Friday, March 20, 2009

Pakistan Precarious, Iraq Incendiary, The El Salvador Shift, AIG Against The World ( Vice Versa), Republicans Turn K.A.M.I. K.A.Z.E, And I’m Looking..

Pakistan Precarious, Iraq Incendiary, The El Salvador Shift, AIG Against The World ( Vice Versa), Republicans Turn K.A.M.I. K.A.Z.E, And I’m Looking For A Laugh!


OH, and then there is “The Impeach The Pope Movement”; Now There Is A Good Laugh! 


The Week's Best Late-Night Jokes : You Have To Laugh Or Become A Revolutionary!



"Pakistan Is The Most Dangerous Country In The World Today." 

- Bruce Riedel, a foreign policy expert leading President Obama's Afghanistan review 

Recent protests in Pakistan reveal the country's potential explosiveness. Pakistan has nuclear weapons and a government disconnected from the crippling poverty, rampant malnutrition, and lack of healthcare afflicting its people. Though Pakistan remains an ally of the United States, tensions continue to rise as the U.S. considers broadeningmilitary strikes within Pakistan's borders. Part two of our 
Rethink Afghanistan documentary focuses on how the Afghanistan crisis affects Pakistan and all of us. 

How exactly could the war in Afghanistan trigger regional chaos with Pakistan? Leading authorities like Steve Coll, Ahmed Rashid, Cathy Collins, Tariq Ali, Rory Stewart, Stephen Kinzer, and Andrew Bacevich weigh in on this perilous issue. 
Watch the trailer for part two of this documentary; the full-length version is available here

The war in Afghanistan and its potentially catastrophic impact on Pakistan are complex and dangerous issues, which further make the case why our country needs a national debate on this now starting with congressional oversight hearings. 
Sign the petition to help make hearings a critical first step and then send the trailer to all of your friends and family (and be sure to Digg it). Imagine someone like Andrew Bacevich having the ear of Congress as he explains the perils of war. Now imagine a national dialogue filled with rational, thoughtful discussions on the issues surrounding Afghanistan. That is our goal. 

Soon, I plan to travel to Afghanistan to interview some of the country's elected leaders, experts, bloggers, people, and organizations who could help us provide a more complete Afghan perspective, and I would love to have your thoughts and questions to take with me. 
Please submit them on the Rethink Afghanistan website, and then sign up to follow my updates from this journey. 


Robert Greenwald
and the Brave New Foundation team 

P.S. Help us continue this vital work and partake in the filmmaking process by 
making a contribution of $20 or more. We will list you as a Producer on Rethink Afghanistan. And if you know someone interested in the issues surrounding this war, let them know they can join over 1,000 Producers helping to make this film possible

1. Watch this trailer

2. Share this trailer

3. Sign the Petition

Pakistan is in such a perilous state that Bruce Riedel, a foreign policy expert leading President Obama's Afghanistan review, has called it "the most dangerous country in the world today." Pakistan has nuclear weapons and a government disconnected from the poverty, malnutrition, and lack of healthcare afflicting its people. And though Pakistan remains a U.S. ally, tensions continue to rise as the U.S. considers broadening military strikes within Pakistan's borders. Part two of Rethink Afghanistan focuses on how the Afghanistan crisis affects Pakistan and all of us.


 Iraq's Dangerous Uncertain Future


Historic Power Shift In El Salvador



AIG CEO warns:'Dire consequences' if company fails

ANP coverage of AIG House hearings 



Republicans Vow to Slow Bill on Bonus Tax

K.A.M.I. K.A.Z.E


Despite congressional fury, the House-passed bill that would slap a 90 percent tax on employee bonuses paid this year by companies receiving substantial bailout money faces an uncertain future in the Senate, where a group of senior Republicans has vowed to slow its progress. Read More


Despite congressional fury, the House-passed bill that would slap a 90 percent tax on employee bonuses paid this year by companies receiving substantial bailout money faces an uncertain future in the Senate, where a group of senior Republicans has vowed to slow its progress.


“If legislation is going to be proposed, who all should it apply to? Can it be written in a broad enough fashion to not violate the Constitution?” asked Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl , R-Ariz. “Until we have hearings and understand all of this, we’re not going to know what kind of fix to implement.”


Kyl blocked an attempt by Majority Leader Harry Reid , D-Nev., to bring up the bill via unanimous consent in the Senate on Thursday afternoon. Senate Democrats indicated Thursday that they expected to pass legislation before the spring recess.


Despite vehement criticism by some Republicans, the House passed the legislation, deemed by many to be unconstitutional, on a 328-93 vote.


The House bill (HR 1586) is the first legislative response to the public outrage over the compensation practices of American International Group Inc. It targets a narrow group of individuals, topped by executives and other employees at AIG, on the receiving end of $165 million in bonus checks.


The final vote surpassed the two-thirds majority needed to pass the bill under suspension of the rules, an expedited procedure that bars amendments and limits debate.


In the end, 85 Republicans voted for the bill while 87 voted no. Numerous GOP members changed their votes from “no” to “yes” as the roll call proceeded.


Six Democrats who represent more conservative districts than their party colleagues generally do voted “no”: Melissa Bean of Illinois, Larry Kissell of North Carolina, Michael E. McMahon of New York, Walt Minnick of Idaho, Harry E. Mitchell of Arizona and Vic Snyder of Arkansas.


Minnick, whose state is a conservative bastion, said after the vote, “Tinkering with the tax code is not the solution. . . . Instead, we need the Treasury Department to use its full weight and authority in administering the rules already in place to better regulate the companies receiving our money.”


Jonathan Lipman, a spokesman for Bean, said that she “came to Congress to work on commonsense legislation that would not have unintended consequences that could cost the taxpayers, who own stakes in all of these TARP-backed institutions, even more in the long run.”




But Democratic leaders spent the morning preparing blast e-mails to the home districts of GOP lawmakers who voted against the legislation.


“It would be a gift if [Republicans] voted against it,” a senior Democratic aide said before the vote.


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Dodd May Be Dodging GOP Bullets in 2010 Race

Republicans are turning up the heat on Sen. Christopher J. Dodd, D-Conn., over his role in the AIG bonus scandal, adding another layer to the attacks on the already vulnerable 30-year incumbent. READ MORE


Dodd's political stock tumbles in Connecticut
The Associated Press
They note he has strong support among 
party activists in the state as well as nationally. Simmons could face a tough primary fight if other Republicans jump ...See all stories on this topic


WASHINGTON (AP) — Democrats may want to start thinking about a bailout for Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd, whose political stock has slipped amid the financial meltdown.


As a five-term Democrat who blew out his last two opponents by 2-1 margins in a blue state that President Barack Obama won handily, Dodd, D-Conn., should be cruising to re-election in 2010. Instead, he's feeling heat from a Republican challenger eager to make him a poster boy for the tumult in the housing and financial markets.


A recent poll showed former Rep. Rob Simmons running about even with Dodd, a former national Democratic Party chairman.


As head of the banking panel, Dodd, 64, has become a convenient target for voter anger over the economic crisis.


"The fact that we have been beaten up, beaten around the head for the last eight or nine months on a regular basis has contributed to it as well," Dodd said.


Some of the worst blows came amid the furor over $165 million in bonuses American International Group Inc. paid some of its employees while receiving billions of dollars in federal bailout money. After first denying it, Dodd admitted he agreed to a request by Treasury Department officials to dilute an executive bonus restriction in the big economic stimulus bill that Congress passed last month. The change to Dodd's amendment allowed AIG to hand out the bonuses and sparked a blame game between Dodd and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.


Dodd was guarded Thursday when asked about Geithner.


"This is obviously a matter that obviously should have been dealt with differently, but we are where we are," he said.


Republicans branded Dodd's reversal "astonishing and alarming" and fingered Dodd as the top recipient of campaign cash from AIG employees over the years.


The GOP is slamming Dodd, claiming he is cozying up to Wall Street insiders, raking in bundles of their campaign cash, shirking his banking panel duties and running for president as the economic crisis erupted in 2007.

He's also under investigation by a Senate ethics panel for mortgages he got from Countrywide Financial Corp., the big lending company at the center of the mortgage crisis.


Dodd struck a defiant tone in his home state Friday, telling a Connecticut audience that he's more concerned about fixing the nation's ailing economy than saving his own job.


Voters are sick and tired of the torrent of negative politics, he said.


"I'm going to do my job," Dodd said. "Politics will take care of itself, one way or the other in the final analysis. And I'll either once again earn the respect and confidence of the people of this state, or I won't."


A takedown of a national party figure like Dodd would be a coup for Republicans eager to rebound from their recent congressional losses.


"This is a state we will be actively participating in," said Amber Wilkerson, a spokeswoman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee.


Republicans are also turning a spotlight on Dodd's longtime friendship with Edward Downe Jr., a former director of the Bear Stearns investment firm who was snared in an insider trading scandal. Dodd owned a condo with Downe in a fashionable Washington neighborhood but bought out Downe's share in 1990 after learning Downe was under investigation. Downe eventually pleaded guilty to trading inside information.


During the final days of the Clinton administration, Dodd wrote a letter supporting a pardon for Downe. "Mr. President, Ed Downe is a good person, who is truly sorry for the hurt he caused others," Dodd wrote. The pardon was granted.


Dodd complained that the GOP is repackaging old stories.


"They're trying to weave things together that have been reported on widely over the years," Dodd said. "They are taking some items that are frankly, old news, routine transactions, and trying to make more out of it."


Dodd has acknowledged participating in a Countrywide VIP program, which he said he thought referred to upgraded customer service. He denied asking for or receiving any special treatment when he refinanced his homes in Washington and East Haddam, Conn., in 2003.


"There was no sweetheart deal," Dodd said.


He faced criticism in his home state for not releasing details of his mortgages until several months after the controversy surfaced last summer. He concedes his sluggish response was a mistake.


The Countrywide controversy came after a failed presidential bid by Dodd that soured many Connecticut voters because he was out of state campaigning so much.


Dodd moved his family to Iowa for several weeks before the caucuses, adding to the home-state backlash.


Simmons is a former CIA officer who served three terms in Congress representing a Democratic-leaning district. He's a fiscal conservative who split with his Republican Party on issues such as abortion rights and raising the minimum wage. He lost by 83 votes to Democrat Joe Courtney in 2006.


In a hypothetical 2010 matchup, a recent Quinnipiac University poll showed Simmons with 43 percent of the vote and Dodd with 42 percent, a statistical dead heat.


Democrats said they're confident Dodd will rebound in the coming months. They note he has strong support among party activists in the state as well as nationally. Simmons could face a tough primary fight if other Republicans jump in, Democrats add.


"Senator Dodd will be fine when all the dust settles," said Nancy DiNardo, chairwoman of the Connecticut Democrats. "People are just really upset with everything that's happening" with the economic crisis.


Ohio jobless rate hits 9.4%, a 25-year high

COLUMBUS -- Ohio's unemployment rate has hit a 25-year high of 9.4 percent as job losses have continued in both manufacturing and services.


The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services says the February jobless rate it released today was up from January's rate of 8.8 percent.


Department spokesman Brian Harter says the state's job market continues to weaken. He says the last time unemployment was higher in Ohio was in May 1984, when the jobless rate was 9.6 percent. State unemployment hit an all-time high of 13.8 percent in December 1982 and January 1983.


The number of workers unemployed in Ohio in February was 566,000, up from 526,000 in January. The number rose from 349,000 in February 2008, when the unemployment rate was 5.9 percent.


Ohio Elections Commission says Dann broke law

COLUMBUS -- The Ohio Elections Commission has found former Attorney General Marc Dann guilty of violating state election lawfor using campaign funds to pay for a personal cell phone and a security system for his home.

More serious charges pending; hearing planned later.

The panel fined Dann, who resigned in disgrace last May, $1,000 for each violation but did not refer either matter to prosecutors.

Dann's campaign account also was slapped with a $2,000 fine.

The allegations stem from Dann's 17 months in office, when he tapped his campaign account to pay for cellular service for his wife and children, and for a $40,000 security system at the family's Youngstown-area home.

The expenditures drew scrutiny last year after Dann was forced out of office during a scandal that began with allegations of sexual harassment involving a top aide.

Dann's attorney, Donald J. McTigue, told the Elections Commission that the expenditures were related to his service as attorney general and therefore were legitimate campaign expenses.

The security system was a response to death threats, McTigue said.

"If he's killed, how's he going to carry out the duties of office?" the attorney asked.

One of the commission members to support the fine against Dann, Yvette McGee Brown, said campaign contributors don't donate expecting their money to be used for a permanent improvement to a candidate's home.

Dann had no immediate comment on the decision.

This round of charges, brought by the secretary of state's office, was much less extensive than allegations from the Ohio inspector general that Dann misspent tens of thousands of dollars in campaign and transition fund money.

McTigue's attempt to throw out more serious charges against Dann brought by Inspector General Thomas P. Charles failed late this afternoon.

McTigue said Charles had been given temporary authority to investigate the attorney general's office under Dann, but not Dann's campaign or transition accounts. In addition, McTigue said, Charles never had authority to refer the allegations to the Elections Commission.

Had the commission accepted McTigue's argument, the case against Dann would have ended with a pair of fines assessed against Dann earlier in the day.

But that's not how it turned out.

The commission unanimously rejected McTigue's contentions and set the rest of the case against Dann for a full hearing, probably in May or June.

Among other things, the inspector general alleges that Dann paid his spokesman and political consigliere, Leo Jennings III, out of his campaign account and Jennings turned around and used some of the money to pay rent and utilities at a Dublin-area condo that he and Dann shared with Dann's general-services director, Anthony Gutierrez.

In an interview after the Elections Commission hearing, Dann said he had hoped that the commission would resolve all of the allegations against him.

"We're very confident that our position is going to be vindicated," he said.


The Week's Best Late-Night Jokes : You Have To Laugh Or Become A Revolutionary!


Friday March 20, 2009


"AIG, which already received $170 billion in taxpayers' money, paid $165 million in bonuses. But they say the bonuses are justified because the company made an extra $170 billion last year." --Jay Leno 

"Earlier this week, Republican Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa said that AIG executives should follow the Japanese model by publicly apologizing and then doing one of two things -- either resign or kill themselves. But why not have them resign, then kill themselves on pay per view, huh? That would raise enough money to pay off everybody they screwed." --Jay Leno 

"I like Grassley's idea, but here's my question: where was Congress when everything was falling apart, you know? They're supposed to be looking out for us. Here's a better idea. How about AIG and Congress making a giant suicide pact?" --Jay Leno

"They had a big St. Patty's Day party at the White House tonight with corned beef and cabbage, green beer — the whole thing. It's an important part of Obama's everybody get drunk and forget about the economy policy. Everyone had a nice time, but I guess things got ugly for a second when Ben Bernanke, the chairman of the Federal Reserve, mistook Dennis Kucinich for a leprechaun and tried to choke him for his gold." --Jimmy Kimmel

"A lot of people were surprised that the president came to NBC. You'd think by this time he'd be tired of big companies on the brink of disaster with a bunch of overpaid executives." --Jay Leno, on 
Obama's appearance on The Tonight Show

"We were also going to have Vice President 
Joe Biden come out and say a few words, but it's only an hour show." --Jay Leno

George Bush is writing a book. No, that's not the joke. It's a serious book about the 12 toughest decisions he made as President. It's called 'The Ten Toughest Decisions I Made As President.' It's a good book. It's a pop-up book."--Jimmy Fallon

Bristol Palin, remember Bristol Palin? Sarah Palin's knocked up daughter? She was going to marry the young hockey player, Levi. Remember Levi? Free Levi, I love Levi. Well, apparently Bristol and Levi broke up. Bristol said she wants her baby raised free of ignorance and backwoods superstition. But you can't stop Mom from visiting." --Bill Maher

"And some sad news. Bristol Palin, Sarah Palin's daughter, has broken up with babydaddy Levi Johnston. I was stunned when I heard. I mean, really, if two kids without a decent education and no jobs and a baby can't make it, what hope is there for the rest of us?" --Jay Leno

"No, Levi told a friend, 'I should have spent more time picking a mate,' which is the same thing 
John McCain said about Sarah Palin." --Jay Leno

"The U.S. Justice department said they will no longer use the term 'enemy combatant' when talking about detainees at Guantanamo Bay. The new name will be 'guys who make you nervous when they're on your flight.' --Jay Leno

"Former presidential candidate 
John Edwards spoke to Brown University last night to a crowd of 600 people. I think the topic was 'From Hair to Paternity.' He spoke to the students at Brown about poverty and morals. Yeah, and who better to lecture young people about poverty and morals than a rich personal injury attorney who knocked up his mistress?" -- Jay Leno

last week's jokes, check out our daily late-night joke roundup, or browse the late-night joke archive.


Bailout Jokes

George Bush Jokes

Sarah Palin Jokes


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