august 2009

Dunce's Corner

Rep. Thaddeus McCotter, (R-Mich.)


Hello, Michigan. Here's your taxpayer dollars at work. At press time Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R-Mich.) was set to introduce a bill calling on President Barack Obama to formally apologize to the Cambridge Police, whom he said "acted stupidly" in an incident involving the arrest of Harvard scholar and author Henry Louis Gates in Gates's own home. Subsequent to the President comments on the case, tapes of phone calls between the officer in question and the Cambridge Police Dept. indicate the President may have understated the matter. More to the point, the President was working to defuse the situation between Gates, Massachusetts Police Sergeant James M. Crowley and the Cambridge Police Department, while also moving ahead on pushing health care reform and dealing with the other daunting issues facing this country. Rep. McCotter's press secretary, Jameson Cunningham, meanwhile, was asserting the Congressman would move forward with his leglislation "if the President does not retract and apologize for his comments. As of now, no apology has been issued."

Tough talk coming from McCotter's mouthpiece, huh? Let's see what the McCotter record shows:

According to Ed Brayton, reporting in The Michigan Messenger, September 23, 2008, McCotter seems to be easily distracted from the duties he was voted in office to execute. Brayton: "In the 2007-08 session of Congress, McCotter sponsored resolutions supporting National Dog Bite Prevention Week and the pope's visit to the United States, and also the establishment of a National Kidney Cancer Awareness Month. He sponsored a resolution to wish hockey star Gordie Howe a happy birthday and submitted a bill to prohibit all government employees from attending the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics."

In the abovementioned story, headlined, "McCotter Fiddled While Wall Street Burned," Brayton wrote: "As the epic ongoing crisis of the American financial markets developed over the past two years, Rep. Thad McCotter, R-Livonia, was missing in action.

"Now as U.S. taxpayers face a staggering $800 billion bill to repair the damage and voters ask who is responsible, Michigan's attention may turn to the three-term representative from the Detroit suburbs. McCotter is the only member of the state congressional delegation who sits on a committee that deals directly with the financial, mortgage, housing and insurance markets.

"A Michigan Messenger investigation has found that, in two years of membership on the House Financial Services Committee, McCotter failed to attend a single committee or subcommittee hearing on topics directly related to the current financial crisis.

"As a member of the two most important subcommittees—the Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Insurance, and Government Sponsored Enterprises and the Subcommittee on Housing and Community Opportunity—McCotter paid little attention as the financial hurricane gathered and grew.

"He did not attend any of 13 committee or subcommittee hearings for which there are transcripts available on issues directly related to the current crisis. While representatives of the minority party have little opportunity to influence the committee's work, the hearings offered repeated opportunities for McCotter to hear expert testimony, question witnesses, and stake out policy positions for the benefit of his constituents."

We're not expecting President Obama to apologize for anything related to this case, because he doesn't need to. But we would like to fit Rep. McCotter for a well-deserved dunce's cap for this little stunt, coming at a time when he would seem to have far more important things to attend to in his home state.

Rep. McCotter introduces resolution requesting President Barack Obama 'retract his premature judgment and apologize'

See the grim news below, Rep. McCotter, in case you haven't had time to look it up.

Michigan Economic Indicators

Unemployment: June 2009, 15.2%
Change over year: +7.1%

Michigan Payroll Jobs
June 2009: 3,846,000
Change over month: -31,000
Change over year: -338,000

(source: Labor Market Information,,


And this from The Detroit News, July 26, 2009:

Michigan second-worst state on Economic Stress Index
Kathy Barks Hoffman/Associated Press

Lansing—If you want to see economic stress, come to Michigan.

Foreclosures remain stubbornly high, budget shortfalls are forcing state workers to take unpaid days off and thousands of workers tied to the domestic automakers are anxious about how they'll fare with the refashioned Chrysler Group LLC and General Motors Co. out of bankruptcy.

The bleak truth, as President Barack Obama noted during a visit to Michigan this month, is that many of the hundreds of thousands of auto jobs lost over the past nine years simply "won't be coming back."

Michigan was second only to California in May according to The Associated Press Economic Stress Index, which combines three indicators—unemployment, foreclosures and bankruptcies—to gauge how the recession is affecting more than 3,000 counties in the United States. The higher the index's number, the worse the impact.

With 740,000 people in Michigan out of work, more people are losing their homes each month and there's little demand from buyers. The state has the nation's seventh-highest foreclosure rate, with more than 13,600 filings in June, according to RealtyTrac Inc. Housing prices in the Detroit area have fallen 24 percent in the past year, under the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index, and have dropped 56 percent since late 2005.

"No other state has lost as many jobs, and lost them so quickly and apparently so permanently," says East Lansing economist Patrick Anderson, who doesn't see Michigan's economy turning around until employment begins to rise — something that might not happen until late next year.

Michigan has had the nation's highest annual unemployment rate since 2006, and forecasters say June's 15.2 percent will climb further before it turns around. The state never regained its momentum after the 2001 recession, and the bankruptcies this summer of GM and Chrysler hastened the steady stream of plant closings and layoffs.

The 740,000 unemployed Michigan workers in June was the highest monthly total since the state's current official data began in 1976. That's pushing up bankruptcy filings, which rose 30 percent in the first quarter of 2009 compared to a year earlier. The vast majority are personal bankruptcies.

The recession has undermined state and local tax revenues, forcing Michigan to lay off 100 state troopers and put state workers on six unpaid days off this summer. Local governments are laying off law enforcement officers and cutting back on services, schools are handing out pink slips and the state can't keep up with repairs on crumbling roads and bridges.

"The light at the end of Michigan's long economic tunnel, which residents have been yearning to see, eludes us still," says George Fulton, director of the University of Michigan's Research Seminar in Quantitative Economics. "We do see some improvement, but it will continue to be slow and difficult."

A Michigan Messenger investigation has found that, in two years of membership on the House Financial Services Committee, McCotter failed to attend a single committee or subcommittee hearing on topics directly related to the current financial crisis.' Mr. Representative, could we fit you for a catcher's mitt next time? You may need it.


Kanamits Promise New Era!

Not of this Earth, aliens don Deathers' garb, suck life out of health care, vow 'to serve man'

Frickaseed brains on menu



Deathers On the March!
Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-North Carolina

Unable to drive President Barack Obama from office with their nutty claim of him not being an American citizen, the Birthers have retrenched and done a Transformers on us by reconfiguring themselves as the Deathers. Even more lunatic than the Birthers, the Deather politicians and media wingnuts are equating healthcare reform with death, specifically termination with extreme prejudice to Seniors, even going so far as to say government agents will be visiting the elderly to help them decide how and when they want to go to their Heavenly reward. Somewhere the spirits of George Orwell and Aldous Huxley are wailing and gnashing their teeth for being so conservative in their visions of a totalitarian future in, respectively, 1984 and Brave New World. One of those leading this insane brigade is none other than Rep. Virginia Foxx, the North Carolina Republican who disgraced herself this past spring by arguing against passage of a hate crimes law by asserting on the House floor that Matthew Shepard's death was a hoax, this while Matthew's mother Judy Shepard was sitting in the gallery. She's not the only one—Rep. Paul Broun, R-Georgia, told the House, "quality healthcare at an affordable price is going to kill people." But Rep. Foxx, who needs to be fitted for a straitjacket, is in a league all her own, and thus challenges country gasbag John Rich for Dunce of the Year honors with this second such anointing. To all the other Deathers, may we suggest some long-term, intense psychiatric counseling, or maybe primal scream therapy? Because you are, if we may quote Ralph Kramden, "stark, staring nuts."


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