Obama threatens to veto booby-trapped student loan bill as Rove pitches youth vote: President Barack Obama threatened on Friday to veto a House Republican bill that would keep government-backed student loan interest rates at their current level because of a poison-pill amendment, even though his veto would play directly into an obvious trap laid by Republican political strategist Karl Rove. President Obama has said repeatedly that student loan rates must not go up — which they will on July 1 without Congressional action — and the Interest Rate Reduction Act would indeed accomplish those ends. However, it would do so by eliminating the Prevention and Public Health Fund, a key part of Obama’s health care reforms. “This is a politically-motivated proposal and not the serious response that the problem facing America’s college students deserves,” the administration said Friday in a policy statement (PDF), threatening a veto the bill if it lands on Obama’s desk. [rawstory/Stephen C. Webster/27 Apr 2012]
Romney Advises Broke, About-to-be-Unemployed College Students: “Just Borrow Money From Your Parents!”: Back in 2008, I used to argue that Sarah Palin didn’t really exist — that she was actually an incredibly elaborate Tina Fey performance art project, an Andy-Kaufman style hoax. Because, seriously — Palin was so staggeringly vapid that it stretched credibility that she could be for real. It almost seemed more likely that she might be an over-the-top parody of a certain kind of blissfully idiotic, all-American wingnut, than that she was an actual person.
I often have similar thoughts about Mitt Romney. A surpassingly perfect villain for our times, he appears to come straight from central casting as the slick, shifty-eyed C.E.O. who’s fixing to downsize your ass — and implement his evil scheme for world domination while he’s at it. The G.O.P could not have run a more astonishing incarnation of the self-parodying cluelessness of the 1 percenters if they tried. For all practical purposes, it’s as if the the top-hat-and-tails-wearing Monopoly guy was their candidate.
Think I’m exaggerating? The Mittster’s latest Richie Rich moment from the campaign trail has him regaling an audience of economically anxious college students with some swell advice on how to succeed in business: just be like his “friend” sandwich shop entrepreneur Jimmy John, and get your parents to bankroll the costs of a start-up! Hey, that sounds easy — why didn’t I think of that?! Here’s Mittens:
This kind of divisiveness, this attack of success, is very different than what we’ve seen in our country’s history. We’ve always encouraged young people: Take a shot, go for it, take a risk, get the education, borrow money if you have to from your parents, start a business.
Among other things, I love the way Romney frequently drops the names of his fellow plutocrat friends, in what appears to be a disastrously misconceived attempt to impress his audience with his (nonexistent) street cred. The man seems to lack the most rudimentary empathy gene — it’s that pathological. I eagerly wait the scene in the movie he rips off his human mask and reveals the terrifying cyborg alien that dwells underneath. [Washington Monthly/Kathleen Geier/28 Apr 2012]
Mitt Romney Solves Student Loan Problem: Borrow from Your Rich Parents: Under Mitten’s plan, any student can simply sit down at the dinner table, and after mom explains she may have to take on that third job, and dad talks about how he can’t even get an interview for a job that pays him half what he made before he lost his job 20 months ago, but his unemployment insurance is about to expire, the student just lays it out there: “Uh, I need to borrow at least $15,000 every year for a while. Whaddaya think?” Mitt understands this, because as he once told a family, he’s unemployed too. [firedoglake/Scarecrow/27 Apr 2012]
That Bin Laden Quote Makes Romney Look Even Worse Than You Think: The campaign suggests Romney would not have ordered the raid by pointing to a 2007 interview with The Associated Press in which Romney said: “It’s not worth moving heaven and earth spending billions of dollars just trying to catch one person.” …
That quote tells us that Romney was endorsing the George W. Bush approach to bin Laden (“I really just don’t spend that much time on him, to be honest with you”). And that’s the problem: Not only does Romney’s statement suggest that bin Laden would be alive if Romney were president, it suggests that Romney will meekly go along with GOP orthodoxy at all times. [Booman Tribune/Steve M/28 Apr 2012]
Pittsburgh Commuters To Get New Taste of Wingnut Wonderland: Citizens of the City of Pittsburgh who make a habit of traveling from place to place are about to discover some of the benefits of small government conservatism recently installed in the state capitol. Barring an increase in funding from Pennsylvania’s Republican legislature or Governor, getting around in Pittsburgh will become harder this September. A lot harder. On Friday, the board of the Transit Authority of the city (known locally as PAT or Port Authority Transit) voted reluctantly for the deepest round of service cuts and fare increases in its 48 year history. The massive level of service cuts are unprecedented and every neighborhood will feel the effects: 48 of the 102 remaining bus route will be cut; all but 13 bus and light-rail routes will stop running after 10 p.m.; 18 Park ’N Ride lots will be closed; an estimated five to six hundred transit workers will see layoffs; and fares will rise to at least $2.50 for basic, Zone 1 service. The cuts represent 35 percent of city transit services and will likely bring a loss of 40,000 out of 225,000 daily riders. Also planned are higher fares and reductions to the Pittsburgh paratransit “Access” service which provides special needs transportation to seniors and disabled Pittsburghers, many of whom rely on public transit as their only means of getting around. [firedoglake/RFShunt/28 Apr 2012]
Senate told drones now patrolling U.S.-Canada border: SEATTLE — The U.S. government’s unmanned drones patrolling the U.S.-Canadian border are venturing into Washington state’s airspace. In testimony before a U.S. Senate panel this week, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said northern border surveillance using unmanned aerial aircraft now expands from North Dakota to eastern Washington. The two 10,000-pound Predator-B unmanned aircrafts based in Grand Forks, N.D., have a 950-mile coverage range and “they do enter Washington airspace, in the vicinity of Spokane,” said Customs and Border Protection spokeswoman Gina Gray on Thursday. [Associated Press/28 Apr 2012]
Houstonians fight back against TSA public bus searches : Who ever thought TSA raids on public buses was a good idea? When you’ve pushed Texans too far with so-called national security, you should know that you’ve gone much too far. [Americablog/28 Apr 2012]
Bill Banning Employer Facebook Snooping Introduced In Congress: suraj.sun writes: “According to The Hill, ‘The Social Networking Online Protection Act, introduced by Democratic Reps. Eliot Engel (N.Y.) and Jan Schakowsky (Ill.), would prohibit current or potential employers from demanding a username or password to a social networking account. “We must draw the line somewhere and define what is private,” Engel said in a statement. “No one would feel comfortable going to a public place and giving out their username and passwords to total strangers. They should not be required to do so at work, at school, or while trying to obtain work or an education. This is a matter of personal privacy and makes sense in our digital world.”‘ Ars adds, ‘The bill would apply the same prohibitions to colleges, universities, and K-12 schools. … Facebook has already threatened legal action against organizations who require employees to reveal their Facebook passwords as policy.’”
Maryland beat them to the punch, and other states are working on similar laws too. We’ll have to hope the U.S. House doesn’t kill this one like they did the last attempt. The difference this time is that the concept has its own bill, while its previous incarnation was an amendment to an existing bill about reforming FCC procedures. [Slashdot/Soulskill/29 Apr 2012]
ElBaradei launches new Egyptian party: Cairo (CNN) — Egyptian reform leader Mohamed ElBaradei on Saturday launched a new political party that he said would “rescue the great revolution.” Sitting alongside other leading Egyptians, ElBaradei — who dropped his bid for president this year — announced the formation of the Dustour party. “The purpose of this party is for us to rescue the great revolution of January 25th, which has gone off track, and which is close to being aborted, to regain our unity in order to achieve the aims of the revolution — bread, freedom and human dignity,” he said. [CNN/28 Apr 2012]