Forbes 400 list, even as the country's total net worth tanked during the second quarter. The top 400, all of whom are worth at least $1 billion, saw their combined wealth increase 8 percent this year, to the dizzying total of $1.37 trillion, according to analysis from CNN. Meanwhile, according to data released last week by the Federal Reserve, the net worth of American households and non-profits in the second quarter of this year plunged 2.8 percent, or $1.52 trillion, from the previous quarter, to settle at $53.5 trillion."
So How Did the Bush Tax Cuts Work Out for the Economy?
David Cay Johnston writes for Tax.com: "The 2008 income tax data are now in, so we can assess the fulfillment of the Republican promise that tax cuts would produce widespread prosperity by looking at all the years of the George W. Bush presidency. Just as they did in 2000, the Republicans are running this year on an economic platform of tax cuts, especially making the tax cuts permanent for the richest among us. So how did the tax cuts work out? My analysis of the new data, with all figures in 2008 dollars: Total income was $2.74 trillion less during the eight Bush years than if incomes had stayed at 2000 levels."
Republican Economics as Social Darwinism
Return of the ‘Contract With America’
Joe Conason writes for Truthdig.com: "The Republicans have announced the forthcoming release of the “Contract From America”—a set of legislative proposals presumably intended to replicate the “Contract With America” used by their leaders in the historic 1994 midterm when they won control of both houses of Congress."
FactChecking ‘The Pledge:' Republicans' "Pledge to America" Falls Short on some of Its Facts
Factcheck.org reports "The Republican “Pledge to America,” released Sept. 23, contains some dubious factual claims:
- It declares that “the only parts of the economy expanding are government and our national debt.” Not true. So far this year government employment has declined slightly, while private sector employment has increased by 763,000 jobs.
- It says that “jobless claims continue to soar,” when in fact they are down eight percent from their worst levels.
- It repeats a bogus assertion that the Internal Revenue Service may need to expand by 16,500 positions, an inflated estimate based on false assumptions and guesswork.
- It claims the stimulus bill is costing $1 trillion, considerably more than the $814 billion, 10-year price tag currently estimated by nonpartisan congressional budget experts.
- It says Obama’s tax proposals would raise taxes on “roughly half the small business income in America,” an exaggeration. Much of the income the GOP is counting actually comes from big businesses making over $50 million a year."
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|Postcards From the Pledge|
Why the Democrats' Response to the Pledge Has Been Inadequate
George Lakoff writes for the Huffington Post: "The Democratic response to the Republican Pledge to America has been factual about its economics. The September 26, 2010 Sunday New York Times editorial goes through the economic details, and Democrats have been citing the economic facts from the Congressional Budget Office. As Dan Pfeiffer reports on the White House blog, the Republicans are proposing..."
Sikhs Challenge Discrimination in Court
Tea Party Senate Candidate Mike Lee Tried to Dump 1,600 Tons of European Nuclear Waste on Utah
Andrew Belonsky reports for AlterNet: "FreedomWorks' ties to Big Energy run deep, however, and by throwing their weight behind the group's endorsed Utah Senate candidate, Mike Lee, Tea Party adherents are inadvertently backing a candidate who tried to bury 1,600 tons of European nuclear waste in what some call their sovereign state.... In the world of Mike Lee and FreedomWorks, state-based rights, limited federal government and constitutional integrity are valid only to a point, and cease to matter when money's at stake. If Lee comes out on top, so too do energy companies, leaving the rank-and-file to deal with the ramifications."
Public Mobilization for a Nuclear-Free World
A Proposed Dirty Oil Pipeline Would Put Americans at Risk for Cancer and Asthma -- Why Are Senators Pushing For Its Hasty Approval?
Michael Brune reports for AlterNet: "The tar sands pits in Alberta, Canada that Senators Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Saxby Chambliss (R-Georgia) and Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) visited last week are so bleak that one UN official, after seeing them for the first time, compared them to Mordor, the hellish wasteland from Lord of the Rings. But Senator Graham, after meeting with oil industry representatives and tar sands proponents, hailed the toxic mines, the source of the world's dirtiest fuel, as 'an industrial ballet,' adding that the project 'really blends with the natural habitat.'"
Are Genetically Engineered Foods (Including Salmon) More Allergenic?
Kiera Bulter writes for Mother Jones: "You've probably heard that the FDA is considering whether to approve the first-ever genetically-engineered fish. Developed by a Massachusetts-based company called AquaBounty Technologies, this new supersalmon is basically an Atlantic salmon with genes from Chinook salmon and a fish called the ocean pout. In theory, this could be a good thing: The new genes allow the fish, called AquAdvantage, to grow twice as fast as regular salmon, meaning more salmon for everyone, and less stress on wild stocks."
Months After West Virginia Mining Disaster, US Issues Emergency Order on Coal Dust
Photo: In this April 4 file photo, West Virginia State Police direct traffic at the entrance to Massey Energy's Upper Big Branch Coal Mine in Montcoal, W.Va. Investigators say coal dust likely was a key factor in the April 5 explosion, that killed 29 people, considered the worst US coal-mining disaster in 40 years. Jeff Gentner/AP/File
Judge Reinstates Air Force Major Discharged Under DADT
Rachel Slajda reports for Talking Points Memo: "A federal judge ruled today that an Air Force major discharged in 2003 under Don't Ask, Don't Tell should be reinstated. Judge Ronald Leighton ruled that former Maj. Margaret Witt was discharged unconstitutionally under the policy because the government hadn't shown that her firing benefited the military. Witt, a decorated reservist flight nurse, was suspended from the Air Force in 2004, after 17 years of service, and eventually discharged in October 2007."
Florida Ban on Gay Adoption Unconstitutional, Court Rules
Warren Richey reports for The Christian Science Monitor: "Lawyers for the state of Florida are considering whether to ask the Florida Supreme Court to review a decision by a Miami-based appeals court striking down a 33-year ban on adoption by gay couples. Gov. Charlie Crist (I) said the state would not enforce the ban pending a decision on whether to appeal the 28-page ruling handed down on Wednesday. He said he was pleased by the ruling. The three-judge panel of the Third District Court of Appeal ruled that Florida's ban on gay adoption violates the equal protection clause of the Florida Constitution. The decision upholds an earlier ruling by a state trial judge that state officials have no rational basis to deny a fit foster parent who happens to be gay the right to adopt the two boys he's cared for since 2004."
Internet Trumps TV, Newspapers For News
Drik Sass reports for MediaPost News: "Americans feel they are better-informed than ever, and devote more attention to getting news, according to a new survey by Rasmussen Reports. But that's cold comfort for traditional media like print newspapers and radio, since it mostly reflects the rapid growth of Internet news, including a fair number of Web sites maintained by publishers and broadcasters."
When Technology Makes Headlines: The Media Double Vision about the Digital Age
FCC Opens Spectrum to Super WiFi, in Time for Corporations to Control It
David Dayen writes for FireDogLake: "The FCC officially approved the opening of a vast amount of unused spectrum for broadband Internet, potentially creating a fast “super-WiFi” network. [snip] Of course, now that we have the next generation of wireless technologies, Google and the telecoms will do their best to control and monetize them. Not only have they persuaded gullible tea partiers to join the cause, taking advantage of baseless fears about government takeovers of the Internet (strike government and replace with corporate and you’re on to something), but they’re getting help from prominent Democrats as well..."
Happy Anniversary? One Year of Empty Net Neutrality Promises