One of my Christmas-time favorites. What is your favorite part of the holiday season?
Open thread below....
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One of my Christmas-time favorites. What is your favorite part of the holiday season?
Open thread below....
Protestors wave flags rallying at the central Independence Square in Kiev, Ukraine, on Monday. Hundreds of Ukrainian protesters have blocked entrances to the government building and called for the ouster of the prime minister and his cabinet. (Ivan…
Christmas is more than a greeting.
Your shallow, idiotic effort to profit by making a big deal out of "Merry Christmas" versus "Happy Holidays" is nothing more than a hollow attempt to deflect attention from your own war.
The Warriors on Christmas aren't 'liberals'. They're YOU.
If you want to end the War on Christmas, here are some beginning terms for the peace accord:
The season from Thanksgiving to New Years is one which has been overblown by retailers for years in order to pump their bottom lines and make Wall Street happy. Choosing a greeting like "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Holidays" is just saying something to another person during a frenzied retail season. It has no meaning at all unless there is some act of human kindness and sincerity accompanying it.
Republicans, it comes down to this. YOU are the ones who wage war on Christmas by leaving people cold, sick, homeless, broke, and separated from their families.
If you want to end that war, you know what to do.
As always Fox News fills their airwaves with right-wingers who spend hours upon hours, looking for new ways to undermine the president and blocking any ways of improving America's health care system. The House Republicans are going to hold hearings to decide if Obama has gone rogue.
House Republicans this week will continue their aggressive dissection of Obamacare, with four planned committee oversight hearings that will probe far beyond the troubled healthcare.gov website that the Obama administration says is on the mend.
The Republicans’ strategy of digging deeper in the ongoing implementation of the Affordable Care Act and its impact should come into wider view by year’s end, as news about lingering glitches with the federal online marketplace possibly fades. House committees conducting the latest round of hearings includes Ways and Means, Small Business, Energy and Commerce, and Oversight and Government Reform, which convenes Friday in Apache Junction, Ariz., to explore the issue of canceled health plans.
This House of Representatives has been the least productive in the history of our Congress, but they might have held the most wacko, whacked out and unnecessary hearing of all time. Fox News couldn't let this pass without jumping into the impeachment game. Fox legal analyst Judge Napolitano joined Megyn Kelly to discuss the idea of impeachment:
Kelly: Our next guest says the effect the president's actions over the years rises to the level of an IMPEACHABLE offense.
Yes, but George Bush lying us into a horrendous war is Hunky-dory because---freedom! Duncan wonders what took them so long?
Wednesday President Obama will give a speech on his plan to grow the economy and the middle class. Thursday fast-food workers will strike in 100 cities and stage protests in 100 others to demand $15 an hour and the right to form a union without interference from employers. Here's something to consider: raising the minimum wage cuts government spending on Food Stamps and other programs.
The Minimum Wage
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) 1.57 million people in the United States make the minimum wage, and another 1.98 million make even less. These 3.6 million workers make up 4.7 percent of all hourly-wage workers. People who are supposedly paid tips and people under 20 can be paid less than this minimum. Some states allow businesses that are not engaged in interstate commerce (and therefore outside the jurisdiction of the federal government) to pay less. Some territories - notably American Samoa and the Northern Mariana Islands - also are allowed to pay less.
Of those who make minimum wage or less 44% are in food preparation and serving related occupations, 15% are in sales and related occupations, 9.7% in personal care and service occupations, 6.5% in building and grounds cleaning and maintenance occupations, 6.8% in transportation and material moving occupations and 6.4% in office and administrative support occupations. (Note that the largest sector that is below minimum wage is in food preparation and serving related occupations, with 16.5% of all workers who make minimum or less.)
Raising Minimum Wage Boosts Economy
The minimum wage was first enacted because economists understood that a wage floor is a floor for the economy. (This is why trade agreements that undermined wages and broke unions have undermined the middle class and led to the slow economy we have today.)
Oh, how I love document leaks, especially when they come from ALEC. Last year's firestorm over the Zimmerman case took a toll on their membership rolls, causing a loss of corporate and legislative members that they're desperately trying to woo back to the fold.
The Guardian reports:
The Guardian has learned that the American Legislative Exchange Council (Alec), which shapes and promotes legislation at state level across the US, has identified more than 40 lapsed corporate members it wants to attract back into the fold under a scheme referred to in its documents as the "Prodigal Son Project".
The target firms include commercial giants such as Amazon, Coca-Cola,General Electric, Kraft, McDonald's and Walmart, all of which cut ties with the group following the furore over the killing of the unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin in Florida in February 2012.
Alec was embroiled in the controversy surrounding Florida's 2005 "stand-your-ground" law under which George Zimmerman, the neighbourhood watch volunteer who shot and killed the 17-year-old Martin, initially claimed self-defence. The Florida law was picked up by Alec, and, working in partnership with the National Rifle Association, used as a template for one of its "model bills", which was then taken up by other states across the country.
The Guardian has learned that by Alec's own reckoning the network has lost almost 400 state legislators from its membership over the past two years, as well as more than 60 corporations that form the core of its funding. In the first six months of this year it suffered a hole in its budget of more than a third of its projected income.
Among the GOP's many criticisms of the Affordable Care Act, one of the chief complaints has centered around cost. But according to a new report, Obamacare won't be nearly as costly as expected.
The New York Times reported on Tuesday that "the government is expected to spend billions of dollars less than originally projected on the law."
The adjusted estimate is a result of the law's Medicaid expansion and the subsidies for private insurance plans proving less costly than initially anticipated. According to the Times, economists say that the law has also benefited from a weak economy over the last half-decade, as health care spending dramatically slowed during this time.
It remains unclear if Obamacare's cost-control mechanisms will work effectively when the economy improves and health spending rises once again:
"Whether such improvements will last depends on whether private firms — nudged along by Washington — create and retain incentives to keep spending low.
“In the past five decades, there are only two periods when we’ve been able to sustain low excess health care cost growth for an extended period,” Mr. Levitt, of the Kaiser foundation, said, referring to the current trend and a period in the 1990s, when the Clinton administration tried and failed at overhauling the health care system. “There was a sense in the system: ‘Something is coming, and we need to get ready for it.’ ”
Hobby Lobby's "religious values" don't extend to objecting to "family planning" and forced abortions in China.
According to David Green, the owner of Hobby Lobby:
"We're Christians, and we run our business on Christian principles. I've always said that the first two goals of our business are (1) to run our business in harmony with God's laws, and (2) to focus on people more than money. And that's what we've tried to do. [...] We believe that it is by God's grace that Hobby Lobby has endured, and he has blessed us and our employees. [...] But now, our government threatens to change all of that. A new government health care mandate says that our family business MUST provide what I believe are abortion-causing drugs as part of our health insurance. Being Christians, we don't pay for drugs that might cause abortions, which means that we don't cover emergency contraception, the morning-after pill or the week-after pill. We believe doing so might end a life after the moment of conception, something that is contrary to our most important beliefs. It goes against the Biblical principles on which we have run this company since day one."
One thing about kids – they work cheap. Heck, they’ll sweep the front steps for a shiny quarter and wash your car for a dollar.
Paul LePage, the Governor of Maine, wants to utilize that good news and loosen the child labor laws.
Right now in Maine, you have to be 16 to work. LePage wants to lower that to 12 because “12-year-old children should not be restricted from working and learning life skills.”
I think the key words here is “children.”
At 12 years old getting through the day without springing a leak of hormones is work enough. You can’t drive at 12 years old so that means walking to work. In Maine. Where I hear it snows. And there’s more uphills than downhills.
While making for great stories to your grandchildren, I’m not sure being exploited as cheap labor is a “lifeskill.”
Republicans are determined to undo every labor reform we’ve had in this country since sweatshops burned to the ground. And trust me, they don’t mean having their own kids work. They mean your kids.
Hey, LePage, you know what they call a 12 year old forced into the workplace to take a job from an adult worker who needs a job? Two Democrats in training, my friend, that’s what you call them.
If you're a Depeche Mode fan you're going to love this new Blue America contest or if you're just a music fan you're going to love this contest. It's also the last contest Blue America is promoting for 2013 and who is more deserving to be the beneficiary than Rep. Keith Ellison?
Keith Ellison stood out as a principled, values-driven progressive when he was a member of the Minnesota legislature. Blue America backed him back then, hoping for more of the same in Washington. And we haven't been disappointed. Co-chair of the Progressive Caucus and Democratic Chief Deputy Whip, Keith is one of the only Democrats on a leadership track who speaks to the interests of ordinary working families. As Raúl Grijalva told us, "Keith, above all, isn't posturing. He deeply believes in and relentlessly fights for progressive values and equality for all… He is a real person for these unreal times, and I support him every chance I get."
Keith is one of the few Members of the House Financial Services Committee who doesn't kowtow to the banksters and, unlike many of his colleagues, Wall Street doesn't finance his reelection efforts. When Blue America offered to help him with reelection expenses, he thanked us and asked if we could also help Mike Obermueller, the progressive Democrat running against John Kline in the district next door. We are happy to oblige.
Today is the first day of a week-long drive to raise some campaign funds for Keith and Mike-- and Blue America is going to give away a beautiful, classic, RIAA-certified double platinum award for the album Violator.
In fact, if a contribution is too much of a stretch right now, you are still eligible to "win" by sending a note to us at:
P.O. Box 271201
Los Angeles, CA 90027
Easy rules, right? So is Keith's proposed Robin Hood tax.
"While the Tea Party pushes to slash government investment, Congress has ignored simple, progressive revenue options that could help us grow our economy. One solution would be my Inclusive Prosperity Act, also known as the Robin Hood tax, which will add a tax of a fraction of a percent on transactions made by the same Wall Street firms and stock traders who crashed our economy in 2008. Forty countries have a similar tax, as did the U.S. until 1966.
"This tax alone will generate up to $300 billion a year in revenue, stabilizing the deficit and allowing us to invest in the things that matter-- like roads and bridges, and health care for our seniors.
"The American people stepped up to help Wall Street because they thought it would protect Main Street. But what has Wall Street done in return? Give itself bonuses and exorbitant pay? Tried to repeal Dodd-Frank protections? No, it’s time for Wall Street to help out with Main Street."
And Mike sees eye to eye with him on economic justice. "Congressman Ellison," he told us, "is talking about putting justice back in our system. I, too, want to make sure everyone has a fair opportunity in this country. Those who can afford to pay more should step up so that those who are less well-off have a chance at success. Congressman Kline wants to pad the pockets of the wealthy, while ignoring the inequality that still exists in this country. We can do better and I’m committed to making sure we actually do."
Whether you're a Depeche Mode fan or not, please help us make Minnesota even bluer by contributing to Keith Ellison's and Mike Obermueller's campaigns today.
We are all in this together,
Howie, for Digby, John, and the Blue America team