Alison Krauss and Union Station:
I am so sick of these goddamned people. And now, they’re going to do it to Pennsylvania:
A bill to defund Planned Parenthood will be introduced in the Pennsylvania state legislature this week.
The bill, like similar efforts in Texas and Arizona, will put the women’s health provider at the end of the list for any federal funding, according to the Huffington Post. But it isn’t even written by the Pennsylvania state legislature. Rather, the bill is an effort by the anti-abortion group the Susan B. Anthony List:
[State Rep. Daryl] Metcalfe’s bill, the Whole Woman’s Health Funding Priority Act, would put health care providers that offer abortion services at the bottom of the priority list for state funding. The anti-abortion activist group Susan B. Anthony List wrote the bill, which closely resembles the one Arizona lawmakers used to defund Planned Parenthood earlier this year.
Planned Parenthood clinics receive a substantial percentage of their money through state and federal government funding streams, including Medicaid and Titles V, X and XX. The clinics use the funds to offer breast cancer screenings, STD testing and treatment, pap smears, maternity care and other medical services for low-income and uninsured patients.
Federal funding cannot be used for abortion services at Planned Parenthood. However, that funding is used for vital well woman care, particularly for low-income women, and women who live in rural areas and have few health care options.
If there was ever any doubt that the recently announced JPMorgan Chase “probe” was merely an early summer’s entertainment to keep the masses distracted, I’d say their hire of this former SEC chief to help them has cleared up that question. The SEC is notorious for its incestuous ties with Wall Street and their all-too-forgiving ways toward their former (and possibly future) employers. (For instance, JPMorgan’s general counsel Stephen Cutler was previously head of enforcement at the SEC.) Why, it’s almost like Capitol Hill!
JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM), the biggest U.S. bank, has hired former U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission enforcement chief William McLucas to help respond to regulatory probes of the firm’s $2 billion trading loss.
The lender retained law firm Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale & Dorr LLP, where McLucas is a partner, shortly after the bank disclosed the loss on May 10, said Kristin Lemkau, a spokeswoman for New York-based JPMorgan.
The probes began after JPMorgan traders in London built up positions in illiquid credit derivatives that were so large they distorted market prices and eventually led to what Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon called “self-inflicted” losses that may grow. That spurred reviews by the SEC, Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and Federal Bureau of Investigation.
“Our focus right now is on whether the company’s public disclosure and financial reporting is accurate,” SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro said today in congressional testimony. “The agencies collectively, including the criminal authorities, are working very hard to untangle what happened at the firm.”
The SEC is reviewing the accuracy and timing of JPMorgan’s disclosure of changes in how it calculates value-at-risk, or VaR, which shows how much it could lose from trading most days, Schapiro said. The bank changed its VaR model for the chief investment office during the first quarter without telling investors. The new model, which has since been scrapped, had cut the risk estimation almost in half, Dimon told investors May 10.
Progressive programs created the aspect of life we most enjoy and value as a people. They have proven to be spectacular successes. The people pushing austerity are the same people that hate progressive policies because their success falsifies their anti-government dogma. The austerian economists were the architects of the global financial crisis, the great depression of the European periphery, and the assault on the needy. They have proven wrong about every important issue. When moderates and progressives adopt the suicidal austerian policies of these architects of disaster they become the most destructive members of the austerian movement.
Watch the Thom Hartmann video, it’s quite informative. Don’t you love how this game is played? The temporary Bush tax cuts, the very same ones that helped ballooned the deficit to record levels, are about to expire and the Capitol Hill Chicken Littles are running around screaming “The sky is falling! The sky is falling!” So letting them expire will throw the country into recession? For those of us outside the Village, how would we even know the difference? We’re already out of work, or working for peanuts.
Now, you realize where this is going: This is the scary story that’s supposed to provide cover for the usual suspects who want to make the Grand Bargain on Social Security. The Greek chorus is gathering, chanting about the “obvious” solutions (hint, hint). “We’ll let you have a little stimulus now, provided we can slash the hell out of your earned benefits later!”
And because this is a complicated idea, most people won’t understand, the librul media can’t explain because they’re too hooked on access to make waves, only a few reporters will bring up the idea of simply raising new revenue, and the hollowing of Social Security and Medicare will soon be a “bipartisan” victory. Don’t you love politics?
Tax hikes and spending cuts set to take effect in January would suck $607 billion out of the economy next year, plunging the nation at least briefly back into recession, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said Tuesday.
Unless lawmakers act, the economy is likely to contract in the first half of 2013 at an annualized rate of 1.3 percent, the CBO said, before returning to 2.3 percent growth later in the year.
Canceling those tax and spending policies would protect the recovery in the short run and encourage more vibrant growth, around 4.4 percent, in 2013, the CBO said. However, unless lawmakers adopt policies that would reduce budget deficits by a comparable amount down the road, the CBO said, the national debt would continue to climb, imperiling future economic growth.
The report, “Economic Effects of Reducing the Fiscal Restraint That Is Scheduled to Occur in 2013,” comes as policymakers are bracing for the most consequential battle over government tax and spending policies in years. The George W. Bush-era tax cuts are set to expire on Dec. 31, along with a payroll tax cut proposed by President Obama. Meanwhile, sharp cuts are scheduled to hit the Pentagon and other federal agencies to meet a deal cut during last summer’s showdown over the nation’s debt limit.
Anxiety is growing over how the impact of those tax and spending cuts would affect the nation’s economic recovery come January, when what’s been nicknamed “taxmageddon” hits. After the November election, a lame-duck Congress will have barely two months to resolve a grinding standoff over taxes and spending — a battle that brought the United States to the brink of default last summer.
Lunchtime with George Carlin:
When the Georgia legislature passed a private school scholarship program in 2008, lawmakers promoted it as a way to give poor children the same education choices as the wealthy.
The program would be supported by donations to nonprofit scholarship groups, and Georgians who contributed would receive dollar-for-dollar tax credits, up to $2,500 a couple. The intent was that money otherwise due to the Georgia treasury — about $50 million a year — would be used instead to help needy students escape struggling public schools.
That was the idea, at least. But parents meeting at Gwinnett Christian Academy got a completely different story last year.
“A very small percentage of that money will be set aside for a needs-based scholarship fund,” Wyatt Bozeman, an administrator at the school near Atlanta, said during an informational session. “The rest of the money will be channeled to the family that raised it.”
A handout circulated at the meeting instructed families to donate, qualify for a tax credit and then apply for a scholarship for their own children, many of whom were already attending the school.
“If a student has friends, relatives or even corporations that pay Georgia income tax, all of those people can make a donation to that child’s school,” added an official with a scholarship group working with the school.
The exchange at Gwinnett Christian Academy, a recording of which was obtained by The New York Times, is just one example of how scholarship programs have been twisted to benefit private schools at the expense of the neediest children.
If Martin O’Malley is pretending to be a progressive so he can run for president, well, I wish more Democrats were that ambitious! Can we clone this guy? This is what a real progressive agenda looks like, Gov. Cuomo:
Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley signed into law a package of tax increases Tuesday targeting six-figure earners, tobacco users and companies engaged in real estate transactions to cover record spending on education.
In a two-hour ceremony, it was easily the most recognizable measure O’Malley (D) signed but hardly the most popular. Rather, union members, minorities and interest groups crowded the State House to celebrate more than 200 lesser-known and often narrowly tailored bills. They passed the General Assembly with little fanfare but, taken together, will color the social and political identity of the Old Line State a slightly deeper shade of blue.
The bills included efforts to stimulate the economy, protect the environment and help family farms. And nearly a century after three-quarters of U.S. states ratified the 17th Amendment — which allowed U.S. senators to be elected instead of appointed by state legislatures — Maryland got on board.
One of the first bills O’Malley signed was a capital budget, which will accelerate borrowing of more than $100 million to promote job growth through construction and maintenance of schools, parks and public housing.
Answering a call from President Obama, Maryland will raise the age that children will be required to stay in school, from 16 to 17, and raise it again within five years, to 18.
Maryland will also continue expanding collective bargaining rights to state employees, increase tax breaks for solar, geothermal and other green-energy projects, and become the first state to ban arsenic in chicken feed.
In addition, officials will develop a network of parking and charging stations for electric vehicles, study whether to issue citations rather than jail time for hundreds of minor crimes, and race ahead with implementing Obama’s health-care overhaul.
As Russ Baker points out at whowhatwhy.com, we still don’t actually know who planted the Lockerbie bomb – and why.