Looks like Gordon Smith’s got some illegal immigrants working at the frozen foods plant he owns.
Former Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Margaret Farrow, a member of Sen. John McCain’s recently formed Palin Truth Squad, appeared on WISN-TV’s Up Front with Mike Gousha this past Sunday. Farrow claimed that despite McCain’s opposition to legislation that would address equal pay for women, the senator “supports the concept.” “But he’s voted against it and not been there for that,” interjected current Lt. Gov. Barbara Lawton.
Farrow tried to defend McCain, saying that he opposed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act because it “would have said we are taking away the statute of limitations.” Lawton reminded Farrow that McCain had “voted against equal pay for equal work as well”:
LAWTON: But Margaret, he’s voted against equal pay for equal work before that as well.
FARROW: But he is clearly supporting the concept, but he doesn’t want to tie the hands in ways that are more mandates on businesses in ways that won’t create jobs.
Lawton replied by noting that McCain had defended his opposition earlier this year by saying that “women need more ‘education and training.’” Watch it:
In April, McCain skipped the vote on the Ledbetter Act, but he told reporters that he opposed it because it “opens us up to lawsuits for all kinds of problems.” The legislation sought to counteract “a Supreme Court decision limiting how long workers can wait before suing for pay discrimination.
McCain has claimed that he is “committed to making sure that there’s equal pay for equal work,” but he has yet to support anything “that would achieve that goal.” Additionally, as Lawton notes, McCain has voted against equal pay for equal work before:
– In 2000, McCain opposed an amendment that aimed to “provide more effective remedies to victims of discrimination in the payment of wages on the basis of sex.”
– In 1985, McCain voted against a study to investigate pay differences among federal employees, and determine whether they were the result of discrimination. [1985 CQ Almanac; HR 3008, vote # 318, 10/9/85]
In May, McCain claimed that strengthening women’s abilities to redress past discrimination doesn’t do “anything to help the rights of women.” But, as Matt Yglesias notes, “If your opposition to pay discrimination doesn’t extend to favoring measures to halt pay discrimination, then what’s it worth?”
Transcript: Read more
I don’t think this business of people not, in practice, walking anywhere even in a suburb with nice sidewalks and so forth is all that mysterious. After all, why would you walk rather than drive? Observing life among the northeastern elitists, the main reasons people might have for not taking a car on a given trip are:
- Don’t have a car.
- Planning to get drunk.
- Parking is expensive/annoying.
- Traffic is bad.
- Gas is too expensive.
Insofar as none of those factors obtain — and I take it none of them do apply in Irvine, CA except for factor five — people are naturally going to drive. Probably if Irvine were substantially more downscale, more people would be eager to reduce gasoline costs by taking a brief walk to the supermarket. But even in a town like DC that’s not all that car-oriented, people who have cars and cheap parking and not that much congestion on the route tend to drive places. And why wouldn’t you? This is part of the reason that the little-discussed topic of parking minimums is very important. Obviously, people like to park quickly and for free. And when they can park quickly and for free, they tend to drive to their destination. And for some situations, this may be an appropriate use of space. But we have a lot of places in the United States where developers are required to build vast quantities of parking.
That’s an inefficient use of space in both land and energy terms. And when it doesn’t happen, the tendency is for parking to become more expensive or more inconvenient. In which case people may start to give a second look to that sidewalk or bike lane. Which isn’t so much a good end in-and-of-itself as it is just a consequence of declining to make the car the be-all and end-all of the planning experience.
And of course if gasoline does get much more expensive in the future (which it might) then all the free parking in the world won’t make up for that fact, and people will look to switch away from driving. But nothing the urbanism-minded say should ever be taken to deny that, under optimal conditions of low-traffic roads and convenient free parking, driving is a really convenient and appealing option. But we have a lot of places where “low-traffic” is no longer a viable option and all that free parking comes at a high cost.
Government officials handling billions of dollars in oil royalties engaged in illicit sex with employees of energy companies they were dealing with and received numerous gifts from them, federal investigators said Wednesday.
The alleged transgressions involve 13 Interior Department employees in Denver and Washington. Their alleged improprieties include rigging contracts, working part-time as private oil consultants, and having sexual relationships with – and accepting golf and ski trips and dinners from – oil company employees, according to three reports released Wednesday by the Interior Department’s inspector general [Earl Devaney].
And the winner of the best line ever to appear in an Interior Department Inspector General (IG) report:
Guess, the IG never had sex with my ex-wife. Rimshot [technically, a sting].
[It's just a joke, people.]
But wait, there’s more:
Yesterday, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) announced that the federal government will “run a near-record deficit of $407 billion for the budget year ending Sept. 30.”
Today, CBO Director Peter Orszag made an appearance on C-Span’s Washington Journal to explain some of his office’s numbers. He said that “a big part of why the deficit deteriorated” is that “corporate income tax revenue fell from 2.7% of the economy to 2.2% of the economy.” Watch it:
As the Wonk Room has already noted, U.S. tax revenue as a share of the economy is already below the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) average. Between 1998 and 2005, “about two-thirds of corporations operating in the United States did not pay taxes.”
In light of all this, Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) proposal to cut the corporate tax rate from 35% to 25% is simply not helpful. A cut means even less revenue, which won’t fix an already exploding deficit, and it doesn’t even create jobs like McCain claims it will.
Cutting the corporate rate only sends tax breaks – to the tune of $175 billion – to America’s corporations, which are already contributing less than they were just one year ago.
Steve Benen asks the question that’s occurred to every progressive over the years — what if liberal politicians lied and smeared as shamelessly as conservative ones do? Or, to put it another way, why don’t liberal politicians lie and smear that shamelessly. There are a lot of answers to that question, but one thing worth observing is that the process of turning politics into a senseless screaming match about bullshit is not an ideologically neutral development.
The default state of things in the world is for the levers of state to be dominated by the people who already possess social and economic power in order to protect and expand their sphere of privilege. The contention of progressive political reform is that it’s possible to organize, educate, and mobilize sufficient quantities of people to overcome the power of the few and instead implement policies that benefit the many. Clearly, a well-timed or well-placed smear or deception can serve those ends effectively. But a politics that’s dominated by bullshit and bullshit artists is, ultimately, not going to be conducive to progressive ends even if some folks with progressive instincts get really really good at flinging the BS.
Which is to say that of course effective progressive political leaders need to be — and, historically, have been — good at “playing the game” but they’ve also been good at cutting through the smokescreen and refocusing attention. That’s how Bill Clinton managed to survive and even thrive during impeachment. But though I wouldn’t have believed it at the time, the quality of the media ecosphere has actually gotten radically worse in the interim, such that prominent media figures now openly brag about how uninterested they are informing the public and how exciting they find it to wield arbitrary power in capricious and senseless ways. Which, I suppose, is to be expected. On an optimistic view, there’s be a pendulum that swings back from “terrible” to “good.” But more likely it’s a cycle — only a sociopath would look at campaign reporting as done from 1998-2002 and say to themselves “that’s a line of work I’d like to get into!” And so you get what we have.
The Interior Department’s inspector general revealed today that 13 government officials “handling billions of dollars in oil royalties improperly engaged in sex with employees of energy companies they were dealing with and received numerous gifts from them.” As the AP reports, the investigation revealed a “culture of substance abuse and promiscuity“:
The reports describe a fraternity house atmosphere inside the Denver Minerals Management Service office responsible for marketing the oil and gas that energy companies barter to the government instead of making cash royalty payments for drilling on federal lands. [...]
Between 2002 and 2006, nearly a third of the 55-person staff in the Denver office received gifts and gratuities from oil and gas companies, including Chevron, Shell, Hess Corp. and Denver-based Gary-Williams Energy Corp. the investigators found. Two oil marketers who received gifts and gratuities on at least 135 occasions displayed no remorse when confronted with their activities, Devaney said.
After former senator Phil Gramm said that America was a “nation of whiners,” the McCain campaign claimed that its top economic adviser would no longer be working with them. However, at a press conference today, Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) revealed that Gramm had recently called and pressured him to endorse McCain — an offer that he refused:
According to Paul, Gramm asked him back to McCain, arguing that the Republican was closer to his positions than Obama.
”The idea was that he would do less harm than the other candidate,” Paul said.
But Paul said he made it known that he would not endorse McCain, whom he has disagreed with on a whole host of issues, including the war in Iraq.
Furthermore, Paul said ” I don’t enjoy getting two to three million people angry at me.”
Paul said Gramm ended the conversation with, ”well if you change your mind, call me back.”
Hey check it out — issues! Gun control! I’m honestly a bit surprised that the NRA is that emotionally invested in attacking Obama, I feel like the Democratic Party has pretty much given up on gun control as an issue and John McCain’s never been the most gun-friendly Republican anyway.
Today brings news of two acts of criminality on either side of the Atlantic Ocean involving coal, the fossil fuel with the highest global warming pollution intensity. In the United Kingdom, activists who shut down a coal plant have been acquitted by a jury of all charges of property damage. In the United States, right-wing coal company Massey Energy is planning to start illegally destroying a mountain to extract its coal. Our two nations are evidently separated by more than an ocean — one is breaking from the destructive dependency on fossil fuels, while the other is digging in deeper.
In the United Kingdom, a jury decided the threat of burning coal was much greater to the planet than the damage caused by six Greenpeace activists who painted a coal chimney with UK prime minister Gordon Brown‘s first name:
Six Greenpeace climate change activists have been cleared of causing criminal damage at a coal-fired power station in a verdict that is expected to embarrass the government and strengthen the anti-coal movement.
The jury of nine men and three women at Maidstone crown court cleared the six, five of whom had scaled a 200m tall chimney at Kingsnorth power station at Hoo, Kent in October 2007.
Kingsnorth chimney Greenpeace activists on the painted chimney.
The activists admitted trying to shut down the station by occupying the smokestack and painting the world “Gordon” down the chimney, but argued that they were legally justified because they were trying to prevent climate change causing greater damage to property around the world.
The defense, who called NASA climate scientist James Hansen, environmentalist Zac Goldsmith, and an Inuit leader from Greenland, cited coastal England, the Pacific island state of Tuvalu, areas of Greenland, the Arctic ice sheet, China’s Yellow river region, the Larsen B ice shelf in Antarctica, coastal areas of Bangladesh and the city of New Orleans as regions under immediate threat from global warming.
Meanwhile, as Kevin Grandia writes at the Huffington Post, Massey Energy is planning to “begin blowing up the mountains in the Bee Tree Branch area of Coal River Mountain, West Virginia” as early as today. At Grist, David Roberts explains that Gov. Joe Manchin (D-WV) is ignoring his own environmental officers in greenlighting the illegal dynamiting of Coal River Mountain:
Massey wants to start blowing the mountain up as early as today, but according to state Department of Environmental Protection secretary Randy Huffman, “If they blast, they do so illegally in our opinion.” Seems they lack the requisite permits.
Despite the impending lawbreaking, WV governor Joe Manchin has refused to intercede, rejecting a request letter sent yesterday from citizen groups. Manchin, apparently not in touch with his own DEP, says Massey has the permits they need.
Locals have been trying to build a wind farm atop the mountain Massey plans to destroy. Roberts opines: “Massey is already the most evil company in the world, with the most evil CEO in the world. If they pull this off, they will have basically lapped the other evildoers.”
Even in those places where we thought politicians were the greenest, in many cases it’s a case of green-wash, where they’re saying the right words but their actions don’t correspond.
Check out the Wonk Room’s interview with Jessy Tolkan, the head of Power Vote.