Saturday, May 16, 2009

FLOTUS, Michelle Obama's Commencement Speech at The University of California (UC) Merced (Video, Transcript and Pics)

FLOTUS gave a great speech....






How Michelle Obama got to UC Merced, here.
Transcript
YouTube
Michelle Obama addresses the first graduating class of UC Merced





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Obamas going to Africa

From Ben Smith:

Along with expected stops in Russia and Italy, Obama will visit Africa again in July -- a month after his trip to Egypt.

It's a bit more international travel than some had expected, with the understanding that his domestic focus would leave Secretary of State Clinton the international profile.

Details from the White House:

The President and Mrs. Obama will visit Accra, Ghana, from July 10 to 11. While in Ghana, the President will discuss a range of bilateral and regional issues with Ghanaian President Mills. The President and Mrs. Obama look forward to strengthening the U.S. relationship with one of our most trusted partners in sub-Saharan Africa, and to highlighting the critical role that sound governance and civil society play in promoting lasting development.

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Michael Steele, the gaffe master that keeps on giving....

The gaffe master, Steele of the RNC had the audacity to make this statement:

Republicans can reach a broader base by recasting gay marriage as an issue that could dent pocketbooks as small businesses spend more on health care and other benefits, GOP Chairman Michael Steele said Saturday.

Steele said that was just an example of how the party can retool its message to appeal to young voters and minorities without sacrificing core conservative principles. Steele said he used the argument weeks ago while chatting on a flight with a college student who described herself as fiscally conservative but socially liberal on issues like gay marriage.

"Now all of a sudden I've got someone who wasn't a spouse before, that I had no responsibility for, who is now getting claimed as a spouse that I now have financial responsibility for," Steele told Republicans at the state convention in traditionally conservative Georgia. "So how do I pay for that? Who pays for that? You just cost me money."

He is blaming gay marriage as a financial burder for taxpayers? WTF? And I hope Keith Olbermann is listening and reading this shit because it is truly a WTF in all realms of possiblity.

Of course, someone on Steele's staff, on his behalf will soon trot out and clarify his statements, but we all know what it is.

If the Republican Party wants to broaden its base, it needs to stop the hate rhetoric and be real on trying to reach all the folks they lost like the independents, the young voters, the new voters, the women, the gays, the hispanics, moderate republicans and what it had of the african-american vote. Statements like Steele's don't give the view of the Republic Party as a big tent but one that is a narrow and bigoted group.

Source

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Obama announces Governor Jon Huntsman (R-UT), Ambassador of China (Video & Transcript)

Damn, smart move.....


Remarks of Obama and Huntsman

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This is why I never cared for Terry McAuliffe (Video)

Terry McAuliffe a staunch supporter of the Clintons, former DNC Chairman is now running for Governor of Virginia. I just can not shake the image and view I have of McAuliffe, the proverbial, snake-oiled salesman. The one with that same smile, with the same shits and giggles, the one who will shaft you if it is for the better of him. I hope the folks of Virginia or the Democrats who are voting in the primary sees through this salesman and back someone else. Just because someone has the most money, does not mean he/she is the right man or woman for the job. McAuliffe is the prime example of this.



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President Obama's Weekly Radio Address, May 16, 2009 (Video and Transcript)

Two Pillars of a New Foundation



Transcript

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Friday, May 15, 2009

Keith Olbermann calls Governor Rick Perry an "ASSHAT", WTF Moment (Video)

I concur, Perry is a total asshat. If he wants Texas to leave the union, GOODBYE!!



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Obama to name Utah's Governor Jon Huntsman, Jr., Ambassador to China

WHOA!!! Who saw this one coming?

President Barack Obama plans to name Utah Gov. Jon M. Huntsman Jr., a rapidly rising star in the Republican Party, as ambassador to China, a senior administration official said.

The move is freighted with political intrigue. Huntsman, who speaks fluent Mandarin Chinese, quickly emerged after November as one of the leading moderate GOP voices.

Huntsman is often mentioned as a potential Republican presidential candidate in 2012, although some of his advisers think the party primary voters will be more prepared to accept his moderate views on the environment and gay rights in 2016.

Huntsman, who met with Obama’s transition team to discuss energy policy, was in Washington on Friday night, ahead of a planned Saturday announcement by the White House, The Salt Lake Tribune reported. Several Utah news organizations said the governor will resign and accept the appointment.

Huntsman, 49, served a Mormon mission in Taiwan. The governor and his wife, Mary Kaye, adopted a daughter, Gracie Mei, from China in 1999. In 2006, he led a trade mission to China "because of their prominence on the world stage and the way in which they are growing so rapidly," he told the Deseret Morning News of Salt Lake City.

During last year's Republican primaries, he endorsed Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), while his father — businessman Jon M. Huntsman Sr. — endorsed former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. It was a politically shrewd move by the son, because the family was covered regardless of which candidate went on to be the nominee. And Huntsman advisers calculated that Romney would be unlikely to install a fellow Mormon in his Cabinet.

The move has political ripple effects for both parties, giving Democrats one less potential challenger to worry about, and elevating the prospects for Romney and Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R).

Ambassador to China is a more substantive job than many postings because of the national-security issues. George H.W. Bush, the future president, held the job from 1974 to 1975.

The Salt Lake Tribune

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In case you missed it, Obama honors the Philadelphia Phillies (Video)



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FLOTUS, Michelle Obama makes the Maxim Hot 100 List

FLOTUS is an official hottie!!

First time ever a First Lady graced this list. She is a beautiful woman and the men are in agreement, nothing wrong with that.

Michelle Obama can add another honor to her ever-growing list of accolades: Maxim’s Hot 100.

The British lad-mag has for the first time ever included a First Lady on their annual list, which typically includes models and actresses. The magazine writes that Mrs. Obama’s the "stimulus package America really needs," but remains respectful with their accompanying picture.

The magazine goes on to write that President Barack Obama should be proud: "[Obama] may be dealing with two wars, an economic meltdown and a rapidly graying dome. But at least our commander in chief gets to come home to the hottest First Lady in the history of these United States."

Source

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Obama to meet choice for NASA top job on Monday

Charles Holden will be the first African-American to head NASA.

It looks like Bill Nelson may finally get his man.

For months, the Florida senator has been an ardent advocate of retired Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, a four-time shuttle astronaut, to be the next NASA administrator. Bolden, who would be the first African American to lead the civilian space agency, is now an aerospace consultant and is popular in the space community.

Nelson has been a Bolden fan since Bolden piloted the shuttle with Nelson aboard in 1986. But to Nelson's great frustration, the job has remained vacant. Twice, the White House floated the names of other candidates for the NASA post -- first Scott Gration, then Steve Isakowitz -- only to back down when congressional leaders balked.

Now, however, Bolden is expected to meet with President Obama at the White House on Monday. The meeting, first reported by NBC, suggests that Bolden has passed the major vetting tests and now merely has to make Obama comfortable with the selection.

The president has ordered up a sweeping review of NASA's human spaceflight strategy, and he may want to make sure that Bolden, a strong advocate of human spaceflight and the new Constellation program, will be open-minded about any possible changes in NASA's plans.

"Everybody loves and thinks highly of Charlie. And he is the extraordinary role model of someone who came from segregated South Carolina, who could not even get an appointment to the Naval Academy from his congressional delegation [and then was] promptly elected president of the freshmen class at Annapolis," Nelson said in an interview earlier this spring. read more here....

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CIA Director Panetta denounces Speaker Pelosi's claims

The "he say, she say", drama continues....

CIA Director Leon Panetta today rejected House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's charge that the agency misled her in 2002 about its use of waterboarding and other coercive interrogation methods on suspected terrorists.

Panetta, who took office as President Obama's CIA chief in February, reasserted the agency's claim that it told congressional leaders about the use of such methods during a closed-door briefing in September 2002. Pelosi (D-Calif.) has acknowledged attending the briefing but says she was told only that the CIA was considering the use of waterboarding, or simulated drowning.

"It is not our policy or practice to mislead Congress," Panetta said in a message released today to agency employees. A copy was obtained by The Washington Post.

"Our contemporaneous records from September 2002 indicate that CIA officers briefed truthfully on the interrogation of [suspected terrorist] Abu Zubaida, describing the 'enhanced techniques that had been employed,' " Panetta said.

A two-year dispute over what Congress was told about the CIA's interrogations reignited yesterday when Pelosi accused the agency and Bush administration of deceiving lawmakers about the interrogation practices. read more here....

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Poll: Cheney is hurting the GOP

Who knew?

"Anything that reminds the public of the Bush administration harms the party's ability to turn the page. If he'd had any concern for his public image when he was in office, he wouldn't have to worry as much about defending his reputation now."


"There is nothing Dick Cheney can say or do to help the Republican Party today. The best thing he can do is disappear for the next 10 years."


"Let's face it: The guy doesn't know anything about winning elections outside of Wyoming."


"Not even a close call. With Cheney out there, Obama doesn't even need to remind the American people about the mess that was the Bush years."


"Cheney represents the grumpy intolerance that has come to characterize the GOP. Get off the stage!"

Here is the poll

In case you missed it, Obama honors the UNC Tarheels (Video)



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Despite Obama blocking torture pictures, the photos are emerging

In the age of 24/7 cable channels, instant news, twitter, the internet, eventually these photos were going to be leaked and the pictures are now emerging. I won't put any torture pics up, but start looking at one here.

The shocking images of inmates in Iraq and Afghanistan were published just a day after the US president announced plans for a legal battle stop them ever being seen.

They risked provoking renewed hostility in the Middle East as Mr Obama attempts to build bridges with the Islamic world.

He is scheduled to make a major speech in Cairo on June 4 when he will launch his version of a plan to bring peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

One picture showed a prisoner hung up upside down while another showed a naked man smeared in excrement standing in a corridor with a guard standing menacingly in front of him. Another prisoner is handcuffed to the window frame of his cell with underpants pulled over his head.

Others yet to be released reportedly show military guards threatening to sexually assault a detainee with a broomstick and hooded prisoners on transport planes with Playboy magazines opened to pictures of nude women on their laps.

The images emerged from Australia yesterday where they were originally obtained by the channel SBS in 2006 in the wake of the Abu Ghraib scandal. They were not distributed around the world at the time but are now believed to be among those the president is trying to block.

I wrote that though Obama is trying to block these images, they are going to come out. This is the day and age we live in. Yes, these images are despicable and we should be ashamed of our government under the Bush Administration, for putting our international image on the line, as well as breaking the law. In the end, there must be accountability for what happened and the sooner we deal with this, the better it is taken off the table.

Source

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GOP attacks Obama's dog, Bo in a new ad (Video)

I mean, what more can I say on this one??? The word pathetic crosses my mind. h/t Jed @ Daily Kos



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Military Tribunals continues under Obama Administration

Oh, brother....OK, I will step back and take a "wait and see" seat....

President Barack Obama is planning to unveil a new proposal today to try some war-on-terror detainees before military commissions — but under different rules from previous commissions instituted under President George W. Bush.

Under the new rules, statements obtained through “cruel, inhuman or degrading” treatment will not be admissible, according to an administration official who asked not to be named in advance of the formal announcement.

The Bush commissions had permitted the use of such evidence, if it was obtained before Congress tightened the legal standards in 2005 and if a judge found the evidence to be reliable.

Civil liberties groups already angry over some of Obama’s recent moves on detainee issues — such as his reversal Wednesday on releasing detainee-abuse photos — are strongly opposed to this move as well, which they describe as “reviving” the tribunals from the Bush-era.

“The military commissions are built on unconstitutional premises and designed to ensure convictions, not provide fair trials,” the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union, Anthony Romero, said in a statement last week. “Reducing some but not all of the flaws of the tribunals so that they are ‘less offensive’ is not acceptable; there is no such thing as ‘due process light.'”

The new rules would continue to allow the admission of hearsay evidence, or statements made by witnesses or defendants outside of court. However, where such evidence was previously presumed reliable, the party wanting to bring in out-of-court statements would now have to prove their reliability.

The hearsay issue is critical because conviction of some defendants could depend on statements that other detainees made during interrogations.

Administration officials stressed that no final decisions have been made about which of the roughly 240 detainees will be tried before the newly constituted commissions. Some are also expected to be tried before regular federal courts, while others will be released. read more here......

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Bad news for the car industry continues....

First and I am not shocked, was the news from Chrysler and the closing of almost 800 dealerships.

Now comes General Motors (GM) and the closing of about 1,100 dearlerships throughout the United States.

General Motors Corp. is telling 1,100 dealers across the nation their franchises will be shut down next year.

The cuts will come just a day after crosstown rival Chrysler announced it was dropping 789 of its roughly 3,200 dealerships by around June 9. Both companies have too many dealerships for too few sales are slashing costs as they race to restructure.

Dealers around the country had nervously awaited news Friday morning, with some saying they were in the dark about how they would be notified. In Richmond, Va., Royal Chevrolet co-owner Del Mugford was slightly relieved when he sifted through FedEx packages Friday morning and hadn't received any bad news from General Motors. But he knew his future could be determined by a phone call or a piece of mail.

\"This is absolutely nerve wracking. It's like a death sentence. It's the worst feeling in the world," said Mugford, 45, who bought the dealership with his younger brother in 2002 after owning an Oldsmobile franchise down the street. GM closed its Oldsmobile line of cars in 2004.

GM's dealer cuts are part of the company's plan announced last month to cut more than 2,600 dealers by 2010. The remaining cuts will come from closed Saturn and Hummer dealers, along with 400 dealers that the company expects will close voluntarily. Another 500 would be consolidated into other dealerships.

The GM dealer cuts are likely to have a much greater impact than Chrysler's. While many Chrysler dealers also sell other brands and will stay open after losing their franchises, a large number of GM dealers sell only GM vehicles. So if their franchises are revoked, they run a greater risk of closing for good. read more here....

My thing is this, if you have a GM car does it not make it more difficult for service? Another caveat, it makes selling a GM car easier because the competition from other dealerships are not as demanding. At any rate, this is tough all over and expect unemployment rate to shoot through the roof.

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Making Nancy Pelosi the "boogey woman"

Let's be clear here, this is about who said what, who was where when it was said, and who is lying here in regards to who knew what about "torture".

The White House may not like what Pelosi said yesterday, but one thing for sure, she put many on notice in D.C. She pointedly stated, "...release the briefings....", while former Senator Graham of Florida backed up her claims in regards to the CIA and their truthiness.

As Lawrence O'Donnell stated this morning, "...Let's not pretend we are dealing with the first accusation from the Congress about the CIA lying in these kinds of briefings...."



It is the CIAs job to be professional liars, sorry but it is. Does anyone think this agency will be honest and straight forward with the public? We are the last to know anything of what happens at "the company". Why do you think many at "the company" were worried when Obama was elected? Because of what is happening right now, because they were right smack dab in the middle of it, period.

Now the credibility of Pelosi is in question and this story moves forward on releasing all information and putting it on the table. The Republicans wanted and needed, anything or anyone, to create a boogey man or woman, with Pelosi they have it. And yes, this makes the White House mad, the same White House that was going to release torture pictures only to do a turn around on the matter. So, no one should be surprised at the Republicans backing the CIA, 100%. They must because they have lost the national security argument thanks to the Bush Administration. But backing what the CIA did from the command of the Bush Administration, in the end, does not make it right. Why? Because when, not if, when all this information is put on the table, no one will walk away with clean hands, especially the Republicans, since they were in charge when all this was going on.

And President Obama? He has a fine web to weave, indeed. Next popcorn moment? What the White House will say in regards to Nancy Pelosi's statement on the CIA, yesterday. Oh, while typing this, former Senator Bob Graham was just on MSNBC, again, backing up Pelosi's argument about the CIA and reiterating the meticulous notes he took while in the senate and the truthiness of the CIA.

Cross-posted @ Daily Kos

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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Pelosi, Graham: The CIA is lying (Video from Keith Olbermann: Countdown)

Graham says, "CIA got faulty record keeping." Pelosi says, "....release all the briefings." CIA says, "...we stand by our briefings..." Minority Leader Boehner, "....shocked that the CIA mislead anyone!!" I say, "There is a bunch of lying going on."

RELEASE the briefings, memos, pictures and get an independent counsel to sift through this and get final answers. Too much.




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Leave those frozen pot pies, alone!!!

Can we clean up the food industry? This is disgusting.

The frozen pot pies that sickened an estimated 15,000 people with salmonella in 2007 left federal inspectors mystified. At first they suspected the turkey. Then they considered the peas, carrots and potatoes.

Threatened with a federal shutdown, the pie maker, ConAgra Foods, began spot-checking the vegetables for pathogens, but could not find the culprit. It also tried cooking the vegetables at high temperatures, a strategy the industry calls a “kill step,” to wipe out any lingering microbes. But the vegetables turned to mush in the process.

So ConAgra — which sold more than 100 million pot pies last year under its popular Banquet label — decided to make the consumer responsible for the kill step. The “food safety” instructions and four-step diagram on the 69-cent pies offer this guidance: “Internal temperature needs to reach 165° F as measured by a food thermometer in several spots.”

This is an outrage. So, ConAgra is going to continue to sell a sub-par product but put the burden on the person buying it? Again, greed runs amuck. Where is the FDA on this?
Yet the supply chain for ingredients in processed foods — from flavorings to flour to fruits and vegetables — is becoming more complex and global as the drive to keep food costs down intensifies. As a result, almost every element, not just red meat and poultry, is now a potential carrier of pathogens, government and industry officials concede.

In addition to ConAgra, other food giants like General Mills, NestlĂ© and the Blackstone Group, a New York firm that acquired the Swanson and Hungry-Man brands two years ago, concede that they cannot ensure the safety of items — from frozen vegetables to pizzas — and that they are shifting the burden to the consumer. General Mills, which recalled about five million frozen pizzas in 2007 after an E. coli outbreak, now advises consumers to avoid microwaves and cook only with conventional ovens. ConAgra has also added food safety instructions to its other frozen meals, including the Healthy Choice brand.

Shift the burden to the consumer? WTF? What kind of country are we living in now? I expect this type of treatment in China, not the United States of America!!

Folks, food safety is solely on you and those that love those pot pies? Love them at your health risk. For real.

Full story, here.


And from NBCs Nightly News

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Karl Rove talking to prosecutors about those fired attorneys

When it rains, it pours and this is what is happening to former Bush officials.

Former top White House official Karl Rove will be interviewed Friday as part of an ongoing probe into the firing of U.S. attorneys during the Bush administration, the Washington Post reported Thursday.

Rove, who has continued to work as a political analyst since leaving the White House, will be questioned by Connecticut prosecutor Nora R. Dannehy. Last year Dannehy began to examine whether any former senior Justice Department and White House officials lied or obstructed justice in connection with the dismissal of federal prosecutors in 2006, the Post reported.

An earlier Justice Department inquiry concluded that despite Bush administration denials, political considerations played a part in the firings of as many as four federal prosecutors. Nine U.S. attorneys in all were fired in 2006. read more here....

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Obama's Town Hall Meeting in Rio Rancho, NM (Video and Transcript)



Transcript

MSNBC Video

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Former Florida Senator Bob Graham backs Nancy Pelosi up in CIA LYING to congress

Bob Graham just appeared on WNYC's Brian Lehrer Show. In addition to repeating earlier reports that he was never briefed on waterboarding, Graham revealed that the first time he asked the CIA when he was briefed on torture, it claimed it had briefed him on two dates when no briefing took place.

I didn't get Graham's exact quotes (and the quotes below are rough approximations), but when asked to respond to Philip Zelikow's assertion that members of Congress from both parties had been briefed on this program, Graham said that when he asked the CIA when he had been briefed on the program, the CIA gave him the dates of four briefings, two in April 2002 and two in September 2002, when they claimed they had briefed him about the program. But after Graham consulted his own records, he pointed out that on two of those dates, he had not attended any briefing. After Graham pointed this out to the CIA, they conceded their own dates were incorrect.

Graham then went on to repeat his claim that he had no recollection of being told about waterboarding Zubaydah or anything else about extreme interrogation.

In addition to repeating his earlier assertion that he would have remembered something that dramatic, Graham contextualized the briefing the CIA gave him--which occurred right in the middle of Graham's complaints about the inaccuracy of the Iraq NIE (the briefing on September 27, 2002 would have shown up just a few days after the British released a White Paper on September 24, 2002 that publicized for the first time the yellocake claim).

Source

I know Obama don't like this, just as I heard Joe Lieberman state, "Who cares about this, it is the past." Well, many Americans do care about this and it has been this reckless behavior of the Bush Administration that put this country in the predicament it is in.

In the end, whether Obama likes it or not, all memos, cia briefings, tapes, etc., need to be put on the table and an independent counsel put together to flesh through it all. Because there is a whole lot of LYING going on here.

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Speaker Nancy Pelosi, The CIA basically LIED to congress on torture (Video and Transcript)

This torture debate needs an independent counsel, it is getting that nasty. Don't forget, the torture debate is a black eye on the Bush Administration and Republicans, the Republicans argument is so what we tortured!!!! Democrats were in on the torture game, too!!!! This is what it is all about and why an independent counsel is being looked upon moreso, day by day.


Transcript

Republican Statement

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Obama Administration expanding housing plan

This is good news for many homeowners trying to hold onto their home. This targets homeowner who do not qualify for the assistance of various programs now. Remember, the foreclosures in this country is still at record levels, if we want to stablize this market, which means the value of many homes in this country, we must slow down the foreclosure rate.

The Obama administration expanded its $50 billion mortgage aid program on Thursday, announcing new measures that would help homeowners avoid a foreclosure if they don’t qualify for other assistance.

The new initiatives are expected to streamline the process of selling a home that is worth less than the mortgage, or transfer ownership of a home to the lender. Both options will still ding the homeowner’s credit score, but less than a foreclosure.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan held a press conference Thursday with borrowers who saved their homes through the government’s mortgage aid program called Making Home Affordable.

Since the program was launched in March, Mortgage companies have made more than 55,000 offers to modify borrowers’ loans. So far, 14 companies that service about three quarters of the mortgage market have signed up and will be paid for each loan they modify.

While the number of success stories is growing, it pales compared to the rate of new foreclosures, and many housing counselors across the country are complaining that the Making Home Affordable is taking off slowly.

“Our experience at the ground level has been, so far, frustrating,” said Michael van Zalingen, director of homeownership at Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago, a counseling group. Entry-level employees at mortgage companies, he said, are either steering borrowers away from the plan or are entirely unaware of it. read more here....

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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Keith Olbermann's "WTF Moment".......

Today, Keith blasts the GOP for now calling the Democratic Party the "Democrat Socialist Party"....WTF, indeed. Is that all they got? Looks like a very long time in the wilderness, to me.....



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President Obama's Commencement Speech at Arizona State University (Video)



60,000 wait in sun for Obama

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Obama's switcheroo on torture pictures (Video)

It is, what it is.



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The United States Senate is bought and sold by the credit card industry

A blow to consumers.

Today the United States Senate sided with the banks and credit card industry and refused to put a cap on interest rates to consumers.

I don't know anyone who does not have a credit card, who have not had their limit decreased or their interest rates increased, despite being a timely consumer that pays the bills when due.

This is a devastating blow and just shows you that change don't mean a damn thing in the senate. It is business as usual, it is filling their campaign coffers as usual by the usual suspects, the lobbyists representing these corrupt industries.

Despite complaints that banks and credit card companies are gouging customers by charging outrageous interest rates, the Senate on Wednesday easily turned back an effort to cap interest rates at 15 percent.

The effort by Senator Bernie Sanders, the Vermont independent, drew only 33 votes and needed 60, with a bipartisan group of 60 senators opposing it as the Senate pushed its credit card overhaul toward the finish line. Some Democrats and consumer groups have said that an interest cap is needed to put real teeth into an otherwise solid bill.

Other backers of the measure calculated that an interest rate ceiling would doom the popular legislation. The banking industry, which had some heavy-weight representatives monitoring the vote off of the Senate floor, warned that an interest rate limit could cause a sour reaction in the financial markets.

Lobbyists on the floor of the senate performing strong arm tactics to these senators.

And the ones who voted AGAINST this measure for cap:

Democrats

Akaka-HI; Baucus-MT; Bayh-IN; Bingaman-NM; Byrd-WV; Cantwell-WA; Carper-DE; Hagan-NC; Johnson-SD; Kaufman-DE; Landrieu-LA; Lieberman-CT; Lincoln-AR; Murray-WA; Nelson-NE; Nelson-FL; Pryor-AR; Shaheen-NH; Stabenow-MI; Tester-MT; Warner-VA

And over at Daily Kos, the diarist is RIGHT in this statement:
When Dick Durbin said the banks owned the Senate, he was quite right.

I don't get it. Again, the Senate is in the hands of special interests, not the American people.

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Robert Gibbs had ENOUGH, threw cell phone out of the press briefing (video)



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President Obama: Release the torture pictures

What point does it make at this juncture? If we are going to show transperency, then it has to be all the way. Grant it, the military have their asses on a plate right now, nothing is going well for them. First the torture memos released (verifying torture), then a soilder killing his comrades while mentally imbalanced, now more photos to be released.

I know the generals, admirals, powers that be of the military has pressed Obama not to release these pictures but really what difference does it make now. This is toothpaste out of the tube. The world knows that the United States tortured and had a full blown torture organization going on. I know there are many, who are incensed about this but it is just too late.

The ACLU lawsuit was filed and the ACLU won. Simple as that. Do I want to look at torture pictures? No, but at this point, what is the difference? I agree with McJoan on this one:

It's just as arguable that Al Qaeda and any other terrorist organization will be able to recruit if President Obama doesn't make a clean break with and repudiation of Bush/Cheney policies as it is that these photos will do further damage. It's not like the rest of the world doesn't know the United States tortured at Abu Ghraib, at Guantanamo, and at every other detention facility. And what "national security implications" there could be at this point should have been well hashed out. Importantly, President Obama has ended the policy of torture, and done so very publicly. Thus, further evidence of these formerly used "methods" should no longer relevant to our national security.

The international community already knows we tortured, what they want to know is are we ending it and can they trust the Obama Administration, after being lied to by the Bush Administration. The anger of the Middle East has been there from day one with our entrance into Iraq, what they demand is that we get out and they wanted us gone, yesterday. And the ACLU is correct here:
"It is inconsistent not only with commitments the Obama administration has made to us and to the courts but inconsistent with the promise of transparency that President Obama has repeated so many times," he said.

Jaffer, who has filed suit for the release of these photographs under concerns over civil liberty violations and possible detainee abuse, noted that the Obama White House still had a steep hill to climb in its efforts to suppress the release of the photos. Jaffer has won his case in the district court in New York as well as a three-judge appeals court. The Bush Administration, towards the end of its term, asked the full Second Circuit Appeals Court to review the matter. They refused to do so.

"At this point," Jaffer said, "the burden is on the government because there is a court order that requires them to release these photos. So they are either going to have to seek Supreme Court review or come up with some creative strategy to get yet another hearing below the lower courts."

"These photographs are critical to the historical record so it is very disappointing... that the administration is going to try and suppress them," he added.

This is about shame. Shame from the Bush Administration and it is history, documented history of what our country did, period. There are alot of moving parts here with this torture stuff, but one thing must happen, transperency.

Obama, you promised transperency. You must deliver.



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Damaging testimony against Bush Administration and torture (Video)

Damaging evidence against the Bush Administration, Damning....refutes all of Dick Cheney's claims.



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Obama seeking to block Gitmo interrogation photos

I am 50/50 on this.

For one, the photos should be released, a lawsuit was won to have these photos released. On the other, it is these images that have killed our standing internationally. In the end, it is about transparency and the photos will eventually be released, I believe.

Defense and military officials tell NBC News that President Obama will seek to delay the release of hundreds of photos which reportedly depict the abuse of prisoners by U.S. military in Iraq and Afghanistan.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs is expected to announce Obama's decision.

The Pentagon has said it will release the pictures this month.

Gen. Ray Odierno, the top U.S. military commander in Iraq met with Obama at the White House Tuesday to ask the administration not to release the photos. Defense officials say Odierno is "vehemently opposed" to the release because he fears it could create a widespread "backlash" against military forces in both war zones.

According to one official, "It would put a bullseye on the backs of our forces."

According to military officials many of the photos are similar to the infamous prisoner abuse photos out of Abu Ghraib prison, but some of these photos reportedly include mug shots of prisoners who appear to have been badly beaten during their capture or interrogation.

The photos were gathered in the course of dozens of military investigations of prisoner abuse between 2001 and 2006. Pentagon officials say 400 individual servicemembers have faced disciplinary action, either criminal convictions or non-judicial punishment as a result of the investigations.

The American Civil Liberties Union has sought the release of the photos and won a lawsuit against the U.S. government before the federal appeals court in New York. The only legal option left to the government was to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court. Instead the Obama administration had earlier made the decision to end the appeals and release the photos.



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Washington Post

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This is not the time to be complacent, the GOP is trying to change the torture debate (Video)

Joe Scarborough, morning joke or morning joe, is a total ass. Period.

For Scarborough to state that we were less safe on the second day of Obama's presidency is lunacy. morning joke is totally illogical and I am being nice.



How in the hell were we more safe under Bush when he and Cheney knew that there was a very definitive chance of a terrorist attack on the United States, but they did NOTHING about it until AFTER the fact? Read or see Al Rodgers' diary, "Cheney's Legacy."

Joe Scarborough and his verbal viagra is one of the worst on television, but there is more going on here. He continues to not admit water boarding is torture, no biggie on his watch, but is ratcheting up the rhetoric on the democrats knew, too. Let me state this as plainly as possible, if there were democrats who knew (and I believe there were) on the Bush Administration's torture plan, they should be dragged through the mud, too. This does not, again, does not get any of the Bush officials off the hook for breaking the law, period. It makes many people more cynical of politicians and not trust them, and why should we after being LIED to REPEATEDLY by the Bush-Cheney crowd, but this does not take anything away from the torture debate. Torture is wrong. Water boarding is torture. The United States of America does not torture, but we did and broke the law. For all of that, we have paid a heavy price internationally and with 2 wars, it is breaking the backs of this country economically.

morning joke, water boarding is torture. Don't believe it? Why not try it and see if you can sustain? It was these techniques that have killed our image internationally and have broken all Middle East trust. As we all have learned through this, everything cannot be fixed by the point of a gun, especially when we don't have enough troops to point the guns. It is folks like you on television that makes it harder for the public to listen to anything that Republicans have to say.

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Obama with House Democrats make statements on health care reform (Video)

The bill should be on the floor, health care reform, by the end of July, 2009.



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Former Colin Powell Aide, UNLOADS on Dick Cheney from Rachel Maddow Show (Video)

Dick Cheney is still talking. Former Chief of Staff, Lawrence Wilkerson to Colin Powell sets the record straight.



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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Obamas Hosted a Poetry Jam (Pictures)

Yes at the White House. I will post the video when it is available. Change has really come, for real. And if you have not attended one, DO SO, it is that good.

Even on weeknights, the White House is a party house. The Obamas hosted a star-studded poetry jam Tuesday night that President Obama said was meant to “celebrate the power of words.” Michelle, meanwhile, told guests to “enjoy, have fun, and be loose.” Several writers of various backgrounds performed, including James Earl Jones and Mayda del Valle. Director Spike Lee, ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos, and even veep Joe Biden were spotted in the crowd, enjoying music from bassist Eric Lewis and singer Esperanza Spalding. “Our goal really is to bring the house alive,’’ White House social secretary Desiree Rogers said. Since Inauguration Day, the Obamas have hosted Sheryl Crow, Stevie Wonder, Fergie from the Black Eyed Peas, and Paul Muldoon, a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet from Ireland.

FLOTUS lookin' snazzy.......





TPM Slide Show

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Keith Olbermann's "WTF Moment"....

Yes, and I am glad he gave Miss California and the "Donald" the imperial blast. Talk about hypocrisy.



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WTF!!! U.S. troops vomiting due to lack of clean water in Iraq

No joke. h/t Turkana @ Daily Kos

Despite the might of your own country, despite the power of your own military, for extended periods of time you and other soldiers simply can’t get enough drinking water. And even worse, some of you are paying for it with your health.

That’s the story some U.S. soldiers are telling the 11 News Defenders about their time in Iraq. While we’ve spent billions on bullets and bombs, soldiers in different parts of that arid country, during different phases of this desert war, claim they couldn’t get enough drinkable water.

[snip]

Part of the problem: Many soldiers say they were rationed to just two 1.5 liter bottles a day or about half a gallon of water. Turns out, the Army’s own training manuals say in desert environments, the body can lose up to four gallons a day.

As a result, some soldiers claim they regularly saw dehydration causing sickness on the battlefield, things like fainting and vomiting.

Obama, we know that the Bush Administration neglected the troops, we know that, now please clean this up.

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Jesse Venture on Larry King, "...waterboarding is torture...Coleman is a hypocrite..." (Video)

Ventura is a former Navy Seal, he should know.

[Water-boarding] is torture... It's drowning. It gives you the complete sensation that you are drowning. It is no good, because you -- I'll put it to you this way, you give me a water board, Dick Cheney and one hour, and I'll have him confess to the Sharon Tate murders.






Source

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In case you missed it, Obama fires top general in Afghanistan (Video)

Folks, we should also know this about Obama, he is not afraid to replace or FIRE you.



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Governor Charlie Crist (R-FL) will run for the senate seat in Florida

He is very popular, a moderate, and from Florida. This is the Mel Martinez seat in Florida. Martinez is not running for the senate.

This will be a tough pick up for the Democrats, but we will see, because there will be opposition in Republican primary.

Florida's popular Republican Gov. Charlie Crist is confirming that he will run for the U.S. Senate next year instead of seeking a second term.

The Florida race is important to Republicans nationally as they try to keep Democrats from a 60-seat majority in the Senate.

Crist immediately becomes the front-runner in the Senate race. He has maintained approval ratings in the high 60-percent range despite Florida's gloomy economy, budget cuts, a high foreclosure rate and high unemployment.

Crist's announcement has been anticipated since shortly after Republican Sen. Mel Martinez said in December he wouldn't seek a second term in 2010.

Crist is a top prize for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which has been scrambling for viable candidates in competitive swing states. read more here.......

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Harsh criticism for Elizabeth Edwards (Video)

Some things just need to be kept behind closed doors.





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Whoa!! Liz Cheney and Eugene Robinson from Washington Post go at it over torture (Video)

Again, torture is A-OK for the Bush-Cheney regime. But is it very and eerily funny that former George W. Bush is silent. Last note, Liz Cheney is scary, totally. From morning joe



Below, Cheney and Robinson



Below, Cheney's motives



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Monday, May 11, 2009

Your favorite Democrat, Harold Ford, Jr. wading into "Cheney Country" on Hardball (Video)

Yes, he is back with his DLC swagger. Listen to him and very closely, his backing of torture techniques. Folks remember this about Ford, he is a fair weather politician. His views changes as the wind. Don't expect him in your corner on anything, but is all about his own corner. This was a big issue about him and his character when he ran for the senate seat in Tennessee, he had a lot of baggage but tried to put that "lipstick on a pig" and it did not work. Yes, some dirty play was pulled, but Ford and his family and their ethical background did not make it easy for Ford Jr. to win. As, Matthews said, "You are vearing into Cheney Country...." It is all on video to view.



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Obama at 66% in latest Gallup Poll

These are good numbers, which makes it increasingly difficult for the Republicans to go after him. Yes, they are attempting but while doing so, it is bringing their numbers down at record level.

In other words, while they try to find their own "Obama", the real one is reasonating on the positive with the country.

Obama's approval rating has registered 66% or better in each Gallup three-day rolling average since May 2. His 68% approval rating reported on May 3 is tied for the second highest of his presidency, exceeded only by the 69% recorded immediately after his inauguration. And except for one 66% approval rating in late April, all of Obama's previous 66% to 68% readings were obtained near the start of his term.

Job approval is typically an important barometer of a president's re-election chances, and a 66% approval rating in the first half of 2012 would almost guarantee Obama's success in that endeavor. However, that is three years away, and, as Gallup presidential approval trends show, things can change -- sometimes radically -- over a president's first term. But despite today's seemingly positive environment for Obama, a separate Gallup question, asked in late April, indicates the degree to which Americans are keeping an open mind on the next election.

On balance, the majority of Americans nationwide say they would be inclined to vote for Obama in the 2012 presidential election: 53% say they would definitely or probably vote for him while 37% say they definitely or probably would not. Another 9% offer no opinion. This is based on people's early impressions about Obama, with no references to who his Republican opponent might be. (The figures are about the same among all registered voters.)

The challenge for Obama is that only 25% of Americans say they would definitely vote for him, while the same number say they would definitely not vote for him.
Gallup

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Damn, Steele went there on Romney

[R]emember, it was the base that rejected Mitt because of his switch on pro-life, from pro-choice to pro-life. It was the base that rejected Mitt because it had issues with Mormonism. It was the base that rejected Mitch, Mitt, because they thought he was back and forth and waffling on those very economic issues you’re talking about. So, I mean, I hear what you’re saying, but before we even got to a primary vote, the base had made very clear they had issues with Mitt because if they didn’t, he would have defeated John McCain in those primaries in which he lost.
Michael Steele is the gift that keeps giving.

But he has a valid point. Many Republicans were very leary about Romney and his religion, or lack of understanding it. Like Obama, who had to repeatedly state he was a Christian, repeatedly educate not only the general public but the BASE of the Democratic Party, Romney did none of that. If Romney had taken time to to actually do this, he may have won the Republican nomination.

When stuff out there is blowing in the wind and you see it makes a dent in the polling numbers and support erode, you better learn to edit and I mean quick. That is one thing the Obama Campaign was stellar at, they could edit on the fly and everyone else was just left behind.

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President Obama on Health Care Costs (Video and Transcript)



Transcript
Attendees
MSNBC Video

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U.S. Soilder kills 5 of his comrades, now in custody

This story is as sad as it comes.

US military says 5 US soldiers killed in shooting at American base in Baghdad; Shooter Is Now in Custody.

Five U.S. soldiers were killed Monday in a shooting at an American base in Baghdad, the U.S. command said.

A brief U.S. statement said the shooting occurred about 2 p.m. at Camp Liberty near Baghdad International Airport but gave no further details on the attack.

The toll was the highest for U.S. personnel in a single attack since April 10, when a suicide truck driver killed five American soldiers with a blast near a police headquarters in the northern city of Mosul.

On May 2, two American soldiers died after an attacker wearing an Iraqi army uniform opened fire near the northern city of Mosul. The assailant was also killed.
Source
Huffington Post

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Right Wingers, GET OVER WANDA SYKES going after Rush Limbaugh!! (Video)

Please. Anyone on the other aisle who is taking up for Rush Limbaugh, DON'T GET IT.

Rush Limbaugh, the verbal viagra of the conservative movement, so he says, has taken it upon himself to be the spokesperson for the Republican Party. Since he is the "spokesman" for the Republican Party, he takes the hits. It is part of the game.

Wanda Sykes was TAME, Saturday night at the White House Correspondents Dinner, I mean TAME. She was hired to do what she did, ENTERTAIN. The Democrats are running the show for now, so of course Sykes jokes were going to jab the other side, that is what these dinners are about, ROASTING ASSES, remember the Bush Years and these dinners?

So, the whine of the other side is ridiculous. As long as the drug addict, verbal viagra, bigoted spirited, Rush Limbaugh is the spokesperson for your party, expect the hits on him and his character to keep on coming.

And of course, the biggest whine was from morning joke, oh, I mean, morning joe:



And Mika on Rush's shrill voice, I finally agree with her....



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The Obamas "Star Power" (Video)

Whether you like it or not.



White House Correspondents Dinner Pictures/Videos

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OMG, A stressed out U.S. soilder killed 4 of his comrades and himself (UPDATE)

Too much. Too much. We need to end this and get out of Iraq and Afghanistan.

A U.S. service member opened fire on fellow members of the military, killing four and wounding several others, at the main U.S, base in Baghdad, officials told NBC News on Monday.

NBC's Jim Miklaszewski reported the assailant took his own life after the violent outburst. The attacker was described as a "stressed out" U.S. soldier.

The military said in a statement that the shooting occurred about 2 p.m. Monday at Camp Liberty near Baghdad International Airport.

Source

UPDATE

Per military, the shooter is in custody and killed 5 of his comrades.



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Sunday, May 10, 2009

Health care deal on the table...the battle begins....

Health care costs in this country coincides hand in hand with the economy. I always said that for President Obama, the hardest task would be to reconstruct the health care industry in this country, one area that will go down to the tooth and nail. Remember, if health care reform is not passed in this country, don't blame D.C., blame us, the people for not putting the pressure on congress to pass this critical legislation that effects us all. All eyes should be on congress, RIGHT NOW.

In conjunction with the White House, a host of trade associations, pharmaceutical groups and other stakeholders in the health care debate are set to announce a major effort to streamline the nation's health care system that could save more than $2 trillion over the next decade.

On Monday representatives of the American Hospital Association, the American Medical Association; PhRMA; AdvaMed; America's Health Insurance Plans, the SEIU, and the Greater New York Hospital Association and the California Hospital Association will make what White House officials and industry insiders describe as a major announcement on the health care reform front. The coalition of somewhat strange-bedfellows, comprising some of the sharpest opponents of reform in the past, is targeting specific administrative changes to drastically reduce the rate of growth in health care spending. All told, the goal will be to reduce the money spent on health care by 1.5 percentage points each year over the next ten years.

"We cannot continue down the same dangerous road we've been traveling for so many years, with costs that are out of control, because reform is not a luxury that can be postponed, but a necessity that cannot wait," President Obama will say, according to excerpts of his remarks released in advance by the White House.

On a Sunday conference call, senior administration officials hailed the effort as "a game changer" in the health care debate. "I don't think there can be a more significant step to helping struggling families and to help the federal budget," said one aide. "It just makes it even clearer than ever that health reform is going to happen this year in the Congress," added another. read more here....

The Fight Begins to Scare Americans for Health Care Reform


The television ads that began airing last week feature horror stories from Canada and the United Kingdom: Patients who allegedly suffered long waits for surgeries, couldn't get the drugs they needed, or had to come to the United States for treatment.

"Before government rushes to overhaul health care, listen to those who already have government-run health care," intones Rick Scott, founder of a group called Conservatives for Patients' Rights. "Tell Congress to listen, too."

Scott, a multimillionaire investor and controversial former hospital chief executive, has become an unlikely and prominent leader of the opposition to health-care reform plans that Congress is expected to take up later this year. While disorganized Republicans and major health-care companies wait for President Obama and Democratic leaders to reveal the details of their plan before criticizing it, Scott is using $5 million of his own money and up to $15 million more from supporters to try to build resistance to any government-run program.

The campaign is being coordinated by CRC Public Relations, the group that masterminded the "Swift boat" attacks against 2004 Democratic presidential candidate John F. Kerry, and is inspired by the "Harry and Louise" ads that helped torpedo health-care reform during the Clinton administration. read more here.....

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John & Elizabeth Edwards debacle discussed on Bill Maher and ABC's This Week

Yes, discussion on Bill Maher and even on ABCs This Week about John and Elizabeth Edwards is fodder at this point. An issue that should be done with has been reopened by Elizabeth Edwards appearance on Oprah last week and her book that she is pushing. Along with re-opening this can is the examination of the truth of what both, John and Elizabeth Edwards has said on this matter and how it is not stacking up. But the biggest question here is why? Why even go down this road? And this question, again is for Elizabeth Edwards. Tomorrow she is on the Today Show and I don't see the questions getting nicer, but in fact harder for her to answer at this point. This is what you get when you re-open a can of worms. It is all pretty nasty. Can we just wipe our brow and be glad this bullet was dodged?



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Banks bracing for huge credit card debt by consumers

When you have high unemployment, people look and move into survival mode. Survival mode is making sure the bare minimums are kept and everything else falls to the waistside. Credit cards though important are not essential when folks are on the unemployment roll, thus delinquency will prevail.

It used to be easy to guess how many Americans would have problems paying their credit card bills. Banks just looked at unemployment: Fewer jobs meant more trouble ahead.

The unemployment rate has long mirrored banks’ loss rates on card balances. But Eddie Ward, 32 and jobless, may be one reason that rule of thumb no longer holds. For many lenders, losses are now starting to outpace layoffs.

Mr. Ward, of Arkansas, lost his job at a retail warehouse in April and so far has managed to make minimum payments on his credit card debt, which he estimates at $15,000 to $20,000. Asked whether he thinks he will be able to pay off his balance, he said, “Not unless I win the lottery.”

In the meantime, he said, “I’m just doing what I can.”

Experts predict that millions of Americans will not be able to pay off their debts, leaving a gaping hole at ailing banks still trying to recover from the housing bust.

The bank stress test results, released Thursday, suggested that the nation’s 19 biggest banks could expect nearly $82.4 billion in credit card losses by the end of 2010 under what federal regulators called a “worst-case” economic situation.

But if unemployment breaches 10 percent, as many economists predict, the rate of uncollectible balances at some banks could far exceed that level. At American Express and Capitol One Financial, around 20 percent of the credit card balances are expected to go bad over this year and next, according to stress test results. At Bank of America, Citigroup and JPMorgan Chase, about 23 percent of card loans are expected to sour. read more here.....

And this is why banks have down rated credit for millions of Americans, even if you are paying your bills on time. And those paying just the minimum are getting credit revoked at rapid speed and interest rates jumping at warp speed. Is this fair? No, which is why credit card reform is essential in this country, banks should not have the right to raise interest rates on consumers who are doing the RIGHT THING. This is greed of the utmost on the banking and credit card industry.

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Latino Town Hall Meeting at the White House (Video in Spanish and Transcript)



Transcript in Spanish
President Obama's remarks in English

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Dick Cheney, "We Weren't in the Torture Business", From CBS' Face the Nation (Video)

Really. Then what is waterboarding? Mini-torture? Republicans, get Cheney off the television he is eroding what little cred you got left. Plus, Cheney picks Limbaugh over Colin Powell. This rates a total "WHAT THE FUCK", for real. From CBS' Face the Nation.

On Face the Nation today, Dick Cheney said that he chooses Rush Limbaugh over Colin Powell when it comes to the debate about the future of the GOP.

"If I had to choose in terms of being a Republican, I'd choose Rush Limbaugh," Cheney said when asked about whose vision of the GOP he'd side with. "My impression was that Colin was no longer a Republican."

"I don't think the Republican Party ought to move far to the left," Cheney said. "The suggestion our Democratic friends always make is, 'Well, if you Republicans were just more like Democrats, you'd win elections.' Well, I don't buy that."



Transcript

Meet the Press, May 10, 2009 (Video and Transcript)

After an unprecedented White House summit with President Obama, Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai and Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zardari appear in exclusive interviews on "Meet the Press." We get an inside look at what was discussed in those meetings, why President Obama calls their region "the most dangerous place in the world," and what each nation is doing on its own, and together, to fight the Taliban insurgency and bring stability to that troubled area. Plus, analysis from our foreign policy roundtable with The New Yorker's Steve Coll & NBC's Andrea Mitchell.



Transcript

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White House Correspondents Dinner, Pictures, Video and Transcript

Al Rodgers Pictures and Video
Michelle Obama's dress by Michael Kors
Transcript of Obama's Remarks







Part One


Part Two






Wanda Sykes, Part One


Wanda Sykes, Part Two

Split Screen Video Reaction













and FLOTUS.......




MSNBC Video

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