Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Ann Coulter​ Advocates Shooting Occupy Protesters

By: Jonathan Moormann

Not everyone agrees with the Occupy Wall Street movement, nor do they have to. Many might not even sympathize with the protesters when they are shot with tear gas cannisters, beaten with nightsticks, or sprayed with pepper spray. But it takes a special breed of *sshole to publicly wish for a repeat of the Kent State shootings. As it turns out, Ann Coulter is that kind of *sshole.

In case you don't want to listen to the whole spiel, here's the relevant quote from Coulter: "So at the moment anyway, I mean I don't know what's going to happen in New York today, but at the moment I'm not really worried of a movement like SDS which really swept a lot of the college campuses... taking over. Of course if it does, just remember the lesson from my book: it just took a few shootings at Kent State to shut that down for good." And here's another, just in case you weren't convinced: "This is the first time they got bullets back... and that put an end to the protests pretty quickly." If you'd like to read the full transcript, MediaMatters has it here.

Let's ignore her "creative" interpretation of the Vietnam era and the aftershocks of the Kent State shootings. This is a media figure publicly endorsing that we repeat a national tragedy by firing upon the Occupy protesters. Not with riot control methods, but with actual, lethal bullets. It's mind boggling that this woman continues to get public appearances and book deals, because she is the absolute worst face of partisan politics.

Randi Rhodes: OWS Evictions & GOP Embarrassments

In Los Angeles, police used cherry pickers to pluck Occupy protestors from the trees. That’s appropriate—they’ve cherry-picked Occupy as a protest to crack down on as opposed to, say, a Tea Party rally. A cherry picker! We told you that police were using military equipment and tactics. Now it seems they’re also using farm equipment.

Speaking at a New Hampshire college, Rick Perry said “Those of you that will be 21 by November the 12th, I ask for your support and your vote.” The voting age is 18, for those of you who missed the 26th Amendment. I knew Republicans were trying to restrict voting, but this is getting out of hand. Amazingly, Perry squeezed another major gaffe into that one sentence. He mentioned November 12th as election day. For one thing, the general election is scheduled for November 6th, not November 12th. Second, that date will be meaningless to Rick if he doesn’t win the nomination, and New Hampshire’s primary election is January 10th. Congratulations, Rick—you just wrongly told most of your audience they’re too young to vote, and sent the rest of them to the polls on the wrong day. I have some advice for Republicans—do NOT put Rick Perry in charge of “get out the vote” efforts.

The New York Times is out with an investigative piece showing that Newt Gingrich’s “consulting” business is nothing but lobbying, pure and simple. The first clue? We’re talking about Newt Gingrich. Newt has been trying to portray himself as a visionary who offers his clients ideas. Newt, we’ve seen your ideas, and there’s no market for them. None of his clients gave a crap what Newt Gingrich knew. All they cared about was who he knew. Newt always tries to hide behind the fact that he’s not a registered lobbyist. That just tells you that we have to be a lot tougher about who has to register as a lobbyist. If Newt Gingrich isn’t a lobbyist, then nobody in Washington is a lobbyist. And that’s pretty much what Republicans would like you to believe.

Ginger White, the woman who had the affair with Cain, says Cain “consistently” gave her money, but it wasn’t “sex for cash.” Yes, and what Newt Gingrich did was not lobbying. Ginger, just say you were being paid to have sex. That’s better than having people think that you were having sex with Herman Cain because you wanted to.

Today’s Homework | Discuss

Herman Cain whined about being 'attacked' for his 'solid ideas' earlier today...

Thom Hartmann: Here's a compromise to extend the payroll tax cut...

Thom plus logo
Average working Americans could get screwed. Republicans may agree to extend the payroll tax cut for middle class Americans after all...just as long millionaires and billionaires don't have to cough up a dime. Yesterday - Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Republicans are on board with extending the payroll tax cut - but are opposed to the Democrats plan, which pays for it with a 3% surtax on people who make more than a million bucks. Instead - Republicans will offer their own plan to pay for the tax cut - likely one that takes money away from the social safety net.
Essentially - Republicans are willing to let taxes go up on 113 million households to prevent 345,000 millionaires from a meager tax increase. That's the definition of protecting the 1% at the expense of the 99%. But here's a compromise - extend the payroll tax cut - and pay for it by eliminating the Social Security cap - so that millionaires and billionaires pay the same social security tax rate as janitors.
Not only that - lifting the cap keeps Social security solvent for the next 75 years. Let's see if Republicans go along with that idea.
(Do you think they will? Tell us here.)

Councilmember Gabelich Confirms Interceding on Behalf of Occupy Long Beach

by Greggory Moore
10:30am | Councilmember Rae Gabelich has confirmed that Occupy Long Beach reached her Saturday with word of police plans to confiscate OLB property, that the city council had not been informed of any such plans, and that she took steps to intervene on OLB's behalf.

The Long Beach Police Department, meanwhile, has so far declined to comment on their original plans and whether those plans were altered, as well as on why police were more tolerant of OLB's civil disobedience Sunday than they had been previously.

Gabelich tells the Long Beach Post that when OLB acquainted her with their understanding of LBPD plans, "I reached out to [City Manager] Pat West and told him, 'This wasn't what we asked for you to do.' … [He] said, 'No, there's got to be a miscommunication there. That is not the instruction, and I will verify that with Chief McDonnell' … [and] that he would call me back if they were planning that. I never heard back from him, so I assumed [the police] were not going to do that."

According to OLB, at 4:00pm Sunday, the LBPD and the group came to an understanding that if OLB made an effort to eliminate some of what had been accumulated, police would not confiscate any property. OLB did as asked, and not only was no property confiscated, but police responded to OLB's gathering of roughly 80 persons with only six officers, who made no serious effort to clear Lincoln Park after 10:00pm, leaving the scene by 10:30pm with the park still heavily occupied.

Gabelich has been consistent in her support for OLB -- it was her motion at the November 15 city council meeting that called for a report to council "on the practices of other cities to accommodate the Occupy protestors, and a discussion of options the City may consider to provide a free-speech zone or other means to address the issue" -- but she says a clean Occupation "to me is a big deal."

She notes, however, that while some other cities' Occupations have been unsanitary, her understanding is that this is a non-issue with OLB.

One thing Gabelich does not say is that Lincoln Park is necessarily the right place for our Occupation.

"I know they want to stay there, and that to them 'occupy' means to spend 24-hours-a-day there," she says. "Well, maybe in the end that isn't going to be what's possible. But they certainly need a place to gather. … I support what they're doing, and hopefully we can find a place for them to gather that gets their message out to the public. … The whole country is having this experience. And there are people that say they believe in the cause but don't understand the message (or lack of a message); or there are those that say they appreciate the cause, 'but not in my backyard.' I don't think we should be among the NIMBYs."

Noting that OLB has informed her that, despite the city council's explicit instructions, its members have not been consulted in the compilation of the above-mentioned report, Gabelich is not completely satisfied that to date the council's will is being carried out.

"'We gave you the mission to come back with some ideas, and you haven't even met with these people yet,'" Gabelich reports saying to West. "And he said they were working within the department first to come up with some ideas, they would be meeting with [OLB] this week, and [the council] should have what asked for by the end of the week. … He said the holiday had [interfered with the process], and I said, 'Wait a minute, Pat -- it's been two weeks.' So he knows that we're all looking at him, expecting … some kind of a solution. This week will tell the story."

West did not immediately reply to the Long Beach Post's request for comment.

Why You Should Care About The Occupy Movement

Why You Should Care About The Occupy Movement from John Knott on Vimeo.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Randi Rhodes: Accusers & Losers

Have you heard that Herman Cain is in a new scandal? My first question would be “Who was Herman Cain?” That name sounds familiar. Oh yes, now I remember. Herman Cain was last month’s Newt Gingrich. Herman is the one who replaced Dick Perry or Rick Perry, or whatever his name was. A woman has come forward to say that she was involved for 13-years in an extramarital affair with Herman Cain. The woman said the affair ended 8 months ago when Cain was preparing to run for president. That’s what prospective candidates have to do—end the extramarital affairs, wrap up the half million line of credit at Tiffany’s, and fire the landscapers that use illegal immigrants. Herman, learn to embrace these occasional scandals. From here on, that’s the only time anyone is going to pay attention to you.

Meanwhile, Newt Gingrich is every bit as consistently hypocritical as Mitt Romney is consistently inconsistent. Newt has absolutely no self-awareness. But then, if you were Newt Gingrich, would you want to be aware of yourself? There isn’t very much that Newt Gingrich should be able to criticize other people for, because there isn’t much that Newt Gingrich hasn’t done wrong himself. You know what they say about people who live in glass houses. Well, Newt Gingrich lives in a glass mansion on a glass estate, with glass guest houses, glass tennis courts, an Olympic sized glass swimming pool, and a 16-hole glass golf course.

Michele Bachmann has revealed that she wasn’t invited to junior or senior prom in high school. Too bad you didn’t know Marcus back in high school, Michele. I’m sure he would have taken you to the prom. In fact, I bet he would have offered to design your dress.

A battle is shaping up in the Senate over how to handle terrorism detainees. The legislation being considered would require that terrorism suspects be handled by military courts, with the possibility of a waiver if a civilian court seems preferable. Basically, the waiver gives the authorities the option of obeying the Constitution… if they want to. We aren’t supposed to be a country that’s run by a junta of generals like some South American banana republic. Even South American banana republics don’t operate that way anymore.

And yesterday was the biggest Cyber Monday ever! And nobody got pepper sprayed, shot at, or had their body trampled. My only question is, why wait until Monday to do online shopping? Anybody with a lick of sense would be shopping online on Black Friday instead of being involved in a fistfight over a $2 waffle maker.

Today’s Homework | Discuss

Scott Olsen, the Iraq vet who had his skull cracked by police at Occupy Oakland, is out of the hospital but continues to struggle with his speech...

Thom Hartmann: Courts have Ruled about little Green Pieces of Fabric - Money & Tents

Thom plus logo
Now more than 24 hours past their eviction deadline - Occupy L.A. is still camped outside of City Hall - and patriots are turning to the courts to keep it that way. According to the Los Angeles Times, Occupy L.A. filed a court complaint yesterday arguing that the city's looming crackdown represents an "unconstitutional deprivation of access to [the] traditional public forum...for first amendment activity." Occupy L.A. is also attacking "anti-camping" laws - claiming that police are selectively enforcing the law - arresting people with the Occupy movement for camping - but letting more than 500 people camp out without a permit just weeks ago while they waited for the new "Twilight" movie to open.
After the NYPD raided Zuccotti Park two weeks ago - a judge ruled that camping gear is not an expression of free speech - thus allowing the city to ban people from bringing sleeping bags and tarps into public parks - effectively killing any chance of rebuilding the Occupy Wall Street community.
Apparently we live in a nation where the courts have ruled that little green pieces of fabric - money - is a form of free speech, but big green pieces of fabric - tents - are not.
(What do you think? Tell us here.)

Monday, November 28, 2011

Wall Street Banks Earned Billions In Profits Off $7.7 Trillion In Secret Fed Loans Made During The Financial Crisis

Wall Street Banks Earned Billions In Profits Off $7.7 Trillion In Secret Fed Loans Made During The Financial Crisis: pIn the lead-up to the financial crisis that crippled the American economy and plunged the country into a recession, the Federal Reserve made trillions in undisclosed loans to struggling banks and financial institutions, according to official documents obtained by Bloomberg News. Six of the country’s largest banks then turned those loans into more than $13 [...]/p

Randi Rhodes: Brutal Consumerism

If you went shopping on Black Friday, I hope you’ve recovered... literally, for some of you. There were fights, assaults, and even shootings at Black Friday sales around the country. On the upside, sales were bigger than ever. By the end of Black Friday, the only things left on the floor of a lot of stores were pools of blood, and the occasional body. People! Enough with the violence at the shopping centers! They don’t call it the “mall” because you go there and maul people!

A woman in California sprayed the crowd with pepper spray so she could get her hands on a discounted Xbox video game console. They say these video games encourage violence. Putting them on sale sure seems to. Video of the incident shows chaos as shoppers try to cover their burning eyes. I hope the Walmart had the good sense to announce a sale on Visine in the pharmacy department. At another Walmart, a riot broke out over $2 waffle makers. OK, fighting over merchandise is just plain wrong, and fighting over a $2 waffle maker is just plain stupid. What are you going to do with that $2 waffle maker this Christmas? The riot for it was all over the news—anybody you give it to will know that you only paid $2 for it.

The Occupy movement was urging boycotts of big chain stores. They couldn’t very well have tried to occupy any of the big stores on Black Friday—they would have had to have lined up way in advance along with all those losers waiting for a $2 waffle maker. I’m sure the Occupy people didn’t want to be anywhere near any Walmarts on Black Friday. They’ve had enough experience getting hit with pepper spray, thank you very much.

I thought someday the 99 percent would rise up and make their demands heard. I just didn’t think that their demand would be for $2 waffle makers. Maybe we could take some of the energy that’s being used to fight with fellow shoppers over cheap merchandise and direct it toward creating a standard of living for the 99 percent that doesn’t require us to fight over scraps.

Today’s Homework | Discuss

The Democratic National Committee has rolled out a new ad pitting Mitt against Mitt...

Thom Hartmann: Is this really the nation we want to be?

Thom plus logo
Our culture is screwed. Fueled by Black Friday - total spending over the four-day Thanksgiving weekend hit a record of $52.4 billion. But the real question is - at what cost to our society? This year's Black Friday featured its usual flare of violence, desperation, and death. At a Wal Mart in Little Rock, Arkansas dozens of shoppers rioted over $2 waffle makers. At a Wal Mart in Arizona - trampling injuries were reported as hundreds rushed the door when it opened. At the same Wal Mart - a man was pepper sprayed by police for shoplifting - giving nearby customers a dose of the chemical weapon as well.
Keeping up with the times - a woman in a Los Angeles Wal Mart resorted to pepper spraying fellow shoppers to clear the way toward X-Boxes that were on sale. There were gunshots outside a North Carolina Wal Mart - a bomb scare at a Phoenix Wal Mart - and a brawl at a Pittsburgh Victoria's Secret over women's underwear. But most disturbing was what happened in a West Virginia Target - where a man collapsed on the ground and was ignored by shoppers who simply walked over his body to grab bargains rather than helping him. By the time someone did help 61-year-old Walter Vance - it was too late - he died at the hospital.
Economic stimulus aside - is this really the nation we want to be??
(What do you think? Tell us here.)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Randi Rhodes: Fright Night 14

Happy Thanksgiving!

Randi's out today but will return live on Monday (11/28). Our good friend Nicole Sandler is filling in; she'll recap last night's GOP debate - the fourteenth so far - and welcome the following guests:

Joshua Hersh of the Huffington Post, live from Cairo, Egypt, where the violence on the streets and in Tarhir Square has escalated and real democracy may be further away than we have hoped.

For Nicole, Thanksgiving is 'Forever Day', the anniversary of the day she adopted her daughter. Nicole will talk with Robert LaMarche, one of the first gay men in Florida to adopt a child with his partner.

Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) is making his second appearance this week on Randi's show to help focus on hunger and inequality this Thanksgiving. Rep. Deutch and DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wassermann Schultz recently took the 2011 Food Stamp Challenge and lived on a food budget of just $4.50 a day.

Finally, John Fugelsang will join Nicole - from his mother's house - to talk about family, Thanksgiving, tradition... and the Sexy Liberal Comedy Show, coming to Ft. Lauderdale this December.

Call Nicole at 866-87-RANDI (866-877-2634)

Nicole’s blog

Today’s Randi Rhodes homework

Randi’s message board

Randi’s comedy bit archive

Randi on Facebook & Twitter

Gobble gobble...

Thom Hartmann: 45% of ALL Americans live without economic security...

Thom plus logo
Nearly half of all Americans are screwed. According to a new study by the organization Wider Opportunities for Women - 45% of ALL Americans live without economic security - meaning they can't afford all the basics of life - like food, clothing, transportation, and medical care. Again - that's nearly half of the population in economic insecurity. And MORE than half - 55% of all children - live in economic insecurity.
But two specific proposals to help address this problem - the payroll tax and extended unemployment benefits - are set to expire at the end of the year. And despite the disastrous economic effects of not extending these programs - Republicans are dragging their feet - and will likely turn this into another hostage scenario. Based on analysis by the group Macroeconomic Advisers - allowing the payroll tax cut to expire will cost our economy 400,000 jobs and shrink GDP by a half-percent. And expiring extended unemployment benefits will kill another 200,000 jobs.
So what will Republicans do? I'm guessing they'll threaten to crash the economy, unless Democrats agree to more tax cuts for the top 1% - or the privatization of Medicare and Social Security.
(What do you think they will do? Tell us here.)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Randi Rhodes: Got 'Em Cornered

President Obama has vowed to veto any attempt by Congress to avoid the automatic budget cuts that were mandated as the price of Super Committee failure. The President was essentially asking Congress “What part of ‘automatic’ don’t you understand?” The automatic budget cuts were set up to be the price that would have to be paid for failure to reach agreement. Now Republicans don’t want to pay the price for what they did. But then that’s how we got into this budget mess in the first place.

When they let the Super Committee fail, Republicans assumed they could renege on the deal. Now President Obama is telling them that they have to face the consequences of their action... or lack of action, as the case may be. The thing that killed any chance of a deal was Republican refusal to budge on taxes, not Democratic insistence on protecting entitlement programs. The problem wasn’t Democratic sacred cows, it was Republican bull. You should blame Grover Norquist. How can you know? Because the Wall Street Journal says you should thank Grover Norquist.

Herman Cain says he was relieved when he learned that a surgeon who was going to operate on him was a Christian. I look for a lot of things in a surgeon, but over-reliance on faith is not one of them. Cain said he was worried when he was told his surgeon’s name was Dr. Abdallah. Wow. Herman, you have some things wrong with you that no doctor can fix.

Finally, a new study shows that people who watch Fox News actually know less about what is going on than people who don’t watch any news at all. In other words, you’re better informed not knowing anything than you are knowing the stuff you get from Fox News. You’re better off being uninformed than you are being misinformed—uninformed people can find out the truth, but if you tell the truth to misinformed people, they’ll argue against it. A researcher said “there is something about watching Fox News that leads people to do worse on these questions than those who don’t watch any news at all.” That “something” has a name—and it’s Bill O’Reilly. And Brian Kilmeade. And Sean Hannity. And whatever the names of those blonde women are.

Today’s Homework | Discuss

48 years ago today...

Thom Hartmann: The Danger of GOP TV's Fox so-called News...

Thom plus logo
According to a new study - you're better off watching no news than GOP TV's Fox so-called News. Farleigh Dickinson University surveyed New Jersey residents about the uprisings in the Middle East - and it turns out people who get their news from Fox are 18-points less likely to know that Egyptians overthrew their government compared to people who watch absolutely no news at all.
Similar results were seen when Fox viewers were asked questions about the Syrian uprising too. I guess all the chatter about the Muslim Brotherhood over at GOP TV distracted viewers from the actual news taking place.
So isn't it about time to strip the word "news" from Fox - and just call the network what it really is - what Roger Ailes envisioned when he first proposed it to Richard Nixon in the 1970's - GOP TV?
(Have you noticed this among the people you know? Tell us here.)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Great Facebook Status - l had to Share!

Basically what our government is saying is, "We screwed up and misspent your money so badly, we're going to have to steal your retirement and emergency unemployment funds, and take more of what you make." They'll call it entitlement as if it's strange to think that being entitled to your accounts is just selfish. I say, Fire them all.

Randi Rhodes: Super Fail

It looks like the so-called “Super Committee” is going to fail to reach a deficit reduction agreement. Democrats and Republicans can’t agree. You know what that means—Republicans won’t agree. Well, it’s not so much that Republicans don’t want an agreement. They would be fine with an agreement… as long as they agreed with everything in it.

The failure to reach a deal triggers big automatic spending cuts to defense spending. And Republicans immediately began trying to disarm the trigger. This is the only situation in which you will ever see Republicans in favor of a trigger lock. Republicans may be trying to avoid the automatic budget cut consequences of the failure to reach an agreement, but they can’t avoid the political consequences. Of course, for Republicans, the only consequences that matter are political consequences. Now the Bush tax cuts will be at the forefront of the 2012 election campaign. Pundits say this will make it easy to portray Republicans as the party of the rich. You know what else makes that easy? The fact that Republicans ARE the party of the rich.

Newt Gingrich has told the Occupy Wall Street protestors “go get a job after you take a bath.” Funny, every time I hear Newt Gingrich open his mouth, I want to take a hot shower. Ironically, the things that make Newt Gingrich dirty aren’t the kinds of things that wash off. If you sleep outside for several weeks, you can clean up with a bath. If you sleep with lobbying clients like Freddie Mac, the stain stays with you.

Newt also spoke out against child labor laws. Really. Most people look at little children, and they see the future. Newt Gingrich looks at little children and sees an untapped labor pool. “Hey! Why is that little kid just sitting behind a desk and pushing a pencil, when he could be pushing a broom?” Here’s Newt’s plan for schools: “Schools ought to get rid of the unionized janitors, have one master janitor and pay local students to take care of the school.” Kids don’t talk back. And they sure as hell don’t unionize. The beautiful part of Newt’s plan is that, with all the students spending all their time mopping floors, you can get rid of all those unionized teachers too! Really, I think Newt just came up with a way to turn our schools into workhouses.

Today’s Homework | Discuss

Everything old is new again - Charlie Chaplin in 'The Great Dictator' (1940)...

Thom Hartmann: Who's screwed? American patriots....

Thom plus logo
American patriots practicing their first amendment rights to free speech. Two campus police officers with the University of California, Davis are on paid administrative leave after video surfaced over the weekend of them dousing a group of occupying patriots sitting peacefully on the sidewalk with a can of pepper spray. In addition - calls on campus are growing for the Chancellor of the University, Linda Katehi, to resign, since she was the one who ordered the police in to break up the occupation. She has since apologized and has promised an investigation into the use of excessive force. Meanwhile - cops patrolling the Occupy Boston encampment are hoping the weather will finish off the patriots in Bean Town. In the last few days - as temperatures dropped - police have been confiscating materials like insulation and winterized tents.
As one member of Occupy Boston said about the police, "they are trying to cause people to freeze...they're trying to flush us out." On top of that - DC lobbying firms are getting in the game too. A leaked memo from a lobbying group outlines a plan to destroy the Occupy Wall Street Movement with "opposition research" and "negative narratives" for the small price tag of $850,000 - to be paid for by the American Bankers Association.
When it comes to the 99% Movement - free speech is literally being chilled.
(What do you think the occupiers will do next? Tell us here.)

Rep. Deutch Introduces OCCUPIED Constitutional Amendment To Ban Corporate Money In Politics

Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) is tackling corporate money in politics head on.

In one of the greatest signs yet that the 99 Percenters are having an impact, Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL), a member of the House Judiciary Committee, today introduced an amendment that would ban corporate money in politics and end corporate personhood once and for all.

Deutch’s amendment, called the Outlawing Corporate Cash Undermining the Public Interest in our Elections and Democracy (OCCUPIED) Amendment, would overturn the Citizens United decision, re-establishing the right of Congress and the states to regulate campaign finance laws, and to effectively outlaw the ability of for-profit corporations to contribute to campaign spending.

“No matter how long protesters camp out across America, big banks will continue to pour money into shadow groups promoting candidates more likely to slash Medicaid for poor children than help families facing foreclosure,” said Deutch in a statement provided to ThinkProgress. “No matter how strongly Ohio families fight for basic fairness for workers, the Koch Brothers will continue to pour millions into campaigns aimed at protecting the wealthiest 1%. No matter how fed up seniors in South Florida are with an agenda that puts oil subsidies ahead of Social Security and Medicare, corporations will continue to fund massive publicity campaigns and malicious attack ads against the public interest. Americans of all stripes agree that for far too long, corporations have occupied Washington and drowned out the voices of the people. I introduced the OCCUPIED Amendment because the days of corporate control of our democracy. It is time to return the nation’s capital and our democracy to the people.”

A letter received from an OLB supporter

Anna writes:

I would like to share with you an excerpt from a email I got from the founder of the company I work for. I want you all to know that yours/our collective efforts are not in vain. YOU ARE CHANGING THE WORLD. Keep up the good work. Here is a sign that the Occupations are effective:

"Time to put our money where our mouths are and support our communities, our country, the planet and all it's occupants.

We are committed to a sustainable environment and economy. It is our goal to have our resources spent in this manner. We want to support local, green, diverse businesses which have a commitment to economic justice and equality.

Using banks that are local and either community banks or credit unions for our corporate accounts
Placing student accounts in the same.

Investing our profit sharing accounts in green investment firms that do not invest in war related companies.
buying products from vendors that are local and from conglomerate corporations who are not producing products in sweatshops or taking resources out of our country or from countries with dictatorships (In most cases this will not cost us more to accomplish, but in some cases it will).
Practicing recycling at all of our facilities
Utilizing energy efficient products (light bulbs, putting computers and other devices on timers where they turn off all night, programmed thermostats, etc)

Utilizing locally grown, organic and natural products and avoiding processed products at all our functions and supporting our students in doing the same.
Utilizing environmentally sound cleaning products and encouraging students to do the same (making sure cleaning services are doing the same). Providing only these types of products in our facilities (natural hand soaps, recycled paper products, etc)

Educating our staff and students in the understanding of all the above.
I am charging the National Office and the Program Directors with shifting us to this policy. We are already working at national to shift accounts. We can have a huge effect on the situation by our actions. Every small action builds the values that we are wanting to return to.

Personally, for the holidays this year I am either producing all my presents or buying local services (like massages, and pedicures, etc.), or buying products from local craftsmen, artists, etc. If even 10 percent of the population did this, it would shift the entire conversation and we don't have to look to the government to do it for us.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your families, "

Feel free to share this with OLB. See you all on 12/12/11.

Peace and love!


the Dangers of Pepper Spray

Pepper spray is often used for self defense and crowd control, and although it can be effective, it is also dangerous. Oleoresin capsicum, which is derived from hot peppers, is what makes pepper spray powerful. Before using or handling pepper spray, you should be aware of its possible side effects.

  1. Reduced Breathing

    • A natural incapacitating effect of pepper spray is the swelling of the linings of the nose and throat. This will make breathing difficult for anyone, but for those with preexisting respiratory problems, such as asthma, it can lead to more severe problems.

      Any time breathing is reduced, the body is not taking in as much oxygen as it normally would. Although the effects of pepper spray generally begin to wear off after 30 minutes, prolonged exposure can be especially dangerous.

    Skin Irritation

    • Chemical burns, blistering and sores can result from naturally and artificially derived pepper spray. This reaction is more likely in individuals who are allergic to oleoresin capsicum, or who have had allergic reaction to peppers in the past.

      Applying water to skin that is irritated by pepper spray will not help because capsicum is not water-soluble. Applying lotions and creams can trap the oleoresin capsicum onto the skin, making irritation worse. Wipes specially formulated for the removal of pepper spray and baby shampoo, which is often used by emergency services and responders, are known to be effective ways of removing pepper spray from skin.

    Eye Irritation

    • Pepper spray is usually sprayed at the face, particularly the eyes. It typically causes tearing, redness, pain and, in some cases, swelling and chemical burns around the eye area.

      The best way to relieve eye irritation after exposure to pepper spray is by trying to cry--tears get the oleoresin capsicum out of the eye. Flushing with water will not work. Specially formulated eye washes are also effective and should be used if they are available.

    Temporary Blindness

    • Some people experience temporary blindness after being exposed to pepper spray. This typically lasts no more than 30 minutes to an hour, but it can be frightening. There have been no studies related to the long-term effects of temporary blindness resulting from exposure to pepper spray.


    • Although it is rare, death can result from exposure to pepper spray. Deaths related to pepper spray are usually due to advanced age, preexisting heart conditions, or preexisting respiratory problems. Those with severe allergies to oleoresin capsicum may experience shock or become unable to breathe once exposed to pepper spray, leading to suffocation and death.

Read more: What Are the Dangers of Pepper Spray? |

Examining the big lie: How the facts of the economic crisis stack up

It’s fair to say that our discussion about the big lie touched a nerve.

The big lie of the financial crisis, of course, is that troubling technique used to try to change the narrative history and shift blame from the bad ideas and terrible policies that created it.

Based on the scores of comments, people are clearly interested in understanding the causes of the economic disaster.

I want to move beyond what I call “the squishy narrative” — an imprecise, sloppy way to think about the world — toward a more rigorous form of analysis. Unlike other disciplines, economics looks at actual consequences in terms of real dollars. So let’s follow the money and see what the data reveal about the causes of the collapse.

Rather than attend a college-level seminar on the complex philosophy of causation, we’ll keep it simple. To assess how blameworthy any factor is regarding the cause of a subsequent event, consider whether that element was 1) proximate 2) statistically valid 3) necessary and sufficient.

Consider the causes cited by those who’ve taken up the big lie. Take for example New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s statement that it was Congress that forced banks to make ill-advised loans to people who could not afford them and defaulted in large numbers. He and others claim that caused the crisis. Others have suggested these were to blame: the home mortgage interest deduction, the Community Reinvestment Act of 1977, the 1994 Housing and Urban Development memo, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) and homeownership targets set by both the Clinton and Bush administrations.

When an economy booms or busts, money gets misspent, assets rise in prices, fortunes are made. Out of all that comes a set of easy-to-discern facts.

Here are key things we know based on data. Together, they present a series of tough hurdles for the big lie proponents.

•The boom and bust was global. Proponents of the Big Lie ignore the worldwide nature of the housing boom and bust.

A McKinsey Global Institute report noted “from 2000 through 2007, a remarkable run-up in global home prices occurred.” It is highly unlikely that a simultaneous boom and bust everywhere else in the world was caused by one set of factors (ultra-low rates, securitized AAA-rated subprime, derivatives) but had a different set of causes in the United States. Indeed, this might be the biggest obstacle to pushing the false narrative. How did U.S. regulations against redlining in inner cities also cause a boom in Spain, Ireland and Australia? How can we explain the boom occurring in countries that do not have a tax deduction for mortgage interest or government-sponsored enterprises? And why, after nearly a century of mortgage interest deduction in the United States, did it suddenly cause a crisis?

These questions show why proximity and statistical validity are so important. Let’s get more specific.The Community Reinvestment Act of 1977 is a favorite boogeyman for some, despite the numbers that so easily disprove it as a cause.It is a statistical invalid argument, as the data show.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Top 0.1% Of The Nation Earn Half Of All Capital Gains

Capital gains are the key ingredient of income disparity in the US-- and the force behind the winner takes all mantra of our economic system. If you want even out earning power in the U.S, you have to raise the 15% capital gains tax.

Income and wealth disparities become even more absurd if we look at the top 0.1% of the nation's earners-- rather than the more common 1%. The top 0.1%-- about 315,000 individuals out of 315 million-- are making about half of all capital gains on the sale of shares or property after 1 year; and these capital gains make up 60% of the income made by the Forbes 400.

It's crystal clear that the Bush tax reduction on capital gains and dividend income in 2003 was the cutting edge policy that has created the immense increase in net worth of corporate executives, Wall St. professionals and other entrepreneurs.

The reduction in the tax from 20% to 15% continued the step-by-step tradition of cutting this tax to create more wealth. It had first been reduced from 35% in 1978 at a time of stock market and economic stagnation to 28% . Again 1981, at the start of the Reagan era, it was reduced again to 20%-- raised back to 28% in 1987, on the eve of the October 19 232% crash in the market. In 1997 Clinton agreed to reduce it back to 20%, which move was an inducement for the explosion of hedge funds and private equity firms-- the most "rapidly rising cohort within the top 1 per cent."

Make no mistake; the battle that is to be fought over the coming attempt to reverse this reduction in capital gains will be bloody and intense. The facts are clear according to the Congressional Budget Office more than 80% of the increase in income inequality was the result of an increase in the share of household income from capital gains. In fact, you can go so far as to claim that "Capital Gains income is the most unevenly distributed-- and volatile-- source of household income," according to Laura D'Andrea Tyson, University of California business professor and former chairwoman of the Council of Economic Advisers under President Clinton.

No wonder the super wealthy plutocrats obtained the largest share of national income-- 25% of the nation's wealth- greater than any other industrial nation in the the period of 1979 to 2005. Make no mistake; after unemployment-- this disparity between the 1%-- 3 million-- or the 0.1%-- the 300,000-- and the other 312 million citizens of the U.S. has become the major theme of the Occupy Wall Street movement-- and an important national debate.

I commend you to the late Justice Louis Brandeis warning to the nation that " We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both." We have to make up our minds to restore a higher, fairer capital gains tax to the wealthiest investor class-- or ultimately face increased social unrest.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Thom Hartmann: Occupy America, Occupy Everywhere...

Thom plus logo
Occupy America, Occupy Everywhere. The 99% movement took to the streets - and bridges - around the country yesterday to commemorate the two-month anniversary of the movement. And judging from the size of the crowds - estimated in New York City anywhere between 35,000 and 50,000 people - it's clear the movement has just grown stronger and stronger over the last two month.
The day of action included marches on Wall Street in New York City - followed by a march across the Brooklyn Bridge - the same place where a month ago 700 patriots were arrested for engaging in civil disobedience. But last night - it was a different story as thousands - alongside families and children and senior citizens - peacefully crossed the bridge into Brooklyn and in some cases were even welcomed by police officers. Unfortunately - the same can't be said about the earlier demonstrations in the day - when there were several reports of police brutality - and upwards of 300 people were arrested.
One of those people arrested was the President of the SEIU - Mary Kay Henry - who touts a membership of 1.8 million unionized workers. Meanwhile - in Los Angeles there were mass arrests as thousands marched through downtown and shut down traffic. And in Washington, DC - hundreds marched through the city and across the Key Bridge into nearby Virginia. Bridges were a theme of the demonstrations around the country yesterday to raise awareness of America's crumbling infrastructure and the need to put people back to work rebuilding the nation. So now that the movement has survived two months - and appears stronger than ever - it's anyone's guess just how far it can go from here.
(Did you march? Tell us here.)

Randi Rhodes: Lying Liars

It's Friday, ya bastids!

Republicans are trying to turn President Obama’s words against him, by turning his words on their head. Both Rick Perry and Mitt Romney have been saying that President Obama called Americans “lazy.” I wish this was just a case of lazy editing, but it’s obviously a case of purposely deceptive editing. The President was talking to a group of CEO’s about US business practices and said "But we’ve been a little bit lazy, I think, over the last couple of decades" in attracting investment. Perry and Romney took that statement and claim that President Obama was calling American workers "soft and lazy." Hey, if you can’t find misstatements by the other side, why not just create them? In the speeches that Romney and Perry have been lifting quotes from, Obama also calls American workers "outstanding" and "the best workers in the world." Was President Obama calling American workers "lazy" and "outstanding" in virtually the same breath? No. The only way to be that self-contradictory is to be Mitt Romney. None of these Republican candidates have a chance running against President Obama, so they’re trying to run against a President Obama that they have created from scratch.

In the wake of his interview fiasco earlier this week, Herman Cain has backed out of an interview with the New Hampshire Union Leader. And since he’s Herman Cain, he even stumbled as he was backing out. At first, the Cain campaign tried to cut the time of the interview down from 75 minutes to 20 minutes. At least that shows that they’re starting to get it—the less Herman Cain says, the better. The problem is, if you’re trying to avoid embarrassing gaffes, believe me, 20 minutes is more than enough time for Herman Cain to supply riches of embarrassment.

Finally, Michele Bachmann says that she was told that the IRS had to approve procedures under Obamacare. She said she was told this by... honestly... a 7-foot tall doctor. OK... what else did he say, Michele? "Fee, Fi, Fo, Fum. I smell the blood of an Englishman?" Why did she throw that tidbit in? Does Michele think that height conveys credibility? Take note, lobbyists. If you want to sway Michele Bachmann on any issue, all you have to do is send Shaquille O’Neal to talk to her.

Today’s Homework | Discuss

84-year old activist Dorli Rainey talks to Olbermann about being pepper-sprayed by Seattle police and the importance of activism...

Occupy Memphis, tea party members meet

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Occupy Memphis member Mallory Pope had just finished telling a group of about 75 tea party followers Thursday night that politicians should not allow themselves to be influenced by lobbyists and unions when she received an unexpected invitation.

"It sounds to me that y'all ought to be joining us," said Jerry Rains, a 64-year-old computer programmer and tea party member. "You have a lot of the same goals we have, which is to take our country back."

Pope and fellow Occupy Memphis protester Tristan Tran had a lively, sometimes strained and confrontational, but mostly civil discussion with members of the Mid-South Tea Party at a municipal meeting hall outside Memphis.

The factions saw eye-to-eye on some issues and clashed on others. And, while the young speakers didn't change many minds, they did earn praise from the tea party members for their passion, honesty and courage.

The 21-year-old University of Memphis students had been invited by the tea party group to talk about the goals of the Occupy movement. The invitation was extended after a discussion between members of both groups on the tea party's website, meeting organizer Jim Tomasik said.

Occupy Memphis set up camp last month at Civic Center Plaza in downtown Memphis, within view of City Hall and federal and county government buildings. Their numbers have ranged from a dozen protesters to 100 or more, depending on the time of day. They have had no clashes with police and city officials have said they will not evict the protesters as long as they remain peaceful.

Tea party members said before the meeting that they didn't know what to expect, and that most of what they know about the Occupy Wall Street movement and its offshoots were from confrontations with police in New York and Oakland, Calif. Some said they were confused about the purpose of the Occupy movement because it has no leader and no consistent list of goals promoted by every Occupy group.

Almost every chair in the white-walled meeting room was taken. Pope's speech and a question-and-answer period were supposed to last about a half-hour — they went for nearly two hours.

Pope gave a rundown of some of the goals of Occupy Memphis and some of her individual beliefs as well, including that Wall Street executives "gambled with our economy and housing market."

Both Pope and Tran stressed at times during the discussion that they were speaking for themselves and could not speculate on what other members think.

"The Occupy movement has remained adamant about not drafting a list of demands because terrorists make demands, and we're not terrorists," said Pope, a graphic design student. "We shouldn't have to demand a democratic process."

By the end, the Occupy Memphis members and their audience — made up mostly of whites over 40 years old — reached common ground on some issues, such as their perception that the government and politicians no longer listen to and serve the people they represent.

They also found some agreement in their stances against taxpayer-sponsored government bailouts and "crony capitalism," the idea that close ties between lobbyists, businesses, and other self-serving interests can influence government officials and the exercise of capitalism.

"We all want the same form of government, which is one that listens to its constituents," said Tran, a business and American history student who said he served in Iraq in 2009 and 2010 with the Army.

But some disagreements also emerged. Tea party members expressed frustration with big, intrusive government, while the Occupy Memphis speakers opposed what they perceive as the corporate world's manipulative influence on government policy. Some tea party members noted that each of their protests were one-day events and they cleaned up after themselves, while the Occupy movement calls for long-term encampment at sites officials say have become unsanitary.

Tea party members praised themselves for using the power of the vote to bring about the change they desired, and that the Occupy movement won't be successful until it does the same.

During the meeting, a tea party member showed a picture of pro-communist images at the Occupy Memphis movement, drawing shakes of the head and disapproving comments from audience members.

Tensions rose when a third member of the Occupy movement, Karen Seus, was told to sit down and stop speaking because only Tran and Pope were invited to address the meeting.

"Are you trying to divide us now?" Seus said loudly.

But the conflict blew over quickly, Seus was allowed to stand with the college students and she apologized for raising her voice.

Tran found himself on the defense at times, saying he does not approve of the illegal behavior seen at other Occupy sites and denounced the idea that most Occupy protesters are debt-ridden, unemployed troublemakers who don't vote.

"We do not condone violence. We do not condone destruction," Tran said.

Page Gregory, a retiree in his 60s, stood and praised Pope and Tran for having the passion and courage to stand before the tea party group and address its questions.

Then he said the Occupy groups should go home and work within their community to try to bring about change.

"Get people elected," Gregory said.

As the meeting closed, the Occupy Memphis members were inviting tea party members to join them at Civic Center Plaza, and everyone shared chocolate chip cookies.

Pete Dresser, 68 and retired, said the meeting confirmed what he believed about the Occupy movement.

"It's a ramshackle movement that is not organized, not focused and more emotional than purposeful," Dresser said.

Tran said the meeting was productive.

"The discussion and the exchange of ideas and the exchange of approaches, it's fundamental for American people to do that," Tran said. "It's progressive, it's constructive."

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Randi Rhodes: The L Word

The Fact Checker column in the Washington Post asks if Newt Gingrich is being misleading. That depends—is he talking? Newt claims he was not a lobbyist, and he makes a big deal about the fact that his contracts specify he will do no lobbying. Yes, and any deal with a hitman makes it specifically clear that nobody is to get hurt. Gingrich said that “Freddie Mac was interested in advice on how to reach out to more conservatives.” Hey, I know the answer to this one—hire a former Speaker of the House to lobby them, right? Nope. According to Newt his advice to Freddie was to stress “the historical success of public-private partnerships.” There you go, Freddie! That will be $1.8 million dollars, please.

At a campaign rally, Herman Cain sampled a Cuban delicacy and asked “How do you say delicious in Cuban?” Try “muy stupido,” Herman. For the record, Cubans speak Spanish. Maybe Herman thinks that the language of Cuban must be spoken by the people of Cubana. And of course, the people of Cubana are called Cubists. Cain doesn’t speak a second language. Heck, it’s debatable whether or not he speaks a first language.

Now Rick Perry has managed to say some things that are stupider than Herman Cain and more evil than Newt Gingrich. This is going to be a hard-fought primary alright. Perry said that President Obama “never had to go through what Americans are going through.” Wow. A perfect blend of ignorance and lies, seasoned with a generous portion of racism. Heat it up, and serve it on Fox News. Then Rick says “It’s like, his thinking that that he can go and negotiate because of his great debating skills anyplace in the world.” We need somebody like Rick Perry doing our negotiating—someone who will go in there with a list of demands... and then forget what one of them is.

Here’s where it really gets golden—Perry says Obama’s “thinking that he’s the smartest guy in the room has hurt America around the world.” Let me just state the obvious—I’m quite sure Rick Perry has never been guilty of thinking he is the smartest guy in the room. Hey, if he can stand with the rest of the Republican candidates and not think that he is the smartest person in that room, well it’s never going to happen.

Today’s Homework | Discuss

LIVE STREAM: The Occupy Wall Street movement's 'Day of Action'...

Thom Hartmann: Blue Dog Democrats support killing 15 million jobs

Thom plus logo
On Capitol Hill - Blue Dog Democrats have signaled a willingness to join Republicans in support of a Balanced Budget Amendment. According to a report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities - the Balanced Budget Amendment will kill 15 million jobs - double the unemployment rate - and shrink the economy by 17%. But instead of hanging this devastating economic policy solely around the necks of Republicans - Blue Dog Dems want to spread some of the blame around to themselves.
I guess they never listened to the advice of Harry Truman when he said - if voters have a choice between a Republican and a Democratic who acts like a Republican - they'll choose the Republican every time. Truman was right - in the 2010 election - half of the entire Blue Dog caucus of Conservative Democrats was kicked out of office. And by supporting the Balanced Budget Amendment - it could happen again.
(Is your representative one of them? Are you having them replaced next election? Tell us here.)

Woman Gets Jail For Food-Stamp Fraud; Wall Street Fraudsters Get Bailouts!

big bank
Chris Goodney/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Had a quick piece of news I wanted to call attention to, in light of the recent developments at Zuccotti Park. For all of those who say the protesters have it wrong, and don’t really have a cause worth causing public unrest over, consider this story, sent to me by a friend on the Hill.

Last week, a federal judge in Mississippi sentenced a mother of two named Anita McLemore to three years in federal prison for lying on a government application in order to obtain food stamps.

Apparently in this country you become ineligible to eat if you have a record of criminal drug offenses. States have the option of opting out of that federal ban, but Mississippi is not one of those states. Since McLemore had four drug convictions in her past, she was ineligible to receive food stamps, so she lied about her past in order to feed her two children.

The total "cost" of her fraud was $4,367. She has paid the money back. But paying the money back was not enough for federal Judge Henry Wingate.

Wingate had the option of sentencing McLemore according to federal guidelines, which would have left her with a term of two months to eight months, followed by probation. Not good enough! Wingate was so outraged by McLemore’s fraud that he decided to serve her up the deluxe vacation, using another federal statute that permitted him to give her up to five years.

He ultimately gave her three years, saying, "The defendant's criminal record is simply abominable …. She has been the beneficiary of government generosity in state court."

Compare this court decision to the fraud settlements on Wall Street. Like McLemore, fraud defendants like Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, and Deutsche Bank have "been the beneficiary of government generosity." Goldman got $12.9 billion just through the AIG bailout. Citigroup got $45 billion, plus hundreds of billions in government guarantees.

All of these companies have been repeatedly dragged into court for fraud, and not one individual defendant has ever been forced to give back anything like a significant portion of his ill-gotten gains. The closest we've come is in a fraud case involving Citi, in which a pair of executives, Gary Crittenden and Arthur Tildesley, were fined the token amounts of $100,000 and $80,000, respectively, for lying to shareholders about the extent of Citi’s debt.

Neither man was forced to admit to intentional fraud. Both got to keep their jobs.

Anita McLemore, meanwhile, lied to feed her children, gave back every penny of her "fraud" when she got caught, and is now going to do three years in prison. Explain that, Eric Holder!

Here’s another thing that boggles my mind: You get busted for drugs in this country, and it turns out you can make yourself ineligible to receive food stamps.

But you can be a serial fraud offender like Citigroup, which has repeatedly been dragged into court for the same offenses and has repeatedly ignored court injunctions to abstain from fraud, and this does not make you ineligible to receive $45 billion in bailouts and other forms of federal assistance.

This is the reason why all of these settlements allowing banks to walk away without "admissions of wrongdoing" are particularly insidious. A normal person, once he gets a felony conviction, immediately begins to lose his rights as a citizen.

But white-collar criminals of the type we’ve seen in recent years on Wall Street – both the individuals and the corporate "citizens" – do not suffer these ramifications. They commit crimes without real consequence, allowing them to retain access to the full smorgasbord of subsidies and financial welfare programs that, let’s face it, are the source of most of their profits.

Why, I wonder, does a bank that has committed fraud multiple times get to retain access to the Federal Reserve discount window? Why should Citigroup and Goldman Sachs get to keep their status as Primary Dealers of U.S. government debt? Are there not enough banks without extensive histories of fraud and malfeasance that can be awarded these de facto subsidies?

Bill Maher and Elisabeth Hasselbeck battle on 'The View': Watch it in all its uncomfortable glory

You’d be hard-pressed to find two people in entertainment with more conflicting views on politics than Bill Maher and Elisabeth Hasselbeck. So it only made television sense during his visit to The View on Tuesday, that they were positioned as close as uncomfortably possible to one another. In fact, uncomfortable was the key adjective to describe just about every moment of their tense meeting.

Mere moments into his visit, Maher, who stopped by to promote his new book, was halted by Hasselbeck (who didn’t appear on Wednesday’s installment of The View) to discuss a particular joke he made on his HBO show, in which he stated that upon Lara Logan’s return to the U.S. after her sexual assault in Egypt, America would send Hasselbeck in her place. [Update: Hasselbeck tweeted on Wednesday, "Comfronting someone who suggest ( even in jest) that you should be traded and gang raped for another woman IS NOT an ATTACK. #standup #women"]

Hasselbeck, who needled Maher (“Forgive this idiotic Republican for bringing this to your brilliant mind”), told him it wasn’t so much the joke at her expense that bothered her. Rather, she was speaking on behalf of women and that the joke itself wasn’t funny. (Because if there’s anything Hasselbeck cares about, it’s preserving the sanctity of comedy.) At one point, Maher explains he says these sort of things to stand on the edge for the sake of comedy, to which Hasselbeck fired back, “Thanks for being the hero.”

You can relive the interview in all of its painfully awkward, yet undeniably entertaining glory below, in which the two continue to hurl zingers at each other. Case in point: After Maher states “the Republican party doesn’t care about knowledge,” he and Hasselbeck catapulted into another verbal assault on one another, with The View co-host telling him “I actually feel smarter sitting next to you.” Maher’s rapid fire retort? “Really? I feel like I’m in high school sitting next to you.” Perhaps, but high school fights were never this good.

Maher, who later tweeted that it was “actually fun to be seen as the victim for once,” also visited The Late Show with David Letterman, where he discussed the incident. Maher, who earned a stunned reaction from the audience when he likened The View visit to being “abused… like a teenage boy at Penn State,” went on to say that while Hasselbeck “had some bug up her ass,” the two only “play like they hate each other.”

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

99% v 1%: the data behind the Occupy movement - animation

It has been the rallying cry of the Occupy movement for the past two months - but is the US really split 99% v 1%? As poverty and inequality reach record levels, how much richer have the rich got? This animation explains what the key data says about the state of America today

Randi Rhodes: What`s Next?

Zuccotti Park has reopened to the Occupy Wall Street protestors, but they are no longer allowed to sleep there. It’s kind of hard to “occupy” anyplace for very long if you can’t sleep there. That’s why houses have bedrooms. There’s a little irony for you—the protestors say we need to keep an eye on Wall Street, and now the authorities are forcing the protestors to keep their own eyes open.

Now the Occupy movement has the option of new paths to influence. And the good thing about a path, as opposed to an occupation, is that the very concept of a path involves going forward, while an occupation, by its very nature, involves staying in the same place. It’s hard to change the world when you’re not even in a position to change your underwear. Now OWS has to find ways to do things like impact the electoral process. It’s more comfortable than spending the winter outside, but in the long run, it’s actually a lot harder.

Herman Cain is responding to the coverage of his pathetic “answer” to the question about Libya. The good news for Herman is that this response can’t possibly be worse than his response to the original question. Cain said “The Libya comment was a pause to gather my thoughts.” Well, I can see how that could take quite some time. For Herman Cain, trying to gather his thoughts is a bigger challenge than BP faced in trying to gather all the oil spilled in the Gulf of Mexico. Here’s the thing about pausing to gather your thoughts, Herman—you’re supposed to come out of it with at least a few thoughts. Cain’s interview raises big questions about his readiness to be president. And his reaction to all the fuss pretty much answers those questions. And the answer is Nein! Nein! Nein!

A new report says that Newt Gingrich got paid at least $1.6 million in consulting fees from mortgage lending giant Freddie Mac. After taking Freddie Mac’s money to avoid Freddie Mac being broken up, Newt Gingrich is now saying that Freddie Mac should be broken up. The lesson here? You can’t buy Newt Gingrich—you can only rent him. Newt’s loyalty lasts as long as the contract. If you don’t want to be back-stabbed after the contract is up, that costs extra.

Today’s Homework | Discuss

Pittsburgh sports talker Mark Madden: Columnists are investigating if Jerry Sandusky was pimping out children to wealthy donors...