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This Pew poll on religious beliefs is quite revealing.  Although you won’t hear it from the media,  many religions are apparently quite tolerant and open-minded. It bodes well for all of us.

Interactive map of religious beliefs

Two days ago I learned that my company is transferring me to Seattle Washington.  It is a request that I made 6 months ago, and I’m pleased that they think that I deserve the promotion.  I kept this blog (although I’m not sure why) after my request to leave the shenandoah valley (and move north) was granted almost nine months ago.  I no longer see the need to continue the site….tata…

Onward to Seattle!!!!

Michael Moore is about to uncover “the biggest swindle in American history,” and he needs your help.  In an e-mail yesterday, Moore asked for anyone connected to Wall Street or the financial industry to contact him at bailout@michaelmoore.com with information about the economic meltdown.  All correspondence with him will be kept confidential.

The activist filmmaker’s previous documentaries like SiCKO, Bowling for Columbine, Fahrenheit 9/11, Roger & Me, and last year’s free release of Slacker Uprising revealed, ripped, and ridiculed gross injustices in the health-care industry, gun violence, the 9/11 attacks and aftermath, General Motors, and youth voter turnout, respectively.  You can only imagine what he’ll do to the bailed out bank CEOs whose excessive greed and impropriety resulted in millions of Americans facing foreclosure, soaring unemployment, and $1.1 trillion in economic loss.

As Howard Rubenstein, president of a New York-based public-relations firms that advises hedge funds, private-equity firms and banks, told Bloomberg, “Moore’s reputation is locked in. Whatever he touches gets gored.”  But this time around, Moore needs your help to tell “the greatest crime story ever told.”

The new administration has moved quickly to reverse or delay Bush policy on drilling and pollution.

Los Angeles

Less than a month into his administration, President Obama is making good on campaign promises to move toward a comprehensive approach to US energy and to broaden environmental protections. The administration has moved over the past few weeks to undo many of Bush’s last-minute drilling and environmental decisions, including putting the brakes Tuesday on a plan to open up vast new areas off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts to offshore drilling.

In swift succession, the Obama administration has:

• Ordered the Environmental Protection Authority to reconsider its decision to deny California permission to set standards controlling greenhouse-gas emissions from motor vehicles – if permitted, this would allow 13 more states to follow suit.

• Abandoned a Bush administration legal appeal in a major air pollution case – signaling it will allow tougher rules to cut mercury emissions from power plants.

• Canceled 77 Bush-era oil and gas leases over 100,000 acres of public land near national parks in Utah.

• Announced an intent to develop an offshore energy plan that includes renewable resources, giving states and the federal government more time to study and assess the future of offshore energy planning.

Its about time……..

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Partially cut:

• $3.5 billion for energy-efficient federal buildings (original bill $7 billion)

• $75 million from Smithsonian (original bill $150 million)

• $200 million from Environmental Protection Agency Superfund (original bill $800 million)

• $100 million from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (original bill $427 million)

• $100 million from law enforcement wireless (original bill $200 million)

• $300 million from federal fleet of hybrid vehicles (original bill $600 million)

• $100 million from FBI construction (original bill $400 million)

Fully eliminated

• $55 million for historic preservation

• $122 million for Coast Guard polar icebreaker/cutters

• $100 million for Farm Service Agency modernization

• $50 million for Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service

• $65 million for watershed rehabilitation

• $100 million for distance learning

• $98 million for school nutrition

• $50 million for aquaculture

• $2 billion for broadband

• $100 million for National Institute of Standards and Technology

• $50 million for detention trustee

• $25 million for Marshalls Construction

• $300 million for federal prisons

• $300 million for BYRNE Formula grant program

• $140 million for BYRNE Competitive grant program

• $10 million state and local law enforcement

• $50 million for NASA

• $50 million for aeronautics

• $50 million for exploration

• $50 million for Cross Agency Support

• $200 million for National Science Foundation

• $100 million for science

• $1 billion for Energy Loan Guarantees

• $4.5 billion for General Services Administration

• $89 million General Services Administration operations

• $50 million from Department of Homeland Security

• $200 million Transportation Security Administration

• $122 million for Coast Guard Cutters, modifies use

• $25 million for Fish and Wildlife

• $55 million for historic preservation

• $20 million for working capital fund

• $165 million for Forest Service capital improvement

• $90 million for State and Private Wildlife Fire Management

• $1 billion for Head Start/Early Start

• $5.8 billion for Health Prevention Activity

• $2 billion for Health Information Technology Grants

• $600 million for Title I (No Child Left Behind)

• $16 billion for school construction

• $3.5 billion for higher education construction

• $1.25 billion for project based rental

• $2.25 billion for Neighborhood Stabilization

• $1.2 billion for retrofitting Project 8 housing

• $40 billion for state fiscal stabilization (includes $7.5 billion of state incentive grants)

Failed out of college, failed the bar. Ran for senate, lied about his affiliation, lied about his endorsements, lost by double digits anyway. And stem cells are the same as the Holocaust.

Classic GOP idiocracy and disdain for the normal folk….

By Ryan J. Donmoyer (Bloomberg) — The average tax rate paid by the richest 400 Americans fell by a third to 17.2 percent through the first six years of the Bush administration and their average income doubled to $263.3 million, new IRS data show.

The 17.2 percent tax rate in 2006 was the lowest since the IRS began tracking the 400 largest taxpayers in 1992, although the richest 400 Americans paid more tax on an inflation-adjusted basis than any year since 2000.

The drop from 2001’s tax rate of 22.9 percent was due largely to ex-President George W. Bush’s push to cut tax rates on most capital gains to 15 percent in 2003.

Capital gains made up 63 percent of the richest 400 Americans’ adjusted gross income in 2006, or a combined $66.1 billion, according to the data. In all, the 400 wealthiest Americans reported a combined $105.3 billion of adjusted gross income in 2006, the most recent year for which the IRS has data.

“The big explosion in income for this group is clearly on the capital gains side, although there are also sharp increases in dividend and interest income,” said Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic Policy and Research in Washington.

In addition, “they are realizing more of their gains due to the lower tax rate,” Baker said.

The data show that the population of the top 400 income- earners has fluctuated over the 15 years the agency has tracked it, according to an analysis by the Washington-based Tax Foundation, a research group. Some 3,305 different taxpayers have been included at least once on the list, the Tax Foundation said. Only 27 percent of those taxpayers have appeared more than once on the list, and only about 15 percent have been on it more than twice.

This no accident, no fluke of luck, no great investment strategy.  This was done by design by the GOP to the detriment of the middle class.

The authors, Allan Uthman and Ian Murphy, use some choice words and pictures in this piece so if you’re a wimp, a prude, or have a fragile constitution,  you probably don’t want to read the whole article.

15. Michele Bachmann

14. Bernie Madoff

13. Mark Penn

12. Dina Lohan

11. David Addington

10. Michelle Malkin

9. Rick Warren

8. Ashley Todd

7. Joe Lieberman

6. Rush Limbaugh

5. Dick Cheney

4. George W. Bush

3. Sean Hannity

2. John McCain

1. Sarah Palin

Sen. Claire McCaskill has delivered a sharp threat to the wallets of corporate executives who took large compensation packages even as their companies accepted government bailout funds. Things, she warned, are going to change.

“I’ve been mad for a while,” said the Missouri Democrat. “When we passed the initial half of the TARP money, [there were] rumors about bonuses, the fact that too many of these guys were holding onto the jobs even though they were running these companies into the ground. Reality didn’t seem to be the order of the day.”

So McCaskill took to the Senate floor on Friday to put an end to the surrealism. In a bill that came to the surprise of reporters, her colleagues, and the White House alike — there was no coordination with the Obama administration, she said — the Missouri Democrat called for compensation for employees of bailout recipients to be capped at $400,000 a year.

“They don’t get it,” McCaskill said on the floor. “These people are idiots. You can’t use taxpayer money to pay out $18-billion in bonuses… What planet are these people on?”

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REPORT: GOP Lawmakers Outnumber Democratic Lawmakers 2 To 1 In Stimulus Debate On Cable News»

graph_correctedAs Media Matters has documented, during the Bush administration, the media consistently allowed conservatives to dominate their shows, booking them as guests far more often than progressives. The rationale was that Republicans were “in power.”

It appears that old habits die hard. Even though President Obama and his team are in control of the executive branch and Democrats are in the majority in Congress, the cable networks are still turning more often to Republicans and allowing them to set the agenda on major issues, most recently on the debate over the economic recovery package.

On Sunday, conservatives began an all-out assault on President Obama’s economic recovery plan, with House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) both announcing that they would vote against the plan as it stood. Despite Obama’s efforts at good faith outreach, congressional conservatives have continued to attack the stimulus plan with a series of false and disingenuous arguments.

The media have been aiding their efforts. In a new analysis, ThinkProgress has found that the five cable news networks — CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, Fox Business and CNBC — have hosted more Republican lawmakers to discuss the plan than Democrats by a 2 to 1 ratio this week:

Pushed past their breaking points, people are robbing banks to pay the rent, setting homes on fire — even taking their own lives.
The body count is still rising. For months on end, marked by bankruptcies, foreclosures, evictions, and layoffs, the economic meltdown has taken a heavy toll on Americans. In response, a range of extreme acts including suicide, self-inflicted injury, murder, and arson have hit the local news. By October 2008, an analysis of press reports nationwide indicated that an epidemic of tragedies spurred by the financial crisis had already spread from Pasadena, California, to Taunton, Massachusetts, from Roseville, Minnesota, to Ocala, Florida.

In the three months since, the pain has been migrating upwards. A growing number of the world’s rich have garnered headlines for high profile, financially-motivated suicides. Take the New Zealand-born “millionaire financier” who leapt in front of an express train in Great Britain or the “German tycoon” who did much the same in his homeland. These have, with increasing regularity, hit front pages around the world. An example would be New York-based money manager René-Thierry Magnon de la Villehuchet, who slashed his wrists after he “lost more than $1 billion of client money, including much, if not all, of his own family’s fortune.” In the end, he was yet another victim of financial swindler Bernard Madoff’s $50 billion Ponzi scheme.

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What a difference a meltdown makes.

Just months ago, John Thain was CEO of Merrill Lynch, a top backer of presidential candidate John McCain, and widely talked of as in line for a top White House economic position should his man win on Election Day.

Instead, Thain has been fired in disgrace after Merrill was taken over by Bank of America and tarred for spending 1.2 million dollars on a Merrill office renovation including spending $35,000 on a toilet and $87,000 for a rug in those new digs.  All while while the government was bailing Merrill Lynch out.   Thain, in yet another arrogant snub to the American Taxpayer, then demanded a $30 million bonus after losing $5 billion in just three months at the bank’s Merrill Lynch unit.

And McCain is again a Senator from the state of Arizona, uninterested in talking about his old friend.

“I haven’t had a chance to look into it. I really haven’t. I haven’t had a chance to absorb it,” McCain said when asked by the Huffington Post about Thain’s plight.

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Tim Craig-RICHMOND, Jan. 23 — Democratic gubernatorial candidate Brian Moran vowed Thursday to fight a proposal to build a coal-fired power plant in southern Virginia, breaking with political leaders who have tried to shore up the once-powerful mining industry.

In a news conference near the state Capitol, Moran said the proposed plant in Surry County would contribute to global warming, worsen air quality in Richmond and Hampton Roads, and contribute to nitrogen pollution in the Chesapeake Bay.

“The approval of this plant will occur under the watch of Virginia’s next governor. I think it is important for Virginians to know where their governor stands on this issue,” Moran said. “We should be investing and developing clean sources of energy. We need to harness the energy of wind and solar.”

THANKS  Del.  MORAN FOR MAKING THE “CORRECT CHOICE FOR VIRGINIA”

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 By William Branigin, Juliet Eilperin and Steven Mufson, Washington Post Staff Writers

 President Obama today promised new U.S. leadership in the fight against global warming as he announced a series of steps aimed at making American cars more fuel efficient and reducing greenhouse gases, including a directive to the Environmental Protection Agency to reconsider granting California and other states waivers to set their own strict regulations on auto emissions.

In remarks at the White House at the start of his second week in office, Obama declared a national goal of ending dependence on foreign oil and called on Congress to pass a massive stimulus package that he said would help “create a new American energy economy.”

Flanked by Transportation Secretary  Ray LaHood and EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson, he signed two presidential directives that could lead to the production of more fuel-efficient American cars with reduced tailpipe emissions.

The moves are aimed at reversing decisions by Bush administration, which he said had stood in the way of bold action by California and other states to limit greenhouse gas emissions from automobiles.

“The days of Washington dragging its heels are over,” Obama said.

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