Monthly archives: May, 2010

Andrew Cuomo Announces Candidacy For N.Y. Governor

Andrew Cuomo

From CBS:

Attorney General Andrew Cuomo is ready to announce his candidacy for governor.

Cuomo’s press office said he will start his campaign outside the Tweed Courthouse Saturday afternoon.

Cuomo, 52, posted a new video on his web site, detailing his "New NY Agenda" for "comprehensive ethics, fiscal and government reform."

Although not an official candidate, Cuomo has held a commanding lead in polls over not only Republican opponents but also the sitting Governor David Paterson

Paterson declined a bid for election after running low on money and support within the party.

I liked Mario Cuomo, and will be watching this one closely.

Rand Paul Says Discrimination by Businesses is ‘Free Speech’

Rand Paul

Oh yes he did.


As the standard bearer for the Tea Party crowd, it’s no surprise that Rand Paul likes his taxes small, and his government even smaller. But his recent comments on the 1964 Civil Rights Act are calling into question whether the hero of Tea Party activists nationwide believes it’s OK for private businesses to discriminate on the basis of race, sex, religion, or sexual orientation.

Asked by the Louisville Courier Journal whether he was supportive of the 1964 Civil Rights Act — you know, the piece of legislation that ended institutional racism in the United States — Paul told the paper that while he was supportive of some of the provisions in the Civil Rights Act, he took issue with the Act’s requiring all businesses (public and private) to adopt anti-racism policies.

"I abhor racism," Paul said. "but at the same time I believe in private ownership."

In other words, according to Rand Paul, private businesses like Wendy’s, Aetna, Comcast, the local furniture store down the street from you, or your neighborhood grocery store should be allowed to refuse service to people who are black, Latin@, gay, lesbian, transgender, Buddhist, female, Asian or any other sort of characteristic that individual business owners might not be cool with.

Which brings us to Rand Paul’s new campaign slogan: If you wish it was 1860 again, vote for Rand Paul this November.

Al Sharpton at Aiyana Stanley-Jones’ Funeral: ‘This Child is the Breaking Point’

From AOL News:

Civil rights activist the Rev. Al Sharpton gave a rousing eulogy Saturday for a 7-year-old girl killed in a police raid, challenging the hundreds of mourners to take responsibility and help stop a spiral of violence that has swept the city.

Sharpton lobbed some criticism at Detroit police, whose explanation of how Aiyana Stanley-Jones died from a gunshot has been contradicted by the girl’s family. But he mostly offered a broad cultural message to a city where at least three children and an officer have been killed in recent weeks.

"I’d rather tell you to start looking at the man in the mirror. We’ve all done something that contributed to this," he said referring to Aiyana’s death.

"This is it," Sharpton said at Second Ebenezer Church. "This child is the breaking point.

The congregation stood and applauded Sharpton, the final speaker at a nearly two-hour service that included stirring gospel music and remarks from clergy.

Aiyana was shot in the neck while sleeping on a couch May 16. Police hunting for a murder suspect say an officer’s gun accidentally fired inside the house after he was jostled by, or collided with, her grandmother. A stun grenade was also thrown through a window.

I was really touched listening to Rev. Sharpton. We must all share responsibility for Aiyana’s death. This is not about something that happened to "the others" in Detroit. This happened to some of us who happen to live in Detroit.

Red Tape Chronicles Uncovers Business-Killer Credit Card Swipe Fees

Bob Sullivan covers Internet scams and consumer fraud for He is the winner of multiple journalism awards for his coverage of online crime and author of Gotcha Capitalism:
How Hidden Fees Rip You Off Every Day and What You Can Do About It.
and Your Evil Twin:
Behind the Identity Theft Epidemic.

Bob was recently in Pittsburgh, where he spent some time with a small business getting taken to the bank with credit card swipe fees.

From Bob’s blog, The Red Tape Chronicles:

You probably swipe a credit or debit card through a magnetic stripe reader dozens of times each month. It’s a simple act, but it’s it at the core of a battle between titans with billions of dollars at stake. On one side are big banks, which take a cut every time a card is swiped. On the other are retailers like Mike McArdle, who are tired of paying Visa, MasterCard and their member banks $1 or $2 every time a customer makes a purchase.

McArdle runs McArdle’s Pub on Pittsburgh’s South Side, the very definition of a family business. It opened in 1939, and the sign above the front door doesn’t look like it’s been changed since. It once held a prime spot near two of the Steel City’s largest steel plants. Both of them have long since been converted to shopping malls, but McArdle’s plugs away, thanks to its position just off the main entertainment strip in Pittsburgh’s hippest neighborhood.

For years, banks have held the upper hand in the fight with the McArdles of the world, but no more. Last week, the U.S. Senate approved legislation that could drastically change the way banks are compensated for card swipes, and that could impact what happens every time you pull out your wallet. In fact, the legislation could provide incentives — that means money — for Americans to leave the plastic in their wallet and pull out old-fashioned cash instead.

As part of its omnibus financial reform bill, Congress is taking on what are called interchange fees — the price that merchants pay for banks to process their credit card transactions. Formulas vary, but generally stores pay a flat 50 cents or $1 per transaction fee, plus 1 to 2 percent of the purchase price.  Retailers have screamed for years that the fees are too high and that the card associations impose anti-competitive restrictions on them – given the limited choices among standards like Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover.

Read more here.

NBC: Deepwater Horizon Accident Was Preventable (Video)

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

NBC reports on Seven Steps to Failure, a report from an professor of engineering at Berkeley, who is investigating what went wrong with the environmental disaster.

Specter Loses Pennsylvania Senate Fight; Tea Bagger Wins GOP Nod in Kentucky

From the NYTimes:

Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, who bolted the Republican Party more than a year ago in a bid to salvage his Senate career as a Democrat, was defeated in a primary for his new party’s nomination on Tuesday, as Democratic primary voters turned against him and selected Rep. Joe Sestak for the nomination.

Mr. Specter, 80, lost his bid for a sixth term despite the backing of a wide swath of the Democratic political establishment – starting with President Obama in the White House and continuing with Ed Rendell, the governor of Pennsylvania.

“It’s been a great privilege to serve the people of Pennsylvania,” said Mr. Specter, looking drawn and downcast as he delivered a brief concession speech. “And I’ll be working hard for the people of Pennsylvania very hard for the coming months.”

In another election that sent waves of anxiety through political leaders here in Washington, Rand Paul, one of the early leaders of the Tea Party movement, won the Republican Senate primary in Kentucky on Tuesday night, delivering a powerful blow to the party’s establishment and offering the clearest evidence yet of the strength of the anti-government sentiment simmering at the grass-roots level.

Mr. Paul, the son of Representative Ron Paul of Texas, easily defeated Trey Grayson, the Secretary of State from Kentucky. Kentucky voters turned against Mr. Grayson even though he had the support of the state’s best-known political leader — Senator Mitch McConnell, the Senate Republican leader.

“I have a message,” Mr. Paul said, delivering a victory speech in Bowling Green. “A message from the Tea Party. A message that is loud and clear and does not mince words: We have come to take our government back.”

The world is upside down. Conservative Republicans are losing to hyper-radical “Deliverance-era” conservatives. Specter lost to a true-blue Democrat.

I’m not gonna lie: I like Arlen Specter. He served Pennsylvania well for a long, long time. Met him at the Netroots Nation convention in Pittsburgh last August. He will be missed.

But the time has come for a true Democrat to hold that seat.

Rep. Joe Sestak, welcome to the Coffee Party, sir.

Park Forest Police Charge 18-year-old with Shooting Death of 20-year-old

Jason Burns

(Photo: PFPD)

Park Forest, IL– The Park Forest Police Department announced this evening that eighteen-year-old Jason Burns of 4648 Clarendon Ave., Richton Park, has been charged in connection with the May 12 shooting death of Park Forest resident Adam Martinez.

Six days ago, on Wednesday, May 12, 2010 at approximately 11:30 P.M., Park Forest Police responded to a report of gun shots fired in the 100 block of Hemlock. Responding officers found a twenty-year-old Hispanic male, later identified as Adam Martinez, of 6 Illinois Ct, Park Forest, sitting in the driver’s seat of a 2004 Chevrolet Monte Carlo in the middle of the parking lot of court H-12. Officers could see one visible bullet hole in the passenger side of the front car door. Adam had been shot once in the right side of the head.

Responding officers and Park Forest paramedics assisted the victim, transporting him to St. James Hospital in Chicago Heights for treatment, police said. Friends of the victim who were with Martinez at the time of the shooting were located. Police credit those friends and many local neighborhood residents for assisting the police in helping to identify the alleged offenders and bring about the arrests of those involved.

The Park Forest Police Department Investigations Commander activated the South Suburban Major Crimes Task Force (SSMCTF). The Illinois State Police Crime Scene Services unit also responded.

The SSMCTF is a combined unit of police detectives and command officers, comprised of local agency, Cook County Sheriff’s Police and Illinois State Police Detectives. This multi-jurisdictional, mutual aid team assists member agencies by providing manpower and technical support in major crimes.

"The Major Crimes Task Force is one of the Country’s most successful multi-agency murder task forces," said Park Forest Deputy Chief Michael McNamara.

Adam Martinez died on Thursday May 13, 2010 at Christ Hospital in Oak Lawn.

The Cook County Medical Examiner ruled the cause of death homicide from a gunshot.

During the next five days, police say Task Force Detectives worked around the clock. Suspects and witnesses were identified and located. Numerous statements of those involved lead investigators to believe that Adam Martinez and his passengers had no connection to Jason Burns, but were allegedly mistaken by Jason Burns as individuals involved in an earlier altercation with a friend of Burns’.

Burns allegedly fired a firearm into the vehicle, killing Adam Martinez, according to police.

The Cook County States’ Attorney’s Office approved the charge of first degree murder against Burns. Jason Burns will appear for a bond hearing before a Markham 6th District Judge on Wednesday morning, May 19, 2010 at 9:00 a.m.

At this time, out of respect to the Martinez family, there will be no interviews given by members of the Park Forest Police Department to the media.

Related: 20-Year-Old Park Forest Man Dies of Gunshot Wound to Head

Source: PFPD Press Release via eNews Park Forest

Conservatives Gone Wild: GOP Rep. Mark Souder Will Resign Over Affair With Staffer

No, liberals are not without sin and should cast no stones. But sharing news is a different story.

And this is news.

Eight-term Republican Congressman Mark Souder of of the great state of Indiana admitted to an affair with a staffer and will resign his seat effective Friday.

From the Chicago Tribune:

Indiana Republican Rep. Mark Souder announced Tuesday he would resign from Congress, effective Friday, because he had an affair with a staffer.

Souder said in a statement provided by his office that he has "sinned against God, my wife and my family by having a mutual relationship with a part-time member of my staff."

He scheduled a news conference in Fort Wayne on Tuesday to discuss his decision.

Souder won a bruising Republican primary on May 4 to be nominated for his ninth term representing northeastern Indiana.

Souder, 59, said he also would not be a candidate in the fall election.

"I believe it is the best decision for my family, the people of northeast Indiana and our country," he said in the statement.

Here’s a video produced by Rep. Souder’s office highlighting the fact that he was "one of the only voices speaking in defense of abstinence education during an April 2008 hearing," courtesy the Huffington Post:

He’s going Back Home Again.

Just sayin’.

Portugal’s President Ratifies Gay Marriage Law

Portugal’s conservative—yes, conservative—president, has decided to ratify a law legalizing gay marriage.


In a Catholic country.

Yup. Yup.

From the AP:

Portugal’s conservative president announced Monday he is ratifying a law allowing gay marriage in the predominantly Catholic country.

The head of state’s decision to permit the enactment of a bill passed by Parliament in January makes Portugal the sixth European country allowing same-sex couples to wed.

President Anibal Cavaco Silva said in a nationally televised address he regretted that the country’s political parties had failed to reach a compromise during days of heated debate in Parliament four months ago.

Vetoing the bill would only send it back to Parliament where lawmakers would overturn his decision, he said, adding that the country needed to focus on overcoming an economic crisis that has increased unemployment and deepened poverty.

The Socialist government’s bill was backed by all of Portugal’s left-of-center parties, who together have a majority in Parliament. Right-of-center parties opposed the measure and demanded a national referendum.

"Given that fact, I feel I should not contribute to a pointless extension of this debate, which would only serve to deepen the divisions between the Portuguese and divert the attention of politicians away from the grave problems affecting us," Cavaco Silva said.

He said that, in ratifying the law, he was setting aside "personal convictions."

Remember, these are real, human lives our regressive American laws affect. And in Portugal, a conservative with guts.

Jewel-Osco: Where Have All the People Gone?

I ran to Jewel-Osco this morning before mass for dish detergent, and left with everything but.

After forgetting the item I really needed, I debated on waiting for a cashier, or trying to negotiate one of the so-called “self-checkout” lanes. Been there before, and the self-checkouts can be quick. More often than not, they’re simply annoying as the simple recorded voice reminds you to “place your item on the belt,” or “in a bag.”

I opted for the human being, telling her the self-checkout lanes cost real people jobs, and I prefer to work with people.

“Really? I hadn’t heard that side before,” she replied. “It takes three people to run those.”

There are seven self-checkout lanes at this particular store in Olympia Fields. Even using conservative figures for staffing of one cashier and three baggers for those seven lanes, that still means seven human beings are out of work.

Do the math with all Jewel-Osco stores in the Chicagoland area and beyond, and, well, you get the picture. They have 185 stores nationwide.  Multiply that  by the two to three shifts of people who are not working because of these shopping ports, and we’re suddenly talking real people without real jobs, or health care, etc. etc. etc.

Jewel-Osco: great savings every week, at a price.