So Long and Thanks for All the Bailouts

Speaking of scumbags:

Bank of America, which last fall announced plans to lay off 30,000 workers, is about to go on a hiring spree—overseas.

America’s second-largest bank is relocating its business-support operations to the Philippines, according to a high-ranking Filipino government official recently quoted in the Filipino press. The move, which includes a portion of the bank’s customer service unit, comes less than three years after Bank of America received a $45 billion federal bailout.

Roman Romulo, deputy majority leader of the Philippine House of Representatives, bragged to the Manila Standard Today earlier this month that the Philippines “has secured its place as the world’s fastest-growing outsourcing hub.” Romulo pointed out that BofA is the last of the “big four” US banks to move their business-support network to his island nation, where the average family makes $4,700 a year.

A spokesman for Bank of America, Mark Pipitone, was unable to provide additional information about the bank’s offshoring plans on Friday. “We have employees and operations where we can ensure that we best serve our customers and clients,” he told me in an email.

And just so you understand what kind of sociopaths we are dealing with, read this related story:

During an interview today, Honeywell CEO David Cote — who President Obama named to the Bowles-Simpson deficit commission — told CNBC’s Andrew Ross Sorkin that he believes the U.S. corporate tax rate should be zero. Cote added that the only reason his desired rate won’t happen is because “from a fairness perspective, nobody would be able to stand it”

Our Galtian Overlords just keep getting more and more brazen. Just click your heels together and say “Privatize the profits, socialize the costs” until the pain goes away.



Edwards Acquitted

Here’s the report:

Johnny Reid Edwards, a honey-voiced North Carolina lawyer who parlayed his boyish good looks and inspiring personal history as the son of a mill-worker into a meteoric political rise, was acquitted of one count Thursday in a corruption case, as the judge declared a mistrial on five other charges on which the jury was deadlocked.

The mixed result in a trial that laid bare Edwards’s sexual indiscretions and serial deceptions came after nine days of jury deliberations.

When the decision was read by the clerk, Edwards’s face betrayed no emotion, but he slumped back in his chair. Moments later, he turned to his parents, Wallace and Bobbie Edwards, and they smiled at him broadly.

I sort of thought he would be convicted just for being a degenerate sleazeball, but I guess I was wrong. I hope the prosecution has the common sense to just listen to the jury and move on without wasting millions retrying this.








The American Taliban Is Such an Unfair Term

Stay classy, wingnuts:

Jay Townsend, a campaign spokesman for Republican Rep. Nan Hayworth (NY-19), weighed in on a local Facebook discussion with a violent comment about Democratic women in Congress, and his suggestion is now earning the congresswoman condemnation from one of her Democratic challengers.

The Facebook page, called NY19 U.S. House of Representatives Discussion Center, encourages “civil multi-partisan discussion about issues impacting citizens of New York’s U.S. House District represented by Republican Congresswoman Nan Hayworth.” On it, a question about gas prices was also critical of Hayworth. Townsend responded to one commenter, Tom, by bringing up the “war on women” and suggested they “hurl some acid at those female democratic Senators.”

The comment:

    Listen to Tom. What a little bee he has in his bonnet. Buzz Buzz. My question today … when is Tommy boy going to weigh in on all the Lilly Ledbetter hypocrites who claim to be fighting the War on Women? Let’s hurl some acid at those female democratic Senators who won’t abide the mandates they want to impose on the private sector.

Charming people.



Bombs Away Obama

TNC, reacting to the NY Times article the other day about Obama’s wild escalation of drone strikes:

Has there ever been a point since America’s inception when someone, somewhere, wasn’t plotting our downfall? I have great difficulty perceiving a time when this won’t be true. And so drone strategy comes to self-replicate. We bomb your village. You declare war on us for the bombing. We deem you a terrorist and bomb again. Rinse. Repeat.

The Obama administration considers any military-age male in the vicinity of a bombing to be a combatant. That is an amazing standard that shares an ugly synergy with the sort of broad-swath logic that we see employed in Stop and Frisk, with NYPD national spy network, with the killer of Trayvon Martin.

Policy is informed by the morality of a country. I think the repercussions of this unending era of death by silver bird will be profound.

This is a real stain on Obama’s legacy, sets a horrible precedent (I can’t wait until we are drone striking right across the Mexican border), and is very revealing about the tribalism of politics in our nation. If Bush and Cheney had done this, more than just a few civil libertarians and random cranks like me would be screaming bloody murder.

Glenn Greenwald had a couple really good posts about this, but I didn’t even bother to link them because I know what would happen in the comments section- “HE LIVES IN BRAZIL! HE HATES OBAMA AND JUST USES THESE ISSUES FOR SELF-PROMOTION. HE’S A LIBERTARIAN! WHAT DOES HE HAVE ON YOU JOHN COLE?” And that would be just the first comment.



First They Came For My Big Gulp, And I Said Nothing

If you’re wondering what kind of big issues and Americans Elect candidate would tackle, here you go:

New York City plans to enact a far-reaching ban on the sale of large sodas and other sugary drinks at restaurants, movie theaters and street carts, in the most ambitious effort yet by the Bloomberg administration to combat rising obesity.

The proposed ban would affect virtually the entire menu of popular sugary drinks found in delis, fast-food franchises and even sports arenas, from energy drinks to pre-sweetened iced teas. The sale of any cup or bottle of sweetened drink larger than 16 fluid ounces — about the size of a medium coffee, and smaller than a common soda bottle — would be prohibited under the first-in-the-nation plan, which could take effect as soon as next March.

The measure would not apply to diet sodas, fruit juices, dairy-based drinks like milkshakes, or alcoholic beverages; it would not extend to beverages sold in grocery or convenience stores.

Stupid, paternalistic, and completely unenforceable. My old platoon sergeant once told me that when it comes to keeping the guys in line, you never make a rule you won’t enforce, you never make a rule you can’t enforce, and you never make a rule you shouldn’t enforce. This new ban fails on at least the first two.

Bloomberg does know that two 16 ounce cokes equals one 32 ounce supersized coke, right? So what is to stop people from ordering two beverages instead of one? Will we have to have new limits on the number of beverages allowed to be sold per person? And what about restaurants and stores that allow you to fill your beverage yourself- will we have to hire monitors to watch who is now pouring what? And why are fruit juices exempt? Does he not realize how much sugar is in your average over the counter orange juice and apple juice- my goodness, they are worse than soda, because with a soda you know you are getting a gut bomb. With fruit juices, you may thing you are drinking healthfully, but you are getting the same amount of sugar as if you were guzzling coke.

And I’ll stop now, because I have already given this stupid proposal more thought than it merits. And I am sensitive to his concerns- the diabesity epidemic in this country is going to be crippling if we do not get it under control. But this won’t do anything to stop it.



Beyond Thunder DOMA

And the inevitable Supreme Court case on the federal Defense Of Marriage Act got one step closer today as a three-judge panel on the First Circuit just declared the law unconstitutional.

A three judge panel of The United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit just handed down a decision declaring the anti-gay Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional. Notably, the panel included Judges Juan Torruella and Michael Boudin, both of whom are Republican appointees. Judge Boudin, who authored the opinion, is one of the most highly regarded judges in the country; he frequently sends his former law clerks to clerk for Supreme Court justices.

Here’s the money quote from the ruling linked above (PDF, emphasis mine):

For 150 years, this desire to maintain tradition would alone have been justification enough for almost any statute. This judicial deference has a distinguished lineage, including suchfigures as Justice Holmes, the second Justice Harlan, and Judges Learned Hand and Henry Friendly. But Supreme Court decisions in the last fifty years call for closer scrutiny of government action touching upon minority group interests and of federal action in areas of traditional state concern.

To conclude, many Americans believe that marriage is the union of a man and a woman, and most Americans live in states where that is the law today. One virtue of federalism is that it permits this diversity of governance based on local choice, but this applies as well to the states that have chosen to legalize same-sex marriage. Under current Supreme Court authority, Congress’ denial of federal benefits to same-sex couples lawfully married in Massachusetts has not been adequately supported by any permissible federal interest.

Both the “closer scrutiny” Fifth Amendment and the “permissible federal interest” Tenth Amendment arguments are key to taking down DOMA.  The basic argument is that the federal government has a duty to protect minority groups under the Equal Protection clause, and that same-sex couples meet the standard of a minority group that needs equal protection, and as such the denial of federal marriage benefits specifically to same-sex couples violates that equal protection when the state, in this case Massachusetts, makes those benefits at the state level legal.  It’s the scope of how far that applies (if it’s just to states where same-sex marriage is legal or all 50 states) that seems to be the question the panel is leaving up to SCOTUS to chew over, but they definitely accept the argument as valid.

The ruling also spells out pretty plainly that in the end, only SCOTUS can decide this one.  But seeing the lower court ruling affirmed here is a definite point for the good guys.



Breitbartico Whines About “Vetting”

Politico’s lead story right now:

To GOP, blatant bias in vetting

On the front page of its Sunday edition, the New York Times gave a big spread to Ann Romney spending lots of time and tons of money on an exotic genre of horse-riding. The clear implication: The Romneys are silly rich, move in rarefied and exotic circles, and are perhaps a tad shady.

Only days earlier, news surfaced that author David Maraniss had unearthed new details about Barack Obama’s prolific, college-age dope-smoking for his new book, “Barack Obama: The Story” — and the Times made it a brief on A15.

No wonder Republicans are livid with the early coverage of the 2012 general election campaign. To them, reporters are scaring up stories to undermine the introduction of Mitt Romney to the general election audience — and once again downplaying ones that could hurt the president….

Here’s the difference, Politico: Maybe if Mitt Romney had written candidly about dressage in a book seventeen years ago, the Times wouldn’t have considered it a big news story now. Maybe if the Romney had answered questions about the dressage issue in the last primary season — perhaps even as early as 2006 — the Times wouldn’t be putting it on the front page now. Maybe if Romney, in the last primary season, had joked about dressage, including on national television, the Times wouldn’t be making a big deal of it today. Maybe if Romney had weathered attacks on his dressage habits four years ago from a campaign surrogate of a primary opponent, there would be little press interest now.

Do we really have to explain these things to Romney and his enablers?

(X-posted at No More Mister Nice Blog.)