House Republicans to Propose Deeper Budget Cuts
Lisa Mascaro reports for the L. A. Times: "On the heels of an uprising by rookie Republican lawmakers, House leaders Friday will unveil a new budget proposal that instructs appropriators to slice deeper to reduce the 2011 budget by the $100 billion the GOP promised voters last fall. The new proposal is expected to produce steep cuts and may require job losses in government agencies, putting some elected officials in the difficult position of choosing between fiscal austerity or employment opportunity as the nation continues to struggle with high unemployment during the economic recovery."
G.O.P. Ignores Jobs Crisis, Targets Theoretical Crisis
Zachary Kolodin writes for New Deal 2.0: "Millennials have spent their entire political lives waiting for America to get over the culture wars of the 1970-1990s and deal with our urgent problems. President Obama took a big step in the right direction by addressing America’s health care access problem through major reform. Now, the Republican Congress has taken its turn by announcing that it will attempt to avert a crisis through $2.5 trillion in spending cuts with H.R. 408. Unfortunately, faced with two “crises,” the GOP chose theory over reality. On the one hand, the US has a long-term budget problem — over the next thirty years or so, the rising costs of Medicare and Medicaid will cause unprecedented national debt, which will impair growth and stability. On the other hand, the US has an urgent jobs crisis right now. Millions of Americans find themselves out of work and completely strapped. An entire generation of young people trying to start families finds itself without stability and without an outlet for their remarkable energy."
Blueprint: Ensuring Job Security by Protecting Workers
Graphic source: Institute for Policy Studies
Obama Assertion: FBI Can Get Phone Records Without Oversight
Marisa Taylor reports for McClatchy Newspapers: "The Obama administration's Justice Department has asserted that the FBI can obtain telephone records of international calls made from the U.S. without any formal legal process or court oversight, according to a document obtained by McClatchy. That assertion was revealed — perhaps inadvertently — by the department in its response to a McClatchy request for a copy of a secret Justice Department memo. Critics say the legal position is flawed and creates a potential loophole that could lead to a repeat of FBI abuses that were supposed to have been stopped in 2006."
More Troops Lost to Suicide
Why Hershey's Chocolate Isn't My Valentine
Titania Kumeh reports for Mother Jones: "As far as sweet confections go, chocolate tops my list. But the sourcing reality of some mass-produced chocolate's main ingredient, cocoa, is a bitter pill to swallow. Six years ago, children who had been trafficked from Mali to Cote d'Ivoire to work on cocoa plantations filed a lawsuit in US courts against Archer Daniels Midland, Cargill, and Nestle. The children described being beaten and forced to work for 12 to 14 hours a day without pay, given little food and sleep. The lawsuit is ongoing."
The Environment as Our Common Heritage
Taking Climate Denial to New Extremes
By Kate Sheppard reports for Mother Jones: "The spending plan the House GOP was supposed to roll out on Thursday included a number of cuts meant to prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from doing anything about climate change. But Republicans had to take that plan back to the drawing board Thursday night after tea party members claimed the package of cuts didn't go deep enough. And if a trio of House members get their way, we won't ever have to worry about the climate—since we won't know what's happening with it, anyway."
John Hanger, PA’s Former Environmental Chief, Talks About Challenges of Keeping Gas Drilling Safe
trying to regulate the expanding drilling industry. Hanger joined the DEP in 2008, when gas drilling in the state's Marcellus Shale formation was ramping up. During his tenure, the department tightened drilling regulations by limiting the discharge of certain pollutants into rivers and streams, strengthening standards for new wells, banning development within 150 feet of certain waterways and requiring drillers to include water-use and waste-disposal plans with their well permit applications. Before he joined the department, Hanger was president and CEO of PennFuture, an environmental organization. He left the DEP when Tom Corbett took over as governor." Photo: Philadelphia Independent Media Center
REPORT: At Least 13 States Have Introduced Bills Guarding Against Non-Existent Threat Of Sharia Law
Zaid Jilani reports for Think Progress: "This past November, Oklahoma voters by a 70-30 percent margin passed a ballot question that barred “state courts from considering international or Islamic law when deciding cases.” The new law — which was widely considered as unfairly targeting the Muslim community and blaming it for the non-existent threat of Sharia law in the United states — was blocked by an injunction issued just a few weeks later by federal judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange. The judge argued that the Sharia ban was unconstitutional because it violated the establishment clause of the First Amendment and unfairly singled out Muslims."
Arizona Sues Feds for Not Being Tough Enough on Immigration
Julianne Hing writes for ColorLines: "Arizona is sick of being a defendant in lawsuit after lawsuit challenging the state’s harsh anti-immigration policies. On Thursday Gov. Jan Brewer announced that the state is turning the tables and suing the federal government in a countersuit to the Department of Justice’s lawsuit against SB 1070. Brewer accused the federal government of failing to enforce federal immigration laws, failing to control the Arizona-Mexico border and failing to protect the state from violence."
Pelosi: GOP Offers The ‘Most Comprehensive And Radical Assault On Women’s Health In Our Lifetime’
No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act” and H.R. 358, “Protect Life Act,” as well separate measures to eliminate federal funding for family planning."
'Forcible Rape' Language Remains In Bill To Restrict Abortion Funding
Amanda Terkel writes for the Huffington Post: "After significant public blowback, House Republicans last week promised to drop a controversial provision in their high-priority No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act that would redefine rape. But almost a week later, that language is still in the bill. Last week, a spokesman for the bill's principal sponsor, Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.), said, "The word forcible will be replaced with the original language from the Hyde Amendment." The Hyde Amendment bans taxpayer dollars from being used for abortions, except in cases of incest and rape -- not just "forcible rape," as the Smith bill, H.R. 3, would have it."
10 Things Conservatives Don’t Want You To Know About Ronald Reagan
spent much of Thursday singing Reagan’s praise from the Senate floor, while conservative publications have been running non-stop commemorations. Meanwhile, the Republican National Committee and former GOP House Speaker Newt Gingrich are hoping to make a few bucks off the Gipper’s centennial. "
Clarence Thomas Gets Away With Breaking the Law; Ginny Thomas Shills for Right-Wing Interests
Nancy Goldstein reports for AlterNet: "When it comes to the financial and ethical improprieties of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and his wife, Ginni, there is only bad news and worse news. That's true not only in terms of what they've done but because there's so little reason to believe they'll ever be held accountable for their active role in tainting our judiciary with the money and influence of their wealthy, conservative GOP patrons."
Backward, Christian Soldiers
10 Historical 'Facts' Only a Right-Winger Could Believe
Roy Edroso reports for AlterNet: "As you may have noticed by following their writings, conservatives are not sticklers for historical accuracy, especially when they have a point to defend and not a lot of evidence to support it. Get a load, for example, of John Podhoretz explaining how the pro-choice Rudy Giuliani reduced abortions in New York City (though, um, not really) because he cut crime, which is one of "the spiritual causes of abortion."
ENDA: The Longest Journey
Fox News Insider: "Stuff Is Just Made Up"
High-speed Wireless Access for Entire US will Spark Innovation, Obama says
Mark Guarino reports for the Christian Science Monitor: "Emphasizing a goal he set out in his State of the Union address, President Obama promoted a plan Thursday for 98 percent of Americans to have high-speed wireless Internet access within five years. In remarks given at Northern Michigan University in Marquette, Mr. Obama said his proposal, titled the National Wireless Initiative, would boost small-business development and would be of particular use in rural areas. He likened high-speed wireless access to the transcontinental railroad, which united both coasts of America. 'This isn’t just about faster Internet or being able to find a friend on Facebook. It’s about connecting every corner of America to the digital age,' he said."
FCC Chairman Genachowski 'Out of Touch' with Broadband Reality
Free Press writes: "FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski delivered a speech to the Broadband Acceleration Conference touting the value of broadband and the need for continued investment in its infrastructure. He promised to cut the "red tape" that stands as "a significant obstacle to broadband deployment." Genachowski's statements are further evidence that he's more interested in appeasing the giant phone and cable companies than in solving the real problems in the American broadband market."