Saturday, July 30, 2011

World Reacts to Debt Ceiling Debacle: "Irresponsible," "Worst Kind of Absurd Theatrics"

Saturday 30 July 2011
by: Ken Sofer, ThinkProgress | Op-Ed

The rhetoric over raising the debt ceiling has become increasingly harsh as Democratic and Republican congressional leaders trade barbs back and forth. But as the U.S. inches closer to defaulting on its debts for the first time in history, criticism of Congress is starting to come from beyond our own borders. From France and Germany to China and India, countries around the world are angry that American politicians play with the possibility of a U.S. default like a yo-yo with little regard for the international economic system that depends on American solvency.

Despite China's traditional preference of staying out of the domestic affairs of other nations, senior Chinese officials' frustrations are growing louder and louder. Stephen Roach, the non-executive chairman of Morgan Staley Asia, said senior Chinese officials told him the debt ceiling debte in the U.S. is "truly shocking." "We understand the politics," a Chinise official said, "but your government's continued recklessness is astonishing." And newspapers around the world are voicing discontent with Congress's handling of the debt ceiling:

Conservative German Die Welt: "[T]here are few signs of self-doubt or self-awareness in the U.S. … [The Tea Party movement] sees the other side as their enemy. Negotiations with the Democrats, whether it's about appointing a judge or the insolvency of the United States, are only successful if the enemy is defeated. Compromise, they feel, is a sign of weakness and cowardice."

The German mass-circulation Bild: "What America is currently exhibiting is the worst kind of absurd theatrics and the whole world is being held hostage… Most importantly, the Republicans have turned a dispute over a technicality into a religious war, which no longer has any relation to a reasonable dispute between the elected government and the opposition."

French newspaper Le Monde:"The American politicians supposed to lead the most powerful nation in the world are becoming a laughing stock."

Chinese state-owned newspaper Xinhua: "Given the United States' status as the world's largest economy and the issuer of the dominant international reserve currency, such political brinksmanship in Washington is dangerously irresponsible."

The founding documents of many nations around the world take their inspiration from and quote
the U.S. Declaration of Independence and Constitution. But now, foreigners don't seem to be too inspired watching the intransigent wing of one political party that controls one house of one branch of the federal government hold the entire U.S. hostage. American soft power has taken a self-inflicted hit as a result of the debt ceiling debate.

Even if Congress manages to forge a deal against the wishes of the Tea Party and deliver a bill to President Obama's desk raising the debt ceiling before default, the damage to our international standing has already been done. Other nations won't forget how some members of Congress were so careless to allow the international economy fall into another financial disaster in order to score a few political points.

Our guest blogger is Ken Sofer, special assistant with the National Security and International Policy team at the Center for American Progress.

Originally published on ThinkProgress

I Love Schizophrenia In The Morning

update: House rejects Reid debt ceiling plan after tense debate
By Pete Kasperowicz

The House on Saturday afternoon rejected a debt ceiling plan from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid after a contentious debate in which Democrats accused Republicans of setting up the bill to fail.

Read the full story here.

I think I should rename this entry as live blogging the debt crisi

Going through the headlines this morning is like I'm trapped in a schizophrenics brain or something.

House passes revised Boehner debt plan with 218-210 vote
By Russell Berman, Erik Wasson and Bernie Becker
The 218-210 vote occurred nearly a full day after it was originally scheduled as Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) agreed to revise the legislation to win enough conservative support to carry the House.

Senate quickly stalls Boehner debt plan
By Josiah Ryan and Alexander Bolton
The Senate on Friday evening rejected House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) plan to raise the debt limit, upping the ante in the game of chicken between House and Senate.

Reid alters debt plan to attract GOP support
By Alexander Bolton and Josiah Ryan
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has revised his plan to raise the debt limit in a last-ditch bid to attract Republican support.

House to vote down Reid's deficit plan
By Pete Kasperowicz
The House will reconvene Saturday to vote on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's (D-Nev.) budget plan, and will vote on Reid's proposal under a suspension of House rules.

Obama: House Republicans wasted 'precious days' with Boehner plan
By Gautham Nagesh
President Obama used his his weekly address to call out House Republicans for holding up the process of getting "our fiscal house in order."

Kyl: Dems using debt debate for 'much broader tax increases'
By Jamie Klatell
Republicans have tried to work with Democrats to solve the debt crisis, but "behind the scenes" Democrats insisted on huge tax increases, Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz) said Saturday.

Boehner: 'I stuck my neck out a mile' for debt-ceiling deal with White House
By Pete Kasperowicz
A defiant House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) late Friday defended his debt-ceiling plan by saying it is the only viable plan on paper so far.

and then I love this one:
Apple has more cash than the US Treasury
Los Angeles Times - ‎14 hours ago‎
Apple is sitting on a pile of money that's bigger than the Treasury's dwindling balance.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Spotify

becoming increasingly obsessed with Spotify as time passes. I have one invite left!

Follow me on Spotify

Going, Going, Gone:

Showing its impatience with the debt ceiling stalemate in Washington, China today took the extraordinary step of putting the United States of America on eBay,” The Borowitz Report reports. “Officials at the online auction site said they believed it was the first time a major Western nation had been listed for sale there ‘if you don’t count Greece,’” Andy Borowitz writes. “In Beijing, the Chinese Finance Ministry said that it had considered waiting until Aug. 2 to see if the United States would ever pay back its multitrillion-dollar obligations, but ultimately decided to cut its losses. ‘We think we’ll attract a buyer on eBay,’ the Ministry said.‘Say what you will about the United States, it’s still one of the top fifty countries in the world.’ The sales listing for the United States contains some interesting information, such as China’s description of the former superpower as being in ‘fair to average condition.’ The listing also includes the stipulation ‘government sold separately,’ which the Finance Ministry took great pains to explain: ‘We thought that including the government in the sale might turn off potential buyers.’” See, also, in Glossy News: “Republican Senators Order Out for Chinese as Debt Ceiling Talks Continue.”

Monday, July 25, 2011

FEC Orders Edwards to Pay Back $2.3 Million

By Alex Knott
Roll Call Staff
July 21, 2011, 12:04 p.m.

FEC Orders Edwards to Pay Back $2.3 Million

The Federal Election Commission ruled that former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) will have to pay the government almost $2.3 million following an audit of his 2008 presidential bid.
The payments are mostly a result of Edwards’ acceptance of federal matching funds beyond the limits that he was entitled to and not connected to allegations that he used campaign funds to cover up an extramarital affair.

By a unanimous vote, agency leaders ruled that the Edwards campaign has to pay back the government more than $2.1 million in primary matching funds that were “in excess of the candidate’s entitlement.” The FEC also said the campaign may have to pay $142,000 to the Treasury Department for 128 stale-dated checks.

The agency’s decision may deplete most of the remaining $2.6 million that John Edwards for President reported having in cash on hand at the end of June.
“This is a perfectly ordinary event in the lives of publicly funded campaigns,” Democratic FEC Commissioner Ellen Weintraub said. “If you are going to take taxpayer money, then you have to subject yourself to an audit to make sure that taxpayer money was appropriately spent.”
In addition to these issues, the audit also found that the campaign misstated financial activity on reports and failed to itemize more than $4.4 million in loan payments.

Republican FEC Commissioner Donald McGahn, who has criticized the agency’s audit division in the past, voted in favor of the recommendations, saying “sitting here today it seems as though the auditors have done what they are supposed to do.”

McGahn also addressed “the pink elephant in the room,” which is how he referred to the technical reporting issues that relate to Edwards’ extramarital affair, his alleged payments to cover it up and the resulting federal investigation.

The 2004 Democratic vice presidential nominee has been indicted and a criminal trial is expected to begin in October over accusations of campaign finance violations in relation to an affair that he had with Rielle Hunter, who briefly served as the campaign’s videographer. The indictment states that Edwards used campaign cash to funnel almost $1 million to Hunter in order to conceal their extramarital affair. Edwards later admitted to the affair and said he fathered a daughter outside his marriage.

“The allegation, for our purposes, is that money was paid and the theory is that it somehow benefited the candidate,” McGahn said about the large in-kind contribution from a wealthy donor that was used to hide Edwards’ affair. “Let’s assume that legal theory is correct and let’s assume the jury agrees. Would they have to then amend [campaign filings] and show all of that?”
Commissioners also questioned the rules concerning more than $800,000 that the Edwards campaign has paid in legal fees since the election, including some that may have gone toward defending the former North Carolina Senator from federal allegations. The commission took no action regarding these funds.

The FEC’s audit of Edwards recent campaign is the sixth such routine investigation of 2008 presidential candidates by the agency so far. Other released audits have included those for Democrat Joseph Biden, Libertarian Mike Gravel and Republican Duncan Hunter.

The commission has yet to release its audits of Democratic candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton, Republican nominee John McCain or President Barack Obama. Roll Call first reported this spring that the FEC is also conducting an audit of Obama’s campaign even though it did not accept the federal funds that would legally trigger such an audit.

AlexKnott@rollcall.com | @tweetalexknott

Friday, July 22, 2011

If Your Love Cannot Be Moved

http://open.spotify.com/artist/7guDJrEfX3qb6FEbdPA5qi Stevie Wonder

If you don't have Spotfy

You can't say we shall and not fight through hell
You can't say we will and not dare to deal
You can't shout out peace and then vanish in the crowd
You can't ride the storm without some effect
You can't steal the spoil and not pay the debt
You can't wave a sign that spells "evil" and feel really proud
You can't sing a song with no melody
You can't say we're one without unity
You can't form a line if you're sacred to stand alone
You can't pray for grace and then smack her face
You can't speak of hope and then crack a joke

You can say you're there but time knows how much you've grown
Put a face to your somebody

Can you say your name?
Or would you rather stay unknown?
Can you show your face?
Or are you fearful of it shown?
Can you feel your heart?
Or does it beat for you alone?
Lift your glass up high
Say that your truth will never lie
If your love cannot be moved

You can't look at me and not see yourself
You can't say "for them" and not for who else
You can't truly bless and not bless the good of all
You can't serve the rich and desert the poor
You can't hear their cries and just close the door
You can't say you're down and not take it to the wall
You can't benefit from one's detriment
You can't find the serum and not cure the sick
You can't free the slave to enslave them differently
You can't see the right only from your sight
You can't see the wrong and just go along
Or is that the way you would want your fate to read
Put a face to your somebody

[ From: http://www.metrolyrics.com/if-your-love-cannot-be-moved-lyrics-stevie-wonder.html ]


Can you say your name?
Or would you rather stay unknown?
Can you show your face?
Or are you fearful of it shown?
Can you feel your heart?
Or does it beat for you alone?
Lift your glass up high
Say that your truth will never lie
If your love cannot be moved

You can't make a pledge and then slip the script
You can't say the words and not move your lips
You can't be confused and still say you understand
You can't be a friend but not through thin and thick
You can't be a click but in danger split
You can't evenly share and then grab the biggest hand
You can't say you do but then show you don't
You can't say you will and make sure you won't
You can't want for change and not do what you need to do

You can't give up all and then take back all you give
You can't live to die but you can die to live
Or is that too much to ask of the you in you?
Put a face to your somebody

Can you say your name?
Or would you rather stay unknown?
Can you show your face?
Or are you fearful of it shown?
Can you feel your heart?
Or does it beat for you alone?
Lift your glass up high
Say that your truth will never lie
If your love cannot be moved

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Yoda - Wookieepedia, the Star Wars Wiki

"Size matters not. Look at me. Judge me by my size, do you? Hmm? Hmm. And well you should not. For my ally is the Force, and a powerful ally it is."
―Yoda, to Luke Skywalker[src]

"You think Yoda stops teaching, just because his student does not want to hear? Yoda a teacher is. Yoda teaches like drunkards drink. Like killers kill."
―Yoda

Yoda was one of the most renowned and powerful Jedi Masters in galactic history. He was known for his legendary wisdom, mastery of the Force and skills in lightsaber combat. Yoda served as a member of the Jedi High Council in the last centuries of the Galactic Republic and reigned as Grand Master of the Jedi Order before, during and after the devastating Clone Wars. Following the Battle of Geonosis, Yoda held the title of Master of the Order in addition to that of Grand Master. In his centuries of service to the galaxy and the Force, Grand Master Yoda had a hand in the training of near to all the Jedi in the Order, including such luminaries as Obi-Wan Kenobi, Ki-Adi-Mundi and Oppo Rancisis; all of which would come to serve on the Jedi Council along with him.
Standing at about 66 cm tall, Yoda was a male member of a mysterious species, details of which he did not reveal. Yoda served as a member of the Jedi Order for centuries, eventually gaining a seat on the Jedi High Council, before reigning as the Grand Master of the Jedi. He had exceptional skills in lightsaber combat, most commonly employing whirling and acrobatic Form IV techniques. Yoda was a master of all but Form VII of lightsaber combat, and was considered by many as a Swordmaster.

Though arguably the Order's greatest master of the Force and most skilled warrior, Yoda believed most firmly in the importance of instructing younger generations and never missed an opportunity to ensure his students learn from their experiences. At heart, the diminutive Jedi Master was a teacher; indeed, he instructed nearly all the Jedi in the order, to some extent, during his reign as Grand Master.[5]

Though Yoda was, arguably, the most highly Force-attuned member of the Order, he was not flawless. It was partially due to his failure to recognize that Supreme Chancellor Palpatine was actually responsible for the outbreak of the Clone Wars, and was in fact the Sith Lord Darth Sidious, which led to the Republic being overthrown and the Jedi Order being decimated. The Grand Master was among the few Jedi to survive Emperor Palpatine's Great Jedi Purge, after the beginning of which, he went into exile on the swamp planet of Dagobah.

Later, before dying and becoming one with the Force in 4 ABY, the exiled Jedi Master was responsible for the instruction of Luke Skywalker who would use Yoda's training as a basis for the creation of a New Jedi Order, after defeating the Sith. Following his death, Master Yoda retained his identity within the Force and was revered as among the most legendary Jedi Masters of all time by Skywalker's reconstituted Order.

Yoda - Wookieepedia, the Star Wars Wiki

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Things Too Long For Twitter

This is tantamount to me suing Stevie Wonder say a Tuesday in 2011 because Stevie Wonder had the temerity to write a song called Superstition. You see people of the world this is what really happened. I, Bill Rosen, really wrote the album Talking Book. I originally wanted to called it Talking Bill, but decided against it at the last minute. It just didn't seem right. In 1972 Stevie Wonder was really covering me. This whole time. Without permission. I wrote it. I know that may complicate things with my personal chronology. Superstition was in 72 and I was born in 75 but that's not really important here. What's important here is that I deserve a check. I know many of you hearing this for the first time didn't know that I was such a prolific writer. But it's true. It was the first pre-natal album ever created.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Moose Mess' Fake-umentary Flops

I laughed when I read the reviews of this. Favorite line:Yeah, this heifer ain't running for president.

Moose Mess' Fake-umentary Flops: "

'The Undefeated' was defeated! The premier opened up to a nearly empty room in the OC and another theaters didn't do well at all.

And to add more gasoline to the fire, the critics tore it up:
It's amateurishly bad: The Palin documentary 'makes no pretense of being anything more than a full-length commercial endorsement of her character and accomplishments,' says Robert Levin at The Atlantic. It's just too bad the director, conservative Stephen Bannon, isn't a better filmmaker. He beats every talking point to a pulp, 'with earsplitting soundtrack flourishes, aggressive montage, and an overall state of high anxiety.' The film's biggest problem isn't its 'hagiographic leanings.' It's the 'simple fact that its director needs to go back to film school.'
'Sarah Palin's The Undefeated: Bad propaganda, worse filmmaking'

And quite boring: 'The first hour of The Undefeated, scrupulously attentive to Palin's rise through state politics, is pretty rough going, a turgid primer in Alaska's pipeline management and oil, gas and, yes, milk subsidies,' says Richard Corliss at TIME. What could have been a compelling film about Palin's place in the political landscape, and the establishment's handling of her, is marred by Bannon's clumsy, yawn-inducing attempt at propaganda. The movie might lead 'even the most ardent conservatives to emulate their idol's tenure as governor and walk out halfway through.'
'The Undefeated: Her holiness Sarah Palin'

And very thin on new material: This film is little more than 'a string of encomiums against a backdrop of frantically edited archival material,' says Todd McCarthy at The Hollywood Reporter

Yeah, this heifer ain't running for president.

source
"

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Honor Ryan’s Memory: Record Your Wish.

Ok so this is so emotionally charged, it's hard to even type this. So I'm a blog buddy of Davey Wavey's and I was reading and watching his video that wants to honor his friend who passed away by suicide. So with everything that's going on these days about the It Gets Better campaign and what seems like the unbelievable wave of GLBT suicides in 2010 and this year as well I decided to record a video for this. My director [which is funny because I've always been behind the camera for her stuff] and I have agreed that not only are we going to do this for DaveyWavey and by extension his friend Ryan, but we're also going to combine that video with our own "It Gets Better" video. I feel as if every single person can and should do something to change the world...to reach out to those people who think that they can't take it anymore. It's so bizarre to me personally and I don't think I've ever written this down but I had a brush with that whole suicide thing not so long ago. Well....years ago. But the only difference I can discern with my own experience and these kids is that I didn't attempt it because I was being bullied, it was because I was so depressed and so wrapped up in my own world of depression, which made my relationship suffer tremendously, which made me even more depressed. I'll probably write more about this in upcoming entries but needless to say I've completely bounced back and I'm here to tell you and the world that live is SO worth living! So read the following entry from DaveyWavey and I would encourage everyone with a video camera to make a small contribution. If it's not this project then submit one to It Gets Better.


Honor Ryan’s Memory: Record Your Wish.: "


You probably know that for the last few months, I’ve been working on a video to commemorate Ryan. If you don’t know Ryan’s story, please click here first.


About a month ago, I mailed out kits to the 20 filmmakers that agreed to help collaborate on the project. Over the last few weeks, I’ve been combing through the filmmakers’ footage from around the world (including footage from Ryan’s mother, Julie). It’s been a tremendous experience.


Visually, the film is coming together beautifully. But I want your help.


The focus of the video is people making wishes that honor Ryan and the countless other gay teenagers that have committed suicide. Each of the filmmakers has made a wish on video using the kits that I sent – but I’d like to hear and possibly use your wish, too.


Here are some sample wishes for guidance:


  1. I wish that everyone is always able to hold love in their heart.
  2. I wish that this madness would stop.
  3. I wish I could be there to tell you that you’re loved.

You can wish for whatever you want, but please make sure that it is related to LGBT suicide. Click here to record your video. It’s super easy and takes only 10 seconds. Please, please do it.


By recording a wish, you are granting permission for use in the final video.


This video is going to be very powerful – and I thank you in advance for being a part of it.




"

Saturday, July 2, 2011

You Are Beautiful Just the Way You Are And It Gets Better

After attending Bukeka's Reality Show Concert I went home and couldn't fall asleep. She is so amazing and the concert was nothing less than astounding. Her rendition of her original songs was amazing, but brought me to tears was her version of "You're Beautiful". I told her I was doing my best to take the video but she'd probably hear me sniffling and weeping in the background. It really was amazing. I don't know what other adjectives I can use to really describe the experience. The place was packed and this was the first step-out of the church box concert for her. I think she was very happy with the result. I took as much video as I possibly could and the westport coffeehouse people took a video of the entire thing, so we'll be looking for that on vimeo.

Friday day I get on facebook and I see this announcement from the chorus: We are thrilled to announce (and our FB fans are the very first to know) that Dan Savage, founder of the "It Gets Better" project, will be joining us this spring to narrate our concert "When I Knew." So amazing! Here's is a NPR story about the book that will be the subject of our concert.

For those of you who have been living under a rock for the last ten years or so Dan Savage is a sex advice columnist who writes a column called "Savage Love" that appears in Seattle's The Stranger and reprinted all around the country. In Kansas City if you look in the back few pages of the Pitch, you'll see his column. I have taken to not only reading his column but also listening to "Savage Lovecast" his weekly podcast. It's always hysterical, and you learn something most every episode.

So kudos to HMC, for literally being on the front lines of this issue and helping gay youth get through their tumultuous lives. It Gets Better was only created last year. During that time there has been videos from Dan and his (boyfriend in the US, husband in Canada), Terry. Also from the flipping President of the United States, other celebrities but also other regular people who have made these videos in support of gay youth basically saying...we know it's hard during these years when you're in school...but for all the taunts, and all the teasing that happens in the school rooms and in the hallways of school....it DOES get better. Check out Obama's video below and get your tickets early for "When I Knew" because I don't think there will ever be a concert like this one. I can promise, not even hearing the notes or seeing the script that Savage is going to narrate, it will change your life in ways you can't even imagine now.