Monday, October 31, 2011

Seven Billionth Baby’ Born

Seven Billionth Baby’ Born

‘Seven Billionth Baby’ BornWorld, meet your seven billionth member: The United Nations has symbolically chosen a Filipina baby, Danica May Camacho, to mark the population milestone. Camacho was born just before midnight Sunday, weighing 5.5 pounds. Some groups have disputed whether or not the world population has hit the seven billion mark, arguing that it is instead more likely to be crossed next year. Nevertheless, the U.N. named Oct. 31 “Seven Billion Day” as a way to highlight the challenges of the world’s growing population.

Cain Denounces Harassment Claims

Cain Denounces Harassment Claims

Herman Cain’s presidential campaign is pushing back hard against a Politico report alleging that at least two women accused him of misconduct when he ran the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s.
It is difficult to assess the potentially damaging allegations, as the article relies on unnamed sources, does not identify the women, and does not detail what is said to have happened. But the piece does say that the women received financial settlements in the five-figure range in leaving the trade group.
Asked for comment Sunday night, Cain’s vice president for communications, J.D. Gordon, responded with a statement titled “Inside the Beltway media attacks Cain.”

In the statement, Gordon accused the media of beginning “to launch unsubstantiated personal attacks on Cain.”

He added: “Dredging up thinly sourced allegations stemming from Mr. Cain’s tenure as the chief executive officer at the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s, political trade press are now casting aspersions on his character and spreading rumors that never stood up to the facts.”

Despite Gordon’s characterization of the “political trade press” assailing his boss, what is at issue here is a single report in Politico—one whose allegations Cain has declined to flatly deny.
Photos: Ranking Politics' Worst Sex Scandals
Steve Exum / Getty Images; Michael Loccisano / Getty Images
Politico says that “the women complained of sexually suggestive behavior by Cain that made them angry and uncomfortable” and that they later signed agreements barring them from talking about their departures. There were “conversations allegedly filled with innuendo or personal questions of a sexually suggestive nature,” the report says, as well as “descriptions of physical gestures that were not overtly sexual but that made women who experienced or witnessed them uncomfortable.” An unnamed source cited by Politico says one of the women cited “an unwanted sexual advance” by Cain at a hotel where an event was being held.
In an encounter Sunday outside CBS’s Washington bureau, where he had just appeared on Face the Nation, Cain told Politico he has “had thousands of people working for me” over the years and could not comment “until I see some facts or some concrete evidence.” He also declined to comment when given the name of one of the women said to be involved.
A Politico reporter asked, “Have you ever been accused, sir, in your life of harassment by a woman?” The Republican candidate is described as having glared at the reporter and, after the question had been repeated a third time, asking, “Have you ever been accused of sexual harassment?”
Gordon, without issuing a specific denial, portrayed Cain as a victim of larger forces: “Since Washington establishment critics haven’t had much luck in attacking Mr. Cain’s ideas to fix a bad economy and create jobs, they are trying to attack him in any way they can. Sadly, we’ve seen this movie played out before—a prominent conservative targeted by liberals simply because they disagree with his politics.” Cain has responded to past criticism by casting himself as an outsider taking on the Republican power structure.
In the article, Gordon said Cain was “vaguely familiar” with the situation and referred detailed questions to Peter Kilgore, the restaurant group’s general counsel, who held that job when Cain headed the association from 1996 to 1999. Kilgore told Politico he could not comment on personnel matters.
Whether the allegations become a serious impediment for Cain, the former pizza executive who has surged to the top of most GOP presidential polls, depends in part on how loudly they ricochet through the media echo chamber. Several weeks of bad publicity over mistakes and missteps on such matters asCain’s position on abortion and an electrified border fence have done little to slow his rise. Many voters appear to cut him considerable slack as an avowed non-politician.
The arc of the story will also depend on whether anyone comes forward to corroborate the allegations on the record, and whether the women choose to surface publicly. Politico quotes Denise Marie Fugo, chairwoman of the association’s board at the time of Cain’s departure, as calling him “very gracious” and saying of the allegations, “I have never heard that. It would be news to me.”
Even if confirmed, the allegations fall far short of what other politicians have been forced to acknowledge in the post-Lewinsky era. In describing comments that made subordinates uncomfortable, they are more reminiscent of Anita Hill’s complaints about Clarence Thomas, which became public during his 1991 Supreme Court confirmation hearings.
Bill Clinton remains enormously popular, despite his affair with a White House intern that led the House to impeach him. Newt Gingrich, one of Cain’s GOP rivals and the man who led the impeachment drive, has acknowledged having an affair with a House staffer who is now his third wife, Callista. Gavin Newsom was elected lieutenant governor of California last year despite admitting an affair with the wife of a former top aide.
Whether the allegations become a serious impediment for Cain depends in part on how loudly they ricochet through the media echo chamber.
On the other hand, Anthony Weiner was forced to give up his House seat earlier this year for sending graphic texts and nude photos to women he had never met.
The underfinanced Cain campaign relies heavily on television interviews, and it is hard to imagine that the candidate will not be forced to offer a more detailed explanation of what happened in the late 1990s.
One thing is clear: the fact that Herman Cain’s past is being dredged for dirt is a sign that he is finally being taken seriously as a presidential candidate—and that the most difficult part of his campaign may lie ahead.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Michele Bachmann: To Fight School Bullying, Eliminate U.S. Department Of Education

Michele Bachmann: To Fight School Bullying, Eliminate U.S. Department Of Education

Bachmann Bullying

Speaking at a campaign event in Davenport, Iowa, Rep. Michele Bachmann's (R-Minn.) responded to an audience member's question about what she would do about teen bullying in schools by reiterating her oft-repeated call for abolishing the U.S. Department of Education.
"I think that this is an issue that needs to be handled at the local level," Bachmann said. "I don't like to have the federal government involved in telling the local schools what to do. For one thing, there was no federal Department of Education until the late 1970s. So, I don't want the federal government involved. I actually want to end the federal Department of Education."
Republican presidential hopefuls have long expressed their desire for less federal intervention in American public schools, and most agree that the U.S. Department of Education should play a smaller role than it currently does. But Bachmann and Ron Paul are the only two that are calling for the department's complete elimination.
She had also said before at a California rally last month that bullying "is not a federal issue,"according to CBS News.
Bachmann said Friday that "bullying is a bad thing," and the way to address the issue is by lessening the federal role in public schools to empower parents "so they can have a stronger hand to stand up for their kids."
She added, "It's $1.8 billion that we spend on the federal Department of Education, and I want to send that money, I want to make sure that money goes back to the schools so that the schools can handle these issues."
The presidential hopeful was cast in the spotlight on issues surrounding school bullying as nine teens in a school district that falls in her Congressional district had committed suicide over the last two years. Several of those students were gay and reportedly acted as a result of being bullied, according to The Minnesota Independent.

But last month, the mother of a gay suicide victim submitted to Bachmann's office a boxcarrying 141,000 petitioning signatures to request that the congresswoman denounce the anti-gay bullying that the mother said led to her then-15-year-old son's death.
Marking the first official public statement that Bachmann had issued that addresses gay bullying in Minnesota's Anoka-Hennepin Schools, Bachmann's response to the mother's petition said that "bullying is wrong"and that she is "very aware and concerned about the cases of bullying and suicides that have occurred."
Recently, the death of Jamey Rodemeyer has cast a national spotlight on gay bullying in schools,particularly the complex emotional and social issues that lead to extreme measures like 14-year-old Rodemeyer's suicide. The teenager killed himself after posting a viral "It Gets Better" video, and his case drew further national attention when Lady Gaga vowed on Twitter to make bullying illegal --even going to the president himself to address the issue.
A recent video shows a school bully waiting inside a classroom for a gay student, so he could beat the victim to the ground. To combat bullying, victims are taking to other measures -- like plastic surgery -- just so the harassment stops.
Joining Lady Gaga in the public fight against school bullying is a host of prominent figures and organizations, including rapper Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson, Tyra Banks and popular children's showSesame Street.
From CNN, watch what else Bachmann had to say:

Friday, October 28, 2011

The Meaning of Politics


Poli - from the Latin word meaning many.
Tics - from the English blood sucking creatures.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Wayne Newton's approval kiss to Michele Bachmann doesn’t stay in Vegas (Video)

Wayne Newton's approval kiss to Michele Bachmann doesn’t stay in Vegas (Video)

Wayne Newton must be questioning the motto “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.” The entertainer and superstar appeared on Tuesday night with the Republican candidate Michele Bachmann on live television on Fox. Now people are expecting to see exactly how he kissed the candidate as the video clip is one of the hottest political looks on social media.
While the FOX news show On The Record with Greta Van Susteren was expecting Herman Cain to be on set, a cancellation meant finding someone who had ratings pull, lived in Vegas and knew politics. Well qualified or not, the only famous guy found for the job was Wayne Newton.
Standing next to Michele Bachmann, the entertainer was holding on to her in a couple pose and it was obvious, Newton was there for a show. While the interview continued towards the end it was very subtle that Wayne Newton was working his charm and at the end of the interview he gave her a kiss.
It was a parting moment that only Las Vegas could provide. The two were an odd combination of an entertainer who is in the business to entertain and a politician trying to make her points on camera. And in the end it was an awkward goodbye.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

[Occupytimessquare] 1 Marine vs. 30 Cops (Marine Wins)

United States Marine Corps. Sgt. Shamar Thomas from Roosevelt, NY went toe to toe with the New York Police Department. An activist in the Occupy Wall Street movement, Thomas voiced his opinions of the NYPD police brutality that had and has been plaguing the #OWS movement.

Thomas is a 24-year-old Marine Veteran (2 tours in Iraq), he currently plays amateur football and is in college.

Thomas comes from a long line of people who sacrifice for their country: Mother, Army Veteran (Iraq), Step father, Army, active duty (Afghanistan), Grand father, Air Force veteran (Vietnam), Great Grand Father Navy veteran (World War II).

Monday, October 17, 2011

Trump dialing into Bachmann tele-town hall

Michele Bachmann
Republican presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., is greeted as she arrives for a campaign events, Oct. 9, 2011, in Moultonboro, N.H. 
(Credit: (AP Photo/Jim Cole))
PERRY, Iowa -- Donald Trump's headquarters in New York City has been a regular campaign stop for leading Republican presidential hopefuls, with Mitt Romney, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, businessman Herman Cain and Rep. Michele Bachmann all paying a visit.
But Bachmann was able to get Trump to return the favor, with the business mogul agreeing to be a featured guest during her campaign's national tele-town hall on October 17. It's the first town hall - by telephone or in person - that Trump has participated for any presidential candidate.
During the call, Bachmann and Trump will discuss economic issues while taking questions from the listening audience. Bringing in Trump adds some starpower to the struggling Bachmann campaign, which posted underwhelming third-quarter fundraising numbers and has sagged in national polls.
Before meeting with Trump last Thursday morning, Bachmann praised Trump effusively on national television.
"He's very bold, and I like him on a personal level," she said on "Fox and Friends" Thursday morning. "He has a great personality."

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Michele Bachmann Accidentally Calls for Higher Taxes On The Wealthy

Michele Bachmann Accidentally Calls for Higher Taxes On The Wealthy

During a Thursday morning appearance on Fox News, Michele Bachmann announced her intention to roll back 30 years of tax breaks for the wealthy by going back to the tax rates under Ronald Reagan.

“For my tax plan, I take a page out of one of my great economists that I admire, Ronald Reagan,” Bachmann stated. “And under my tax plan I want to adopt the Reagan tax plan. It brought the economic miracle of the 1980s. Why not go with what works? I want to reinstitute the Reagan tax model from the 1980s.”

Of course Bachmann just made an accidental gaffe. Any intelligent person knows that tax rates were much higher during the Reagan Administration, including taxes on the wealthy and corporations. During Reagan’s first year in office, the top tax rate was 70%, and from 1982 to 1986, the top tax rate was 50%. So, I agree with Bachmann, let’s go back to those rates so we can see the economy flourish once again.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Cain's 9-9-9 Plan Has No Chance

Cain's 9-9-9 Plan Has No Chance

The ex-pizza executive is getting traction on the presidential campaign trail with a national sales tax. But Howard Kurtz reports that the proposal is tilted against the poor and faces opposition in both parties. Plus, Jill Lawrence on Cain's advisers.

Herman Cain’s much-touted 9-9-9 plan, which is fueling his surge to frontrunner status, is a radical departure that would generate plenty of problems, from slashing federal revenue to making it more expensive for the poor to buy everyday goods.
That, at least, is what many economists across the spectrum say after studying the sketchy outlines. But not to worry: senior aides in both parties say such a scheme would have 0-0-0 chance of passing Congress.
The plan, which became a major focus of Tuesday’s GOP debate in New Hampshire, has the appeal of simplicity. “I can explain it in a minute,” Cain told The Daily Beast. “All taxpayers play by the exact same rules. That’s what people love about it.” The question is whether they will be less enamored once they learn some of the details.
The one-minute explanation: corporate taxes, now close to 40 percent, would be cut to 9 percent. Federal income taxes, now as high as 35 percent, would be cut to 9 percent. And consumers would pay a national sales tax of 9 percent for all products, on top of any state and local levies—bringing the total in New York City, for instance, to 17.875 percent. (It’s not clear whether services would be included.)
That’s good news if you’re a big company or upper-bracket taxpayer, but not so much if you’re a low-income working stiff. While Cain denies that his plan would be regressive, the working poor tend to spend most or all of their pay, which would be taxed every time they buy something. Michael Ettlinger, a vice president at the liberal Center for American Progress, says the plan would impose “the biggest shift from the wealthy to the middle class in the history of taxation, ever, anywhere.”
Cain 2012

Republican presidential hopeful Herman Cain gestures during a speech at the Values Voter Summit on Friday, Oct. 7, 2011, in Washington., Evan Vucci / AP Photo

That’s not just the left-wing view. Bruce Bartlett, an adviser in the Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations, says that 9-9-9 is unfair to working taxpayers. “It’s the most upside-down tax plan that’s been put forward to tax the poor and the middle class,” he says. “It’s rather insane it’s gotten as much attention as it has. It’s a waste of my time to attack it.” What’s more, Bartlett says of what Cain has made public, “there is not nearly enough information on which to do a serious analysis.” The Cain campaign wasn’t answering questions about it on Wednesday.
Daniel Shaviro, a New York University law professor who specializes in taxation, calls the plan “not viable.” For rich people—defined as those who work for themselves and don’t have to take a salary—it essentially becomes an 18 percent total tax on all money. But for poor people collecting a paycheck, Shaviro says, it amounts to a 27 percent tax. “It’s a disservice to public debate to have people think it’s so simple,” he says.
Then there’s the question of who is covered. At the moment, just under 50 percent of all those filing returns pay no income taxes, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation. They would be hit with the 9 percent sales tax.
But that is a plus, in Cain’s view. “Everybody’s going to pay less taxes,” he insisted in a recent interview. “When you’ve got more people paying taxes, everybody’s got some skin in the game. But because the base is bigger, everybody’s net taxes will go down.”
That expectation seems to rest in part on the logic of the old Laffer curve, the Reagan-era theory that if you cut taxes, you liberate the economy and more money flows into the Treasury. But “there’s not one iota of evidence to show that that works,” says Bartlett, noting that the Bush tax cuts simply blew a bigger hole in the federal deficit.
Speaking of the deficit, the former pizza executive claims his plan would be revenue-neutral. BusinessWeek estimated that his approach would have brought in $1.96 trillion, based on 2010 figures, compared to $2.16 trillion in actual tax collections; others say the gap would be far wider.
Getting rid of the payroll tax, as Cain proposes, would undoubtedly be popular. So would blowing up the capital gains tax, especially for those with big holdings in stocks and bonds, and the estate tax, for those with sizable sums to leave to their heirs. And corporations will love that profits earned overseas can be brought back to this country tax-free.
But with Cain eliminating most other tax deductions, including the break for home mortgages, every special-interest lobbyist on the planet would try to modify or block the measure. And that means 9-9-9 would have no hope of becoming law in its current form.
“The reason it would never happen is that any overlay of a consumption tax on top of an income tax is an absolute nonstarter for conservatives,” says a senior Republican staffer on the Hill. “It is a way for Washington to stealthily continue to raise taxes. Everywhere there is a value added tax and an income tax, the VAT continues to creep up and is a way for a government to increase taxes.”
Former Sen. Rick Santorum pressed this argument in the debate, saying: “How many people believe that we’ll keep the income tax at 9 percent? Anybody?” Cain countered that he would ask Congress to require a two-thirds vote before the tax could be raised.
With Cain eliminating most tax deductions, every special-interest lobbyist on the planet would try to modify or block the measure.
Another major concern: “It’s unclear how much revenue 9-9-9 would bring in,” says the GOP staffer. “In times of debts and deficits like we’re in today, Republicans could not enact something that would decrease revenue levels because we would go further into debt.”
A top Democratic House staffer offered a similar verdict: “From what we know about it, it would be a tax shift to the middle class and to the lower class. It’s pretty obvious that something like that would be dead on arrival.”
Still, the notion of simplifying the tax code is a popular one in conservative GOP circles. Rep. Rob Woodall, a freshman from Georgia, introduced a national consumption tax bill this year with 47 co-sponsors, all Republicans. Woodall would replace all income, corporate, capital gains, and estate taxes with a 23 percent levy on goods and services. (He would subsidize those living below the poverty line by sending them a “prebate” check to cover basic living expenses.)
Rep. Michael Burgess of Texas is pushing an alternate plan to allow individuals and corporations to opt out of the current system and instead pay a 19 percent flat tax for the first two years, followed by a 17 percent rate tax after that.
For all its sudden notoriety, the Cain blueprint is only what he describes as Phase 1. In Phase 2, Cain says he would “end the IRS as we know it” by junking individual and corporate income taxes altogether and replacing them with a consumption tax. Why doesn’t he propose that now? A posting at the Tea Party group FreedomWorks says the rate, to raise enough revenue, would have to be around 25 percent for everything you buy—and that would cause “sticker shock,” especially for lower wage-earners.
Cain had trouble selling his centerpiece recently on Fox News Sunday. “It looks to us like under your plan, corporations and the wealthy will pay considerably less than they currently do, and lower-income people particularly, the 45 percent, roughly, of Americans who don’t pay income tax now will end up paying a lot more,” host Chris Wallace said.
Cain was quick to challenge that accounting. But if he continues his surge—and he has a 4-point edge over Mitt Romney in the latest NBC/Wall Street Journal poll—9-9-9 is going to get far more scrutiny than when he was a sideshow candidate with a catchy slogan.