Friday, November 30, 2012

Gay Gunman Hated Chick-fil-A Sandwich

"Man criticized Christian group before allegedly shooting their security guard" by ERIC TUCKER and PETE Yost  |  Associated Press, August 16, 2012

WASHINGTON — A man suspected of shooting and wounding a security guard at the headquarters of a Christian lobbying group on Wednesday made a negative reference about the organization’s work before opening fire, a law enforcement official said.

Police said the man entered the front lobby of the Family Research Council in Washington around 10:45 a.m. Wednesday, began arguing with a security guard, and then shot him in the arm. The gunman was subdued by the guard and others and taken into custody but had not been charged as of Wednesday evening.

Another law enforcement official identified the suspect as Floyd Corkins II, and authorities were interviewing Corkins’s neighbors in Herndon, Va., near Washington. Both officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss an ongoing investigation.

Corkins, 28, had been volunteering recently at a community center for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people.

The Family Research Council strongly opposes gay marriage and abortion and says it advocates ‘‘faith, family, and freedom in public policy and public opinion.’’

Corkins made a negative comment about the organization before the shooting, but the reference was not specific, one of the law enforcement officials said.

The guard, Leo Johnson, was in stable condition and was being interviewed.

Corkins had been volunteering for about the past 6 months at The DC Center for the LGBT Community, said David Mariner, executive director of the community center, which is in Northwest Washington. He usually staffed the center’s front desk on Saturdays.

Though authorities did not publicly reveal a motive, advocacy groups across the ideological spectrum condemned the violence, with some casting it as a hate crime.


"D.C. shooter had Chick-fil-A products in backpack; Said he disagrees with group’s view" by Eric Tucker and Ben Nuckols  |  Associated Press, August 17, 2012

WASHINGTON — A man who volunteered at a gay community center had a backpack full of Chick-fil-A sandwiches and a box of ammunition when he said, ‘‘I don’t like your politics’’ and shot a security guard at the headquarters of a conservative lobbying group, authorities revealed Thursday.

Floyd Lee Corkins II was ordered held without bond on charges that he opened fire Wednesday in the lobby of the Family Research Council, an influential conservative Christian group that has supported the president of the fast-food chain in his staunch opposition to same-sex marriage.

Though the shooting was swiftly condemned by groups across the ideological spectrum, it tapped into deep divisions over cultural issues like gay marriage and drew finger-pointing about whether inflamed rhetoric on either side was to blame.

Family Research Council president Tony Perkins said reckless rhetoric from organizations that disagree with his group’s opposition to abortion and same-sex marriage was to blame for the shooting.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization that tracks hate groups, labeled the Family Research Council as a hate group in 2010 for what it called the group’s antigay stance.

Corkins, 28, entered the lobby of the downtown Washington building on Wednesday morning, carrying a backpack with a box of ammunition and 15 Chick-fil-A sandwiches, authorities said. It wasn’t clear what he planned to do with the sandwiches.

The guard was shot in the arm but was able to help wrestle the gun away and restrain the shooter, police said.

Corkins, who lives with his parents in Herndon, Va., was charged with assault with intent to kill and bringing firearms across state lines. He was ordered held pending a hearing next week. He told the judge he had only $300 in his account and was appointed a public defender. He was otherwise silent during the hearing and stared ahead impassively....


Kansan Crazies

"Police say Kansas family feared children’s ‘demons’" by MARIA SUDEKUM  |  Associated Press, August 15, 2012

LAWRENCE, Kan. — A child whose brother and sister were found bound and blindfolded in a Walmart parking lot in Kansas told an investigator that the family believed her younger siblings and their Illinois home was possessed by demons, a police officer testified Tuesday.

The children were discovered tied up, with duct tape over their eyes, outside the store in Lawrence in June. Their parents, 44-year-old Deborah Gomez and 52-year-old Adolfo Gomez Jr., are charged with two counts of child abuse and five counts of aggravated child endangerment.

Lawrence police officer Hayden Fowler testified at a preliminary hearing to decide if the parents should stand trial. He said that an older daughter said the family was going to try to cast the demons from her 5-year-old brother and 7-year-old sister.

Fowler said one of the children told him that the family believed there were demons in their Northlake, Ill., home and outside their vehicle in the parking lot, and that the family had recently watched online videos about demons and ‘‘a fallen angel.’’

Fowler testified that one of the older children told him the younger siblings had been tied up because the family believed that ‘‘demons had overtaken their bodies.’’ He said the child told him that duct tape was placed over their eyes to protect them from demons.

The older daughter said they were going to try to cast the demons out of the younger children but did not say how they planned to do that.

Fowler said the daughter told him, ‘‘If the demons were to die, [the children] would die also.’’


"Prosecutor drops charges in Kansas abortion clinic case" by John Hanna  |  Associated Press, August 18, 2012

TOPEKA, Kan. — A Kansas prosecutor on Friday dropped all remaining criminal charges against a Kansas City-area Planned Parenthood clinic accused of performing illegal abortions, ending what was believed to be the first attempt in the United States to prosecute a facility affiliated with the group.

Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe said that 32 misdemeanor charges against the clinic had been dismissed. Those charges were the last part of a criminal case filed in 2007 by Howe’s predecessor, and Howe said his decision to end the case came after consulting Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt. All three are Republicans.

‘‘It is an unfortunate conclusion that I don’t think is going to satisfy anybody, but that is the reality of what we have to deal with today,’’ Howe said at a news conference at a courthouse in Olathe. ‘‘But ultimately, the decision should be about the law and the evidence.’’


"Jamaican woman faces marriage fraud trial in Kan." Associated Press, August 21, 2012

WICHITA, Kan. — A Jamaican woman accused of entering into a ‘‘sham marriage’’ with a Kansas soldier faces a federal trial Tuesday during which jurors must decide whether she wed for love or for immigration purposes in a criminal prosecution.

Prosecutors say Shannakay Hunter was an illegal immigrant who conspired with Joshua Priest, then an Army private stationed at Fort Riley, to enter into marriage so she could get a ‘‘green card’’ and regain her legal status, as well as receive military benefits such as health care for herself and her two children.
Priest, 23, in turn received Army housing and subsistence benefits provided to married soldiers.

The government contends their May 2010 marriage in Junction City was never consummated and the couple never lived together.

In its court filings, the defense portrays the 28-year-old Jamaican immigrant, who lives in the Bronx, N.Y., as a hardworking mother who admits overstaying her visa but married for love — and that her husband made the allegations of fraud out of anger.

The defense plans to call as a witness the victim advocate who took care of Hunter after an alleged domestic abuse incident in Junction City involving Priest.

Priest is expected to be the government’s star witness. He pleaded guilty in July to conspiracy to commit marriage fraud and wire fraud in a deal with prosecutors for leniency in exchange for his testimony against his wife, and will be sentenced in October.


Muslim Motel Hosted Jews

"Hotelier loses discrimination suit:" ASSOCIATED PRESS, August 17, 2012

SANTA MONICA, Calif. — A Muslim hotel owner discriminated against a Jewish group during a Southern California poolside charity event by ordering removal of banners and ousting them from the pool and spa, a jury decided in awarding $1.2 million statutory damages.

The suit was filed by Friends of the Israel Defense Forces, whose members had gathered two years ago at the ocean-view Hotel Shangri-LA, owned by Tehmina Adaya, a Muslim of Pakistani descent.

In her testimony, Adaya denied an allegation she had ordered a halt to the event for fear that her family would cut off her financing.

Former employee Nathan Codrey testified in a deposition that Adaya used profanity as she halted the event.

‘‘If my [family finds] out there’s a Jewish event here, they’re going to pull money from me immediately,’’ Codrey quoted her as saying.


Globe Gets the Last Word

On this front-page book promotion.

"Self-written obituaries give many the last word" by Beth Teitell  |  Globe Staff, August 17, 2012

Self-written obituaries generally run in newspapers as paid death notices, while traditional obits are written by newspaper reporters. But with the growing popularity of online obituary sites such as, which publishes mainly paid death notices, the self-written obit has an ever-larger potential audience....

Students taking White’s $120 course do writing and memory-recall exercises and learn how to edit and polish. But without a doubt the hardest part of the process is soliciting quotes from friends and family....

Those who don’t want to write their own obit, but do want one done ahead of time, have started hiring writers to do the job. Whether self-written or commissioned, the pre-written obit can be a way for the subject to spare loved ones — who may not love each other — from having to interact, said Susan Soper, a veteran journalist who created the “ObitKit: A Guide to Celebrating Your Life.”


But don’t let the light-hearted touches fool you. Writing one’s own obituary can be an emotional experience....

“An opportunity to speak from the grave”  

Here is your opportunity to hear them, readers:


I'm not going to worry about mine too much. After all, I'll be dead. 

Andover Acid Trip

C'mon, it'll be fun.... 

"Woman in Andover woods calls police for help, saying boyfriend bit her" by Melissa M. Werthmann  |  Globe Correspondent, August 10, 2012

A woman called for help while lost in dense woods early Thursday, telling Andover ­police that her boyfriend ­attacked her after the two had taken drugs.

Amanda Norcia, 20, of ­Everett used her cellphone to call police at 3:15 a.m. and ­reported that she was disoriented from taking LSD and that her boyfriend had bitten her face, said Lieutenant Commander James Hashem....

Officers found Brendan ­Gibson, 24, of North ­Andover, naked and covered in his own feces.

That's really going to impress the girl.

He was uncooperative when officers tried to take him into custody, Hashem said.

Officers used pepper spray on the man, but Hashem said that it had no effect and that ­officers had to use a Taser on him twice to get him under control....

Turned into a real bad trip. 


Homeless Man Died in Somerville Jail Cell

"Prisoner advocates are raising questions about the death of a 52-year-old homeless man who died in police custody in Somerville early Monday morning after spending the weekend locked up at the police station."

A Special Education Post For Bostonians

Sorry it took so long.... 

"Boston special education cuts found to be wrongful" by James Vaznis  |  Globe Staff, August 10, 2012

In a ruling that could cost the Boston public schools about $2 million, a state arbitrator has determined that the School Committee wrongfully laid off about four dozen clerical workers, potentially contributing to a backlog of late reviews of special education plans for thousands of students.

The clerks play a pivotal role in those reviews — entering data into the computer system, scheduling meetings, and performing other tasks that free time up for special education coordinators to talk each year with teachers and parents about any changes to a student’s educational plan, said union officials.

But in 2010, the School Committee adopted budget reductions that called for cutting the number of special education clerks in half, resulting in the loss of about 45 positions and causing the coordinators to pick up the slack by working hours of unpaid overtime every week.

The reduction violated provisions of the Boston Teachers Union contract....

Everyone knows labor contract signings mean nothing. Executive compensation or bureaucrat pensions? Sacrosanct.


Guess Who I Am

“They’re not in the leadership position or policy making. They are just called upon and paid for each hit. They are ­invaluable assets to any kind of organized crime syndicate.”

My guess was contract agents for the CIA. 

(For answer go here

Oh, sorry, FBI. 

MIT Needs Viagra

They are well-endowed but financially flaccid.

"MIT, Cornell to reduce financial aid; Cite drain on endowments" by Janet Lorin  |  Bloomberg News, August 10, 2012

NEW YORK — Cornell University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology are scaling back financial assistance to students, adding to the burden of families already coping with climbing college costs....

Students are being asked to pay more even as college endowments show double-digit growth as they recover from the 2008 financial crisis....

I would certainly understand if you kids are wondering if there is even one institution in AmeriKa that hasn't been turned into a cash cow for certain people.  That's your lesson for today. 

Cornell’s endowment grew 20 percent to $5.35 billion in the year ended June 30, 2011, according to the school. Still, it is down from a $6.1 billion peak in 2008....

Oh, the poor babies are only sitting on a little over $5 billion. How are your investment, average American? Do you even have them? Do you even have the fortune to have a job? 

Oh, sorry, kids. I suppose that one is directed more to your parents. 

Cornell drew $35 million from its endowment in the 2009-2010 year to augment undergraduate financial aid....

MIT also cited its financial-aid program’s sustainability for the changes, said Elizabeth Hicks, executive director of student financial services. The school’s endowment totaled $9.9 billion as of June 2011, an 18 percent increase from a year earlier, though down from $10.1 billion in 2008, according to the school.

WTF? Maybe it's me, kids, but I fail to see how they are in such trouble sitting on almost $10 billion dollars. 

While MIT does not have a shortfall, it did not want to penalize families who made just above the income cutoff. The new system offers a ‘‘smoother curve,’’ admissions dean Stuart Schmill said. Financial-aid expenditures have been rising at MIT at a faster rate than tuition increases, he said....


Also see: Sunday Globe Special: Lip-Smacking Debt Collectors 

Yeah, good thing government is helping you kids out. 


"Colleges boosting financial aid to students; Aim is to soften the crushing burden of tuition and debt" by Peter Schworm  |  Globe Staff, August 18, 2012

Many colleges in the Boston area and beyond are boosting financial aid this fall to help offset rising ­tuition costs, building on efforts that have accelerated since the recession amid sharp criticism of spiraling ­tuition and fees and crushing student debt....

Nationally, financial aid to undergraduates has risen sharply, from $21.9 billion in 2007 to almost $30 billion last year, as colleges continue to vie for cost-conscious students and respond to the growing need for assistance among hard-pressed families....

Over the past decade, tuition at public four-year colleges ­increased at a rate 5.6 percent higher than inflation, substantially faster than the previous two decades....

Even as they increase overall financial aid, some are requiring certain students to chip in more....

I'll give you two guesses as to which schools they cite.


Someone else is needing Viagra because I'm down on the Globe.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

It Takes a Long Time to Blog a Post

Especially at this site. This is one reason why: 

"Open jobs reach 4-year high, signaling hiring may pick up" by Christopher S. Rugaber  |  Associated Press, August 08, 2012

Been reading shit like this for the last four years. Any wonder why I tire of reading it?

WASHINGTON —  It typically takes one to three months to fill a job....

Uh-huh. Yeah, so many companies leave positions unfilled for months, yup. I guess there is no limit to what they think we will believe out here.

Still, employers have been slow to fill jobs....  

And no limit to the s*** excuses they think we will continue to accept. 

Layoffs dropped to 1.8 million in June, from nearly 2 million in May. June’s total is below prerecession levels and indicates that companies are not cutting more jobs, despite sluggish growth.

Yeah, less water coming into the boat so everything looks good.  Still sinking, but slower, and that's a good sign to the self-deluding mouthpiece of money. 

And the number of people who quit their jobs ticked down slightly to 2.1 million, from 2.2 million in May. That was still higher than a year earlier, when 1.9 million people quit.

When more people quit their jobs, it can be a sign of a strengthening job market.

And since quitting is down the job market is weakening, right? 

That’s because most people quit when they have a new job, usually with better pay....

Or they are just sick of doing shit work. 


Of course, the unemployment rate rose after this summer's pos propaganda point. 

And you wonder why I'm not enthusiastic about reading the Boston Globe anymore?

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Better Worship This Brazilian Post

If only for the fact that I'm putting it up:

"High school students explore Amazon, Brazilian tribes" by Lindsey Anderson  |  Associated Press, August 07, 2012

Eight Massachusetts high school students returned to the United States Monday with unique stories to tell after spending two weeks in the ­Amazon.

The Wilbraham & Monson Academy students and their chaperones studied conservation, land issues, and two indigenous tribes in western Mato Grosso state, as well as how to catch dinner while avoiding stingrays, piranhas, and ­anacondas....

16-year-old Jessica Smith said via phone from Pirenopolis, Brazil, on Friday, the trip, the fourth by school students to the Amazon, was a ‘‘once-in-a-lifetime opportunity’’ for someone from a small town to live on a river and visit with members of native tribes.

The group entered one ­Kamayura village just in time to witness a coming-of-age ceremony.

There, a recent graduate and the chaperones received traditional Kamayura scratches, a form of administering medicine. The tribe warrior rakes the skin with a dog-fish-tooth comb, draws blood and rubs medicinal compounds into the wound....

As in the United States, ­indigenous groups in Brazil have fought squatters, landless workers, and ranchers, some of whom have lived in the area for decades, for access to their ­ancestral lands.

The group donated eight cows to the tribe, the village’s first source of meat in weeks....

Although they have enjoyed their time abroad, the teenagers say they are looking forward to certain comforts of home, like pizza and manicures....

Before 16-year-old Maria Slater jetted off to Brazil, someone told her she was too high-maintenance to survive the ­Amazon unscathed.

But the high school junior has traipsed through jungle, climbed waterfalls, and seen all sorts of creepy-crawlies, from frogs to scorpions to a tarantula.

‘‘I've learned that I'm tougher than I think I am,’’ she said. ‘‘At the end of the trip, I'm so much stronger than at the ­beginning.’’


"Brazil’s Truth Commission to investigate church" by Stan Lehman  |  Associated Press, November 08, 2012

SAO PAULO — The Truth Commission investigating human rights abuses committed by Brazil’s former dictatorship will also look into the role Catholic and evangelical churches played during the 1964-1985 military government.

Established last year by President Dilma Rousseff, the commission will investigate whether pro-dictatorship clergy committed human rights abuses, or supported members of the military responsible for such abuses.

Rousseff herself is a former leftist guerrilla who was imprisoned for more than three years and tortured during the dictatorship. She signed the law establishing the commission, which was given two years to conclude its investigation into the torture, murder, and forced disappearances of people opposed to the dictatorship.

See: Brazilian Gender Bender

Brazil has never punished military officials who committed human rights abuses. A recent study by the Brazilian government concluded last year that 475 people were killed or ‘‘disappeared’’ by agents of the military regime.

‘‘The activities of the clergy who opposed the dictatorship as well as the actions of religious groups that backed the regime will be analyzed,’’ said commission member Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, who will head the investigation.

The church saw the coup d’etat as a strike against communism, said Fernando Altemeyer, a theologian at the Catholic University of Sao Paulo.

A coup that was supported by the CIA.

But the church decided it could no longer support the military government when it saw that the regime was imprisoning and torturing real and feared opponents, Altemeyer said.

Advocates say that investigating who was involved in the abuses is essential if Brazil is to move forward.


I support truth in all matters no matter how painful. 

RelatedChile's Catholic House of Horrors

And I thought the pedophile priests scandals were bad....

If I come across any other Brazil-related stories as I sift through my Globes I will update. 


"There is something unsettling about placing art work dominated by a massive masked subject near the entrance to South Station, the city’s major railway station. Bostonians may lack knowledge of the vernacular of Brazilian street art. But the artists from Brazil may be a little fuzzy on Boston sensibilities, too. This is still the city of origin of the passenger jets used by Al Qaeda hijackers to attack the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001. 

Yeah, except it turns out Muslims didn't do 9/11Israel and her helpers in various western governments and intelligence agencies did -- if what we even saw was true.  

Brazilian artists may not care. Their government doesn’t seem to. It hasn’t bothered even to enact anti-terrorism legislation. As a result, the FARC, Hamas, and other terrorist groups comfortably conduct their financial transactions in Brazil. It’s not a big topic of conversation in the art world. But it is a subject of considerable concern among international security experts who contemplate the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.


Also see: Oscar Niemeyer, 104, celebrated Brazilian architect

Buddhist Temples Burned in Bangladesh

"Bangladesh Buddhist temples torched" Associated Press, October 01, 2012

COX’S BAZAR, Bangladesh — Thousands of Bangladeshi Muslims angry over an alleged derogatory photo of the Koran on Facebook set fires in at least 10 Buddhist temples and 40 homes near the southern border with Myanmar, authorities said Sunday....

The Bangladeshi violence follows protests that erupted in Muslim countries over the past month after a low-budget film, ‘‘Innocence of Muslims,’’ produced by a US citizen denigrated the prophet Mohammed by portraying Islam’s holiest figure as a fraud, womanizer, and child molester.'

Related: Guardian: Anti-Islam Film Never Existed

Another intelligence agency provocation?


Related: "Bangladesh’s High Court asked the government Wednesday to explain why local officials failed to provide security to minority Buddhists whose homes, temples, and businesses were attacked over a picture of a burned Koran posted on Facebook."

"Bangladesh police, protesters clash at rally against US film" Associated Press, September 23, 2012

DHAKA, Bangladesh — Scores of people were injured Saturday in clashes in Bangladesh’s capital between police and hundreds of demonstrators, as protests continued in the Muslim world against a film produced in the United States that denigrates Islam’s prophet Mohammed.... 

Police fired tear gas and used batons Saturday to disperse stone-throwing protesters from about a dozen Islamic groups. Protesters burned vehicles, including a police van, witnesses said.

Dozens of protesters were arrested at the demonstration and inside the nearby National Press Club, where participants took refuge, a Dhaka Metropolitan Police official said on condition of anonymity in line with police policy. Police and witnesses said scores of people were injured.

The clash erupted when authorities tried to halt the demonstration, police said. Authorities have banned all protests near the city’s main Baitul Mokarram mosque since Friday, when more than 2,000 people marched and burned an effigy of President Obama.

The protesters announced a nationwide general strike on Sunday to protest the police action.... 


Time to put some water on the fires

"23 saved, 50 missing in Bangladesh boat accident" Associated Press, November 08, 2012

TEKNAF, Bangladesh — Nearby fishing boats helped rescue 23 people after a boat crowded with illegal migrants capsized Wednesday off Bangladesh’s coast, but about 50 others remained missing, officials said.

About 70 illegal migrants, mostly Rohingya Muslims because of economic reasons or alleged persecution in Myanmar, were reportedly traveling on the boat to Malaysia when it sank in the Bay of Bengal....

In recent years, poor young people have made dangerous attempts to go abroad for work, often through human traffickers....


"At mosque, 13 die of lightning strike

SYLHET — At least 13 devotees were killed by lightning outside a mosque in northeastern Bangladesh. Bayes Ahmed, local police chief, said 20 other people were injured by the lightning late Friday in Sylhet District. Ahmed said Saturday that some of those who were killed died at the scene, while others died on the way to the hospital (AP)."

Still couldn't put out the fire:

"BANGLADESH BLAZE -- A boy and his mother embraced Tuesday as a health department worker fumigated near the site of a deadly fire that broke out Sunday in a slum in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Thousands of dwellers continue to live on the remains of their homes. The fire killed at least 14 and burned 500 thatched houses (Boston Globe November 21 2012)."

Belarus Sours on Sweden

"Sweden, Belarus in diplomatic spat" Associated Press, August 04, 2012

STOCKHOLM —The dispute was the latest in a series of diplomatic spats between Belarus and Western nations, especially European Union states that have taken steps against the former Soviet country and its longtime leader, President Alexander Lukashenko, over its stifling of human rights.

Ambassador Stefan Eriksson was in Sweden on vacation when the decision was announced.

The reasons given included that the diplomat had met with opposition activists in the Belarusian capital, Minsk, and that Sweden had provided a university there with books about human rights, Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt said."

UPDATEOpposition parties boycott Belarus election

Hungry For Another Post About Bahrain?

I know it has been a while, but since I took the time to find these morsels in my Boston Globe: 

"Bahrain court upholds life sentences for activists; Decision on dissidents may intensify clashes" by Reem Khalifa  |  Associated Press, September 05, 2012

MANAMA, Bahrain — A Bahrain court Tuesday upheld jail sentences against 20 opposition figures convicted of plotting to overthrow the Western-allied government, including eight prominent activists facing life in prison.

The decision is likely to deepen the nearly 19-month-long crisis between Bahrain’s Sunni rulers and Shi’ite-led protesters demanding a greater political voice in the strategic Gulf kingdom, which is home to the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet.

The group on trial includes some of the most high-profile leaders. Among the eight sentenced to life is rights activist Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, who staged a 110-day hunger strike earlier this year in protest. The other 12 have lesser prison terms, ranging from five to 15 years, with seven of them convicted in absentia.

The decision also could intensify street clashes that have occurred nearly nonstop since the Arab Spring-inspired uprising began in February 2011. More than 50 people have been killed in Bahrain’s unrest.

Hours after the court announcement, riot police outside the capital, Manama, fired tear gas at hundreds of protesters. Some demonstrators threw firebombs at security forces....

The activists have previously said they suffered beatings and other abuses behind bars.

International rights groups have pressed Bahrain to free the group as a sign of outreach to opposition factions, alongside efforts to ease criticism about the government’s political crackdowns from key allies such as the United States.

Related: US resumes arms sales to Bahrain. Activists feel abandoned    

Not pre$$uring them very hard, are we?

Khawaja, who also has Danish citizenship, has been the focus of efforts by Denmark to secure his release.

Foreign Minister Villy Soevndal of Denmark called the decision to uphold the life sentence ‘‘very disappointing’’ and said he would discuss possible further international action from ‘‘the very broad range of countries that in the spring supported Denmark in the demand for the release of al-Khawaja and the other human rights and democracy fighters in Bahrain.’’

‘‘It is important that the international community maintains that Bahrain must respect fundamental human rights,’’ he said. ‘‘This includes not least the freedom of speech and assembly.’’

A government statement said the court ‘‘provided all assurances of a fair trial’’ and allowed defense attorneys full access to the defendants.


"Bahrain activist given 3 years in jail" Associated Press, August 17, 2012

MANAMA, Bahrain — A prominent Bahraini human rights activist was convicted Thursday of instigating and participating in several antigovernment rallies inspired by Arab Spring uprisings across the region and was sentenced to three years in jail.

The unexpectedly harsh sentence against Nabeel Rajab will probably raise questions about the Western-backed Sunni monarchy’s commitment to reform and embolden antigovernment protesters who have been demonstrating for the past 18 months, calling for greater rights in this Persian Gulf island kingdom that is home to the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet.

The monarchy considers most antigovernment rallies illegal gatherings punishable by law.

Rajab, who is already serving a three-month sentence for posting antigovernment comments on Twitter, was in court for the verdict. He is president of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights....

Bahrain has experienced near-daily protests since February 2011. At least 50 people have died in the unrest and hundreds have been detained.


RelatedBahrain agrees to most UN rights recommendations

That must have made everything all right because the Globe has been fasting ever since. 

UPDATES: Bahraini human rights activist sentenced to two years in prison

"Bahrain court upholds life terms for opposition figures" Associated Press, January 08, 2013

MANAMA, Bahrain — ­Bahrain’s highest court Monday upheld jail terms for 20 ­opposition figures — including eight sentenced to life — for alleged plots to ‘‘overthrow’’ the state. The decision is likely to touch off more protests in the Gulf nation and renew criticism from its Western ­allies.

If they have I haven't seen them in my Globe, and I can't say it surprises me anymore.

The group includes a rights activist who staged a 110-day hunger strike last year to protest the verdicts, which critics have denounced as part of attempts to crush an Arab Spring-inspired uprising that began nearly two years ago in the strategic island kingdom.

Authorities in Bahrain — which is home to the US Navy’s Fifth Fleetaccuse Iran of ­encouraging the Shi’ite-led ­protests as a way to undermine Bahrain’s pro-Western leadership and gain a key foothold on the doorstep of rival Saudi ­Arabia.

Tehran has sharply ­criticized Bahrain’s crackdowns but denies it has any direct role with the opposition.

I'm so sick of the inferred and implied war propaganda I can't even comment anymore.

Bahrain’s majority Shi’ites, who have led sporadic unrest in past decades, say they face systematic discrimination at the hands of the Sunni monarchy.

And the U.S. isn't out there bellyaching about human rights? 

Oh, right, the Fifth Fleet.

Bahrain’s rulers have offered some reforms, including giving more powers to the elected Parliament, but protest leaders say they fall short of demands for a role in key government affairs.

More than 55 people have died in the unrest since February 2011 and many opposition leaders and activists have been arrested, including the group of 20 charged with ‘‘plotting to overthrow’’ the ruling system by leading the protests.

Defense lawyer Jalil al-Aradi said the high court refused to reconsider the sentences or convictions.


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Boston Globe Junk Food

There is so much of it you could overdose on it. 

I'll get you started with a small bite I noticed:

"Hostess closing 3 bakeries following strike" by Sarah Skidmore  |  Associated Press, November 13, 2012

Hostess Brands Inc. is permanently closing three bakeries following a nationwide strike by its bakers union.

The maker of Twinkies, Ding Dongs, and Wonder Bread said Monday that the strike has prevented it from producing and delivering products, and it is closing bakeries in Seattle, St. Louis, and Cincinnati. The facilities employ 627 workers.

Hostess, based in Irving, Texas, operates 36 bakeries nationwide and has about 18,300 employees. It warned earlier this month that the strike, by about 30 percent of its workforce, could lead to bakery closures.

Hostess said customers will not be affected by the closures.

You better get those sugar addicts their stuff. 

A representative for the union could not be reached immediately for comment Monday.

Thousands of union workers went on strike Nov. 9 to protest cuts to wages and benefits under a new contract offer.


And you know how junk food is: once you start eating some.... 

"With Hostess closing, gold rush is on for endangered Twinkies" by Jenn Abelson and Laura Finaldi  |  Globe Staff and Globe Correspondent, November 17, 2012

Hostess Brands [is] shutting down for good after a financially crippling labor dispute....

Wow, they shut those ovens off fast! Keep the financial crippling in mind for latter, too. 

About 18,500 workers nationwide — including nearly 300 in Massachusetts — will lose their jobs because of the company’s liquidation.

Okay, that's not going to help unemployment and it's not like factories are springing up all over the place with ads saying come on down and apply. Add this to the legions of unannounced job losses (of which one was added. I have personal knowledge of such and still never a word in my local) amid the cacophony of recovery from the corporate press . 

And even though there were reports Friday that potential buyers are preparing bids for Hostess Brands, many people who grew up on these comfort foods feared they would never be the same again....

Hostess Brands has struggled for years with slowing sales, growing competition, and changing tastes in a country where schools are banning junk food, McDonald’s is offering apple slices, and New York City’s mayor is trying to outlaw supersized sodas.

Let's face it, those rubber pos were never that good. 

Related: Ferreting Out Some New York City Stories

The Texas-based chain, which has $2.5 billion in estimated annual sales, filed for bankruptcy protection earlier this year and decided to shut down after a strike paralyzed operations.

Okay, there seems to be more than meets the eye here. I get the feeling that the previous paragraph is laying the foundation for excuses for the corporation, don't you? 

“We deeply regret taking this action. But we simply cannot continue to operate without the ability to produce or deliver our products,” Hostess chief executive Gregory F. Rayburn wrote in a letter to employees.

Hostess Brands is among the nation’s largest providers of fresh-baked bread and sweet goods with well-known brands like Drake’s (maker of Devil Dogs, Yankee Doodles, and Ring Dings), Wonder Bread, and its namesake Hostess (maker of Ho Ho’s, Sno Balls, and Ding Dongs). 

I never helped Hostess because I never buy that crap. Just reading the names of the products makes me want to gag. 

Twinkies, invented in 1930 by James Alexander Dewar, have always been the darling of Hostess Brands and became a cultural touchstone, showing up in movies, television shows, deep fried in chef’s kitchens, and even in court.

Have I told you how disheartened I have been lately over brainwashing for the last, well, my whole life, dear readers?

The so-called Twinkie defense was coined during Dan White’s trial for the murder of San Francisco Mayor George Moscone and city supervisor Harvey Milk, when lawyers argued he suffered from depression as evidenced by his consumption of Twinkies and junk food.

Woody Harrelson spent an entire movie hunting for the last Twinkie in the 2009 flick “Zombieland.” After a Y2K meltdown, Peter Griffin in the television show “Family Guy” ate all the family’s dehydrated meals and then traveled to a Twinkie factory in Natick in search of the confection.

I'm so out of touch with the culture. 

Some have claimed the golden cake could last forever because of its chemical makeup, and a Maine teacher once kept a Twinkie in his classroom for 30 years. (Hostess contends the treat technically has a shelf life of 25 days.)

Can you imagine that in your intestines? 

Despite the challenges the Twinkie faces, the golden sponge cake, along with many of its sister snacks, will undoubtedly survive, according to Ron Paul, chief executive at Technomic Inc., a market research firm in Chicago. But, he said, a new owner may choose to manufacture offshore to keep down labor costs....    

Oooooooooh, so THAT is what ALL THIS IS ABOUT!! 


“There [are] still potential jewels here that can be rejuvenated,” Paul said. “It’s so much easier to have an existing brand than to start a new brand from scratch.”

A don't worry, those cakes will certainly  retain their freshness in the boat trip over!

Even if Twinkies and other Hostess baked goods get a new lease on life, it’s probable there will be a shortage before any acquisition is completed now that factories have shut down. The mere possibility that these snacks could disappear spurred widespread hoarding.

Maybe you should hoard water and certain can goods instead, 'murkn.

Hostess lovers mourned, while demanding government intervention, divine intervention — anything to save the beloved brand. 

Haven't you heard? The well-fed political class is trying to take those treats away from you in what amounts to tyranny!  Who do you folks think you are, a Wall Street bank?

David Mulligan, an electronics and appliance repairman, stocked up on Hostess goods and lamented the loss of an American treasure and all of those jobs. As he looked on at the employees at the Braintree Hostess outlet, he said, “This beautiful lady here, she’s losing her job, and she’s keeping a smile on her face.”

Yeah, Americans just keep taking it in the teeth and lovin' it!  I don't know about you, but I've had enough of this elitist entree in the form of a front-page Slow Saturday Special.

Erin Calvo-Bacci, owner of Chocolate Truffle in Reading, said, “I’ve just been ranting and raving all morning on the loss of the Twinkie.”

Not what Israel is doing to Gaza or all the other perfidies of this government?

Getting worked up over the Twinkie?

Dan Andelman, executive producer and host of the “Phantom Gourmet” television show, said the Twinkie crisis requires federal attention.

I hope he's joking. 

“If the government is going to bail out banks and give all kinds of breaks to oil companies, I’m all for the American government propping up the snack industry,” Andelman said. “Twinkies are an iconic American product. I don’t want to see China take this one away as well.”

As far as I'm concerned they can have the banks. 


And as it turns out once you get to the creme-filling of this story it IS ABOUT BUSTING a UNION:

"Hostess set to mediate with union" by Candice Choi  |  Associated Press, November 20, 2012

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. — Twinkies will live to see another day.

And a sigh of relief and heaving of belly rises from the American people. 

Hostess Brands Inc. and its second-largest union agreed on Monday to go into mediation to try to resolve their differences after a bankruptcy court judge concluded that the parties hadn’t gone through the critical step. That means the maker of the spongy cake with the mysterious cream in the middle won’t go out of business yet.

The news comes after the maker of Ho Ho’s, Ding Dongs, and Wonder Bread last week moved to liquidate and sell off its assets in bankruptcy court. The company cited a crippling strike started on Nov. 9 by the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union that started, which represents about 30 percent of Hostess workers.

‘‘Many people, myself included, have serious questions as to the logic behind this strike,’’ said Judge Robert Drain, who heard the case in the US Bankruptcy Court in the Southern District of New York in White Plains. ‘‘Not to have gone through that step leaves a huge question mark in this case.’’

I will be getting to that soon because I think I can answer the  judge's question. 

The mediation talks are expected to begin Tuesday, with the liquidation hearing set to resume on Wednesday. After Monday’s hearing, Jeff Freund, an attorney for the bakers union, said any guess as to how the talks will go would be ‘‘purely speculative.’’

In an interview following the hearing, CEO Gregory Rayburn said that there is enormous financial pressure to come to an agreement with the union by the end of the day Tuesday. He noted that it is costing Hostess about $1 million a day in payroll costs alone to keep the company alive.

Yeah, the poor CEO, uh-huh. 

‘‘We didn’t think we had a runway, but the judge just created a 24-hour runway,’’ said Rayburn, who added that even if a contract agreement is reached, it is unclear whether all 33 Hostess plants will operate again.

Hostess employs nearly 300 workers at various stores and facilities across Massachusetts.

Hostess, weighed down by debt, management turmoil, rising labor costs, and the changing tastes of America, decided on Friday that it no longer could make it through a conventional Chapter 11 bankruptcy restructuring. Instead, the company, which is based in Irving, Texas, asked the court for permission to sell assets and go out of business.

Oh, they are a VICTIM of PRIVATE EQUITY a la BAIN CAPITAL or other such entity, 'eh?!!!

It's not changing tastes or labor costs that has caused America to lose it's love of the Twinkie, folks. It's GOOD, OLD-FASHIONED LOOTING that has put the bakers out of business.

Hostess, which is in its second bankruptcy in less than a decade, said that it was saddled with costs related to its unionized workforce. So the company brought on Rayburn as a restructuring expert to renegotiate its contract with labor unions.

Yeah, if it's some slob sipping off the taxpayer teat or some CEO bonus and salary at stake contracts are binding. You regular working folk we see everyday gotta give it up. 

Hostess, which had been contributing $100 million a year in pension costs for workers, offered them a new contract that would have slashed that to $25 million a year, in addition to wage cuts and a 17 percent reduction in health benefits. But the bakery union decided to strike.

Whadda ya' mean but?

By that time, Hostess had reached a contract agreement with its largest union, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, which urged the bakery union to hold a secret ballot on whether to continue striking. Although many bakery workers decided to cross picket lines this week, Hostess said it wasn’t enough to keep operations at normal levels.

Rayburn said that Hostess was already operating on razor thin margins and that the strike was the final blow.

Okay, I have had enough.

"Hostess tripled its CEO’s pay and increased executive compensation by as much as 80 percent while it filed for bankruptcy for the second time earlier this year." 


The company’s announcement on Friday that it would move to liquidate prompted people across the country to rush to stores and stock up on their favorite Hostess treats. Many businesses reported selling out of Twinkies within hours and the spongy yellow cakes turned up for sale online for hundreds of dollars.

I must have skipped that aisle, and now I'm starting to suspect an agenda-pu$hing a$pect to the corporate media's coverage (if you know what I mean).

Even if Hostess goes out of business, its popular brands will probably find a second life after being snapped up by buyers. The company says several potential buyers have expressed interest in the brands. Although Hostess’ sales have been declining in recent years, the company still does about $2.5 billion in business each year.

Translation: it's still a going concern, and this really was about stealing a loaf of loot. 


"Talks fail to bring deal at Hostess" Asssociated Press, November 21, 2012

NEW YORK — Hostess Brands Inc. lived to die another day.

That's what eating the product will do to you, too. 

The maker of Twinkies and Ding Dongs said late Tuesday that it failed to reach an agreement with its second-biggest union. As a result, Hostess plans to continue with a hearing on Wednesday in which a bankruptcy court judge in White Plains, N.Y., will decide if the company can shutter its operations.

The renewed talks between Hostess and The Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union came after the company declared last week that it would move to wind down its business and start selling off its assets in bankruptcy court. The company cited a crippling strike that was started on Nov. 9 by the union, which represents 30 percent of Hostess workers.

After making its case to liquidate on Monday, the bankruptcy court judge noted that the two sides hadn’t yet tried resolving their differences through private mediation. The judge noted that 18,000 jobs were on the line and urged the company and union to try to resolve their differences. Both sides agreed to hold mediation proceedings on Tuesday.

In a statement late Tuesday, Hostess said it would not comment on the breakdown in talks other than to say that mediation ‘‘was unsuccessful.’’ There was no immediate comment from the bakers union.

Hostess shut down its three dozen plants late last week after it said the strike by the bakers union hurt its ability to maintain normal production. The union says the company’s demise was the result of years of mismanagement, however, and that workers have already given steep concessions over the years.

Nothing so far from my Globe on the executive salaries and such. 

Hostess, weighed down by management turmoil, rising labor costs and Americans’ changing tastes, is making its second trip through Chapter 11 bankruptcy restructuring. The company, based in Irving, Texas, had brought on CEO Gregory Rayburn as a restructuring expert in part to renegotiate its contract with labor unions.

Is it NOT INTERESTING that being WEIGHED DOWN by DEBT was LEFT OUT of the recipe this time? 

The company reached an agreement with its biggest union, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, on a contract that dramatically reduced pension contributions and slashed wages and health benefits. But the company said the bakers union stopped returning its calls about a month ago.

Gee, I JUST CAN'T IMAGINE WHY -- but I can $URE take a GUE$$!!!!

Of course, that's the corporate media's take on it. What did management do, let the phone ring once and hang up like reporters? 

The Teamsters urged the smaller union to hold a secret ballot on whether members wanted to continue striking. Many workers in the bakers union decided to cross picket lines last week but Hostess said it wasn’t enough to keep operations at normal levels.

Teamsters General Secretary Ken Hall said the failure of the mediation talks Tuesday and the likely shuttering of the company was a ‘‘tragic outcome’’ for Hostess workers.

Rayburn said that Hostess was already operating on razor thin margins and that the strike was the final blow. The bakers union meanwhile pointed to the steep raises executives were given last year as the company was spiraling down toward bankruptcy.


The company’s announcement last week that it would move to liquidate prompted a rush on Hostess treats across the country, with many businesses selling out of Twinkies within hours.

Even if Hostess goes out of business, its popular brands will likely find a second life after being snapped up by buyers. The company says several potential buyers have expressed interest in the brands. The company still does about $2.5 billion in business each year. Twinkies alone brought in $68 million so far this year.


And you want to talk about a bunch of twinkies? 

"Hostess may go, but the Twinkie will endure" November 21, 2012

When news broke last week that Hostess Brands was on the brink of going out of business, reminders quickly emerged of the place the company’s snack cakes hold in American culture: reports that Twinkies were flying off the shelves in grocery stores, wistful paeans to Ding Dongs on Twitter. It’s no surprise; Hostess makes a number of products that are deeply associated with childhood, from the eternally faux-fresh Twinkies to cream-filled cupcakes, Ho Hos, and Wonder Bread. (The company also owns Drake’s, which makes Ring Dings, Yodels, and Devil Dogs.)

On Monday, a bankruptcy judge ordered Hostess into mediation with its striking bakery workers’ union, improving chances that the company will survive. Hopefully the two sides will reach a deal; hundreds of jobs in Massachusetts hang in the balance.

They don't read their own business section? 

But even if mediation fails, it remains likely that some of Hostess’s longstanding products will endure. Other food companies, understanding the value of nostalgia, are likely to scoop up the trademarks.

Can I just mention once again how tired I am of inculcating, indoctrinating lies invading the air space?

Even in an era of obesity concerns and a backlash against processed foods, the Twinkie in moderation can be a powerful connector, a reminder of school lunches and afterschool snacks — and of the way such ready-made baked goods once liberated moms from their ovens.

So now the unhealthy fare Hostess cooks up is the great liberator of women? I think I'm gonna puke. 

Sure, a fancy cupcake or an artisinal doughnut has its charms. But as baked-good fads come and go, the Twinkie is more likely to survive.


On to today's main course (if the Globe junk food hasn't spoiled your appetite, that is):

"Demand for food rising in Mass., but donations fall" by Katheleen Conti  |  Globe Staff, November 16, 2012

In the days leading up to Thanksgiving — the busiest time of year for food distribution agencies — individuals and families are lining up for meals in record numbers, even as food and monetary donations have declined.

Then there HAS BEEN NO RECOVERY! Had there been a recovery then need would be down and donations would be up. 

But don't worry. I'm sure it will not affect the quality of the buffet that feeds our elite masters and their enforcers in government and media.

The increased need is being driven, in part, by the growing number of people falling below the poverty line for the first time, as they struggle to keep up with the rising cost of living, from food to utilities, say agency representatives.

And every time Bernanke turns on that printing press for Wall Street it gets worse. 

“The face of hunger is changing, and Greater Boston Food Bank is serving more and more middle class families,” Catherine D’Amato, the food bank’s president and chief executive, said in a statement....

You know, PEOPLE WITH JOBS! Here in deep-blue Democrat Massachusetts, too!! 


And what's in that


they gave you down at the Salvation Army?

"With turkey prices rising, and more families falling on hard times, the decision was difficult but clear. Chicken would not kindle the holiday spirit, perhaps, but it would feed more people. Nowadays, that has to come first."

RelatedPoultry prices jump as more develop taste for dark meat

It's a drop in your standard of living while the banks and oil companies make billions every three months and corporate AmeriKa cleans up. 

Alas, time for dessert.

I think I'll pass on today's plate, although some items on the menu do look interesting.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Fed Chief Coined Term Fiscal Cliff

That should make you reach for your wallet! Last time these guys hollered fire it cost trillions to bail out Wall Street banks. 

"GOP hints of dealing to avert fiscal cliff" by Bobby Caina Calvan and Michael Kranish  |  Globe Staff, November 08, 2012

WASHINGTON — Anything new....


An election that essentially kept the status quo....

Unless a deal is reached by year-end, a series of tax hikes and hefty spending cuts would go into effect, which some fear could lead to another recession.... 

Okay, unless you are at the top end you never had a recovery. What this "fiscal cliff" crap feels like is a PREEMPTIVE PROPAGANDA POINT to EXPLAIN the FACT that we are in the depths of the historical trough that history (that's me) will record as the GRAND DEPRESSION and the END of AmeriKan empire.

Congressional leaders will have little time to broker a deal. They are expected to meet next week in hopes of coming up with an agreement, even if only to temporarily extend the George W. Bush-era tax cuts and other tax breaks into the next session of Congress.

Nope, nothing new, nothing changed. 

The political stakes — not to mention the economic ones — are high for both parties. Despite the mixed message of the election, voters expressed a clear preference for a bipartisan solution, and neither party wants to be seen as being responsible for another round of gridlock in the nation’s capital....

Democrats and Republicans agree that the specter of another recession looms if they do not confront the challenges posed by an economic and political crisis over taxes and automatic spending cuts that combined could withdraw $600 billion from a struggling economy....

And we were told before the Wall Street heist known as a bailout that the entire economy would collapse. 

In January, the first round of automatic cuts of about $110 billion begin at the start of the year, divided roughly equally between defense and domestic programs.

Interesting, because I saw a guy on MSNBC calling it a slope, not a cliff -- and he's right. But please, please don't let that get in the way of the received propaganda. 

Analysts said the looming deadline of the fiscal cliff could force a deal.

“They don’t have any choice,” said Charlie Cook, editor of the nonpartisan Cook Political Report. “They have to address these issues. The public will force them and, quite frankly, the business and financial markets will force them.”

Yes, dear Amurkn voter, this is ALL BEING DONE for THEM -- AGAIN!!!!! 

Rob Nichols, president of the Financial Services Forum, a business group, said a compromise must be reached to help the economy. “The stakes are just so significant and so high,” said Nichols.

Translation: the BANKS need to be BAILED OUT AGAIN!


And like I said, the foundations are being laid for the excuses as to why we are back in recession again:

"Fearing fiscal mess in Washington, businesses hold back" by Megan Woolhouse  |  Globe Staff, November 09, 2012

Business spending on new plants and equipment, which led the rebound from the recent recession, has slowed significantly amid fears Congress will be unable to avoid a year-end fiscal disaster.

US business spending fell last quarter for the first time in more than a year, an indicator that businesses are increasingly worried about the future and a harbinger of additional pullbacks in investment and hiring should the outlook continue to darken. On Monday, the survey of business confidence by the Associated Industries of Massachusetts found local businesses’ outlook on the national economy last month plunged to the same levels as during the recession....

I must admit, the store where I slave has been like a morgue. 

The decline in business confidence and spending illustrates the stakes involved as the newly reelected President Obama and a still-divided Congress try to compromise on measures to reduce the deficit and boost the economy. It also has significant implications for Massachusetts, which has a high concentration of firms that sell goods and services to other companies and depends more heavily on business spending than the nation as whole.

RelatedMass. medical researchers’ funds at risk

Also see: Researching the Budget Cuts

US business spending, which was growing at 19 percent annual rate a year ago, is now shrinking at a 1.3 percent rate, according to the most recent data....

Unless Congress acts before January, Bush-era tax cuts will expire, taking some $500 billion from the pockets of consumers and businesses next year. Automatic budget cuts, part of the political deal to avoid default on US debt last year, would also go into effect, sucking another $400 billion from the economy in 2013.

These changes, dubbed the “fiscal cliff” by Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke, are so severe that they could hurt an already fragile economy and lead to another recession, analysts say....


"Financial crises are always followed by painfully slow recoveries"

Who spewed that pile of sh.... oh.

Many economists predict Congress will reach a compromise. But until that occurs, manufacturers, high-tech companies, venture capitalists, and other businesses are taking a wait-and-see approach. The Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco estimates that uncertainty has added 1 percentage point to the nation’s unemployment rate....

Jack Derby of Derby Management, a Boston consulting group, said, “The amount of dollars on the balance sheets of corporate America is at unprecedented levels. But they’re sitting on it because they’re unsure about their expenses.”


Vincent Spinali, who runs a family manufacturing business, Prattville Machine & Tool Co., in Peabody, said,  “It seems like we’re a casualty of this war going on between the two parties.”

We are a casualty of corporate government that serves Wall Street, Israel, and the AmeriKan war machine. 


"Some would welcome going over fiscal cliff; Shock to system is one of many ideas in the mix" by Bobby Caina Calvan  |  Globe Staff, November 09, 2012

WASHINGTON — If Congress does not intervene, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, the country could head into another recession because of the loss of $600 billion from the economy.

Except it's only going to be $110 billion to start.

Welch’s proposal is just one of several that ease the tough choices posed by the automatic cuts. Outside groups have called for squeezing billions out of Medicare or imposing a new tax on carbon emissions, to raise revenues and help the environment.

How about taking it out of the war budget and giving the rest of the world a break?

In a new analysis released Thursday, the budget office said the expiring tax cuts and automatic spending cuts would cause the economy to shrink by 0.5 percent next year and unemployment to jump to 9.1 percent by next fall.

On the plus side, though, the federal budget deficit would shrink from $1.1 trillion this year to $200 billion a decade later.

I look at the numbers and can only think hopelessly in debt. 

If the Bush tax cuts were extended, according to the study, the country’s gross domestic product would increase by 2.2 percent, and by 3 percent if President Obama’s payroll tax cuts and jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed were also extended. All of the tax breaks are scheduled to expire at year’s end.

That is WHAT WILL HAPPEN -- and you read it here first!

“To put the budget on a path that is more likely to be sustainable than if current policies were continued,” the CBO report said, “lawmakers will need to adopt a combination of policies that require people to pay more for their government, accept less in government benefits and services, or both.”



To buy more time, Congress and Obama could attempt to temporarily stop the clock by extending the tax cuts for several months and suspend the budget cuts, which is widely believed to be the course that will be ultimately pursued....

And there you go. 


The rest of this is just the same old hot air, isn't it? 

"Obama seeks end to ‘dysfunction’; Says Americans want both sides to work together" bChristopher Rowland  |  Globe Staff, November 09, 2012

WASHINGTON — President Obama used his first formal appearance since his reelection to call on Congress to immediately make tax cuts permanent for the middle class, declaring on Friday that Tuesday’s result was a repudiation of congressional “dysfunction’’ and proved that Americans want Republicans to compromise.

Whether the wealthy get tax cuts along with the other 98 percent of taxpayers, the president suggested, could be part of broader negotiations to reduce longterm deficits. In the meantime, he said, taxes on the rich should be allowed to increase at the end of the year.

“This was a central question during the election,’’ Obama said in a brief speech at the White House, where he was surrounded by supporters who frequently applauded. “It was debated over and over again, and on Tuesday night we found that a majority of Americans agreed with my approach.’’

The remarks were the first Obama has made to the public since his victory speech and he used the opportunity to exert maximum pressure on Congress, where the White House appears to be on a collision course with Speaker John Boehner and his House Republicans. The White House said after Obama’s remarks that the president would veto any bill that extends tax cuts for families making more than $250,000 a year.

“Our job now is to get a majority in Congress to reflect the will of the American people,’’ Obama declared.

When did they ever do that?

But even as he was laying down his marker, the president expressed a general willingness to compromise and said....


"The debate appears to center on the extent to which Democrats are willing to reform entitlement programs and whether additional revenue will come only from loophole closures and economic growth — as Republicans favor — or also from higher income tax rates for wealthy Americans."

First of all, they are not entitlements. See that FICA box on your pay stub? You PAID for those services! 

And good thing Democrats are going to "protect" entitlements, 'eh?

"Russia, military, farm aid on lawmakers’ list; Congress will be busy, even before ‘fiscal cliff ’ debate" by Donna Cassata  |  Associated Press, November 13, 2012

WASHINGTON — Although the nation’s voters endorsed the status quo of divided government — a Democratic president and Senate, a Republican House — Obama cruised to reelection and his emboldened party gained seats in both the House and Senate.

So we have been told.  And truthfully, Obama didn't cruise. He won the popular vote by a lot less than in 2008. Yeah, the electoral college looks good; however, he also finished with a lower total in 2008. And Repuglicans kept the people's House. 

In the new political order, Democrats will hold a 55-45 edge in the Senate if independent Angus King of Maine caucuses with them as expected. Republicans’ advantage in the House narrows and probably will stand at 233-201.

One of those laughing, in-your-face terms the money media likes to toss around from time to time. 

Democrats were leading in the six undecided House races in Arizona, California, Florida, North Carolina, and Utah.

The question over the next seven weeks is whether Obama and Congress can agree, now or later on, on how to slash $1.2 trillion from the deficit, raise revenues with possible changes in the tax code, and address the entitlement programs of Social Security and Medicare. And they also have to figure out how to stop across-the-board cuts to defense and domestic programs totaling $110 billion next year.

Obama will meet with congressional leaders at the White House on Friday....


Here is $68 billion found for cutting:

"Report says $67.9 billion in defense budget is idled away" by Bryan Bender  |  Globe Staff, November 15, 2012

WASHINGTON — They called it the Red Balloon Challenge. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, responsible for investing in next-generation technologies, recently paid researchers at MIT $40,000 to coordinate a social-media treasure hunt for 10 red balloons placed at various locations across the country. They succeeded, in eight hours, 52 minutes, and 41 seconds.

At Brown University, researchers received nearly $300,000 from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research to determine the color of the wings of the Archaeopteryx, a bird that lived 150 million years ago. They concluded “black, with 95 percent probability.”

Then there is the beef jerky rollup being cooked up for the troops by the Army’s Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center, where “a variety of flavors are being developed, including salami, chipotle, turkey, pork, and smoked ham.” They are also working with a food processing company on a fish-flavored one, but as one of the developers put it, “the recipe needs to be tweaked to make it less fishy.”

Fishy is right, according to “Department of Everything,” a wry but scathing new report commissioned by Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma that identified $67.9 billion in the defense budget during the next decade designated for projects that have little to do with defending the nation. That waste includes conducting nonmilitary research, running schools, grocery stores, and microbreweries, and maintaining unnecessary overhead and supplies.

Several of the cited projects were funded in New England. Efforts to reach the MIT researchers and the Natick center were unsuccessful.

“I prepared this report because the American people expect the Pentagon’s $600 billion annual budget to go toward our nation’s defense,” said Coburn, the ranking Republican of the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations and a noted budget hawk. “That isn’t happening. Billions of defense dollars are being spent on programs and missions that have little or nothing to do with national security, or are already being performed by other government agencies.”

He added: “Spending more on grocery stores than guns doesn’t make any sense. And using defense dollars to run microbreweries, study Twitter slang, create beef jerky, or examine ‘Star Trek’ does nothing to defend our nation.”

His report says, the same agency that paid MIT to find balloons paid some $100,000 for a workshop that included “an interesting discussion involving the Klingons, a fictional alien species who were villains and then later allies of humanity in the ‘Star Trek’ series.”

They have so much money sloshing around they don't know what to do with it. 

One of the sessions, titled “Did Jesus die for Klingons, too?,” featured a philosophy professor “who pondered the theological conflict to Christianity if intelligent life was found on other planets.”

The 73-page scrub of Pentagon spending is a remarkably savory read for a government report. Yet as Congress debates ways to rein in federal spending, Coburn insisted it is no laughing matter and expressed hope it will be taken seriously.

Do you see me laughing here? 


Must be the anger that is fooling you. 

"Leaders hopeful fiscal cliff can be averted" by Matt Viser and Christopher Rowland  |  Globe Staff, November 16, 2012

WASHINGTON — Top congressional leaders emerged from a meeting with President Obama at the White House on Friday trying to project bipartisan confidence that they would break through gridlock to avert a potential economic catastrophe triggered by budget cuts and increased taxes.

I smell an agenda being pushed. 

Following an hourlong meeting at the White House, the four top congressional leaders stood by one another outside the West Wing, taking turns calling the meeting “very constructive.” Stocks on Wall Street briefly surged, with renewed optimism that a chief economic roadblock would be removed....

The only ones who matter. 

Both sides seem to be looking at the same roadmap — Republicans now concede that they will agree to increase tax revenues, and Democrats say they will agree to more spending cuts....

Economists contend such a one-two combination would send the soft economy reeling, leading to job losses and drops in consumer and business spending. The effect would be felt throughout the nation.

Massachusetts officials estimate that state tax collections alone could decline by $300 million in the first six months of 2013 and another $1 billion in the fiscal year beginning July 2013. Spending cuts would strip away millions of dollars in grant funding for local communities — in the middle of their current fiscal years — with no way to make it up.

Those initial grant cuts for Massachusetts communities include $18.2 million for schools, $21.2 million for special education, $7.3 million for community development block grants, and $11.2 million for LIHEAP, the federal heating fuel assistance program for low- and middle-income families.

The state’s private-sector economy also would suffer from a reduction of about $1.5 billion in defense and health spending, according to state estimates.

Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray met with city and town officials this week and discussed the potential consequences.

“It would have a pretty devastating impact, really across the board,’’ Murray said Friday in a phone interview.

In the aftermath of the election, both sides have been posturing and outlining their own prebargaining positions.The negotiations could set the tenor for the start of Obama’s second term. They could signal months of acrimony or set the stage for a series of bipartisan agreements.

Republicans lost seats in the House and Senate and were unable to win the White House. But they still control the House and have the numbers needed to stop legislation in the Senate.

Obama has been more assertive than he was in past negotiations, pledging that he would not agree to any deal that allows tax rates for the wealthy to stay as they are. He is also preparing to take his campaign outside Washington in the coming weeks, trying to use his election win as a rallying cry.

I read above he was willing to compromise, etc. WTF?

“That’s an agenda that Democrats and Republicans and independents, people all across the country share,” Obama said at the beginning of the Friday meeting. “So our challenge is to make sure that we are able to cooperate together, work together, find some common ground, make some tough compromises, build some consensus, and to do the people’s business.”

Just as the meeting began, when reporters were ushered in for photos, Obama remarked playfully that Boehner’s birthday is Saturday.

“We didn’t make him a cake because we didn’t know how many candles we’d need,” Obama said.

As they laughed and shook hands, Boehner, who is turning 63, said, “Yeah, right.”

Obama later gave Boehner a bottle of Tuscan red wine. The bottle of 1997 Poggio Antico Brunello di Montalcino Altero retails for about $125.

Are you tired of the shit political fooleys on your dime, 'murkns? 


"Phase in deficit cuts, economists say" by Megan Woolhouse  |  Globe Staff, November 19, 2012

No one disputes the federal deficit has to be cut. The argument is when. And most economists say not now.

Raising taxes, cutting spending, or both would threaten an already anemic recovery, pushing unemployment higher, or worse, economists said. The debate underway in Washington on how to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff echoes arguments made throughout the presidential campaign over what to do about the mounting deficit as the nation emerges from the worst recession since the Great Depression.

As if we have emerged from the Grand Recession.

And now President Obama and Congress will try once again to negotiate a plan that will moderate spending cuts and extend some or all of the Bush-era tax cuts expiring at the end of the year.

Obama said he's holding firm on an increase on the wealthy!

What is best, many economists say, is that Washington accept higher deficits in the near term — no matter how unpopular — to support the nation’s economic recovery and lower unemployment while adopting a long-term plan to lower deficits after the economy has strengthened.


“The key here is to put in place a long-term deficit­-reduction plan that’s phased in,” said Nariman Behravesh, chief economist at IHS Global Insight, a forecasting firm in Lexington. “And they will need to do it in such a way that it doesn’t hurt people immediately.”

So how long should Washington hold off on dealing with a $16 trillion — and growing — national debt? A recent report by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office recommends a deficit-reduction plan that would require taxes to rise and government spending to slow in the next three to seven years.

In the meantime, the group said, short-term measures that would increase the deficit, such as extending unemployment insurance benefits, increasing aid to state and local governments, and delaying the expiration of the Bush-era tax cuts, would help accelerate US economic growth.

Such an approach “might raise doubts about whether longer-term deficit reduction would actually take place,” the report said. “Households, businesses, state and local governments, and participants in the financial markets would be more likely to believe that the future deficit reduction would truly take effect if the future policy changes were specific and widely supported.”

Many of the costs driving the deficit upward are due to demographic surges created as the baby-boom generation ages, causing Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid costs to balloon. Unless the federal government demonstrates it can get control of such programs, analysts said, it risks losing the confidence of financial markets and sliding into the kind of debt crisis that has plunged Europe back into recession. 


Yet the economics of the budget have proved easier than the politics, which requires compromise from Democrats advocating for tax increases and Republicans jockeying for spending cuts. Unless they do, Bush-era tax cuts will expire and automatic, across-the-board spending cuts, adopted to spur Congress to tackle long-term deficits, will take effect.

This combination, known as the fiscal cliff, would suck hundreds of billions of dollars out of the economy and probably push it back into recession.

But not all at once like a cliff. Is it just me, or are you tired of the constant distortions 

One path toward agreement, said Sung Won Sohn, a professor of economics at California State University, could be reducing or eliminating tax loopholes, particularly if they benefit those with the highest incomes. That could finesse one of the most contentious issues holding up a compromise: increasing taxes on the wealthy.

However, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said Sunday that she is looking for more than that. She said she is hopeful that lawmakers can avoid a fiscal cliff, but any agreement has to include tax-rate increases for the wealthy.

On ABC’s ‘‘This Week,’’ she said she cannot accept a deal that does not alter tax rates for the wealthy. Pelosi said ‘‘just to close loopholes is far too little money,’’ and other ideas have to be considered. Republicans have suggested they are open to finding more revenues, the ­Associated Press reported.

Christian E. Weller, an economics professor at the University of Massachusetts Boston and a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank, said he expects Congress to delay most of the scheduled tax increases and spending cuts and complete a major deficit-reduction deal next fall.

And then the cliff disappeared.

He forecasts “reasonable growth” in the economy in 2013, with an acceleration in the second half of the year.

We have been hearing that same bullshit from you guys for five f***ing years now. 

“Dealing with the fiscal cliff is now a matter of tax and spending choices,” he said. “It is possible to take back some tax cuts, extend some spending, and still come out ahead.”

Philip Swagel, an economist at the University of Maryland’s School of Public Policy and a Treasury official in President George W. Bush’s administration, envisions a political compromise that extends the payroll tax cut in early 2013. The payroll tax cut, which saves the average worker about $1,000 annually, was enacted two years ago as a stimulus measure. It expires at the end of the year.

He said he also supports extending the Bush-era tax cuts, which primarily benefit the wealthy, at least temporarily. To increase revenues in the short term, he said, Congress and the president should instead close tax loopholes....

Behravesh, the chief economist at IHS, said his firm’s preliminary forecast for 2013 is for slow and steady growth if policy makers postpone tax increases and budget cuts and negotiate a credible deficit-reduction plan. Behravesh said he thinks Congress will phase out a host of Bush-era tax cuts and phase in big spending cuts in 2014.

I doubt it. That's an election year. 

Glenn Hubbard, one of Mitt Romney’s economic advisers in his bid for the presidency, wrote in the Financial Times that deductions for mortgage interest, charitable giving, or employer-sponsored health care could be scaled back among the wealthiest.

For more about Glenn watch Inside Job.

Behravesh said that is worth considering. “To me, this is a perfect opportunity for meaningful tax reform,” he said. “Do we really need to subsidize millionaires’ homes or vacation homes?”

Why are we in the first place?


And as predicted here during the campaign:

"Red-state Democrats may defect on budget plan; Some not ready to commit to Obama proposal" by Kathleen Hunter  |  Bloomberg News, November 20, 2012

WASHINGTON — Senate Democrats, cautiously optimistic about prospects for a deficit-reduction deal, may have to contend with wariness from seven members who face 2014 reelection campaigns in states Mitt Romney won Nov. 6.

Some of those seven Democrats, including North Carolina’s Kay Hagan and Louisiana’s Mary Landrieu, say they aren’t ready to commit to President Obama’s proposals for boosting tax revenue. Instead, Hagan isn’t ruling out support for extending the George W. Bush-era tax cuts for top earners. Landrieu said she opposes eliminating tax breaks for oil companies.

But thank God the Senate stayed in Democrat hands, huh? 

Possible Democratic defections heighten the need for Senate majority leader Harry Reid to woo Republican support for a deal to avert the so-called fiscal cliff — $607 billion in tax increases and spending cuts set to begin taking effect in January.

Lame-duck Republican Senators Scott Brown of Massachusetts, Olympia Snowe of Maine, and Richard Lugar of Indiana are potential candidates. 

Just wondering why the Dems didn't ram through the changes with a lame duck after the 2010 elections, aren't you? Could have avoided the cliff, right? 

The 60-vote threshold for advancing major legislation in the Senate presents a hurdle for any fiscal agreement. Electoral pressures in the Senate — where Democrats will defend 20 seats in 2014, compared with 13 for Republicans — are among the dynamics that make counting votes complicated. Democrats control the chamber, 53 to 47, and will gain two seats in January....


And off the cliff I go, aaaaaaaaaaaahhhh!