Wednesday, June 29, 2011

GOP: Obama Made Economy Worse By Passing Health Care

GOP Presidential Debate June 13, 2011 in New H...Image by DonkeyHotey via Flickr
The GOP has a new favorite line about President Obama and if the speed with which they've all adopted it is any indication, then it works well with focus groups, and, through sheer repitition, it makes its way seamlessly into news article after news article.

Obama inherited a tough economy, they say, but "he made it worse."

Mitt Romney's saying it, members of the GOP congressional leadership say it over and over again at their weekly press conferences. It's not going anywhere.
The problem is that, by most metrics, this is simply false. Yes, the economy shed millions of jobs in late 2008 and early 2009, so unemployment is higher now than it was when Obama took office. But, as others have pointed out, when he took office the economy was shrinking, it's now growing again. When he took office, the economy was shedding jobs, it's now creating them. You can fault him for doing too little, or not doing it well enough, but as bad as things are, they're not worse than they were two and a half years ago. And non-partisan fact checkers agree.

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Bank of America Settles Mortgage Issues for $8.5 Billion

CHARLOTTE, NC - FEBRUARY 4: The Bank of Americ...Image by Getty Images via @daylife
Bank of America and its Countrywide unit will pay $8.5 billion to settle claims that the lenders sold poor-quality mortgage-backed securities that went sour when the housing market collapsed.

The deal, announced Wednesday, comes after a group of 22 investors demanded that the Charlotte, N.C. bank repurchase $47 billion in mortgages that its Countrywide unit sold to them in the form of bonds. The group, which includes the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Pimco Investment Management, and Blackrock Financial Management, argued that Countrywide enriched itself at the expense of investors by continuing to service bad loans while running up servicing fees.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Jury convicts ex-Ill. Gov. Blagojevich at retrial

Ex-IL Governor Rod Blagojevich was convicted Monday of a wide range of corruption charges, including trying to sell President Barack Obama's Senate seat. The verdict, coming after his first trial ended last year with the jury deadlocked on most charges, was a bitter defeat for Blagojevich, who spent 2½ years professing his innocence.

GOP Presidential Candidate Bachmann Fails Facts Check

NASHUA, NH - MARCH 12: U.S. Rep. Michele Bachm...Image by Getty Images via @daylife
 Minnesota congresswoman Michele Bachman is someone to watch — for inaccuracies as well as rising support — in the Republican presidential race.

The more the political season heats up, the more that exaggerations and sound-bite oversimplifications emanate from the Republicans going after Obama — and from the Democrats playing defense. Still, Bachmann's record on this score is distinct.

Examining 24 of her statements,, the Pulitzer Prize-winning fact-checking service of the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times, found just one to be fully true and 17 to be false (seven of them "pants on fire" false). No other Republican candidate whose statements have been vigorously vetted matched that record of inaccuracy.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

"The American Dream Movement"-A Tea Party For Liberals

Van Jones, Special Advisor for Green Jobs, Ent...Image via Wikipedia
At last weekend’s Netroots Nation gathering in Minneapolis, liberal activists expressed frustration that they lacked the political power or media focus given to the conservative tea-party movement. Former White House environmental official Van Jones is hoping to change that with a new political effort dubbed “The American Dream Movement.”

Organizers are hoping to emulate the the success of the tea party, which became a significant force in the 2010 midterms, uniting like-minded people across the country who were previously uninvolved in politics or participating locally but not at the national level.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas Under Fire For Ethics Violations

Clarence Thomas, an alumnus of Holy Cross, for...Image via Wikipedia

Ian Millhiser of Think Progress is continuing to uncover unethical behavior in the Thomas household. TP first reported on Thomas’ attendance at the Koch-sponsored fundraiser. Then we learned that the Thomases “forgot” to declare her income on essential financial disclosure notices. Now, it seems that wealthy right-wingers like to do favors for the Thomases.

The St. Petersburg Editorial states:

Unlike other members of the federal judiciary, U.S. Supreme Court justices are not bound by a comprehensive set of ethics rules. They are expected to police themselves. But that doesn't always happen. A New York Times investigation into the financial relationship between Justice Clarence Thomas and real estate magnate Harlan Crow suggests that Thomas crossed ethical lines by receiving gifts and arranging donations by Crow to a favorite charity. Nothing is more important to public confidence in the judiciary than justices who are free from real or perceived conflicts of interest. There should be clear ethics rules even for the Supreme Court.

Palin Movie "The Undefeated" Release

The former Alaska governor Sarah Palin will appear at the premiere of “The Undefeated,” a documentary about her political career, on Tuesday at the Pella Opera House in Pella, organizers announced early Saturday.

“We are very excited to visit historic Pella and its opera house and look forward to seeing the finished film for the first time with fellow Americans from the heartland,” Palin said in a statement.

Chris Cillizza, The Fix blog, Washington Post sums Palin next move up thusly: "The move is the latest example of Palin, who hasn’t had the active schedule of a presidential candidate, dipping her toe in the water."

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Friday, June 24, 2011

First Lady's in Africa with Mandela, Tutu, and Oprah

Desmond Tutu 2007 at the Deutscher Evangelisch...Image via Wikipedia

First Lady Michelle Obama continues her second official solo journey abroad. While in Africa, she aims to advance US policies on education, health, and democracy.

Mrs. Obama met media maven friend and political supporter Oprah Winfrey on Tuesday evening in South Africa, a White House aide said. The two women were visiting the country at the same time. Winfrey, who has a school for girls in the country, is receiving an honorary degree from a local university. Their meeting was closed to the press and first reported by Reuters.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

PolitiFact: Denies Jon Stewart's Claim

Jon StewartImage via Wikipedia
"Who are the most consistently misinformed media viewers?" Jon Stewart asked Chris Wallace on "Fox News Sunday" this weekend. "The most consistently misinformed? Fox, Fox viewers, consistently, every poll."

Wrong! The truth-vetting project PolitiFact looked into Stewart's claim since Wallace himself did not challenge it. It "found three surveys since 2007 that shed some light on how informed Fox viewers are compared to consumers of other media"--none of which ranked the Fox News audience at the bottom of the misinformation barrel, even if the network did score low in certain areas pertaining to accuracy.

Bristol Palin Slams McCain Family in Memoir

Sarah Palin's family at the announcement of Sa...Image via Wikipedia

It took me awhile, but I finally get it-catch the public's eye, write a book, make money. Meghan McCain, now Bristol Palin.

Bristol Palin trashes the McCain clan in her new upcoming memoir, "Not Afraid of Life: My Journey So Far."

It's unclear from Marikar's report whether the 20-year-old Palin daughter specifically mentions her mother's running mate, but her book does slam McCain's wife, Cindy, for acting like "royalty" and accuses the senator's 26-year-old daughter, Meghan, of being a snobby whiner.

Palin writes that she had a "sneaking suspicion I might need to watch my back" the first time she met Meghan McCain. She says the senator's daughter "ignored" the family during their first meet-and-greet and always seemed to be judging them.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Bill O'Reilly vs Lupe Fiasco-Who Won???

Fox News' Bill O'Reilly last night continued his hip hop-themed debate series -- this time against Lupe Fiasco, the influential Chicago rapper who recently called President Barack Obama the country's "biggest terrorist."
After losing (in my estimation) to comedian Jon Stewart in a recent debate over rapper Common's invitation to a White House poetry reading, O'Reilly was ready to redeem himself last night -- and he sort of did that.
"We're used to irresponsible statements from rappers, but that's really over-the-top," O'Reilly said of Lupe's comments.

So, after ripping Obama over the contrived Common controversy, O'Rellly now found himself defending Obama. O'Reilly and Lupe then engaged in a back-and-forth in which each talked over the other. Lupe said he was OK with Osama bin Laden's death, but remains opposed to the war in Afghanistan.

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AMA Reaffirms Support of Individual Responsibility for Healthcare

American Medical AssociationImage via Wikipedia
The American Medical Association on Monday reaffirmed its position that individuals should be responsible for buying health insurance, a contentious provision of U.S. healthcare reform.
The health reform law's requirement that everyone buy insurance is facing a legal challenge by 26 states that contend the government cannot compel citizens to engage in commerce.
At the AMA's annual meeting in Chicago, two-thirds of delegates voted to uphold the group's policy supporting individual responsibility for purchasing health insurance.

Jon Huntsman Enter GOP Presidential Race

Official photo of United States Ambassador to ...Image via Wikipedia
Republican Jon Huntsman, President Barack Obama's former ambassador to China, entered his party's 2012 presidential race on Tuesday pledging to make the "hard decisions" to deal with America's debt.

"For the first time in our history, we are passing down to the next generation a country that is less powerful, less compassionate, less competitive and less confident than the one we got," Huntsman said. "This, ladies and gentlemen, is totally unacceptable and totally un-American."

Huntsman, 51, is one of the few Republican hopefuls who worries Obama's re-election team. Fluent in Mandarin Chinese, he upset the White House in April by quitting his job as ambassador in Beijing, a post he held since 2009, to return to home to plan his election campaign.

If he picks up traction in opinion polls, Huntsman could be a rival to former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney for the role of the moderate Republican candidate.
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Monday, June 20, 2011

Obama Impersonator Pulled at Republican Leadership Conference

Obama impersonator Reggie Brown raised eyebrows at the Republican Leadership Conference with jokes about Black History Month, interracial marriage and former Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y).

“Had I been in the room I would have pulled him sooner,” Charlie Davis, executive director of the RLC told The Fix. “We have zero tolerance for racially insensitive jokes. As soon as I realized what was going on, I rushed backstage and had him pulled.”

SCOTUS Rules for Wal-Mart

The Supreme Court of the United States. Washin...Image via Wikipedia
The Supreme Court has ruled for Wal-Mart in its fight to block a massive sex discrimination lawsuit on behalf of women who work there.

The court ruled unanimously Monday that the lawsuit against Wal-Mart Stores Inc. cannot proceed as a class action, reversing a decision by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. The lawsuit could have involved up to 1.6 million women, with Wal-Mart facing potentially billions of dollars in damages.
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Sunday, June 19, 2011

7 States Face Extreme Fire Risk

Texas Governor Rick Perry

The weather isn't making things any easier for firefighters battling blazes across Arizona. The National Weather Service has issued a red-flag warning for most of Arizona, all of New Mexico, much of north Texas, and parts of Oklahoma, Colorado, Kansas, and Utah. All the states will face high heat, low humidity, and strong winds of 30 to 50 mph. The Arizona fire that started on May 29 has now burned 500,409 acres. So far this year, 3.1 million acres have been burned, almost as much as were burned in all of last year. A cause of the fires has not been determined. Sen. John Kyl of Arizona said trees should have been cut down in advance. Sen. John McCain blamed illegal immigrants for starting the fires, but he provided no evidence, prompting rebukes from civil-rights leaders.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Romney: "I'm unemployed, too"

GOP Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney told a group of unemployed citizens "I'm unemployed,too." That statement spurred a huge backlash, leaving Romney with egg on his face and convincing many people that he just can't relate to the plight of the average American. Here's how Romney decided to bounce back.

Psycho Talk From Michele Bachmann

Official photo of Congresswoman Michele Bachma...Image via Wikipedia

Presidential candidate Michele Bachmann suggested Friday that President Obama is deliberately trying to let Medicare go broke, with the goal of forcing senior citizens to participate in his health care reform plan.
“The president’s plan for senior citizens is Obamacare,” the Minnesota congresswoman said at the Republican Leadership Conference. “I think very likely – and I’m speculating – I think very likely what the president intends is that Medicare will go broke, and ultimately that answer will be Obamacare for senior citizens.”

Friday, June 17, 2011

Voices: Comment from an Individual

I'm adding a feature to my blog called "Voices" where I can share comments from individuals that I found interesting:

As a Jewish, middle class American who has recently retired after working for 53 years, I can't help but shake my head in disbelief at all of the monkeys that want to be president. Left and right, they are all so full of sh.. it smells to high heaven all over the USA. I don't understand the mentality of voters who constantly send wealthy lawyers (for the most part) back to the hall of congress and the state capitols and then cry that nothing ever changes - the rich get richer, the poor get poorer, and the

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Uproar Over Racist Political Ad

A crudely produced video depicting gun-toting black gang members spanking a white, bikini-clad California congressional candidate set off a bipartisan furor Wednesday and illustrated how the power of the anything-goes Internet is influencing political campaigns.

Democrat Janice Hahn, who is portrayed in the ad as a gyrating pole dancer, called the 90-second spot vulgar, racist and sexist. Her Republican rival in the 36th Congressional District, Craig Huey issued a statement saying "our district deserves better."

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Lawmakers Sue Obama on Operations in Libya

Speaker of the House John Boehner

A bipartisan group of US lawmakers Wednesday sought to throw a roadblock in front of President Barack Obama's Libya policy, filing a lawsuit that charges that US military operations are unconstitutional.

Anti-war Democratic Representative Dennis Kucinich and nine other members of the House signed the lawsuit challenging the Obama administration's circumvention of Congress in authorizing use of military force in a protracted effort to oust longtime Libyan ruler Moamer Kadhafi.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

More Lies From GOP Presidential Debate: Mitt Romney

More lies from GOP candidates at last night's debate:

Obama “didn’t create the recession, but he made it worse and longer. And now we have more chronic long-term employment than this country has ever seen before.”
--Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney

In the first part of this statement, Romney is reprising a line from his announcement speech, but we didn’t think it was accurate then. It is still not accurate now.

Lies About "Obamacare": Michelle Bachmann

We will have to keep dinging the candidates till they get their facts right.

“The CBO, the Congressional Budget Office, has said that Obamacare will kill 800,000 jobs. What could the president be thinking by passing a bill like this, knowing full well it will kill 800,000 jobs?”
--Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-Minn.)

We hadn’t heard this yarn much since we debunked it four months ago with three Pinocchios. But here it has popped up again.

Most Voters Believe Congress Is Unethical

Surprise, surprise.

Fifty-eight percent of likely voters polled by Pulse Opinion Research for The Hill said most members of Congress are unethical. Just 25 percent endorsed the minority view, that most members are ethical. Seventeen percent of respondents said they were uncertain.

A large majority of those surveyed also said they believe Congress's ethical standards have been deteriorating. Sixty-eight percent of likely voters said the ethics of politicians have declined in recent decades, while just 7 percent said they have improved.

And neither party appears to be out in front on the ethics issue, according to the survey.
When asked to name the party regarded as more trustworthy, 36 percent of survey respondents said "neither." Just 31 percent said Democrats were most trustworthy, with 29 percent holding the same view of Republicans.

For years, Democratic and Republican party leaders have cast themselves as tough on ethics, but ethical scandals continue to dog legislators from both parties.

Unfortunately, I count myself among those who believe Congress is unethical.  The millionaires in Congress, the huge monetary donations from interested parties, the impact of Supreme Court decisions, the outright lies and distortions of fact- all these things seem to sway politicians toward their own vested interested vs positions that are best for the country at large.  The more I read and learn, the less faith I have in national, state, and local leadership. I've resolved myself to the fact that I have only one vote and I make sure I cast it for a choice that I can live with.  Then, I let the chips fall where they may.

Monday, June 13, 2011

White Housze: "Weiner Scandal A "Distraction"

The White House on Monday called Rep. Anthony Weiner’s scandal “inappropriate” and a “distraction,” but stopped short of calling for his resignation from Congress.
Over the weekend, several Democratic leaders participated in a concerted public effort to push the New York Democrat out. So far, though, the White House has been all but silent on the issue.
Asked about it aboard Air Force One on Monday morning, White House press secretary Jay Carney offered the first criticisms from the Obama team, but he didn’t join in the chorus calling for Weiner’s job.

“The president feels — we feel at the White House, this is a distraction,” Carney said, according to a pool report. “As Congressman Weiner has said himself, his behavior was inappropriate, dishonesty was inappropriate. But the president is focused on his job, which is getting this economy continuing to grow, creating jobs and ensuring the safety and security of the American people.”

Asked to clarify whether the White House was joining to calls for resignation, Carney wouldn’t commit.

“I answered that question,” he said. “We think it’s a distraction from the important business that this president needs to conduct and Congress need to conduct. Beyond that, I don’t have any more comment.”

Herman Cain: No He Didn't

Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain said in an interview with Bloomberg View columnist Jeffrey Goldberg last week that President Barack Obama was "raised in Kenya."  The suggestion from the former CEO of Godfather's Pizza came in an exchange about why the GOP hopeful doesn't consider himself an African American.

"I am an American. Black. Conservative," he said in explaining his view on the matter. "I don't use African American, because I'm American, I'm black and I'm conservative. I don't like people trying to label me. African American is socially acceptable for some people, but I am not some people."

Cain said that he considers himself to be "a black man in America" and feels stronger ties to the United States than to Africa. He suggested his perspective has been informed by the fact that he can trace most of his ancestors to the U.S. and it also "goes back to slavery."

The presidential contender went on to draw a contrast between himself and the president, who he described as "more of an international," before suggesting "he was raised in Keyna."

In an interview with The Atlantic's Joshua Green at the Conservative Political Action Conference earlier this year, Cain was asked whether he believes Obama was born in the United States.
"I have no idea," he said at the time. "The fact that it has become an issue, or a controversy, does raise a question that I can't say that I feel one way or the other because I have not reviewed all the various 'proof' one way or another."

All I can say is "No he didn't".

News Source: Huffington Post
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GOP Candidates Debate in New Hampshire

The quiet, simmering fight for the Republican presidential nomination is about to break out into the open, when seven White House hopefuls take the stage at St. Anselm College for the first New Hampshire debate of the 2012 cycle.

The face-off may or may not offer up a momentum-shifting moment in the campaign. But it will begin to set the terms of the longer primary fight between Mitt Romney and the gang of lesser-known opponents looking to derail him.

The stakes are slightly different for each of the debaters. For Romney, the event is an opportunity to cement his status as the GOP frontrunner. For Tim Pawlenty, this is the best chance yet to present himself as an establishment alternative to Romney, and maybe start throwing some harder punches at the former Massachusetts governor.

Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker whose top advisers resigned last week, will be looking for political redemption. Other, less familiar faces – Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, Texas Rep. Ron Paul, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and former pizza executive Herman Cain – will simply be looking to make a good impression with viewers who have never seen them before.

Source: Politico

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Weiner Takes "Leave" to Seek "Treatment"

Anthony WeinerImage via Wikipedia
Amid a coordinated call from the Democratic party leadership calling for his resignation, Congressman Anthony Weiner decided to take a leave of absence to seek "treatment".

“Congressman Weiner has the love of his family, the confidence of his constituents, and the recognition that he needs help,” said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.). “I urge Congressman Weiner to seek that help without the pressures of being a Member of Congress.”

The leave of absence, which is not an official designation and means that Weiner will not only remain a member of the House but continue to receive his congressional salary, seems designed to buy the New York Democrat some time as he ponders his political future.

It’s also not without precedent. In 2002, then Nevada Sen. John Ensign (R) took an unexplained two-week leave of absence; in 2009, Oklahoma Rep. John Sullivan (R) took a month-long leave of absence to enter the Betty Ford clinic for treatment of alcoholism.

Weiner’s decision to stay in office despite the urgings of his party leadership was not greeted warmly.
Of Weiner, Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Fla.) said “the behavior he has exhibited is indefensible and Representative Weiner’s continued service in Congress is untenable.”
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Friday, June 10, 2011

The Forgotten Role

Official presidential portrait of Barack Obama...Image via WikipediaThink about people being discussed as Presidential Candidates: michelle Bachmann, Sarah Palin, Donald Thrump, newt Gingrich, Tim Pawlenty, mitt Romney, Herman Cain, Jon Huntsman, etc. etc.

For God's sake, give the 2012 election some serious thought and remind yourself about the role of the President of the United States of America.

The President of the United States is the head of state and head of government of the United States and is the highest political official in the United States by influence and recognition. Among powers and responsibilities, Article II of the U.S. Constitution charges the President to “faithfully execute” federal law, makes the President commander-in-chief of the armed forces, allows the President to nominate executive and judicial officers with the advice and consent of the Senate, and allows the President to grant pardons or reprieves. A commander-in-chief is the commander of a nation’s military forces or significant element of those forces. In the latter case, the force element may be defined as those forces within a particular region or those forces which are associated by function.

In the United States, the oath of office for the President of the United States is specified in the U.S. Constitution (Article II, Section 1): I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.
Source: EmptySuit Blog
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Massachusetts Democrats Vote Agains Unions

Democratic Party (United States)Image via Wikipedia
Here's a news item I heard about, but never posted.  It's worthy of note.

House lawmakers voted overwhelmingly last night to strip police officers, teachers, and other municipal employees of most of their rights to bargain over health care, saying the change would save millions of dollars for financially strapped cities and towns. The 111-to-42 vote followed tougher measures to broadly eliminate collective bargaining rights for public employees in Ohio, Wisconsin, and other states. But unlike those efforts, the push in Massachusetts was led by Democrats who have traditionally stood with labor to oppose any reduction in workers’ rights.

Unions fought hard to stop the bill, launching a radio ad that assailed the plan and warning legislators that if they voted for the measure, they could lose their union backing in the next election. After the vote, labor leaders accused House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo and other Democrats of turning their backs on public employees.

The 111-to-42 vote followed tougher measures to broadly eliminate collective bargaining rights for public employees in Ohio, Wisconsin, and other states. But unlike those efforts, the push in Massachusetts was led by Democrats who have traditionally stood with labor to oppose any reduction in workers’ rights.
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Newt Gets the Boot

Newt GingrichImage via Wikipedia
The presidential campaign of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich was rocked late Thursday by the resignation of more than a dozen senior staffers and key operatives in states like South Carolina and Iowa. The candidate vows to remain in the race for president. Gingrich said the differences involved campaign strategy. He told reporters, in his words, "There is a fundamental strategic difference between the traditional consulting community and the kind of campaign I want to run." He also said that "we'll find out over the next year who's right."
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Regan Revisionism-Whitewashing History

Somehow I missed this on the Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, but I thought it was worth adding to Sweet Nothings. Better late than never.

What a way to mark Martin Luther King Day. Michael Reagan, son of Ronald Reagan, the 40th President of the United States, chose January 17 to suggest the unspeakable. On the Fox News website, Reagan argued that his father was more of a friend to black people than President Obama. He even suggested that he "could make an even stronger case for my father, Ronald Reagan, as 'our first black president'", the way that Clinton was called America's first black president.

Either Michael Reagan is out of his mind, living in a fantasy world, or he is engaging in the whitewashing of his father's troubling legacy on race.

According to Reagan, his father attended a colorblind college, and let his black teammates sleep at the Reagan house rather than sleep on the bus after a segregated hotel denied them a room. Under his father's administration, he claimed, black unemployment fell, income rose, and the black middle class thrived. In contrast, Reagan argued that black unemployment has increased under Obama.

Carl Lewis Wins NJ Democratic Primary

Nine-time Olympic gold medalist Carl Lewis has won an uncontested Democratic primary in a New Jersey state Senate race. He still has legal hurdles ahead before he can appear on the general election ballot in November against incumbent Republican state Sen. Dawn Marie Addiego.
A judge may still keep him off the general election ballot. Republicans say he doesn't meet New Jersey's four-year residency requirement.

A federal court ruled Lewis should stay on the primary ballot while the dispute is being sorted out.
The 49-year-old track and field star grew up in Willingboro and has spent much of his adult life in California. He's owned homes in New Jersey since 2005 but continued to vote in California until he registered in New Jersey in April.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press

Govt Pulls Incentives from Poor Performing Lenders

The Obama administration is blaming the three largest U.S. mortgage lenders for the failures of its foreclosure-prevention program. It says they've done little to help people at risk of losing their homes.
The Treasury Department said Thursday that Wells Fargo, Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase & Co. have failed to help enough people permanently lower their mortgage payments so they can stay in their homes.

Based on those lenders' lackluster success for the first three months of 2011, the government has removed financial incentives it had given them. They amounted to up to $1,000 per permanent loan modification.

About one third of the 1.4 million people who applied to have their mortgage modified have had their payments lowered permanently. More than half who applied have fallen out of the program entirely.
Treasury said the three lenders incorrectly determined that many people were ineligible for the program.

Another firm, Ocwen Loan Servcing, was also cited as needing substantial improvement. But it was not subjected to the same financial penalties as the other three companies.
Six other firms -- American Home Mortgage Servicing, CitiMortgage, GMAC Mortgage, Litton Loan Servicing, OneWest Bank and Select Portfolio Servicing -- require moderate improvement. But Treasury said they will not lose their cash incentives.

The Treasury Department said that when the program began, most of the lenders did not have the needed staff or resources to help the many homeowners seeking lower mortgage payments.
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Rapper Lupe Fiasco Talks Terrorism

Never even heard of Lupe Fiasco until I saw him recently on TV. Then I read about him on the Grio blog and wondered in amazement at his remarks and lack of political acumen. Power to the people???

Excerpts from the Grio Blog post

In the world of socially conscious hip-hop emcees, you've got your key players: Common, White House favorite and sort of a white-bread-kente-cloth-let's-all-get-along type; Mos Def, an outspoken motor mouth and Real Time with Bill Maher favorite; and then lesser knowns like Dead Prez, a duo who never quite reached critical mass, but maintain dreams of militant social justice.
Rapper Lupe Fiasco threw his hat into the political emcee ring from jump, broadly expressing his anti-establishment views, and rhyming on topics like the trials and travails of single-motherhood, and the delusions of gangsta greatness. He set himself apart from the typical rapper by avoiding vulgar language (including the normative "bitch" and "ho"), and proudly proclaiming his Muslim faith. His unique qualities attracted a firm fanbase, fellow intelligentsia and aspiring world changers who saw Lupe as a beacon of hope in the often shallow and vapid culture of hip-hop.

But can a rapper be too political? Lupe's latest comments may leave some fans thinking he's gone off the deep end. On a recent TV appearance, Lupe called President Obama "the biggest terrorist in the United States of America."

Lupe appeared on CBS' What's Trending to talk about his recent work, and when the conversation turned to his politically charged single "Words I Never Said," Lupe clarified his political beliefs. "My fight against terrorism, to me," Lupe began, "the biggest terrorist is Obama in the United States of America. I'm trying to fight the terrorism that's causing the other forms of terrorism."

But then it got worse. As Lupe continued to spout his disappointments in U.S. foreign policies, the interviewer asked who he'd be voting for in the upcoming 2012 election.
"No, I don't vote," he said. "I don't get involved in politics. It's meaningless."
Huh? Watch the five minute clip to hear the full political rant, but even in live person it doesn't come off much better -- Lupe's beliefs are extreme, borderline offensive, and somewhat illogical. So could calling the president a terrorist run Lupe's career into the ground?

Read more at The Grio Blog

Newsweek Cover-Mitt Romney

I'm wondering about the current Newsweek magazine cover of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.  Is there a hidden message?  Is this a political statement? Does it mirror Newsweek's support or lack of it for Romney's candidacy?  Is this a proper cover for a serious news source addressing a legitimate presidential candidate?

It seems wrong to me.  It's negative.  It ridicules.  It earmarks Romney's religious affiliation and pokes subtle fun at it and him.  Etc., etc. etc.  What do you think about the cover or did you give it any thought at all.
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Political Sex Scandals-Shame, Shame

Arnold Schwarzenegger speaking at the lighting...Image via Wikipedia

Here a post from Politics of an Ebony Mom Blog on a subject that we are all buzzing about. Thought I'd share it with you and get your thoughts.

John Edwards, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mark Sanford, John Ensign, David Vitter, Elliot Spitzer, Jim McGreevey, Bill Clinton and Anthony Weiner. What do all of these men have in common. They were powerful men, and they are all politicians who lost it all over some kind of sexual fling. Some had real affairs, one had virtual affairs, one is a “baby daddy” and all of them betrayed their wives and their constituents. They risked it all.

Anthony WeinerImage via Wikipedia

Did they think they would never get caught. Some managed a comeback, but some are still wondering in the wilderness. Were they simply too egotistical to believe they would ever get caught? Who knows what goes on in their minds, but them. We can only wonder why.

Read the "Related Articles" below for thoughts from other bloggers.
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