Had Darrell Issa been a democrat Fox News would never shut up about him and he would have been forced to resign.
(Think Progress) - Another Republican is accusing President Obama of secretly being a Kenyan man who forged his birth certificate in order to get elected President of the United States. This time the theorist is Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC), chairman of the House Homeland Security Oversight Subcommittee.
Duncan appeared on the radio program TruNews with Rick Wiles on Friday where the host asked the South Carolina congressman whether the House would go after Obama’s “phony identification papers.” Duncan initially demurred, but then agreed with Wiles that Obama could be lying about his birth certificate, calling for Congress to “revisit” the issue of “the president’s validity.”
WILES: While you guys are rounding up and deporting the illegal immigrants, any chance the House may actually pursue Barack Obama’s phony identification papers? That’s the original scandal, congressman.
DUNCAN: People should have voted against him in November. I’m afraid that that wouldn’t get to the Supreme Court where it ought to get.
WILES: But if we know they’re lying about all these other things, why not go back and say, “well maybe the first scandal was a lie, too?”
DUNCAN: There you go. I’m all with you. Let’s go back and revisit some of these things because Americans have questions about not only the IRS scandal but also about the president’s validity.
They will seriously never give this up, will they?
The United States still puts more children and teenagers in juvenile detention than any other developed nations in the world - as it turns out, this is very likely a bad idea.
(The Washington Post) - A new paper by economists Anna Aizer and Joseph J. Doyle, Jr. offers strong evidence that juvenile detention is a really counterproductive strategy for many youths under the age of 19. Not only does throwing a kid in detention often reduce the chance that he or she will graduate high school, but it also raises the chance that the youth will commit more crimes later on in life.
This seems intuitive enough, but the problem is actually measuring the effect. After all, the youths who commit crimes and get tossed in detention in the first place are presumably different from kids who never get detained. So of course they’d have different outcomes. What we’d really want to know is whether detention itself is actually making things worse.
So, to figure this out, Aizer and Doyle took a look at the juvenile court system in Chicago, Illinois. The researchers found that certain judges in the system were more likely to recommend detention than others — even for similar crimes. That is, it’s possible to identify stricter and more lenient judges. And, since youths were assigned to judges at random, this created a randomized trial of sorts.
What the researchers found was striking. The kids who ended up incarcerated were 13 percentage points less likely to graduate high school and 22 percentage points more likely to end up back in prison as adults than the kids who went to court but were placed under, say, home monitoring instead. (This was after controlling for family background and so forth.) Juvenile detention appeared to be creating criminals, not stopping them.
Bank of America deliberately denied eligible home owners loan modifications and lied to them about the status of their mortgage payments and documents, say ex-employees.
(Reuters) - BOA allegedly used these tactics to shepherd homeowners into foreclosure, as well as in-house loan modifications. Both yielded the bank more profits than the government-sponsored Home Affordable Modification Program, according to documents recently filed as part of a lawsuit in Massachusetts federal court.
The former employees, who worked at Bank of America centers throughout the United States, said the bank rewarded customer service representatives who foreclosed on homes with cash bonuses and gift cards to retail stores such as Target Corp (TGT.N) and Bed Bath & Beyond Inc (BBBY.O).
For example, an employee who placed 10 or more accounts into foreclosure a month could get a $500 bonus. At the same time, the bank punished those who did not make the numbers or objected to its tactics with discipline, including firing.
About twice a month, the bank cleaned out its HAMP backlog in an operation called “blitz,” where it declined thousands of loan modification requests just because the documents were more than 60 months old, the court documents say.
The testimony from the former employees also alleges the bank falsified information it gave the government, saying it had given out HAMP loan modifications when it had not.
This should have everyone’s blood boiling.
With a new Fox contract and sharp words on immigration, Sarah Palin is the smiley face of white backlash
(Salon) - Sarah Palin is back! Not only did she get another Fox News contract, she was the star of Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Conference this past weekend for her slashing attacks not only on President Obama and Democrats but on Republican sellouts (and 2016 hopefuls) like Jeb Bush. Watching Palin gleefully take on Bush, who made a dumb comment about needing immigration reform because immigrants are “more fertile” than native-born Americans, I realized that Palin’s star really is rising again, at a time of heightened racial insecurity on the white far-right. They need a hero, and here she is again.
I stopped paying much attention to Palin around the time she self-destructed by trying to make herself the victim after the attempted assassination of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and the shooting of 18 other people in Tucson, Ariz., in January 2011. After that, not only my attention but others’ seemed to drift away. She declared that she wouldn’t run for president, surprising no one, her spots on Fox News became less frequent (to her loud complaints) and, ultimately, the right-wing network didn’t renew her contract (though it was stated as her choice; she was going on to better things). I thought maybe Palin didn’t matter anymore.
But she continued to be the big crowd-pleaser at conservative gatherings from CPAC to the NRA convention, where she mocked Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s anti-gun politics by slugging a Big Gulp, taking on the whole elite, effete nanny state her admirers imagine threatens them. Still, it was her attack on Bush this weekend that made me realize the extent to which she could become the face of the white nativist backlash, which is a dangerous development for the GOP, and the country, but a cushy, natural perch for Palin.
(The Contributor) - With all the moaning and wailing at Fox News and other right-wing media outlets about the supposed unfairness about the phrase “war on women,” you’d think conservative politicians would try to avoid the charge by, you know, not waging it. Or at least laying off it a little. Instead, the opposite is happening. The ACLU fears this will be the worst year on record for reproductive rights, possibly worse than the previous two worst years, 2011 and 2012. They have a map of the legislation offered and passed on the state level.Click here for the interactive version:
This is not a matter of politicians cleaning up leftover business or trying to finish what they started before moving on to other issues that are much less likely to get them accused of waging a war on women. These pretty much all indicate new legislation that politicians are introducing, despite their strongly stated desire not to be accused of waging a war on women. Apparently, people are just supposed to look the other way and pretend the war on women isn’t happening.
AUSTIN, Texas (Huffington Post) — Surrounded by sleigh bell-ringing Santa Claus impersonators, Gov. Rick Perry on Thursday signed a law protecting Christmas and other holiday celebrations in Texas public schools from legal challenges – but also stressed that freedom of religion is not the same thing as freedom from religion.
It was a serious tone for an otherwise fun bill-signing and should bolster the governor’s Christian conservative credentials before he travels to Washington for the Faith & Freedom Coalition’s “Road to Majority” conference with the likes of tea party darlings and U.S. Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida, Kentucky’s Rand Paul and fellow Texan Ted Cruz.
Dubbed the “Merry Christmas bill,” the bipartisan measure sailed through the state House and Senate to reach Perry’s desk.
It removes legal risks of saying “Merry Christmas” in schools while also protecting traditional holiday symbols, such as a menorah or nativity scene, as long as more than one religion and a secular symbol are also reflected.
I really can’t think of a case of anyone being sued for saying, “Merry Christmas”.
This feels like a law that was made to fulfill some kind of persecution fantasy.
(Gawker) - Justice Antonin Scalia agrees with his fellow Supreme Court justices that naturally occurring genes can’t be patented. Where he appears to differ: The existence of genes, the basic science of genetics, molecular biology, and evolution. He just dissented from all of the above.
Today, the court found in favor of the Association for Molecular Pathology in a case about the legality of patenting genes, ruling 9-0 that while synthetic genes may be patented, those extracted from the human body may not.
Clarence Thomas wrote the opinion, which was joined by Justices Roberts, Kennedy, Ginsberg, Breyer, Alito, Sotomayor, and Kagan. But not Scalia. While he voted with the majority, he wrote his own concurrence to make abundantly clear that he did not agree with the parts of Thomas’ opinion that recited the basic, sound, and undeniable fundamentals of molecular biology.
While he “joins the judgment of the court,” Scalia wrote, he won’t sign on to “Part I–A and some portions of the rest of the opinion going into fine details of molecular biology.” Why? Because he can’t “affirm those details on [his] own knowledge or even [his] own belief.”
Those who once defended the Patriot Act are shocked that it has been abused by Obama; they should’ve realized the act itself is a standing abuse.
The Path That the Patriot Act Paved
(The New American) - Regardless of how it is constituted, whether it is “democratic” or otherwise, no government poses a larger threat to liberty than a government that is at war.
War is the mother of all crises and, as Rahm Emmanuel memorably — and rightly — said, crises are pregnant with opportunities for politicians and activists that they otherwise wouldn’t have. It is in moments of crisis, real or imagined, that government has its best opportunity to accumulate ever greater concentrations of power, for it is during crises that the people expect their government to assert itself in ways that wouldn’t ordinarily be tolerated.
Yet today’s self-avowed “conservatives” advocate on behalf of not just war, but war without end, for “Islamic terror” is an amorphous container into which any number of contents can be inserted.
Interminable war means, necessarily, the interminable growth of government.
And where the expansion of government is interminable, so too is the diminution of liberty.
Matters can’t be otherwise, which is why it is at once exasperating and laughable that the very same people who indefatigably defended the so-called “Patriot Act” now act shocked that it has been abused by the Obama administration. If they had an iota of wisdom, they would have recognized way back when that the Patriot Act itself is a standing abuse.