Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) took to the Senate floor Thursday to castigate fellow Republicans for holding up aid to Ukraine over provisions boosting funding for the International Monetary Fund.
“What has happened? Where are our priorities? Is the IMF, no matter whether it’s fixed or not fixed with this legislation, more important than the lives of thousands of people? Is that what we’re talking about here?” he said.
He invoked Republicans’ secular saint — President Ronald Reagan. “I will say to my friends who were objecting to this — and there are a number of them on my side — you can call yourself Republicans. That’s fine, because that’s your voter registration. Don’t call yourself Reagan Republicans. Ronald Reagan would never, would never let this kind of aggression go unresponded to by the American people.”
He went on, “So now because of an IMF fix, or a campaign finance fix, we are now going to reject a piece of legislation that was done in a bipartisan basis with the leadership of the chairman who I see on the floor, of which I’m proud, ranking member, Senator Corker of Tennessee, and we’re going to say ‘no.’ And you know the most ridiculous thing about all of this is? The majority leader has filed cloture. We have well over 60 votes. So we’re going to be back in about 11 or 12 days, whatever it is. Cloture will have been expired. It’s well over 60 votes. And we will pass this.”
Marathon Petroleum, which received a $175-million tax break from the City of Detroit in a mammoth expansion project, is coming under fire from City Council for failing to hire enough Detroiters.
When Marathon asked the city for the tax break as part of the company’s plan to expand its operations in southeast Detroit in 2007, with the appeal came a pledge to recruit Detroiters for new jobs at the refinery.
The City Council granted the company the personal property tax abatement, forgoing millions in tax revenue. Even with the tax break, a city analysis estimated the expansion would generate $181 million in income taxes, real property taxes and other fees for the city over two decades.
“As we discuss job creation, please understand that we will do what we can to hire qualified Detroit residents,” then-Marathon Senior Vice President Garry Peiffer wrote to City Council in 2007. “It is our intention to work closely with the Detroit Workforce Development Department and a local institution of higher education to develop curriculum and offer training for interested Detroit residents.”
But the vision to hire more Detroiters never materialized. Now city officials will more closely monitor Marathon’s hiring practices to ensure the company is making an effort to hire Detroit residents.
“In a city with double-digit unemployment, any company that’s receiving a tax abatement of nearly $180 million should be giving more back, including hiring residents,” Councilwoman Saunteel Jenkins said in an interview.
Marathon employs 514 full-time workers at its refinery, thanks to the $2.2-billion expansion. That’s up from about 320 employees in 2007, when the city approved the personal property tax abatement, the largest of its kind in Detroit history.
Of the 514 employees, 30 are listed as Detroit residents as of January. In 2007, before the expansion, the company employed 15 Detroit residents. That means fewer than 6% of Marathon’s workers at the refinery live in the city, according to the company’s employment records, which must be submitted to the city annually under terms of its abatement agreement.
The LGF audience is not one that requires further proof of the nature of the economic recovery since the Great Recession. But a couple numbers are out that are just glaring, arguably insulting or offensive when taken together. But we do get a lot of visitors than just breeze through our Pages. This Page is for anyone who simply does not grasp the scale of how top loaded the recovery has been.
Number of Millionaires in U.S. Reaches a New High
By Walter Hamilton
March 13, 2014, 11:49 a.m.
There are more millionaires in the United States than ever before.
The number of households with net worth of $1 million or more, excluding their homes, is at a record 9.63 million, according to a new report.
That eclipses the old mark of 9.2 million in 2007 before the global financial crisis, according to the Spectrem Group research firm. The tally of millionaires slipped to 6.7 million in 2008 as the financial crisis struck.
The study reinforces other data showing that the wealthy are doing well compared to many other segments of society.
Dozens of Popular WeChat Accounts Deleted Amidst Crackdown: Shanghaiist
WeChat is a growing social media app in China, and abroad. Within China’s borders, it’s giving Sina Weibo — a homebrewed version of Twitter — a run for its money. And like Weibo, WeChat has attracted the attention of China’s Internet censors.
Dozens of popular WeChat accounts, some with hundreds upon thousands of followers, were shut down or suspended yesterday, most likely in part of the government’s sweeping crackdown on online content.
Many of the accounts were operated by online news outlets like NetEase or popular columnists such as Xu Danei, whose account had an estimated 200,000 subscribers. South China Morning Post cited industry insiders who said the suspension order was handed down yesterday afternoon with no given reason, and that most of the shuttered accounts were known for posting commentaries on articles covering current affairs.
“No reason was given,” the insider said. “Some of the accounts were shut permanently.”
Some of America’s right wing Twitterati were complaining about a “gulag” of banned accounts last year — a gulag that exists mostly in their own heads. Here’s what a real “Twitter gulag” looks like, and what real (not imagined) government censorship looks like.
Take that, Dr. Ben Carson.
The Missouri House of Representatives approved a bill Tuesday that would require women to wait 72 hours before having an abortion, The Associated Press reports. If the proposal is passed by the Senate and later becomes law, Missouri would become the third state after Utah and South Dakota to require a three-day waiting period before the procedure.
“If you are going to make a decision about life or death, shouldn’t it take more than three days to think about it?” Rep. Tim Jones, a Republican, asked at a rally in the state Capitol rotunda, according to the AP.
Militants in the Gaza Strip fired dozens of rockets Wednesday into southern Israel, sending civilians rushing into bomb shelters but causing no casualties. The Israeli military said it was the largest rocket barrage since 2012, when it launched an eight-day air campaign in Gaza it said was aimed at stopping the attacks.
The Israeli military said its aircraft targeted “29 terror sites in the Gaza Strip” in retaliation late Wednesday.
Gaza health official Ashraf Al Kedra said nobody was hurt in the Israeli strikes that he said targeted training sites used by the Islamic Jihad and Hamas militant groups.
Israel’s military said Gaza militants fired more than 40 rockets at Israel in two hours, with three intercepted by its “Iron Dome” missile defense system and eight hitting populated areas. The others fell in open areas. The barrage set off air-raid sirens in southern communities within range of the rockets.
This week Dobson and Joshua Campbell, a Ph.D. candidate who is now a geographer for the State Department in Washington, D.C., published a study called “The Flatness of U.S. States” in Geographical Review, a peer-reviewed journal published by the American Geographical Society. In it they listed the top five flattest states.
Kansas wasn’t one of them. The flattest state is Florida. The most mountainous state? Well, it isn’t Colorado. It’s West Virginia.
The inspiration for Dobson’s research came as he drove across Kansas with a GPS transmitter on his dashboard. “The first 300 miles [480 kilometers] is hilly, and the last 150 miles [240 kilometers] is truly flat,” he said, with a caveat: “You are on an interstate and highway planners tend to choose the flattest land.”
he far-right is ready to run jointly in the European elections, but only up to a certain point. At a press conference in Strasbourg, anti-EU MEPs, Marine Le Pen, Franz Obermayr and Philip Claeys, announced they would not choose a common candidate for the European elections.
Under the umbrella of the European Alliance for Freedom, the French National Front (FN), the Austrian Party for Liberty (FPÖ) and the Belgian Vlaams Belang (VB) hope to lay the foundations for the creation of a far-right grouping at the EU level.
“We thought about the possibility of presenting a candidate for the European elections,” MEP Franz Obermayr from the FPÖ admitted at the press conference, saying there was no lack of “charismatic leaders” in far-right parties in Europe, such as Marine Le Pen in France and Dutch Geert Wilders in the Netherlands.
However, “we will not do it for democratic reasons,” the Austrian MEP claimed.
More at BBC
Syria’s parliament on Thursday approved a new election law which for the first time in decades allows multiple candidates to run for president, just months before the war-torn nation heads to the polls.
However the new law prevents exiled opposition leaders from running against President Bashar al-Assad, as it stipulates candidates must have lived in Syria for 10 consecutive years.
Damascus has not officially announced a presidential election but Assad is expected to seek a new seven-year term in the middle of this year despite a raging conflict that has killed more than 140,000 people and displaced millions in three years.
Ukraine began mobilizing its new National Guard on Friday as tension over the fate of Crimea heightened. Street violence flared again and Russia warned that it “reserves the right to take people under its protection.”
More than 600 men and women turned up near the city’s Independence Square on Friday morning to volunteer for the force, which was formally created by parliament on Thursday. With fists pumping in the air and many making the ‘V’ for victory sign, the recruits boarded buses and headed off to a military base about 50 kilometres away for two weeks of training. Most were already wearing military-type uniforms, which they had bought at local stores.
“We want to go to Crimea and keep our territory all Ukraine. If Russians want to get our territory, we’re going to fight,” said one volunteer Max Mazur.