to Limit E.P.A.’s Emissions Programs

WASHINGTON — The Senate on Wednesday rejected efforts to block the Environmental Protection Agency’s program to regulate greenhouse gases, defeating four bills that would have limited the agency’s attempts to address global warming.

The Senate voted as the House was debating a measure that would also halt the regulations by repealing the agency’s scientific finding that carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases are endangering human health and the environment. That bill is expected to pass the House on Thursday. President Obama has vowed to veto any such measure if it should reach his desk.


REPORT: Seven States Where Republicans Are Ruining The Environment

OHIO: At the behest of then-Vice President Dick Cheney, an exemption was inserted into a 2005 energy bill — dubbed the “Haliburton loophole” — which stripped the EPA of its power to regulate a natural gas drilling technique called hydraulic fracturing. This method, named fracking, entails drilling a L-shaped well deep into shale and pumping millions of gallons of water laced with industrial chemicals — chemicals which the energy companies are not legally bound to disclose. More>>>

PENNSYLVANIA: After injecting fracking fluid deep into the earth to extract natural gas, the waste that returns becomes a nasty byproduct of saltwater mixed with radioactive materials. Most states require energy companies to inject the waste thousands of feet deep back into the earth — a technique that caused earthquakes in Arkansas. But Pennsylvania, one of the major states at the center of the natural gas boom, dumps the radioactive leftovers directly into rivers and streams, where communities get their drinking water. More>>>

NORTH CAROLINA: With moratoriums on fracking in Arkansas, New York, New Jersey, and potentially Maryland, state Rep. Mitch Gillespie (R) plans to introduce a bill that would permit fracking in North Carolina. More>>>

TEXAS: Not only is Texas the biggest polluter in the country but it isn’t complying with federal air quality standards. Texas leads the nation in carbon dioxide emissions, and in 2008, Houston was ranked the fourth worst city for ozone. Texas has not been in compliance with federal air quality standards since 1994, when the state submitted a system of issuing flexible air pollution limits to the EPA — which allowed for a portion of a refinery or chemical plant to emit more pollutants than federal standards authorize as long as the total emissions did not infringe on federal air quality standards. More>>>

MAINE: Newly elected Gov. Paul LePage (R) — who infamously told the NAACP to “kiss my butt” and that he would tell President Obama to “go to hell” — announced that he will be trimming dozens of environmental protections in order to make Maine more “business friendly.” LePage will be changing a minimum of 36 environmental laws, including opening up 10 million acres of northern Maine for business development, weakening a new law that that requires manufactures take back and recycle old products, relaxing air emission standards, and replacing the state Board of Environmental Protection with an appeals panel. More>>>

MONTANA: … But state Sen. Chas Vincent (R) has proposed a bill to gut the Montana Environmental Policy Act (MEPA), citing that it’s what “venture capitalists” need. Moreover, state Rep. Joe Read (R) has introduced a bill declaring global warming a “natural occurrence and human activity has not accelerated it,” and that “global warming is beneficial to the welfare and business climate of Montana.” More>>>

MINNESOTA: State Rep. Steve Drazkowski (R) convinced a committee to amend the House outdoors bill to include a provision that allows the for-profit logging industry to cut trees in Minnesota’s Frontenac and Whitewater state parks. More>>>

These assaults on the environment have very little to do with budget shortfalls, but they do conveniently provide a platform of austerity where state Republicans can justify their ideological attacks on behalf of corporate polluters — who are not just stripping states’ natural resources but also the health and the jobs of their citizens.


Biodegradable wool coffins keep you cozy six feet under


This Is Why We’re Fat

If everyone ran an hour a day at eight miles per hour, that would actually make up for the increase, but obviously that’s not what’s happening.



Affordable Care Act


Chart: Your health care on Paul Ryan


Rachel Maddow Tears Into Beltway Media For Paul Ryan Budget Coverage (VIDEO)

Ryan has received substantial positive press coverage for his plan, including on Maddow’s own network, where a “Morning Joe” panel lavished the congressman with praise. Maddow, though, cited economists who contended that the budget would increase the national debt and hurt the poor and the elderly. She then further criticized the media:

“I doubt that actual numerically based fact based information will penetrate the smoochy smoochy love bubble surrounding Paul Ryan right now…there’s this cult of him being brave and bold and doing this difficult workout every morning. What he’s just introduced is not a feature on grit versus glamor in today’s GOP. It is not a pinup. It is not the brave story of a strong boy in a tough environment. It’s the official Republican Party budget for 2012, and the numbers in it are so wrong they are occasionally funny.”



Obama to Get New War Policy Team


Service Chiefs Testify They Have Not Run Into Problems In Implementing DADT Repeal

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon (R-CA) seemed taken aback this afternoon when the four chiefs of the armed forces testified that they had not run into any major problems in implementing the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.


Gates Fakes Cuts, Drives Spending

During the Bush administration’s post-Sept. 11 years, the United States spent $4.6 trillion — in 2010 dollars — on defense, or about $460 billion a year, excluding war costs. This was a 17.5 percent increase over the post-Cold War, peace dividend years of 1991-2000, slightly above the Cold War average of $450 billion per year.

One year ago, President Barack Obama laid out a defense plan for 2011-2020 that called for spending $5.8 trillion — or $580 billion a year. This represented an additional 25 percent real increase in defense spending above the 1990s.

Meanwhile, the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform recently proposed a defense program of $4.9 trillion — or $490 billion a year for 2011-2020. This is a 15 percent decrease from Obama’s plan but still 6 percent more than the Bush years and the Cold War average.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates called the commission’s proposed cuts catastrophic and is determined to fend off any cuts of that magnitude. But under pressure from the White House, Gates reluctantly agreed to more than $78 billion in reductions from 2012 to 2015, a cut of 4 percent from Obama’s plan.



POLL: 58% of Americans don’t want to keep fighting the war in Afghanistan



Prosser gains 7,500 votes in Waukesha County

In a political bombshell, the clerk in a Republican stronghold released new vote totals adding a net total of 7,582 new votes in the tight state Supreme Court race to Justice David Prosser, swinging the race significantly in his favor.

Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus said Thursday that she failed to save in her computer and then report 14,315 votes in the city of Brookfield, omitting them entirely in an unofficial tally released after Tuesday’s election. The new totals give 10,859 more votes to Prosser from Brookfield and 3,456 more to Kloppenburg, she said. Smaller discrepancies turned up in two other communities as well.

“I’m thankful that this error was caught early in the process. This is not a case of extra ballots being found. This is human error which I apologize for, which is common,” Nickolaus said, her voice wavering as she spoke to reporters.

She said she had reviewed numbers from all the other municipalities in the county to ensure that no other similar errors were made. She said she was not aware of any error of this size being made in any past election in her county.

The fresh numbers provide a new tilt to a race that had appeared to be headed toward the first statewide recount in two decades and as well spring a new surprise on a state that had already faced two months of chaotic politics. But the numbers also seemed almost certain to inject new controversy into an already heated race.


WI’s Waukesha County Clerk to Keep Elections Results on Her Personal Computer

Waukesha – Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus’ decision to go it alone in how she collects and maintains election results has some county officials raising a red flag about the integrity of the system. Nickolaus said she decided to take the election data collection and storage system off the county’s computer network – and keep it on stand-alone personal computers accessible only in her office – for security reasons. “What it gave me was good security of the elections from start to finish, without the ability of someone unauthorized to be involved,” she said. Nonetheless, Director of Administration Norman A. Cummings said because Nickolaus has kept them out of the loop, the county’s information technology specialists have not been able to verify Nickolaus’ claim that the system is secure from failure. “How does anybody else in the county know, except for her verbal word, that there are backups, and that the software she has out there is performing as it should?” he said. “There’s no way I can assure that the election system is going to be fine for the next presidential election.”


The County Clerk in Waukesha County has been criticized for election practices in the past

Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus, a former staffer for the Assembly Republican Caucus, has been sharply criticized in recent months for her handling of recent elections. Even the archly-conservative Waukesha County Board has sharply condemned Nickolaus after past elections, demanding an immediate audit of her practices following ominous red-flags that emerged regarding her lack of oversight, failure to create backup files and her stubborn insistence to “keep everything secret.”

The County auditors said it was eminently possible — including historical precedent — for Nickolaus or a rogue employee to tamper with data. Why? Nickolaus insists on controlling password access and has unilaterally decided to move sensitive files, like election results, onto her personal computer.


Nickolaus has actually scoffed at complying with impartial audits, thumbing her nose at critics. A move that drew a sharp reaction at the time from the County Board Chair:

“There really is nothing funny about this, Kathy,” said Waukesha County Board Chairman Jim Dwyer when Nickolaus willfully ignored complying with the earlier impartial audit. “Don’t sit there and grin when I’m explaining what this is about.” [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 8/18/10; 1/17/11]


More about this corrupt official and what’s going to be done

“There is a history of secrecy and partisanship surrounding the Waukesha County Clerk and there remain unanswered questions,” Scot Ross, director of the liberal group One Wisconsin Now, said in a statement.

An audit of Nickolaus’ handling of the 2010 election found that she needed to take steps to improve security and backup procedures, like stop sharing passwords. The audit was requested after the county’s director of administration said Nickolaus had been uncooperative with attempts to have county experts review her systems and confirm backups were in place.

Nickolaus was given immunity from prosecution in a 2002 criminal investigation into illegal activity by members of the assembly Republican Caucus. She worked for 13 years as a data analyst and computer specialist for the caucus.

She resigned from her state job in 2002 just before launching her county clerk campaign.

The corruption probe took down then-Assembly Speaker Scott Jensen, a Republican; Senate Majority Leader Chuck Chvala, D-Madison; Sen. Brian Burke, D-Milwaukee, co-chairman of the powerful Joint Finance Committee; Assembly Majority Leader Steve Foti, R-Oconomowoc; and Rep. Bonnie Ladwig, R-Racine. They all reached plea deals.

The Government Accountability Board, which is in charge of overseeing Wisconsin’s elections, will review Waukesha County’s numbers to verify the totals, said agency director Kevin Kennedy.

“We will conduct our own review of issues because we want to make sure that we are tracking every entry she made into our system,” Kennedy said. “We’re concerned when data is missing from a total. We’d like to make sure there is much better communication between their office and our office.”

Kennedy said it was unfortunate the clerk didn’t double check the data before releasing it to the press.

“Mistakes are never simple, they usually compound themselves, but these are the kind of mistakes we see happen, we just don’t see them of this magnitude,” Kennedy said.

Nickolaus said she didn’t notice an absence of votes because her figures showed a 42 percent voter turnout, which exceeded the 30 percent turnout the county typically sees in spring elections.

“That was an amazing amount of votes,” she said. “So I had no reason to believe I was missing anything.”


Officials dispute reliability of Waukesha County clerk’s election data system


Election Returns: What Went On in Waukesha?

Pdf from One Wisconsin Now


Stewart Grills Huckabee About Religion’s Role In Government (VIDEO)

“When you’re speaking to the base you’re much more explicit about Christian values and religion than when you’re talking to the public at large,” Stewart said.

“At times, you soft-sell something that I think is what’s maybe more in your heart than you let on, and I don’t know why people wouldn’t embrace it,” he added.

Stewart also noted Huckabee’s praise for controversial historian David Barton, an evangelical Christian who has claimed that Jesus didn’t believe in the minimum wage, and that God, not man, delineated nations’ borders. Huckabee defended his praise of Barton, saying that he was a respected historian with well-sourced works.


Prosser Hires Bush v. Gore Recount Lawyer Who Claims GOP Opposes Equal Protection


Ohio GOP seeks way around repeal

Ohio Democrats are well on the way to forcing a referendum over their state’s union-stripping bill, SB 5. Now comes news that Ohio Republicans are trying an end-run around a citizen repeal.

The idea is sort of the opposite of what happened in Wisconsin, where Republicans took the anti-union provisions out of the budgetary bill so they could pass it without a quorum. In Ohio, Republicans say they’re ready to put most of the union-stripping provisions into the budget. That would force Democrats to run two referendum campaigns — the one they’re pushing for now, and a second one next year. From the Columbus Dispatch:

Oddly enough, a second referendum presumably couldn’t be held until November 2012 — seemingly right when Democrats would want it, beside the presidential election would be on the ballot.

Again, the history here: The last time the Ohio ballot included a major anti-union measure was in 1958. Republicans themselves proposed that referendum, to ban union shops. The measure went down to heavy defeat, and so did almost the entire Republican ticket, including the governor. It was a wipeout. No wonder Governor John Kasich sounds less than eager to talk about this new strategy. “I don’t want to get into what I want to do, what I don’t want to do, because then I might have to retract,” he tells the Dispatch.



Honeybees ‘entomb’ hives to protect against pesticides, say scientists

Honeybees are taking emergency measures to protect their hives from pesticides, in an extraordinary example of the natural world adapting swiftly to our depredations, according to a prominent bee expert.

Scientists have found numerous examples of a new phenomenon – bees “entombing” or sealing up hive cells full of pollen to put them out of use, and protect the rest of the hive from their contents. The pollen stored in the sealed-up cells has been found to contain dramatically higher levels of pesticides and other potentially harmful chemicals than the pollen stored in neighbouring cells, which is used to feed growing young bees.

‘Entombed’ pollen is identified as having sunken, wax-covered cells amid ‘normal’, uncapped cells.


Two White Dwarfs Orbit Each Other At 1,000,000 MPH, Will Soon Merge to Create a New Star

Researchers at Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics love a good pair of merging white dwarfs, but their most recent discovery of an orbiting pair is interesting beyond just being a galactic rarity. This new pair is the fastest orbiting pair of white dwarfs ever seen, completing an orbit every 39 minutes. What’s more, in several million years their orbits will decay to the point that they collide, merge, and are reborn as a single star.



Wal-Mart v. Women

The employment discrimination lawsuit against Wal-Mart, which the Supreme Court heard last week, is the largest in American history. If the court rejects this suit, it will send a chilling message that some companies are too big to be held accountable.

It began in 1999 after Stephanie Odle was fired when she complained of sex discrimination. As Ms. Odle recounted in sworn testimony, as an assistant manager she discovered that a male employee with the same title and less experience was making $10,000 a year more than her.

She complained to her boss, who defended the disparity by saying the male had a family to support. When she replied that she was having a baby that she needed to support, the supervisor made her provide a personal budget and then gave her a raise closing just one-fifth the gap.

The plaintiffs who have brought a class action on behalf of 1.5 million current and former female Wal-Mart employees allege that they, too, faced discrimination in pay and promotion. If Wal-Mart loses, it could owe more than $1 billion in back pay.




UPDATE: over 150% of the total required signatures collected for Hopper recall effort



Idaho Rejects Rape Exception In Abortion Bill Because ‘The Hand Of The Almighty’

Modeled after Nebraska’s first-in-the-nation measure, the bill — like the one passed in Kansas last week — is based on highly disputed medical research alleging that a fetus can feel pain at 20 weeks. Idaho’s bill, however, also fails to include exceptions for rape, incest, severe fetal abnormality or the mental or psychological health of the mother. “Only when the pregnancy threatens the mother’s life or physical health could a post-20-week abortion be performed.”


In 1990, Idaho’s anti-abortion Gov. Cecil Andrus (D) vetoed a similar bill expressly because it failed to provide a rape or incest exception. “The bill is drawn so narrowly that it would punitively and without compassion further harm an Idaho woman who may find herself in the horrible, unthinkable position of confronting a pregnancy that resulted from rape or incest,” he said.

But this year during Sexual Assault Awareness Month, state Republican lawmakers found plenty of reasons to advocate for it. State Rep. Shannon McMillan (R) argued that women who were impregnated under “violent circumstances” should have no choice because it’s not the fetus’s fault. State Rep. Brent Crane, the bill’s sponsor, took it a step further. Believing that “tragic, horrific” acts of rape or incest are the “hand of the Almighty,” Crane said women should trust God to turn the consequences of their sexual assault into “wonderful examples.”


46% of Mississippi GOP primary voters think interracial marriage should be illegal

Pdf here.



What makes a great photographic portrait?

When discussing what “makes” a great portrait with Exposure Compensation’s Miguel Garcia-Guzman, we quickly realized that we couldn’t really agree on much. So we figured we might as well ask some other people, and we sent out an email to a large number of photographers, fine art and commercial, bloggers, curators, editors, and gallerists: “What makes a good portrait? Could you provide us an example of a portrait that you really like – either from your or someone else’s work – and say why the portrait works so well for you?” to publish what we would get back on our blogs, as a collaborative effort to get a little bit closer to understanding the topic. Below is what we got back from those who managed to find the time to write something.

The Stewart Sisters, 7th Grade demonstrates this intangible. The girls are being photographed, communicating with the viewer, being self aware and being all of these things and more, nothing is very dramatic, nothing heavy handed, but the end result feels utterly profound.

Nathan, Boonville, North Carolina, 2007: This image is made up of many of the elements in which I strive to make all my portraits. It has meaning, it is graphic, it is telling, and has strong lines and light.

Look at Eisenstaedt’s menacing portrait of Goebbels. Eisenstaedt made the picture because he had something he wanted to say about Goebbels. The image is more of an indictment than a likeness.

One of my favorite examples of portraiture would have to be Edouard Boubat’s stunning Lella, Bretagne, 1947… here we are presented with a real person, one who has been captured in two dimensions yet leaps off of the paper and right into our world, a living, breathing woman…





Stand Against the GOP’s Extreme Budget

The 2012 Republican budget is shocking. Republicans would:

  • Repeal health care reform
  • Kill Medicare as we know it and funnel its money to private insurance companies
  • Shrink corporate tax bills
  • Give millionaires and billionaires huge tax breaks

And thanks to these giveaways to the wealthy, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that our debt will actually INCREASE under this plan. The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank said: “Ryan’s proposal isn’t a budget. It’s a manifesto for the anti-tax cause.” So much for fiscal responsibility!

Sign our petition, and stand against the Republicans. It’s simply immoral to take crucial health care away from seniors and the most vulnerable among us and use the proceeds to pad corporate pockets – and score political points.


US Uncut

Next National Days of Action: Tax Weekend April 15-18th!

On the weekend of tax day, April 15th-18th, let’s all take a stand for folks like Earl in our own communities. And let’s send our leaders a message- corporate tax cheats must pay up before veterans, the elderly, the unemployed, and the most vulnerable members of society are asked to sacrifice any more than we already have.

FedEx (Secondary Target)

When it comes to paying their fair share of taxes, FedEx simply does not deliver. When FedEx made $1.9 billion in profits, they managed to pay less than .0005% of it in taxes by using 21 tax havens. FedEx also spent 42 times (4200%) more on lobbying Congress than they did in taxes.

When FedEx does not deliver on its fair share of taxes, we are forced to cut $373 million in teacher training programs (Americorp).


In the dim background of mind we know what we ought to be doing but somehow we cannot start. ~ William James


The Daily Planet, Vol. 46

The Daily Planet, Vol. 45

The Daily Planet, Vol.44

The Daily Planet, Vol. 43

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.

69 Responses so far.

Click here to leave a comment
  1. Dbos says:

    Goebels looks like charles krauthammer and standing over him is that famous right winger pat puckanan

  2. KillgoreTrout says:

    As far as dems compromising, what riders should they be willing to compromise on? How much are we willing to give up, to satisfy these heartless and ignorant GOP/TPers?

  3. Chernynkaya says:

    Seems like weak tea, but maybe a start:

    Wisconsin Election Officials Sending Staff To Waukesha County

    …the state Government Accountability Board — which oversees elections — has announced that it has sent staff to Waukesha County, to review procedures after a sudden shift in the vote count gave incumbent conservative Justice David Prosser a gain of over 7,500 voters, pushing him into the lead.

    “I have been in close contact with Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus since her news conference on Thursday, and have directed her to make the official returns from the polling places available for public inspection,” GAB director Kevin Kennedy announced in a statement. “These documents are public records. I believe she is now taking steps to ensure transparency and public confidence in the official results.”

    The statement also adds: “We have confidence in Wisconsin’s county and municipal clerks, and do not believe any of them would do anything illegal to jeopardize their own reputation, or Wisconsin’s reputation for clean, fair and transparent elections.”

    It’s better not stop there though!

  4. ADONAI says:

    Poor, poor Barbara Boxer. She’s on MSNBC trying desperately to get American citizens to inform themselves about exactly what Planned Parenthood is and the laws regarding abortion funding in this country that ALREADY exist, instead of just flying off the handle over the word abortion.

    Good luck with that.

  5. Chernynkaya says:

    Wisconsin Republican County Clerk Sent Out Pre Marked Ballots

    Back in 2005, Ms. Nickolaus was found to have sent out “sample ballots” to the voters. The problem was these ballots were already marked for a specific candidate.


    • bito says:

      From the article:

      The red-faced county clerk Kathy Nickolaus said, the gaffe occurred when her office sent some newspapers the same sample ballots that had been marked to test the voting machines. “It was human error” she said…. The tainted sample ballots are being published in newspapers in Brookfield, Menomonee Falls, Mukwanago and Sussex. Along with both candidates’ names and detailed instruction on how to complete a ballot, there it is — a hand drawn solid line designating a vote for Dwyer.

      Has she ever run a “human error” free election? According to this article in Blue Cheddar, they may not have been “human errors.”

      “My husband used to work with Kathy Nickolaus (the Waukesha County Clerk). He used to work for the legislature’s IT shop from 1993 to 1997. Quote, “She was not only incompetent, but also a fierce right-to-lifer and archconservative. If you said to her, ‘I really like hot fudge sundaes’, her reply would be, ‘We really have to stop abortions.’ Her testifying in the caucus scandal notwithstanding, this casts considerable doubt on her integrity. She knew damn well that what she was doing for the caucuses was against the law, (later) immunity not withstanding.”


      And another H/T to GottaLaff

  6. ADONAI says:

    You have 2 Political Parties constantly fighting for domination of the most powerful country on Earth.

    This is what you get. Discipline? No. Substance? No. Endless bickering about things that seem simple to solve? Absolutely.

    • KQuark says:

      C’mon AD our long term budget problems are far from simple to solve.

      • ADONAI says:

        KQ, Not really. But competing ideologies makes it very difficult.

        We’re not broke. We fight too many wars. We spend more on paperwork than it would cost for free health care. Tax increases are necessary. Begin paying back China. Put a heel on the throat of American corporations.

        Seems like all that is missing is the will. On both sides.

        • KQuark says:

          You are preaching to the choir with me. I have said all along that our cold civil war of ideologies is the problem in this country. But every time someone does make a serious attempt to move beyond partisan politics they are rebuffed ala the president himself. Every time he says the word bipartisan his so called base has a major hissy fit and the right wing will never accept a Democrat as their president.

          So no it’s not “easy” in this caustic political environment that is as much created by the voters as it is by government.

        • jkkFL says:

          I am sick of ideologies canceling out people!
          When ideologies start providing solutions, let fly with every damn one you can hatch.

  7. ADONAI says:

    I can’t believe the Republicans are going through with this whole shutdown thing.

    Even Karl “Remember Me?” Rove thinks it is a bad idea. They are just HANDING OVER 2012 to the Democrats.

    Too bad millions will have to suffer for a victory in a ridiculous political argument.

    Hooray America!

  8. Chernynkaya says:

    GRAPHIC: Democrats Have Met Republicans More Than Halfway On Spending Cuts



  9. escribacat says:

    Some Memphis bagger on TV saying 48% of Americans agree with the tea party. This is CNN “What the Tea Party Wants.” Can you even remotely imagine a similar CNN piece “What Progressives Want” ?? NO way!!!

  10. Chernynkaya says:

    Something occurred to me as I step back from this government shutdown debate--and I know--y’all already realized this: I have become so focused on the Goop’s insistence that Planned Parenthood be cut from the budget that I was distracted from the bigger issue, which is that the Dems agreed to ALL the budget cuts. Not the places for those cuts, but for the amount of the cuts. That is outrageous, and no one is criticizing that.

    Looking back, I KNEW this would happen but I got distracted--the Dems will say they saved the EPA and Planned Parenthood while getting off the hook for fucking cutting the budget by a huge number. I am not suggesting that the Dems planned this--but they did use it. They are portraying themselves as uber-reasonable by drawing the line on Planned Parenthood and the EPA. And that’s great! But they caved on the monetary amount. I can’t forget that.

    • KQuark says:

      Cher that’s simply not true the GOP wanted $61MMM in cuts and the latest figures I heard was $34.5MMM max. It’s near halfway since the Dems started out at around $12MMM.

      • bito says:

        KQ, The whole numbers thing is bogus to me. It’s like score keeping of a sports event. There is plenty of things that could use a haircut and plenty of revenue that could be raised. It’s not the number it’s where the cuts are coming from and the social/religious “policy riders in the house bill.

        Fresh fruits and veges for kids lunches-cut out
        Food Stamps-reduced…….

        The list is long: http://bit.ly/hZ8bnE

        • KQuark says:

          That ship sailed when we allowed the most right wing House in history to be elected. We will be lucky to hold onto ACA, Medicare, Medicaid and SS now. Most of those programs will go back to 2008 spending levels because people forget they were refunded that last two years.

      • Chernynkaya says:

        It is confusing to me KQ but that $34.5 is on top of the $40 billion Obama already cut from his original 2011 budget, right? That makes it $74.5 thereabouts. And the Repubs originally wanted $100 billion. So I’d say it is more than meeting the Reeps half way if I am understanding this.


        • KQuark says:

          That’s still not all they wanted and you are playing the same game the Repubs with the numbers. The Repubs were rebuked for using a fake number based on the increases the president wanted to overstate their cuts, no? The fact is when you just discuss cuts not including the INCREASES Obama wanted it is halfway. This is exactly how progressives always set up failure for Dems even if they have to use Repub facts.

          I’m really getting tired of this conversation. The Dems gave too much for my liking but trying to overstate it just makes me ill how the narratives overtake fact.

          • KQuark says:

            jkkFL of course it’s about real people. I was making a specific argument about numbers in this case. I was not arguing whether I thought the cuts did not hurt real people.

            But I hate to tell you the other side does not look at it the way you do at all. They could care less about people and those are the people you should be arguing with not me.

            • jkkFL says:

              “Someone, somewhere needs to put faces on the numbers. Faces who look back at the infantile lawmakers and tell THEM what they have done to destroy Their lives.”

          • Chernynkaya says:

            OK-You’re right--It was not “all” they wanted. Fair enough. And I already wrote that this was confusing. But don’t accuse me of playing any games. Who are you talking to?! I have been a staunch defender. Instead of getting on your high horse, how about educating me--I am someone who ALWAYS admits she is mistaken if shown. So write it out--I am reading Think Progress and Steve Benen at the Washington Monthly. But if you can spell it out in a way that will make me understand how the dems didn’t meet the Repubs more than half way, I’d sincerely appreciate that.

            • jkkFL says:

              at what point do we stop trying to fix the past, instead of looking ahead to define problems and solutions?
              He said-she said is over.
              People- real people, not parties, are desperately in need, and suffering. I don’t give a shit what party is in power, or who didn’t do what when.
              I don’t even care how much money was involved then- or now.
              When and where does the country return to helping those in need first?
              Someone, somewhere needs to put faces on the numbers. Faces who look back at the infantile lawmakers and tell THEM what they have done to destroy Their lives.

            • KQuark says:

              The fact is that $100MMM was a false number the Repubs came up with and at the time and progressives called them out on it. But now some progressives are revisiting the same numbers they called fake and are using it to make the Dems look worse surprise surprise. Obama’s 2011 budget could have been created on a different planet because after Repubs took control we are in a different reality. Now the narrative is well Dems should have passed it then but there was no time to do everything so the Dems decided to go for repeal of DADT, Dream bill and START treaty and were two out of three with that.

              This is where I get the false budget numbers from.

              GOP Shies Away From False Promise to Cut $100 Billion in Spending: “That Number Was Hypothetical”


              The truth is both sides will use a half truth, hypothetical whatever to make their point more demonstrative and that’s the part of this whole blog world that drives me crazy.

    • agrippa says:

      Cher, true.

      What is worse is that a substantial number of people in the USA pay no attention at all to politics, government and current events and do not want to pay attention. There is a price to be paid for willed ignorance.

      The Democrats are doing dmage control; the Congressional Democrats in the 111th Congress failed to do what needed to be done and, now, the price is being paid.

    • Truth says:

      The question is, what would be worse: if they give in here or if there is a gov shutdown? Both is bad, but how are the longterm consequences? I don’t know, it is a question.

      Moreover it becomes once more crystal clear that Dems cooperate and GOP try to enforce the wishes of the minority. I know, it should have been clear a long time ago, but now that the GnOP has governing responsibility their failures count that much more.

      I think their goal is in fact to slow the growth of economy in hopes they’ll have a chance to win politically. They really don’t care how many people suffer or die due to that.

      • Chernynkaya says:

        Truth--there is no question that the Repubs want to destroy the economy. I know a shutdown is terrible, but honestly, I think long-term--the cuts are more devastating. I am for a shutdown if it could preserve the cuts. But the overwhelming majority does NOT want a shutdown and will blame the Reeps, IMO. I have to acceptt hat the Reeps won the midterms and get to dictate to a degree.

        Therefore, I have to force myself to keep my eye on the prize: 2012. Frustrating as hell, but if we lose seats in ’12, this will seem benign compared to what will happen then. So, I have to push down my disgust at this country and remember to think long-term for the win. That’s what the Right does--they keep at it and plan. We have to do the same. We get apathetic--they never do. And in the meantime, the Dems are beginning to win the narrative wars.

        • agrippa says:

          I think that they are trying to wreck the economy — out of spite.
          As in: “My neighbor has a cow, and I do not have a cow. I want his cow to die.”

          That, to me, is their “plan.”

          Cher, I think that you give them too credit to call what they are doing as part of a “plan”.

          • Chernynkaya says:

            Agrippa--while I agree with you about the average R voters, I also know that the Right funds several “think tanks,” lobbies Congress, runs PACs and has Fox--look at just the Koch brothers for one. I certainly don’t think it’s a conspiracy in the classic sense so much as a long-term plan. Most Congresspeople aren’t “in on” the plan necessarily, but you can’t deny that the Right has a structure that promotes their narrative. I am not conspiracy-minded but I do think that there are people like Rove and the Scaifes and the Kochs and the Religious Right that have agendas which dovetail nicely. At the root, they are able to play on that envy and greed you describe.

        • Abbyrose86 says:

          Exactly Cher…they look long term and keep their eye on the prize. Our side isn’t as good at that. WE need to increase our representation in the Congress. This IS what happens when we don’t think strategically!

        • audadvnc says:

          There’s that “we” thing again. You’re buying into the opposition’s line. “We” didn’t cobble up 7000+ bogus votes last night. That was somebody else.

  11. escribacat says:

    That honeybee story is amazing. They are protecting themselves from our poison. Gee, I wonder if pesticides could be the reason why honeybees are in trouble.

    • Chernynkaya says:

      E’cat-- that’s what the scientists are saying--it’s the pesticides. I hope they figure out the reason for hive collapse, or frankly-- forget climate change--we’re doomed without bees.

  12. Abbyrose86 says:

    Oh Cher…..{SIGH} I don’t even know WHAT to say anymore. I’m so upset by it all. WHAT the hell is wrong with people!

  13. jkkFL says:

    Cher- some days your ‘Planet’ should be accompanied by an Rx for high blood pressure meds, or anti-depressants!
    (or at least a warning that ‘reading could be hazardous to your health’!)
    Do you feel, some days, like you’re going thru someone else’s garbage?
    Thanks for doing the ‘dirty work’.

    ps: Loved the photo piece!

    • Chernynkaya says:

      Jkk and Abby-- This has been a particularly upsetting week for me too. It seems to me as if this country is populated by people I hate. But then I have to constantly remind myself that, again, IT’S THE MEDIA THAT MAKES US THINK THAT!

      Thousands all over the country were demonstrating. The polls show that the Baggers are unpopular and that all of their ideas are unpopular--that the voters want jobs, don’t want gov’t. cuts, want out of Afghanistan and support unions and taxing corps. and the rich. But Goddamn it! The media doesn’t repeat that truth and instead they parrot the Goopers’ narrative. So, of course we feel demoralized. That is exactly what they want. All I know form weeks of doing this is that our ideas are getting more and more popular and the Right’s becoming unpopular. Why don’t we see that?

      • Abbyrose86 says:

        The media are the culprits in keeping the masses in the dark.

        I’ve been so angry and so frustrated all week. I can’t even comment on the blogs. All week I’ve only been popping in here and there for a minute and then I have to walk away….It’s been such a bad week. {SIGH{

      • escribacat says:

        Cher et al, I’ve been wondering when the deficit took over as the Big Issue instead of jobs????? When the House went Republican. All these cuts are going to undo the good done by the stimulus. How is this going to help get the economy going?

        • Chernynkaya says:

          E’cat--and yet ALL the polls show that people don’t care as much about the deficit as about JOBS! Yet we seem captured by the Baggers’ narrative--no one in the MSM is talking about JOBS!!! The keep repeating the Right’s talking points.

          I think it’s deliberate. The corporatist media wants us to see the disconnect between Washington and Main Street--even though the disconnect is actually between the GOP and Main Street. But the corps. want us to become disgusted with government overall, so they keep highlighting only what the Goopers are doing and not what the Dems are doing to fight back.

          • Abbyrose86 says:

            Bingo. I agree completely.

          • escribacat says:

            Cher, good points. The narrative in this country is controlled by the media…and all too often they let the loudmouthed wailers do their work for them. Michelle Bachmann opens her loony cakehole, and they flock around her. The press is more interested in getting something inflammatory to put on, rather than actually digging for the real issues. But this is all just a reflection of the lazy American brain, who wants entertainment instead of news and issues. As much as I get annoyed by those in power, I always come back to the idea that they’re just pandering to the typical American audience — who wants everything to be quick and easy and entertaining (otherwise, don’t bother me!)

            • audadvnc says:

              Back in the 1980’s I had a film studies teacher demonstrate that all Hollywood funding resolved back to two New York banks.

              I suspect a parallel investigation of MSM money would yield the same result -- that all mainstream media is run from of 2 or three sources. Is it any wonder that journalism is in its present state?

    • Abbyrose86 says:

      @JKK….indeed, it should! This one was an especially depressing one…I feel the need for a vodka! {SIGH}

      • jkkFL says:

        @Abby, Cher-
        Abby you are definitely on to something there- perhaps I will start my mornings with a Bailey’s and coffee 🙂
        Cher- you’re right of course- and in no way are we aiming for the messenger!
        But, shit in WI, and ‘Policy shenanigans in DC’ make me want to tear my hair out.
        Anyone besides me feel like any power we had as voters, has been subverted; totally neutering any hope for change?
        Frustration- thy name is US government!
        grrrr..(end rant)

  14. agrippa says:

    This current political siutation, across the country, is pretty sad.
    The irrationality and the willed self destructiveness remind me of the run up to the Civil War. Folly run rampant.

    It is as if many want the country to come apart.

    • Chernynkaya says:

      We are as divided as during the Civil War. These are very dark days, but the only bright spot is that FINALLY people seem to be fighting back. It’s just the start.

      It reminds me of the opening to A Tale of Two Cities: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.”

      • agrippa says:

        Good quotation. It does fit the times. I am not surprised by any of this. The USA is not the sort of country, and americans are not the sort of people who do well at sorting out problems and coming up with solutions. We prefer to pretend that the problems do not exist; and, then, when the problems can no longer be ignored, go into a panic. The USA has done that several times.

        We are in a panic now; and, the GOP is leading the panic.

    • Abbyrose86 says:

      No doubt agrippa. The situation is NOT good. {SIGH}

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