There is little to like about the tentative agreement between Congressional leaders and the White House except that it happened at all. The deal would avert a catastrophic government default, immediately and probably through the end of 2012. The rest of it is a nearly complete capitulation to the hostage-taking demands of Republican extremists. It will hurt programs for the middle class and poor, and hinder an economic recovery.
It is not yet set in stone, and there may still be time to make it better. But in the end, most Democrats will have no choice but to swallow their fury, accept the deal, and, we hope, fight harder the next time.
For weeks, ever since House Republicans said they would not raise the nation’s debt ceiling without huge spending cuts, Democrats have held out for a few basic principles. There must be new tax revenues in the mix so that the wealthy bear a share of the burden and Medicare cannot be affected.
Those principles were discarded to get a deal that cuts about $2.5 trillion from the deficit over a decade. The first $900 billion to a trillion will come directly from domestic discretionary programs (about a third of it from the Pentagon) and will include no new revenues. The next $1.5 trillion will be determined by a “supercommittee” of 12 lawmakers that could recommend revenues, but is unlikely to do so since half its members will be Republicans…
This for you, President Obama. Buy your own damn gold frame…
You probably will never see this in any account of the illegal whiskey making in the southeastern United States – but there were also plenty of black moonshiners making both “White Lightning” and Sour Mash whiskey in the back woods of both the hills…
Two entrepreneurs are taking advantage of South Carolina’s new micro-distillery laws to make traditional moonshine whiskey legally in the state for the first time.
The Dark Corner Distillery will open next month in Greenville, where engineer Joe Fenten and longtime home beer brewer Richard Wenger will produce and sell small batches of 100-proof moonshine from a custom-made copper still.
The distillery, housed in a 1925 building, will also include a tasting bar and a museum dedicated to the history of the Dark Corner, the local mountains that were once full of moonshiners, feud and mayhem, Fenten, 27, told Reuters.
The area was settled, along with the nearby Smoky Mountains of Tennessee and Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, by Scots, Irish and Welsh who migrated down through the Appalachian mountain chain from Pennsylvania in the 1700s.
“They thought it was their inalienable, God-given right to make whiskey,” said Fenten, a Dark Corner native. “It was a hard life. If you could make an extra 10 cents more for a gallon of whiskey than you could for a bushel of corn, then why not?”
Moonshine traditionally was the term used to describe illegally distilled corn whiskey often made covertly by the light of the moon. The product made at the new distillery will be un-aged corn whiskey, but will be taxed and regulated. Read the rest of this entry »
The image is timeless Americana: Chuck Berry hunched over, ready to launch into his famous Duck Walk, picking his Gibson guitar and wailing a song.
It’s the image captured in the statue of the man considered by many to be the father of rock and roll, dedicated Friday in the University City Loop area of suburban St. Louis.
Mr. Berry, now 84, still performs monthly at Blueberry Hill, a club and restaurant across the street from the new statue. He spoke only briefly at the dedication ceremony on a sweltering day as hundreds paid tribute to the St. Louis native.
“I don’t know how to speak – I can sing a little bit,” Mr. Berry, wearing his signature captain’s hat and bolo tie, said after thanking people for braving the heat to come out. “I’m going to say thank you again, and I love you all.” Read the rest of this entry »
I have a live traffic feed on the right hand bar of my site, which shows me where my various visitors come from. I did a quick check earlier today, and about 50% of the folks visiting the site were using IE – the vast majority of which were suing 8.0 or 9.0…
But there were still a couple of Internet Explorer 6.0 users!
I don’t imagine AptiQuant, the company which did this study, will be doing any business with Microsoft anytime soon…
A Vancouver based Psychometric Consulting company, AptiQuant, has released a report on a trial it conducted to measure the effects of cognitive ability on the choice of web browser. AptiQuant offered free online IQ tests to over a 100,000 people and then plotted the average IQ scores based on the browser on which the test was taken. And the results are really not that surprising. With just a look at the graphs in the report, it comes out pretty clear that Internet Explorer users scored lower than average on the IQ tests. Chrome, Firefox and Safari users had just a teeny bit higher than average IQ scores. And users of Camino, Opera and IE with Chrome Frame had exceptionally higher IQ levels.
Internet Explorer has traditionally been considered a pain in the back for web developers. Any IT company involved in web development will acknowledge the fact that millions of man hours are wasted each year to make otherwise perfectly functional websites work in Internet Explorer, because of its lack of compatibility with web standards. The continuous use of older versions of IE by millions of people around the world has often haunted web developers. This trend not only makes their job tougher, but has also pulled back innovation by at least a decade. But with the results of this study, IT companies worldwide will start to take a new look on the time and money they spend on supporting older browsers. Read the rest of this entry »
Hundreds of job opening listings posted on Monster.com and other jobs sites explicitly state that people who are unemployed would be less attractive applicants, with some telling the long-term unemployed to not even bother with applying.
Reader Susan W. said she was being treated “as if it were my fault I was unemployed, regardless of the fact that I had put out hundreds of resumes and applications.”
Legal experts told the Times that explicitly barring unemployed people from applying does not qualify under the statutory definition of discrimination, since unemployment is not a federally protected status like age or race. But the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently set out to establish whether employers were discriminating against certain protected groups because they are overrepresented in the ranks of the unemployed, such as African-American and older workers. (We covered that meeting here.) New Jersey recently passed a law barring employment ads that seek to rule out applications from those who are unemployed.
Even if the practice of weeding out unemployed applicants doesn’t fit the legal definition of discrimination, it sure feels unfair for the more than 6.3 million Americans who have been out of work for more than six months to be told they are automatically disqualified for the few openings that are out there. “I feel like I am being shunned by our entire society,” Kelly Wiedemer, an unemployed information technology specialist, told the Times.
Republican Herman Cain is apologizing to Muslim leaders for vitriolic remarks he made about Islam while campaigning for the presidential nomination.
The former Godfather’s Pizza CEO has said communities have a right to ban Islamic mosques because Muslims are trying to inject sharia law into the U.S. He’s also said he would not want a Muslim bent on killing Americans in his administration.
On Wednesday, Cain met with four Muslim leaders in Sterling, Va. He said in a statement later he was “truly sorry” for comments that may have “betrayed” his commitment to the Constitution and the religious freedom it guarantees.
He also acknowledged that Muslims, “like all Americans,” have the right to practice freely their faith and that most Muslim Americans are peaceful and patriotic.
Long before Rosa Parks was hailed as the “mother of the civil rights movement,” she wrote a detailed and harrowing account of nearly being raped by a white neighbor who employed her as a housekeeper in 1931.
The six-page essay, written in her own hand many years after the incident, is among thousands of her personal items currently residing in the Manhattan warehouse and cramped offices of Guernsey’s Auctioneers, which has been selected by a Michigan court to find an institution to buy and preserve the complete archive.
The Associated Press was provided with some samples of the documents in the archive, including portions of the essay. Archivists had reviewed the documents for Guernsey’s and provided descriptions of their contents.
Civil rights historian Danielle McGuire said she had never before heard of the attempted rape of Parks and called the find among Parks’ papers astounding.
It helps explain what triggered Parks’ lifelong campaign against the ritualistic rape of black women by white men, said McGuire, whose recent book “At the Dark End of the Street” examines how economic intimidation and sexual violence were used to derail the freedom movement and how it went unpunished during the Jim Crow era.
“I thought it was because of the stories that she had heard. But this gives a much more personal context to that,” said McGuire, an assistant professor of history at Wayne State University in Detroit. Her book recounts Parks’ role in investigating for the NAACP the case of Recy Taylor, a young sharecropper raped by a group of white men in 1944.
Of her own experience, Parks wrote, “He offered me a drink of whiskey, which I promptly and vehemently refused. . He moved nearer to me and put his hand on my waist. I was very frightened by now.”
“He liked me. .. he didn’t want me to be lonely and would I be sweet to him. He had money to give me for accepting his attentions,” she wrote.
“I was ready to die but give my consent never. Never, never.”
Most people know the story of Parks, a black, middle-aged seamstress who refused to give up her seat to a white passenger on a bus in Montgomery, Ala., in 1955. Guernsey’s President Arlan Ettinger said her personal papers reveal a much more complex individual, one who spent a lifetime fighting for racial equality and against the sexual violence of black women.
Parks is credited with inspiring the civil rights movement with her solitary act of defiance on Dec. 1, 1955, that led to the Supreme Court outlawing segregation on buses. She received the nation’s two highest honors in her lifetime, the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal of Honor.
She died in 2005 at age 92, leaving the trove of personal correspondence, papers relating to her work for the Montgomery branch of the NAACP, tributes from presidents and world leaders, school books, family bibles, clothing, furniture and more – about 8,000 items in all.
“It is wonderful and breathtaking,” Ettinger said. “It will be up to the institution that ends up with it to make this material known to the world.” …
With President Obama and Republican leaders calling for cutting the budget by trillions over the next 10 years, it is worth asking how we got here — from healthy surpluses at the end of the Clinton era, and the promise of future surpluses, to nine straight years of deficits, including the $1.3 trillion shortfall in 2010. The answer is largely the Bush-era tax cuts, war spending in Iraq and Afghanistan, and recessions.
Despite what antigovernment conservatives say, non-defense discretionary spending on areas like foreign aid, education and food safety was not a driving factor in creating the deficits. In fact, such spending, accounting for only 15 percent of the budget, has been basically flat as a share of the economy for decades. Cutting it simply will not fill the deficit hole….
First, the Bush tax cuts have had a huge damaging effect. If all of them expired as scheduled at the end of 2012, future deficits would be cut by about half, to sustainable levels. Second, a healthy budget requires a healthy economy; recessions wreak havoc by reducing tax revenue. Government has to spur demand and create jobs in a deep downturn, even though doing so worsens the deficit in the short run. Third, spending cuts alone will not close the gap. The chronic revenue shortfalls from serial tax cuts are simply too deep to fill with spending cuts alone. Taxes have to go up.
Our friends at Business Insider know this, and put those two principles to work today in this excellent and highly informative little slideshow, made even more timely by the ongoing talks in Washington, D.C. aimed at staving off a U.S. debt default.
Here’s the big idea:
Many people — politicians and pundits alike — prattle on that China and, to a lesser extent Japan, own most of America’s $14.3 trillion in government debt.
But there’s one little problem with that conventional wisdom: it’s just not true. While the Chinese, Japanese and plenty of other foreigners own substantial amounts, it’s really Americans who hold most of America’s debt.
Here’s a quick and fascinating breakdown by total amount held and percentage of total U.S. debt, according to Business Insider:
Part of the Republican strategy to defeating President Obama in 2012 – is to reduce the number of black and brown voters.
The last time this strategy was successful was in 2004, when black precincts were denied the number of voting machines required to handle the traffic in Ohio. And we won’t get into the voter role purges of 2000 assisting in the illegitimate presidency of George Bush.
The head of the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights group on Monday condemned state laws requiring photo identification of voters as an attempt to disenfranchise minorities through some “of the last existing legal pillars of Jim Crow.”
NAACP President Benjamin Jealous said a wave of newly enacted photo-ID requirements stemmed from what he saw as “the worst and most racist elements” in conservative Tea Party groups that have immersed themselves in state politics since the 2010 elections.
He compared photo ID laws to poll taxes and other past restrictions — since struck down by the courts — designed to keep blacks from voting in the segregated Deep South. And he said the latest measures were part of a racial backlash against the 2008 election of President Barack Obama.
“Our voting rights are under attack because a few years ago, we had a great breakthrough in this country,” Jealous said in a speech at the 102nd annual NAACP convention, held in Los Angeles. “We broke the color line at the White House.”
He said the NAACP would mount education campaigns aimed at preventing minorities and the poor from being disenfranchised.
Supporters of photo ID laws, backed mainly by Republican legislators and governors, say they are aimed at thwarting election fraud and are no more discriminatory than requiring IDs for cashing a check or making credit-card purchases.
Recently departed Jazz Musician Gill Scott Heron’s seminal piece was a song called “Winter in America”. I think Gill Scott saw the destruction of the American Dream years before it reached the crisis point.
Something is really, really wrong here – and other than a few intrepid groups like “Take Back the Land” – there doesn’t seem to be anyone in power doing a damn thing about it.
The right wing in this country is spending a lot of time defending the banks, the major corporations, and the rich by foisting one Trojan Horse issue after another upon the public airwaves.
A $15 a year tax break isn’t going to save you from being foreclosed on your house.
Protesters ‘Liberate’ Foreclosed Homes
When Virginia Henry bought her boarded-up and abandoned Rochester, N.Y., home in December 2007, she saw potential where others were blind to it. The house, a short sale, became her home to live in and care for, she said. She plopped down her $20,000 and filed her paperwork for a loan program that would pay the balance — $43,000 — to rehabilitate the property.
But what followed was a series of unanswered calls and letters to Bank of America, Henry says, eventually culminating in her arrest Friday for a charge of trespassing on her own front lawn. The arrest, like much of this story, is the source of a dispute. Henry asserts police officers shoved her to the ground during the arrest, police claim she fainted from the intense heat. She has a court date for the trespassing charge July 28.
The facts of the short sale are also at issue. The bank has told Henry that the short sale never closed and that the house at 5 Appleton St. — with all her worldly possessions trapped inside — is no longer hers. A Bank of America spokeswoman, Jumana Bauwens, said she would investigate the claims.
“This is my home,” Henry told AOL Real Estate in a phone interview after the arrest. “How can I be trespassing in my own home?”
In a statement, the London Metropolitan Police said, “Police were called by London Ambulance Service to an address in Camden Square NW1 shortly before 16.05hrs today, Saturday 23 July, following reports of a woman found deceased. On arrival officers found the body of a 27-year-old female who was pronounced dead at the scene. Enquiries continue into the circumstances of the death. At this early stage it is being treated as unexplained.”
Earlier in the day, Tim Gatt of Sky News tweeted a statement from her manager saying that she was canceling upcoming performances, writing, “Amy Winehouse is withdrawing from all scheduled performances. Everyone involved wishes to do everything they can to help her return to her best and she will be given as long as it takes for this to happen.”
At least 80 people were killed in a shooting at a youth camp on the Norwegian island of Utoya the second of two attacks blamed on a Norwegian suspect authorities have not identified, police said.
Police confirmed that they had arrested a Norwegian man for the attack on a summer youth camp, and that they believed the same man was responsible for the bombing in central Oslo several hours earlier that claimed at least seven lives.
The 80 dead at the camp was a dramatic increase over an earlier police report that at least 10 had died at the youth camp. Police director Oystein Maeland told reporters many more victims were discovered between the two reports, according to The Associated Press.
Anders Behring Breivik, age 32, a self-described nationalist opposed to Islam and to a multi-cultural society.
With the arrest of a lone Norwegian in the twin bomb and shooting attacks today, officials have all but ruled out any connection to international terrorism.
“We have one person in custody and he will be charged in connection with what has happened,” said Justice Minister Knut Storberget during a Friday evening press conference. “We know that he is Norwegian. That is what we know. I don’t think it’s right from my position to go into details about him.”
TV2, Norway’s largest broadcaster, later identified the suspect as Anders Behring Breivik, 32, describing him as a member of “right-wing extremist groups in eastern Norway.” Norwegian police would not confirm the identity of the suspect.
Norway came under deadly attack Friday with a massive bombing in the heart of its power center and a shooting at the ruling party’s youth camp outside the capital.
At least seven people were killed in the blast in Oslo, police said. A number of others were injured both in Oslo and at the youth camp.
It was not immediately clear whether the two incidents were related. But police spokesman Bjorn Erik Sem-Jacobsen told state television broadcaster NRK that authorities have good reason to believe they were.
The prime minister, whose office was badly damaged in the Oslo blast, leads Norway’s Labour Party, which runs the youth camp.
In northern Utoya Island, a person dressed up as a policeman fired shots at the Labour Party Youth Camp with about 700 people, injuring several people, NRK said. Witnesses described a scene of utter chaos and said many people were shot.
Police have arrested one person in the shooting, NRK said.
Oslo Mayor Fabian Stang said it was a “terrible day” for Norwegians.
An Oslo police spokesman said the explosion was caused by a bomb. No one has claimed responsibility.
Several buildings were badly damaged, many of the windows of the government tower that houses the prime minister’s offices blown out. Emergency teams rushed the injured, some bleeding profusely, to hospitals.
Unaccustomed to such deadly scenes, Norway was reeling.