Rest In Peace Catherine Eugenia "Jean" Finnegan Biden 1918 - 2010

Mama Biden's Big Book of Bad-Ass Parenting

Joe Biden's mama sounds like a pretty tough old broad. During his DNC speech, we got treated to stories of how Mama Biden raised her Joey to be the no-nonsense bad-ass he is today. Joe told tales of Mama Biden telling little Joey to go up to some bullies and "bloody their nose," and Mama Biden feeding little Joey lies to make him feel better about his stutter. And hell, she's gotta be tough if she's still showing up to conventions at age 90.

Mama Biden ought to write a book, and fast. Here's how we imagine the Table of Contents might look:

Bush "Kept Us Safe"

Via Cesca

I compiled a pair of graphs to illustrate incidents of terrorism during each of the last three presidents, including President Obama, as a means of locking down what happened and when.

In terms of methodology, I covered the following types of terrorist attacks against American personnel, civilians and interests:

1) Domestic (Abortion-related attacks, Oklahoma City, Unabomber, Anthrax)

2) Domestic Islamic (9/11, WTC 1993, Beltway Snipers, Chapel Hill)

3) Overseas Islamic (Iraq, Afghanistan, USS Cole, Embassy Bombings)

4) Known Failed Attempts (Shoe Bomber, Underpants Bomber)

5) Overseas Attacks Against U.S. Allies (London, Madrid).

These categories should cover the basic forms of terrorist attacks against Americans whether abroad or on our soil.

terror_attacks_by_president.jpg

terror_fatalities_by_president.jpg

UPDATE: I created a third graph as a variation of the attacks graph. I eliminated Obama, as he's only been president for 11 months. I also dropped the domestic abortion attacks and the failed attacks. Additionally, I eliminated any attacks that took place in Iraq and Afghanistan. The resulting graph, reflecting only domestic and Islamic terrorism, is still pretty damning of the Bush record. I also added a Domestic Islamic attack in the Bush column -- the Chapel Hill SUV attack.

terror_attacks_by_president_v2.jpg

Regarding Iraq and Afghanistan, I recommend taking a look at this link. The number of overseas attacks against U.S. targets outside of Afghanistan and Iraq during the Bush presidency are considerable. 11 attacks according to this source, all involving U.S. personnel.

UPDATE 2: Made some small numerical corrections to the attacks graphs.

(A more thorough listing of sources after the jump...)

The number of terrorist attacks are as close to comprehensive as possible. I culled the lists of attacks and total fatalities from the following sources:

1) Chronology of Major Terrorist Attacks Against U.S. Targets

2) Terrorist Attacks (within the United States or against Americans abroad)

3) Notable attacks associated with domestic terrorism

4) The Unabomber

5) Abortion Violence in the United States

6) Beltway Sniper Attacks (which were prosecuted under terrorism laws)

7) Ft. Hood Shooting (I've classified this as a domestic Islamic terrorist attack as a concession to righties.)

8) The LAX Shooting

9) Madrid Train Bombings

10) London Bombings

11) Anthrax Attacks

12) Richard Reid (Shoe Bomber)

13) Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab (Underpants Bomber)

--I tried to be as fair as possible. I have included the Beltway Snipers, for example, as a terrorist attack because they were prosecuted under terrorism statutes. In exchange, I have made a concession to classify the Ft. Hood shootings as an act of terrorism rather than as a multiple homicide.

--Also, I don't claim 100 percent accuracy on the totals, but they're as close as possible based upon the above sources. I would estimate a margin of error around +/-3 attacks, and +/-100 fatalities.

--You will also see that the fatalities under Bush were considerable. That number includes the 2,992 fatalities on 9/11, along with the 10 Beltway Sniper fatalities and the 2 LAX shooting fatalities. All three attacks were carried out by Islamic radicals.

--The Clinton domestic number is pretty large due to the number of abortion-related attacks by right-wing extremists. There were, based on my sources, 13 abortion-related attacks with 12 fatalities.

--Due to the limitations of the graph here are the Obama attacks: Two attacks in Iraq with a total of 9 fatalities, Ft. Hood with 13 fatalities, Abortion shooting of Dr. Tiller, the CIA bombing in Afghanistan with 7 fatalities, and the failed Underpants Bomber.

--Also, I'm open for questions in the comments and I reserve the right to make edits to the numbers. In other words, consider this quasi-open source.

--Here's the specific attacks and fatalities from the revised graph contained in the UPDATE above.

CLINTON
(Not including abortion clinic attacks)
1) World Trade Center 1993 (Domestic Islamic) - 6 fatalities
2) Oklahoma City (Domestic) - 168 fatalities
3) Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (Overseas Islamic) - 5 fatalities
4) Khobar Towers (Overseas Islamic) - 19 fatalities
5) U.S. Embassy Bombings (Overseas Islamic) - 224 fatalities
6) USS Cole (Overseas Islamic) - 17 fatalities
7) Unabomber (Domestic) - 3 fatalities
8) Atlanta Olympics (Domestic) - 2 fatalities
BUSH
(Not including Iraq and Aghanistan attacks, and abortion attacks)
1) September 11 (Domestic Islamic) - 2,992 fatalities
2) Karachi (Overseas Islamic) - 12 fatalities
3) Riyadh (Overseas Islamic) - 34 fatalities
4) Riyadh #2 (Overseas Islamic) - 22 fatalities
5) Riyadh #3 (Overseas Islamic) - 4 fatalities
6) Jeddah (Overseas Islamic) - 4 fatalities
7) Amman (Overseas Islamic) - 57 fatalities
8) Damascus (Overseas Islamic) - No fatalities
9) Athens (Overseas Islamic) - No fatalities
10) Algeria (Overseas Islamic) - 60 fatalities
11) LAX Shooting (Domestic Islamic) - 2 fatalities
12) Beltway Snipers (Domestic Islamic) - 10 fatalities
13) Anthrax (Domestic?) - 5 fatalities
14) Madrid (Overseas Islamic Allies) - 191 fatalities
15) London (Overseas Islamic Allies) - 56 fatalities
16) Chapel Hill SUV attack (Domestic Islamic) - No fatalities
17) Yemen (Overseas Islamic) - 16 fatalities
18) Mumbai, India (Overseas Islamic) - 190 fatalities

What Ted "The Lion" Kennedy Could Always See

Via DougJ

I don’t know why this pisses me off so much

But it does. Charles Lane at Kaplan:

Yet in July, the federal minimum wage went up as planned, at the cost of 300,000 jobs, according to one economist’s estimate. As it happens, the employment-reducing effect of minimum wage laws is abundantly documented. Those who take issue with my suggestion are taking issue with that evidence.

The literature is thoroughly compiled and reviewed in “Minimum Wages and Employment,” a 184-page article published three years ago by economists David Neumark and William L. Wascher in Foundations and Trends in Microeconomics, a peer-reviewed journal.

The guy who wrote the editorial in the Wall Street Journal in the first link is one of the co-authors to the second. Can’t Lane find more anti-minimum wage economists? And, for God’s sake, “peer-reviewed journal”, like that was some kind of a trump card?

Think Progress pointed out:

almost all of the economic research on the subject shows that the minimum wage has little to no effect on employment. The most well-known researchers on the subject — David Card and Alan Krueger — examined a minimum wage increase in New Jersey, and found that “employment actually expanded in New Jersey relative to Pennsylvania, where the minimum wage was constant.”

And here’s Paul Krugman saying the same thing.

So Lane’s critics present a huge body of evidence undermining his claims and he trots out one guy from UC Irvine and one peer-reviewed article and pretends that refutes it all?

This is so pathetic that I can’t even wrap my head around it.

Government Report Absolves ACORN of Voter Fraud

Wow. Looky here, looky here. Previously, both internal and congressional reports have shown not only no illegal activity by ACORN... but a new federal report shows nothing resulting from the original charge of voter fraud either.

In fact, the only illegal activity... comes from Andrew Breitbart's fake pimp and ho wannabe videographers.

Via Center For Media and Democracy

A newly-issued Congressional Research Service (CRS) study (pdf) on the activities of the community group ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) found no evidence the group has engaged in fraudulent voting or violations of federal financing rules over the last five years. Two members of the U.S. House of Representatives ordered the study after conservatives accused ACORN of conducting voter registration fraud in poor neighborhoods and contributing to the country's financial crisis by "pushing the banking system into a sinkhole of bad loans." The accusations led some members of Congress to push to cut off the group's federal funding.

A Federal District Court Judge recently ruled that cutting ACORN's funding was an illegal bill of attainder against the group, a term that refers to Congress targeting punishment at specific individuals or organizations. The CRS report also said that conservative activists may have broken privacy laws in two states when they secretly videotape an encounter with ACORN representatives while posing as a pimp and a prostitute, to see what kind of advice ACORN representatives would offer them about evading taxes and hiding their activities.

Photo Of The Day - Dale Robertson

Via Joe.My.God

Here's TeaParty.org founder Dale Robertson expressing himself at a rally.
Not too surprising, is it?


Here’s the email that was sent from ResistNet to members of its list.

Tea Party Taking The Next Step

“We are setting the tone for taking back America with Liberty Concerts. We are not waiting until the first quarter of the year, we have already begun.” Dale Robertson, President and Founder of the Tea Party – TeaParty.org

‘Liberty Concerts’ is a venue designed to be the key to create a model for our Nation to Take Back America. The Tea Party does not intend to waste their time simply rallying. The Plan is to optimize the events, they will be fun and Citizens will be asked to run for office, with the focus of Restoring America, and thus, putting it on the Conservative track.

The goal is to shift attendees from being merely a presence at a rally, into involved Patriots recognizing the need to be engaged in the process of Self-Governance.

The Tea Party is gearing up for action. Robertson has a developing strategy to bring the Republic back under the control of ‘We The People.’ He is asking for thousands of Patriots across America, to run for office.

Robertson stated: “Even though the likelihood of their success is diminished by the lack of experience or financial support; the knowledge will be invaluable for the next election cycle and a point of pride for the American People.”

The Tea Party’s number one imperative, is to have candidates on the ballot. The second priority is to get out the vote, especially in Texas where Robertson lives and the home of over 800,000 members of the Tea Party……….

Robertson is molding the Tea Party events to empower Citizens so they will make a difference in the November 2010 elections. The ongoing tactics are to prioritize States, creating a durable model for ballot access, voter eligibility, precinct chair/county chairs, and candidate awareness. The Tea Party is actively seeking candidates that represent Conservative Constitutional Values. It appears the Major Parties can’t get in step with such a complex idea as Conservative Constitutional Values; therefore, the Tea Party will make it easy for the Independent Parties to break the glass ceiling and get on the ballot.

The ‘Liberty Concerts’ event taking place in Stafford, Texas is a developing prototype, which when successful, will allow the Tea Party to create a thriving event not in months but days. We will be quick on the draw, sure fired and ready to rock in a matter of only a few days. This Tea Party formula will work against incredible odds and will be nothing short of a miracle, but Robertson believes with all his heart all the pieces will fall into place.

Does the Tea Party really believe it can make a difference in November? “Some say, “talk is cheap” but 2 years ago when I started the modern day Tea Party no one believed it could work now 7 million strong, the world is listening and America is hoping, we will not fail.”

Dale Robertson – TeaParty.org

Rep. Linder: Food Stamps Create ‘An Entire Class Of People’ Who Are ‘Living Off The Government’

Via WonkRoom

In 2008, the use of food stamps jumped 13 percent, to 9.8 million households, many of which were relying on food assistance for the first time. Still, nearly 50 million Americans went hungry at some point in 2008, including almost one in four children.

According to an analysis by the New York Times, there are now 6 million Americans who are relying on food stamps as their only source of income because of the recession. But to Rep. John Linder (R-GA) these numbers simply reveal the “craziness” of the food stamp program, which Linder said is creating a class of people who are “just comfortable getting by living off the government“:

“This is craziness,” said Representative John Linder, a Georgia Republican who is the ranking minority member of a House panel on welfare policy. “We’re at risk of creating an entire class of people, a subset of people, just comfortable getting by living off the government.” Mr. Linder added: “You don’t improve the economy by paying people to sit around and not work. You improve the economy by lowering taxes” so small businesses will create more jobs.

For six million people — including more than one million children — food stamps are the only thing standing between them and absolute hunger. But Linder still finds it appropriate to rail against the program, while advocating tax cuts that don’t do anything for someone without a job and without food.

Contrary to Linder, the Times’ data actually shows just how inadequate and out-of-date many aspects of the country’s social safety net are. As the Times put it, food stamps have become “the safety net of last resort” during the recession, because other programs have fallen woefully short. For instance, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) “has scarcely expanded during the recession; the rolls are still down about 75 percent from their 1990s peak.” Unemployment insurance, meanwhile, “has rapidly grown, but still omits nearly half the unemployed.”

As the Center for American Progress Action Fund’s Half in Ten project has pointed out, expanding unemployment insurance, the Earned Income Tax Credit, and the Child Tax Credit, along with creating living-wage jobs, will help to end hunger and boost the economy. But in the meantime, food stamps are providing a vital lifeline to those who, through no fault of their own, have found themselves out of work and without food.

That 1937 Feeling

Via NYT

Here’s what’s coming in economic news: The next employment report could show the economy adding jobs for the first time in two years. The next G.D.P. report is likely to show solid growth in late 2009. There will be lots of bullish commentary — and the calls we’re already hearing for an end to stimulus, for reversing the steps the government and the Federal Reserve took to prop up the economy, will grow even louder.

But if those calls are heeded, we’ll be repeating the great mistake of 1937, when the Fed and the Roosevelt administration decided that the Great Depression was over, that it was time for the economy to throw away its crutches. Spending was cut back, monetary policy was tightened — and the economy promptly plunged back into the depths.

This shouldn’t be happening. Both Ben Bernanke, the Fed chairman, and Christina Romer, who heads President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, are scholars of the Great Depression. Ms. Romer has warned explicitly against re-enacting the events of 1937. But those who remember the past sometimes repeat it anyway.

As you read the economic news, it will be important to remember, first of all, that blips — occasional good numbers, signifying nothing — are common even when the economy is, in fact, mired in a prolonged slump. In early 2002, for example, initial reports showed the economy growing at a 5.8 percent annual rate. But the unemployment rate kept rising for another year.

And in early 1996 preliminary reports showed the Japanese economy growing at an annual rate of more than 12 percent, leading to triumphant proclamations that “the economy has finally entered a phase of self-propelled recovery.” In fact, Japan was only halfway through its lost decade.

Such blips are often, in part, statistical illusions. But even more important, they’re usually caused by an “inventory bounce.” When the economy slumps, companies typically find themselves with large stocks of unsold goods. To work off their excess inventories, they slash production; once the excess has been disposed of, they raise production again, which shows up as a burst of growth in G.D.P. Unfortunately, growth caused by an inventory bounce is a one-shot affair unless underlying sources of demand, such as consumer spending and long-term investment, pick up.

Which brings us to the still grim fundamentals of the economic situation.

During the good years of the last decade, such as they were, growth was driven by a housing boom and a consumer spending surge. Neither is coming back. There can’t be a new housing boom while the nation is still strewn with vacant houses and apartments left behind by the previous boom, and consumers — who are $11 trillion poorer than they were before the housing bust — are in no position to return to the buy-now-save-never habits of yore.

What’s left? A boom in business investment would be really helpful right now. But it’s hard to see where such a boom would come from: industry is awash in excess capacity, and commercial rents are plunging in the face of a huge oversupply of office space.

Can exports come to the rescue? For a while, a falling U.S. trade deficit helped cushion the economic slump. But the deficit is widening again, in part because China and other surplus countries are refusing to let their currencies adjust.

So the odds are that any good economic news you hear in the near future will be a blip, not an indication that we’re on our way to sustained recovery. But will policy makers misinterpret the news and repeat the mistakes of 1937? Actually, they already are.

The Obama fiscal stimulus plan is expected to have its peak effect on G.D.P. and jobs around the middle of this year, then start fading out. That’s far too early: why withdraw support in the face of continuing mass unemployment? Congress should have enacted a second round of stimulus months ago, when it became clear that the slump was going to be deeper and longer than originally expected. But nothing was done — and the illusory good numbers we’re about to see will probably head off any further possibility of action.

Meanwhile, all the talk at the Fed is about the need for an “exit strategy” from its efforts to support the economy. One of those efforts, purchases of long-term U.S. government debt, has already come to an end. It’s widely expected that another, purchases of mortgage-backed securities, will end in a few months. This amounts to a monetary tightening, even if the Fed doesn’t raise interest rates directly — and there’s a lot of pressure on Mr. Bernanke to do that too.

Will the Fed realize, before it’s too late, that the job of fighting the slump isn’t finished? Will Congress do the same? If they don’t, 2010 will be a year that began in false economic hope and ended in grief.