Monday, December 27, 2010

Michelle Bachmann launches the KILL THE BILL RALLY in front of Congress March 20 2010.

Michelle Bachmann launches the KILL THE BILL RALLY in front of Congress March 20 2010.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Matthews and Guests Laugh at Michele Bachmann Being Named to House Intelligence Committee

John Boehner, Michele Bachmann, Mike Huckabee Defend Anti-Gay Groups

John Boehner, Michele Bachmann, Mike Huckabee Defend Anti-Gay Groups

BY ON TOP MAGAZINE STAFF 
PUBLISHED: DECEMBER 25, 2010


Representatives Steve King of Iowa and Michele Bachmann of Minnesota are among the lawmakers siding with anti-gay groups.
The Republicans have joined an online petition protesting the claims of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).
The SPLC recently added the Family Research Council (FRC), the American Family Association (AFA) and the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) to the same list of hate groups as the Ku Klux Klan, the Nation of Islam and the Aryan Nations for their opposition to gay rights.
“We, the undersigned, stand in solidarity with Family Research Council, American Family Association, Concerned Women of America, National Organization for Marriage, Liberty Counsel and other pro-family organizations that are working to protect and promote natural marriage and family,” the open letter, sponsored by the FRC, reads. “We support the vigorous but responsible exercise of the First Amendment rights of free speech and religious liberty that are the birthright of all Americans.”
The SPLC has “targeted FRC and other organizations that uphold Judeo-Christian moral views, including marriage as the union of a man a woman.”
Booth Gunter, a spokesman for the SPLC, on Friday rejected the allegations.
“The bottom line is it's simply not true that we attacked them because of their Judeo-Christian beliefs or their opposition to gay marriage,” Gunter told Fox News. “It's because of their continued propagation of falsehoods about gay men and lesbians that have the effect of demonizing them.”
Also signing onto the letter are Majority Leader-elect Eric Cantor, House Speaker-elect John Boehner, presidential hopefuls Tim Pawlenty, Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee, Representatives Jim Jordan of Ohio and Louie Gohmert of Texas, and South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

CC approves controversial 'net neutrality' rules


CC approves controversial 'net neutrality' rules


Click to play
Net neutrality 101
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • FCC approves open-internet "neutrality" plan, with complaints from both sides
  • Plan is designed to keep people who pay from getting better Web service than others
  • Congress could still act to amend or weaken rules
(CNN) -- The Federal Communications Commission on Tuesday approved "high-level rules of the road" designed to ensure that internet providers grant everyone equal access to the Web.
But the 3-2 vote immediately came under attack from both flanks, with internet-freedom advocates saying the new rules don't go far enough and critics saying the government should stay out of online business altogether.
In announcing the proposed rules this month, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said they would require high-speed internet providers to treat all types of Web content equally.
The rules are designed to, in effect, keep the companies that own the internet's real-world infrastructure from slowing down some types of websites or apps -- say, those belonging to a competitor -- or speeding up others for high-paying clients.
For average internet users, the vote affects whether government will guarantee they'll continue to have access to all Web content, regardless of their internet provider's wishes, and whether they'll get that content as quickly as businesses or individuals able to pay more for it.
Few neutral on net neutrality
Net neutrality: Why you should care
High-speed internet for all
The commission's agenda said the vote addressed "basic rules of the road to preserve the open internet as a platform for innovation, investment, competition and free expression."
Web freedom advocates argue the vote doesn't do that.
Commissioner Michael Copps, a Democrat, signed off on the rules but called them only a "first step in the right direction."
"In my book, today's action could have, and should have, gone further," he said. "Going as far as I would have liked was, however, not in the cards."
For example, he said, the rules won't absolutely prevent broadband providers from "pay for priority" -- giving faster service to those able to pay for it, or to one favored business over another.
Instead, the regulations say those practices "generally violate" nondiscrimination rules.
The vote was along party lines, with the commission's three Democrats voting to "concur" with the rules and its two Republicans voting against them.
Commissioner Robert McDowell, a Republican, called the vote a "radical step" and said it puts the FCC "on a collision course" with the courts, which he predicted will throw the rules out.
"The FCC is not Congress," he said. "We cannot make laws."
Republicans have largely argued the government has no right to interfere with business practices online.
McDowell said "nothing is broken in the internet-access market that needs fixing."
President Barack Obama, in a written statement, called the rules an important part of his administration's goal of advancing "American innovation, economic growth and job creation."
"Today's decision will help preserve the free and open nature of the Internet while encouraging innovation, protecting consumer choice, and defending free speech," Obama said.
As a candidate, Obama pledged to support open-internet policies.
Although the commission approved the rules, Congress could still act to amend or weaken them. Members of the House and Senate, from both sides of the aisle, have expressed concerns for different reasons.
Lawmakers already are considering legislation that would, in effect, repeal the rules. And at least one is threatening to cut off funding to the FCC to implement the rules.
The proposal also doesn't set the same set of rules for mobile communications as it does for Web-based ones. So, the rules protecting information on a home computer might not keep the same data free on a mobile phone.
Sen. Al Franken, a Minnesota Democrat and one of Congress' most vocal net-neutrality advocates, calls the issue "the most important free-speech issue of our time."
In a column Monday for The Huffington Post, Franken said some of the current proposal's language could actually weaken protections.
"(T)his Tuesday, when the FCC meets to discuss this badly flawed proposal, I'll be watching," he wrote. "If they approve it as is, I'll be outraged. And you should be, too."
Copps, however, said that "if vigilantly and vigorously implemented by the commission -- and if upheld by the courts -- it could represent an important milestone in the ongoing struggle to safeguard the awesome opportunity-creating power of the open internet."
Genachowski, the FCC chairman argued that currently there are no rules governing internet freedom and that the regulations strike a balance between the two extremes of opinion. He also noted they include new rules for mobile that address some critics' concerns.
He called the policies "high-level rules of the road" and called internet freedom an ongoing issue for the commission.
Doug Gross

Statement by HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on the Passage of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010

Statement by HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on the Passage of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010

“America’s 9/11 rescue and recovery workers are heroes and I am extremely pleased that legislation has passed the Senate and the House today to make sure these brave men and women get the health care they deserve. Through the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), the Department of Health and Human Services oversees programs that have been established to monitor, screen, and treat those who responded to the World Trade Center disaster site. Under this new law we will continue to support and care for those who have sacrificed so much for their nation.”

Thanks for the Tax Cut!

Thanks for the Tax Cut!


THERE is a God! It passed! The Bush tax cuts have been extended two years for the upper bracketeers, of which I am a proud member, thank you very much. I’m the last person in the world I’d want to be beside, but I am beside myself! This is a life changer, I tell you. A life changer!
To begin with, I was planning a trip to Cabo with my kids for Christmas vacation. We were going to fly coach, but now with the money I’m saving in taxes, I’m going to splurge and bump myself up to first class. First class! Somebody told me they serve warm nuts up there, and call you “mister.” I might not get off the plane!
I’m also going to call the hotel and get another room so I don’t have to sleep on a cot in the kids’ room. Don’t get me wrong — I love a good cot. The problem is they tend to take up a lot of room, and it’s getting a little tougher in my advancing years to fold it up and drag it to the closet. I mean, I’d do it if I had to, but guess what? I don’t! Not with this windfall coming my way. Now I get to have my own room with a king-sized bed. And who knows, maybe I’ll even get some fancy bottled water from the minibar. This is shaping up to be the best vacation I’ve had in years.
When I get home, thanks to the great compromise, the first thing I’m going to do is get a flat-screen TV. Finally I can throw out the 20-inch Zenith with the rabbit ears, the one I inherited from my parents when they died. The reception is terrible and I’m getting tired of going out to bars every time I want to watch a game. Last month, the antenna broke and I tried to improvise one with a metal hanger and wound up cutting myself. Every time I see that scab, I say to myself, “If, God willing, those Bush tax cuts are restored, I’m going to buy a new TV.” Well, guess what? They have been!
It’s also going to be a boon for my health. After years of coveting them, I’ll finally be able to afford blueberries. Did you know they have a lot of antioxidants, which prevent cancer? Cancer! This tax cut just might save my life. Who said Republicans don’t support health care? I’m going to have the blueberries with my cereal, and I’m not talking Special K. Those days are over. It’s nothing but real granola from now on. The kind you get in the plastic bins in health food stores. Did someone say “organic”?
The only problem is if, God forbid, the tax cuts are repealed in two years, how will I ever go back to Special K and bananas? Well, I did quit smoking, so I’m sure if push came to shove I could summon up the willpower to get off granola and blueberries. Of course, I suppose with the money I managed to save from the “Seinfeld” syndication, I probably could continue to eat granola with blueberries, but let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.
Life was good, and now it’s even better. Thank you, Republicans. And a special thank you to President Obama and the Democrats. I didn’t know you cared.
Larry David appears in the HBO series “Curb Your Enthusiasm.”

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Bachmann to Intelligence Committee

I rarely comment, but this is a brilliant move on the part of Republican House leadership.  What better way to shut up and shut down someone who makes embarrassing comments on behalf of the Republican  party.

Assignment to the Intelligence Committee will allow for Madame Bachmann to actively engage in a substance quite foreign to her, intelligence, in hopes the education of the assignment will end the trend of fear mongering.

Then, the other brilliant facet to the assignment is that Madame Bachmann will be sworn to secrecy.  This means the Madame may not make public comments, not even the slightest bitter spew of hate.

I wonder if Las Vegas is taking bets on the date of her removal from committee for breaching her oath to secrecy.


Bachmann to Intelligence Committee



Rep. Michele Bachmann, the Minnesota Republican who helped create a tea party caucus of House members is getting a seat on the House Intelligence Committee.
Speaker-designate John Boehner (R, Ohio) named Ms. Bachmann, a favorite with tea party activists, to the panel a few weeks after she bowed out of a potentially combative race for the job of Republican Conference chairman, the no. 4 slot in the party’s leadership hierarchy.
Ms. Bachmann has become a prolific fundraiser and influential voice for the party’s conservative base. She raised more than $13 million in the last two.
She also has a record of making sparks fly with her comments on a wide array of issues.
In 2008, she caused an uproar after she suggested President Barack Obama and his wife,Michelle, were “anti-American” and called on the media to investigate whether members of Congress are “pro-American or anti-America.” Last month, she said the White House was spending $200 million-a-day for the president’s trip to Asia – a figure the White House dismissed as “a long trip from reality.”
Ms. Bachmann, in a statement, said it “was a leading desire of mine to serve on this panel because of the key role it plays in keeping our nation safe.”
Members of the Intelligence Committee receive regular classified briefings from various intelligence agencies in a secure site in the Capitol complex. Lawmakers are sworn to secrecy.
Other new Republicans on the panel next year include incoming Nevada Rep. Joe Heck and Reps. Frank LoBiondo of New Jersey, Devin Nunes of California, Tom Rooney of Florida andLynn Westmoreland of Georgia.

John Boehner, Michele Bachmann, Mike Huckabee Protest Hate Group Label

John Boehner, Michele Bachmann, Mike Huckabee Protest Hate Group Label

BY CARLOS SANTOSCOY 
PUBLISHED: DECEMBER 17, 2010
Representatives Steve King of Iowa and Michele Bachmann of Minnesota are among the lawmakers backing social conservative groups recently labeled hate groups.
The Republicans are defending the groups against claims by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).
The SPLC recently added the Family Research Council (FRC), the American Family Association (AFA) and the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) to the same list of hate groups as the Ku Klux Klan, the Nation of Islam and the Aryan Nations for their opposition to gay rights.
“We, the undersigned, stand in solidarity with Family Research Council, American Family Association, Concerned Women of America, National Organization for Marriage, Liberty Counsel and other pro-family organizations that are working to protect and promote natural marriage and family,” the open letter, sponsored by the FRC, reads. “We support the vigorous but responsible exercise of the First Amendment rights of free speech and religious liberty that are the birthright of all Americans.”
The SPLC has “targeted FRC and other organizations that uphold Judeo-Christian moral views, including marriage as the union of a man a woman.”
Also signing onto the letter are Majority Leader-elect Eric Cantor, House Speaker-elect John Boehner, presidential hopefuls Tim Pawlenty, Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee, Representatives Jim Jordan of Ohio and Louie Gohmert of Texas, and South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint.
In rejecting the SPLC's label, the AFA's Bryan Fischer asserted that it's true that “homosexuals controlled the Nazi Party and helped orchestrate the Holocaust,” that “homosexuals molest children at far higher rates than heterosexuals,” that “hate crime laws will lead to the jailing of pastors who criticize homosexuality and the legalization of practices like bestiality and necrophilia,” and that being gay is a choice.
In an appearance on Fox & Friends, Tony Perkins, the president of the FRC, denied he hates gay people.
“No. Not at all,” Perkins said, then quickly added that, “homosexual behavior is harmful not only to society, but more importantly to the individuals who engage in that behavior.”
NOM President Brian Brown echoed a similar sentiment: “This is about protecting marriage. This isn't about being anti-anyone.”
Over the summer, however, Brown refused to repudiate speakers participating in the group's Summer for Marriage Tour 2010 who had described gay people as “perverted,” “diseased and likely pedophiles.”
“What I believe is that pastors and religious leaders need to be able to speak up for traditional, Christian sexual morality,” Brown told Arisha Michelle Hatch, who was documenting the tour on behalf of gay rights groups the Courage Campaign and Freedom to Marry. “And they have the right to do that. They have the obligation to do that.”
On another NOM-hosted bus tour, Iowa Congressman Steve King equated gay men and lesbians raising kids to having them being “raised in warehouses.”

Friday, December 17, 2010

Kilpatrick deals entangle big-name Metro contractors

Kilpatrick deals entangle big-name Metro contractors

Robert Snell and Mike Wilkinson / The Detroit News

Detroit — A company headed by a member of Gov.-elect Rick Snyder's economic team was one of several contractors who unwittingly pumped millions into ex-Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick's alleged criminal enterprise, The Detroit News has learned.
Although the government hid the companies' identities in the indictment, public records and interviews helped put names to aliases. The list of companies includes deep-pocketed donors and powerful executives who were forced to pay money in exchange for keeping or getting city contracts.

The companies involved are going to be needed by the FBI and the U.S. Attorney's Office to help prosecute the case.
"It's always hard to say whether the payer of a bribe is culpable or a victim of the crime," said Peter Henning, a law professor at Wayne State University and former federal prosecutor. "Sometimes that's hard to distinguish."
So far, most executives linked to the corruption probe have escaped indictment. Some witnesses were granted immunity and others are victims, U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade said.
Among the contractors who were extorted to retain Bobby Ferguson as a subcontractor include Walbridge, a general contractor headed by John Rakolta Jr., a longtime area powerbroker who was named Monday to the Michigan Economic Development Corp. by Snyder.
The list also includes Detroit-based Lakeshore Engineering Services, a firm first identified by The News as cooperating with federal investigators, and Inland Waters Pollution Control.
Inland is a Detroit Water and Sewerage contractor linked to Grosse Pointe Farms businessman Anthony Soave, who is aligned with political action committees that contributed $55,000 to Kilpatrick campaigns.
Walbridge, identified in the indictment as "Company W," was portrayed as a company that was extorted to use Ferguson , a close friend of Kilpatrick, and his companies as a subcontractor in 2003 and refused to use him in 2007.
Richard Zuckerman, a Detroit-based attorney for Walbridge, said prosecutors have talked with company officials for more than a year and were clear that they felt Walbridge was a victim of "the Kilpatrick Enterprise."
Zuckerman said the company was "happy" to assist the investigation.
"They did fully cooperate," Zuckerman said.
Firm rejected Ferguson
The company was the winning bidder in 2003 on a project after it was extorted to use Ferguson.
In 2007, though, Walbridge was bidding on a $140 million project. It rejected a request from Ferguson, prosecutors say, to get 35 percent of the project.
Even after Kwame Kilpatrick interceded, asking a Walbridge rep to "play fair," Walbridge declined to hire Ferguson.
The next month, the water and sewer contract went to a rival company.
Snyder spokeswoman Geralyn Lasher on Thursday said: "We haven't seen any of those details, but John Rakolta's expertise in business and his ability to be a booster for the city of Detroit and credentials speaks for itself."
Rakolta's name was linked to Kilpatrick following the text-message scandal that chased the mayor from office. He was one of five executives who had agreed to each loan Kilpatrick's family $60,000 while he was in prison in 2008 and 2009. Rakolta later would be the only executive to reconsider and not send the money.
'Forced' to do business
In 2005, Inland Waters Pollution Control agreed to pay Ferguson $350,000 in relation to its repairs of a massive sewer break in Sterling Heights.
The 89-page indictment alleges that a "Company I" paid the money because there were threats that Kilpatrick would hold up $12 million in repairs for the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department. Ferguson did no work on the project, according to the indictment.
Using Detroit City Council and water department records, The Detroit News determined that "Company I" listed in the indictment is Inland.
Tom Fallucca, the attorney who has represented Inland and Soave, said: "My client was anxious to cooperate with this investigation.
Fallucca said the Kilpatrick administration "forced" companies to hire contractors and consultants "in order to do business in the city."
He declined further comment.
Inland is one of dozens of companies owned by Soave Enterprises, a Detroit holding company headed by Anthony Soave. He is the president and chief executive of Soave Enterprises and a supporter of Kilpatrick.
Soave and his businesses were among 64 groups of individuals and corporations listed on a 2005 grand jury subpoena.
An Inland executive provided $300,000 worth of flights on a private jet to the ex-mayor and his pals to protect the executive's business interests in Detroit. The flights included trips to Bermuda, Florida, Houston, Cleveland and Washington, D.C.
Inland formed a joint venture with Ferguson company Xcel Construction on a $30 million Detroit Water and Sewerage project in 2006.
The company also was forced to hire Ferguson in 2002 as a minority subcontractor on a $50 million sewer-lining project, the indictment said. Ferguson eventually received $24.7 million.
Extortion leads to deals
Also referenced in the indictment are Lakeshore and a related company, A&H Contractors Inc., both of which cooperated with investigators after receiving subpoenas from a federal grand jury.
The companies are identified as "Company L" and "Company A" in the indictment.
Initially, Lakeshore refused to participate in the conspiracy, whose members included Kilpatrick; his father, Bernard Kilpatrick; Ferguson; former Detroit Water and Sewerage Department director Victor Mercado; and former aide Derrick Miller.
Lakeshore's refusal to participate was costly, at least initially.
In spring 2003, Ferguson visited a Lakeshore executive at home and said he wanted 25 percent of the company's $10 million sewer-repair contract. The Lakeshore executive refused.
Ferguson found another taker.
Inland agreed to Ferguson's demand in May 2003, according to the indictment.
Two months later, Mercado canceled Lakeshore's deal and gave it to Inland, according to the indictment.
The next time Ferguson approached Lakeshore, he walked away with money.
Stung by Mercado yanking the $10 million contract, an unidentified Lakeshore executive understood it could not win a deal without paying Ferguson, the indictment said.
"He (sic) gotten smart," Ferguson told Miller, according to the indictment.
Lakeshore is headed by Bloomfield Hills businessman Avinash Rachmale, 45; A&H Contractors is a Detroit-based construction firm headed by businessman Thomas Hardiman Sr.
A lawyer representing A&H did not return a call seeking comment Thursday.
When Lakeshore won a $19.9 million sewer contract in April 2005, the winning bid listed Ferguson as a subcontractor.
Ferguson demanded and received $1.3 million, despite not doing work, the indictment said.
In September 2005, when the contract was increased by $8 million, Ferguson demanded $450,000 more — including $25,000 immediately.
Lakeshore employees quickly collected $25,000 cash and delivered it to Ferguson.
"When hundreds of people are counting on you for employment and you lose one city contract without explanation and then another … you are faced with the dilemma of either putting people out of work in this economy or giving in," Lakeshore spokesman John Truscott said.
rsnell@detnews.com


From The Detroit News: http://detnews.com/article/20101217/METRO/12170403/Kilpatrick-deals-entangle-big-name-Metro-contractors#ixzz18OwWqoGc