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Archive for August 3rd, 2008

McCain Vetting Cantor

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 3rd, 2008 4:42 am by HL

McCain Vetting Cantor
Sen. John McCain’s campaign has asked Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) for personal documents “as the Republican presidential candidate steps up his search for a running mate,” the Associated Press reports.

“Cantor, 45, the chief deputy minority whip in the House, has been mentioned among several Republicans as a possible running mate for McCain. A Republican familiar with the conversations between Cantor and the McCain campaign said Cantor has been asked to turn over documents, but did not know specifically what records were sought.”

Politico: “With a Southern lilt and that belies his talent for raw politics, Cantor is one of the nation’s most prominent Jewish Republicans, and has impressed the McCain team by becoming a prolific fund-raiser for the campaign.”


Party of Trolls

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 3rd, 2008 4:41 am by HL

Party of Trolls
Shorter GOP: We got nothing. Better start trolling!

The NYTimes, profiling trolls.

In the days after the Megan Meier story became public, Lori Drew and her family found themselves in the trolls’ crosshairs. Their personal information — e-mail addresses, satellite images of their home, phone numbers — spread across the Internet. One of the numbers led to a voice-mail greeting with the gleeful words “I did it for the lulz.” Anonymous malefactors made death threats and hurled a brick through the kitchen window. Then came the Megan Had It Coming blog. Supposedly written by one of Megan’s classmates, the blog called Megan a “drama queen,” so unstable that Drew could not be blamed for her death. “Killing yourself over a MySpace boy? Come on!!! I mean yeah your fat so you have to take what you can get but still nobody should kill themselves over it.” In the third post the author revealed herself as Lori Drew.

This post received more than 3,600 comments. Fox and CNN debated its authenticity. But the Drew identity was another mask. In fact, Megan Had It Coming was another Jason Fortuny experiment. He, not Lori Drew, Fortuny told me, was the blog’s author. After watching him log onto the site and add a post, I believed him. The blog was intended, he says, to question the public’s hunger for remorse and to challenge the enforceability of cyberharassment laws like the one passed by Megan’s town after her death.

GOP campaign history:

Kennedy had spent years on the bench as a juvenile and family-court judge, during which time he had developed a strong interest in aiding abused children. In the early 1980s he had helped to start the Children’s Trust Fund of Alabama, and he later established the Corporate Foundation for Children, a private, nonprofit organization. At the time of the race he had just served a term as president of the National Committee to Prevent Child Abuse and Neglect. One of Rove’s signature tactics is to attack an opponent on the very front that seems unassailable. Kennedy was no exception.

Some of Kennedy’s campaign commercials touted his volunteer work, including one that showed him holding hands with children. “We were trying to counter the positives from that ad,” a former Rove staffer told me, explaining that some within the See camp initiated a whisper campaign that Kennedy was a pedophile…. “[Kennedy] is a small, well-groomed, well-educated family man, and what they tried to do was make him look like a homosexual pedophile. That was really, really hard to take.”

The GOP in 2008: Distort! Smear! Slander! Defame! Invent! Slime! Dissemble! Betray! Snivel! RATFUCK!

Or, to get right down to it:

Troll.


The Fairy Tale Revisited

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 3rd, 2008 4:40 am by HL

The Fairy Tale Revisited

Barack Obama is having a press conference this morning and it is being dominated by questions about the ‘race card.’ That makes it a good press conference for McCain. The big hook for McCain is the fact that Obama supporters disgracefully smeared Bill and Hillary Clinton during the Democratic primaries. The McCain riposte to pushback from Obama supporters is “that’s what you said about Bill and Hillary Clinton.” Take Bob Herbert for instance. Today he writes:

John McCain didn’t appreciate them. RACE CARD! RACE CARD! The McCain camp started bellowing, and it hasn’t stopped since. With great glee bursting through their feigned outrage, the campaign’s operatives and the candidate himself accused Senator Obama of introducing race into the campaign — playing the race card, as they put it, from the very bottom of the deck. . . . Senator McCain is the head of a party that has viciously exploited race for political gain for decades. He’s obviously more than willing to continue that nauseating tradition.

Here’s the problem — Bob Herbert spent the entire Democratic primary accusing Bill and Hillary Clinton of having no class, being persons without scruples and of playing the race card. He is now disqualified from pushing back against John McCain’s race baiting and disgraceful campaign. Indeed, McCain welcomes a blast from Bob Herbert. Why? Because he can quote what Herbert wrote and said about Bill and Hillary Clinton. More . . .

A few examples. This one:

The Clinton camp knows what it’s doing, and its slimy maneuvers have been working. . . . [I]t’s legitimate to ask, given the destructive developments of the last few weeks, whether the Clintons are capable of being anything but divisive. The electorate seems more polarized now than it was just a few weeks ago, and the Clintons have seemed positively gleeful in that atmosphere.

It makes one wonder whether they have any understanding or regard for the corrosive long-term effects — on their party and the nation — of pitting people bitterly and unnecessarily against one another. What kind of people are the Clintons? . . .

Or this one:

Class is not a Clinton forte. But it’s one thing to lack class and a sense of grace, quite another to deliberately try and wreck the presidential prospects of your party’s likely nominee — and to do it in a way that has the potential to undermine the substantial racial progress that has been made in this country over many years.

The Clintons should be ashamed of themselves. But they long ago proved to the world that they have no shame.

These are just a couple of examples and this was seen all over Obama World, from Bob Herbert, Eugene Robinson, to Jim Clyburn to bloggers like Josh Marshall, Kevin Drum, Matt Yglesias, Ezra Klein, etc.

The fairy tale has come home to roost. All the dirty work these folks did during the primaries to slime Bill and Hillary Clinton is now fodder for John McCain. Of course he was going to going dirty, ugly, negative and would race bait. The wonder is none of these folks realized that when they said and did anything about Bill and Hillary Clinton to favor Obama that all of it would come back to haunt Obama in the general election.

Of course their behavior was disgraceful, but more than that, it harms Barack Obama now.

By Big Tent Democrat, speaking for me only

(Comments over 200, thread closed.)


The Bus System of the FUTURE

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 3rd, 2008 4:39 am by HL

The Bus System of the FUTURE
Real time bus tracking (Seattle edition) plus awesome iPhone-type interface, including route mapping and trip planning.

Good morning, kids!
I think the problem is sitemeter, which I’ve removed from my own site until they fix whatever they did. In the meantime, you’ll have to view sites that are using it with some browser other than IE. If you have sitemeter on your site, you might want to remove it until they fix whatever they did yesterday.

Cheers,
Not Atrios


Unauthorized Immigrants Getting Railroad Justice in Flashy ICE Raids

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 3rd, 2008 4:38 am by HL

Unauthorized Immigrants Getting Railroad Justice in Flashy ICE Raids
Suspected unauthorized immigrants are getting the shaft from the judicial system.

Will an Organic Revival Overthrow the “Green Revolution”?
In places like India, backlash is increasing against the chemical-dependent farming techniques of the “Green Revolution.”


Joe Klein: I Was “Wrong” To Call McCain An Honorable Man

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 3rd, 2008 4:37 am by HL

Joe Klein: I Was “Wrong” To Call McCain An Honorable Man
Joe Klein, who early on maintained that McCain was an honorable fellow who could be counted on to run an upstanding campaign, recently wrote that he was beginning to harbor doubts about his assessment of McCain’s character. Now, however, he’s…


Hedging

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 3rd, 2008 4:36 am by HL

Hedging
To hear the accepted account, John McCain was with the surge from the beginning, not just after violence started to decline in mid-2007. Actually for most of the first half of the year, he was hedging his bets, saying he…


The LiberalOasis Radio Show: Food Politics Edition

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 3rd, 2008 4:35 am by HL

The LiberalOasis Radio Show: Food Politics Edition

Today at 10 AM ET, The LiberalOasis Radio Show was broadcast on WHMP-AM in Western MA. My special guest was Jill Richardson of La Vida Locavore, who discussed the state of food politics and how individuals can become more involved in establishing a safe and environmentally sound food supply.

The audio podcast for the show is here: (iTunes / XML feed / MP3).

NOTE: I have to eat some of the words in my opening monologue, which is taped on Friday morning.

I argued on the show that Sen. Barack Obama “planted his flag against coastal drilling,” based on his Thursday speech in Cedar Rapids, Iowa:

Instead of offering any real plan to lower gas prices, Senator McCain touts his support for George Bush’s plan for offshore oil drilling. But even the Bush Administration acknowledges that offshore oil drilling will have little impact on prices. It won’t lower prices today. It won’t lower prices during the next Administration. In fact, we won’t see a drop of oil from this drilling for almost ten years.

While this won’t save you at the pump, it sure has done a lot to raise campaign dollars. Last month, Senator McCain raised more than a million dollars from oil and gas company executives and employees – most of which came after he announced his drilling plan in front of a bunch of oil executives in Houston.

This is not a strategy designed to end our energy crisis – it’s a strategy designed to get politicians through an election, and that’s exactly why Washington has failed to do anything about our energy dependence for the last thirty years.

However, on Friday afternoon, a bipartisan group of 10 senators announced a compromise energy bill, which would lift the ban on coastal drilling for Florida; allow Georgia, the Carolinas, and Virginia to do the same; while keeping the ban in place for the Pacific Coast and the northeast). At the same time, the plan would take away tax giveaways to oil companies to fund $84 billion over 10 years towards investment in clean energy and fuel-efficiency.

Obama embraced such an approach in concept, without endorsing all the specifics.

He told the Palm Beach Post:

My interest is in making sure we’ve got the kind of comprehensive energy policy that can bring down gas prices. If, in order to get that passed, we have to compromise in terms of a careful, well thought-out drilling strategy that was carefully circumscribed to avoid significant environmental damage – I don’t want to be so rigid that we can’t get something done.

Though in the interview, he did not abandon the facts about drilling:

I think it’s important for the American people to understand we’re not going to drill our way out of this problem. It’s also important to recognize if you start drilling now you won’t see a drop of oil for ten years, which means its not going to have a significant impact on short-term prices. Every expert agrees on that.

And he put out a statement specific to the “Gang of 10” proposal:

“For too long, partisan gridlock and special interest influence has blocked progress on some of the most urgent challenges facing the American people, and that is especially true when it comes to our energy crisis. That is why I welcome today’s bipartisan effort as an important step in the process of reducing our dangerous dependence on foreign oil, and why I look forward to September’s bipartisan energy summit.

“Today’s announcement includes many of the policies I’ve been fighting for during my time in the Senate and over the course of this campaign. It would repeal tax breaks for oil companies so that we can invest billions in fuel-efficient cars, help our automakers re-tool, and make a genuine commitment to renewable sources of energy like wind power, solar power, and the next generation of clean, affordable biofuels.

“Like all compromises, it also includes steps that I haven’t always supported. I remain skeptical that new offshore drilling will bring down gas prices in the short-term or significantly reduce our oil dependence in the long-term, though I do welcome the establishment of a process that will allow us to make future drilling decisions based on science and fact.

“But I’ve always believed that finding consensus will be essential to solving our energy crisis, and today’s package represents a good faith effort at a new bipartisan beginning. In the coming days, I’ll be laying out additional steps I believe we must take to bring down gas prices for good and truly free ourselves from our dependence on foreign oil.”

This morning, Obama was asked about it. The Swamp reports:

“This wasn’t really a new position,” he said today. “What I was saying was, we can’t drill our way out of the problem.

“What that means is, if we want to have true oil independence, true energy independence, then we’re going to have to become more efficient,” Obama said. “What I said was… what I’ve seen so far (from a so-called ‘Gang of 10” energy bill which several senators are promoting) has some of the very aggressive elements” that he wants to see in an energy plan.

“I remain skeptical of some of the drilling positions, but I will give them credit that the way they crafted the drilling positions are about as careful as you might expect… from a drilling agenda. What I don’t want is for the bad to be the enemy of the good.”

And The Page quotes him as saying today: “I have to accept things I don’t like,” “At some point people are going to have make some decisions– are we going to keep on arguing, or are we going to get some things done?” and “We can’t allow partisan bickering, or the desire to score political points, to get in the way of providing genuine relief to people who are struggling.”

Some news and blog headlines are calling this a “shift” or a “cave.” I don’t think that’s quite right at this point.

But it is unquestionably a “softening” of his position — since he is not making positive argument for drilling, but saying he would accept some loosening of the ban in exchange for something else — and that makes my earlier characterization on the radio show inoperative.

How serious is this?

For one, I’m not terribly convinced this compromise bill is going anywhere. The Florida senators, one D and one R, are adamantly opposed. Big Oil’s lobbying arm, the American Petroleum Institute is not happy with the tax provisions (and I suspect they also don’t care for the requirement to only sell the oil in America and not on the global market).

And Sen. John McCain — Mr. Super Bipartisan Maverick — said he won’t do anything that raises taxes on oil companies (of course, he just said “raises taxes” as conservatives often do to falsely imply it would affect your taxes.)

Is the compromise remotely reasonable?

Well, if the proposal to totally lift the ban on coastal drilling was silly before, because the estimated available 18 billion barrels isn’t enough oil to lower prices more than a few pennies two decades from now, it’s even sillier now. The southeastern area of our coastline has only a quarter of what’s available off our shores. It’s a quarter of a drop in the bucket, while still risking environmental damage.

Further, while $84 billion for clean energy is a start, it’s only a fraction of what’s needed. (The Apollo Alliance calls for $300 billion to transition to a clean energy economy in 10 years.)

On the other hand, any drilling wouldn’t happen for years, while an extension of renewable energy tax credits through 2012 would happen immediately, which is quite critical for growing clean energy companies to attract private capital and avoid collapse. There would potentially be time to reinstate the coastal drilling ban after we make progress on clean energy.

What does this say about Obama?

That he’s a compromiser, which is not news. It will be frustrating at times dealing with that fact, and that is also not news.

Going back to my five questions to ask when a presidential candidate does something you don’t agree with, the last one is: “Is there a way to advance your view in hopes of constructively pushing your candidate without undermining your candidate?”

At this stage, there certainly is.

Obama is only opening the door to compromise because the Democratic Party and outside forces for clean energy (myself included) have collectively done a poor job countering conservative propaganda, debunking the arguments for drilling (which Obama has tried to do, but hasn’t had much help) and amplifying support (which clearly exists) for policies that reduce dependence on increasingly expensive oil.

So let Obama know that there is strong support for holding the line against foolish drilling, and for a more effective energy policy. And to give Obama the requisite political cover, keep pushing the media to report the facts about drilling.


McCain: The original political celebrity

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 3rd, 2008 4:34 am by HL

McCain: The original political celebrity
If Barack Obama gave new meaning to the term ?political celebrity,? then John McCain helped define it…

Kidnapping father in custody
Clark Rockefeller, suspected of kidnapping his 7-year-old daughter in Boston on Sunday, has been taken into custody in Baltimore, sources close to the case told ABC News today…


Study: Estimate on H.I.V. infection is 40 percent higher than previously believed.

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 3rd, 2008 4:33 am by HL

Study: Estimate on H.I.V. infection is 40 percent higher than previously believed.
A new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds that “the United States has significantly underreported the number of new H.I.V. infections occurring nationally each year.” According to the study, “the annual infection rate is 40 percent higher than previously estimated.” The CDC knew the numbers in October, but waited for them […]

A new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds that “the United States has significantly underreported the number of new H.I.V. infections occurring nationally each year.” According to the study, “the annual infection rate is 40 percent higher than previously estimated.” The CDC knew the numbers in October, but waited for them to be released in a peer-reviewed journal:

The C.D.C. has known of the new figures since last October when the authors completed a manuscript and sent it to the first of three journals. But the agency refused to release the findings until they were published in a peer reviewed medical journal. The first two journals rejected the authors’ request for a fast-track review.

The paper is being published in the Aug. 6 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association. The journal and the disease centers had planned to release it at a news conference on Sunday at the opening of the 17th International AIDS Conference here. But the paper was released on Saturday because the embargo was broken. A number of leading health experts have criticized the agency for not releasing the information earlier. Last Nov. 21, C.D.C officials told AIDS advocacy groups and reporters that the data would be released soon.