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Archive for December, 2008

The Daily Muck

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 30th, 2008 5:35 am by HL

The Daily Muck
The committee responsible for looking into possible impeachment proceedings against Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich will not subpoena advisers to President-elect Barack Obama. U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald has stated that subpoenaing Valerie Jarrett and Rahm Emanuel, along with Representative Jesse Jackson…





What Happened To Madoff’s Money?
Almost since the news broke that Bernard Madoff had confessed to running a “$50 billion Ponzi scheme”, one of the key unanswered questions has been, what happened to all that money? The short answer is, we don’t know yet. “It…

With Bailout Money At Stake, It’s Hip To Be A Bank
Maybe TPMmuckraker will reorganize as a bank to get our hands on some taxpayer money. After all, everyone’s doing it. The Project on Government Oversight (POGO), a good-government group, last week sent a letter to Congressional leaders identifying eight financial…


Are Older People Happier?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 30th, 2008 5:34 am by HL

Are Older People Happier?
New research shows that happiness may have little to do with youth, mental sharpness or even physical health.

Gaza: Leaders Lie, Civilians Die and the Lessons of History Are Ignored
Quite a lot of the dead this weekend appear to have been Hamas members, but what is it supposed to solve?

Israel’s Bombs Are Only the Latest Variation in the Killing of Palestinians
Deprived of food and medicine by an Israeli blockade, the most vulnerable Palestinians die silent deaths every day.


Here’s The Playbook: How The Media Will Be Sold On Gaza Attacks

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 30th, 2008 5:33 am by HL

Here’s The Playbook: How The Media Will Be Sold On Gaza Attacks
Check out Dan Fleshler on the strategy to justify what Israel is doing and watch the media fall into line. And here is The Israel Project, dedicated to separating Middle East myths from facts and propagating the myths. And here…

A Much More Pro-Labor Administration
In many ways, it is remarkable how much more pro-labor the Obama administration is compared to the Clinton administration, at least in its rhetoric. Obama himself has often talked about the importance of the right to organize for unions, something…






Bush Refuses To Interrupt His Final Vacation As Middle East Crisis Escalates

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 30th, 2008 5:32 am by HL

Bush Refuses To Interrupt His Final Vacation As Middle East Crisis Escalates
In an effort to “prevent Palestinians from attacking towns in southern Israel” with rockets, Israel today undertook its third day of offensive military airstrikes in the Palestinian territory of Gaza, raising the death toll to more than 300. The Palestinian casualty numbers have been described as the highest over such a brief period since the […]

strike.jpgIn an effort to “prevent Palestinians from attacking towns in southern Israel” with rockets, Israel today undertook its third day of offensive military airstrikes in the Palestinian territory of Gaza, raising the death toll to more than 300. The Palestinian casualty numbers have been described as the highest over such a brief period since the 1967 Six-Day war. Scores of Israelis have been wounded — and at least one killed — by rocket attacks fired by Palestinians. Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak called the situation “all out war.”

While Bush has been briefed on the situation by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley, he has opted not to interrupt his final vacation as president to make a public statement on the crisis. For someone who has enjoyed the most vacation days as sitting president — including days spent relaxing in comfort during Hurricane Katrina and in the lead-up to 9/11 — it shouldn’t come as a huge surprise that Bush prioritizes vacationing over crisis management. ABC News reports:

Even an emerging crisis in the Middle East, one he pledged to resolve just 13 months ago, has not drawn President George W. Bush from his final vacation before leaving office. Despite his personal pledge at Annapolis last year to broker a deal between Israel and the Palestinians before 2009, this weekend Bush sent his spokesmen to comment in his stead. […]

Since departing Washington for Crawford on Friday, President Bush has made no attempt to be seen in public. In fact, he has yet to leave his ranch.

Today, in a press briefing delivered from the “Western White House” in Crawford, TX, White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe was asked what is on Bush’s schedule today. In addition to receiving “updates on the ongoing situation,” Johndroe said, “I expect he’ll probably ride his bicycle today and spend time with Mrs. Bush.” Watch it:

President-elect Barack Obama has also been monitoring the violence from his vacationing spot in Hawaii, staying in contact with Bush and Rice. “President Bush speaks for the United States until Jan. 20 and we’re going to honor that,” Obama adviser David Axelrod said.

One senior Bush administration official told the Washington Post that he thinks the Israelis acted in Gaza “because they want it to be over before the next administration comes in” and because “they can’t predict how the next administration will handle it.” Indeed, Bush has become fairly predictable in how he manages these sorts of crises.


GOP Leaders Seek Extensive Vetting of Stimulus Plan

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 30th, 2008 5:31 am by HL

GOP Leaders Seek Extensive Vetting of Stimulus Plan
Congressional Republicans objected yesterday to hurried consideration of President-elect Barack Obama’s emerging stimulus proposal, questioning the economic value of many of the projects being floated for inclusion and voicing support for a more methodical process that might delay the legislation’s…

Obama Team Engages Public on Health Care
DUBLIN, Ind., Dec. 29 — Dolly Sweet, 77, has battled cancer more than once. She’s a fighter. But when her doctor recently prescribed a medication that cost $35,000 a year, she felt she had no choice.

Blagojevich Lawyer Implores Panel
SPRINGFIELD, Ill., Dec. 29 — Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s attorney said Monday that a vague array of charges and evidence do not merit removing the governor from office, and he urged a committee in the state House not to recommend impeachment.


Israeli air strikes on Gaza continue for second day, Hamas calls for ?third intifada.?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 29th, 2008 6:27 am by HL

Israeli air strikes on Gaza continue for second day, Hamas calls for ?third intifada.?
In response to increased rocket attacks from a number of Palestinian groups, Israel launched a second wave of air strikes late Saturday and early Sunday morning. The weekend’s estimated death toll increased to 280. Last week, Hamas declared an end to a rocky six-month-old ceasefire agreement. The IDF is reportedly “sending tanks and infantry […]

In response to increased rocket attacks from a number of Palestinian groups, Israel launched a second wave of air strikes late Saturday and early Sunday morning. The weekend’s estimated death toll increased to 280. Last week, Hamas declared an end to a rocky six-month-old ceasefire agreement. The IDF is reportedly “sending tanks and infantry reinforcements southward in preparation for possible ground incursion.” After the first wave of air strikes yesterday, Hamas launched a new series of rocket attacks, while Khaled Meshal, Hamas’s political leader, said during an interview, “This is the time for a third Intifada.” The White House called Hamas ‘thugs,’ saying, “Israel is going to defend its people against terrorists like Hamas that indiscriminately kill their own people.”


An Insanity Plea for Madoff?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 29th, 2008 5:39 am by HL

An Insanity Plea for Madoff?

Madoff

It might seem a stretch, but fallen financier Bernard Madoff’s legal team may be “exploring an insanity defense,” according to the New York Daily News.



“Rush & Molloy” in the New York Daily News:

“Bernie’s family and his attorneys may argue that, somewhere along the line, he had a mental break,” says a Madoff acquaintance. “They may even say he has a multiple personality disorder.”

Madoff’s grip on reality does show signs of slipping. The 70-year-old financier, now a prisoner of his East Side penthouse, wore a weird smile when he was photographed shortly after his Dec. 12 arrest. He’s also said to be taking a heavy dose of anti-anxiety medication.

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R. B. Stuart: “Sister Soldier: A Chronicle of Life After Iraq” – Part I

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 29th, 2008 5:38 am by HL

R. B. Stuart: “Sister Soldier: A Chronicle of Life After Iraq” – Part I
My sister Fran’s cancer appeared at the beginning of January. She felt tired, bloated, and had an unusual feeling of fullness, and immediately thought her term in Iraq was the culprit.

Paul Jenkins: The GOP’s White Supremacy
Like a restricted country club that would rather die than change, the Republican Party is marginalizing itself for the sake of the white men who run it.

Robert Kuttner: Deficit or Depression?
Now that we are collectively up a creek, what exactly should we do? First, the rest of us need to take back our democracy from the tiny elite we that got us into this predicament. The government needs to spend a lot of money, so that the collapsing private economy does not end up as Great Depression II. When recovery comes, we can get the budget closer to balance. But if we attempt fiscal austerity in a severe recession, depression is all but guaranteed.

Quinn: Blagojevich Will Be Impeached By Lincoln’s 200th Birthday
CHICAGO — The lieutenant governor of Illinois said Sunday he is certain scandal-plagued Gov. Rod Blagojevich will be out of office in less than two…

Franken, If Up In Votes, Should Be Seated Before Legal Battles End: Klobuchar
With concern rising in Minnesota that the state could be without a Senator for the crucial early months of the next Congress, Sen. Amy Klobuchar…


Laura Bush, Roundtable

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 29th, 2008 5:37 am by HL

Laura Bush, Roundtable
CHRIS WALLACE, HOST: I’m Chris Wallace. The latest on a second day of air strikes in the Middle East, plus a live interview with Israel’s foreign minister — all that and more on “Fox News Sunday.” First Lady Laura Bush reflects on her eight years at the White House in an exclusive interview. We’ll ask her about some of the causes she helped champion, the role she played in President Bush’s decision-making, and her advice for the Obama family — First Lady Laura Bush, only on “Fox News Sunday.” Plus, what does 2009 have in store for the worlds of politics, sports and entertainment? We’ll get some predictions from our Sunday group — Bill Sammon, Jill Zuckman, Fred Barnes and Ceci Connolly, all right now on “Fox News Sunday.”


Top OTS Official Removed in Wake of IndyMac Failure

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 29th, 2008 5:36 am by HL

Top OTS Official Removed in Wake of IndyMac Failure
The Office of Thrift Supervision has removed its west region director as a result of an inspector general’s investigation into the collapse of IndyMac earlier this year, according to correspondence made public today by Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA). Darrel Dochow…





Former White House Aide Pleads Guilty To Bilking Government-Funded Group
Felipe Sixto — the former aide to President Bush charged with stealing from a government-funded agency that works for democracy and human rights in Cuba — pleaded guilty today to theft from a federally aided program, reports the Associated Press…

Stevens Case ‘Whistle-Blower’ Revealed To Be FBI Agent
We now know that the federal employee alleging government misconduct in the Ted Stevens case is a special agent with the FBI, according to a heavily redacted version of the agent’s complaint released today. While working on Operation Polar Pen…