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City Lights

City Lights's Journal
City Lights's Journal
February 21, 2013

Peterson gets 38 years after screaming, 'I did not kill Kathleen'

Source: Chicago Tribune

Peterson gets 38 years after screaming, 'I did not kill Kathleen'
By Matthew Walberg and Steve Schmadeke Tribune reporters

4:27 p.m. CST, February 21, 2013

Moments after screaming in court, "I did not kill Kathleen," Drew Peterson was sentenced to 38 years in prison for the 2004 murder of his third wife Kathleen Savio.

Peterson had faced as much as 60 years, but Judge Edward Burmila said he gave Peterson some consideration for his years as a police officer and his service in the military. Peterson is 59.

The sentence was handed down after Peterson, who did not testify at his trial, made an emotional appeal to the judge, at times appearing to choke up as he argued that he was convicted by "rumors, gossip, outrageous lies and, most importantly, unreliable hearsay."

"I don't deserve this," he told Burmila. "I don't deserve this."

Peterson, a former Bolingbrook police sergeant, was convicted last fall of drowning Savio in her bathtub.

Peterson began his appeal to the judge today by telling him, "Good day, my name is Drew Peterson. I hope I don't aggravate the situation here, but I have a lot of things to be said." Then he screamed, "I did not kill Kathleen!"

"Yes, you did," a woman said.

Read more: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/chi-drew-peterson-sentence-20130221,0,1883440.story

October 18, 2012

TPM: Romney-Cited Researcher Disputes Romney’s Jobs Math

Sahil Kapur October 18, 2012, 6:30 AM 10081

On Tuesday, one of Mitt Romney’s boldest claims — that his new jobs plan will create 12 million jobs — fell apart.

Quizzed about the claim by Washington Post’s fact-checker Glenn Kessler, the Romney campaign cited three separate studies that, taken together, include numbers that add up to 12 million jobs created. But as Kessler found, the studies employ different time frames, and two of them have no bearing on Romney’s policies.

And, it turns out, not all of the authors believe their research helps justify Romney’s conclusion either.

“I think the WP Washington Post story says it all,” said Ed Morse, a managing director at Citigroup Global Markets, in an email. “I have no comment to add.”

Romney claims that Morse’s Citigroup study proves he’ll create 3 million jobs. But the paper actually concludes that the economy will add 2.7 million to 3.6 million energy jobs over the next eight years if existing policies, including fuel efficiency standards that Romney opposes, are continued.

More at TPM.com

October 17, 2012

TPM: Republicans Try To Seize Control Of The Word ‘Binder’ Following Debate

McMorris-Santoro October 17, 2012, 1:35 PM 35348

Despite the immediate and mostly mocking internet reaction to Mitt Romney’s “binders full of women” remark during the debate at Hofstra Tuesday night, Republicans appear determined to turn “binders” into a metaphorical theme of the campaign.

The Republican National Committee hosted a conference call Wednesday amidst reports that “binders full of women” was the third most popular Google search term after the debate and tried to claim the binder-based attack as its own.

The press release for the conference call advertised that RNC chair Reince Priebus and Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) would “talk about Obama’s empty binder second term agenda.” They were true to their word.

“Obama didn’t lay out a plan for a second term agenda. He’s had two debates, he’s offered plenty of excuses but he hasn’t offered a plan,” Priebus said. “And that’s what we’re calling the empty binder. So either he’s out of ideas or he likes the way that things are going.”

Romney’s binder metaphor came up during a discussion of women in the workplace and pay equality. Romney said he had sought and received “binders full of women” to consider when deciding who to appoint to his cabinet after being elected as governor. Ayotte defended Romney’s record on women, and attacked Obama’s. She also used the binder metaphor against Obama. Twice.

“On this empty binder issue, it’s the president who has the empty binder because there’s no legislation planned for the second term other than more spending. And how are we going to afford that given our $16 trillion in debt?” she said.

More at TPM.com

October 17, 2012

At Last Night’s Debate: Romney Told 31 Myths In 41 Minutes

By Igor Volsky on Oct 17, 2012 at 9:12 am

During the first presidential debate in Denver, Colorado Romney managed to tell 27 myths in his 38 minutes of speaking time. But at his second encounter with Obama in New York, the GOP presidential candidate — who has run a post-truth campaign from day one — outdid himself and crammed 31 myths in 41 minutes:

1) “I want to make sure we keep our Pell grant program growing. We’re also going to have our loan program, so that people are able to afford school.” Paul Ryan’s budget could cut Pell Grants for nearly 1 million college students and even Romney’s white paper on education, “A Chance for Every Child,” suggests that he “would reverse the growth in Pell Grant funding.” It says: “A Romney Administration will refocus Pell Grant dollars on the students that need them most and place the program on a responsible long-term path that avoids future funding cliffs and last-minute funding patches.”

2) “I put out a five-point plan that gets America 12 million new jobs in four years and rising take-home pay.” The Washington Post’s in-house fact checker tore Romney’s claim that he will create 12 million jobs to shreds. The Post wrote that the “‘new math’” in Romney’s plan “doesn’t add up.” In awarding the claim four Pinocchios — the most untrue possible rating, the Post expressed incredulity at the fact Romney would personally stand behind such a flawed, baseless claim.

3) “And the president’s right in terms of the additional oil production, but none of it came on federal land. As a matter of fact, oil production is down 14 percent this year on federal land, and gas production was down 9 percent.” 14 percent is a one-year number. “Overall, oil production on federal land under Obama is up from 566 million barrels in 2008 to 626 million barrels in 2011, a 10.6 percent increase.” Compared to the last three years of President Bush, there have been 241 million more barrels of oil produced from public lands in the first three years of Obama.

4) “Because the president cut in half the number of licenses and permits for drilling on federal lands, and in federal waters.” There are slightly fewer permits in 2009 and 2010, from between 8,000-9,000 permits to over 5,000, and they have not been cut by half. The oil and gas industry is sitting on 7,000 approved permits to drill, where it hasn’t begun exploring or developing. Two-thirds of “acreage leased by [oil] industry lies idle” on public lands, according to the Department of the Interior.

More at ThinkProgress.org

October 15, 2012

Romney’s Unraveling Claim That Six Studies Validate His Tax Plan

Sahil Kapur October 15, 2012, 7:17 AM 4902

In response to the persistent and substantial questions about the math of his tax plan not adding up, Mitt Romney and his campaign frequently argue that six independent studies back him up by ratifying the arithmetic of the centerpiece of his domestic agenda.

But the talking point about the talking point is unraveling.

More and more mainstream from outlets are pointing out that they fail to validate its soundness. And on Sunday Romney senior adviser Ed Gillespie was challenged on Fox News by Chris Wallace, who questioned whether the studies are really nonpartisan.

“Those are very questionable. Some of them are blogs. Some of them are from the AEI [American Enterprise Institute], which is hardly an independent group,” Wallace said. “One of them is from a guy who is — a blog from a guy who was a top adviser to George W. Bush. These are hardly nonpartisan studies.”

“These are very credible sources,” Gillespie said.

More at TPM.com link

October 10, 2012

MoJo: Could Prop. 37 Kill Monsanto's GM Seeds?

Big Ag is spending millions to keep labels off genetically modified foods in California—and with good reason.

—By Tom Philpott | Wed Oct. 10, 2012 3:00 AM PDT

You'd be forgiven for not noticing—unless you live in California, where you've likely been bombarded by geotargeted web ads and TV spots—but this election could spur a revolution in the way our food is made. Proposition 37, a popular Golden State ballot initiative, would require the labeling of food containing genetically modified (GM) ingredients. The food and agriculture industries are spending millions to defeat it, and with good reason: As we've seen with auto emissions standards and workplace smoking bans, as California goes, so goes the nation.

At least 70 percent of processed food in the United States contains GM ingredients. Eighty-eight percent of corn and 93 percent of soybeans grown domestically are genetically modified. Soda and sweets are almost guaranteed to contain GM ingredients, either in the form of corn syrup or beet sugar. Canola and cottonseed oils also commonly come from GM crops. But if those stats make you want to run and examine the labels on the boxes and cans in your pantry, you're out of luck. Unlike the European Union, the US government doesn't require food manufacturers to disclose their use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

Californians appear ready to change that: An August poll found voters in the state favoring Prop. 37 by a margin of 3-to-1. And if they do approve the measure, food companies might well start disclosing GMOs nationwide, since it would be expensive and cumbersome to produce one set of labels for California, home to 12 percent of the nation's population, and another for the remaining 49 states. California voters already have a record of being leaders in food reform: When they passed a ban on tight cages for egg-laying hens in 2008, the egg industry initially fought it. But by 2011, it had begun working with animal welfare groups to take the California standards national.

Why the push to label GMOs? After all, these crops have been marketed as environmental panaceas, and some prominent greens have been convinced. By opposing GMOs, environmentalists have "starved people, hindered science, hurt the natural environment, and denied our own practitioners a crucial tool," Stewart Brand wrote in his 2009 book, Whole Earth Discipline: An Ecopragmatist Manifesto. So far, biotech giants like Monsanto, DuPont, and Syngenta have commercialized two main GM "traits," engineering crops with the bug-killing gene from the insecticide Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) and crops that can withstand Monsanto's Roundup and other herbicides. Yet GM crops' herbicide resistance has caused a 7 percent net increase in pesticide use in the United States since 1996, according to a recent paper by Washington State University researcher Charles Benbrook.

Read more.

September 28, 2012

TPM: Things Are So Bad For Romney, Republicans Are Letting Him Tout RomneyCare

Evan McMorris-Santoro September 28, 2012, 6:23 AM

A little more than 24 hours have passed since Mitt Romney took the base-alienating step of touting the health care law he signed while governor of Massachusetts in an interview with NBC. Unlike the last time his campaign heralded his signature achievement, however, the conservative grumbling was relatively muted.

Why? Because, Republicans say, things are so bad for Romney that they’ll even let him talk up his health care law.

Romney raised the law unprompted during a Wednesday interview with NBC, saying the Massachusetts law — which is very much like the national health care reform law he hopes to eliminate — is evidence that he has a heart.

“Don’t forget — I got everybody in my state insured,” Romney said. “One hundred percent of the kids in our state had health insurance. I don’t think there’s anything that shows more empathy and care about the people of this country than that kind of record.”

A similar statement from a Romney staffer in August led to a total freakout on the right. “This might just be the moment Mitt Romney lost the election,” RedState’s Erick Erickson said at the time. But this week, when the actual candidate was doing it? Not so big a deal.

“Conservatives have bigger fish to fry than worry about doctrine right now,” said Rick Wilson, a Republican consultant based in Florida.

More at TPM.com

September 27, 2012

NEW ROMNEY VIDEO: In 1985, He Said Bain Would "Harvest" Companies for Profits

This clip shows the young CEO focusing on businesses as targets for his investors, not as job creators or community stakeholders.

—By David Corn | Thu Sep. 27, 2012 3:00 AM PDT

Campaigning for the presidency, Mitt Romney has pointed to his stint as the founder and manager of Bain Capital, a private equity firm, as proof he can rev up the US economy and create jobs at a faster clip than President Barack Obama. Last year, while stumping in Florida, Romney declared, "You'd have a president who has spent his life in business—small business, big business—and who knows something about how jobs are created and how we compete around the world." His campaign spokeswoman, Andrea Saul, has said that Romney's Bain days afford him more expertise than Obama to "focus on job creation and turn around our nation's faltering economy." Romney has even claimed that during his tenure at Bain, "we were able to help create over 100,000 jobs." In his acceptance speech at the Republican convention, Romney smacked Obama for having "almost no experience working in a business" and tied that to the sluggish recovery.

But at Bain, Romney's top priority wasn't to boost employment. As the Wall Street Journal recently noted, creating jobs "wasn't the aim of Bain or other private-equity firms, which measure success by returns produced for investors." And, the newspaper reported, Romney's 100,000-jobs claim is tough to evaluate.

Mother Jones has obtained a video from 1985 in which Romney, describing Bain's formation, showed how he viewed the firm's mission. He explained that its goal was to identify potential and hidden value in companies, buy significant stakes in these businesses, and then "harvest them at a significant profit" within five to eight years.

The video was included in a CD-ROM created in 1998 to mark the 25th anniversary of Bain & Company, the consulting firm that gave birth to Bain Capital. Here is the full clip, as it appeared on that CD-ROM (the editing occurred within the original):

March 9, 2012

Mother Jones: Rick Santorum's Housing Hypocrisy

The GOP candidate wants government out of housing and Fannie and Freddie eliminated—but bought his first home with a government-backed mortgage.

—By Andy Kroll and Tim Murphy | Fri Mar. 9, 2012 3:00 AM PST

Rick Santorum wants the government out of every aspect of Americans' lives—especially the housing market. He pledges to eliminate Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the twin government housing giants that help guarantee 90 percent of all new mortgages in America. As for jump-starting the country's dismal housing market, Santorum wants to "let capitalism work" and allow the housing market to "find its bottom." Only then, he says, will the recovery begin. It's a plan that would make Adam Smith proud.

Yet Santorum wasn't always so opposed to government intervention in housing. In a deal that's gone unreported during his presidential run, Santorum bought his first house in 1983 with a cut-rate government-backed mortgage, according to campaign records compiled by Sen. Harris Wofford (D-Penn.), who Santorum defeated in 1994. He received his loan through a state program to boost home ownership among low- and middle-income families. Santorum, in other words, benefited from a program whose mission mirrored that of Fannie and Freddie, the companies he now rails against and wants to dissolve. (Santorum spokesman Hogan Gidley did not respond to a request for comment.)

Santorum, then a law student and a Pennsylvania state senate aide, landed the mortgage through a program run by the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA). He used the $41,600 loan to buy and renovate a three-story brick house in Harrisburg, the state capital. According to a 1994 Philadelphia Inquirer story, the interest rate on the government-backed mortgage was 13.08 percent—more than 3 percentage points lower than the market rate at the time.

The PHFA's loan program was the first of its kind in the state. State bonds backstopped the mortgages, only lenders approved by Fannie and Freddie could issue them, and families earning more than $35,000 did not qualify, according to PHFA records. (Santorum's income totaled $27,000 the year he got the loan.) The loan's promise of a low, fixed interest-rate was so enticing to working and middle class home buyers that, as the Inquirer noted, the PHFA's board decided not to publicize the program, fearing a "potential problem" like a mad rush on the day the loans were made available.

Read the entire piece at MotherJones.com

March 6, 2012

Margaret and Helen: Rush saw his shadow today. Six more weeks of stupidity…

Margaret, evidently you and I are sluts, and so are the majority of women who live in this county. Well good for us. I have always said that well-behaved women rarely make history. I have also said that Rush Limbaugh is a big fat pig. Pigs and sluts. Sadly, that’s what this has all boiled down to.

In 2008, the Democratic Party had a tough decision to make. Would we give America its first female President or would we give American its first African-American President? Would we turn the corner on sexism in this country or racism? Would we finally rise above hate and bigotry and make a statement that we truly are the land of the free? Either way, we would profoundly change the world for the better. And that we did. At the same time, over in the Republican camp, that party was trying to decide if you could see Russia from Sarah Palin’s kitchen window.

This year the Republicans have another tough decision to make as well. Will they decide that Mormonism is a cult or will they decide that women who use birth control are sluts? It’s a tough call. But either way we will profoundly change the definition of just how stupid is stupid. God Bless America.

Margaret, the Republicans had a meeting about birth control and didn’t include a single woman – kind of like the Catholic Church but without the funny hats. It’s like inviting Rush Limbaugh to a Jenny Craig convention or like Sarah Palin calling a family meeting and forgetting to bring the early pregnancy test stick. Why bother?

Read the rest at margaretandhelen.com

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