Archive | July, 2012

Corporate Welfare King Complains About Socialism; Obama Looks Forward

25 Jul

A couple of weeks ago, President Obama gave a speech in Virginia where he somewhat clumsily made the assertion that even self-made businessmen didn’t get successful on their own. They had teachers who inspired them, firefighters and police who protect them, roads that help them engage in commerce, and that ours is a society in which we are somewhat interdependent on each other; i.e., “government” to help private enterprise thrive. It is thus everywhere, despite the current fad among some to denigrate government and everything it does. Fox News is, naturally, at the forefront of this phony nontroversy, even trotting out a couple of little kids to discuss how N0bama is nationalizing their lemonade stand, or something. 

So, Mitt Romney – who purports to be a self-made businessman, facts notwithstanding – put out this ad: 

Jack Gilchrist, the New Hampshire business owner Romney features in that ad, is right out of Republicanland central casting. He whines that the President is “demonizing” people like him, who, with his father, built his business, “through hard work and a little bit of luck”. Also, the black Kenyan guy doesn’t “believe in America”. So, there’s that. 

Yet Jack Gilchrist didn’t just get where he is thanks to hard work, luck, teachers, roads, and civic protection services. He also got there thanks to thousands of socialist government dollars

In 1999, Gilchrist Metal received $800,000 in tax-exempt revenue bonds issued by the New Hampshire Business Finance Authority “to set up a second manufacturing plant and purchase equipment to produce high definition television broadcasting equipment,” according to a New Hampshire Union Leader report at the time…

Last year, Gilchrist Metal also received two U.S. Navy sub-contracts totaling about $83,000 and a smaller $5,600 Coast Guard contract in 2008, according to a government web site that tracks spending.

Gilchrist also is a recipient of an SBA loan of about $500,000, with matching funds from the federally-funded New England Trade Adjustment Assistance Center.  In other words, Gilchrist got where he is thanks to hard work, a little bit of luck, and over a million dollars in federal and state corporate welfare. Out of all the businesspeople available in the country to use to send this message, Romney’s campaign didn’t even adequately vet their Obama-hating generic middle-aged blue-collar rich guy. 

By contrast, in the wake of the Aurora shootings, the Obama campaign took the opportunity to speak frankly to the American people about what’s really at stake in this election, and he also directly addressed Romney’s clumsy rejection of civic society: 

The Morning Grumpy – 7/25/12

25 Jul

All the news, views, and filtered excellence fit to consume during your morning grumpy.

1. GOP2012: Obamacare is going to blow a huge hole in the federal budget! It’s a job-killing, deficit-creating bill which will march us into a sea of red ink and socialized healthcare! We must defeat the red menace!

Non-Partisan Congressional Budget Office: Um, no.

President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul will shrink rather than increase the nation’s huge federal deficits over the next decade, Congress’ nonpartisan budget scorekeepers said Tuesday, supporting Obama’s contention in a major election-year dispute with Republicans.

About 3 million fewer uninsured people will gain health coverage because of last month’s Supreme Court ruling granting states more leeway, and that will cut the federal costs by $84 billion, the Congressional Budget Office said in the biggest changes from earlier estimates.

Republicans have insisted that “Obamacare” will actually raise deficits — by “trillions,” according to presidential candidate Mitt Romney. But that’s not so, the budget office said.

The office gave no updated estimate for total deficit reductions from the law, approved by Congress and signed by Obama in 2010. But it did estimate that Republican legislation to repeal the overhaul — passed recently by the House — would itself boost the deficit by $109 billion from 2013 to 2022.

At the time it was approved in 2010, CBO estimated the law would reduce the deficit by $143 billion from 2010 to 2019. And CBO estimated that last year’s Republican repeal legislation would increase deficits by $210 billion from 2010 to 2021.

Not that any Republican who is already locked into their own reality will notice this news, but it’s worth posting anyway.

2. If you were to take a guess as to which demographic dislikes President Obama the most, you might guess it was rich white guys like David Koch or Mitt Romney, right? Well, you’d be wrong. Poor, white males without college degrees loathe him the most.

According to a recent Quinnipiac poll, Obama’s support among this group fell to 29%, which is the lowest of any Democrat in recent history.

Obama has struggled with this group since he announced his campaign for President in 2008. The question is why do they dislike him so much?

According to Ronald Brownstein at The National Journal, the answer is this:

Many [working-class whites] are culturally-conservative; more are deeply skeptical of government (including [Obama’s] health care plan); and most are struggling in the sustained economic downturn. Polls also consistently show many working-class whites are deeply uneasy about the propulsive racial and ethnic changes that Obama uniquely embodies.

So, these voters will vote for the rich white guy and hope that some of the economic crumbs fall to the floor.

3. Sen. Bernie Sanders, still awesome.  In front of a Senate panel today, he outed the 26 billionaires who are members of 23 billionaire families that are leveraging the Citizens United court decision to buy elections.

Sanders explained how the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision put the government up for sale,

“What the Supreme Court did in Citizens United is to say to these same billionaires and the corporations they control: ‘You own and control the economy, you own Wall Street, you own the coal companies, you own the oil companies. Now, for a very small percentage of your wealth, we’re going to give you the opportunity to own the United States government.'”

His report names the donors and points out the following:

  • So far this year, 26 billionaires have donated more than $61 million to super PACs, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. And, that’s only what has been publicly disclosed.
  • This $61 million does not include about $100 million that Sheldon Adelson has said that he is willing to spend to defeat President Obama; or the $400 million that the Koch brothers have pledged to spend during the 2012 election season.
  • These 26 billionaires have a combined net worth of $195 billion, which is more than the bottom 43 percent of American households (equal to more than 50 million families in the United States).

Yeah, I’m not sure this is what the founders had in mind.

4. At the same Senate hearing, Professor Lawrence Lessig provided the following testimony regarding Citizens United and the damage it has and will do to our nation.

Lessig Testimony (2)

As he wrote in The Atlantic earlier this year:

We need to remember that on January 20, 2010 — the day before Citizens United was decided — our democracy was already broken. Already, Congress was dependent upon its funders, yet the funders were not “the People.” Already, the tiniest slice of the 1 percent exercised an extraordinary power over the government. Citizens United no doubt made things worse. But even if it shot the body of this democracy, that body was already cold.

Reversing Citizens United is thus a critical step. But that alone will not restore this democracy. To do that, we must strike at the root of this corruption: how campaigns are funded.

5. The anti-vaccine crowd, led by (noted nude model and reader of flawed science) Jenny McCarthy and a number of other bizarre organizations have lowered “herd immunity” to diseases medical science had nearly eliminated in America decades ago.

The “anti-vaxxers” have convinced a frighteningly high number of parents in Washington State to withhold vaccines from their children.  A story in The Seattle Times last year reported that:

“Washington [state] parents are choosing not to vaccinate their kindergartners at a rate higher than anywhere else in the country.”

And now we learn that the U.S. is in the midst of the worst whooping cough epidemic in 70 years.  One of the most hard-hit states is Washington, which the CDC just announced (on 20 July) has suffered 2,520 cases so far this year, a 1300% increase over last year.  This is the highest number of cases reported in Washington since 1942. 

For chrissakes, get your medical advice from actual doctors and stop listening to quacks and Playboy models.

Fact Of The Day: Concrete is used more than any other man-made material in the world.

Quote Of The Day: “A fanatic is a man who consciously over compensates a secret doubt.” – Aldous Huxley

Video Of The Day: “The Scientific Power Of Naps”

Song Of The Day: “Arthur” – The Kinks

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The Morning Grumpy – 7/24/12

24 Jul

All the news, views, and filtered excellence fit to consume during your morning grumpy.

1. Z80 Incubator Labs is a game changer for Buffalo. For real.

What is Z80 Labs?

Our goal is to re-ignite the internet-based technology sector in the Buffalo area, providing a catalyst in building a technology economy in Buffalo and western New York.  We are a technology incubator, which allows participants to build technology businesses within an accelerator environment that provides valuable support across a wide range of functions. 

Z80 Labs will invite entrepreneurs from WNY, Southern Ontario, Southern Tier and Rochester areas to be a part of our program in downtown Buffalo, and participate in the new opportunities offered by the internet based world in building a new economy for the Buffalo and WNY areas.

In addition, we’ll allow Life Sciences, GreenTech and SaaS companies to be part of the Incubator, should they have a local sponsor and meet the other criteria for acceptance in our facility.

Z80 Labs is funded by SCP Management and Softbank Capital. Additional funding for investment in startups will be provided by SCP Buffalo Incubator LP, who was awarded $4 million from the Innovate NY grant. Corporate support in services and personnel will be provided by The Buffalo News, HP Synacor, Campus Labs, PC Business Solutions, Creo451° and Hover Networks. 

The incubator formally launched yesterday and it was covered with some regard by the tech industry’s “paper of record”, All Things D of the Wall Street Journal.

What’s most heartening to see, of course, is the definitely more earnest and rawer kind of entrepreneurism on display, of a kind that is often lost in the slick, well-oiled machine of Silicon Valley.

“It’s easy for entrepreneurs in places like Palo Alto to get going,” the voluble Jordan Levy said to me on my visit. “We wanted to find a way to keep really great techies here to create an ecosystem that would be able to jump-start even more and help this city keep jobs.”

The author dubbed Buffalo as “The Silicon Snowbank”, which is excellent. These articles are the types of things that help change the mesofacts about Buffalo.

Providing mentorship to young entrepreneurs and then connecting them with capital is exactly what we need in order to rebuild the economic engine of this city and region. I’ll be providing frequent updates on what’s happening down at the Z80 Labs because, frankly, you need to know about it.

2. So, this exists. A Tumblr of context-free comments left on articles at The Buffalo News website.

It’s fascinating to me that people are willing to put their real name underneath some seriously vile, racist, and/or insipid bullshit on the Internet pages of a major metropolitan newspaper. The ugly id of Buffalo on display daily.

3. Rolling Stone takes a look at the terrifying new math on climate change.

If the pictures of those towering wildfires in Colorado haven’t convinced you, or the size of your AC bill this summer, here are some hard numbers about climate change: June broke or tied 3,215 high-temperature records across the United States. That followed the warmest May on record for the Northern Hemisphere – the 327th consecutive month in which the temperature of the entire globe exceeded the 20th-century average, the odds of which occurring by simple chance were 3.7 x 10-99, a number considerably larger than the number of stars in the universe.

This article is a sober reminder of the epic challenge before us and the political realities of effecting change.

4. According to a report from the Tax Justice Network, a British think tank, the world’s wealthiest citizens have hidden an absolutely staggering amount of money in offshore tax havens, likely around $21 trillion, but as much as $32 trillion. To put that in perspective, the combined gross domestic products of the United States and Japan are around $21 trillion annually. 

$9.8 trillion of it belongs to just 100,000 people and here is where it is stashed.

Who is helping these people hide their wealth from the tax man?  The three largest tax haven banks are UBS, Credit Suisse, and Goldman Sachs. HSBC, Citigroup, and several other American banks and firms are also complicit. Keep in mind that on top of their hidden international horde of cash, American corporations are sitting on $5.1TN in liquid assets.

5. The ultimate collection of videos featuring Mitt Romney arguing against himself. He is the ultimate “do anything, say anything” politician, desperate to get into power at any cost.

I have no idea how someone can vote for this guy with a straight face.

Fact Of The Day: During a 2006 game against Ohio State, Joe Paterno pooped his pants.

Quote Of The Day: “An intellectual is a person who’s found one thing that’s more interesting than sex.” -Aldous Huxley

Video Of The Day: A long, but illuminating video from BBC Panorama on the poor children of America. With one and a half million American children now homeless, reporter Hilary Andersson meets the school pupils who go hungry in the richest country on Earth.

Song Of The Day: “Any Major Dude Will Tell You” – Wilco (Steely Dan Cover)

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Laws, Shrinks, Neither?

23 Jul

In the wake of the Aurora movie theater massacre, do you: 

1. Think that we need to strengthen and expand some sort of gun control; 

2. Think that someone should have pulled a concealed gun on the shooter and stopped his rampage; 

3. Think that this isn’t about guns, it’s about the stigma and poor funding/coverage for mental health care; 

4. None of the above – we demand answers and reaction to tragedies like this, but they are exceedingly rare, despite our ridiculously overviolent gun culture, and sometimes motivated psychopaths will engage in this type of behavior, regardless of medical or legal intervention. 

Ironic Criminal is Ironic

20 Jul

Remember this guy? He was all over Channel 4 and the Shredd & Ragan show: Shredd & Ragan show about a month ago, expounding on how black people were ruining the old First Ward, etc.  How minorities should stay on their own side of town and not “wreck” South Buffalo neighborhoods.  

Turns out, the proud South Buffalo racist guy is William Shanahan, and he’s not only in jail, he’s a convicted felon

“Scheme to defraud” in the 1st degree involves a systematic, ongoing effort to defraud or obtain property under false pretenses from 10 or more people, or fewer depending on the value of the property and the age of the victim. This is a class E felony. 

Robbery in the 3rd degree involves “forcible stealing” through the use or threat of physical force on a person to take his belongings. According to the New York State Penal Law, this is a class D felony.  

Irony is a guy who complains about “the minorities” and their crime ruining neighborhoods, yet is a convict himself. 

Food for Thought Re: Lenihan's Departure

20 Jul

Erie County Democratic Chairman Len Lenihan is leaving, and a reorganization meeting will take place in mid-September – shortly after the primaries – to elect his successor. 

Several candidates have come forward seeking that office, and I’ve already seen quite a few bitter, angry comments about them all from a variety of people. As if any of it matters. Really, as if any of it matters

Well, I should qualify that. If you rely on the party boss for your job, I suppose it matters. And smug Republicans should look around, because they’re no different on this point. Next GOP hack who tells me how bad Obamacare and socialism are while collecting a state check with state benefits and state pension will be invited to go expletive himself. 

But to average western New Yorkers, it has very little bearing on anything. Our byzantine election law and ballot-access systems will remain the same. The way in which candidates are selected will remain the same. There will continue to be dealmaking and secrecy and quids pro quo inherent in the job of party committee chair. The only difference will be whether the new chairman will be able to hand out enough gimmes to splinter factions to ensure more frequent loyalty.  And even on that point, an operative who is aligned with, or who appeases, a faction led by someone who actively supports Republicans or regressive homophobic Democrats is not a chairman Democrats should want. 

I’m absolutely not looking forward to the next few months, because there are a handful of important races for Democrats that can do without clumsy, hyper-nerdy gang warfare between party factions. But it would behoove the various faction partisans to set aside past hatreds and insults and select someone who can at least have a chance to unite the party, elect Democrats, and raise money to do so. 

Food for Thought Re: Lenihan’s Departure

20 Jul

Erie County Democratic Chairman Len Lenihan is leaving, and a reorganization meeting will take place in mid-September – shortly after the primaries – to elect his successor. 

Several candidates have come forward seeking that office, and I’ve already seen quite a few bitter, angry comments about them all from a variety of people. As if any of it matters. Really, as if any of it matters

Well, I should qualify that. If you rely on the party boss for your job, I suppose it matters. And smug Republicans should look around, because they’re no different on this point. Next GOP hack who tells me how bad Obamacare and socialism are while collecting a state check with state benefits and state pension will be invited to go expletive himself. 

But to average western New Yorkers, it has very little bearing on anything. Our byzantine election law and ballot-access systems will remain the same. The way in which candidates are selected will remain the same. There will continue to be dealmaking and secrecy and quids pro quo inherent in the job of party committee chair. The only difference will be whether the new chairman will be able to hand out enough gimmes to splinter factions to ensure more frequent loyalty.  And even on that point, an operative who is aligned with, or who appeases, a faction led by someone who actively supports Republicans or regressive homophobic Democrats is not a chairman Democrats should want. 

I’m absolutely not looking forward to the next few months, because there are a handful of important races for Democrats that can do without clumsy, hyper-nerdy gang warfare between party factions. But it would behoove the various faction partisans to set aside past hatreds and insults and select someone who can at least have a chance to unite the party, elect Democrats, and raise money to do so. 

The Morning Grumpy – 7/20/12

20 Jul

All the news, views, and filtered excellence fit to consume during your morning grumpy.

1. The bottom 50% of American households hold just 1.1 percent of the nation’s wealth. The richest 1%, meanwhile, hold 34.5 percent of the wealth. The top 10 % share of wealth has risen over the last two decades, the report found, but it has fallen for households in every group below that.

2. Following up on the fine work done by the fine people at Mother Jones, The Daily Beast investigates the size and scope of voter fraud in federal elections.

Voter fraud—the foundational premise for controversial new voter-ID laws—is far more rare in the U.S. than ID proponents would have us believe.

A New York Times investigation found that between 2002 and 2005 only 96 people were indicted for federal election-related crimes, and 70 of them were convicted. Of those, 41 were campaign employees and government officials, and just five were voters who cast multiple ballots. Yet impersonation is the only type of election crime that strict new voter-identification laws can actually prevent.

Of course, it’s not about preventing fraud, it’s about keeping Democratic Party constituencies away from the ballot box. Isn’t it interesting that most Republicans fight tooth and nail to maintain anonymity for the billionaires who will spend millions of dollars to influence elections, but want to institute modern day poll taxes and identification requirements for you to vote once? A thinking man might conclude this is no coincidence. GOP 2012!

3. Bill Moyers gives our politicians the stern talking-to that they so desperately need. Share this. Everywhere.

4. Charlie Brooker of BBC Four’s Newswipe details how editing defines reality on “reality” television…emotionally manipulative, uncivilized bullshit that it is.

Fact Of The Day: When Thomas Jefferson dubbed the term ‘separation of church and state’ he was echoing the founder of the American Baptist Church, Roger Williams, who also supported it.

Quote Of The Day: “If you saw two guys named Hambone and Flippy, which one would you think liked dolphins most? I’d say Flippy, wouldn’t you? You’d be wrong though. It’s Hambone.” Jack Handy

Video Of The Day: Stop Motion Lego version of “The Wire”

Song Of The Day: “Everybody Needs Somebody To Love” – Solomon Burke

 

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Foolish Phobia Friday

19 Jul

Paranoid Parrot

1. Homophobia: From the Niagara Falls Reporter, as part of a story about why fighting is good for hockey

Ha ha! Gays! The ways in which the passage above is offensive are many, but to suggest that gays are not manly, or are emasculated; and to contrast the desirability of fighting versus homosexuality are idiotic and ignorant. Chances are, there are plenty of gay guys who could beat the living crap out of the author, so I fail to see the validity of the argument. 

Since that paper got a new publisher with a regressive attitude towards women and who expounds on “manliness”, this sort of thing is to be expected. 

2. Islamophobia: Member of Congress and renowned lunatic Michele Bachmann (R-Cloudcuckooland) refuses to be out-crazied by the likes of Allen West, so she had her own Joe McCarthy Moment this past week, “revealing” that the Muslim Brotherhood has infiltrated the highest levels of the federal government Islamo-Kenyan-Indonesian N0bama Administration. Actually, the term she used was downright pornographic, “deep penetration in the halls of our United States government”. When asked to clarify, she singled out Huma Abedin, who is the wife of disgraced Congressman Anthony Weiner and an aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Abedin also happens to be Muslim (married to a Jewish man, incidentally, thus proving that co-existence is possible). 

A writer for Salon summarized the six-degrees-of-terrorism in which Bachmann engages: 

As evidence, she pointed to Abedin’s late father, Professor Syed Z. Abedin, and a 2002 Brigham Young University Law Review article about his work. Bachmann points to a passage saying Abedin founded an organization that received the “quiet but active support” of the the former director of the Muslim World League, an international NGO that was tied to the Muslim Brotherhood in Europe in the 1970s through 1990s. So, to connect Abedin to the Muslim Brotherhood, you have to go through her dead father, to the organization he founded, to a man who allegedly supported it, to the organization that man used to lead, to Europe in the 1970s and 1990s, and finally to the Brotherhood.

Ms. Abedin’s office released this statement:

They are nothing but vicious and disgusting lies that have no place in reasonable political discourse. And anyone who traffics in them should be ashamed of themselves.

Finally, a homophobic nominally Christian woman from Minnesota is willing to stand up to the Islamic faith!  To his credit, Senator John McCain took the Senate floor to blast Bachmann, as everyone with a brain should. Always. About everything. 

3. Omniphobia: “traditional marriage” enthusiast and drug addict Rush Limbaugh claims that, “Bane”, the villain in the new Batman movie, was thusly named so that the Hollywood media elite (which is code, incidentally, for a different type of hatred) can equate Mitt Romney’s “Bain Capital” with evil, or something. Bane was actually created by comic book writers in 1993. So, you’d have to believe that it was a very prescient conspiracy, indeed. 

Send your suggestions to buffalopundit[at]gmail.com.

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The Morning Grumpy – 7/19/12

19 Jul

All the news, views, and filtered excellence fit to consume during your morning grumpy.

1. Unemployment remains high, middle class wealth is declining, wages are stagnant, and consumer confidence is down. Companies are forcing their employees to do “more with less” and the great speedup continues unabated. It must be tough for American corporations to witness all of this happening, if only they had some operating capital, they might be able to help fix this mess, right?

IRS data suggests that, globally, U.S. nonfinancial companies hold at least three times more cash and other liquid assets than the Federal Reserve reports, idle money that could be creating jobs, funding dividends or even paying a stiff federal penalty tax for hoarding corporate cash.

The Fed’s latest Flow of Funds report showed that U.S. nonfinancial companies held $1.7 trillion in liquid assets at the end of March. But newly released IRS figures show that in 2009 these companies held $4.8 trillion in liquid assets, which equals $5.1 trillion in today’s dollars, triple the Fed figure.

This cash pool came to $16,700 for every man, woman and child in the United States, a 53 percent real increase from 2004

In short, U.S. companies hold vastly more cash than is needed to finance their operations.

Still waiting for that glorious trickle-down effect.

2. Mitt Romney claims he has no idea if his money is stashed in overseas tax havens like the Cayman Islands, Switzerland, Bermuda and Luxembourg, amongst others. Why? Because his money is controlled by a “blind trust” and he alleges that he has no control over it. Let’s see what the 1994 version of Mitt Romney had to say about politicians using “blind trusts” as a means to obfuscate and fool the voters.

Also in 1994, Mitt Romney demanded that Sen. Ted Kennedy release his tax returns in order to provide transparency for voters.

With the tax-filing deadline looming, Republican Senate candidate Mitt Romney yesterday challenged Sen. Edward M. Kennedy to disclose his state and federal taxes to prove he has “nothing to hide”

Of course, Romney had not released his own returns, but he issued the demand of Kennedy anyway.

Then, in 2002, he demanded that his opponent in the Massachusetts Gubernatorial election release the tax returns of her husband as a means to provide transparency to the voters.

On April 16, he lambasted his most likely Democratic foe, Shannon O’Brien who discloses her tax return for filing separately from her husband who does not. The husband is Emmett Hayes, a former state representative and until recently a Beacon Hill lobbyist. One of Mr. Hayes’s clients was Enron. Mr. Romney is in high dudgeon that Ms. O’Brien hasn’t released Mr. Hayes’s tax forms with her own. ‘Her hands aren’t clean!’ he says.

No, Romney had not released his own yet, but that sure didn’t stop him from making the demand of his opponent.

Fast forward to 2012, Romney refuses to release anything more than the most basic information regarding his financial portfolio or more than two years of  his own tax returns.

Mr. Romney brushed aside calls for him to make public more than the 2010 returns he has released and the 2011 documents that he has said are coming soon.

“Those are the two years people are going to have, and that’s all that’s necessary for people to understand something about my finances,” Mr. Romney said in an interview on CNN.

What could Romney be hiding in those tax returns, Bloomberg BusinessWeek takes a look.

As a member of the ultra-rich, Romney probably wasn’t spared major losses. And it’s possible he suffered a large enough capital loss that, carried forward and coupled with his various offshore tax havens, he wound up paying no U.S. federal taxes at all in 2009. If true, this would be politically deadly for him.

Also, in case you missed it, Romney still hasn’t released his full 2010 tax return. This could very well be the least honest man in politics.

To sum up, Mitt Romney’s running for President on his merits as a business man and world-class investor, right? However, he’d like us to not analyze his time at Bain Capital nor examine his claims regarding his financial situation. GOP2012!

3. Mr. Wizard was kind of a dick.

4. Four government spending myths debunked.

Spending Myth 2: Military and other national security spending have already taken their lumps and future budget-cutting efforts will have to take aim at domestic programs instead.

The very idea that military spending has already been deeply cut in service to deficit reduction is not only false, but in the realm of fantasy. The real story: despite headlines about “slashed” Pentagon spending and “doomsday” plans for more, no actual cuts to the defense budget have yet taken place. In fact, since 2001, to quote former Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, defense spending has grown like a “gusher.” The Department of Defense base budget nearly doubled in the space of a decade. Now, the Pentagon is likely to face an exceedingly modest 2.5% budget cut in fiscal 2013, “paring” its budget down to a mere $525 billion—with possible additional cuts shaving off another $55 billion next year if Congress allows the Budget Control Act, a.k.a. “sequestration,” to take effect.

But don’t hold your breath waiting for that to happen. It’s likely that lawmakers will, at the last moment, come to an agreement to cancel those extra cuts.

The only Bunk I ever liked was on The Wire.

5. I subscribe to The New York Times, but with my schedule it can take a full week to read everything packed into the Sunday edition. I just finished reading this piece on “The Other Mothers of Manhattan” and it was incredibly well done.

Slightly more than four million babies are born in the United States every year, and 55 percent of their mothers remain in the work force. We go to college, live together or marry and have kids — often with little more thought to the daily routines of raising children than our grandparents gave them, when women by and large stayed at home.

Given the mobility of American families (making a nearby grandparent a luxury) and the absence of public day-care options, a significant number of children (and not only those born into the 1 percent) are raised — at least for a few years — by paid helpers.

The stories are incredible. Read the essay here and check out the multimedia slideshow here.

Fact Of The Day: The Boy Scouts of America openly discriminate against atheists, agnostics and homosexuals.

Quote Of The Day: “The more you can increase fear of drugs and crime, welfare mothers, immigrants and aliens, the more you control all the people.” – Noam Chomsky

Video Of The Day: Zach Anner is “Riding Shotgun” in his new Reddit-powered travel series. Zach is from Kenmore and is a pretty awesome guy. Here’s his backstory.

Song Of The Day: “Death To My Hometown” – Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band

The greedy thieves that came around
And ate the flesh of everything they’ve found
Whose crimes have gone unpunished now
Walk the streets as free men now

And they brought death to our hometown, boys
Death to our hometown, boys

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