Daily Archives: December 19, 2011

Harry Reid Refuses to Negotiate on BIll Already Passed

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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said today he will not reopen negotiations on a payroll tax cut until the House passes the extension already approved by the Senate.

 

Earlier, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said he expected the House to reject the tax cut bill that the Senate approved Saturday.

 

Speaker Boehner said that he expected the House to pass legislation reinforcing the need for a one-year extension, and that he wanted a House-Senate conference committee.

 

Reid said in a statement that

 

My House colleagues should be clear on what their vote means today. If Republicans vote down the bipartisan compromise negotiated by Republican and Democratic leaders, and passed by 89 senators including 39 Republicans, their intransigence will mean that in ten days, 160 million middle class Americans will see a tax increase, over two million Americans will begin losing their unemployment benefits, and millions of senior citizens on Medicare could find it harder to receive treatment from physicians.

 

The payroll tax cut extension expires at the end of the year and is worth roughly $1,000 a year for an average family.

 

 

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New Poll Shows Gingrich and Romney Tied

Newt Gingrich speaks in West Des Moines

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A new CNN poll shows that Newt Gingrich is falling back into a tie with Mitt Romney for the Republican presidential nomination.

Most polls this month showed Mr. Gingrich surging past Mr. Romney, with numbers in the 30s. Monday’s CNN/ORC International poll shows the two tied at 28%.

Mr. Romney’s appeal to GOP voters appears to be based on his personal qualities, many of which are problems for Mr. Gingrich.

The poll, conducted between Friday and Sunday, shows that only a third of Republicans say they’ve decided who to vote for, and that 56% say they could still change their mind.

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Boehner Says House Will Reject Senate’s Tax Cut

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Speaker John Boehner said Monday morning that he expects the House to reject the two-month extension of the payroll tax cut bill that the Senate approved on Saturday.

Speaker Boehner also said he expects the House to pass legislation reinforcing the need for an extension and wants the matter taken up by a House-Senate conference committee.

A Senate Democratic aide told CNN that the chances were “zero” that the Senate would return to Washington from its holiday recess to continue negotiating with the House.

The payroll tax cut extension expires at the end of the year and is worth roughly $1,000 a year for an average family.

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Wisconsin Cuts Cancer Screenings for Women without Insurance

Supporters of Planned Parenthood

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After waging battle against union worker’s rights and defunding Planned Parenthood, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has made the decision to reduce access to free cancer screenings for women who don’t have health insurance. The reason? Because Planned Parenthood provides the screenings!

The screenings are provided through the Wisconsin Well Woman Program, which started seventeen years ago to make sure that women ages forty-five to sixty-four who don’t have health coverage can still receive free breast cancer, cervical cancer, and multiple sclerosis screenings. These procedures are coordinated through a number of contractors, and Planned Parenthood is one of them. However, they are about to be cut out of the deal, as Walker’s administration decided to end the program’s contract with Planned Parenthood as of January 1st.

Planned Parenthood will no longer administer the program in the four counties in which they are the sole coördinator of the screenings. When their contract ends, more than 1,000 women a year in Winnebago, Outagamie, Sheboygan, and Fond du Lac counties will no longer have access to these services. Of the 1,260 women from these counties who were screened through the program in 2010, fifteen cases of cervical and breast cancer were foun and would not have been discovered if not for the Well Woman Program.

Gov. Walker says there are providers in other counties where women can get the benefits of the program:

There are many clinics that are not as controversial as Planned Parenthood, and our goal was to make sure low-income women had access to those sorts of screenings from other providers around the state that don’t carry the controversy you get with Planned Parenthood.

Of course, the chance of these women seeking out services in other countries is minimal, never mind that they’d to transport themselves a great distance to find a provider.

None of the other contractors of the program was targeted, and it’s obvious the motivation is political.

Via Jezebel.

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Filed under Health, Sick Sad World, Stupid Is As Stupid Does, War on Women

Rush Limbaugh: Poor Kids Shouldn’t Get Fed in School

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The School Meal Program feeds millions of kids every year. Statistics show that kids who are hungry don’t learn as well. They have a hard time concentrating because their stomachs are screaming for food.

According to Rush Limbaugh, poor children should starve their way through school. On his radio show, Mr. Limbaugh whined about poor students being on the School Meal Program, saying that feeding them instead of letting them starve turns them into “wanton waifs and serfs dependent on the state.”

He continued, “If you feed them, if you feed the children, three square meals a day during the school year, how can you expect them to feed themselves in the summer?”

How, exactly, does Mr. Limbaugh think children who are not part of the school meal program manage to feed themselves during the summer? I have a sneaking suspicion that, poor or not, children across the board are not providing their own food.

Via Addicting Info.

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SEC Says Football Legend Rudy is a Stock Scammer

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To many football and movie fans, Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger is a hero, an ordinary kid who overcame extraordinary odds to become part of Notre Dame folklore.

The Securities & Exchange Commission, however, says Mr. Ruettiger has grown up to be a penny stock promoter and scammer. The former Notre Dame walk-on has agreed to pay $382,866 to resolve the SEC’s claim that he induced investors to bid up the stock of his sports drink company, Rudy Nutrition. He did not admit or deny the allegations.

According to the SEC complaint filed in court in Las Vegas, Mr. Ruettiger’s company served as a vehicle for a scheme that generated $11 million in illicit profits. The SEC revoked registration of the stock of Rudy Nutrition in 2008.

One example of the company’s fraud is literature mailed to potential investors falsely claiming that in “a major southwest test, Rudy outsold Gatorade 2 to 1.” While these promotions were going on, promoters were artificially inflating the price of Rudy Nutrition’s stock while selling unregistered shares to investors.

Like his heroic football story, the stock scam has its origins in South Bend, Indiana, where Mr. Ruettiger and one of his college buddies started a sports drink company they moved to Las Vegas. There, Mr. Ruettiger brought in an experienced penny stock promoter, Stephen DeCesare. Mr. DeCesare became the organizer of the stock scam.

Mr. DeCesare brought in other stock promoters to inflate the stock price through bogus trading and stock touting, increasing the company’s stock price from twenty-five cents to $1.05. The amount of stock trading hands rose from 720 shares to 3 million.

Via Forbes.

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Republicans Write Bill Excluding Millionaires from Food Stamps

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I think I just discovered why the American people hate Congress. It’s because they waste their time on stupid shit like this.

Under the Republican bill to extend a payroll tax holiday scheduled to be voted on in the House as early as Tuesday, Americans with gross adjusted income over $1 million would no longer be eligible for food stamps.

How many millionaires do you know who are lining up for food stamps?

Food stamp recipients must prove low income levels to receive them. Household income must not exceed 130% of the federal poverty level; for a family of three that would be a gross monthly income of $2,008.

Department of Agriculture officials dismissed the notion of millionaire food stamp recipients. “Federal law is clear,” said Aaron Lavallee, a department spokesman. “The program is intended for households with income not exceeding 130 percent of poverty.”

Via The New York Times.

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Filed under Economy, National, Politics, Stupid Is As Stupid Does

Book Stores Doing Well, Despite Fear of E-Book Takeover

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Christmas shopping has yielded strong sales for bookstores, which report that they have been lifted by a vibrant selection; customers undeterred by pricier titles; and business from people who used to shop at Borders, a chain that went out of business this year.

Barnes & Noble (B&N), the nation’s largest bookstore chain, said that sales this Thanksgiving weekend increased 10.9% from that period last year. The American Booksellers Association, a trade group for independents, said last week that members saw a sales jump of 16% in the week including Thanksgiving.

Analysts are predicting enormous sales for e-readers and tablets from B&N and Amazon in the coming weeks (despite mixed reviews of Amazon’s new color tablet), a factor that has many concerned about the future of retail stores. The closing of Borders, the second-largest book chain in the country, is expected to hurt publishers’ overall sales numbers.

Nevertheless, booksellers and publishers said they were still hoping that there would be a healthy enough interest in print books that the two formats could coexist.

They have watched the performance of books this holiday season, which has not produced a surprise hit like last year’s Autobiography of Mark Twain, the best seller that was rushed back to press six times by mid-November.

There has been a rich selection of nonfiction this year.

Popular biographies include Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson; the acclaimed Catherine the Great by Robert K. Massie; and Spencer Tracy by James Curtis; as well as memoirs from Diane Keaton, Regis Philbin and Gabrielle Giffords.

Books by media pundits like Chris Matthews, Bill O’Reilly, and Glenn Beck have pushed to the top five on the New York Times nonfiction hardcover best-seller list.

Via The New York Times.

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M.I.T. Scientists Capture Video at the Speed of Light

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More than seventy years ago, M.I.T. electrical engineer Harold Edgerton used strobe lights to create remarkable photographs such as a bullet stopped in flight as it pierced an apple.

Now, scientists at M.I.T. are using an ultra fast imaging system to capture light, in effect snapping a picture in less than two-trillionths of a second.

The project began as an effort to see around corners: capturing reflected light and computing the paths of the returning light, building images of rooms not directly visible.

Dr. Ramesh Raskar, an associate professor of media arts and sciences at M.I.T., enlisted colleagues from the chemistry department to modify a “streak tube,” a piece of equipment that scans and captures light. The instrument is normally used to measure phenomena that take place in an ultra-short timeframe. It offers researchers information on intensity, position and wavelength in the form of data, not an image.

By modifying the equipment, researchers were able to create slow-motion movies, showing what appears to be a bullet of light that moves from one end of the bottle to the other. The pulses of light enter through the bottom and travel to the cap, generating a conical shock wave that bounces off the sides of the bottle as the bullet passes.

The streak tube captures light like a cathode ray tube paints an image on the inside of a computer monitor. Each horizontal line is exposed for 1.71 trillionths of a second, enough time for the beam to travel less than half a millimeter through the bottle.

To create a movie of the event, the researchers record 500 frames in under a billionth of a second. Each movie has a very narrow field of view, so they repeat the process, scanning it vertically to build a scene that shows the beam moving from one end of the bottle, bouncing off the cap, and scattering back through the fluid. If a bullet were tracked in the same fashion, the resulting movie would last three years.

“You can think of it as slow motion,” Andreas Velten, a postdoctoral researcher, said during a recent technical presentation. “It is so much slow motion you can see the light itself move. This is the speed of light: there’s nothing in the universe that moves faster.”

“We’re still trying to get our heads around what this means,” Dr. Raskar said, “because no one has been able to see the world in this way before.”

Via The New York Times.

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BREAKING: Kim Jong Il Is Dead

English: Kim Jong-il, North Korean leader

North Korean leader Kim Jong Il is dead. Mr. Kim died Saturday.

The son of Kim Il Song, the founder of the communist nation, Kim Jong Il had been in power since 1994 when his father died of a heart attack at age eighty-two.

The leader was a thorn in the side of South Korea, as well as the United States. There have been reports for years about his health. Power will be transitioned to his son, Kim Jong Un.

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