•A Review of CBO’s Activities in 2010 Under the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act In this report, which is part of an annual series that began in 1997, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) reviews its activities under the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995. The report covers public laws enacted and legislation considered by the Congress in calendar year 2010 that would impose federal mandates on state, local, or tribal governments or on the private sector
The Progress Report
It wasn’t long ago that multi-millionaire real estate mogul and NBC’s Celebrity Apprentice host Donald Trump considered running a somewhat credible presidential campaign. In 2000, he contemplated a third-party run as the nominee for the Reform Party, and in preparation, laid out a presidential platform that covered various issue areas, including the national deficit, Social Security, U.S. trade policy and campaign finance reform. This time around, however, Trump is taking a different tack. Ever since “The Donald” first floated the idea that he might seek the Republican Party’s nomination to run against President Obama in 2012, he has dabbled in nearly every discredited far-right conspiracy theory in a transparent attempt to attract attention and appease the right-wing base.
GOING BIRTHER: Despite overwhelming proof that President Obama was born in Hawaii, it has taken Trump little more than a week to transition from having “just a little doubt” about Obama’s birth certificate to becoming a full-fledged birther. After first raising the issue on his March 22 appearance on Good Morning America, Trump escalated his birther nonsense by telling the Daily Caller that he would release his own birth certificate, a clear attempt to make Obama’s birth a major campaign issue. He then followed through, only to find out that it wasn’t an official birth certificate. And even after conservatives like presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty denounced birtherism, Trump doubled down. He questioned the idea that Obama’s parents could have taken out a newspaper ad celebrating his birth, telling Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly, “Nelson Rockefeller doesn’t put announcements. I’ve never seen one.” O’Reilly admonished Trump for his birther rant, saying his own investigation found two birth notifications in Hawaii newspapers. That’s when Trump officially went off the deep end, suggesting Obama’s family faked the entire ordeal: “I grew up with Wall Street Geniuses. What they do in terms of fraud, and how they change documents.” O’Reilly responded incredulously: “There couldn’t have been a sophisticated (conspiracy). What is he, Baby Jesus?”
RIGHT WING GREATEST HITS: On O’Reilly’s show, Trump chose to tout another topic popular among fringe right-wingers, transitioning his birther stance into outright Islamophobia. “There’s something on that birth (certificate), maybe religion, maybe it says he’s a Muslim, I don’t know,” Trump said. And he hardly stopped there. In an apparent effort to keep up with former pizza company official Herman Cain, the most brazenly anti-Islam candidate on the GOP side, Trump harped about the world’s “Muslim problem.” Surely, he had some sort of high-level intelligence alerting him to this problem, right? Not quite. “All you have to do is turn on your television,” he said. “You know it, and I know it.” Part of that Muslim problem, according to Trump, is the President’s policy toward Libya. In an interview with Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren, Trump pushed the unsubstantiated right-wing theory that Libyan rebels “are closely associated with Iran. And they’re closely associated with al Qaeda.” In an effort to complete his transformation into a right-wing conspiracy theorist, Trump also pushed the idea that Obama’s memoir, “Dreams from My Father,” was written by Bill Ayers, and that the Chinese were out to “strip (America) of everything they can strip us of.” He’s also anti-gay marriage, for no apparent reason. Trump: “I just don’t feel good about it.”
RATINGS BOON: After Trump’s birther discussion with O’Reilly, former Bush strategist Karl Rove said he thought Trump’s approach was “a mistake. It will marginalize him.” But is it a mistake? In a GOP field that already features two fringe candidates (Cain and Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann) and will before long become crowded with multiple other candidates, perhaps Trump is attempting to carve out a niche among the voters on the right edge of the party. Or, perhaps, a millionaire with an instinct for exploiting interests to bolster his pocketbook (think Miss USA or “You’re fired!”) has figured out a way to occupy the spotlight early in the race and is using it for his own self-gain. Indeed, the ratings for Celebrity Apprentice were dismal early in the season. But with Trump making numerous appearances on both morning network and evening cable TV programs, the show’s ratings have suddenly spiked. Either way, it says quite a lot about the sad state of the modern Republican Party that someone like Trump can exploit GOP voters for either electoral or personal gain by running as fast as he can to the farthest right fringe of the party.
Are you worried, frustrated, and angry about the continuing attacks on workers’ rights, women’s rights, economic security and opportunity for all? Are you looking for another way to demonstrate your concern — in addition to making phone calls and sending emails? On April 4, you can join with people in your community in events to send a strong message: We Are One.
On April 4, 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, where he had gone to stand with sanitation workers demanding their dream: the right to bargain collectively for a voice at work and a better life for themselves and their children. Now those rights are under attack in Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana and dozens of other states, and women’s interests are at stake.
Can you join us on April 4 by participating in an event on your community? You can find events near you on this interactive map. http://action.nwlc.org/site/R?i=uMLiBmcwTSFoVeogJPQeMg..
Attacks on public employees’ rights to collectively bargain directly threaten working women and the vital public services they provide. Most people who work for state and local governments are women: nurses, teachers and others serving our communities. And collective bargaining helps ensure that these women have decent wages, benefits, and working conditions. For more information on why the right to collectively bargain is a women’s rights issue, check out our fact sheet.
Please join us in solidarity on April 4: We Are One.
Emily J. Martin
Vice President and General Counsel
After local officials certify the signatures, a new election will be scheduled for Kapanke’s seat. Today’s news is sending shockwaves throughout Wisconsin, and will give huge momentum to efforts in other Senate districts to gather recall signatures.
Now’s the time to flood the Wisconsin airwaves with more of our TV ads supporting the recall and pump energy into places where volunteers are still working hard to gather signatures. Can you help?
PLEASE Click on the link below and after watching it you have to contribute … do it! it is concise short and gets to the point quickly …support this ad below
Our new ad — made with our friends at Democracy for America — captures the magic of this recall movement.
We’ve raised $150,000 so far and can expand our ad buy when we hit $200,000. Chip in $3 and keep the momentum going!
Thanks for being a bold progressive,
– Stephanie Taylor, Adam Green, Jason Rosenbaum, Michael Snook, Amanda Johnson, and the PCCC team
Here are stories published today
5 financial blunders and how to fix them | 2011-03-31
It’s easy to make mistakes but hard to recognize them. Take these steps to recover. http://www.bankrate.com/finance/investing/5-bad-financial-decisions-and-how-to-recover-1.aspx?ec_id=brmint_newsalert_20110331
CD rates for March 31, 2011 | 2011-03-31
Here are the average CD rates from Bankrate‘s weekly survey of large banks and thrifts. http://www.bankrate.com/finance/cd/national-cd-rates-for-march-31-2011.aspx?ec_id=brmint_newsalert_20110331
See rates from our survey of CDs, mortgages, home equity products, auto loans and credit cards. http://www.bankrate.com/finance/mortgages/interest-rate-roundup-for-march-31-2011.aspx?ec_id=brmint_newsalert_20110331
Home equity loan rates for March 31, 2011 | 2011-03-31
Here are the average home equity rates from Bankrate’s weekly survey of large banks and thrifts. http://www.bankrate.com/finance/home-equity/national-home-equity-loan-rates-for-march-31-2011.aspx?ec_id=brmint_newsalert_20110331
Auto loan rates for March 31, 2011 | 2011-03-31
Here are the average auto loan rates from Bankrate’s weekly survey of large banks and thrifts. http://www.bankrate.com/finance/auto/national-auto-loan-rates-for-march-31-2011.aspx?ec_id=brmint_newsalert_20110331
The pros and cons of travel rewards cards | 2011-03-31
Some credit cards offer travel rewards points. Ponder these options before settling on one. http://www.bankrate.com/finance/smart-spending/the-pros-and-cons-of-travel-rewards-cards-1.aspx?ec_id=brmint_newsalert_20110331
Rule could make mortgages harder to get | 2011-03-31
If you think lending standards are tough now, check out what regulators want to do. http://www.bankrate.com/finance/mortgages/rule-could-make-mortgages-harder-to-get.aspx?ec_id=brmint_newsalert_20110331
Credit card interest rates for March 31, 2011 | 2011-03-31 Here are the average credit card rates from Bankrate’s weekly survey of large banks and thrifts. http://www.bankrate.com/finance/credit-cards/national-credit-card-rates-for-march-31-2011.aspx?ec_id=brmint_newsalert_20110331
The Labor Department reports that the U.S. economy added 216,000 jobs last month, and the unemployment rate dipped to a two-year low of 8.8 percent. The second straight month of solid job growth marked “a decisive shift in the labor market that should help to underpin the economic recovery.”
In a floor speech and a letter to Senate leaders yesterday, Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) attacked the GOP proposed budget cuts as “irresponsible” and urged both sides of the aisle to reach a bipartisan deal. Brown slammed leaders for offering a false choice between small cuts or proposals “that establish the wrong priorities that would disproportionately affect low-income families and seniors.”
Tea Party activists rallying at the Capitol yesterday slammed Republican leadership for compromising on the budget rather than “risking blame for a shutdown.” One Tea Party Patriot leader told Republican leadership to “take off your lace panties,” “stop being noodle-backs,” and take an “unwavering stand” for spending cuts.
Traditionally a Republican constituency, police and firefighters are rapidly turning to Democrats after assaults on their union rights in Wisconsin, Ohio, and elsewhere. “Who are these evil teachers who teach your children, these evil policemen who protect them, these evil firemen who pull them from burning buildings? When did we all become evil?” asked the national president of the Fraternal Order of Police.
In an interview with Politico, senior FCC commissioner Michael Copps blasted the planned AT&T acquisition of T-Mobile . He warned that the merger would give a “lot of power and a lot of influence…to one company in a world where two companies are going to control, like, 80 percent of the spectrum.”
President Obama’s top two national security officials said yesterday that the U.S. is unlikely to arm the Libyan rebels. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that “because of the unknowns” about who the rebels were connected to, she opposed the move; Defense Secretary Robert Gates also came out against arming the rebels but said maybe other countries would.
“The Afghan Taliban are showing signs of increasing strain after a number of killings, arrests and internal disputes that have reached them even in their haven in Pakistan.” Taliban commanders “have now gone underground” in their Pakistani havens where they used to operate brazenly, and fighters are “struggling in some areas to continue the fight.”
The Arizona Republic notes in an editorial that other states are “not following Arizona’s lead ” in drafting anti-immigrant legislation. The editorial says that states are “wising up about the folly of what Arizona did.”
And finally: New Jersey is facing steep cuts to education funding, but apparently not steep enough to keep Jersey Shore’s Snooki from receiving a $32,000 speaking fee from Rutgers University, a public school. The school paid her to “dish on her hairstyle, fist pumps” and her lifestyle — $2,000 more than it paid Nobel Prize-winning novelist Toni Morrison to deliver the schools commencement address.
For breaking news and updates throughout the day, follow ThinkProgress on Facebook and Twitter.
When Congress can seriously debate forcing veterans into homelessness and cutting food aid to pregnant women and children, while giving tax breaks to billionaires, something is very, very wrong.
That’s why this morning, I joined, along with the heads of seven other major progressive organizations, in an ongoing fast launched by religious leaders to protest the brutal and unjust budget cuts being debated in Washington.
Those who will go hungry because of these cuts are largely invisible to decision-makers in Congress. By fasting in solidarity, we have an opportunity to make their suffering visible, and expose the immorality of this policy.
Will you join in? You can fast for a day or part of a day, for a meal or a week—whatever you can do.
Please click here to join in. http://pol.moveon.org/pac/budgetfast/?id=26743-17809870-n4JZnjx&t=1
This began on Monday, when Reverend Jim Wallis and a group of Christian, Jewish, and Muslim clergy launched a prayer fast to highlight what they called the “selective cruelty” in the budget debate. As word spread, thousands more folks have begun fasting as well.
I joined today because all week long I’ve been looking into the eyes of my 2-year-old daughter, and thinking about the hundreds of thousands of kids who will get kicked out of preschool, who will lose access to health care, who will go to bed hungry each night if these cuts pass.
I joined because I keep picturing other parents like me, many of them MoveOn members, who will be left with no way to provide for their families if right-wing Republicans get their way.
I joined because according to my faith and my conscience, letting children starve while giving handouts to giant corporations is wrong, plain and simple. And I feel compelled to speak out.
A number of other MoveOn staff are joining the fast with me this morning. I hope you will too, in whatever way speaks to your conscience.
I grew up reading these words from the Prophet Isaiah and they’ve returned to me powerfully today.
Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?
While this cause will speak to all of us differently—to our faith, or to our ethics, or simply through the eyes of our children—it is grounded in our common humanity and a common passion to defend those most in need.
Please join if you can.
Thank you for all that you do,
PPS. Fasting can be dangerous. Those with health issues or concerns that may be affected by fasting should not participate. Anyone unsure or with questions should consult their doctor before participating.
Fox News insists that there’s a difference between its “opinion” programming and its “news” programming. One top exec has been repeatedly proving his network wrong.
In exclusive new audio, Media Matters for America catches Fox News Washington managing editor Bill Sammon bragging that he repeatedly lied when he speculated on-air “about whether Barack Obama really advocated socialism,” an allegation he privately found “rather far-fetched.”
If you’re looking for the walking embodiment of how Fox is a political attack machine disguised as a news network, look no further than Sammon, who has a pattern of using his position as a “news” editor to distort and slant the facts and push an ideological agenda.
Watch the video and get the word out about Bill Sammon.
Speaking in 2009 onboard a pricey Mediterranean cruise sponsored by a right-wing college, Sammon described his public attempts the previous year to link Obama to “socialism” as “mischievous speculation.” Sammon, who is also a Fox News vice president, acknowledged that he had “privately” believed that the socialism allegation was “rather far-fetched.”
A Media Matters review found that Sammon – then the network’s Washington deputy managing editor –linked Obama’s “spread the wealth around” remarks to socialism in four separate October 2008 Fox appearances. And Sammon’s ”mischief” wasn’t limited to his on-air appearances. As Media Matters reported, Sammon also pushed Fox News colleagues to play the socialism card.
In addition, multiple leaked emails to Media Matters for America show that Sammon pushes his political agenda into “news” programming on issues like climate change, health care, and the Middle East. He’s even gone on right-wing talk radio to claim that President Obama has “controversial” views on “the white race.”
Bill Sammon’s position directing news coverage is a clear example of how Fox News hurts journalism. By making smears, falsehoods and attacks a higher priority than the facts, Sammon distorts our political process. It’s Fox News’ problem — and ours.
Click here to watch the video and get the word out about Bill Sammon.
Thanks for your support in fighting Fox News’ toxic effect on our national debate.
Media Matters for America
The Union of Concerned Scientists and the town of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania announced today that Groundhog Day will be pushed forward eight days to January 25 in 2012 in recognition of the impact climate change has had in the region.
Spring Comes Eight Days Earlier
Groundhog Day will be pushed forward eight days in recognition of the impact climate change has had on the region.
The change is based on analysis by UCS scientists who found that, since 1997, spring has come an average of eight days earlier to western Pennsylvania. http://action.ucsusa.org/site/R?i=Oc_Z2zW4KEenBjrF0nMi9g..
“We hope that the change in date will bring needed attention to the consequences of climate change in Pennsylvania and the importance of investing in a clean energy economy,” said Dr. Phil DeGraeve, a climate scientist at Pennsylvania State University.
Read more about the analysis behind the Groundhog Day change and learn how various elected officials are reacting to the news.
National Field Organizer