Warm Southern Breeze

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Posts Tagged ‘Barack Obama’

Reasons to Oppose Common Core from the Left & Right

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, August 11, 2014

Once, I supported Common Core.

Now, I do not.

Read on to understand why.

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Everything you need to know about Common Core — Ravitch

January 18, 2014

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2014/01/18/everything-you-need-to-know-about-common-core-ravitch/

Diane Ravitch, the education historian who has become the leader of the movement against corporate-influenced school reform, gave this speech to the Modern Language Association on Jan. 11 about the past, present and future of the Common Core State Standards.

Here’s her speech:

As an organization of teachers and scholars devoted to the study of language and literature, MLA should be deeply involved in the debate about the Common Core standards.

The Common Core standards were developed in 2009 and released in 2010. Within a matter of months, they had been endorsed by 45 states and the District of Columbia. At present, publishers are aligning their materials with the Common Core, technology companies are creating software and curriculum aligned with the Common Core, and two federally-funded consortia have created online tests of the Common Core.

What are the Common Core standards? Who produced them? Why are they controversial? How did their adoption happen so quickly?

As scholars of the humanities, you are well aware that every historical event is subject to interpretation. There are different ways to answer the questions I just posed. Originally, this session was designed to be a discussion between me and David Coleman, who is generally acknowledged as the architect of the Common Core standards. Some months ago, we both agreed on the date and format. But Mr. Coleman, now president of the College Board, discovered that he had a conflicting meeting and could not be here.

So, unfortunately, you will hear only my narrative, not his, which would be quite different. I have no doubt that you will have no difficulty getting access to his version of the narrative, which is the same as Secretary Arne Duncan’s.

He would tell you that the standards were created by the states, that they were widely and quickly embraced because so many educators wanted common standards for teaching language, literature, and mathematics. But he would not be able to explain why so many educators and parents are now opposed to the standards and are reacting angrily to the testing that accompanies them.

I will try to do that.

I will begin by setting the context for the development of the standards.

They arrive at a time when American public education and its teachers are under attack. Never have public schools been as subject to upheaval, assault, and chaos as they are today. Unlike modern corporations, which extol creative disruption, schools need stability, not constant turnover and change. Yet for the past dozen years, ill-advised federal and state policies have rained down on students, teachers, principals, and schools.

George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind and Barack Obama’s Race to the Top have combined to impose a punitive regime of standardized testing on the schools. NCLB was passed by Congress in 2001 and signed into law in 2002. NCLB law required schools to test every child in grades 3-8 every year; by 2014, said the law, every child must be “proficient” or schools would face escalating sanctions. The ultimate sanction for failure to raise test scores was firing the staff and closing the school.

Because the stakes were so high, NCLB encouraged teachers to teach to the test. In many schools, the curriculum was narrowed; the only subjects that mattered were reading and mathematics. What was not tested—the arts, history, civics, literature, geography, science, physical education—didn’t count. Some states, like New York, gamed the system by dropping the passing mark each year, giving the impression that its students were making phenomenal progress when they were not. Some districts, like Atlanta, El Paso, and the District of Columbia, were caught up in cheating scandals. In response to this relentless pressure, test scores rose, but not as much as they had before the adoption of NCLB.

Then along came the Obama administration, with its signature program called Race to the Top. In response to the economic crisis of 2008, Congress gave the U.S. Department of Education $5 billion to promote “reform.” Secretary Duncan launched a competition for states called “Race to the Top.” If states wanted any part of that money, they had to agree to certain conditions. They had to agree to evaluate teachers to a significant degree by the rise or fall of their students’ test scores; they had to agree to increase the number of privately managed charter schools; they had to agree to adopt “college and career ready standards,” which were understood to be the not-yet-finished Common Core standards; they had to agree to “turnaround” low-performing schools by such tactics as firing the principal and part or all of the school staff; and they had to agree to collect unprecedented amounts of personally identifiable information about every student and store it in a data warehouse. It became an article of faith in Washington and in state capitols, with the help of propagandistic films like “Waiting for Superman,” that if students had low scores, it must be the fault of bad teachers. Poverty, we heard again and again from people like Bill Gates, Joel Klein, and Michelle Rhee, was just an excuse for bad teachers, who should be fired without delay or due process.

These two federal programs, which both rely heavily on standardized testing, has produced a massive demoralization of educators; an unprecedented exodus of experienced educators, who were replaced in many districts by young, inexperienced, low-wage teachers; the closure of many public schools, especially in poor and minority districts; the opening of thousands of privately managed charters; an increase in low-quality for-profit charter schools and low-quality online charter schools; a widespread attack on teachers’ due process rights and collective bargaining rights; the near-collapse of public education in urban districts like Detroit and Philadelphia, as public schools are replaced by privately managed charter schools; a burgeoning educational-industrial complex of testing corporations, charter chains, and technology companies that view public education as an emerging market. Hedge funds, entrepreneurs, and real estate investment corporations invest enthusiastically in this emerging market, encouraged by federal tax credits, lavish fees, and the prospect of huge profits from taxpayer dollars. Celebrities, tennis stars, basketball stars, and football stars are opening their own name-brand schools with public dollars, even though they know nothing about education.

No other nation in the world has inflicted so many changes or imposed so many mandates on its teachers and public schools as we have in the past dozen years. No other nation tests every student every year as we do. Our students are the most over-tested in the world. No other nation—at least no high-performing nation—judges the quality of teachers by the test scores of their students. Most researchers agree that this methodology is fundamentally flawed, that it is inaccurate, unreliable, and unstable, that the highest ratings will go to teachers with the most affluent students and the lowest ratings will go to teachers of English learners, teachers of students with disabilities, and teachers in high-poverty schools. Nonetheless, the U.S. Department of Education wants every state and every district to do it. Because of these federal programs, our schools have become obsessed with standardized testing, and have turned over to the testing corporations the responsibility for rating, ranking, and labeling our students, our teachers, and our schools.

The Pearson Corporation has become

Read the rest of this entry »

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Congressional Budget Office: Offshore Corporate Tax Havens Cost each Citizen $1259

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, April 17, 2014

Historically, our nation has prospered when tax rates on the ULTRA wealthy and corporations were highest.

In the period following World War II, under President Dwight David Eisenhower – a Republican, and former Supreme Allied Commander / 5ive Star General – Corporate Tax rates have continually declined.

Now, during the Obama administration, they are at the LOWEST they have EVER been.

Corporate Income Tax Rates have continually declined

Corporate Income Tax Rates have continually declined the peaked during the Eisenhower administration. The formula is: b/(a+b) Where (a) Corporate Profits After Tax (without IVA and CCAdj), Billions of Dollars, Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate (CP); And (b) Federal Government: Tax Receipts on Corporate Income, Billions of Dollars, Not Seasonally Adjusted (FCTAX)

Tax Havens Leave U.S. Filers $1,259 Tab Each, Report Says

U.S. taxpayers would need to pay an average of $1,259 more a year to make up the federal and state taxes lost to corporations and individuals sheltering money in overseas tax havens, according to a report.

Tax haven abusers benefit from America’s markets, public infrastructure, educated workforce, security and rule of law -– all supported in one way or another by tax dollars -– but they avoid paying for these benefits,” U.S. Public Interest Research Group said in the report released today, the deadline for filing 2013 taxes.
ref: http://www.uspirg.org/reports/usp/picking-tab-2014

“Instead, ordinary taxpayers end up picking up the tab, either in the form of higher taxes, cuts to public spending priorities, or increases to the federal debt,” it said.

In total, the U.S. loses $150 billion in federal revenue and another $34 billion in state revenue annually because of money parked in tax havens, the Boston-based consumer advocacy group concluded.

That’s almost Read the rest of this entry »

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Analysis – Examining the Record: Is Alabama Governor Bentley a “Jobs Creator” or a Drag on the State Economy?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, April 12, 2014

When campaigning for the office of Alabama’s Governor, Robert Bentley – a retired dermatologist physician who at the time was an elected representative from Tuscaloosa County – promised if elected governor that, “I will forgo a salary as state representative for the rest of my term and will not accept a salary as Governor until Alabama reaches full employment.”
ref: http://blog.al.com/spotnews/2010/06/robert_bentley_extends_no-sala.html

When pressed on the matter, he later defined “full employment” as having state unemployment somewhere around 5%. It is a promise to which, as of the date of this entry – 12 April 2014 – he has kept. In other words, Alabama has NOT reached “full employment,” and he has not been paid a salary. He has, however, been compensated for out-of-pocket expenses (the governor’s office has a budget, so why would he personally have any such expenses for work in an official capacity?), though he has received – as legislator, a legally-mandated $1.00 per month salary. Since his election to the governorship, he has not received a salary.

Let’s examine Governor Bentley‘s employment record.

During Governor Robert Bentley’s watch, International Paper – the large paper mill formerly known as Champion Paper, in Courtland, and the largest employer in Lawrence County – closed and cost the area economy & state 1100 jobs. Those jobs were Read the rest of this entry »

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It’s all about the money… says Hobby Lobby Store Lawyer Paul D. Clement to SCOTUS.

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, March 28, 2014

Here, all along, we’ve been made to believe that Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. – a privately held firm headquartered in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, which boasts themselves “as a major private corporation in Forbes and Fortunes list of America‘s largest private companies,” – objects on religious grounds (even though their owners are Protestant) to providing insurance coverage to their employees, which insurance includes coverage for female contraceptives.

Here is their attorney – Paul D. Clement, himself the 43d former Solicitor General of the United States – arguing their case:

Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc.
Docket Number: 13-354
Date Argued: 03/25/14 Read the rest of this entry »

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Alabama Medicaid Incompetency: State must repay Federal Childrens Health Insurance Program $88,197,498

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, December 20, 2013

Did you know? (No, you probably didn’t.)

In a report dated August 2013, the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS OIG) conducted a criminal and administrative investigation and found that Alabama claimed, and was paid millions in unallowable performance bonus payments under the Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (CHIRPA).

This FRAUD was because of INCOMPETENCY in Alabama governance.

The HHS OIG found that the Alabama state agency overstated its FYs 2009 and 2010 current enrollment in its requests for bonus payments. The State agency overstated its current enrollments because, rather than Read the rest of this entry »

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Remarks by President Barack Obama at Chattanooga, Tennessee’s Amazon Distribution Center on Jobs for the Middle Class, 07/30/13

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

July 30, 2013

Remarks by the President on Jobs for the Middle Class, 07/30/13

Amazon Chattanooga Fulfillment Center
Chattanooga, Tennessee

2:00 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, Chattanooga!  (Applause.)  It is good to be back in Tennessee.  (Applause.)  It’s great to be here at Amazon.  (Applause.)

I want to thank Lydia for the introduction and sharing her story.  Give Lydia a big round of applause.  (Applause.)  So this is something here.  I just finished getting a tour of just one little corner of this massive facility — size of 28 football fields.  Last year, during the busiest day of the Christmas rush, customers around the world ordered more than 300 items from Amazon every second, and a lot of those traveled through this building.  So this is kind of like the North Pole of the south right here.  (Applause.)  Got a bunch of good-looking elves here.

Before we start, I want to recognize your general manager, Mike Thomas.  (Applause.)  My tour guide and your vice president, Dave Clark.  (Applause.)  You’ve got the Mayor of Chattanooga, Andy Berke.  (Applause.)  And you’ve got one of the finest gentlemen I know, your Congressman, Jim Cooper.  (Applause.)  So thank you all for being here.

So I’ve come here today to talk a little more about something I was discussing last week, and that’s what we need to do as a country to secure a better bargain for the middle class -– a national strategy to make sure that every single person who’s willing to work hard in this country has a chance to succeed in the 21st century economy.  (Applause.)

Now, you heard from Lydia, so you know — because many of you went through it — over the past four and a half years, we’ve been fighting our way back from the worst recession since the Great Depression, and it cost millions of Americans their jobs and their homes and their savings.  And part of what it did is it laid bare the long-term erosion that’s been happening when it comes to middle-class security.

But because the American people are resilient, we bounced back.  Together, we’ve righted the ship.  We took on a broken health care system.  We invested in new American technologies to reverse our addiction to foreign oil.  Changed a tax code that had become tilted too much in favor of the wealthy at the expense of working families.  Saved the auto industry, and thanks to GM and the UAW working together, we’re bringing jobs back here to America, including 1,800 autoworkers in Spring Hill.  (Applause.)  1,800 workers in Spring Hill are on the job today where a plant was once closed.

Today, our businesses have created 7.2 million new jobs over the last 40 months.  This year, we’re off to our best private-sector jobs growth since 1999.  We now sell more products made in America to the rest of the world than ever before.  (Applause.)  We produce more renewable energy than ever.  We produce more natural gas than anybody else in the world.  (Applause.)  Health care costs are growing at the slowest rate in 50 years.  Our deficits are falling at the fastest rate in 60 years.  (Applause.)

So thanks to hardworking folks like you, thanks to the grit and resilience of the American people, we’ve been able to clear away some of the rubble from the financial crisis.  We’ve started to lay a new foundation for a stronger, more durable America — the kind of economic growth that’s broad-based, the foundation required to make this century another American century.

But as I said last week, and as any middle-class family will tell you, we’re not there yet.  Even before the financial crisis hit, we were going through a decade where a few at the top were doing better and better, but most families were working harder and harder just to get by.  And reversing that trend should be Washington’s highest priority.  (Applause.)  It’s my highest priority.

But so far, for most of this year, we’ve seen Read the rest of this entry »

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President Barack Obama to visit Chattanooga, Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, July 28, 2013

Chattanooga is an old, old, old, old city.

It’s older than Civil War old.

Throughout the city there are narrow streets, many (if not most) of which need widening and repaving. Interstate 24, which leads into the city, is in sore need of widening. Because of the twisting, winding route it takes as it leads into, through and around the city and it’s numerous mountains and hills, it can be treacherous. When any slowdown for any reason occurs, traffic can be backed up for 15-20 miles, or more. When wrecks occur on that route, they’re often fatal, and create even longer delays. The only other major route into the city is US Highway 72. There is no bypass. If there are problems on either of those two routes, significant delays can take hours. (See a Google Map of the area.)

It has a university – University of Tennessee, Chattanooga – with other smaller colleges & universities nearby (Lee University, in Cleveland & Southern Adventist University, in Collegedale). One of three hospitals in the area (each which has numerous campuses) Erlanger, is a Level One Trauma Center, and teaching hospital for the College of Medicine at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Memorial Hospital, is part of the Catholic Health Initiatives system, and is a teaching hospital, while Parkridge Hospital is operated by TriStar Health.

Because of industrial waste released by area manufacturing, in 1969, Chattanooga had the filthiest air in the nation. The Tennessee River which serves as a boundary for the area was equally polluted. For many years, troubles GALORE plagued the city, including economic inequality, poor race relations, deteriorating economic infrastructure, rapid population decline, and departure of industry.

Recognizing that the city and area residents were suffering a slow suicide, officials and interested citizens embarked upon a plan to revitalize the area, including cleaning up industrial waste, reinvigorating the economy with employment opportunity, and looking forward, rather than backward.

EPB (Electric Power Board), one of the public utilities in the area, came upon an idea to infuse their power grid with Fiber Optic cable to enable better response times, to pinpoint areas of concern, and to re-route electricity during power outages when lines were downed by trees or severe weather. They faced stiff opposition in the form of legal fights by Comcast (principally), yet were successful in overcoming. In turn, they sold High Speed fiber optic Internet Connectivity to area residents at a significantly reduced cost in comparison to the Wall-Street-traded Comcast. They also provide better service.

While the area’s renaissance is by no means complete, it has advanced with enormously significant strides.


 

Obama to visit uneven Chattanooga area recovery


published Saturday, July 27th, 2013

Mike Pare, deputy Business editor at the Chattanooga Times Free Press, Mike Pare MPare@TimesFreepress.com phone: 423-757-6318

Mike Pare, Deputy Business Editor, Chattanooga Times Free Press; MPare@ TimesFreePress.com phone: (423) 757-6318

by Mike Pare
view bio

When President Barack Obama flies into Chattanooga on Tuesday to tout new economic initiatives, he’ll see a city recognized in a national study as a metro area emerging from the recession as an “economic frontrunner.”

Area Development, a national business magazine covering site selection and relocation, ranked metro Chattanooga at No. 86 — in the top quarter — among 380 metro areas examined for the study titled “Leading Locations for 2013.”

While in Chattanooga Obama is expected to unveil new ways to spur the nation’s sluggish economic recovery.

At the Amazon distribution center at Enterprise South industrial park, the president will see a growing, state-of-the-art distribution facility with 1,800 full-time jobs created since 2011. The Chattanooga facility, along with Read the rest of this entry »

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How much is enough? A guide to dissatisfaction & satiety.

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, June 9, 2013

Late Southern humorist & columnist Lewis Grizzard once wrote a book entitled “Elvis is dead, and I don’t feel so good myself.” The title seems apropos, especially since economics is colloquially known as “the dismal science.” 

And then, there’s former Soviet Union premier Nikita Khrushchev who once famously said during the early stages of the Cold War in 1956, “We will bury you!

Either way, it means somebody’s gonna’ die.

Considering the implications, however, I ask these questions:

How many beds can a man sleep in at once? How many meals does he need before he is full? In how many cars can he ride at once? In how many showers can he bathe at once? How many shoes can he wear at once? In how many houses can he live at once?

How much is enough?

A pessimist’s guide to the Great Recession

Review by Ferdinando Giugliano
June 9, 2013 4:36 pm
A provocative critique of policy makers’ response to the economic crisis

When the Money Runs Out: The End of Western Affluence,
by Stephen King, Yale University Press, RRP£20/RRP$30

Academic debates over the right policy response are one of the few abundant commodities during an economic crisis. Just as in the 1930s and 1970s, the financial crisis that began in the late 2000s has divided economists into two camps. The neo-Keynesian troops have Read the rest of this entry »

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Criticizing the President: This one’s on Obama

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, May 20, 2013

This OpEd is probably some of the best, and most genuinely warranted criticism of President Obama which I’ve yet read.

As late former president Theodore Roosevelt wrote:
“The President is merely the most important among a large number of public servants. He should be supported or opposed exactly to the degree which is warranted by his good conduct or bad conduct, his efficiency or inefficiency in rendering loyal, able, and disinterested service to the nation as a whole. Therefore it is absolutely necessary that there should be full liberty to tell the truth about his acts, and this means that it is exactly necessary to blame him when he does wrong as to praise him when he does right. Any other attitude in an American citizen is both base and servile. To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.* Nothing but the truth should be spoken about him or any one else. But it is even more important to tell the truth, pleasant or unpleasant, about him than about any one else.”

-Theodore Roosevelt’s OpEd Column entitled “Sedition, A Free Press and Personal Rule” published May 7, 1918 in the Kansas City Star

*Roosevelt’s sharp criticism of President Wilson‘s leadership during World War I led the Post Office to warn that the Star that such views might cost the paper its second-class mailing privileges.

Obama A Big Hypocrite? Ask Legal Schnauzer, Roger Shuler

By (about the author)     Permalink
Life Arts 5/18/2013 at 22:24:54

My guest today is Legal Schnauzer, Roger Shuler. Welcome back to OpEdNews, Roger. 

JB: Your recent piece The President Paints Himself Into An Ethical Corner By Voicing Outrage Over Evolving Scandal At The IRS  is pretty scathing. What’s got you so upset?

RS: In early January 2009, just a few days before he took office, President-Elect Obama said he intended to “look forward, as opposed to looking backwards” on apparent crimes under the Bush administration. As president, Obama seems to have followed through on that pledge because his Justice Department has failed to review political prosecutions such as the one involving former Governor Don Siegelman in Alabama, where I live.

Political prosecutions, of course, were just of one of many improper acts on the justice front during the Bush years–torture, warrantless wiretapping, firings of U.S. attorneys were among the others. In essence, Obama issued a decree that no one would be held accountable for those acts.

Obama’s “look forward” statement made no sense at the time, and it makes even less sense now, coming after he expressed outrage the other day over disclosures about the IRS targeting conservative groups for political reasons. Obama said in a news conference that he would not “tolerate” such actions, that wrongdoers must be held “accountable,” and the problem must be “fixed.”

But his inaction toward the DOJ shows that he will tolerate the targeting of political opponents, that he will not hold individuals accountable for such actions, and he will not take steps to fix the problem. Obama was uttering empty words at his press conference about the IRS. Many of us expect that from a Republican chief executive; we should demand better from a Democrat.

JBFor readers unfamiliar with the Siegelman case, Roger, can you give us a brief overview of what happened and why anyone outside of Alabama should care? It didn’t happen under Obama’s watch so how can he be blamed?

RS: Don Siegelman was a Democratic governor in a deep-red state, a state where Karl Rove has a strong power base. Siegelman accepted a campaign donation from a businessman named Richard Scrushy, and then appointed Scrushy to a health-care regulatory board–a board on which Scrushy had served under three previous governors.

The standard for a bribery conviction in the campaign-donation context is that the prosecution must prove an “explicit agreement” in a something-for-something deal (known in legalese as a “quid pro quo.”) No evidence at trial pointed to such an unlawful deal, and the federal judge presiding over the case (a George W. Bush appointee named Mark Fuller) gave incorrect jury instructions that did not include the “explicit agreement” requirement. He allowed the jury to Read the rest of this entry »

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China hacks Army’s Redstone Arsenal computers in Huntsville, Alabama, steals military secrets

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, May 3, 2013

Among defense contractors, QinetiQ North America (QQ/) is known for spy-world connections and an eye- popping product line. Its contributions to national security include secret satellites, drones, and software used by U.S. special forces in Afghanistan and the Middle East.

Former CIA Director George Tenet was a director of the company from 2006 to 2008 and former Pentagon spy chief Stephen Cambone headed a major division. Its U.K. parent was created as a spinoff of a government weapons laboratory that inspired Q’s lab in Ian Fleming’s James Bond thrillers, a connection QinetiQ (pronounced kin-EH-tic) still touts.

QinetiQ’s espionage expertise didn’t keep Chinese cyber- spies from outwitting the company. In a three-year operation, hackers linked to China’s military infiltrated QinetiQ’s computers and compromised most if not all of the company’s research. At one point, they logged into the company’s network by taking advantage of a security flaw identified months earlier and never fixed.

“We found traces of the intruders in Read the rest of this entry »

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Would President Obama privatize TVA & Kill the Goose that Laid the Golden Egg?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Shoals: Privatizing TVA is ‘a bad idea’

By Mike Goens
Managing Editor
Matt McKean/TimesDaily
4/21/13

Anglers fish below thousands of feet of power lines that run from TVA’s Wheeler Dam turbine systems. Those from the Shoals who work closely with the Tennessee Valley Authority said the federal agency should not be turned over to private companies. Matt McKean/TimesDaily

Anglers fish below thousands of feet of power lines that run from TVA’s Wheeler Dam turbine systems. Those from the Shoals who work closely with the Tennessee Valley Authority said the federal agency should not be turned over to private companies. Matt McKean/TimesDaily

If President Barack Obama needs help orchestrating an effort to privatize TVA, he shouldn’t expect much support from the Shoals.

Those from the Shoals who work closely with the Tennessee Valley Authority said the federal agency should not be turned over to private companies. They fear a privately owned TVA will lead to higher electricity rates, job cuts, more flooding problems and navigational issues on the Tennessee River and other waterways under TVA’s jurisdiction.

“The first questions you need to ask are what’s the gain for government and what would be gained by the community,” said Steve Hargrove, manager of Sheffield Utilities. “If the purpose is to make things better and there is reason to think it’s possible, I would be the first one interested in sitting at the table and talking about it. I just don’t see advantages of privatizing at this time.”

Obama brought the issue to the table through his 2014 budget proposal, which was released last week. He said selling TVA should be explored as a means to increase revenue by as much as $25 billion, money that could reduce the federal deficit and pay for other government services.

Hargrove has a unique perspective to the debate, having worked at TVA for 33 years before retiring as plant manager at Colbert Fossil Plant. He became manager of Sheffield Utilities in December.

His department purchases electricity from TVA and provides power to about 19,000 customers in Colbert County.

“I am a believer in the private sector, but I would fear their mission would be different than TVA’s,” Hargrove said. “The mission of TVA is not to make profit, and the mission of the private sector is to make a profit. They have to answer to a board that wants to maximize profits. When your primary goal is to make a profit, that becomes a higher goal than helping the community.

“TVA has had its problems, and bad decisions have been made, but its mission is good and they are an established part of the communities.”

Hargrove said residential rates for TVA customers in the Southeast are among the lowest 25 percent in the country and Read the rest of this entry »

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Exactly whose idea was this “Sequester” thing anyway?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, February 23, 2013

Whose idea was this “sequester” anyway?

Would you believe Mitch McConnell & John Boehner?

Yeah, but McConnell & the GOP are calling it “the president’s sequester”!

Yes, they are. And they want to deceive you.

In other words, they’re lying.

Kentucky’s senior Republican Senator Mitch McConnell, who is the Senate Minority Leader, along with Speaker of the House of Representatives Ohio Congressman John Boehner have both called the impending drastic across-the-board budget cuts & tax increases as “the president’s sequester.”

However, the idea did NOT originate with President Obama.

For the benefit of those whose (choose any combination of the following):
1.) Memories are short, and/or;
2.) Weren’t paying attention in class and/or;
3.) Believe teevee’s talking heads, and/or;
4.) Believe the GOP.

Give particular attention to the last paragraph in the first story, which states in part that,

“McConnell, the chief Republican architect of the compromise, has been adamant that no tax increases will come out of the joint committee. And he and Boehner have effective control given that they will hand-pick six of the 12 members. That said, the defense lobby — a strong force still among Republicans —will most feel the impact of any sequester, and the industry is already being squeezed by the revised appropriations targets set for 2012 and 2013.”

Finally, I would remind the reader that because the GOP’s radical philosophical ideology of privatizing practically every government service (which places public tax dollars in private pockets – is that anything like “welfare”?) harsh across-the-board budget cuts are precisely what the GOP has begged for from Day One.

Debt ceiling disaster averted, but nobody’s really happy

By: David Rogers
August 2, 2011 11:30 PM EST

Running short of cash, Treasury won an immediate reprieve of $400 billion in new borrowing authority Tuesday with the enactment of a hotly contested debt and deficit-reduction agreement hammered out between Republicans and the White House on Sunday night.

President Barack Obama, not hiding his frustration, quickly signed the measure sent to him by Congress after a final 74-26 Senate roll call, capping an unprecedented hard-edged political struggle that had pushed the nation to the brink of default.

Indeed, the stakes were far larger than with the April shutdown fight, and more than any single event this year, the debt battle captured all the power — and critics would say extreme risk-taking — of the anti-government backlash that fueled the GOP’s gains in the 2010 elections.

The timing makes it a gamble too with the faltering recovery. Most of the promised $2.1 trillion in deficit reduction will take place in the out years, but discretionary spending will continue to fall in 2012 and the same Congressional Budget Office — which scored the cuts — will soon issue its August economic update, which could show slower growth.

House Speaker John Boehner has argued the opposite: More aggressively addressing deficits “will in fact provide more confidence for employers in America, the people we expect to reinvest in our economy and create jobs.” But a sell-off Tuesday on Wall Street sent the Dow down 265 points, reflecting growing pessimism about the economic outlook. And as lawmakers left for the summer recess, Democrats vowed to turn the agenda more toward job creation when they return.

“We crossed a bridge,” said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) “Enough talk about the debt. We have to talk about jobs.”

Obama signaled as much in a Rose Garden appearance after the Senate vote. Extending his 2-percentage-point cut in payroll taxes remains a priority and the appropriations bargain, Read the rest of this entry »

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Reasoned Debate: Our Second Amendment Rights & Preventing Firearm Violence

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, January 26, 2013

Alabama State House GOP "Dare Defend Our Rights" gun logo

Alabama State House GOP “Dare Defend Our Rights” gun logo, from the FaceBook page of Speaker of the Alabama House of Representatives Mike Hubbard, R-Auburn

Recently in another Social Media forum, a long-time friend had posted a link to a site operated for the Alabama State House GOP faction, which is a so-called “supermajority” in that state’s elected legislative body. That site may be found here: http://ALHouseGOP.com/WeDareDefend/.

Perceiving that that those political ideologues were very likely drumming up support for their positions based upon pure emotion and fear, rather than reasoned, rational and informed debate, I initially responded by quickly writing a somewhat sarcastic response, precisely worded to give pause for thought. My initial response elicited a query, to which I delightfully replied more eruditely.

The exchange as it exists presently, now follows.

Me: Yeah. Alabama was wrong on their right to segregation and their right to deny civil rights, too.

My friend: So, do you support the Read the rest of this entry »

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Ronald Reagan: “I do believe that an AK-47, a machine gun, is not a sporting weapon or needed for defense of a home.”

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, January 18, 2013

History’s a funny thing, ain’t it?

FaceBook is full of bullshit “quotes” attributed to such luminous historical figures as Benjamin Franklin, Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and other Founding Fathers, along with fallacious – even mean-spirited and evil – attempted parallels to Hitler and the sitting President Barack Obama.

It’s just pure hatred. That, ignorance and selfishness.

But when it comes to one of the most iconic figures of the 20th century, a two-term Republican President held in high esteem by Democrats and Republicans alike, no one really likes to recall the things he said.

And so, here for your perusal and consideration, is an historical redux.

Enjoy.

Reagan’s 78th Birthday Includes Posh Party, Campus Speech, Courtesy Call

JEFF WILSON , Associated Press
AP News Archive Feb. 7, 1989 5:54 AM ET

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Ronald Reagan celebrated his 78th birthday by saying he’s had enough of retirement and was ”saddled up and ready to ride again” for a balanced federal budget and repeal of the two-term presidency.

The 40th President’s birthday celebration Monday included an office chat with Japanese Prime Minister Noboru Takeshita, a black-tie party and a speech to students at the University of Southern California, where he was serenaded by the USC Marching Band.

”One of my biggest disappointments as president was I wasn’t able to balance the budget,” Reagan told the college audience.

Reagan received extended applause when answering a question about over-the- counter military weapons, such as the AK-47 assault rifle used to gun down five Stockton schoolchildren last month.

”I do not believe in taking away the right of the citizen for sporting, for hunting and so forth, or for home defense,” he said. ”But I do believe that an AK-47, a machine gun, is not a sporting weapon or needed for defense of a home.”

The speech was Reagan’s first public event since a spirited welcome home airport rally Jan. 20, the day he relinquished the presidency to George Bush. The former president said Read the rest of this entry »

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Ronald Reagan co-signed letter supporting Assault Gun Ban

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Second Amendment, as some have so misbelieved, has no limitations. However, as we all know, there are limits to our First Amendment freedom-of-speech rights. For example, one cannot yell “FIRE!” in a crowded theater. It is reasonable, therefore, that limitations should similarly exist for the Second Amendment, some of which already include denying firearm ownership to convicted felons, and those who are mentally unstable.

As some have come to so interpret it, the purpose of the Second Amendment is to empower citizens with the ability to overthrow a despotic government – not to hunt wild game. If that be the case, one mustn’t be intellectually dishonest about the matter, and must acknowledge if that interpretation is at least accurate in part, then the Second Amendment was written to give citizens the right and authority to kill their governmental leaders.

Regarding how the spirit of the Second Amendment might be honored while simultaneously providing sane regulation to prevent tragedies as we have most recently witnessed, I offer the following.

The Second Amendment reads

“A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”

• People who own firearms – particularly military style assault weapons – should be required to, as part of their ownership – be active members in good standing of “a well regulated militia.”

• Individuals who only own hunting firearms could be exempted from militia participation requirements.

• All firearm owners should be required to pay a federal tax upon acquisition of the firearm, no matter the type.

• All firearm owners should be required to submit to a federal background investigation and security clearance, including fingerprinting.

• Military style firearms could be subject to an acquisition tax, the amount of which could be the equivalence of the purchase price, or more – similarly to the tax imposed upon fully-automatic weapons.

• Annual accountability for all firearm owners – essentially asking the legal status of the individual, e.g., whether they’ve been arrested, or convicted of any disqualifying crime or behavior, and performing mandatory annual background checks with federal, state & local Law Enforcement Agencies.

• Lying or attempting to deceive to obtain a firearm by deliberately misleading would be a federal crime, the punishment of which could be determined – perhaps even including a ban on ownership for a set period of time, up to and including a permanent lifetime ban.

Ford, Carter, Reagan Push for Gun Ban

May 05, 1994|WILLIAM J. EATON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

WASHINGTON — Three former presidents endorsed legislation Wednesday to ban the future manufacture, sale and possession of combat-style assault weapons as a closely divided House neared a showdown today on the hotly controversial issue.

Gerald R. Ford, Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan sent a letter to all House members expressing their support for the measure, effectively joining President Clinton in urging approval of the ban.

Together, the four make a formidable lobby, stretching across Read the rest of this entry »

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Former Secretary of State Colin Powell: “I”m still a Republican,” but “birther” movement “looks down on minorities.”

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, January 13, 2013

Honestly, does this surprise anyone?

Powell slams GOP for ‘dark vein of intolerance’

by Morgan Whitaker
1:48 pm on 01/13/2013

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell said on NBC’s Meet the Press Sunday that the Republican party is suffering from a “dark vein of intolerance” and that some in the party seem to “look down on minorities.”

Powell pointed to former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin’s use of the “shuck and jive” phrase in reference to President Obama, calling it a “racial era slave term,” and took on Romney surrogate John Sununu for calling President Obama “lazy.”

“When I see another former governor after the president’s first debate where Read the rest of this entry »

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Scandal hits Obama administration

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, January 12, 2013

Welcome to the idiocy of Alabama.

Obama’s Cabinet of yes men

By Dana Milbank, Published: JANUARY 11, 12:21 PM ET

President Obama hasn’t even begun his second term, yet already he has been ensnared by scandal.

Republicans have uncovered a shocking level of wrongdoing in the Oval Office, and I’m afraid what they say is true: The president is brazenly trying to fill his Cabinet with . . . people he likes.

Alas, the perfidy doesn’t end there. Not only is Obama naming agreeable people to his Cabinet, he is also — audaciously, flagrantly — nominating people who . . . agree with his policies.

Hello, operator? In Waco, Tex., I’d like the number for a Starr, Kenneth W.

Among the first to blow the whistle on the scandal was Sen. Jeff Sessions. The Alabamian, the ranking Republican on the Budget Committee, went on CNN on Thursday, immediately after Obama tapped Jack Lew to be Treasury secretary, to tell Wolf Blitzer why he would oppose confirmation.

“This is another person just very personally close to the president,” Sessions protested. Lew should not be confirmed, the senator said, because “the budget that he wrote was condemned by The Washington Post, virtually every major newspaper in the country.”

This was unorthodox — Sessions rarely admits to agreeing with anything he reads in The Post — but the truth of the statement was undeniable: Lew did write the budget. He was Obama’s budget director before becoming White House chief of staff; writing the budget was his job.

Sessions had Obama dead right. He is nominating like-minded people to serve in top jobs in his administration. And this scandal will continue until Obama finally accepts his constitutional obligation to name disagreeable detractors to his Cabinet.

There was a time — specifically, the entire history of the Republic until now — when nominating trusted advisers to key positions would not have been a scandal. Only three times in the 20th century (and six times before that) did the Senate reject proposed Cabinet officers, according to the Senate historical office. Lifelong judiciary appointments, particularly to the Supreme Court, are often contentious. But, the historical office notes, there is a Senate tradition that “presidents should be allowed a free hand in choosing their closest advisers.”

The last rejected Cabinet nominee, John Tower, was denied confirmation as defense secretary after accusations of Read the rest of this entry »

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Mitt Romney “never wanted to be president,” says son Tagg.

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, December 27, 2012

The story behind Mitt Romney’s loss in the presidential campaign to President Obama

It was two weeks before Election Day when Mitt Romney’s political director signed a memo that all but ridiculed the notion that the Republican presidential nominee, with his “better ground game,” could lose the key state of Ohio or the election. The race is “unmistakably moving in Mitt Romney’s direction,” the memo said.

But the claims proved wildly off the mark, a fact embarrassingly underscored when the high-tech voter turnout system that Romney himself called “state of the art” crashed at the worst moment, on Election Day.

To this day, Romney’s aides wonder how it all went so wrong.

They console each other with claims that the election was much closer than realized, saying that Romney would be president if roughly 370,000 people in swing states had voted differently. Romney himself blamed demographic shifts and Obama’s “gifts”: federal largesse targeted to Democratic constituencies.

But a reconstruction by the Globe of how the campaign unfolded shows that Romney’s problems went deeper than is widely understood. His campaign made a series of costly financial, strategic, and political mistakes that, in retrospect, all but assured the candidate’s defeat, given the revolutionary turnout tactics and tactical smarts of President Obama’s operation.

One of the gravest errors, many say, was the Romney team’s failure, until too late in the campaign, to sell voters on the candidate’s personal qualities and leadership gifts. The effect was to open the way for Obama to define Romney through an early blitz of negative advertising. Election Day polls showed that the vast majority of voters concluded that Romney did not really care about average people.

These failures are now the subject of scrutiny by national GOP officials who say they plan to Read the rest of this entry »

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Grover Norquist: “Romney was a ‘poopy head’.”

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, November 12, 2012

“…the president was committed, ah, elected on the basis that he was not Romney, and that Romney was a ‘poopy head,’ and you should vote against Romney – and he won by two points.”
-Grover Norquist

Norquist’s voice sound like he’s a pinko puss.

Not a man.

Grover Norquist: Obama Won Because He Called Romney A ‘Poopy Head’

The Huffington Post  |  By Posted: 11/12/2012 9:12 am EST

Grover Norquist, founder and president of Americans For Tax Reform, has a new theory about why President Barack Obama won — he portrayed Mitt Romney as a “poopy head.”

“The president was committed; elected on the basis that he was not Romney and Romney was a poopy head and you should vote against Romney and he won by two points,” Norquist said on CBS’ “This Morning” Monday. “But he didn’t make the case that we should have higher taxes and higher spending, he kind of sounded like the opposite.”

Host Norah O’Donnell pushed back. “Well, I’m not sure that’s what the president called Mitt Romney, Grover,” she said. “That’s not the debate that was had … he said very clearly throughout the debate that the Read the rest of this entry »

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Mentally Sick Residents in 20 States Petition White House to Secede from Union

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, November 12, 2012

I can’t believe that I’m really reading this.

It’s unfathomable.

Genuinely.

That this could happen is stupefying.

It is unimaginable.

Literally.

If I were to continue, I would unleash a stream of less-than-wholesome language to characterize those who agree with such ludicrously asinine actions.

But, let us remember this, my friends – that is not only ANTI-AMERICAN, it is the actions of TRAITORS – TREASON.

Here’s hoping that only the truly mentally sick were the ones who filed, signed and endorsed such petitions.

Reckon Alabama Governor Dr. Robert Bentley signed it?

He’s promised to repay nearly $1/2 BILLION to the Alabama Trust Fund, saying “Trust me,” but never quite put it into writing that he’d repay.

The sad thing about that is, that the people of Alabama believed him.

Maybe it should be renamed theAlabama Mis-Trust Fund“?

Naah.

The majority of people trust him.

After all, he’s the governor, AND he’s a doctor.

Does that mean that the people can sue him for malpractice after he screws everything up?

Alabama joins states where residents petition White House to secede from U.S.

By George Talbot | gtalbot@al.com
on November 11, 2012 at 9:24 PM, updated November 12, 2012 at 7:31 AM

Secede signm, modern

(Bob Daemmrich/Texas Tribune)

Alabama is one of 20 states – and counting – where residents have petitioned the White House in the days after the Nov. 6 presidential election, seeking to withdraw from the United States and create their own governments.

The informal petitions are created by citizens on the White House web site under a “We the People” program created by the Obama administration.

President Barack Obama was re-elected Tuesday, defeating a challenge from Republican candidate Mitt Romney.

The Alabama petition was filed Friday by Derrick B. (no last name given) of Mobile. It was the third petition filed overall, following an initial petition filed Wednesday, the day after the election, on behalf of Louisiana. The second petition was filed Friday on behalf of Texas.

“We petition the Obama Administration to peacefully grant the State of Alabama to withdraw from the United States of America and create its own new government,” the petition reads.

The Alabama petition had received 4,426 signatures as of Monday morning.

Other states making similar requests include Arkansas, Read the rest of this entry »

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