Friday, May 16, 2008

Senate Reverses The FCC

   It is about time that our government branches have done something for the country as a whole and not just for their corporate masters.

    I'm referring to the vote on Thursday night by the Senate to ban an FCC rule that allowed the media companies to own both a TV station and a newspaper in the same market. This fight isn't over yet, but it's a good start!

The Huffington Post original

Senate Votes to Reverse FCC Decision Allowing Media Consolidation

Josh Silver

Posted May 16, 2008 | 09:00 AM (EST)

Thursday night, the Senate cast a near-unanimous vote to reverse the Federal Communication Commission's December 2007 decision to let media companies own both a major TV or radio station and a major daily newspaper in the same city.

Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.), who introduced the rarely used "resolution of disapproval," said last night that "the FCC is supposed to be a referee for the media industry, but instead they've been cheerleaders in favor of more consolidation. ... We already have too much concentration in the media."

Senator Barack Obama added his support to the resolution saying, "I urge my colleagues in the House of Representatives to expeditiously pass the legislation."

The Senate vote is good news for everyone who is fed up with a media system, that, in the words of Jon Stewart, is "hurting America" with propaganda pundits, embedded journalists, horse-race election coverage, and celebrity gossip posing as news. It reflects growing awareness -- in Congress and with average Americans -- of the perils of concentrated media ownership. Namely, insatiable profit pressures that gut newsrooms, replace labor-intensive investigative news with salacious, cheap-to-cover stories, and encourage the dumbing-down of the most pressing issues into 30-second sound bites and partisan shout-fests.

Media concentration is also central to the rise of extremists like Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh, who overwhelm the dial on conglomerates owned and run by businessmen with far-right politics.

Back in 2003, Senator Dorgan and then-Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.) passed a similar resolution of disapproval to overturn the last effort by the Bush FCC to loosen ownership limits after 3 million Americans - both liberal and conservative - decried the FCC's handout to the largest media companies. That resolution languished in the GOP-controlled House of Representatives, and the proposed rules were later rejected by a federal court.

The "newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership ban" that the FCC is trying to get rid of has been in place since 1975. It keeps media outlets from merging already stripped-down local newsrooms in the name of "synergy" and protects diversity of viewpoints in the local press, something the Supreme Court has recognized is critical to the health of our democracy. Thursday's vote sends a clear message to media executives and the FCC that further media consolidation will not be tolerated.

The resolution of disapproval now moves to the House, where it already has bipartisan support. Rep. Jay Inslee (D-Wash.) is ready to push his companion bill in the House, or alternately simply adopt the Senate resolution if it will speed it to a floor vote and passage. Rep. Inslee says he will likely talk with Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and other House leadership next week about the fastest way to get the bill passed

President Bush has threatened to veto the measure. A statement from the White House yesterday called the FCC's new rules the product of "extensive public comment and consultation" but failed to mention that only 1 percent of the public that testified at public hearings or sent letters to the FCC supported the administration's position.

Typical of most Bush appointees, FCC Chairman Kevin Martin disregarded the will of the American people and granted another handout to the largest companies. A veto-proof majority in Congress supporting the resolution would stop Bush from doing the same.

The fight is far from over. But last night's vote is a historic victory for the public interest over one of Washington's most powerful lobbies.

John McCain's " Vote for me "Speech

  I just had to post this because it is so funny, and it is basically true!

  DailyKos for original

THANK YOU: Vote for John McCain

by CarmenT Thu May 15, 2008

My Friends,

I thank you for your vote.

Over the next 4 years I solemnly swear to be the greatest leader this nation has seen since George W Bush.

My Dad was a 4 star admiral in the US Navy. He used to get angry at me because I was stupid. I was able to prove him right by graduating 5th from bottom in my class year of almost 900 at the Naval Academy. Boy was he mad! Especially since he had to pull lots of strings just to get me up that far!

However, the great news is that we live in a country that celebrates stupidity. In no other country on earth would it be possible to elect and re-elect a leader so illiterate and inarticulate as our current president. I promise I will do everything in my power to continue the tradition to the best of my abilities.

I will now outline my most important ‘Straight Talk Distress’ policies that will define the extent of my success as your Commander in Chief:

The Economy:

I’ve never been any good with managing money as I have a rich wife who pays for everything. To my credit I admitted it to you all at the start of my campaign. Fortunately, by keeping the war in Iraq going for the next 100 years, I expect to build up an even larger mountain of debt that will eclipse any other disastrous economic policies I might stumble out. 

See, I have it all figured out. The more debt we owe, the more we can print money. The more money we print, the more there is, so the richer we are. Sadly many economists and financial markets experts seem to spend too much time staring at their computers and disagree with me because they are miserable jerks. The more dollars there are the better... it’s obvious... Duh!

People are up in arms about the price of oil. Yes, it’s expensive, but nothing compared to what it would be if my opponent were to get into office. He’s proposing cutting our oil consumption by encouraging us to drive more efficient cars and seeking alternative sources of energy. That’s the most ridiculous notion I have ever heard. Everyone knows that the more you use something, the cheaper it gets. Ever heard of Costco? I propose that we build bigger fuel tanks in our cars so we can buy it in bulk. Once we can get everyone using 2 to 3 times more gas, the price will plummet.

As many Americans know, if you can’t afford something, get more credit. To that end, we have struck a special deal with the Chinese banks who will be offering an initial low interest card especially for buying gas. The interest rate will grow after a couple of weeks, but by that time you won’t care as it’s money already spent and there’s always more credit on offer. To make it even more attractive you will earn ‘road miles’ for every gallon you consume, redeemable against a vehicle with a bigger engine.

We will also implement a clever plan to reduce your debt. By increasing underlying inflation slightly to 20%, the value of your debt will drop dramatically over time. We will be able to do this just as our great leader has done, while further changing the rules for how inflation figures are calculated so it looks like inflation is still below 4%. Even if everything gets more expensive, it won’t matter as there will be plenty more credit for everyone. Being able to afford something should no longer be a limitation. It’s time citizens were allowed the same privileges we have enjoyed in Washington for the past 8 years.

The War Of Terror

One of President George W. Bush’s greatest achievements was to scare the living daylights out of the average American into believing he should be granted absolute power to do whatever he wants.  Since much of the funding for his election campaign came from the oil companies, it’s only natural that he should have engineered an artificial War of Terror as an excuse to commandeer one of the largest oil reserves on earth.

Thanks to the efforts of a majority of lawmakers who couldn’t be bothered to read the full intelligence reports, Mr Bush was able to deploy tens of thousands of our troops to start an artificial war against a country that wasn’t attacking us, by clever use of only three letters of the alphabet (and people think he’s stupid!). Many military analysts said it could not be done, they argued that there needed to be compelling evidence of a threat in order to enter a war and clearly they were wrong. My campaign has worked tirelessly over the past few months to come up with an idea as good as Weapons of Mass Distraction and we believe you will support our similar and equally valid Weapons of Mass Delusion justification for a full scale invasion of Iran.

To those who are concerned that the war in Iraq has gone on too long, I agree with you. It’s time we expanded into other countries to make it look like we are succeeding. Also, you need not be concerned by the levels of casualties, there are plenty more soldiers to go around. Just in case, we will be reintroducing a ‘draft’ proposal that will be passed into law in my first few weeks as president. The details are kept secret, so no-one will be able to read it before it’s passed. You will just have to believe us, in the same way that you have entrusted our national security to Bush.

Global Warming

Many of you will rightly be concerned about our environment. Experts have told me that in America we produce around ¼ of the worlds CO2 emissions. Clearly, given the crisis we face, there is no time for the rest of the world to catch up. We have to accept the responsibilities of our world leadership position and be an example for other nations to follow. I propose to increase CO2 production by 50% over the first 2 years of my presidency in conjunction with my bulk gas incentive outlined earlier. Though we expect many countries will lag behind us in this matter, we do not have time to allow the world to cool down while we wait for everyone else to catch up. As a direct side-effect, the increase in temperature will allow us to use more air conditioning so we can generate and consume more power, enabling us to maintain our paramount status as the highest per capita energy consuming nation on earth.

My opponent has said in no uncertain terms that he wants to introduce thousands of new wind farms across the country. My opinion is that its better to have more CO2 created everywhere that to build a few machines to blow it around. If we learned anything from the increasing number of hurricanes that hit our east coast every year, it’s that we don’t need to farm any more wind, there is plenty of it to go around as it is!

Heathcare, Education, Welfare, Jobs and Other Stuff

After 8 years of George W Bush in power I am sure you know by now that as a Republican I have no intention to do anything whatsoever about any of this. So feel free to imagine your own policies here and save me the trouble of having to make them up for you.  This way you can put your mind at ease enough to vote for me without worrying whether anything will really change.

In Conclusion
My opponent will try to impress you with his intelligence, oratory skills, inspired strategy, leadership, progressive policies, and a genuine desire to change the corrupt political system in Washington.

It's up to you to ensure we carry on the tradition of electing the arrogant and ignorant, so when you go to the polls in November don’t forget:


I am Republican Senator John McCain. Bush and I approvate this message.

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Employment Facts For April 2008

Bureau of Labor statistics

 Friday, May 2, 2008.

Nonfarm payroll employment was little changed in

 April (-20,000), following job losses that totaled

 240,000 in the first 3 months of the year, the Bureau of Labor

 Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor reported today.

  The unem-ployment rate, at 5.0 percent, also was little 

changed in April.  Employment continued to decline in construction,

manufacturing, and retail trade, while jobs were added in health 

care and in professional and technical services.

Total Employment and the Labor Force (Household Survey Data)

Both total employment, at 146.3 million, and the

employment-population ratio, at 62.7 percent, were little

changed in April.  Over the month, the labor force 

participation rate held at 66.0 percent; it was the same 

rate a year earlier. 

In April, the number of persons working part time for

economic reasons increased by 306,000 to 5.2 million.  

This level was 849,000 higher than in April 2007.  These individuals 

indicated that they were working part time because their hours

 had been cut back or because they were unable to find a
full-time job.

Persons Not in the Labor Force (Household Survey Data)

About 1.4 million persons (not seasonally adjusted) were marginally attached to the labor force in April. These

individuals wanted and were available for work and had looked 

for a job sometime in the prior 12 months.  They were not
counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work

in the 4 weeks pre-ceding the survey.  Among the marginally 

attached, there were 412,000 discouraged workers in April, 

about the same as a year earlier.  Discouraged workers were not
currently looking for work specifically because they believed

no jobs were available for them. The other 1.0 million persons

classified as marginally attached to the labor force in April

 cited reasons such as school attendance or family 


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

States Offer Cash Help To The Working Poor

  I guess that it is up to the states to help their working poor now, all by themselves, since the federal government does not have the money to help. Kind of hard to do if you are spending most of your money on a war here and there. In all seriousness, the programs are expected to be funded by federal welfare funds.

  The state of Arkansas is giving its working poor cash payments of $204 per month and a few other states are following similar plans. That does not seem like much money, but when you are making minimum wage and you happen to be a single mother, $204 can come in very handy. Male or female, the cash will help somewhat.

   Arkansas provides poor working parents with $204 a month, plus bonuses for staying employed, for up to two years. Oregon offers $150 a month for up to a year. Virginia gives $50 a month for up to a year. And the California Legislature is considering a plan, proposed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, to provide $40 a month to 41,000 working families that receive food stamps.   NYTimes

  $40 a month cash in California? Are you kidding me? What will that do for the working poor in that state, put a quarter tank of gas in the Toyota?

   Here's an interesting clip for you.

The new strategy reflects, in part, a growing concern about the challenges facing the poor nearly 12 years after Congress overhauled welfare laws. While states have drastically reduced their welfare caseloads, research suggests that they have been far less successful in helping people find and keep jobs that lift families out of poverty.

The trend has also been driven by new federal rules that require states to engage 50 percent of welfare recipients in work-related activities. By offering payments to people already working, states are also trying to ensure that they meet federal mandates and avoid steep fines.

Advocates for low-income families point out, however, that benefits are so low in some states that officials seem to be more focused on meeting federal work requirements than on helping the working poor. Federal officials say the programs may siphon money from the welfare recipients they were intended to serve.

  California would be one of those states doing this just to avoid the federal fines. The NY Times notes that some states are paying out just enough to buy a pack of bologna, for instance.

  Michigan offers $10 a month for 6 months and Massachusetts dishes out a whopping $7 per month to its food stamp enrollees. The state of Utah pays out $474 a month for 2 months and $237 for a third month, if needed. Good for Utah!

  Extra cash always comes in handy, especially in these times, but at least make it enough so that the people getting it can do something with it. Either that, or create better paying jobs for this country

News In America

  Looks as if a father in Ohio has ended up in jail because his daughter failed to get her high school equivalency diploma.

   A judge gave Brian Gegner i80 days in the slammer for " contributing to the unruliness or delinquency of a minor." It seems that his daughter has a thing for truancy .

  About daddy's jail time, the daughter had this to say.

Brittany Gegner, who said Monday that she plans to take a required GED test this month, said her father shouldn't be blamed for her failure because she has been living with her mother.  Source


   Meanwhile, in Phoenix, police are looking for someone who they consider a serial predator who is linked to 4 unsolved attacks on women in Phoenix and in Mesa. This includes 2 killings.


The newest case to be linked to the crime spree occurred Nov. 4 when a 35-year-old woman was kidnapped, taken to an alley in central Phoenix, raped and beaten, said Phoenix police Detective Reuben Gonzales.

Berry said DNA evidence connected the assault to the rape and killing of two women in Mesa in 2004 and in 2007, and to another rape in Mesa, a Phoenix suburb.


  How would you like to own your very own condo which just happens to have once been a shipping container? If a Detroit group has its way, you may have the chance to buy one of these.


The Detroit Free Press reports Tuesday the project would stack empty containers four high, cut in windows and doors, install plumbing, stairways and heating, and add amenities such as balconies and landscaped patios.    

  The units will range in size from 960 sq. feet up to 1,920 and and will cost anywhere from $100,000 up to around $190,000.

  If I later decide to move, can I still have the condo shipped?

Sunday, May 11, 2008

George Bush Joke

  From a commenter at CommonDreams:

A Japanese doctor said, “Medicine in my country is so advanced that we can take a kidney out of one man, put it in another, and have him looking for work in six weeks.”

A German doctor said, “That’s nothing, we can take a lung out of one person, put it in another, and have him looking for work in four weeks.”

A Texas doctor, not to be outdone said, “You guys are way behind. We took a man with no brains out of Texas , put him in the White House and now half the country is looking for work.”

  Have a good week everybody!

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