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Denied

When you’re at the end of the road, food stamps are the only thing left. Most people don’t qualify for welfare, the unemployment extensions for 99ers are gone, and there are no jobs to be had. Many people will read this and shake their heads at what this desperate mother did. I look at it and think of all the politicians who didn’t lift a finger to help people like this:

(Reuters) – A woman in the border city of Laredo, Texas who was angry because she had been denied food stamps killed herself and shot and critically wounded her two children late on Monday, authorities said on Tuesday.

The 38-year-old woman entered the Texas Health and Human Services Commission office in downtown Laredo on Monday afternoon and demanded to speak to a supervisor, said investigator Joe Baeza of the Laredo Police Department.

The woman, whom he declined to identify, pulled out a handgun and started walking through the office, threatening several employees, he said.

“She had issues and felt that she had been let down by social services in general,” Baeza told Reuters on Tuesday. “She was making all sorts of outlandish claims.”

She took an office supervisor hostage in a room in the office, he said, and a SWAT team managed to evacuate the other three dozen people in the office and clear the area.

After two hours of negotiations, the woman allowed the male supervisor to go free, but she remained in the office with her two children, a 10-year-old boy and a 12-year-old girl.

“About 11:45 last night, she hung up the phone with negotiators, and a little bit later, negotiators heard three shots,” Baeza said on Tuesday. “What had happened was that she had shot each of her children once and herself once.”
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Sam Seder:

We all know that police departments across the country are becoming more and more militarized, as if expecting attacks from a domestic version of the Taliban. But the amount of hardware finding its way to cops is even greater than you might have thought, according to Business Insider. More here.

Occupy Congress

Occupy groups from across the country also showed up to talk to Congress members today. Many of them refused to talk to them and called the police instead. This is Occupy Kansas:


Watch live video from OccupyKC on Justin.tv

Nearly 3,000 protesters are staging sit-ins in congressional offices at the Capitol on Tuesday, demanding they be heard on the plight of the unemployed.

The protests, organized by activist groups including OurDC and Moveon.org, will target 99 lawmakers’ offices by the end of the day, according to event spokesman Mike Uehlein.

“These folks have traveled from across the country,” he told The Hill, noting that many of the protesters were unemployed. “They’re calling on their congressional leaders to take actions on the jobs crisis.”

Several dozen individuals targeted Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) office in the Russell Senate office building, refusing to leave until they meet with the lawmaker.
They “arrived this morning around 11:30 [a.m.]; they asked for a meeting with the Senator,” McConnell’s spokesman Robert Steurer wrote in an email.

“Since they did not have a meeting scheduled, we offered them a meeting with our legislative director and they declined,” he added. “This is the same group that was here in early November – and we offered them a meeting a couple times during that visit and they declined.”

New Coke?

David Dayen on the president’s populist rebranding in today’s speech:

For one of the first times ever, the President mentioned that two rounds of tax cuts passed by the Bush Administration in 2001 and 2003 created almost no jobs. He said that “Mortgage lenders … tricked families into buying homes they couldn’t afford” and that “irresponsibility and lack of basic oversight” on Wall Street “nearly destroyed our entire economy.” He recited the now-familiar economic statistics about inequality and how it corrupts, how the rich purchase politicians and have them do their bidding. He added stats about the creaking to a halt of upward mobility in this country.

I’m just not sure what the solutions expressed in the speech mean to provide. There’s a familiar focus on education, with the welcome line that “We shouldn’t be laying off good teachers right now – we should be hiring them.” There’s a focus on science and research and development, which makes sense. There’s a very good line about how building an economy on high-tech manufacturing rather than an outsized financial industry will attract the best and brightest to productive work, something I think needs to be stressed.

But then there’s this brag on how we have to live within our means and prioritize our deficit, the wrong message in a fragile economy when you can borrow at a negative interest rate. The first substantive plan in the speech is to cut the payroll tax, an anti-contractionary measure but not necessary the stuff around which a New Deal is created. Obama does support returning progressivity to the tax code, in the form of returning the high-end tax rates to the Clinton years. But that stops short of transformation.
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Tonight

Jay Ackroyd and I talk about my experience with the Affordable Care Act, Occupy Wall Street and class war. Tune in at 9pm EST here.

Making your way back from unemployment

I was planning to write about this, but Digby beat me to it.

ALEC watch

Kids eating rat poison is “an acceptable risk.” This is how these weasels think!

Occupy Houses

Watch live streaming video from owsnyc at livestream.com

Occupy groups around the country today are occupying housing to prevent foreclosures and evictions. Watch the live stream!

Today’s the Day!

OCCUPY WALL STREET joins up with Take Back the Land (seen in ‘Capitalism:
A Love Story’) and other great organizations in a new program
of direct actions to thwart foreclosures

‘I’m Not the Only One in This Boat’
“The banks got all this money from us and they didn’t modify anybody’s loan?
What are they doing with all this money all this time? … If we’re all in this
together we need to start bailing water together.” – Bobby Hull,
57-year-old Minneapolis plasterer foreclosed
on by Banksters of America

DO SOMETHING:
Occupy Our Homes
Find local events and throw your body upon the gears of the
foreclosure machine and make it stop

UPDATES: @OccupyOurHomes | #OccupyOurHomes

Target women: Women eat right!

These are so funny:

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