Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

Posts Tagged ‘senate’

Jeff Sessions: Suitable Or Not For United States Attorney General?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Is Republican Alabama Senator Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III suitable to be United States Attorney General?

Some say “yes,” others say “no.”

Let’s examine his record – it should speak for itself.
The legal term for that concept is “res ipsa loquitur.”

1.) Sessions said of the SCOTUS decision in Shelby County v. Holder (570 U.S.___(2013)), an Alabama-based case which gutted important parts of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, that “Shelby County has never had a history of denying voters and certainly not now,” even though Shelby County’s history of discrimination is well-documented and ongoing when in 2008 the small town of Calera in Shelby County drew a gerrymandered voting map which excluded their only Black councilman out of office.

Gerrymandering Explained, by Steven Nass - original post here: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10203407721984998

Gerrymandering Explained, by Steven Nass – Each square represents a precinct. See original post here: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10203407721984998

Before Calera’s local elections in 2008 the town had redrawn its city boundaries which – even though the town’s Black voting-age population had grown from 13-16% – eliminated the only majority-Black district which had been represented by Ernest Montgomery since 2004, and decreased the voting-age Black population from 71-30% by adding three overwhelmingly White subdivisions while failing to include a large surrounding predominately Black-populated neighborhood.

The United States Department of Justice objected to Calera’s actions, and notified City Officials, who defied the DOJ’s orders and held the election anyway which caused Mr. Montgomery to lose the election by two votes, of which he said “they voted against me because of the color of my skin.”

2.) When Sessions was Alabama Attorney General he supported the “separate but equal” policy ensconced in Alabama’s 1901 Constitution in Amendment 111 which to this day deprives impoverished children in Alabama of a right to public education because public support for school funding collapsed after its passage, and since the early 1990’s created enormous funding disparities in school systems statewide which remain, despite legislative attempts to remedy.

3.) Sessions voted against reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act (Public Law 103–322).

4.) Sessions is a fierce opponent of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (42 U.S.C. 1973(a)) and called it a “piece of intrusive legislation.”

5.) Sessions voted against Read the rest of this entry »

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Alabama State Senator Larry Stutts sued for malpractice… again

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, June 13, 2015

Alabama State Senator Larry Stutts has once again been named in another malpractice lawsuit in which a patient of his retained placental tissue, and suffered excessive bleeding following delivery of her baby.

The new case is oddly reminiscent of an older case in which Stutts was named defendant, in which his patient retained placental tissue and suffered excessive bleeding, and later died. The new case’s Plaintiff, Greta C. Cooper, did not die.

Read the PDF file of the 2015 Lawsuit against state Sen Larry Stutts

The suit alleges, among other things, that Stutts failed to order powerful antibiotics to be administered EXCLUSIVELY by Licensed Professional Nurses, and that two RNs with Gentiva Home Health Services in Russellville, Alabama, then taught the Plaintiff’s husband how to administer the medication, and that as a result of his failure to properly order, blood levels of the medication were also not taken which resulted in overdose toxicity.

Dr. Larry Stutts, DVM, MD (R), who was first a veterinarian, then became an Obstetrician/Gynecologist (OBGYN), upset 32-year veteran Alabama Senate District 6 State Senator Roger Bedford (D) by 67 votes in the 2014 November General Election. Stutts is also president of Colbert Obstetrics and Gynecology, PC (his private medical practice), located at 1120 S Jackson Hwy #104, Sheffield, AL 35660, (256) 386-0855.

Alabama District 6 State Senator Dr. Larry Stutts, DVM, MD

Alabama District 6 State Senator Dr. Larry Stutts, DVM, MD

Alabama State Senate District 6 encompasses all of Franklin County, and portions of Colbert, Marion, Lauderdale and Lawrence Counties in NW Alabama.

Interestingly, Sutts wasn’t the GOP’s original candidate for the Senate District 6 race. Jerry Mays was the original GOP candidate, but dropped out of the primary. In response to Mays’ decision, on March 20, 2014, State Republican Party Chairman Bill Armistead announced that the Alabama Republican Party Candidate Committee had met and named Larry Stutts, who resides in Tuscumbia, to replace Mays candidacy. Stutts had never been in any elected political office.

Stutts is the same physician who was years earlier named in another lawsuit in which his patient Rose Church – a newlywed, and healthy 36-year-old Registered Nurse – died, which in turn, Read the rest of this entry »

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Alabama Democrats Vote to Save Jobs: ABC Privatization Bill Dies in Senate Committee

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, April 8, 2015

A bill by State Senator Arthur Orr (R-Decatur) to privatize the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board has died in the Senate Finance and Taxation General Fund Committee by a 7-6 vote along party lines, with one Republican voting ‘NO.’ The vote received applause from attendees.

A substitution bill presented by Orr would’ve changed the suspension penalty for Selling to Minors from one year to one week, and increased taxes, was also adopted along party line vote.
Orr said earlier that, “Part of our job is to downsize government,” and demanded a committee vote be taken on his bill today.

Alcoholic Beverage Control Board Administrator Mac Gipson testified that employees are paid from mark-ups from sales in the state’s 176 ABC stores. He also noted that by comparison, there are 587 private package stores in the state.

In Alabama, liquor is marked up at Read the rest of this entry »

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Presidential Political Prophesy

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, March 12, 2015

As we wind down the final two years of President Barack Obama’s second term, speculation is arising concerning who will become the GOP’s Presidential nominee. At this point, there is much less speculation among Democrats about who will contend for the race, although Hillary Clinton does seem to be positioning herself early for a run at the Democratic party’s nomination.

Given the increasing inoperability of the radicalized GOP (even though they have wrested solid control of the House and Senate, but not enough to override a presidential veto), and their tendency toward government shutdown, brinksmanship, and extremism, some have said they would prefer to see a Democratic presidential successor, though there may be little evidence to support the notion such a thing will occur.

Some have said “That doesn’t help the Democrats” and that, “a Republican president doesn’t help anyone but corporations.” While there may be merit to both statements, it should be observed that a spirit of cooperation has become eroded to the point that there seems little chance that statesmanship and compromise for the good of the whole will occur… even given the Republican majority in the House and Senate. The radicalized GOP’s infighting even has Speaker Boehner up in arms, and not merely for his impotence and inability to control the party now hijacked by Right-Wing Extremists.

Which is where we begin the prophesy. Read the rest of this entry »

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Pitchfork in the Road: America’s Economic Future – Poverty & Insurrection, or Abundance & Peace?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, June 28, 2014

“How much is enough?” is a qood question to ask many folks, especially some among the Wall $treet crowd.

And to be certain, the two principles of “the worker is worthy of their hire,” and “You must not muzzle an ox to keep it from eating as it treads out the grain” are equally compelling ethics.

As those two ethics concern our nation’s economy, we can point to times in history where various nations suffered revolution, and the most common causes of revolution.

In fact, I wrote at length about it in this blog in 2011, and observed in part that, “…it’s not as if uproars have never happened before. They happen with great regularity and frequency. In fact, they’re quite predictable. Yes, predictable. It’s called “history.” The maxim goes something like this: “Those who forget the lessons of history are condemned to repeat them.” And so, any reasonable or prudent person should ask, “What are the lessons of history?””

Just remember this: Food, Clothing, Shelter. If you can’t get them with what you have, you’ll fight, kill, go to war, or civil insurrection, to obtain the basic necessities of life.

The Pitchforks Are Coming… For Us Plutocrats

By NICK HANAUER
Nick Hanauer is a Seattle-based entrepreneur.

July/August 2014

Memo: From Nick Hanauer
To: My Fellow Zillionaires

You probably don’t know me, but like you I am one of those .01%ers, a proud and unapologetic capitalist. I have founded, co-founded and funded more than 30 companies across a range of industries—from itsy-bitsy ones like the night club I started in my 20s to giant ones like Amazon.com, for which I was the first nonfamily investor. Then I founded aQuantive, an Internet advertising company that was sold to Microsoft in 2007 for $6.4 billion. In cash. My friends and I own a bank. I tell you all this to demonstrate that in many ways I’m no different from you. Like you, I have a broad perspective on business and capitalism. And also like you, I have been rewarded obscenely for my success, with a life that the other 99.99 percent of Americans can’t even imagine. Multiple homes, my own plane, etc., etc. You know what I’m talking about. In 1992, I was selling pillows made by my family’s business, Pacific Coast Feather Co., to retail stores across the country, and the Internet was a clunky novelty to which one hooked up with a loud squawk at 300 baud. But I saw pretty quickly, even back then, that many of my customers, the big department store chains, were already doomed. I knew that as soon as the Internet became fast and trustworthy enough—and that time wasn’t far off—people were going to shop online like crazy. Goodbye, Caldor. And Filene’s. And Borders. And on and on.

Nick Hanauer

Nick Hanauer
With over 30 years of experience across a broad range of industries including manufacturing, retailing, e-commerce, digital media and advertising, software, aerospace, health care, and finance. Hanauer’s experience and perspective have produced an unusual record of serial successes. Hanauer has managed, founded or financed over 30 companies, creating aggregate market value of tens of billions of dollars. Some notable companies Include Amazon.com, Aquantive Inc., (purchased by Microsoft in 2007 for $6.4 billion), Insitu group (purchased by Boeing for $400 million), Market Leader (purchased by Trulia in 2013 for $350 million). Some other companies include Marchex, Newsvine, Qliance, Seattle Bank and Pacific Coast Feather Company. – Photo by Robbie McClaran

Realizing that, seeing over the horizon a little faster than the next guy, was the strategic part of my success. The lucky part was that I had two friends, both immensely talented, who also saw a lot of potential in the web. One was a guy you’ve probably never heard of named Jeff Tauber, and the other was a fellow named Jeff Bezos. I was so excited by the potential of the web that I told both Jeffs that I wanted to invest in whatever they launched, big time. It just happened that the second Jeff—Bezos—called me back first to take up my investment offer. So I helped underwrite his tiny start-up bookseller. The other Jeff started a web department store called Cybershop, but at a time when trust in Internet sales was still low, it was too early for his high-end online idea; people just weren’t yet ready to buy expensive goods without personally checking them out (unlike a basic commodity like books, which don’t vary in quality—Bezos’ great insight). Cybershop didn’t make it, just another dot-com bust. Amazon did somewhat better. Now I own a very large yacht.

But let’s speak frankly to each other. I’m not the smartest guy you’ve ever met, or the hardest-working. I was a mediocre student. I’m not technical at all—I can’t write a word of code. What sets me apart, I think, is a tolerance for risk and an intuition about what will happen in the future. Seeing where things are headed is the essence of entrepreneurship. And what do I see in our future now?

I see pitchforks.

At the same time that people like you and me are Read the rest of this entry »

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GAO Report: Pentagon spending out of control – Rumsfeld reported same in 2001

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, May 27, 2013

What does Senator Sessions think about the March 2012 Government Accountability Office report to Congress that found the 96 highest-priority defense programs in the Pentagon acquisitions system represented an estimated total cost of $1.58 trillion, and had actually “grown by over $74 billion or 5 percent in the past year”?

The report, entitled DEFENSE ACQUISITIONS: Assessments of Selected Weapon Programs – may be downloaded from the GAO website: http://www.gao.gov/assets/590/589695.pdf

Or from this blog: GAO 3/12 report – DEFENSE ACQUISITIONS Assessments of Selected Weapon Programs

And then, there are the Remarks as Delivered by Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld, The Pentagon , Monday, September 10, 2001 entitled DOD Acquisition and Logistics Excellence Week Kickoff—Bureaucracy to Battlefield, in which he said “According to some estimates, we cannot track $2.3 trillion in transactions.”

How many variety of voices over an extended period of time do we need before we heed their warnings?

His speech, in it’s entirety follows. Read the rest of this entry »

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Senator Jeff Sessions REFUSES to give up part of his salary for sequestration

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, May 27, 2013

Be sure to ask Sen. Sessions if he is going to voluntarily give up a portion of his Senatorial salary since the Senate last month passed a measure urging their members to forgo 20% of their salaries as part of sequestration.

Kudos, however, to Sen. Bob Corker R-TN, who has NEVER pocketed any of his Senate salary.

Why?

He donates it ALL to charity.

Why?

He’s worth over $19 Million.

Few senators sacrifice pay amid cuts

By Russell Berman – 04/03/13 05:00 AM ET

Only a few senators are planning to forfeit a portion of their salaries to charity or the U.S. Treasury while sequestration is in effect, according to a survey conducted by The Hill.

The Senate last month passed a measure urging members of the upper chamber to forgo 20 percent of their salary during sequestration. Most senators, however, are keeping quiet on whether they will follow through.

During a marathon session of budget votes, the Senate approved by voice vote an amendment from Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) calling on lawmakers to donate 20 percent of their pay to charity or return it to the U.S. Treasury.In his floor speech, Graham noted that about 500,000 to 600,000 federal employees will be furloughed because of sequestration and that senators should “feel what other people are feeling.”

Yet in a survey of Senate offices by The Hill, only Graham and Sens. Mark Begich (D-Alaska), Claire McCaskill (Mo.), Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) have indicated they would give up some of their take-home pay.

In a recent press release, Begich — who is up for reelection in 2014 — said Read the rest of this entry »

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Tennessee may modernize antiquated beverage alcohol laws

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Tennessee has some very strange and peculiar laws regarding the regulation of beverage alcohol, most of which remain rooted in the Prohibition Era, and in in fear.

And, true to form, it would be no wonder that Baptists – the arch-conservative religious political right wing activists of the right wing party – are directly involved in efforts to keep the state mired in the antiquated bad old days of yore.

Tennessee is unique in the regard that state law forbids sale of wine except in state-licensed liquor stores. To clarify, the state of Tennessee has an unusual combination of laws that forbid sales of wine in any other type store save one that sells liquor. Further, sales are prohibited on Sunday. Beer, however, is able to be sold in grocery stores… but only if the ABV (Alcohol By Volume) is under 6%.

Alabama once had a similarly prohibitive content law, along with bottle size restriction – which severely limited the sales of domestic and imported craft/micro brew beers and ales. Alabama no longer has such prohibitive limitations.

And then, if one considers the implications of that law – mandating the sale of wine be exclusively limited to sales in liquor stores – the state actually sanctions the liquor enterprise itself, rather than being a neutral, regulatory body. In Tennessee there are no state-operated liquor stores as there are in Alabama. To have a state-run enterprise is not contradictory to the free market, because the state is a direct competitor in the market, which frequently has the lowest priced products, because taxes are the markup/profit margin for the state. Contrasting that model with the private retailer, the private retailer must make a profit atop the taxes which the state charges (after they purchase from the state at a wholesale cost – the same cost the state sells to the general public), thus increasing the retail price above what the state sells it.

Supporters and opponents of a bill that would let grocery and convenience stores sell wine undertook one final push to sway Tennessee lawmakers Monday ahead of a make-or-break vote in the state legislature.

Liquor store owners, grocery store operators, wine shoppers, a sheriff, an addiction specialist and a minister were among the people allowed to testify at a special hearing held a day before the Senate State & Local Government Committee is to vote on the biggest rewrite of Tennessee’s liquor laws in decades. Members guarded 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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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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Could the Price of Milk go to $13 per gallon? If the “Fiscal Cliff” is not avoided, yes.

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, December 31, 2012

This Do-Nothing Congress is, without question, the absolutely WORST Congress EVER!

More filibustering & taxes, less law-making, less-governance.

That must be what they mean when they talk about “smaller government,” or “less laws.”

Farm-State Lawmakers Back Plan to Avoid ‘Dairy Cliff’ Price Jump

By Alan Bjerga & Derek Wallbank – Dec 31, 2012 12:01 AM ET

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas and Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Debbie Stabenow are backing a short-term extension of a farm law that lapsed Sept. 30 as the Obama administration warns that without congressional action, retail milk prices could almost double.

“I would hope that as soon as is humanly possible, a decision will be made to allow us to take action” on the extension, Lucas told reporters off the House floor. “We need to take positive action, put this issue to rest, and make sure that it is clear to everybody in this country that the farm bill policy has certainty and that we will not have $8 or $9 milk.”

The proposal is one of three farm-related draft bills released over the weekend in the House of Representatives; all of them would stave off the potential jump in consumer milk prices should government commodity programs begin to lapse tomorrow. Photographer: Scott Olson/Getty Images

The proposal is one of three farm-related draft bills released over the weekend in the House of Representatives; all of them would stave off the potential jump in consumer milk prices should government commodity programs begin to lapse tomorrow. Photographer: Scott Olson/Getty Images

The proposal is one of three farm-related draft bills released over the weekend in the House of Representatives; all of them would stave off the potential jump in consumer milk prices should government commodity programs begin to lapse tomorrow. Photographer: Scott Olson/Getty Images

The draft bill would extend current law, along with disaster aid for producers affected by this year’s U.S. drought and changes to current milk policy, through Sept. 30. It would reduce mandatory outlays by $30 million through fiscal 2022, according to the Congressional Budget Office. The bulk of the spending would come in the first year, and as such it would actually increase spending by an estimated $555 million through fiscal 2017.

Other Bills

The proposal is one of three farm-related draft bills released over the weekend in the House of Representatives; all of them would stave off the potential jump in consumer milk prices should government commodity programs begin to lapse tomorrow.

The second measure would extend most of the current law through Jan. 31, and the third would protect only against possible dairy-price spikes. Those two are opposed by House and Senate Democratic agriculture leaders. Representative Collin Peterson of Minnesota, the top Democrat on the House Agriculture Committee, called a 30-day extension a “poor joke on farmers that offers no certainty.”

The most recent farm law, enacted in 2008, expired after attempts to pass a new five-year proposal failed. Without that plan, agricultural programs automatically return to rules passed in 1949, the basis of all subsequent legislation.

The effects of that transition have been delayed because of the growing seasons of different crops. Dairy production, a year-round business, is the first major commodity affected. In November, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Read the rest of this entry »

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Guess whose salaries will NOT be sequestered? Yup. Congress.

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, September 17, 2012

Congress sets Congressional salaries. Not voters. Why should there not be a mechanism to limit their ability to do so, and why should there not be a mechanism for determining how much they’re paid?

Sequester cuts? Not for Senate and House salaries

By SCOTT WONG, 9/14/12 3:19 PM EDT

Money for smaller classrooms and afterschool programs would get the ax. So would funding for border patrol agents, food inspectors and cancer research.

But the salaries of members of Congress? Their $174,000 annual take won’t be touched.

Because lawmakers couldn’t Read the rest of this entry »

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Led by GOP Speaker of the House John Boehner, Ladies and Gentlemen, introducing your “Do Nothing Congress” of 2012

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Republican obstructionism, or Republican obstructionism?

So far this year, lawmakers have staged 195 roll-call votes, which boils down to only about 60 pieces of legislation, including post-office namings.

Among them are:
● The Mark Twain Commemorative Coin Act.
● The Sportsmen’s Heritage Act of 2012.
● Legislation requiring the Treasury to mint coins commemorating the 225th anniversary of the U.S. Marshals Service.
● The World War II Memorial Prayer Act.
● The Permanent Electronic Duck Stamp Act.

Because the Democrats lack a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, they can bring virtually nothing to a vote without the blessing of the Republicans. Even with that hurdle, the Senate has been able to slog through a few bills in recent weeks, including Read the rest of this entry »

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Is SNAP (formerly “Food Stamps”) an Economic Boost?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, July 19, 2012

You betcha’!

Research performed by the United States Department of Agriculture at the request of then-President George W. Bush shows that for every $1.00 spent on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, $1.84 is put into the economy. In fact the report says that, “every $5 in new SNAP benefits generates as much as $9 of economic activity.”

You want jobs?

The research shows that the “jobs impact estimates from the FANIOM model range from 9,000 to 18,000 FTE-jobs plus self-employed per $1 billion of SNAP benefits.”

It should be borne in mind that the median household income in 2006 was slightly over $50,000/year.

Read on for more “shocking” economic good news!

The report in it’s entirety may be downloaded here.

The Economic Case for Food Stamps

By Michel Nischan

Jul 18 2012, 3:09 PM ET

Congress is planning to cut up to $16 billion from low-income food aid over the next five years. But research shows that every dollar spent on assistance pays for itself and grows the economy.

In its current form, the House Agriculture Committee‘s version of the farm bill proposes draconian cuts to food stamps, also known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The ill-thought-out proposal would deny food assistance to millions of people, many of them children. Speaking as a chef and CEO of a national nonprofit that supports small and mid-sized farmers who make fresh fruits and vegetables available to everyone regardless of income, I’m obviously alarmed.

FOOD-USA/FARMERSMARKET

Grace Blackburn, Susan Noyce and Mary Claire Geyer (L-R) set out fruit for sale at the Westmoreland Berry Farm stand at the Arlington Farmers’ Market in Arlington, Virginia in this picture taken June 28, 2008. While price hikes are rippling through farmers’ markets across the United States, they are doing little to deter shoppers looking for local produce. Cherries and berries for sale at the Westmoreland Berry Farm stand at the Arlington Farmers’ Market in Arlington, Virginia (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

The Senate’s version of the farm bill would reduce overall funding by $23 billion, with a reduction in food stamps of $4.5 billion over five years. The House Agriculture Committee is proposing to cut funding by $35 billion — with nearly half the overall cut coming from reductions in food stamps by $16 billion over five years.

Those who believe in cutting SNAP funding as a cost-saving measure should know that food stamps boost the economy — not put a strain on it. Supporters of federal food benefits programs including President George W. Bush understood this, and proved the economic value of SNAP by sanctioning a USDA study that found that $1 in SNAP benefits generates $1.84 in gross domestic product (GDP). Mark Zandi, of Moody’s Economy.com, confirmed the economic boost in an independent study that found that every SNAP dollar spent generates $1.73 in real GDP increase. “Expanding food stamps,” the study read, “is the most effective way to prime the economy’s pump.”

It is important to point out that SNAP benefits go to those who need them most. USDA’s Amber Waves recently wrote that Read the rest of this entry »

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It’s true. The GOP is radical to the point of sickness.

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, April 27, 2012

In conversation with local entrepreneurs yesterday, they mentioned to me someone known by, and close to them. His political sensibilities – if they could be described as such – have almost destroyed his personal life.

His attitudes, which guide his behavior, have alienated family members, his spouse, and other loved ones in his life. He was described as a very negative and vitriolic individual, whom is almost paranoid delusional in his political beliefs. Not only has his thoughts and behaviors almost destroyed his personal life, but it has taken a significant toll on his professional life, as well – that is, the way he makes his money, which is as an entrepreneur.

You see, when one becomes almost nothing but a venomous, fuming, boiling pot of vitriolic negativity, which neither has anything good to say about anyone or anything… well, no one wants to be around people like that.

Not surprisingly, he was described as a Republican Tea Party type, who religiously listened to ilk like Rush Limbaugh, and the like.

Bear in mind, that does not accurately describe all Republicans.

There’s a saying which is apropos in this instance, and in the story below: “You can catch more flies with honey, than you can with vinegar.”

Let’s just say it: The Republicans are the problem.

By Thomas E. Mann and Norman J. Ornstein, Friday, April 27, 10:46 AM

Rep. Allen West, a Florida Republican, was recently captured on video asserting that there are “78 to 81” Democrats in Congress who are members of the Communist Party. Of course, it’s not unusual for some renegade lawmaker from either side of the aisle to say something outrageous. What made West’s comment — right out of the McCarthyite playbook of the 1950s — so striking was the almost complete lack of condemnation from Republican congressional leaders or other major party figures, including the remaining presidential candidates.

It’s not that the GOP leadership agrees with West; it is that such extreme remarks and views are now taken for granted.

We have been studying Washington politics and Congress for more than 40 years, and never have we seen them this dysfunctional. In our past writings, we have criticized both parties when we believed it was warranted. Today, however, we have no choice but to acknowledge that the core of the problem lies with the Republican Party.

The GOP has become an insurgent outlier in American politics. It is ideologically extreme; scornful of compromise; unmoved by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition.

When one party moves this far from the mainstream, it makes it nearly impossible for the political system to deal constructively with the country’s challenges.

“Both sides do it” or “There is plenty of blame to go around” are the traditional refuges for an American news media intent on proving its lack of bias, while political scientists prefer generality and neutrality when discussing partisan polarization. Many self-styled bipartisan groups, in their search for common ground, propose Read the rest of this entry »

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Examining Corporate Corruption in America: AT&T in California’s Legislature

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, April 22, 2012

The theme of the story is not new.

This particular story, however, is new.

Corporate corruption, or more accurately, the corrupting power of money through corporate influence, must come to an end in America.

Time and time again, corporate influence in America does NOT look out after the interests of the citizens, the people. They look out after their own interests, how they can obtain tax breaks, and obtain legislative favor over and above that of any other citizen.

It should come as no surprise, for we have seen this before. It’s a redux, if you will. Next up, federal courts and soldiers to stop striking workers.

It’s happened before.

The Great Railroad Strike of 1877 came as a secondary result of the Panic of 1873, whihc caused major economic depression in Europe and the United States, and led to bankruptcy for many U.S. railroads and other businesses, and high unemployment rates. The railroad workers still employed suffered large cuts in wages, which led to strikes against some railroads. The Great Railroad Strike of 1877 began July 14 in Martinsburg, West Virginia, because B&O Railroad had cut workers’ wages twice in one year.

The strike, and related violence, spread to Cumberland, Maryland, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Buffalo, Philadelphia, Chicago and the Midwest. The strike lasted for 45 days, and ended only with the intervention of local and state militias, and federal troops.

In 1894, President Grover Cleveland (a Democrat) claimed striking workers posed a threat to public safety, that their actions interfered with delivery of the U.S. Mail, and that it further violated the Sherman Antitrust Act, after a  federal court injunction, called in nearly 12,000 troops and the United States Marshals to quell the Pullman Strike.

In 1981, President Reagan broke the Air Traffic Controllers strike by firing every employee which did not return to work.

Clearly, the United States government has a history of siding with Big Business.

Fast forward a few years.

The elimination of laws regulating corporate practices which have ultimately led to severe economic crisis has occurred because of corporate lobbyists.

So, should that come as any surprise?

Corporations have their denizen hoards of attorneys.

Who will stand for the people?

AT&T wields enormous power in Sacramento

No other single corporation has spent more trying to influence legislators in recent years. It dispenses millions in political donations and has an army of lobbyists. Bills it opposes are usually defeated.

By Shane Goldmacher and Anthony York, Los Angeles Times

April 22, 2012

SACRAMENTO — As the sun set behind Monterey Bay on a cool night last year, dozens of the state’s top lawmakers and lobbyists ambled onto the 17th fairway at Pebble Beach for a round of glow-in-the-dark golf.

With luminescent balls soaring into the sky, the annual fundraiser known as the Speaker’s Cup was in full swing.

Lawmakers, labor-union champions and lobbyists gather each year at the storied course to schmooze, show their skill on the links and rejuvenate at a 22,000-square-foot spa. The affair, which typically raises more than $1 million for California Democrats, has been sponsored for more than a decade by telecommunications giant AT&T.

At the 2010 event, AT&T’s president and the state Assembly speaker toured Pebble Beach together in a golf cart, shaking hands with every lawmaker, lobbyist and other VIP in attendance.

The Speaker’s Cup is the centerpiece of a corporate lobbying strategy so comprehensive and successful that it has rewritten the special-interest playbook in Sacramento. When it comes to state government, AT&T spends more money, in more places, than any other company.

It forges relationships on the putting green, in luxury suites and in Capitol hallways. It gives officials free tickets to Lady Gaga concerts. It takes lawmakers on trips around the globe and all-expenses-paid retreats in wine country. It dispenses millions in political donations and employs an army of lobbyists. It has spent more than $14,000 a day on political advocacy since 2005, when it merged with SBC into its current form. Read the rest of this entry »

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