A 14-year coverup

You probably already know how I feel. Football is a religion in this country, and Penn State is one of its cathedrals. It’s big money, corruption, and abuse of power. Some kids paid the price while the big shots looked the other way. No surprise there.

The only shocker is that Louie Freeh actually did his job. If Paterno hadn’t died, it would have been a lot less likely. That’s because we now live in an accountability-free world.

Homeopathic politics

The son of George Soros, who is also a senior fellow at the Roosevelt Institute, will use a super PAC to hopefully put itself out of business by targeting House lawmakers who oppose campaign finance reform:

Jonathan Soros, son of a prominent liberal financier, is helping to launch an independent advocacy group with hopes of spending up to $8 million targeting House lawmakers, primarily Republicans, who oppose public matching funds for elections and other campaign finance reforms.

The new super PAC, called Friends of Democracy, will file its first disclosures with the Federal Election Commission later this month and plans to zero in on 10 to 15 House races with television ads, mailings and Web messaging, Soros and other organizers said Thursday.

Like all super PACs, Friends of Democracy will be able to raise unlimited funds from wealthy individuals, corporations or unions–precisely the kind of system that the group is fighting against.

[…] “We openly acknowledge the irony of being a super PAC trying to address money in politics,” Soros said in an interview in Washington. “But our goal is to eventually decrease the influence of this kind of group…We don’t see any other path to real legislative change.”

U.S. Olympic team uniforms made in China

How fitting — so to speak:

When the United States Olympic Team enters the Games’ opening ceremony at Olympic Stadium in London, it will be outfitted in official uniforms designed by Ralph Lauren. And though the 530 men and women who make up the team are the best athletes the country has to offer, the same cannot be said for the uniforms they’ll be wearing.

That’s because Ralph Lauren manufactured each piece of the uniform, from the unique hat to the designer jacket to the shoes, in China…

More here.

Silencing unions in CA

An alert from David Dayen:

After the victory in Wisconsin, many wondered where conservative interests would strike next to finish off unions and permanently alter the power relationship between labor and capital. It appears the next step is California. In November, voters will decide on an initiative, Prop 32, that would “eliminate unions from having any voice in politics whatsoever,” according to one labor official.

In its simplest form the measure, often called “paycheck protection” on the right, would stop unions from using automatic payroll deductions from their members for political activity. Similar measures have been on the ballot before in California, and have been beaten back both times. In 1998, voters rejected Prop 226, and in 2005, they similarly beat back Prop 75. But those were frontal assaults against unions. The difference here is that the supporters have dressed up this initiative as a campaign finance reform measure that affects corporations and unions in equal measure. Prop 32 supports call it the “Stop Special Interest Money Initiative.” Nothing could be further from the truth, says the opposition to Prop 32.

“The people who drafted this are the same people who twice before tried this and failed,” says Brian Brokaw, the communications director for No on 32. “They claim that it’s even-handed, in that it bans both unions and corporations from collecting political funds via payroll deductions. But corporations don’t use payroll deductions for political funds, they just use their own treasuries.”

It’s actually more insidious than that. The initiative has two parts. First, it bans direct political donations to state candidates from both corporations and unions. Neither side does a whole lot of that, as independent expenditures are more common in support of or opposition to individual candidates. But the definition of a “corporation” is made so narrow in the initiative language, granting a number of special exemptions to entities such as LLCs, limited partnerships, insurance companies, hedge funds, developers, Wall Street investment firms and more. “They carefully drafted this to exempt themselves,” Brokaw says. Any corporation could set up a shell company and continue the practice of direct political contributions.

Unemployment stories are so passe

Oh, Jesus. Another of those gloom-and-doom stories about goof-offs who are still jobless, as if anyone in this great country of ours would be unemployed if he/she really wanted to work:

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released the June 2012 unemployment data [last week]. The U.S. unemployment rate remained unchanged from May at 8.2 percent. The unemployment rate in June 2011 was 9.1 percent.

June unemployment numbers showed little difference from May in the latest BLS report. Unemployment rates in all demographics remained essentially unchanged except for blacks. The black unemployment rate rose to 14.4 percent, erasing several months of reduced unemployment.

I want news you can use. What’s up with Demi’s daughters despising her for dumping Ashton, who was more of a parent to them than her anorexic mom? When will Kim go the extra mile with Kanye and have a baby who will grow up to be the most famous no-talent personality ever? And did you notice that the newly liberated Katie Holmes was wearing black leather pants just like Kim and Kanye? What is the meaning of this?


And they wonder why we despise them:

WASHINGTON — The job market is stagnant and the GOP has the federal government tied up in knots, so the country’s short-term economic future is in the hands of America’s titans of industry and finance.

But despite having an unprecedented amount of cash on hand with which to create jobs — more than $3 trillion, nearly four times as much as the 2009 stimulus bill — the corporations aren’t spending and the banks aren’t lending.

“They’ve been making money, and they haven’t been spending it. So it sits there,” said Jared Bernstein, a former economic adviser to President Barack Obama now at the non-partisan Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. “The economy has been growing since the second half of 2009, and the vast majority of households have seen very little of that. It’s got to be going somewhere.”

Think of it as corporate austerity.

“In a more normal economic recession, you would expect business reinvesting to grow,” said Brandon Rees, deputy director of the office of investment at the AFL-CIO, the labor union federation. But instead, “that money just keeps piling up,” he said. “The CEOs just can’t figure out what to do with it all.”
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