Steven D.

Tax Cuts Killed California

Once upon a time, there was a Golden State which had the arguably the best public schools and the best public higher education system of state colleges and universities. People longed to move there for its natural beauty, its climate, its good schools, its many jobs in the entertainment, defense and high tech industries, etc. Was it a perfect state? Far from it, but it did seem to be the place everyone wanted to be -- once upon a time.

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How Republicans Ruined the Intelligence Community

Karen De Young of the Washington Post points the finger at informs us that the reforms to America's intelligence community initiated by Ruler of the Galactic Empire, Darth Cheney President Bush and his the Republicans lapdogs in Congress in 2004, the legislation which created the National Counterterrorism Center, were the primary factor in the failure of the Intelligence Community to identify and deter the "underwear bomber."

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Mexico City Becomes the First Latin American City to Approve a Gay Marriage Law

Mexico City showed more bravery then many North of the Border States this year when it came to gay rights, and just in time for Christmas, too:

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Economy Is Going to Get Much Worse

I think the economy is pretty darn awful, but with record profits on Wall Street and all the happy talk about a recovery from the recession (albeit a jobless recovery) it's confusing for many people as to what our economic future really holds. Well, here's relevant statistic that sums it up nicely, one that shows the so-called recovery is mostly a smoke and mirrors vaudeville magician's routine by the same people who either got us into this fine mess in the first place, or enabled the ones who did. Take a peek at this excerpt from Inner Workings David Goldman's blog at Asia Times:

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Lindsey Graham Drilled by Big Oil

Republican Senator from the Great State of South Carolina, Lindsey Graham, apparently isn't chummy enough with one of the major constituencies of the Republican Party. Neoconservatives? No, not them. Religious Fundamentalists? Maybe, but he's still talking the talk. Glenn Beck and the tea-baggers? You betcha, but that's not the group that he's really offended. Offended enough that they are running advocacy ads against him in his home state. No the group that is really pissed off at Senator Graham is the group that thought he was always in their hip pocket, bought and paid for, as it were: Big Oil

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A Health Care Horror Story

As everyone knows Canada is the land of the worst health care system in the universe because it's socialized medicine with a Capital S:

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Our Privatized Wars

I always knew the US used a lot of private contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan. I just never suspected that the number of mercenaries the US government employed would be so large it would exceed the number of official, government issued troops over there: 

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Palin Lies About Health Care

Not an original title, is it? Yet that is what the journalists and newspapers who report on her should be doing if they are going to publish every stupid, deceitful thing she says, like this:

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Global Warming to Get Worse Sooner Than Expected?

A new study predicts that global warming will increase far faster over the next five years than previous predictions due to increased solar activity and the El Nino southern hemisphere oscillation cycle:

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Leading Conservative Group Busted for Pay-for-Play Scam with FedEx

Guess who tried to extort money from sell "services" to FedEx in exchange for "favors" to be done on their behalf in Washington, DC? The American Conservative Union (ACU), allegedly the oldest conservative lobby group in the country. In the offer they made to FedEx, detailing all the great services they could provide his company for the paltry fee of Two to Three MILLION DOLLARS. Here's some of what they promised to do:

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Why Do We Pretend the Saudis Are Our Friends?

Bush held hands with Saudi Princes as if he were a blushing bride. Obama has been castigated for "bowing" to the Saudi King. Yet almost everyone on both sides of the political aisle agrees that Saudi Arabia is a key ally of the United States in the Middle East. Why?

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Truce in Gaza? Bush Must Be Exiting the Stage

Funny how the closer we come to the end of the reign of Our Dear Leader and his Merry Gang of Torturers, War Criminals and Assorted Neocon Boobs, the more the Israelis suddenly seem open to the possibility of a cease fire.

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Man Shoots Teenager to Protect McCain Sign

Every election year yard signs for candidates are stolen. I know. I had two Kerry sign stolen from my yard in 2004, and there are numerous reports this year of both Obama and McCain signs being stolen or vandalized. And it's troubling, and certainly annoying if it happens to you. However, I've never heard of anyone going this far to protect anyone's political yard sign -- until now:

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White Cop Indicted for Tasering an African American Man to Death

You may recall my story last month about the Winnfield, La. African American man who died after a white police officer tasered him 9 times after he was already in custody. Well that police officer, Scott Nugent has now been indicted by a Winn Parrish Grand Jury for Pike's murder.

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The Tragic Arkansas Shooting and Conservative Hate Speech

I've waited to make my first comments about the murder of the Chair of Arkansas' Democratic Party. I wanted to make sure that there was no personal connection between the shooter and Bill Gwatney, and apparently there wasn't one. Instead, there are some initial eerie similarities between the shooter Timothy Dale Johnson, and the man who massacred members of the Unitarian church in Knoxville, Tennessee last month. Both, for example had just lost their jobs, and both were very, very angry about that fact:

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Teen With Broken Back Tasered 19 Times for Not Standing Up When Ordered

This time it's a white 16 year old male teenager who suffered a broken back after a thirty foot fall in Ozark, Missouri. When police arrived the boy was incoherent and refused to get up when ordered to do so, so police tasered him 19 fucking times! I bet that'll teach him some respect for law enforcement officers:

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Dead Black Man Was Tasered Nine Times by White Cop

A 21 year old black man in Winnfield, Louisiana, named Baron "Scooter" Pikes, was tasered 9 times in 14 minutes by a white police officer in January after he was arrested and handcuffed. He died. Seems a tad excessive to me. However, here's the story of his arrest and subsequent death according to the police report by the arresting officers:

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Bush Tries to Hide Rising Death Tolls Linked to Global Warming

Imagine if you will a thought crossing George Bush's brain (it's a hypothetical so please suspend your disbelief) regarding the issue of global climate change. I imagine it might go something like this:

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Fourth Circuit Court Ruling Gives Bush Dictatorial Powers

Quick note from Joshua H: The headline on this piece was based on my December interview with the Center for Constitutional Rights' Michael Ratner -- who has fought like hell against Bush's claimed war powers. Ratner told me, "The difference between a police state and a nonpolice state is, fundamentally, whether the executive can pick you up and disappear you or whether you can go to a court and challenge the executive, whether you can say: 'What's the legal reason you're holding me?'"

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The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals (one level below the Supreme Court) has just ruled that Bush was granted the unlimited power by Congress to detain indefinitely anyone in the United States (you, me, your teenage son or daughter, anyone at all) merely be declaring them an enemy combatant. In a split 5-4 decision the Fourth Circuit also held that said enemy combatant was permitted to "challenge" that detention, but failed to elaborate on what form that challenge should take. From the NY Times:
President Bush has the legal power to order the indefinite military detentions of civilians captured in the United States, the federal appeals court in Richmond, Va., ruled on Tuesday in a fractured 5-to-4 decision.
But a second, overlapping 5-to-4 majority of the court, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, ruled that Ali al-Marri, a citizen of Qatar now in military custody in Charleston, S.C., must be given an additional opportunity to challenge his detention in federal court there. An earlier court proceeding, in which the government had presented only a sworn statement from a defense intelligence official, was inadequate, the second majority ruled. [...]
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