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Windmills Tilted, Scared Cows Butchered, Lies Skewered on the Lance of Reality ... or something to that effect.


Wednesday, February 4, 2015

The Daily Drift

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Today in History

786   Harun al-Rashid succeeds his older brother the Abbasid Caliph al-Hadi as Caliph of Baghdad.  
1194   Richard I, King of England, is freed from captivity in Germany.  
1508   The Proclamation of Trent is made.
1787   Shay's Rebellion, an uprising of debt-ridden Massachusetts farmers against the new U.S. government, fails.
1795   France abolishes slavery in her territories and confers slaves to citizens.  
1889   Harry Longabaugh is released from Sundance Prison in Wyoming, thereby acquiring the famous nickname, "the Sundance Kid."  
1899   After an exchange of gunfire, fighting breaks out between American troops and Filipinos near Manila, sparking the Philippine-American War  
1906   The New York Police Department begins finger print identification.  
1909   California law segregates Caucasian and Japanese schoolchildren.  
1915   Germany decrees British waters as part of the war zone; all ships to be sunk without warning.  
1923   French troops take the territories of Offenburg, Appenweier and Buhl in the Ruhr as a part of the agreement ending World War I.  
1932   Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt inaugurates the Winter Olympics at Lake Placid, N.Y.  
1941   The United Service Organization (U.S.O.) is formed to cater to armed forces and defense industries.  1944   The Japanese attack the Indian Seventh Army in Burma.  
1945   The Big Three, American, British and Soviet leaders, meet in Yalta to discuss the war aims.  
1966   Senate Foreign Relations Committee begins televised hearings on the Vietnam War.  
1980   Syria withdraws its peacekeeping force in Beirut.  
1986   The U.S. Post Office issues a commemorative stamp featuring Sojourner Truth.

Random Celebrity Photos

Bettie Davis.
Bettie Davis

How Powerful is the United States?

With the size of its economy and its high-tech military, the United States is generally considered the most powerful nation on Earth. But how long can it remain that way? Trace explains the limitations that curb U.S. power.

President Obama Issues Fiery Threat To Veto repugican Bill To Repeal Obamacare

The White House has issued a strong statement that not only rebukes the latest Republican attempt to repeal the ACA, but also promises to veto the bill.
The veto threat came via a Statement of Administration Policy:

The Administration strongly opposes House passage of H.R. 596. The House has now attempted to repeal or undermine the Affordable Care Act more than 50 times. H.R. 596 would take away critical benefits and health care coverage from hard‑working middle class families. In addition to taking away Americans’ health care security, the bill would increase the deficit, remove policies that have helped slow health care cost growth and improve the quality of care patients receive, and detract from the work the Congress could be doing to further job creation and economic growth.
The Affordable Care Act is not only working, it is fully integrated into an improved American health care system. Discrimination based on pre-existing conditions is a thing of the past. And under the Affordable Care Act, we’ve seen the slowest growth in health care prices in nearly 50 years, benefiting all Americans.

Repealing the Affordable Care Act would mean that Health Insurance Marketplaces where millions of Americans now compare private insurance plans and get tax credits to purchase them would shut down. Tax credits for small business owners who cover their employees would be taken away. States would lose substantial Federal assistance under Medicaid to provide coverage for the neediest Americans. According to the most recent projections by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), 27 million Americans are expected to gain coverage due to the law. Repeal will likely result in most of these individuals remaining uninsured or losing their insurance altogether. An estimated 10 million Americans gained coverage during 2014, and repealing the law would erase most of these coverage gains and strip these Americans of the security and peace of mind they now have.

Further, repealing the health care law would have implications far beyond Americans who have or will gain insurance.
Reforms that strengthen Medicare’s long-term finances also would be repealed. Seniors also would lose the more generous prescription drug coverage provided under the health care law, as well as free preventive care, and Medicare’s Hospital Insurance Trust Fund would become insolvent years earlier. Moreover, by repealing these reforms to Medicare and other reforms that encourage doctors and hospitals to provide efficient, high-quality care, the legislation would drive up costs and worsen patient care throughout our health care system.
CBO has previously estimated that repealing the health care law would add more than $100 billion to the deficit over the ten years ending in 2022, and more than $1 trillion in the following decade. This not only hurts the Government: it hurts State and local economies, job creation, and the Nation’s long-term prosperity.
The last thing the Congress should do is refight old political battles and take a massive step backward by repealing basic protections that provide security for the middle class. Right now, the Congress needs to work together to focus on the economy, helping middle-class families, and creating jobs.
If the President were presented with H.R. 596, he would veto it.
Statements of administration policy are usually pretty dry, but one can almost see the anger in this veto threat. The White House is clearly tired of watching Congressional Republicans waste time on something that is never going to happen while this president is in office. Trying to repeal the ACA has become John Boehner’s go to move when he needs to distract his fellow repugicans from the poor job that he is doing as the Speaker of the House.
House repugicans aren’t going to spend their time funding Homeland Security or coming up with their own plan to cut taxes for the middle-class. Instead, they are going to engage in political grandstanding. What Boehner and company will never realize is that their attacks on Obamacare aren’t symbolic of their opposition to the law. Every single House vote to repeal the ACA is another symbol everything that is wrong with repugicans in Congress.

Obama Drops a Truth Bomb On The repugican cabal, “Since I Took Office We’ve Cut The Deficit By 2/3.”

obama speaking about budget homeland securityPresident Obama took out one of the biggest myths about his presidency while discussing his 2016 budget. The president took aim at repglican distortions by saying, “Since I took office, we’ve cut the deficit by about two-thirds.”
While delivering remarks on his budget at the Department of Homeland Security, the president said, “Since I took office we’ve cut the deficit by about two-thirds. I am going to repeat that, as I always do when I mention this fact, because the public often times if you ask them thinks that the deficit has shot up. Since I took office, we have cut our deficits by about two-thirds. That’s the fastest period of sustained deficit reduction since after the demobilization at the end of World War II. So we can afford to make these investments while remaining fiscally responsible….We’ve just got to be smarter about how we pay for our priorities, and that’s what my budget does.”
The president has made similar claims about reducing the deficit over the past year, and PolitiFact has rated the rated the president’s statements as true. In September 2014, the fact checker examined President Obama’s statement that he had nearly cut the deficit in half, “The numbers back up Obama’s claim: Thanks to income tax revenues rising and spending on emergency assistance dropping, America’s deficit has fallen by more than 50 percent from its highest point since World War II to a level $733 billion lower.”
Congressional repugicans continue to pretend like the country is mired in deficit and can’t afford to spend. The reality is that the repugican-backed cuts would do more to strangle economic growth than to launch an economic boom. Obama isn’t calling for a massive spending program. His budget is advocating a complete reversal of the sequester cuts.
It is good to see this president taking credit for what his occurred during his presidency. It is even more important that he pushes back every single day against repugican myths. The president gets it, and he is going to fight back against the baseless claims of his critics with the facts.

The Truth Be Told

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Here Are The Facts About President Obama’s 2016 Budget

In the coming hours and days, there will be a lot of claims made about President Obama’s budget, but here are the facts.
budgetWHAT THE PRESIDENT’S BUDGET DOES:
MIDDLE CLASS ECONOMICS FOR THE 21ST CENTURY
In last month’s State of the Union, the President laid out his vision for middle class economics: restoring the link between hard work and opportunity, and ensuring that every American has the chance to share in the benefits of economic growth. To achieve this, the Budget invests in helping working families make their paychecks go further, preparing hardworking Americans to earn higher wages, and creating the infrastructure that allows businesses to thrive and create good, high-paying jobs.
Helping Middle-Class Families Get Ahead
Middle class economics means ensuring that all Americans have the opportunity to succeed in our global economy and all working families can afford the cornerstones of economic security: child care, college, health care, a home, and retirement. The Budget supports working families by reforming the tax code to help middle-class families get ahead, tripling the child care tax credit, expanding child care assistance, encouraging state paid leave initiatives, ensuring access to quality, affordable health care, making two years of community college tuition-free for responsible students, bolstering job training so it leads to careers, expanding access to child care and early education, supporting and rewarding work, and helping families save for retirement.
Improving Access to High-Quality Child Care and Early Education - High-quality child care and early education for young children serves the important functions of supporting parents in the workforce and helping support healthy child development and school readiness. The Budget aims to ensure that children have access to high quality learning starting at birth, making several key investments:
Expands access to quality, affordable child care. The Budget proposes a historic investment in child care to ensure that quality, affordable care is available to all eligible low- and moderate-income working families with young children, as opposed to the small share of children who receive this help today. This proposal will expand access to high-quality care for more than 1.1 million additional children under age four by 2025 and help States build a supply of quality care that families can access.
Cuts taxes for families paying for child care with a credit of up to $3,000 per child. The Budget triples the maximum Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit (CDCTC) for families with children under age five and makes the full CDCTC available to families with incomes of up to $120,000, benefiting families with young children, older children, and dependents who are elderly or have disabilities. The child care tax reforms would benefit 5.1 million families, helping them cover costs for 6.7 million children.
Increases the duration of Head Start programs and invests in high quality infant and toddler care. The Budget expands access to high-quality care for tens of thousands of additional infants and toddlers through Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships, and provides over $1 billion in additional funding for Head Start to make sure children are served in full-day, full-year programs that research shows lead to better outcomes for children.
Supports universal preschool. The Preschool for All initiative, in partnership with the States, provides all four-year-olds from low- and moderate-income families with access to high-quality preschool, while encouraging States to expand those programs to reach additional children from middle-class families and establish full-day kindergarten policies.
Lays the groundwork for Preschool for All. The Budget provides $750 million for the Department of Education’s Preschool Development Grants, a substantial increase of $500 million over the 2015 level. Preschool Development Grants are currently helping 18 States develop and expand high-quality preschool programs in targeted communities; the Budget will increase that number to over 40 States.
Invests in voluntary, evidence-based home visiting. The Budget extends and expands evidence-based, voluntary home visiting programs, which enable nurses, social workers, and other professionals to connect families to services to support the child’s health, development, and ability to learn.
Improving Opportunity for All Students – Title I is the Department of Education’s largest K-12 grant program and the cornerstone of its commitment to supporting low-income schools with the funding necessary to provide high-need students with access to an excellent education. The Budget increases Title I funding by $1 billion and proposes additional funding to support districts that are using their Federal formula funds for evidence-based interventions. The Budget also makes other important investments in improving K-12 education, increasing. For example, it:
Increases funding for special education and efforts to assist English language learners. The Budget provides additional funding to help students who face academic hurdles meet rigorous academic standards so that all students can succeed.
Provides broad support for educators at every phase of their careers. The Budget invests in developing strong teachers before they reach the classroom and supporting their growth and success throughout their careers.
Invests more than $3 billion on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education. The Budget provides strong support for STEM education, including a new $125 million competitive program to promote the re-design of America’s high schools by integrating deeper learning and student-centered instruction, with a particular focus on STEM-themed high schools that expand opportunities for girls and other groups underrepresented in STEM fields.
Reforming the Tax Code to Reward and Support Work – When both spouses work, a family incurs additional costs in the form of commuting costs, professional expenses, child care, and, increasingly, elder care. To address these challenges, the Budget proposes a new $500 “second earner” tax credit, which will benefit 24 million dual-earner couples. It also proposes to expand the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for workers without children and non-custodial parents, promoting employment while reducing poverty and hardship for 13.2 million low-income workers struggling to make ends meet. In addition, the Budget continues to propose making permanent improvements to the EITC and Child Tax Credit that augment wages for 16 million families with 29 million children each year but are scheduled to expire at the end of 2017. Allowing these benefits to expire would result in a roughly $1,700 tax increase for a full-time minimum wage worker with two children.
Encouraging State Paid Leave Initiatives – Too many American workers must make the painful choice between caring for their families and a paycheck they desperately need. A handful of States have enacted policies to offer paid leave. The Budget encourages additional States to develop paid family leave programs by providing funding for the initial set-up and half of the benefit costs for as many as five States through the Paid Leave Partnership Initiative. It also provides support and technical assistance to those States that are still building the infrastructure they need to launch programs in the future through the State Paid Leave Fund.
Ensuring Access to Quality, Affordable Health Care – The Budget supports the Affordable Care Act, which is already providing coverage for millions of Americans through the Health Insurance Marketplaces, the delivery of tax credits to make coverage affordable, and the expansion of Medicaid.
Helping All Workers Save for Retirement – Millions of working Americans lack access to a retirement savings plan at work. Fewer than 10 percent of those without plans at work save in a retirement account on their own. In 2015, retirement security will be one of the key topics of the White House Conference on Aging. The Budget would make it easy and automatic for workers to save for retirement through their employer – giving 30 million more workers access to a workplace savings opportunity. The Budget also ensures that long-term part-time employees can participate in their employers’ retirement plans and provides tax incentives to offset administrative expenses for small businesses that adopt retirement plans.
Partnering With Communities to Expand Opportunity – The Budget improves the coordination of resources to meet unique community needs and growth opportunities, including through the Administration’s Promise Zones initiative, which is creating partnerships between the Federal Government, local communities, and businesses to create jobs, increase economic security, expand educational opportunities, increase access to quality, affordable housing, and improve public safety. The President named the first five Promise Zones in 2014 and will designate an additional 15 Zones by the end of calendar year 2016. In support of Promise Zones, the Budget requests $250 million for the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Choice Neighborhoods program and $150 million for the Department of Education’s Promise Neighborhoods program. The Budget also includes Promise Zone tax incentives to stimulate growth and investments in targeted communities.
Supporting Innovative Projects to Improve Upward Mobility – Building on Promise Zones, the budget also includes a new initiative, the Upward Mobility Project, that will allow up to ten communities, States or consortia of States and communities to combine funds from four existing block grant programs designed to promote opportunity and economic development and reduce poverty to test and validate promising approaches to help families become more self-sufficient, improve children’s outcomes, and revitalize communities so they can provide more opportunities for their residents. Projects must utilize evidence-based strategies, track program performance, and evaluate intervention effectiveness. The funding streams that States and communities can apply to use – including the Department of Health and Human Services’ Social Services Block Grant and Community Services Block Grant, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Community Development Block Grant, and HOME Investment Partnerships Program – share a common goal of promoting opportunity and reducing poverty. In addition to these funds, participating communities will be eligible to receive a total of $1.5 billion in new funding over five years, to combine with the added flexibility with currently provided resources.
Helping Americans Upgrade Their Skills

America’s education system led the world in the 20th Century, when we sent generations to college and cultivated the most educated workforce in the world, supporting an unparalleled period of economic growth and rising middle-class incomes. Since then, other countries have followed our lead to develop globally competitive education systems. As our economy changes, we need to ensure that Americans are prepared with the skills and knowledge necessary to compete in the 21st Century economy. The Administration invests in affordable post-secondary education and builds on the bipartisan Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) with investments that connect workers with good jobs and prepare them with skills employers need.
Making a High-Quality College Education More Affordable

An estimated two-thirds of job openings will require some postsecondary education and training by 2020. The Budget:
Provides Tuition-Free Community College for Responsible Students. The President’s America’s College Promise proposal creates new federal-state partnerships to provide two years of free community college to responsible students, while promoting key reforms to improve the quality of community college offerings to ensure that they are a gateway to a career or four-year degree. If all states participate, an estimated 9 million students could benefit from this proposal.
Ensures that Pell Grants Keep Pace with Inflation. Pell Grants are central to our efforts to help low and moderate income students afford college. Since 2013, Pell Grants have been adjusted for inflation annually, but unless Congress acts, this will end in 2017 and the value of Pell Grants will start to erode. The Budget continues the President’s commitment to college affordability by ensuring that Pell Grants keep pace with inflation.
Keeps Student Loans Manageable. The Administration is helping student borrowers with existing debt manage their obligations through income-driven repayment plans, such as the Pay-As-You-Earn (PAYE) plan, which caps student loan payments at 10 percent of monthly discretionary income. The Budget proposes to extend PAYE to all student borrowers and reform the PAYE terms to ensure that the program is well-targeted and to safeguard the program for the future.
Simplifies and Expands Education Tax Benefits. While the creation of the American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC) in 2009 made college more affordable for millions of students and their families, our system of tax incentives for higher education is complex, and families are sometimes unable to take full advantage of the benefits. Building on bipartisan reform proposals, the Budget would simplify, consolidate, and expand higher education tax credits. It would cut taxes for 8.5 million families and students, simplify taxes for the more than 25 million families and students that claim education tax benefits, and would provide students working toward a college degree with up to $2,500 of assistance each year for five years. Building on recent bipartisan legislation, the Budget also includes a proposal to significantly simplify the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
Drives Performance and Innovation in Higher Education. The Budget invests in evidence-based efforts at colleges and universities to dramatically improve educational outcomes for all students through the First in the World Fund, which recognizes that leading the world in education requires higher college graduation rates, not just attendance.
Expanding Technical Training Programs for Middle Class Jobs. Community colleges, like those in Tennessee and Texas, that build strong employer partnerships and offer training in in-demand fields are creating career pathways to the middle class. The Budget requests $200 million for a new American Technical Training Fund to create or expand innovative, evidence-based job training programs in high-demand fields that provide a path to the middle class for hard-working, low-wage Americans. Projects would emphasize strong employer partnerships, work-based learning opportunities, accelerated training, and flexible scheduling for students to accommodate part-time work. Programs could be created within current community colleges, other innovative, non-traditional training providers, or these entities in partnership with secondary programs. This initiative would be housed in the Career and Technical Education Innovation Fund, jointly administered by the Department of Education and the Department of Labor and builds on the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Grants (for which 2014 was the final year of funding).
Creating Pathways to High-Growth Jobs – Building on the important improvements to the Nation’s job training system through the WIOA, the Budget proposes to support more in-person career counseling and employment services that help unemployed workers find a career-path job or the training they need to prepare for one. It will double the number of workers receiving training through the workforce development system, with a focus on training partnerships for skills needed in industries and occupations experiencing significant growth in the years ahead.
Expanding Apprenticeships and Employer-Validated Credentials – The Budget makes investments to achieve the goal of doubling Registered Apprenticeships across the United States over the next five years to allow workers to learn skills while they are earning a paycheck, and ensures that training leads to high-quality jobs by investing in projects that feature strong industry partnerships and incent additional employer investment in worker training.
Creating a 21st Century Economy

Creating jobs that pay good wages is the best way to grow our economy and the middle class. To compete in the 21st Century economy and make America a magnet for job creation and opportunity, we need to invest in American innovation, strengthening our manufacturing base, keeping our Nation at the forefront of technological advancement, and leading in the development of clean energy alternatives and the promotion of energy efficiency while moving toward energy security through safe and responsible domestic energy production. Because a 21st Century economy requires 21st Century infrastructure, the Budget proposes to modernize our ports and build stronger bridges, better roads, faster trains, and better broadband, creating jobs for thousands of construction workers and engineers, strengthening our communities, and making it easier to do business.
Expanding the National Network of Manufacturing Institutes – To create jobs, continue growth in the industry, and strengthen America’s leadership in advanced manufacturing technology, the Budget provides the resources to launch seven more institutes in 2016, building on the nine institutes already funded through 2015, and calls for the full investment required to complete a national network of 45 manufacturing institutes.
Investing in Home Grown Products and Ideas – The Budget launches a public-private investment fund for advanced manufacturing start-ups, known as the American Made Scale-Up Fund, to help ensure that if a technology is invented in the United States, it can be made in the United States. The Scale-Up Fund will help emerging American-made advanced manufacturing technologies reach commercial scale production in the United States, creating manufacturing jobs for the future and helping to ensure that America keeps making things the rest of the world wants to buy.
Rebuilding Our Infrastructure with Transition Revenue from Business Tax Reform – To create jobs, spur economic growth and provide States and localities the certainty they need to plan for the future, the Budget includes a $478 billion, six-year surface transportation reauthorization proposal paid for with transition revenue from pro-growth business tax reform. This transition tax would mean that companies have to pay U.S. tax right now on the $2 trillion they already have overseas, rather than being able to delay paying any U.S. tax indefinitely. The proposal would allow us to repair existing roads and bridges and modernize our infrastructure with new investments in highways, freight networks, and bus, subway, rapid transit, light rail, and passenger rail systems in our cities, fast-growing metropolitan areas, small towns and rural communities across the country.
Boosting Private Investment through a Rebuild America Partnership – The Budget boosts private investment in infrastructure through a Rebuild America Partnership by establishing an independent National Infrastructure Bank to leverage private and public capital to support infrastructure projects of national and regional significance. The Budget creates America Fast Forward Bonds, which build on the successful Build America Bonds program of taxable bonds. It also creates the new tax-exempt Qualified Public Infrastructure Bonds, which will help states and local communities to attract new sources of capital for infrastructure investment projects.
Cutting Red Tape in the Infrastructure Permitting Process – The Administration continues to modernize and improve the Federal permitting process for major infrastructure projects, cutting through red tape and getting more timely decisions on Federal permits and reviews while ensuring that projects lead to better outcomes for communities and the environment.
Investing in Innovative Research and Development – Our long-term economic competitiveness depends upon continued robust investment in R&D. The Budget provides a 6 percent increase for R&D, including significant investments in basic research and advanced manufacturing technology. The Budget invests in biomedical research—like the BRAIN initiative, which is developing tools and technologies to offer new insight into diseases like Alzheimer’s, and Precision Medicine, which can improve health outcomes and better treat diseases. It also emphasizes agricultural research, looking at climate resilience and sustainability.
Investing in Homegrown Clean Energy – In order to secure America’s energy future and protect our children from the impacts of climate change, the Budget invests in clean energy, improving energy security, and enhancing preparedness and resilience to climate change. These investments support the President’s Climate Action Plan, helping to expand American leadership in the clean energy economy with new businesses, jobs, and opportunities for American workers.
Keeping Americans Safe at Home and Abroad

Economic growth and opportunity can only be achieved if America is safe and secure. The Budget provides $561 billion in base discretionary funding for national defense—$38 billion above sequestration levels—and $58 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations to provide the resources needed to sustain the President’s national security strategy, protecting the country’s security and well-being both at home and abroad.
Degrading and Defeating the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) – The Budget provides the necessary resources to degrade and ultimately defeat ISIL, address the ongoing humanitarian crisis in the region, continue efforts to train and equip the Iraqi security forces, support regional partners, and bring stability and promote the conditions for a negotiated settlement to end the conflict in Syria.
Countering Russian Pressure and Aggressive Action Together with our European Allies – In response to the Russian Federation’s aggressive acts, the Budget includes proposals for political, economic, and military support to NATO allies and partner states in Europe, including the governments most targeted by Russian pressure. This includes funding to support efforts to bolster democracy and good governance, increase the capabilities of security forces, strengthen the rule of law and anti-corruption measures, and promote European Union integration, trade, and energy security.
Promoting Prosperity, Security and Good Governance in Central America – The Budget provides $1 billion to support a long-term, comprehensive strategy for Central America designed to contribute to the evolution of an economically-integrated Central America that is fully democratic, provides greater economic opportunities to its people, promotes more accountable, transparent, and effective public institutions and ensures the safety of its citizens, addressing the challenges that have resulted in an influx of migration from the region.
Protecting our Nation Against Cyber-Attacks – No system is immune to infiltration by those seeking to steal commercial or Government information and property or perpetrate malicious and disruptive activity. The Budget provides $14 billion to support cybersecurity efforts across the Government to strengthen U.S. cybersecurity defenses and make cyberspace more secure, allowing the Government to more rapidly protect American citizens, systems, and information from cyber threats.
Confronting the Threat Posed by Infectious Diseases – The Budget provides resources to support the Global Health Security Agenda, increases funding to eradicate polio and other global health challenges, and creates a new Impact Fund for targeted global HIV/AIDS efforts. In addition, the Budget increases funding for domestic preparedness efforts to more effectively and efficiently respond to potential future outbreaks here at home. The Budget also makes investments to address the domestic HIV epidemic to help States develop HIV implementation plans to support the goals of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy.
Combating Prescription Drug and Heroin Abuse – The Budget includes more than $100 million in new investments across HHS to reduce abuse of prescription opioids and heroin, which together take the lives of 20,000 Americans per year. These new resources will increases funding for every state to expand existing Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs; expand and improve the treatment for people who abuse heroin and prescription opioids; and support dissemination of naloxone, an opioid antagonist that reverses the effects of opioid overdose, by first responders in an effort to prevent overdose deaths in high risk communities.
Honoring Our Commitment to Veterans – The Budget invests in the five pillars the President has outlined to support our Nation’s veterans: providing the resources and funding they deserve, ensuring high-quality and timely health care, getting veterans their earned benefits quickly and efficiently, ending veteran homelessness, and helping veterans and their families get good jobs, education, and access to affordable housing.
Creating a Government for the Future

The President is committed to creating a Government that makes a significant, tangible, and positive difference in the economy and the lives of the American people, and to driving lasting change in how Government works. This Administration has launched successful efforts to eliminate wasteful IT spending, reduce the Federal real property footprint, modernize and improve citizen-facing services, and open tens of thousands of Federal data sets to spur innovation in the private sector.
Supporting the President’s Management Agenda – The Budget includes initiatives to improve the service we provide to the American public; to leverage the Federal Government’s buying power to bring more value and efficiency to how we use taxpayer dollars; to open Government data and research to the private sector to drive innovation and economic growth; to promote smarter information technology; create new Idea Labs to support employees with promising ideas, and, to attract and retain the best talent in the Federal workforce.
Supporting Digital Service Delivery for Citizens – In 2014 the Administration piloted the U.S. Digital Service, a unit of innovators, entrepreneurs, and engineers. This team of America’s best digital experts has worked in collaboration with Federal agencies on their high impact, citizen-facing programs to improve how citizens and businesses experience government services. The Budget includes $105 million to scale and institutionalize this approach and create digital services teams in 25 key agencies. It also includes increased funding to scale up the central USDS team to aid in building the agency teams, increase oversight and accountability for IT spending, improve IT procurement, and improve agency cybersecurity and cyber readiness.
Building Evidence and Encouraging Innovation – The Budget invests in developing and testing effective practices, recruiting social and behavioral sciences experts, and providing better information on what works in key areas ranging from improving college completion to creating greater accountability for job training programs to improving the data available on Indian Country.
Reforming the Government to Win in the Global Economy – The Budget also includes proposals to consolidate and reorganize Government agencies to make them leaner and more efficient, and it increases the use of evidence and evaluation to ensure that taxpayer dollars are spent wisely on programs that work.
Achieving Fiscal Sustainability and Promoting Sustainable Growth

This year’s Budget supports the President’s ambitious vision for supporting growth and opportunity, and does so while meeting a key test of fiscal stability: reducing deficits to below 3 percent of GDP, stabilizing debt as a share of the economy, and putting it on a declining path. It achieves these goals by replacing mindless austerity with smart reforms, paying for all new investments, and obtaining $1.8 trillion in deficit reduction primarily from health, tax, and immigration reforms.
Reversing Mindless Austerity – Returning to the mindless austerity of sequestration in 2016 would bring discretionary funding to its lowest level, adjusted for inflation, since 2006. The Budget proposes to end sequestration, fully reversing it for domestic priorities in 2016, matched by equal dollar increases for defense funding. These investments are more than paid for with smart spending cuts, program integrity measures, and commonsense loophole closers – including, for example, targeted reforms to crop insurance programs; program integrity investments across a range of programs; and closing the “carried interest” tax loophole.
While many of the investments described above are made possible by reversing sequestration, the contrast between what can be achieved under sequestration versus under the President’s Budget is particularly stark in a few key areas:
Research and Development. Under 2016 sequestration levels, assuming roughly current funding patterns, research funding adjusted for inflation would reach its lowest levels since 2002 – other than when sequestration was in full effect in 2013. By comparison, the President’s Budget would increase R&D funding by nearly 6 percent over 2015, including investments in Precision Medicine, the Brain Initiative, and other areas.
Early Learning. The last time sequestration took full effect in 2013, more than 57,000 children lost access to Head Start and Early Head Start, with enrollment falling to the lowest level since 2001. Researchers have established that supporting children during this critical stage yields benefits that far outweigh the costs of the investment. The President’s Budget makes major investments in early learning (described above), including, for example, making sure children can be served in full-day, full-year Head Start programs that research shows lead to better outcomes for kids.
National Security. The Joint Chiefs have made clear that a return to sequestration-level cuts would significantly reduce the military’s ability to fully implement the President’s defense strategy. The military would be unbalanced and eventually too small and insufficiently modern to meet the needs of our strategy, leading to greater risk of longer wars with higher casualties for the United States and our allies and partners. In contrast, the Budget makes the investments needed to protect the Nation’s security and well-being both at home and abroad.
Paying for all new investments – Every investment in the Budget – including the new and expanded tax credits for middle-class and working families, and mandatory investments in community college and preschool – is more than fully paid for through spending or tax reforms. In particular, the Budget pays for many of its investments in helping middle class families get ahead through three important reforms to the tax system. First, it would eliminate what may be the largest single loophole in the tax code – a provision known as “stepped-up basis” that lets wealthy households avoid taxes on hundreds of billions in capital gains taxes each year. Second, it would raise the top capital gains and dividend rate for high-income households to 28 percent, the rate under President Reagan. Third, it reforms financial sector taxation to make it more costly for large, highly-leveraged financial firms to finance their activities with excessive borrowing, reducing risks to the broader economy.
Reducing Deficits through Health, Tax, and Immigration Reform – While the Budget’s new investments are paid for with smart reforms across a range of programs, as well as commonsense tax loophole closers, the $1.8 trillion in deficit reduction in the Budget is achieved primarily by focusing on the key drivers of our Budget challenges: health care cost growth and inadequate revenue levels in the face of an aging population. Specifically, the Budget includes:
$400 Billion in Health Savings. Over the last few years, we’ve seen historically slow rates of health care cost growth, which are already yielding fiscal dividends. The Budget includes $400 billion in health savings that build on the Affordable Care Act to help maintain slower cost growth while improving health care quality – complementing the Administration’s other efforts on delivery system reform. Notably, the Budget’s health savings grow over time – raising about $1 trillion in the second decade, and extending the Medicare Hospital Insurance trust fund solvency by approximately 5 years.
$640 Billion in Net Deficit Reduction from Tax Reforms. The Budget raises about $640 billion in net revenue for deficit reduction from curbing high-income tax expenditures. These savings come from limiting tax benefits that are not efficient in achieving social goals, raising revenue without raising tax rates.
Through these policies, the President’s Budget brings annual deficits well below the 40-year historical average of 3.2 percent of GDP during every year of the budget window. A key test of fiscal sustainability is whether debt is stable or declining as a share of the economy, resulting in interest payments that consume a stable or falling share of the Nation’s resources over time. The Budget meets that test, showing that investments in growth and opportunity are compatible with also putting the Nation’s finances on a strong and sustainable path.

Obama Stands Firm On Protecting Social Security In 2016 Budget

The repugicans hope to create a social security crisis, but President Obama has declared that he has no desire to indulge them in that fantasy.…
obama-social-security
On Monday, President Obama unveiled his fiscal year 2016 budget proposal. Obama’s budget outlined a wide range of proposals likely to be popular with middle-class Americans, and unpopular with congressional repugicans. Progressives concerned about the President buckling to repugican cabal pressure to weaken social security can also take comfort. The White House appears determined to stand firm on protecting social security retirement and disability funding. Obama’s budget proposes clean reallocation of funds from the Old-Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI) trust fund to the Disability Insurance (DI) trust fund.
This clean reallocation would put Obama at odds with repugican cabal House leaders, especially repugican House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price. Price, and other repugican cabal leaders, have signaled their intent to pit retirees against the disabled. The conflict between the two groups could be stirred up, to force a crisis over Social Security, which repugicans could then exploit to push privatization schemes.
The White House provided a vigorous defense for social security in Monday’s budget proposal, arguing:
To address reserve depletion of the Social Security Disability Insurance (DI) Trust Fund, the Budget proposes to reallocate existing payroll tax collections between the Old-Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI) and DI trust funds while a longer term solution to overall Social Security solvency is developed with the Congress. At various points over the course of Social Security’s history, Congress has passed reallocation legislation as the need arose for reallocating revenue from DI to OASI, and vice versa. This proposed reallocation will have no effect on the overall health of the OASI and DI trust funds on a combined basis and is critical to ensuring that workers who have paid into the Social Security system and become disabled get the benefits they need.
In doing so, President Obama has declared that he intends to fight for both retirees and the disabled. He has dropped the gauntlet, and let repugicans know that he has no intention of weakening the program for either retirees or those on SSI disability. The program, as it currently exists, is solvent until at least 2033. Raising the cap on taxes for high-income social security earners would make it solvent for much longer. There is no reason to curtail existing benefits. Nor is there any logical reason to cut disability benefits.

Obama’s record budget: Tax the rich, help middle class

obama-budget-3 Promising to help America’s middle class, President Barack Obama on Monday sent Congress a record $4 trillion budget that would hammer corporate profits overseas and raise taxes on the wealthy while boosting tax credits for families and the working poor.
Obama’s budget also would steer hundreds of billions of dollars to the nation’s crumbling infrastructure of roads and bridges, help provide two years of free community college and reverse the across-the-board, automatic budget cuts that have slammed the Pentagon and nearly every government department.
In the face of certain opposition from repugicans, an optimistic Obama hailed a “breakthrough year for America” of new jobs, lower unemployment and shrinking deficits after the great recession of 2008, and he called for moving past years of “mindless austerity.” The blueprint for the 2016 budget year that begins Oct. 1 represents a 6.4 percent increase over estimated spending this year, projecting that the deficit will decline to $474 billion.
However, Obama’s plan ignores the new balance of power in Washington, with repugicans running both the House and Senate. The repugican cabal found plenty to criticize in his proposed tax hikes that would total about $1.5 trillion.
The repugicans cited the nation’s $18 trillion debt and assailed what they call Obama’s tax-and-spend policies for failing to address the spiraling growth of benefit programs such as Social Security and Medicare.
“Today President Obama laid out a plan for more taxes, more spending, and more of the Washington gridlock that has failed middle class families,” said Boehner, r-Ohio. “This plan never balances — ever.”
Republicans will respond this spring with their own plan, a balanced-budget outline promising to ease the burdens of the national debt on future generations, curb the explosive growth of expensive benefit programs and reform a loophole-cluttered tax code.
While Obama’s plan was rejected out of hand on budget day, proposals to ease automatic cuts and boost transportation funding are likely to return later in the year and require extensive negotiation.
“These proposals are practical, not partisan,” Obama said of his overall plans. “They’ll help working families feel more secure with paychecks that go further, help American workers upgrade their skills so they can compete for higher-paying jobs, and help create the conditions for our businesses to keep generating good new jobs for our workers to fill.”
Some people would pay more. Many wealthy Americans would be able to take tax deductions at the 28 percent rate only even if their incomes were taxed at 39.6 percent, and some would also see an increase in their maximum capital gains rate.
However, a couple earning up to $120,000 a year would qualify for a new “second earner” tax credit of up to $500 as well as a maximum $3,000 child care credit for two children, triple the current credit of $1,000.
Obama’s initiatives to tax the wealthy and to welcome an influx of immigrants into the United States are going nowhere in the new repugican-misled Congress.
But there is a bipartisan desire to ease automatic spending cuts that are the product of Washington’s failures to cut deficits beyond an initial round in 2011. The repugicans are howling that such broad cuts savage the Pentagon. Obama said he won’t give more money to the Pentagon without receiving domestic funds he wants.
The centerpiece of the president’s tax plan is an increase in the capital gains rate on couples making more than $500,000 per year. The rate would climb from 24.2 percent to the raygun-era top rate of 28 percent. Obama also wants to require estates to pay capital gains taxes that reflect the increase in value of assets like homes and stocks prior to death instead of after inheritance. And he is trying to impose a 0.07 percent fee on the roughly 100 U.S. financial companies with assets of more than $50 billion, raising $112 billion over 10 years.
All told, Obama proposes higher receipts of about $2 trillion though his budget: about $1.5 trillion from tax increases and almost $500 billion from fresh revenue as immigration reform lifts the economy and provides new workers.
His proposals would boost federal spending by $74 billion — divided between the military and domestic programs — and would result in a spending increase of $362 billion over the remaining six years the spending caps were to have been in place.
The deficit would remain under $500 billion a year through 2018, but would rise to $687 billion by 2025, according to administration projections — though levels of red ink could still be considered manageable when measured against the size of the economy.
But the cost of financing the government’s debt — currently more than $18 trillion — would spiral as the debt grows to more than $25 trillion by 2025 and interest rates on 10-year Treasury bills rise to 4.5 percent in coming years, according to the projections. Interest costs would jump from $229 billion this year to $785 billion in 2025.
A principal theme this year is infrastructure — the budget books’ cover photo is the deteriorating Tappan Zee bridge over the Hudson River — and the plan includes a six-year, $478 billion transportation and infrastructure plan. Gasoline tax revenues would cover only half the cost, so Obama proposes a 14 percent tax on overseas corporate profits to bring in $238 billion. The combination would permit about a one-third increase in spending, with transit programs being the biggest winners.
“The president’s proposal would close a lot of the tax breaks that encourage corporations to move jobs and capital overseas and invest more of that in jobs and infrastructure here at home,” said Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, top Democrat on the Budget panel.
Obama’s plan contains a lengthy roster of proposals that have been repeatedly rejected by lawmakers: $600 billion in additional revenue over a decade by limiting tax deductions for upper bracket earners; $95 billion from nearly doubling the cigarette tax to $1.95 a pack, and $35 billion through a minimum 30 percent tax rate on million-dollar incomes.
He wants to increase the security fee paid on air travel from $5.60 to $7.50 per one-way ticket. And there’s a new 10-year, $2.5 billion proposal to limit the deductibility of gifts that boosters of college teams give to earn the right to buy basketball and football tickets.
The White House claims $1.8 trillion in deficit savings over 10 years but does so by taking liberties such as ignoring the cost of preventing Medicare cuts to doctors’ fees and extending refundable tax credits for the working poor and couples with children that expire in 2017.

The repugican cabal's Trickle Down Has 70% of Americans Near Financial Calamity

Instead of changing course and helping the majority of the population, repugicans still propose heaping wealth on the rich and increasing taxes on the bottom 90% ...
Financial-Ruin-Curse-500x500For well over thirty years since repugican man-god ronny raygun declared that government is the evil destroying the great middle class, repugicans have maintained their demigod’s position that the solution to help the middle class is giving the richest Americans all of the nation’s assets and wealth. Since then, the rich have gotten richer and what was once a vibrant middle class is now less than vapor and on the verge of vanishing altogether. Instead of changing course and helping the majority of the population, repugicans still propose heaping wealth on the rich and increasing taxes on the bottom 90% of the population to complete the utter destruction of middle income earners. According to yet another report they are succeeding beyond their wildest dreams.
In recent data from Pew Charitable Trust research, over 70% of American households are facing regular monthly “financial strains,” and that over half of the population (55%) cannot generate enough income to cover even one month’s living expenses from savings or other liquid assets (things to sell). What that means is that the preponderance of Americans are barely making it from paycheck to paycheck and that just one bout of illness, even a temporary layoff, or other calamity means complete and utter financial ruin and poverty. This is the condition repugicans began creating 30 years ago and persist in exacerbating by their obstructionism in service to the one-percent.
According to the director of Pew’s financial security and mobility project, Erin Currier, “Our analysis finds that many American families, even those with relatively high incomes, are walking a financial tightrope. Most have little if any cushion to absorb an unexpected financial setback. It’s a precarious state that threatens not just financial security, but upward mobility.” The sad fact is that despite regular household spending falling to levels unseen since the 1990s,  “half of all American families report being ‘income-constrained‘” which means their household spending is greater than or equal to their monthly income. It is the epitome of barely making it from paycheck to paycheck and it includes most families in the rapidly vanishing middle class.
The repugicans continue lying that they want to help the middle class, but their adherence to trickle down robbery is increasing the income gap. Coupled with their blatant obstruction and opposition to any of President Obama’s pleas for congressional assistance such as raising the minimum wage, extending unemployment benefits, or passing legitimate jobs bills, their drive to wipe out well-paying union jobs, robbing retirees’ pensions, or help Veterans is exacerbating the rapid decline of the middle class.  In particular, repugicans have fiercely fought to obstruct equal pay for women who make up nearly half of the workforce further driving the population into financial despair while the rich continue increasing their fortunes.
A report from Pew last October reported that in order for American workers to have the same buying power they had before raygun repugicans imposed their trickle down scam, they would have to earn at least $22.41 per hour to have the same purchasing power as when the average hourly wage was $4.03 in 1979. The abomination is that as of last month, worker productivity has steadily increased by over 80% since the late seventies but wages grew by only 11 percent.
The repugicans claim this horrid financial situation is due to the President’s economic policies and that corporate America is suffering higher taxes and “job-killing regulations” forcing corporations to pay wages comparable to those of 30 or 40 years ago. The repugicans like Paul Ryan claim that the other reason corporations pay Americans insufferable wages is because of ‘entitlements,’ socialism, and Obama’s liberal tax and spending policies. Of course all of the repugican claims are lies according to a report from last year revealing that “corporate profits are at their highest levels in at least 85 years while employee compensation is at the lowest in 65 years.” It is upward redistribution of income that repugicans work tirelessly to perpetuate until the bottom 99% have nothing left to give.
Also, during the first five years of the Obama Administration, corporate profits averaged nearly 9.3 percent of GDP; two full points higher than either Clinton or the shrub and are the highest corporate profit rates of all time. That is not all. The stock market under President Obama recorded all-time highs with annual gains of 17.7 percent that is “the highest of ANY previous President.” The horrid financial situation for the great majority of Americans is NOT because the economy has failed to recover under the Obama Administration; it is because of repugican policies supporting corporate greed at the expense of the great majority of the American people who continue sliding into poverty.
According to a CBS News report six months ago, since the onset of the recession there are “2.3 million more lower-wage workers” and “1.2 million fewer mid and higher-wage jobs than before the shrub-repugican Great Recession.” The report also noted that in all occupations real wages have declined since 2009 and there is little chance they will increase anytime soon despite President Obama’s calls for repugicans to help the American people.

Boehner Ignores Income Inequality While Telling Americans They Don’t Need A Tax Cut

Boehner reacted to President Obama’s budget by ignoring the issue of income inequality and making it clear that his mission is to not raise taxes on the wealthy while denying the rest of the country a tax cut.
john boehner
In a statement, Speaker Boehner said:
Today President Obama laid out a plan for more taxes, more spending, and more of the Washington gridlock that has failed middle-class families. It may be Groundhog Day, but the American people can’t afford a repeat of the same old top-down policies of the past.
Like the president’s previous budgets, this plan never balances – ever. It contains no solutions to address the drivers of our debt, and no plan to fix our entire tax code to help foster growth and create jobs. Worse yet, President Obama would impose new taxes and more spending without a responsible plan to honestly address the big challenges facing our country.
It is as if Boehner is living in an alternate universe where the economy isn’t growing, budget deficits aren’t falling, and unemployment isn’t shrinking. Notice that Boehner claimed that Obama’s budget doesn’t address the big challenges facing the country, but he also never specifically mentions what he thinks those challenges are. What is also missing from Boehner’s is any mention of the middle-class tax cut and income inequality.
Boehner’s message to the middle-class was the income inequality does not exist, and that they don’t need a tax cut. Boehner’s statement was a reminder that anyone who isn’t a billionaire or a corporation is invisible to the repugican cabal.

Massive Oil Job Losses Debunk The Lie That Obama Is Hostile To The Oil Industry

For six years repugicans have accused President Obama of waging a war on the oil industry by restricting drilling and exploration on federal lands and national parks they claim hampers efforts to make America energy independent. However, under this President, America is now the world’s leading exporter of oil and gas surpassing Saudi Arabia as of last November. In fact, repugicans are still lying that immediate construction of the foreign KeystoneXL pipeline will reduce the nation’s dependence on foreign oil and create tens-of-thousands of American jobs which is another lie. In fact, as the nation continues its record run of monthly jobs created, the oil industry that complains bitterly the President restricts their ability to explore and drill is laying off tens-of-thousands of oil workers every month; not because of Obama’s regulations, but due to the oil glut from America’s prolific oil production success since the President has been in office.
Since December, various oil industry titans have announced major oil industry job layoffs due to record low oil prices as a result of increased exploration, drilling, and production President Obama is responsible for. In fact, the industry is not just laying off workers, they are abandoning and shutting down entire drilling operations in an effort to get control of the market and spark a rise in fuel costs. If nothing else, the repugicans’ claim that there can never be enough exploration and drilling, as well as their assertion that President Obama is hostile to the oil industry, is exposed as another blatant lie. A lie that Americans enjoying low gas prices must certainly aware of by now.
According to a careful assessment by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, they estimate that at least 250,000 oil industry jobs across eight U.S. states will be lost in 2015; there have already been tens-of-thousands of jobs lost in 2014. There will be hundreds-of-thousands of support and downstream jobs lost as well. In what is bad news for good old Texas, well over half of those quarter-of-a-million job losses will occur in the Lone Star state that leads the nation in oil production. One wonders how repugicans will portray the massive job losses that will affect the eight states’ economies because President Obama has presided over an epic oil production bonanza, or if they will back off of their claim that America desperately needs the KeystoneXL pipeline to “ensure America’s energy independence, or if they put a halt to calling for exploration and drilling in America’s national parks.
Even with the massive job layoffs, drilling operation closures, and taking oil rigs completely out of production, American oil production continues to soar and contribute to falling oil prices at home and around the world. According to data from the Energy Information Administration, U.S. oil production reached 9.21 million barrels per day just last week; the most since well before 1983. One of the three entities that will profit most from construction of the KeystoneXL pipeline, ConocoPhillips, is so concerned that the oil glut will continue and prices will “stay too low for 2015″ that they are “taking decisive actions.” No, they are not backing off the push to build the Keystone pipeline of which they hold major contracts to export the oil to foreign markets; they are cutting their oil rig count in the prolific Bakken shale formation in North Dakota and laying off thousands of workers to drive up oil prices for American consumers and increase profits for their shareholders. So much for the blatant lies their only regard is creating energy independence for America.
repugicans, such as Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, continue assailing President Obama as “being so hostile to the oil and gas industry, we’ve actually seen oil production on federal lands go down over 6 percent from 2009. Do we harness the energy resources that are here in our country to grow our economy, to create good-paying jobs, to lower the cost of energy for our people? Or do continue in our current path, where we make energy more expensive, more scarce? Where we continue to export good-paying energy jobs that actually hurt our economy.”
If repugicans were concerned about America, its energy independence, or jobs and the economy, they would be assailing the oil industry for killing over a quarter-of-a-million oil industry jobs and restricting oil and gas production to raise fuel costs for American consumers and businesses. It is important to note that the oil glut in America is a worldwide phenomenon due in large part to the world-leading production and export under this President. A President that repugicans persist in claiming is “so hostile to the gas and oil industry that we’ve seen oil production do down.” It is yet another repugican lie about President Obama that is being debunked in grand fashion and for once every American paying substantially less at the gas pump is aware repugicans are liars.

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great pins… =]

10 ways religious cabals are freeloading off of taxpayers

Have you ever thought about starting a new religion or perhaps a hometown franchise of an old one? Perhaps you're just looking for a career ladder in a religious enterprise that already exists. No? Maybe you should.
Religion is big business. There are lots of options (over 30,000 variants of christianity alone), and if the scale is right it can pay really, really well. Creflo Dollar, founder of World Changers cult, has an estimated net worth of $27 million. Benny Hinn comes in at $42 million. Squeaky clean tent revival pioneer Billy Graham bankrolled around $25 million. Even Eddie Long who has been plagued by accusations of sex with underage male members of his congregation can count his bankbook in the millions.
You say you don't have star power? No worries. Millions of ordinary ministers, priests, missionaries, religious hospital administrators and other church employees earn solid middle- or upper-middle-class incomes in the dog business. The pay is good, and for most positions it doesn't matter what race you are or what grade you happened to get in chemistry.
That said, starting or expanding a religious enterprise doesn't come cheap, even in an established religion that transforms ordinary members into volunteer outreach staff. christianity spends an estimated $16 billion annually on the kind of marketing-service blend traditionally called "missionary work."
Missionary work may include disaster relief or education with recruiting in the mix. An earthquake survivor might receive a solar-powered bible to go with his rice and beans and sutures. A Hindu child might get free schooling, pencils and paper included, along with the message that the gods his parents worship are actually demons. Among people who are less desperate, the offerings can be more nuanced and less expensive. For example, a lonely student might get offered kindness and dinner by someone who is paid to live near campus as a friendship missionary. Sometimes mention of heaven or hell is all the enticement needed, though even then there may be costs associated with print materials and distribution. Soldiers in Iraq gave out jesus coins and a little cartoon book showing that when an IED killed a muslim, he or she went to hell, a fate that could be averted by conversion.
The cost of rice, beans, medical supplies, pencils, swag, facilities and salaries can add up. Fortunately, some of religion's bigger players have gotten creative in recent years. They've figured out how to pay for at least part of their growth on the public dime. Having taxpayers cover a portion your costs, even overhead or infrastructure, drives up your margin. It may actually make the difference between a religious enterprise that is a fiscal black hole and one that is lucrative. So, whether you're thinking about positioning within a small religion or large, one that's new or one that's well established, it's worth taking a look at these ten examples to see if there's something you can borrow.
1. Fund your religion classes with school vouchers, tuition tax credits or capital grants.
2. Get free facilities for after-school clubs in public facilities.
3. Nudge your doctrines into public school textbooks and discussions.
4. Support military missionaries on government salaries.
5. Use federal disaster relief to rebuild after "acts of dog."
6. Leverage historic preservation grants to rehab your real estate.
7. The public underwrites religious infrastructure.
8. International aid dollars.
9. Administering public health facilities..
10. Provide safety net services to potential converts.

Asshole 'christian' agitators shout down muslim kids singing National Anthem at Texas rally

Angry wingnut agitators disrupted the Texas muslim Capitol Day celebration in Austin on Thursday, repeatedly shouting "No Sharia" and screaming "Go home."The celebration was organized by the Texas chapter of the Council on American-islamic Relations, and according to their website, the event was "an opportunity for community members to learn about the democratic political process and how to be an advocate for important issues." The group largely consisted of muslim students and children, along with faith leaders.
The event was disrupted by a coven calling itself the Patriot Defense Foundation Inc., who claimed that CAIR sought to create a climate in which it would be able to "take over" America, destroying it for "Americans [who] believe in the Constitution and what this country was founded on."

Gun Nut Coven Plans To 'Hunt Down The repubgcans' Who Opposed Texas Open Carry Bill

After Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (r) announced on Tuesday that there were not enough votes in the state senate to pass a bill allowing residents to open carry handguns, a state gun nut coven responded with threats.
Tarrant County Open Carry said it will not accept the lawmakers' decision to drop the bill for now and plans to identify repugican lawmakers who do not support the legislation.

Chris Christie Thinks Parents Should Be Able To Avoid Having Their Children Vaccinated

christie micDuring an impromptu news conference in England Monday, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie told reporters that parents in America should have a choice when it comes to providing their children with vaccinations for certain diseases. Per the New York Times, the 2016 repugican cabal pretender hopeful was asked about the need for mandated vaccinations in contrast to the recent measles outbreak that began at Disneyland in Southern California and spread to Arizona. The spread of the disease, essentially eliminated for decades in the country, has been blamed largely on parents — known as anti-vaxxers– who refuse to have their children vaccinated for diseases.
As if looking for the most ironic place to make his statement on parental choice, Christie was standing in front of a facility that produces a nasal flu vaccine when talking to reporters. According to the Times, Christie pointed out that he and his wife have had their children vaccinated, but as a public official, he needs to find the right balance between choice and government intervention.
Mr. Christie, when asked about the connection between the new measles cases and parents who object to the long-recommended vaccine against it, said that he and his wife had vaccinated their four children. He called that “the best expression I can give you of my opinion.”
But he added: “It’s more important what you think as a parent than what you think as a public official. I also understand that parents need to have some measure of choice in things as well. So that’s the balance that the government has to decide.”
The Governor’s comments on the need for parents to vaccinate their children for potentially deadly illnesses are in stark contrast to those made by President Obama during his interview on NBC prior to the Super Bowl. During his conversation with Savannah Guthrie, Obama said in very clear terms that parents “should get your kids vaccinated.” He also told Guthrie that the science behind vaccines is “indisputable” and there is no reason for refusing to provide children with immunization shots.
Christie’s reaction to the two different situations shows just how much of a crass politician he truly is. In regards to Ebola, the Governor followed the lead of Faux News and Republicans who thought whipping up tons of fear over the disease could help the repugican cabal in the upcoming midterms. Meanwhile, Christie is entirely focused on 2016 and a possible run at the White House. Therefore, it appears he is thinking that he can possibly appeal to the libertarians and upper-middle-class liberals who feel vaccinations are unnecessary, a tool of big government, responsible for autism, or any other crackpot reason anti-vaxxers have given for not immunizing their children. At the same time, Christie can tell conservatives his stance is due to an overall distrust of the federal government and scientists, which always sits well with the right.

Historical Photos

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Elsie Connor, boxing champion at Broadway, New York City, August 5, 1931 via reddit
Elsie Connor, boxing champion at Broadway, New York City, August 5, 1931

Last Remaining by Michelangelo

Two sculptures that languished in obscurity for more than a century may be the only surviving bronze works by Michelangelo.

Bowhunting and Social Cohesion

220px-Fleche_Cartailhac_MHNT_PRE_2009.0.232.2_simpleBowhunting may have fostered social cohesion during the Neolithic


The finding of three wooden bows dating back over 7,000 years provides new data on the social role of hunting among the first peasant societies Bowhunting during the Neolithic period […]

Carved conch shell

From the collections of the Philadelphia Museum of Art:
This shell from the 11th century, which was probably used to hold and pour sacred water during religious ceremonies, depicts the god Vishnu who is known for using a conch shell as a war trumpet. (Bengali or Orissan)

Rock Hall of Fame

This assortment of monoliths represent some of the biggest rocks on Earth.





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‘Live fast, die young’

'Live fast, die young' galaxies lose the gas that keeps them alive‘Live fast, die young’ galaxies lose the gas that keeps them alive


Galaxies can die early because the gas they need to make new stars is suddenly ejected, research published today suggests. Most galaxies age slowly as they run out of raw […]

Aging the immune system

astronaut ancientHow spaceflight ages the immune system prematurely


As the world waits to see if Mars One can establish a human colony on Mars, scientists are working to determine the long-term consequences of living in low or no-gravity […]

You can be a coward or a fighter

Aphid-giving-birth
You can be a coward or a fighter — just pick one and stick with it
When the chips are down, having a strong personality may be the difference between thriving and failing.