O’Reilly’s creepfest ambush machine in action

I think it’s a lucky thing for Bill O’Reilly’s creeps that most people know how to conduct themselves in a public place.  Otherwise, they’d get a face full of pepper spray, tasered, or beaten to the ground.

HT:  ThinkProgress via Crooks & Liars.

Job Losses At Car Dealership Lead to Fights

Jason Stanton, a distraught Wayland Chevrolet employee who just learned the car dealership was going out of business, may be charged with disorderly conduct after he got into fights allegedly fueled by a “liquid lunch,” Police Chief Dan Miller said today.

One fight, just outside the Wayland Chevrolet dealership’s door, was caught on video when a TV news camera came to do a story on Friday about the dealership revealing it would close that day, putting 30 employees out of work.

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Obama’s To Pay For White House Renovations Themselves

As well they will not be using any money from the White House Historical Association, a privately funded foundation who recently paid $74,000 for a set of china that Laura Bush ordered before leaving the White House.

Woman Sentenced to Jail for Being Poor

ACLU of Michigan

The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan asked for an emergency hearing today on behalf of an Escanaba woman sentenced to 30 days in jail because she is too poor to reimburse the court for her son’s stay in a juvenile detention facility.

“Like many people in these desperate economic times, Ms. Nowlin was laid off from work, lost her home and is destitute,” said Michael J. Steinberg, ACLU of Michigan Legal Director. “Jailing her because of her poverty is not only unconstitutional, it’s unconscionable and a shameful waste of resources. It is not a crime to be poor in this country and the government must stop resurrecting debtor’s prisons from the dustbin of history.”

In December 2008, Ms. Nowlin’s 16-year-old son was sentenced to the Bay Pines Center and Ms. Nowlin was ordered to pay $104 per month for his lodging. At the time of this order, Ms. Nowlin was homeless and working part-time with a friend after being laid off from her job. She told the court that she was unable to pay the ordered amount, however the judge found her in contempt for failing to pay. In addition, Ms. Nowlin’s requests for a court appointed attorney were denied.

Since March 3, 2009, Ms. Nowlin has been serving her sentence at the Delta County Jail. On March 6, 2009, she was released for one day to work. Once released she picked up her $178.53 check from work thinking that she now could pay the $104.00 to get out of jail. However, upon her return to jail that evening, the sheriff forced her to sign over her check to the jail to cover $120.00 for “room and board.” She was also charged $22 for a drug test and the booking fee.

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Nuts to that! Open post


In another food scare sure to rattle consumers who watched the national salmonella outbreak in peanuts unfold, federal food officials are now warning people not to eat any food containing pistachios, which could carry contamination from the same bacteria.

The Food and Drug Administration said central California-based Setton Pistachio of Terra Bella Inc., the nation’s second-largest pistachio processor, is voluntarily recalling more than 2 million pounds of its roasted nuts shipped since last fall.

“Our advice to consumers is that they avoid eating pistachio products, and that they hold onto those products,” said Dr. David Acheson, assistant commissioner for food safety. “The number of products that are going to be recalled over the coming days will grow, simply because these pistachio nuts have then been repackaged into consumer-level containers.”

Two people called the FDA complaining of gastrointestinal illness that could be associated with the nuts, but the link hasn’t been confirmed, Acheson said. Still, the plant decided to shut down late last week, officials said.

The recalled nuts represent a small fraction of the 55 million pounds of pistachios that the company’s plant processed last year and an even smaller portion of the 278 million pounds produced in the state in the 2008 season, according to the Fresno-based Administrative Committee for Pistachios.

And, here in Oregon, people have been sickened in a few Asian restaurants because their supply of white pepper (probably from Vietnam) was contaminated by Salmonella. Are you afraid to eat?

National Security Letters Reform Act To Curtail Patriot Act Abuse

New legislation was introduced today by Congressmen Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and Jeff Flake (R-AZ) to rein in Patriot Act abuse.

The bipartisan bill, National Security Letters Reform Act of 2009, aims to curb rampant abuse of that power by federal law enforcement following the expansion of the Patriot Act and was introduced with 17 cosponsors. NSLs are secret subpoenas used to demand personal customer records from Internet Service Providers, financial institutions and credit companies without prior court approval.

“To ensure that Americans’ privacy and free speech rights are protected, there must be clear oversight and strict guidelines tied to the use of NSLs,” said Caroline Fredrickson, Director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office. “Mr. Nadler and Mr. Flake should be applauded for taking this legislative step. Their bill will realign the current NSL authority with the Constitution. Congress must take this opportunity to rein in the power of the NSL.”

NSLs were originally crafted to gain information about suspected terrorists but the Patriot Act expanded the statute to allow the subpoenas, which are issued in secrecy, do not require court review, and contain a gag order, to be used to obtain personal information about people who are simply deemed “relevant” to an investigation. After the statute’s expansion, the Department of Justice’s Office of the Inspector General released a series of reports over the last several years outlining systemic misuse and abuse of NSLs by FBI agents.

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Rep. Shimkus At Climate Change Hearing: “God Decides When The Earth Will End”

Shimkus’ opening statement, during which he read various Bible verses, before concluding: “The earth will end only when God declares its time to be over. Man will not destroy this earth. This earth will not be destroyed by a flood.” Watch:

(h/t) ProgressIllinois

GM CEO Forced To Resign By Obama Administration

The Obama administration asked Rick Wagoner, the chairman and CEO of General Motors, to step down and he agreed, a White House official said.

On Monday, President Barack Obama is to unveil his plans for the auto industry, including a response to a request for additional funds by GM and Chrysler. The plan is based on recommendations from the Presidential Task Force on the Auto Industry, headed by the Treasury Department.

The surprise announcement about the classically iconic American corporation is perhaps the most vivid sign yet of the tectonic change in the relationship between business and government in this era of subsidies and bailouts.

If we are going to bailout the auto industry, serious reconstruction of management needs to take place, to ensure not only that the money gets used wisely, so that GM makes strides in the right direction and we are guaranteed that the mistakes in the past are not repeated.

Petraeus: Disagrees With Cheney’s “Less Safe” Remarks About Obama

CNN:  Are the American people “less safe” under this new President?

PETRAEUS: Well, I wouldn’t necessarily agree with that. I think in fact that there is a good debate going on about the importance of values in all that we do.

Another Reason Why We Need National Health Care

There was a story today in my local newspaper updating the readers about a sad event and a happy event that happened all within  twenty-four hours to a woman named Trisha Urban.  Tragedy struck Trisha on the same day that she gave birth to her daughter, Cora.  As Trisha prepared to go to the hospital, her husband went outside to feed their animals.  When he didn’t return, Trisha stepped outside and found him lying in the yard.  Her husband, Andrew, died of a heart attack.  The complete story of how events unfolded that day can be read by clicking here

The story doesn’t end there.  Andrew Urban had a congenital heart defect and he skipped a cardiology appointment about a month before the baby was due because he didn’t want to add to their already mounting medical bills.

From the Reading Eagle

“I’ll always have that regret that he missed that appointment,” said his widow, Trisha A. Urban.

Even though the Urban’s had been paying premiums on their health insurance, it wasn’t enough.

According to Trisha, it wasn’t until three weeks ago – about seven months after the family’s coverage began – that the company began paying the Urbans’ claims, and even then it paid only about $2,700 of the $28,000 in claims they filed.

Trisha called it a constant battle.

She estimated the total debt could be more than $50,000.

The Urbans purchased UnitedHealthcare insurance through Immaculata University in Chester County, where Andy was working toward his doctorate.

United Healthcare insurance issued this statement…

In a written statement, United Healthcare said the health plan Andrew Urban purchased provided a set amount of coverage for annual medical expenses and that the company has paid the expenses allowed by his plan.

The company also said students who need extensive coverage should consider options beyond the university’s offering, such as individual policies.

Some people believe that just making health insurance mandatory would be enough to take care of this national health care problem.  Not necessarily so.  United Healthcare insurance wanted the Urban’s to purchase additional health insurance.  Hmm, nice try, but “no cigar”.  As you can see, the Urban’s were ineligible for additional insurance.

She said the couple could not purchase an individual policy because Andrew had a heart defect and she was pregnant, both of which are pre-existing conditions an individual policy wouldn’t cover.

What has happened to Trisha Urban is tragic.  Fortunately, the community has stepped up to help her.  You can read the complete story of how the community rallied behind Trisha here.

Each night, when Trisha puts Cora to bed, she kisses her twice.

“I give (her) a kiss,” Trisha said, “and the first kiss is from her father … and the second kiss is from me.”

No one can say for sure that things would have turned out differently for the Urban’s if Andrew had kept his cardiology appointment.  What we do know is that Andrew was concerned about mounting medical bills and that the Urban’s could not purchase additional health insurance because of the “pre-existing conditions”.  If we had national health care, then Andrew Urban would have kept his appointment with the cardiologist and things may have been different or they may be the same.  Either way, Andrew Urban still deserved the chance to receive the medical care that he needed and didn’t received because he couldn’t afford it.

Obama Boosts Fuel Economy Standards – A First In Over 25 Years

The move increases fuel economy standards for light vehicles in 2011 to 27.3 miles per gallon, or 8 percent over the 2010-model-year requirement. New cars will have to meet a standard of 30.2 miles per gallon. The standards will save 887 million gallons of fuel and reduce carbon emissions by 8.3 million metric tons, according to the Department of Transportation.

That’s a key first step toward Congress’s mandate that automakers by 2020 reach 35 miles per gallon-a 40 percent increase over the current average of 25 miles per gallon. Rep. Edward Markey, who chairs a subcommittee on energy and the environment, said in a statement that the administration’s announcement represents a “historic first step.”

This has been long overdue in cutting our dependence on foreign oil.   I know critics will say, we are kicking the auto industry when they are at their lowest.   I would point out, these executives have watched their foreign competitors make huge strides in making more fuel efficient cars over the years.  They have also witnessed the gains they have made in sales and customer satisfaction; while theirs plummeted year after year.  It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to watch these trends and make educated decisions were the future of the auto industry must head.  For their complacency, I have no sympathy.

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Saturday night “books in the cesspool” party!

One of nwmuses favorites

One of nwmuse's favorites

Good evening, friends.  Tonight, we have a respectable topic for the cesspool party:  Your favorite books.  Please let us know why the books you list are your favorites, and what impact they have had on your life.

The waitstaff chimps are wearing their rented tuxedos, and drinks are on the house.  This promises to be a fabulous evening of fine manners and elegant conversation.

As usual, please note that there is no valet parking for the cesspool party, and if you give a chimp your keys, we are not responsible for helping you get it off the blocks.

Aw hell, who am I kidding?  Party on!