Saturday, August 30, 2008

Barack Obama and Axelrod pay Keith Olbermann to spew hate on Clinton

Original Link:

Obama Campaign Mails Olbermann’s ‘Hate Hillary Screed’ to ‘Entire Political Press Corps’

Let’s see now, the New Holier-Than-Thou Politics of Barack Obama is about taking your cues from Republican hacks like Drudge and the New York Post and then smearing your opponent with every hate-inspired hysterical sick low-life drama-queen interpretation that Republicans send your way.

Hillary refers to LBJ and poof she is a vile racist. Hillary mentions ‘white people’ and poof she is a super-dooper double vile racist. Hillary references RFK’s assassination, and OMG, the Evil Bitch wants Obama and all black people to die!!!

Or as John F. Harris at Politico admits: “The truth about what Clinton said — and any fair-minded appraisal of what she meant — was entirely beside the point. . Clinton’s RFK comments provide a vivid example of how modern journalism has become a hyperkinetic child.”

So naturally Obama’s Holier than Hillary Campaign sent out to “the entire political press corps” the entire hateful transcript of Keith Olbermann’s latest ‘Hate Screed for the Obamanation,’ otherwise known as: ‘The Evil Bitch IS The Anti-Christ and That’s Why You Must HATE HER!’

Orwell called it the Two Minutes Hate. Keith Olbermann calls it a Special Comment. The right-wing may own the market on hate-talk radio, but the left-wing has hate-talk teevee. It turns out that the premise of the New Politics of Obama is that the only way to beat Republicans is to be exactly like them. And no where is this sick premise better demonstrated than in Keith Olbermann’s Two Minutes Hate.

You remember Keith Olbermann? The hate talk jock who has been spotted reading Obama campaign memos aloud, verbatim, on air, and calling it MSNBC programming? The hate talk jock who has suggested that the only way to get Hillary to quit the race is for a person with a penis to physically beat the bitch senseless?

And, yeah, the Obama campaign that boasts about its New Politics of Hope is the very same Obama campaign that sent out those dirty memos portraying Hillary and Bill as evil racists.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve had all the New Politics of Hate I can stand. Obama’s New Politics of ‘Change You Can Believe In’ would be better termed:

Change You Can Choke On
Katharine Q. Seelye at The Caucus:

Howard Wolfson, Mrs. Clinton’s spokesman, said that both the media and the Obama campaign had been fanning the flames.

The Obama campaign had sent an e-mail on Friday to reporters saying the remarks had no place in a presidential campaign. It was relying on a faulty online report in the New York Post that said Mrs. Clinton was “making an odd comparison between the dead candidate and Barack Obama.” By immediately jumping into the story, within a matter of minutes, the Obama campaign fed suggestions that Mrs. Clinton had somehow made a link between Mr. Obama and Mr. Kennedy’s death.

In addition, the Obama campaign sent the entire political press corps the transcript of a searing commentary about Mrs. Clinton by Keith Olbermann on MSNBC.

“But I was deeply dismayed and disturbed that my comment would be construed in a way that flies in the face of everything I stand for — and everything I am fighting for in this election.”

Barack’s attacks on Bill Clinton’s Presidency were wrong

Original Link:

By Larry Johnson

This is truly astonishing. If the delusional crap spun by Olberman is indicative of all thinking among Obamabots then Barack is truly in trouble. Check out this exchange between Olberman and Scarborough:

Bill Clinton’s performance tonight was masterful. He reminded Democrats of what he accomplished in 8 years and graciously stated that the same could be true of Obama. Bill also set the bar very high for what Obama has to accomplish. Clinton is the master of the intimacy of the convention center, which allows him to make everyone listening feel as if he is talking to them. But he also framed the upcoming election in terms that surely has Obama’s advisors kicking themselves. Why?

For starters they will have to reluctantly concede that Barack’s attacks on Bill Clinton’s Presidency were wrong. Bill has mapped out campaign themes for them. They now have to follow Clinton’s lead or look like the clowns they are. And then there will be the comparison between Bill tonight and Barack tomorrow. But Barack is not speaking in an intimate setting. He will try to match Bill in an outdoor stadium dressed up like a John Belushi Toga Party. Not only will Barack be unable to re-create the sense of “I’m talking just to you” that Bill Clinton demonstrated. Nope. He will be in an outdoor arena that will certainly conjure up something like the public rallies filmed by Leni Riefenstahl. It will be the kind of pageantry that will repel rather than attract many Americans.

Barack would not have as much a problem with most Hillary supporters if he had run a campaign praising the accomplishments of the Clinton era. He could have made the case that he was ready to bring a new vision to build on the foundation laid by Bill, but he did not. He ran against Bill’s legacy but did not mention him by name. Nope. He praised Ronald Reagan for changing the direction of the country. He said Reagan did it in a way that Clinton did not. Don’t take my word. Thank God for video tape.

Let’s give Bill Clinton credit. He had every reason to tell this chump to shove it. Instead, he rose above his personal hurt and the insults, and still tried to help Barack. But Bill can’t win it for Barack. As the days unfold folks will come to appreciate more and more that Barack is no Bill Clinton. We know Bill Clinton. Barack, you ain’t got the stuff.

Howard Wolfson Responds to MSNBC Hit Job

Original Link:

By SusanUnPC

Below, you can read what the disreputable “journalists” at MSNBC (with the exception of Joe Scarborough, as DCMediaGirl has pointed out) have been saying. The once-reputable, once-esteemed Talking Points Memo has provided us with a story that, after watching the above video - well, you just have to WONDER, don’t you, what in the heck Greg Sargent, the TPM reporter, saw in Wolfson’s calm, deliberative response to Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews’ vicious attacks:

Howard Wolfson Goes To War With MSNBC, Hammers Chris Matthews And Keith Olbermann
By Greg Sargent - August 27, 2008, 2:13PM

On Fox News just now, Howard Wolfson unleashed a broad attack on MSNBC and its top on-air personalities, slamming the network’s coverage of Bill and Hillary, hitting back at Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann for using his work for Fox to question his Democratic credentials, and blasting MSNBC as having been “taken over” by “antics.”

Goes to war? Hammers? A broad attack? I found Howard Wolfson’s response exceptionally reserved and rational, considering the treatment that Hillary Clinton and her campaign endured night after night on MSNBC.

The broadside from Wolfson, who has until now mostly refrained from publicly critiquing MSNBC despite months of deep unhappiness within Hillaryland about the network’s coverage of her, is a declaration of open war against MSNBC and two of its most visible political commentators that likely will only escalate from here. …

Here again, Sargent “hypes” Wolfson’s remarks far beyond the reality of his tone, his demeanor, and his words.

Compare Wolfson’s response to the original comments, via, made by Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews — and you tell me who is REALLY “going to war” and who is REALLY “blasting” the other person and who is REALLY indulging in a “broad attack.”

KEITH OLBERMANN: Irony upon irony, instead of the commercials designed to destroy Hillary Clinton, [the Republicans] are using Hillary Clinton in commercials designed to destroy the Democratic nominee.

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Those are crocodile tears. And you wonder whether an objective person, either rational or post-rational, would be able to appreciate the fact that that’s clear politics–nothing wrong with it. But Republicans have no heart in Hillary Clinton’s claim to the White House. They villainized her for years. Their commercials, their attitudes are–you go to a Republican hangout, it’s all anti-Hillary. That’s their point of view. To now hold her up as some victim of some sort of foul play, of unfair politics, is a joke. But the funny thing about it is, they’re enjoying it. Fox News, for example, seems to enjoy it. It’s no accident, for example, that they hired Howard Wolfson. They use him as some sort of, oh, little toy soldier waiting on the shelf.

OLBERMANN: Tokyo Rose was the thought that came to my mind. has the video, is you can stomach it.

It is notable that also has a far more rational report on Wolfon’s remarks than does TPM: “Wolfson Slaps Back at Matthews, Olbermann.”

Howard Wolfson Goes To War With MSNBC

Original Link:

On Fox News just now, Howard Wolfson unleashed a broad attack on MSNBC and its top on-air personalities, slamming the network's coverage of Bill and Hillary, hitting back at Chris Matthews and Keith Olberman for using his work for Fox to question his Democratic credentials, and blasting MSNBC as having been "taken over" by "antics."

The broadside from Wolfson, who has until now refrained from publicly critiquing MSNBC despite months of deep unhappiness within Hillaryland about the network's coverage of her, is a declaration of open war against MSNBC and two of its most visible political commentators that likely will only escalate from here.

"I'm not gonna take any lectures on how to be a good Democrat from two people who spent the last two years relentlessly attacking Bill and Hillary Clinton everyday," Wolfson said on the air moments ago, when asked by the Fox anchor to respond to some criticism of Wolfson on MSNBC yesterday

What Hillary Clinton's women want

Original Link:


Hillary Clinton's speech before the convention on Tuesday night was brilliant. It reminded me of the one that Jesse Jackson gave in 1984 after a very contentious primary, when his name would be put into nomination the next evening and his 465-1/2 delegate votes would be recorded in the history books. His speech soared with reminders of a historic campaign, thanked supporters and recognized it was time to move on as a unified party.

Hillary's remarks, however, went even further than Jackson's did 24 years ago - by pressing for support, over and over, for her former opponent, Barack Obama, and urging party unity as the only way to defeat John McCain in November.

She could not have done more. And despite what some of Obama's supporters seem to feel, responsibility for a contentious campaign does not rest solely on her shoulders.

It seems to me there are now three distinct groups of Hillary Clinton supporters.

The first are the PUMAs - which, as everyone now knows, stands for "Party Unity My A--." For them - and over the last two weeks I have received hundreds of letters from women who consider themselves PUMAs - nothing Hillary could say or do would move them. They are livid at the sexist way that Hillary was treated by the media, and even angrier at the Obama people, the Democratic National Committee and Howard Dean as chairman, for not speaking up against it.

They believe that sexism is larger than this presidential race, that it seeps into the fiber of our country and must be stopped. They are convinced that if the media had been racist against Obama, Howard Dean would have been shouting from the hilltops - and so would have Hillary. They feel the party accepted a double standard, and many have indicated that they will either vote for McCain, write in Hillary's name or just not vote for President.

Those people were outside of Hillary's reach on Tuesday night.

A second group of Clinton supporters is those who chose her over Obama but who consider themselves good Democrats and will vote for the nominee. They also would never think of voting for McCain, primarily because of two vital, closely related issues of their concern: the Supreme Court and abortion.

That leaves the middle group. These are the women (and in smaller numbers, men) to whom Hillary was reaching out in her speech. They were on the fence; some of them remain there. They were disappointed when she didn't win the nomination and let down further when she wasn't chosen, apparently wasn't even seriously considered, to be Obama's running mate.

They were not only a significant number of the delegates in the convention hall on Tuesday night, but they are also the blue-collar ethnics and older voters in Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Florida, who came out in large numbers for her toward the end of the campaign.

These are the ones of whom she asked, after recounting the stories of three people in various parts of the country who were having problems with health care or trouble making ends meet: "Were you in this campaign just for me?" And then, again referring to those people, she rhetorically asked, or "Were you in it for all the people in this country who feel invisible?"

She then went on to point out that Obama was the person who could meet those tough challenges. And that he was the leader we need.

Hillary has done her part. Now it's Obama's turn. Some of that third group at the convention were swayed by Hillary's speech. Some are still waiting for Obama to assure them about his experience and ability to handle the job. Some of them are waiting to hear if he really does understand them and their needs.

They want to be sure that when Obama said so frequently in the primaries that "Our time has come," that it didn't mean their time had passed.

Thursday night, we will find out.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Behind the new health insurance numbers

Original Link:

By Kristen Gerencher, MarketWatch

New Census Bureau figures released this week contained some good news: The number of Americans without health insurance fell 1.3 million last year from 47 million uninsured in 2006.

The bad news: 45.7 million still lacked coverage. That's 15.3% of the U.S. population.

A staggering number of uninsured has persisted for years. What's different this time is a change in the mix of coverage. Government-funded public programs increased their enrollment by about the same number of people who were newly insured in 2007, underscoring the importance of strong safety-net programs such as Medicaid and the state children's health insurance program, or S-chip, health-policy experts said.

The number of children under age 18 without health insurance dropped to 8.1 million last year from 8.7 million in 2006, or to 11% of all U.S. kids from 11.7% the previous year, the report found.

Several states expanded their programs in recent years in the absence of federal health-care reform. That's helped to offset some of the loss of employer-sponsored coverage, which has continued to erode this decade as health-care costs ballooned, said Karen Davis, president of the Commonwealth Fund, a private foundation in New York that supports independent health-care research.

"We had a 1.3 million reduction in the uninsured and had a 1.3 million expansion in Medicaid growth," she said. "Clearly, without Medicaid and particularly the expansion of coverage for children we would've continued to see a rise in the number of people who were uninsured."

The reauthorization of S-chip, launched in 1997, became a lightning-rod political issue at the end of last year after President Bush twice vetoed Congress' efforts to extend and expand the program, designed for children in low-income families who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid. A temporary extension is set to expire in March unless a new bill is passed.

What's at stake

The portion of people covered by job-based and other private insurance declined and likely will continue to do so, placing more pressure on public programs, said Len Nichols, a health economist and director of the health-policy program for the New America Foundation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan research group in Washington.

"While it's superficially good news in that more people have coverage, it exemplifies the stress the system is bearing," Nichols said. "I don't think most governors are going to be happy to sustain the current [Medicaid and S-chip] rolls they have as the economy weakens."

"If private coverage can't keep up with population growth, then we're going to constantly have fewer people covered in the private sector in the absence of reform," he added. "That's why [national health] reform is necessary to save the private sector....The federal role here is to try to do comprehensive reform and put financing of our health-care system on more sustainable footing."

The nation's problem with helping people secure health insurance remains status quo, said Paul Fronstin, director of the health research and education program at the Employee Benefit Research Institute in Washington.
"The story hasn't changed from last year," he said. "The numbers have changed a little bit, but it really doesn't matter if we're talking about 47 million, 45 million or 43 million. The fact is it's a significant number of people who don't have health insurance."

People who don't have health insurance tend to put off or forgo needed health care because they can't benefit from the negotiated discounts and financial protection that coverage offers. They often suffer with more illness, disability and lower productivity and may die prematurely compared with their insured counterparts. They also may drive costs higher if they seek medical attention in hospital emergency rooms after their illnesses have progressed and they can't pay the bill.

The uninsured issue is important to follow for a number of reasons, Fronstin said.

"It matters because it puts pressure on the health-care system in terms of uncompensated care. It matters because more people are not getting the kind of health care they need because they think they don't have access to the system or have the kind of access to the system that insured people have," he said. "It matters to policy people because if we're going to try to solve this problem we need to know what it's going to cost."

Role of the economy

The Census Bureau has tracked annual health insurance trends since 1987, when 31 million Americans lacked coverage. The agency enhanced its survey in 2000 and added more questions about children's coverage in 2002. In March of this year, investigators conducted in-person interviews with 76,600 households to inquire about individuals' insurance status for calendar year 2007. If respondents had coverage for any part of the previous year, they were counted as insured.

By the time the figures for one year are released the following year, they already may lag the current situation. Because the new data represent 2007, which saw the U.S. unemployment rate averaging 4.6% compared with the most recent rate of 5.7% in July, the health-insurance snapshot doesn't reflect today's sputtering economy, Fronstin said.

"We have a higher unemployment rate so fewer people with access to coverage," he said. "And those people with coverage are undoubtedly facing the decision of whether to keep their health insurance when dealing with higher gas prices and higher food prices."

Nichols agreed. "The economy had just begun to weaken in the fourth quarter of 2007. All reasonable models will predict that 2008 numbers will be worse and we would expect more people to have lost private coverage by then. But given how vibrant the S-chip and Medicaid safety net is, that doesn't mean the uninsured will go up a lot. It just means we expect erosion in the private sector to continue and indeed intensify."

Though some states' uninsured rates improved, the overall distribution of those with the highest and lowest portion of uninsured was little changed, according to the census report. Regionally, the South and West had the highest rates of uninsured people, with 18.4% and 16.9% respectively. Texas had the highest percentage of uninsured, at 24.4% using a three-year average from 2005 to 2007.

States falter

The level of state health-care reform efforts reached a 15-year high after Massachusetts began its landmark comprehensive statewide health reform plan in 2006, according to a study published in the January issue of the journal Health Affairs.

But the flurry of activity faded quickly as states became strapped with budget shortfalls resulting from decreased tax revenues and higher outlays of unemployment insurance, Davis said.

"Massachusetts and Vermont at this stage are the only states that have a commitment to universal coverage," she said. "There were major proposals in California, Pennsylvania, Illinois. Those have floundered. You haven't had proposals from the states that have had major problems like Texas, Florida."

Such failed attempts suggest states can't handle the problem without more comprehensive national reform, she said.

"What's shocking is the U.S. is the only major industrialized nation that fails to cover everyone, and yet we spend twice per capita what the next closest country spends on health care," Davis said. "Many of these countries in Europe are older and have a higher fraction of elderly as total population and yet cover everyone at substantially lower costs."

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Number of uninsured drops; poverty holds steady

Original Link:

By RICARDO ALONSO-ZALDIVAR, Associated Press Writer

The number of people without health insurance fell by more than 1 million in 2007, the first annual decline since the Bush administration took office, the Census Bureau reported Tuesday. Incomes edged up for the middle class while poverty held steady.

The numbers represent a scorecard on President Bush's stewardship of the economy at the kitchen-table level. But they only went as far as the end of last year, before the current economic downturn started gathering force. Although there were some bright spots, it was a mixed picture.

While the overall poverty rate held steady at 12.5 percent, poverty did rise among some groups. Latinos, children and the foreign-born — demographic categories that overlap considerably — experienced significant increases.

And while the number of uninsured dropped to 45.7 million, down from 47 million in 2006, it was largely because more people were covered through government programs.

For the middle class, the median — or midpoint — household income rose to $50,233, a modest increase of $665 from the previous year, although it was the third consecutive annual rise.

"The gains that occurred last year were welcome, but unfortunately, they are too little, too late," said Jared Bernstein, a senior economist with the liberal Economic Policy Institute in Washington. "The median household is no better off now than they were back in 2000, despite their deep contribution to the nation's economic growth during this period."

For example, after adjusting for inflation, last year's median household income of $50,233 was not significantly different from the figure for 2000, which was $50,557. "The American work force is baking a bigger economic pie, but the slices haven't grown at all," Bernstein said.

But White House spokesman Tony Fratto said the household income and health insurance numbers are definitely good news.

"It's clear that the long period of strong economic growth we were in had a positive impact for most Americans," Fratto said. "Obviously today we're dealing with higher energy prices and the downturn in housing, but the economy is showing enough resilience to keep growing in spite of those challenges."

Republican candidate John McCain distanced himself from the White House response, saying in a statement, "Too many of our neighbors are living in poverty, too many can't find a job, and too many are living without health insurance." The Arizona senator pledged tax cuts and policy changes to make health care more affordable.

Some analysts said that global trends, not just administration policies, are shaping the economic fortunes of individual Americans.

"Presidents like to take credit when things go well, and therefore they should get the blame when things don't go well, but there are lots of things driving this, not all of which are home grown," said Douglas Besharov, an expert on poverty at the business-oriented American Enterprise Institute. "The oil shocks are not. And globalization, which on balance is good for the country, leaves winners and losers."

The Census report was immediately swept up into presidential politics. Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama's campaign fired off a statement blasting what it called the "failed record" of Bush's economic policies and promising "bottom up economic growth" if the Illinois senator is elected.

Overall, the Census found 37.3 million people living in poverty in 2007, of which 13.3 million were children. The poverty level for a four-person family in 2007 was $21,203. Among age groups, seniors had the lowest poverty rate at 9.7 percent, while children had the highest at 18 percent. The poverty rate for 2006 was 12.3 percent, but the change in 2007 was not statistically significant.

The welcome news on health insurance coverage was tempered by the continued erosion of private coverage paid for by employers and individuals. Government programs — such as Medicaid for the poor — picked up the slack, resulting in the overall reduction in people without health insurance.

The uninsured rate also fell to 15.3 percent, down from 15.8 percent in 2006.

"Private insurance has been falling (and) public insurance definitely went up," said David Johnson, who oversees the Census division that produced the statistics. The number of uninsured children also fell in 2007, after an increase in 2006 that had interrupted years of progress in getting more kids covered.

But seen over a longer period of time, the health insurance numbers are not reassuring. The number of uninsured — and the rate — are higher today than they were at the outset of the Bush administration in 2001. That year, 39.8 million people, or 14.1 percent, were uninsured.

"The number of uninsured is considerably higher than when the president took office, and in each year since then, employer-sponsored insurance has continued to diminish," said Ron Pollack, executive director of Families USA, a liberal group advocating coverage for all.

Stuart Butler, a top health policy expert at the conservative Heritage Foundation, said employers are scaling back on providing health care coverage because costs keep rising.

"I think it's more like we are seeing a tide that I don't think anybody can easily fix, particularly in the small-business sector," said Butler.

The Census report also underscored the growing role of women in the workplace, finding the gap between the earnings of women and men has shrunk to an all-time low.

In 2007, women working full-time, year-round averaged 78 percent of what men earned. But the gender gap varied considerably depending on the industries and types of jobs involved. And the good news for women may not necessarily be a positive for family incomes. The Census found that a major reason the gap is shrinking is that men's earnings have been fairly flat.

Consumer outlook up, housing bottom may be near

Original Link:

By ANNE D'INNOCENZIO, AP Business Writer

Americans felt better about the economy in August, as a barometer of sentiment posted the biggest boost in two years amid falling gas prices. Two reports suggested that a bottom could be nearing for the housing market, but economists caution it's too early to proclaim that the worst is over.

The Conference Board, a private research group, said Tuesday that its consumer confidence index rose to 56.9, up from a revised 51.9 in July. That's the largest gain since August 2006, and is ahead of the 53 expected by economists surveyed by Thomson/IFR.
It's also the second month in a row that sentiment improved, after a six-month slide since January - but it remains about half what it was a year ago, and worries about the job market persisted.

"It's still too early to call a bottom" on both confidence and housing, said Gary Thayer, senior economist at Wachovia Securities.

The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index released Tuesday showed home prices dropped a record 15.4 percent during the second quarter. However, the rate of single-family home price declines slowed from May to June, a possible silver lining.

Sales of new homes rose in July, but still fell short of economists' expectations, and home prices continued to sink. Still, the July increase followed a sharp downward revision to June's sales.

"Consumer confidence readings suggest that the economy remains stuck in neutral, but may be showing signs of improvement by early next year," Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center, said in a statement. However, "overall readings are still quite low by historical standards, and it is still too early to tell if the worst is behind us."

Economists and investors closely monitor consumer sentiment as consumer spending represents about two-thirds of all economic activity.

Falling gas prices in recent weeks helped boost consumers' mood, Franco said. Gas prices have dropped 15 cents a gallon in the last two weeks, according to the Lundberg Survey of 7,000 gas stations nationwide, released Sunday. The average price of a gallon of regular gasoline at self-serve stations was $3.70 on Friday.

Despite that, gas nationally was almost 95 cents a gallon higher than a year ago, and the volatility in oil prices are a big concern for investors. But Tuesday's reports helped offset a spike in oil prices that rose out of concerns Hurricane Gustav might hit installations in the Gulf of Mexico in coming days. In early afternoon trading, the Dow Jones industrial average rose 5.86, or 0.05 percent, to 11,392.11.

The Conference Board's index that measures shoppers' current assessment of the economy declined to 63.2 from 65.8 in July. But the one that gauges their outlook over the next six months jumped to 52.8 from 42.7 in July. The 10-point increase marked the biggest gain since November 2005, when the economic fallout of hurricane Katrina was subsiding.

Franco said that declines in the Present Situation Index, both in term of business conditions and the labor market, appear to be moderating.

While economists say they can't underestimate the relief among consumers to see gas prices come down, Americans are still faced with a number of challenges as they head into the crucial fall and holiday selling seasons, from a weak job market to tight credit conditions and the housing slump.

"It's encouraging to see the benefit of lower gas prices helping consumers a bit," Thayer said. But he noted that there's still a lot of worry out there. As for the housing market, he cautioned that mortgage rates have not come down and tighter lending standards could stall any housing recovery.

The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller report showed that 14 cities in the monthly index showed improvement from May to June, but nine recorded positive returns. Meanwhile, the Commerce Department reported that new home sales rose 2.4 percent in July to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 515,000 units, the most since April. But sales in June had dropped to a pace of just 503,000 - down from previous estimates of 530,000 - to mark the worst performance since September 1991.

Economists projected sales to drop in July, but expected the pace to be around 525,000. Given June's sharp downward revision, the level of home sales in July wound up to be less than analysts were anticipating.

The Consumer Confidence report - derived from responses received through Aug. 19 of a representative sample of 5,000 U.S. households - showed people's current assessment of the labor market turned bleaker.

Those saying jobs are "hard to get" rose to 32.0 percent from 30.2 percent in July, while those who found them "plentiful" declined to 13.1 percent from 13.6 percent. Their outlook for what's ahead in the labor market was less gloomy. The percent anticipating fewer jobs in the months ahead decreased to 30.6 percent from 37.3 percent, while those expecting more jobs increased to 10.5 percent from 8.0 percent.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Uninsured pay $30 billion for health care

Original Link:

By Lara Moscrip, contributing writer

Report says uninsured receive another $56 billion in care, the bulk of which the government pays.

Americans without health insurance will spend $30 billion out of pocket on medical care this year, according to a new report by George Mason University and the Urban Institute.

The government will pay about 75% of an additional $56 billion in health costs - or $42 billion - for the uninsured. The rest is covered by private physicians, community groups and hospitals.

The high cost of health care and the problem of not having insurance is only going to get worse with time, according to the report's main author, Jack Hadley of George Mason University and the Urban Institute. The report was published Monday in Health Affairs, a health policy journal.

"Given the focus of presidential campaigns on health care reform, it seems this would be a good time to address high cost of care ... and the problem of not having insurance," Hadley said. "The cost of covering the insured will be more expensive if we continue to wait."

On Tuesday, the census bureau will release new estimates of how many Americans live without health insurance. Currently, the estimate is 47 million, but that figure is expected to grow to as high as 49 million, according to Hadley. Roughly 16% of Americans do not have health insurance.

The cost of expanding coverage to the uninsured through private and public insurance would add 5% to national health spending, Hadley said.

Since people with health insurance tend to spend more, full coverage would increase spending on the uninsured by $122.6 billion, according to the report. That would bring the total cost to cover the uninsured to $208.6 billion. The report's authors based the estimate on the health care spending of insured people.

Hadley said that the benefits of expanded health coverage could include greater productivity and greater tax revenues for the government, in addition to the intrinsic value of good health.

"Spending on health care is not like spending on going to the movies," Hadley said. "There's an intrinsic value to good health, in addition to the ability to work effectively."

Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac shares rise

Original Link:

Shares of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac soared Monday after Freddie completed a $2 billion debt sale and a Wall Street analyst said a government bailout of the mortgage finance giants may not be inevitable.

But some regional banks with significant holdings in Fannie and Freddie preferred stocks followed the rest of the market down amid questions over whether the government would step in to rescue the two government-sponsored companies.

Shares of Fannie rose 25 cents, or 5 percent, to $5.25 in afternoon trading, while Freddie climbed 39 cents, or 13.9 percent, to $3.20.

Freddie's sale of $2 billion in short-term debt Monday was well received on Wall Street, but the company had to sweeten terms of the offer to lure demand, investors said.

Citigroup analyst Bradley Ball said Monday that federal bailouts "don't necessarily wipe out all" company shareholders, and that Fannie and Freddie still have options despite their steep stock declines in recent weeks.

"We are not convinced that (the government) needs to take any action over the near term," Ball wrote.

Regional banks with the largest exposure to Fannie and Freddie preferred stock as a proportion of their capital include Sovereign Bancorp Inc. (SOV, News), Westamerica Bancorp and Gateway Financial Holdings Inc. (GBTS, News), according to a research note from Samuel Caldwell at Keefe, Bruyette & Woods.

All of those banks' shares were down in afternoon trading.

A government rescue of Fannie and Freddie - whose share prices have plunged in recent weeks as they struggle with billions of dollars in losses from bad mortgages - could be costly for scores of investment, banking and insurance companies that hold billions in their preferred shares.

Preferred shares usually pay a fixed dividend and have priority over common stock when it comes to dividends and bankruptcy liquidation. While slightly riskier than bonds, which have the highest priority in times of trouble, companies often invest in preferred shares for certain tax advantages.

Still, on Wall Street, Fannie and Freddie's existing preferred shares are trading like junk bonds, yielding around 17 percent to 19 percent instead of around their 6 percent dividend levels. The higher yield is an inducement to investors to accept the higher level of risk that the dividends won't be paid.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Coleman's out-of-touch record: War and peace

Original Link:

by: Jeff Rosenberg

This is the eighth in a series of weekly articles exposing Norm Coleman's record on the issues. For a list of previous articles, go here.
Last week, I started looking through some of the voting history compiled by the good folks at Peace Action West, which illustrates some of Norm "W" Coleman's dangerous votes on foreign policy. Peace Action West is an organization which advocates for "broad-based civic activism to create a strong voice for peaceful and pragmatic solutions to global problems." They developed a Congressional scorecard to highlight Congressmen's votes on foreign policy and peace. Norm "W" Coleman's record is so bad, I had to split it into two weeks. Last week, I covered his support of new nuclear weapons. Here are some more of his bad votes

2003 [pdf link]

Folks, if ever you needed an explanation for why we're still in Iraq, this is it. Coleman voted against an amendment that would prohibit the use of Iraq reconstruction funds for any contract or financial agreement with an entity that pays deferred compensation to the president, vice president, or a Cabinet level official, or any entity in which the president, vice president or Cabinet-level official holds options to purchase more than 1,000 shares of stock (vote #386). That means Coleman voted to make it legal for our own president and vice president to be war profiteers.

2004 [pdf link]

Here's another shocking vote from Coleman. This is proof that when Coleman tells you he's "strong on defense," you should take a closer look. Barbara Boxer introduced what I would consider a very reasonable amendment, providing that Bush's missile defense system could not be deployed for defensive operations until the Department of Defense certified that the capabilities of the
system to perform its defense mission had been confirmed by operationally realistic testing of the system (vote #124). Now just stop and think about that. Norm says he cares about defense, but he's totally fine having a defense system in operation before we have proof that it works properly.

2006 [pdf link]

In a heartwarming vote, Coleman voted AGAINST protecting civilians from cluster bombs. A cluster bomb is an air-dropped bomb that ejects multiple small bomblets. They are very inaccurate and unreliable, and wreak havoc when used in civilian areas. The amendment Coleman voted against would have required the administration to certify the weapons would not be used in civilian areas before the US could sell, transfer or acquire cluster bombs (vote #232).

2003 - present

I don't have the space to list the number of bad votes Coleman has made on Iraq. The war is just another of Bush's failed policies that Coleman lined up behind. You can check out any of the Peace Action scorecards for some of Coleman's worst votes on Iraq.

The bottom line: Norm "W" Coleman isn't making us or anyone else safer. He's voting to reward war profiteers and allow innocent civilians to be killed. Perhaps even more disturbing is the thought that he doesn't want to bother testing out our country's missile defense system before putting it into action. We can't trust Norm Coleman on defense; it's time to send a new Senator to Washington.

Coleman's out-of-touch record: His misguided support for new nuclear weapons

Original Link:

by: Jeff Rosenberg

This is the seventh in a series of weekly articles exposing Norm Coleman's record on the issues. For a list of previous articles, go here.

As the material on CQ Weekly for this series started to run thin, I received an email from Reva Patwardhan
of Peace Action West about some of Norm "W" Coleman's dangerous votes on foreign policy. Peace Action West is an organization which advocates for "broad-based civic activism to create a strong voice for peaceful and pragmatic solutions to global problems." They developed a Congressional scorecard to highlight Congressmen's votes on foreign policy and peace. I'm sure nobody thinks Norm "W" Coleman is in favor of a peaceful foreign policy, but you'll be surprised just how bad he is.

In fact, there are so many bad votes in these scorecards that I'm going to spend at least two weeks going through them. This, week, I explore Coleman's misguided support for nuclear weapons. After the Cold War was over, most people thought the threat of continuing nuclear proliferation was over. So why are Coleman and other conservatives still voting to expand our nuclear arsenal?

Conservatives in Congress have been pushing the concepts of low-yield nuclear weapons and nuclear earth-penetrator weapons. Despite being smaller than conventional nuclear weapons, they are still nuclear weapons, and will result in substantial civilian casualties. The Federation of American Scientists warns:

By seeking to produce usable low-yield nuclear weapons, we risk blurring the now sharp line separating nuclear and conventional warfare, and provide legitimacy for other nations to similarly consider using nuclear weapons in regional wars.
Yet for some reason, Norm supports them. Here is some documentation of his votes:

2003 [pdf link]

Coleman voted three times to expand the United States' nuclear weapons arsenal. He voted twice to approve research on low-yield nuclear weapons (Votes #186, 187). He also voted for nuclear earth penetrator weapons (Vote #189). These votes aren't "strong on defense," they're simply irresponsible.

2004 [pdf link]

Edward Kennedy (D-MA) tried to include a provision in the Defense Authorization Bill that would prohibit the use of $36.6 million for a study of Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator "bunker buster" weapons and a Stockpile Services Advanced Concepts Initiative, which includes research into a "low yield" nuclear weapons. Of course, Coleman voted AGAINST it (Vote #113).

2006 [pdf link]

Coleman didn't just vote for more nuclear weapons for us; he seems fine allowing nuclear proliferation around the world. During the debate over nuclear cooperation with India, Russ Feingold (D-WI) proposed an amendment would have required that the India deal could only move forward if the president certified that civilian nuclear cooperation with India did nothing to assist, encourage or induce India to manufacture or acquire additional nuclear weapons. I supported the deal with India, but the deal needed to be about civilian nuclear energy only; we don't want to fund other countries' nuclear proliferation. I'd love to hear Coleman's justification for this one.

The bottom line: There's no good reason to be in support of nuclear proliferation. A nuclear war would be devastating to the whole world, and I have to believe nobody wants that. We have the most advanced army in the world, and the most advanced weapons in the world. New nuclear weapons don't serve any functional purpose, yet Norm "W" Coleman has consistently voted for them. That's warmongering foreign policy at its worst.

Coleman's out-of-touch record: the Bankruptcy Overhaul bill

Original Link:

by: Jeff Rosenberg

This is the sixth in a series of weekly articles exposing Norm Coleman's record on the issues. Previous articles are collected here. All data in this series comes from CQ Weekly.

First, I need to start with an admission: I said we were going to be looking at Norm's record on agriculture. But when I looked into it, there were not many interesting floor votes available on agricultural topics. And what's more, I have to admit, his record was really not terrible. In fact, I was almost feeling downright positive about Norm until I stumbled upon the 2005 Bankruptcy Overhaul bill.
The bill, with Coleman's support, create a means test tied to the median incomes of individual states to determine whether personal bankruptcy filers were able to repay some or all of their debts. That doesn't sound too bad. What's mind-boggling, as always, is some of the stuff Norm voted against.

[This one's pretty long -- more after the break]

Jeff Rosenberg :: Coleman's out-of-touch record: the Bankruptcy Overhaul bill
Norm voted FOR passage of the Bankruptcy Overhaul bill (SENATE ROLL CALL VOTE 44). But that's not the whole story. Because while the bill was on the floor, he made some mean-spirited votes against consumers and victims of credit fraud.
For instance, he voted AGAINST an amendment that would require credit card companies to issue a warning notification on monthly statements stating that a minimum payment will increase the amount of interest paid and the time it will take to repay the outstanding balance. The amendment would also require companies to disclose the amount required for the consumer to pay off the outstanding balance in three years, if no further advances are made (SENATE ROLL CALL VOTE 15). This provision would have helped educate Americans about getting out of debt at no cost to the government. Does Coleman want us to stay in debt to the credit card companies?

He voted AGAINST an amendment that would provide a homestead exemption of at least $150,000 of the equity in the property the debtor uses as a primary residence if the bankruptcy stems from medical expenses (SENATE ROLL CALL VOTE 17).

He voted AGAINST Sen. Mark Dayton's amendment that would set a 30 percent ceiling on interest rates for loans or credit cards. I can appreciate "letting the free market work," but 30 percent interest is usury. Of course, you know who interest rates that high hurt: the same people Norm has been sticking it to the whole time he's been in the Senate, those who can't afford it. (SENATE ROLL CALL VOTE 20).

The votes I mentioned above are bad, but the next two votes are just sickening. Norm voted AGAINST an amendment that would prohibit high cost mortgage lenders from collecting on their claims in bankruptcy court if they extend credit in violation of the Truth in Lending Act (SENATE ROLL CALL VOTE 22). You read that correctly -- Norm voted to allow predatory lenders engaging in mortgage fraud to collect on their illegal loans.

He also voted AGAINST an amendment that would increase from one to four years the period of time a bankruptcy court can recapture assets of corporate executives who make fraudulent transfers. That amendment would give employees and retirees a priority unsecured claim in bankruptcy for the value of company stock held for their benefit in an employee pension plan. (SENATE ROLL CALL VOTE 25). So not only did he vote against victims of predatory lending, he voted to protect white-collar criminals instead of protecting the employees they defrauded.

The bottom line: on this bill, Norm voted the same way he always has: for wealthy CEOs, and against everyone who's struggling to get by. Is that who you want representing you in the Senate?

Coleman's out-of-touch record: veterans

Original Link:

by: Jeff Rosenberg

This is the sixth in a series of weekly articles exposing Norm "W" Coleman's record on the issues. All data in this series comes from CQ Weekly.
Previous articles cover Coleman's record on transportation, transportation security, the environment, education, and employment.


Coleman started his record on veterans by voting AGAINST an amendment that would increase spending on veterans' programs by approximately $1 billion and put the same amount toward deficit reduction. (SENATE ROLL CALL VOTE 74)

He then voted against a proposal that would have made it easier for veterans to return to their jobs. He voted AGAINST an amendment would allow a 50 percent tax credit on the salaries employers pay workers who are in the National Guard or Reserves and have been put on active duty. I would have thought he would at least support veterans if it involved giving a tax cut.


Proving that the richest Americans are more important to him than the troops, Coleman voted AGAINST an amendment that would create a reserve fund that would allow up to $2.7 billion in additional spending for veterans' medical programs. It also would increase the amount dedicated for deficit reduction by $2.7 billion. The spending would be offset by reducing tax breaks for taxpayers with incomes of more than $1 million per year (SENATE ROLL CALL VOTE 34). I've written previously about the long-term damage Bush and Coleman are doing by putting this war on a credit card instead of asking Americans, even the very wealthiest, to make sacrifices for their country.

Coleman also voted AGAINST a similar amendment to create a reserve fund that would allow up to $1.8 billion in additional spending for veterans' medical programs. The spending would be offset by revenue increases. (SENATE ROLL CALL 40)

Finally in 2004, Coleman voted AGAINST an amendment to authorize an increase in health benefits for veterans by keeping discretionary spending at fiscal 2004 levels. Yes, you read that right: he voted against increasing health benefits for troops who were being wounded every single day. (SENATE ROLL CALL VOTE 145)

More after the break

Jeff Rosenberg :: Coleman's out-of-touch record: veterans


This time, he voted FOR an amendment that would increase funding for veterans health care by $2.8 billion for fiscal 2006 and reduce the deficit by $2.8 billion. (SENATE ROLL CALL VOTE 55) What changed? No idea.

He also voted AGAINST an amendment that would increase funding for veterans' health care by $1.98 billion and designate it as emergency spending. It's really amazing -- President Bush spends billions of dollars on the Iraq war and designates them as emergency spending, and Coleman is willing to look the other way. But on funding for veterans' health, suddenly he's a budget hawk? (SENATE ROLL CALL VOTE 89)

In what may be the most callous vote he's ever made, he voted AGAINST an amendment which would allow health care funding for veterans to be adjusted to account for changes in population and inflation. (SENATE ROLL CALL VOTE 251)

Finally, he once again chose the wealthy over our soldiers by voting AGAINST an amendment which would provide an additional $500 million per year for the next five years for mental health services for veterans. It would be offset by deferring tax cuts for those making $1 million per year. (SENATE ROLL CALL VOTE 343)


Continuing his trend of voting against veterans' health care, he voted AGAINST four different bills to increase funding for veterans' health care. (SENATE ROLL CALL 7) (SENATE ROLL CALL VOTE 41) (SENATE ROLL CALL VOTE 63) (SENATE ROLL CALL VOTE 111)

At least he voted for one amendment, which would add $430 million for outpatient and inpatient health care and treatment for veterans. Of course, the bill required the president to request the emergency funds in order for it to be spent, and it passed nearly unanimously. But I guess it's better than nothing. (SENATE ROLL CALL 98)

The bottom line: Norm "W" Coleman's record on veterans' issues, particularly healthcare, is horrific. As far as I'm concerned, he loses the right to say he supports the troops. It seems pretty clear to me that the only thing he supports is sending more of them to die in Iraq.

Coleman's out-of-touch record: transportation security

Original Link:

by: Jeff Rosenberg

This is the fifth in a series of weekly articles exposing Norm Coleman's record on the issues. All data in this series comes from CQ Weekly.
Previous articles cover Coleman's record on transportation, the environment, education, and employment.

Did you think that transportation security was an obvious opportunity for bipartisan agreement? Did you think that only a maniac could vote against securing our planes, trains, and cargo ships? Well, then you haven't been following the career of Norm "W" Coleman. The following is a list of some of Coleman's most egregious votes against securing our transportation networks:


Coleman voted to privatize core air traffic control functions, system specialists and maintenance of systems and flight service stations. You've seen what the privatized TSA program is like; do you really want to outsource our transportation security?


Coleman voted AGAINST an amendment to increase funding for rail and transit security by $350 million (SENATE ROLL CALL VOTE 181). This is such a small number, when you consider the amount of damage that could be done in an attack. Coleman's vote against this is nothing short of disgusting.


This was a banner year for Coleman in terms of voting against our security.

First, he voted AGAINST an amendment which would appropriate approximately $302 million for aviation security programs (SENATE ROLL CALL VOTE 180). Well, it's not like anyone has ever attacked our aviation system, right?

Immediately after that, he voted AGAINST appropriating $70 million to the Transportation Security Administration to identify and track shipments of hazardous materials by truck using global positioning system (GPS) technology (SENATE ROLL CALL VOTE 181).

Next, he voted AGAINST an amendment that would provide an additional $100 million for transportation and infrastructure grants, increase port security grant funding by $50 million to $200 million and increase intercity bus security grants to $15 million (SENATE ROLL CALL VOTE 185).

He did vote for one amendment supporting transit security grants. This bill would have provided $1.2 billion for transit security (SENATE ROLL CALL VOTE 186); I have no idea why he would support this bill and vote against the others. Well, at least one out of four ain't bad... no, wait--it stinks. Unfortunately, the only amendment Coleman voted for was voted down by the rest of the Republicans.


Coleman wrote an amendment that would require the screening of all high-risk maritime cargo inbound to the United States (SENATE ROLL CALL VOTE 245). Sounds good, right? Well, not so fast.

He wrote this amendment because he voted AGAINST an amendment that would require the Homeland Security secretary to develop a plan for scanning all of the cargo containers destined for and departing from the United States (SENATE ROLL CALL VOTE 246). So I suppose he's in favor of inbound cargo being safe, just not that safe. And outbound cargo? Who cares?


Once again, he voted AGAINST scan all cargo entering the United States (SENATE ROLL CALL VOTE 56). I want to explain here: the 9-11 Commission said that the technology to do this effectively was a few years in the future. This bill would have given the Department of Homeland Security five years to put the technology in place to screen cargo efficiently and economically. So how could Coleman oppose screening cargo?

The bottom line: Norm "W" Coleman has consistently voted against funding for transportation security. And even when he voted for something, he was usually voting for the weaker of several options. That's just unacceptable. I can't think of many votes that were more important to this country, and Coleman shirked his responsibility to keep us safe.

Coleman's out-of-touch record: transportation

Original Link:

by: Jeff Rosenberg

This is the fourth in a series of weekly articles exposing Norm Coleman's record on the issues. Articles in the series will be collected here. All data in this series comes from CQ Weekly.

Does Norm "W" Coleman hate transportation? I know, it seems unlikely. But how else do you account for some of these votes? He doesn't seem to be objecting to the size of the transportation bill, so what's the problem? Maybe he just doesn't want to spend money on transportation at all. Check out his voting record below:


In Norm's first year in the Senate, he voted to privatize core air traffic control functions, system specialists and maintenance of systems and flight service stations. We saw how well privatization worked for TSA; do you want your safety outsourced to corporations?


Norm voted AGAINST the Surface Transportation bill that would authorize $318 billion in federal aid for highways, highway safety programs and transit programs over six years. (SENATE ROLL CALL VOTE 14)

So was the problem the cost of the bill? Not likely. He also voted AGAINST an amendment to reduce the total cost of the surface transportation measure from $318 billion to $256 billion, to match the president's fiscal 2005 budget request. (SENATE ROLL CALL VOTE 13) What exactly does Norm want? the only conclusion I can make is that he doesn't want to spend any money on transportation.


Norm voted an amendment that would increase revenue by $13.8 billion and use it to increase spending for surface transportation projects. It also would add a section designating $34.7 billion for highways in fiscal 2006 and $7.1 billion for public transit. (SENATE ROLL CALL VOTE 71)

But once again, spending doesn't seem to be the issue. He also voted AGAINST an amendment would reduce funding for certain programs by $10.7 billion. (SENATE ROLL CALL VOTE 124) So, what WILL he vote for?

Of course, as long as we have transportation, Norm doesn't want it to be environmentally friendly. He voted AGAINST an amendment that would mandate phased increases in the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards. The standard would gradually increase to 40 miles per gallon by model year 2016. (SENATE ROLL CALL VOTE 157)


To be fair, I report both sides of the story. Norm voted FOR an amendment to increase the obligation limitation for the Highway Trust Fund by $1 billion to repair aging bridges. (SENATE ROLL CALL VOTE 329) Of course, right after the I-35W bridge collapse, you'd hope he would finally start taking our safety more seriously than he did in 2003.

The bottom line: Norm "W" Coleman has consistently voted against funding for transportation infrastructure. That's not even considering transportation security. Next week, I'll expose just how often Norm voted against improving security aboard planes, transit, and cargo ships.

Coleman's out-of-touch record: environment

Original Link:

by: Jeff Rosenberg

This is the third in a series of weekly articles exposing Norm Coleman's record on the issues. Articles in the series will be collected here. All data in this series comes from CQ Weekly.

I have to be completely honest: Norm "W" Coleman has been better on environmental issues than on certain others. That's not to say that he's been good, of course--just less bad. In particular, it boggles my mind how someone can be against cleaning up toxic pollutants--especially when we ask the polluters to pay instead of the federal government.

Here are some examples of some of Coleman's ridiculous anti-environment votes.


Coleman came to Congress raring to fight against the environment. Soon after arriving in the Senate, Coleman voted twice against environmental cleanup. First, he voted AGAINST an amendment that would increase spending on environmental and conservation programs by $12.4 billion over 10 years. (SENATE ROLL CALL VOTE 96) Then, on the very next roll-call vote, he voted to kill an amendment that would provide $100 million from the Superfund trust fund for cleanup of brownfield sites. (SENATE ROLL CALL VOTE 97)
That same year, he voted for the first time--but not the last--AGAINST an increase in the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standard. (SENATE ROLL CALL VOTE 309)

Finally, he voted AGAINST a substitute amendment that would require greenhouse gas emissions to be reduced to 2000 levels by 2010. It would also provide a program of scientific research on climate change, establish a national greenhouse gas database, and create a market-driven system of greenhouse gas tradeable allowances. (SENATE ROLL CALL VOTE 310)


Coleman voted AGAINST increasing spending for the superfund program--again! This version would have increased funding for fiscal 2005 through 2009 by $8.3 billion; it also would have provided for reinstating polluter fees to fund the cleanup of superfund sites. (SENATE ROLL CALL VOTE 45)


Coleman voted AGAINST capping greenhouse gas emissions at 2000 levels by 2010--again! (SENATE ROLL CALL VOTE 148)


As he has done on every issue we've looked at, Coleman changed his tune once the election neared. After two votes against fuel efficiency, he offered an amendment to provide energy tax incentives for energy efficient buildings through Dec. 31, 2012.(SENATE ROLL CALL VOTE 98)

Then, he voted FOR a bill that would overhaul national energy policies and increase the Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards to 35 miles per gallon by 2020. So why did he vote against this before?. In fact, he voted for it 3 times in quick succession in 2007! (SENATE ROLL CALL VOTE 226) (SENATE ROLL CALL VOTE 416) (SENATE ROLL CALL VOTE 425)

The bottom line: Norm has developed a pattern: he knows his values are out of touch, and so he changes them when the election comes close. He's done this on almost every single issue, and the environment is no exception. Here's a news flash, Norm: it's too late! You're out of touch, and it's time you were held accountable.

Coleman's out-of-touch record: education

Original Link:

by: Jeff Rosenberg

(A good deal more important than conservative mouthpieces acting like children toward me....I'm promoting this back up to the top. - promoted by Joe Bodell)

This is the second in a series of weekly articles exposing Norm Coleman's record on the issues. Articles in the series will be collected here. All data in this series comes from CQ Weekly.

Norm "W" Coleman has such a long history of voting against education, I've had to narrow this post down to the most egregious. As usual, though, as the election began approaching, he started trying to appear more moderate. That's why we can't just look at his record in the last year: we have to look at his whole last term to see the real Coleman.


Norm Coleman wasn't in the Senate to vote on No Child Left Behind, but he got off to a rousing start by voting AGAINST an amendment to properly fund the initiative (SENATE ROLL CALL VOTE 5).

He then voted AGAINST an amendment that would increase spending on Head Start programs by $24 billion and increase spending on after-school programs by $18 billion, both over 10 years (SENATE ROLL CALL VOTE 86).

But he didn't just vote against little kids. He voted against young adults too, voting AGAINST an amendment that would increase spending on vocational education by $3.6 billion over 10 years (SENATE ROLL CALL VOTE 98), and another that would slow the acceleration in the reduction of the top tax rate and use the revenue for higher education financial aid programs (SENATE ROLL CALL VOTE 164).

And finally, in a busy year voting against education, Norm voted AGAINST an amendment to increase funding for Hispanic education programs by $210 million money for dropout prevention and language instruction (SENATE ROLL CALL VOTE 322).


Norm voted against vocational education again by voting AGAINST increasing funding under the Perkins Vocational and Technical Education Act (SENATE ROLL CALL VOTE 61).

He also once again voted AGAINST a motion to add $153 million for Head Start programs (SENATE ROLL CALL VOTE 272).


As 2008 approached and Norm's popularity declined, he decided to change his tune. This time he voted FOR restoring education program cuts and an increase in the maximum Pell Grant award to $4,500 (SENATE ROLL CALL VOTE 39).


Norm voted FOR a bill that would authorize $21 billion for education in science and math through fiscal 2010 (SENATE ROLL CALL VOTE 146).

After voting against student grants in the past, he now votes for them. He voted FOR increasing the amount authorized for the college access partnership grant program from $25 million to $113 million (SENATE ROLL CALL VOTE 254), and increasing the amount authorized for the new Promise grant program (SENATE ROLL CALL VOTE 255). He is one of only 4 Republicans to vote for this amendment. Would he have voted for it in 2003, without an election on the line?

Of course, he did show his true roots last year by voting AGAINST a funding increase for programs under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (SENATE ROLL CALL VOTE 94).

The bottom line: I'm not trying to accuse Norm "W" Coleman of "flip-flopping" on education. I'm accusing him of something worse: trying to mislead us on his record. When he thinks we're not looking, he votes against properly funding education. Then, when the election comes closer, he changes his tune. Here's a news flash, Norm: it's too late! You're out of touch, and it's time you were held accountable.

Coleman's out-of-touch record: employment

Original Link:

by: Jeff Rosenberg

NOTE: This is the first in a series of weekly articles exposing Norm Coleman's record on the issues. Articles in the series will be collected here. All data in this series comes from CQ Weekly.

As I shared yesterday, Norm Coleman has been running toward the center, trying to fool Minnesotans into thinking he is more moderate than he really is. He knows his positions on the issues are out of touch, and so he's hoping the voters have short memories. So here's a reminder of some of his most egregious votes against American workers.


Coleman gets off to a rousing start by voting against investment in our workers. He voted AGAINST increasing spending in the Workforce Investment Act by $678 million.

Not content to vote just against workers, Coleman votes against both workers and businesses by voting AGAINST a motion to increase the amount businesses can deduct for equipment costs, extend federal unemployment benefits and expand eligibility for the benefits to low-wage and part-time workers.

Finally, he votes for what is effectively a pay decrease for our workers by voting AGAINST an amendment to prevent workers from losing their eligibility for overtime pay.


Coleman votes a second time AGAINST an amendment that would prevent workers from losing their eligibility for overtime pay.


After voting for a pay decrease, Coleman votes AGAINST a motion to increase the minimum wage to $6.25 over one year. Republicans claim this hurts small businesses, but Coleman clearly doesn't care about them. He already voted against increasing the amount businesses can deduct in 2003. This is clearly just a mean-spirited vote against American workers.


Coleman starts running toward the center and votes FOR raising the minimum wage to $7.25 per hour over two years. But, if he really believes in this, why vote against a smaller increase two years ago?

The bottom line: Norm "W" Coleman consistently voted against American workers, then tried to cover it up in 2007. Here's a news flash, Norm: it's too late! You're out of touch, and it's time you were held accountable.

101 US deaths in Afghanistan

Original Link:


Taliban insurgents once derided as a ragtag rabble unable to match U.S. troops have transformed into a fighting force _ one advanced enough to mount massive conventional attacks and claim American lives at a record pace.

The U.S. military suffered its 101st death of the year in Afghanistan last week when Sgt. 1st Class David J. Todd Jr., a 36-year-old from Marrero, La., died of gunfire wounds while helping train Afghan police in the northwest. The total number of U.S. dead last year _ 111 _ was a record itself and is likely to be surpassed.

Top U.S. generals, European presidents and analysts say the blame lies to the east, in militant sanctuaries in neighboring Pakistan. As long as those areas remain havens where fighters arm, train, recruit and plot increasingly sophisticated ambushes, the Afghan war will continue to sour.

"The U.S. is now losing the war against the Taliban," Anthony Cordesman, of the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies, wrote in a report Thursday. A resurgent al-Qaida, which was harbored by the Taliban in the years before the Sept. 11 attacks, could soon follow, Cordesman warned.

Cordesman called for the U.S. to treat Pakistani territory as a combat zone if Pakistan does not act. "Pakistan may officially be an ally, but much of its conduct has effectively made it a major threat to U.S. strategic interests."

An influx of Chechen, Turkish, Uzbek and Arab fighters have helped increased the Taliban's military precision, including an ambush by 100 fighters last week that killed 10 French soldiers, and a rush on a U.S. outpost last month by 200 militants that killed nine Americans.

Multi-direction attacks, flawlessly executed ambushes and increasingly powerful roadside and suicide bombs mean the U.S. and 40-nation NATO-led force will in all likelihood suffer its deadliest year in Afghanistan since the 2001 invasion.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, on a visit to Kabul last week, said he knows that something must "be raised with Pakistan's government, and I will continue to do so." French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who rushed to Afghanistan after the French attack, warned Thursday that "terrorism is winning."

"Military sanctuaries are expanding in the (Pakistani) tribal areas," Gen. David McKiernan, the American four-star general in charge of the 50,000-strong NATO-led force here, told The Associated Press last week. McKiernan has called for another three brigades of U.S. forces _ roughly 10,000 troops _ to bolster the 33,000 strong U.S. force here.

Complicating relations between the Afghan government and the U.S., last week a joint Afghan-U.S. military operation in Herat province killed around 90 civilians, President Hamid Karzai's office says. The U.S. said it was investigating.

Some 188 international soldiers have died in Afghanistan this year, including the 101 Americans, according to an Associated Press count. This year's toll is easily on track to surpass the record 222 international troop deaths in 2007.

U.S. critics of the Afghan government are becoming more vocal. Rep. Jim Marshall, a Georgia Democrat who is a member of the House Armed Services Committee, said last week that Karzai's government "is not nearly where it should be."

"I'm not willing to have a long-term U.S. commitment, a substantial U.S. commitment to Afghanistan without seeing substantial reform and improvement in the government," Marshall said on a visit to Kabul.

Karzai's influence barely extends outside the capital. The Interior Ministry is seen as uniformly corrupt, and opium poppy cultivation has soared in recent years.

McKiernan said that "there is a sense of real frustration with the government of President Karzai. People were expecting gains over time but they aren't feeling much."

Karzai admitted in an AP interview last week that Afghanistan still lacks a properly functioning government and that corruption is rampant. He said he will run for a second term next year in hopes of addressing those problems.

The president also blamed the rise in Afghan violence directly on Afghanistan's and NATO's neglect of the sanctuaries, training grounds and financial center of the Taliban _ a clear reference to Pakistan.

The U.S. is believed to have launched several missile strikes into Pakistan's tribal areas this year in an attempt to take out militant leaders. Missiles destroyed a suspected hide-out in South Waziristan, near the Afghan border, on Wednesday, killing at least five people.

Seth Jones, a RAND Corp. analyst who has studied Afghanistan for years, said Taliban militants have simply become better at war after seven years of practice against U.S. and NATO forces. Fighters, particularly militant commanders, are also using their sanctuary in Pakistan to devastating effect, he said.

"I think there's got to be a strike on the leadership structure, including Mullah Omar, Siraj Haqqani, and (Gulbuddin) Hekmatyar," who reside in Pakistan, said Jones. "As the insurgency has become more sophisticated, many of the senior leaders continue to exist, and they are one of the reasons the insurgency is getting better."

Marshall, the Democratic congressman, said Pakistan itself is feeling threatened by the increase in militancy on its soil and wants to see insurgent leaders taken out.

"You've seen the progression here," Marshall told AP. "Initially we wouldn't even fire back across the (Pakistan) border. We changed that. We're firing back. We're pursuing, and now acting on intelligence we are prepared to use discreet weaponry to take out high value targets" in Pakistan.

"They want the minimal American presence to help them do that," he said.

Rep. Chris Shays, a Republican member of the House Homeland Security committee, said it appears the United States is making some of the same mistakes in Afghanistan that it did in Iraq, such as underfunding the training of the Afghan army. He also called for an increase in the use of "soft power" like aid work and "some sort of effort in reconciliation."

"I don't pretend to know enough about how that would be involved," he said in a visit to Kabul last week, "but the bottom line is that as I look at this issue, I don't see how we can succeed on our present track."

Associated Press reporters Kathy Gannon and Rahim Faiez contributed to this report from Kabul.

Paulson's Fannie-Freddie fix

Original Link:

By Colin Barr, senior writer

Investors fear the Treasury chief will maul shareholders, a la Bear Stearns. But he may be less heavy-handed this time.

The market is betting Henry Paulson is about to put on his black hat again. But the Treasury secretary may not be so easily typecast in the saga of the government-sponsored mortgage finance companies.

Shares in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac hit new lows this week on speculation that the government will be forced to support the companies. With the shares down more than 90% over the past year, analysts such as Paul Miller at Friedman Billings Ramsey say the only way the companies can raise enough money to soothe the markets is to lean on the government.

"They're going to need some help here," says Miller, who has written that Fannie and Freddie need to raise $15 billion each to see them through the housing bust.

Fannie and Freddie are shareholder-owned, though they have been able to borrow at below-market rates thanks to an implicit government backing for their debt. Paulson said last month he wants to keep the companies, which buy and guarantee around half of all U.S. home mortgages, in their current form to help ease the pain of the housing bust.

But with investors fretting over possible changes in the companies' capital structure - while Paulson has essentially stood behind the companies' senior debt, he hasn't said what would happen in any restructuring to other securities - the companies' low-cost funding advantage has eroded, pushing mortgage rates up and adding to the pressure on house prices.

So Paulson may soon have to act. The big question is whether he'll reprise his villainous role in the Bear Stearns rescue. For now, there are reasons to think he might not.

When the brokerage firm collapsed in March, Bear and would-be buyer JPMorganChase (JPM, Fortune 500) were discussing a deal at $8 to $12 a share. But Paulson wanted Bear Stearns shareholders to get just $2 a share, to avoid the perception that taxpayer dollars were being used to bail out fat-cat Wall Street types.

Bear shareholders eventually got $10 a share, after the deal was renegotiated to calm Bear investors who were threatening to block the deal. Even so, the markets have taken Paulson's stance in the Bear bailout to mean any government support for Fannie and Freddie might render existing shares worthless.

"It seems a foregone conclusion that shareholders are going to be wiped out," says Paul Hickey at investment adviser Bespoke Investment Group in Harrison, N.Y. "But the stocks haven't gone to zero yet."

Indeed, while the outlook for shareholders is uncertain, to say the least, the problems at Fannie and Freddie aren't as dire as the ones that led to the collapse of Bear. That fact may allow Paulson to put away his cudgel.

The contrasts between Bear and the GSEs are easy to see. Bear essentially ran out of cash after its customers pulled their funds in a run on the bank. By contrast, even skeptics of Fannie and Freddie acknowledge they aren't about to go broke.

Fannie and Freddie were above their regulatory minimum capital requirements at the end of the second quarter - substantially so in Fannie's case - and both are able to borrow from the Fed in an emergency funding crisis, of which there has been no evidence in any case.

"Sober analysis shows they have enough capital," Fox Pitt Kelton analyst Howard Shapiro writes in an e-mail. Shapiro, who rates the stocks overweight, wrote in a report Tuesday that the companies' credit exposure looks "scary" at first glance but actually is likely to be quite manageable, given the quality of their loans and their substantial capital resources.

What's more, the Fannie-Freddie situation lacks the urgency of the Bear meltdown. The government pushed through the sale of Bear because officials feared the markets could unravel if the firm, with its massive derivatives book, failed. With the health of the capital markets at stake, Paulson and New York Fed President Timothy Geithner had to put a deal together, and fast.

In contrast, Fannie and Freddie don't look like a ticking time bomb. The uncertainty about the companies' fate is clearly weighing on the markets right now - Hickey notes that the spread between risk-free Treasury securities and the Merrill Lynch High-Yield Bond Index recently spiked to their widest levels since Bear collapsed. But since Paulson has the luxury of a bit of time to weigh his options, it's far from clear that Treasury's solution has to involve a shareholder wipeout.

None of this is to say that Paulson, who last month received authority from Congress to invest in Fannie and Freddie in case of a market emergency, won't have to take any action - or that the companies' shares are a clear bargain even at these reduced levels. "Why would you buy these?" asks FBR's Miller, who rates the stocks underperform thanks to the uncertainty surrounding coming credit losses and the associated capital situation.

Moreover, the Asian central banks that have long been big buyers of agency paper have slowed their purchases. If bond buyers show further reluctance, the companies' costs could rise more - a significant consideration with more than $200 billion in agency debt in need of refinancing in coming months.

That said, any solution that clarifies how investors in Fannie and Freddie's common and preferred stock and subordinated debt stand - without looking like a complete massacre - could be met with relief in the market. Miller says resolution of the uncertainty around Fannie and Freddie could send shares in other financial companies sharply higher, as people using the uncertainty to bet against bank and brokerage stocks might then cover their shorts, feeding "a massive short squeeze across the financials."

Landrieu Delivers Change While Kennedy Delivers Defeat

Original Link:

Treasurer "was nowhere in the Capitol...when a House committee stalled the bill."

BATON ROUGE -- The Louisiana House of Representatives today defeated a bill sponsored by state Senator Dan "Blade" Morrish that would require legislative projects added to the state's budget to include details about the organizations receiving state funding. As reported by the Associated Press, the bill's sponsor believes it failed in part because Treasurer John Kennedy and his associates turned the important legislation into a campaign issue, despite the fact that Kennedy has absolutely no control over bills debated in the state legislature.

According to the AP, "The sponsor of the proposal, Senator Dan 'Blade' Morrish, says the ads supporting Morrish's bill and featuring Kennedy may have actually hurt the bill's chances of passage. Morrish says some lawmakers tied Kennedy's support as a type of campaign tactic."

Despite making earmark reform one of his primary priorities on the campaign trail, Kennedy was absent when the bill was being debated. The AP reports that "Kennedy, who is running for the U.S. Senate this fall, was nowhere in the Capitol on Tuesday when a House committee stalled the bill."

Meanwhile, U.S. Senator Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., has been working hard for earmark reform and transparency in the Senate, and she has actually delivered. She co-sponsored Republican Senator Tom Coburn's 2006 legislation to create a free, searchable database for all recipients of federal grants and contracts -- including earmarks.

Sen. Landrieu also supported an ethics reform package last year that required the names of earmark sponsors to be made public.

"John Kennedy doesn't even have a vote in the legislature, and he still killed this bill," said Landrieu campaign spokesman Scott Schneider. "This issue demonstrates clearly the difference between Sen. Landrieu and John Kennedy. Senator Landrieu has fought for and delivered spending transparency in the Senate. She has secured essential funding for the state while making serious progress in ensuring public scrutiny for federal appropriations. John Kennedy, on the other hand, talks about reform, but rarely delivers. He uses his office to further his political career, even at the expense of sabotaging legislation that would help put Louisiana on the path to reform."

Below are several examples of Sen. Landrieu's effectiveness in delivering earmark reform:

Co-Sponsored Measure To Increase Transparency In Federal Funds: In 2006, Landrieu co-sponsored legislation that was introduced by GOP Sen. Tom Coburn to create a free searchable database for all recipients of federal grants and contracts including earmarks. The measure became law in September 2006. (S 2590, Co-Sponsored 8/1/06; Public Law 109-282; Obama Release, 9/8/06; Chicago Sun-Times, 9/21/06)

Measure Backed By Leaders Of Anti-Earmark Movement In Congress: The measure was also co-sponsored by earmark reform leaders Sens. Tom Coburn and Jim DeMint. (S 2590, 2006; Roll Call, 7/31/07; Human Events Online, 11/15/07)

Landrieu Supported Ethics Reform That Increased Earmark Transparency: In 2007, Landrieu voted for ethics reform package that required disclosure of earmarks. The measure required earmark sponsors to be identified and allowed lawmakers and the public a chance to review bills before they are voted on. The measure also prevented lawmakers' families from being the beneficiaries of earmarks. (S 1, Vote #19, 1/18/07, Vote # 294, 8/2/07; CQ BillAnalysis)

Kennedy Campaign Confused Again

Original Link:

The re-election campaign for U.S. Senator Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., today responded to another baseless attack from the John Neely Kennedy campaign accusing the senior senator of being against an earmark reform bill in the Louisiana House of Representatives.

Landrieu campaign spokesman Scott Schneider said:

"The Kennedy campaign is confused again. We did not attack John Kennedy for supporting earmark legislation. We attacked him for killing earmark legislation. While Sen. Landrieu has been effective in bringing transparency to the earmark process in Washington, John Kennedy has been responsible for stalling reform in Louisiana. Now he wants to go to the Senate where he can damage more legislation crucial to the future of Louisiana.

"John Kennedy was for earmarks before he was against them. When he wasn't running for the Senate, he approved $325 million in spending for nongovernmental organizations, but now he's suddenly opposed to all earmarks. How can Louisianians trust a man who has no idea what he's for?"

Kennedy Again Taking Credit for Things He Has Nothing to do With

Original Link:

Circulates news story that says he is under ethics investigation.

NEW ORLEANS -The Louisiana State Legislature this week passed earmark reform legislation that increases transparency in state spending despite John Neely Kennedy's politicization and near-sabotage of the important bill. The bill originally failed on June 10th in part because Kennedy and his associates turned the important legislation into a campaign issue, despite the fact that Kennedy has absolutely no control over bills debated in the state legislature, according to the bill's sponsor.

"Senator Landrieu supported and delivered legislation in the U.S. Senate that brought transparency to all dedicated federal spending," Landrieu campaign spokesman Scott Schneider said. "She has secured essential funding for the state while making serious progress in ensuring public scrutiny for federal appropriations. While all of the federal spending she secures is public, John Kennedy continues to ignore his own hypocrisy on this issue. As chairman of the state Bond Commission, he approved $325 million in earmarks for nongovernmental organizations.

"In fact, when the original reform legislation was up for debate in the state House of Representatives, Kennedy was nowhere to be found despite pledges to testify on the bill's behalf. If Kennedy can't even show up in the state capitol - where he works - how can Louisianians expect him to show up for essential votes in the U.S. Senate?

"John Kennedy had absolutely nothing to do with securing this essential reform for Louisiana, and according to the bill's author, actually prevented the bill from passing the first time. He should stop taking credit for things he doesn't control."

The Kennedy campaign today took a news story out of context in order to distort the truth and claim that Sen. Landrieu opposes earmark reform. In reality, Sen. Landrieu has not only supported earmark reform, but she's gotten in done in the Senate. Ironically, the Gambit Weekly story that the Kennedy campaign has circulated reports that "the Louisiana Board of Ethics may be looking into whether GOP state Treasurer John Kennedy is having state employees work on his campaign for the U.S. Senate."

"The Washington Republicans that got John Neely Kennedy into this Senate race are the same partisans who only four years ago said he was using state funds to further his political career," Schneider said. "He is again using the Treasurer's office to campaign for higher office."

Kennedy Opposes Measure Getting Tough on Oil Speculation

Original Link:

Supports $4 per gallon at the pump.

Friends of Mary Landrieu today released the following statement in response to John Kennedy's partisan attacks on United States Senator Mary Landrieu, D-La.

Landrieu campaign spokesman Scott Schneider said:

"This just goes to show that the National Republican Senatorial Committee was right when they said John Kennedy's not ready for primetime. A trip to would show that Sen. Landrieu voted to restrict oil speculation, which experts have said is responsible for as much as 50% of recent increases in gas prices. A wide range of experts, including oil executives, consumer advocates and past federal regulators agree that speculation is a significant factor in the current energy crisis. I guess John Kennedy likes paying $4 per gallon at the pump, but Sen. Landrieu is fighting to make sure other Louisianians don't have to.

"Louisianians know that Sen. Landrieu is a leader in the U.S. Senate on oil and gas exploration. It was her bill that opened 8.3 million new acres to oil and gas production in the Gulf of Mexico - the first time in 25 years that portions of the outer continental shelf were opened to energy exploration. The bill also meant $40 billion for Louisiana for coastal restoration and hurricane protection projects."

Kennedy Places Politics Over Solutions to Energy Crisis

Original Link:

Opposes immediate action to reduce price at the pump.

Perennial United States Senate candidate John Kennedy and the Louisiana Republican party demonstrated on Friday why the National Republican Senatorial Committee called Kennedy ineffective, inefficient and not ready for primetime. In press release after press release, they continued to attempt to trick voters into thinking that U.S. Senator Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., voted against a bill that never actually came to a vote.

Click here to see a copy of the Louisiana Republican Party press release with relevant edits and corrections.

In reality, Sen. Landrieu voted to lower gas prices now. She voted to move a bill forward to limit oil speculation. Despite John Kennedy's assertion on WIST radio today that he thinks oil speculation is "way overstated," experts say speculation could be responsible for as much as 50% of the recent increases in gas prices. John Kennedy made it clear that he opposes this effort to reduce gas prices now. It is time for John Kennedy to stop using the energy crisis for talking points and to start coming up with smart solutions that lower gas prices now.

"The United States Senate has an opportunity to pass a bill that will immediately provide some relief at the pump," Landrieu campaign spokesman Scott Schneider said. "John Kennedy made it clear that he is more interested in election-year politics than supporting legislation that helps Louisianians. He is one confused politician.

"Louisianians are sick of empty talk about gas prices. We need solutions, not sound bites. Sen. Landrieu has gotten the job done for Louisiana -- passing legislation that opened portions of the outer continental shelf to oil and gas production for the first time in 25 years. All John Kennedy has done is run for office."

Kennedy Reiterates Opposition to Lowering Gas Prices

Original Link:

Again distorts the facts about Sen. Landrieu's vote for relief at the pump.

Instead, on Friday, Sen. Landrieu voted to move forward on a bill that could reduce gas prices now, but John Kennedy is trying to convince voters that she voted against a bill to increase offshore oil and gas production.

"John Kennedy is doing a very good job at showing the people of Louisiana that he is confused," Landrieu campaign spokesman Scott Schneider said. "After nearly a week of staying silent, will John Kennedy explain to the voters why he is opposed to restricting oil speculation and decreasing the price at the pump? Or will he stand with his Wall Street contributors against relief for Louisiana families? This just goes to show why the National Republican Senatorial Committee - the same group that is hosting a fundraiser for him tonight - called him ineffective, inefficient and not ready for primetime."

Kennedy was also on the radio this week touting his support for oil shale development in Colorado. While on the radio, he made it clear that he gets his policy advice from the popular online, user-edited website, Please see below for a table comparing Kennedy's statements on WIST Radio in New Orleans to's description of oil shale.

"It seems that Kennedy should be able to go to and find out that Friday's vote was on oil speculation and not new drilling, considering that he was able to go to to get his position on oil shale," Schneider said. "The people of Louisiana will not be fooled by Kennedy's attempts to distort the truth for political gain. It is unfortunate that he continues to put politics over coming up with smart solutions to Louisiana's challenges."

John Kennedy and Wikipedia on Oil Shale: A Comparison
John N. Kennedy:
July 28, 2008
Eric Asher Show, WIST 690AM Wikipedia:
"Oil Shale"
"Oil shale is nothing but rock with a, an organic material in it called kerogen."
"Oil shale, a fine-grained sedimentary rock, contains significant amounts of kerogen..."

"And, uh, when a, when a chemical process is applied to the rock containing the kerogen, I don't wanna get too technical but the process is called, uh, pyrolysis, when that's applied to it, the kerogen turns into oil."
"The chemical process of pyrolysis can convert the kerogen in oil shale into synthetic crude oil..."
"Uh, this is, uh, uh, a well established source of energy, Estonia and China have well established oil shale industries."
"Estonia and China have well-established oil shale industries...

"Brazil, Germany, Israel, Russia all use it." ...and Brazil, Germany, Israel and Russia also utilize oil shale."