Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Monday, December 5, 2011
Friday, December 2, 2011
Senate Democrats Stand Up for Michigan's Unemployed Workers, Hold Republicans Accountable for Continued Attacks on Unemployment Benefits
Senate Democrats stood in strong opposition today to the passage of Senate Bill 806, legislation pushed by Republicans that tinkers with the state's
Unemployment Insurance system to make it harder for Michigan's unemployed to get and keep their benefits. This bill comes on the heels of earlier legislation passed by the Republican-led Legislature and signed by Governor Snyder that reduces Michigan's unemployment benefits by six weeks.
"It is fundamentally wrong to be kicking hard-working folks off of unemployment insurance while there is a major shortage of jobs in
Michigan," Senator Bert Johnson (D - Detroit) said. "If the economy was booming, unemployment was low, and "Help Wanted" signs were abundant in our communities, that would be another story. In the real world, though, that's not the case."
Prior to the party-line passage of this bill, Senate Democrats asked the Secretary of the
Senateto read the entire language of the bill to remind Republicans of the harm they were about to do to Michigan's unemployed workers. While reading all legislation in full is a major tenet of the Tea Party and other conservative Republicans, Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville was irked by the move and bullied Senate Democrats over the motion, even threatening to fire Senate Democratic staff in retaliation.
"Senate Republicans are suddenly opposed to having important legislation read in full, even bullying our Caucus and threatening to cut our staff in retaliation," said Senator
Gretchen Whitmer (D - East Lansing). "But they shouldn't really be upset about having the bill read, but rather what it does--continuing to attack Michigan's unemployed workers and treating them as the scapegoat of our economic woes rather than the solution to them."
"We should be helping our unemployed workers find jobs and be able to provide for their families while they look for work," said Senate Democratic Floor Leader
Tupac A. Hunter (D- Detroit). "Our unemployed workers are struggling enough without being further punished for being unable to find work. Senate Republicans should be offering proactive solutions to create jobs and rejuvenate our economy, not kicking displaced workers while their down."
Senate Bill 806 makes a number of additional exceptions to who is eligible for unemployment benefits in
Michigan and other revisions favorable to employers, bogging displaced workers down with additional bureaucracy as they simply try to make ends meet. This is just the Senate Republicans' latest attack on the unemployed in Michigan. In March, Senate Republicans passed HB 4408 that made Michigan eligible for a one-time federal Unemployment Insurance extension, but in the process, also permanently reduced the number of Michigan-paid unemployment benefits from 26 weeks to 20.
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Ann Coulter, conservative author and preferred provocateur among cable news bookers, was repeatedly bleeped during a recent appearance on "Morning Joe" on Tuesday. In the bleeped asides, Coulter apparently called John McCain a "douchebag."
Coulter was also cut for several seconds while discussing the consistency of current and former GOP candidates, including Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney and McCain.
"What did I say, 'douchebag'?" Coulter, realizing she had been bleeped, asked Joe Scarborough.
"We'll just blur it all out," Scarborough said.
"Well, they got the general drift," Coulter added.
On Monday, McCain appeared on "Imus in the Morning" on Fox Business, and was asked about his daughter Meghan's recent hiring by MSNBC.
"She went over to the dark side I guess," McCain said. "I am very proud of her. She's feisty. Being over there she is going to have to have quite a bit of that. I'm sure she will fight for the things she and I believe in."
UPDATE: Coulter later clarified her comments via Twitter: "I didn't call McCain a douchebag. I said consistency is overrated because, for example, McCain was consistently a dickweed."
By Rosalind S. Helderman
At a town hall meeting at the Institute of Politics at New Hampshire’s Saint Anselm’s College Tuesday, Rick Perry asked that all of the college students in the crowd who will be 21 by Nov. 12 support his bid for the presidency.
The voting age in the United States is, of course, 18. And the 2012 election will be held on Nov. 6, 2012. (The New Hampshire Republican primary, which brought Perry to the state, will take place on Jan. 10).
“Those who are going to be over 21 on November 12th, I ask for your support,” Perry said, eliciting a few chuckles from the crowd.” Those who won’t be, just work hard. Because you’re... counting on us.”
The gaffe can be easily chalked up to a slip of the tongue. In fact after the event Perry spokesman Mark Miner said simply “the governor misspoke.”
But whiffing on electoral basics will hardly help Perry as he struggles to recover from a series of gaffe-filled and lackluster debate performances (the most memorable of which was the “oops” moment during a Republican debate when Perry failed to recall the third government department he would eliminate as president).
Perry would love to capitalize on conservative displeasure with Herman Cain, as the businessman reassesses whether to stay in the 2012 race following allegations that he engaged in a 13-year extramarital affair.
But he will first have to convince voters that he has the verbal dexterity to go toe-to-toe with President Obama in a general election; repeated gaffes will likely hurt any effort to do so.
After the event, Perry ignored questions from reporters about Cain’s status in the race as he was hustled quickly from the college auditorium.
A Georgia woman says that she and Herman Cain engaged in a 13-year affair, but the GOP presidential candidate issued a preemptive denial on Monday.
In an interview with the local Fox affiliate in Atlanta, Ginger White said she met Cain in the 1990s and he invited her to meet him in Palm Springs. From there, she said, the affair took off and he flew her to places where he gave speeches and lavished her with gifts.
WATCH: Ginger White's interview with Atlanta Fox5 News
“He made it very intriguing,” White said. “It was fun. It was something that took me away from my humdrum life at the time. And it was exciting.
“It wasn't complicated. I was aware that he was married. And I was also aware I was involved in a very inappropriate situation, relationship.”
To substantiate her claims, White showed the Atlanta reporter phone records documenting 61 calls from a number that the reporter later traced to Cain. The calls were being made as late as September 2011; Cain, who has acknowledged a relationship with White but not an inappropriate one, responded to a text message to the phone number, but told the reporter he was helping her financially.
“This is not an accusation of harassment in the workplace – this is not an accusation of an assault - which are subject matters of legitimate inquiry to a political candidate,” said attorney Lin Wood, who Cain hired after several sexual harassment allegations surfaced against him earlier this month.
“Rather, this appears to be an accusation of private, alleged consensual conduct between adults - a subject matter which is not a proper subject of inquiry by the media or the public. No individual, whether a private citizen, a candidate for public office or a public official, should be questioned about his or her private sexual life.”
After being criticized for his slow response to sexual harassment allegations in recent weeks, the presidential candidate on Monday refuted the story by appearing on CNN the hour before White’s interview aired.
The former Godfather’s Pizza CEO told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that a story would break Monday night in which a woman is “going to accuse me of an affair for an extended period of time.”
Cain told CNN, “It is someone that I know, who is an acquaintance who I thought was a friend.”
The GOP presidential candidate later elaborated on their relationship, saying she was a “friend, because not having a job, et cetera and this sort of thing.” He said it was “premature” to talk about how long he had known the woman, and that his wife had not met her.
Cain didn’t offer other information, explaining, “I don't want to specify because I don't know what's in the story ... We will address these when they come out, but at this point, I just wanted to give you a heads up. I don't have anything to hide and we will address the details as we know them.”
Once the story broke Cain said, his attorney, L. Lin Wood, would respond.
Cain said he had spoken to his wife about the most recent accusation. “Her reaction was very similar to mine — ‘Here we go again.’ ... As long as my wife believes that I should stay in this race, I'm staying in this race.”
He concluded that he would have a “nice steak dinner” tonight, because he’s “done nothing wrong.”
Even as Cain denied the accusations on television, his lawyer told the station in a statement that his client would not be responding publicly.
“[T]his appears to be an accusation of private, alleged consensual conduct between adults — a subject matter which is not a proper subject of inquiry by the media or the public,” wrote Wood. “Mr. Cain ... has no obligation to discuss these types of accusations publicly with the media and he will not do so even if his principled position is viewed unfavorably by members of the media.”
After White’s accusations were made public, her attorney, Edward White, told CNN’s John King that White wasn’t likely to profit off them and had gone public after several media inquiries regarding her relationship with Cain.
“I’m concerned about whether or not she’ll be able to keep her job,” White said.
Earlier this month, Politico reported that two women were paid settlements over sexual harassment allegations against Cain from his time at the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s. One of the women went public, and two others ultimately accused Cain of sexual harassment. Cain denied ever sexually harassing anyone. His poll numbers initially withstood those allegations, but in recent days he has begun a downward slide.
White said she knows her name will be dragged through the mud, but that she felt it was important to get her story out, especially because she wasn’t happy about how Cain has treated his past accusers.
“I wanted to give my side, before it was thrown out there and made out to be something filthy,” White said. “Some people will look at this and say that is exactly what it is. I’m sorry for that.”
The Fox Atlanta report showed White has had financial problems, including evictions in recent years and a bankruptcy 23 years ago. She said she is struggling like many single mothers and is unemployed.
Sunday, November 27, 2011
This fact-packed exposé reveals all the dirty little secrets that Michele Bachmann would rather you didn't knowSince Michele Bachmann became a front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination, journalists have been plumbing the depths of the well-regarded blog Dump Bachmann for material on her. Now the bloggers themselves pour forth a decade's worth of research and analysis to show that, no matter what you've heard about Bachmann, there's worse. Much worse. After dogging her heels for the past decade, they reveal the blood-curdling truth about the woman who may well become the Republican Party’s 2012 presidential nominee.
- Describes Bachmann's faith-based antischool agenda and antigay crusade
- Explores her fellow travelers, her problematic pastors, and criminal supporters, any of whom could become her Rev. Jeremiah Wright
- Reveals the boondoggles she's supported, the pernicious legislation she's championed (but, fortunately, almost never passed), and her foreign policy, which boils down to Jesus will be her Secretary of Defense
- Exposes the truth behind the notorious "Bathroomgate" incident
- Uncovers the influence of outside money on Bachmann's campaigns, causes, and policies
More Information About this Book
Read a Sample Chapter
Thursday, November 24, 2011
Friday, November 18, 2011
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
By Timothy B. Lee | Published 4 months ago
Swartz is a founder of the advocacy organization Demand Progress. In a statement, Demand Progress executive director David Segal blasted the arrest. "It's like trying to put someone in jail for allegedly checking too many books out of the library," he said. Demand Progress also quoted James Jacobs, the Government Documents Librarian at Stanford University, who said that the arrest "undermines academic inquiry and democratic principles."
According to the complaint, Swartz purchased a laptop in September 2010 and registered it under the name "Gary Host" (username: "ghost") on the MIT network. He then ran a Python script that rapidly downloaded articles from the JSTOR. JSTOR detected the script and blocked his IP address. The complaint alleges that there followed a game of cat and mouse in which Swartz repeatedly changed his IP and MAC address to evade JSTOR and MIT's efforts to block access. Swartz also bought a second laptop to speed up the downloading process. Finally, on October 9, JSTOR gave up and and blocked the entire MIT campus from using JSTOR.
When JSTOR lifted the block a few weeks later, Swartz started using his downloading script once again. (Update: To be clear, Swartz resumed his downloading "a few weeks later," but the complaint doesn't say JSTOR access was blocked that whole time.) This time, he entered an MIT network closet, "hard-wired into the network and assigned himself two IP addresses. He hid the Acer laptop and a succession of external storage drives under a box in the closet, so that they would not be obvious to anyone who might enter the closet."
Swartz entered the networking closet for the last time in January. The complaint describes the scene: "As Swartz entered the wiring closet, he held his bicycle helmet like a mask to shield his face, looking through ventilation holes in the helmet. Swartz then removed his computer equipment from the closet, put it in his backpack, and left, again masking his face with the bicycle helmet before peering through a crack in the double doors and cautiously stepping out."
The complaint alleges that "Swartz intended to distribute a significant portion of JSTOR's archive of digitized journal articles through one or more file-sharing sites." But it offers no evidence for this claim. In fact, in astatement following the arrest, JSTOR acknowledged that "we secured from Mr. Swartz the content that was taken, and received confirmation that the content was not and would not be used, copied, transferred, or distributed."
Indeed, Wired reports that JSTOR, the alleged victim, has denied seeking Swartz's prosecution.
Open access to information has long been a passion for Swartz, and he has a history of using unorthodox and controversial means to pursue it. In 2008, he used an automated script to download more than 2 million documents from PACER, the website the federal judiciary uses to distribute court documents. PACER is ordinarily paywalled, but the judicial branch was experimenting with offering paywall-free access to selected libraries. Swartz used the program to circumvent the paywall. The effort led to an FBI investigation, but no charges were ever filed.
There's an important difference between PACER and JSTOR. As works of the federal government, PACER documents are in the public domain. In contrast, many JSTOR documents are protected by copyright. The PACER documents Swartz downloaded are now available for download. Distributing the JSTOR documents, in contrast, would be a clear case of copyright infringement.
Contacted by e-mail, Swartz declined to comment on what he was planning to do with the documents. But he pointed to his bio in the Demand Progress statement, which notes that "in conjunction with Shireen Barday, he downloaded and analyzed 441,170 law review articles to determine the source of their funding; the results werepublished in the Stanford Law Review."
It's not clear, then, whether this was an attempt to liberate the documents from behind the JSTOR paywall or whether he was intending to use the documents for a personal research project.
According to the Boston Globe, Swartz has been released on $100,000 bail.