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Archive for February 15th, 2009

Rules of War Weren’t Made for Only One People

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 15th, 2009 5:39 am by HL

Rules of War Weren’t Made for Only One People

Sachsenhausen

The organized persecution of a group is despicable whether the victims are the Jews of World War II or today’s Gazans.

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Democrats Tailor Foreclosure Bill To Obama Goals

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 15th, 2009 5:38 am by HL

Democrats Tailor Foreclosure Bill To Obama Goals
As President Obama prepares to announce a program next week to stem the soaring rate of foreclosures, key Democratic lawmakers say they are planning to…

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On Weekend Edition , Simon and Schorr misrepresented census policies of Clinton, Obama

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 15th, 2009 5:37 am by HL

On Weekend Edition , Simon and Schorr misrepresented census policies of Clinton, Obama

On the February 14 broadcast of NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday, host Scott Simon and senior news analyst Daniel Schorr misrepresented the policies of the Clinton and Obama administrations on the census. Schorr stated that “minority groups and the black caucus have objected to having the census come under a Republican conservative, because they say that there was an undercount in the census of up to 6 million in the last census.” Simon replied, “But that was under the Clinton administration. That was under a Democratic administration.” Schorr agreed, saying, “It was under a Democratic administration.” In fact, contrary to Simon’s suggestion that the Commerce Department under Clinton was opposed to the calls by “minority groups and the black caucus” to use statistical sampling for the decennial census, the Clinton administration did plan to use sampling for the 2000 census; however, the Supreme Court decided that while the Census Bureau could use sampling for some purposes, a federal statute barred its use for the reapportionment of congressional districts. Subsequently, the Bush administration reversed the Clinton administration’s plan to use statistical sampling for census data released to states for the purposes of congressional redistricting.

Additionally, Schorr claimed that the Obama White House said that the census “won’t be under the Department of Commerce. We’ll take it to the White House.” In fact, while a February 5 CQ Today article stated that according to an unnamed “senior White House official,” “[t]he director of the Census Bureau will report directly to the White House and not the secretary of Commerce,” the Obama administration has repeatedly denied that it plans to, in the words of White House spokesman Ben LaBolt, “remov[e] the census from the Department of Commerce.”

Contrary to Simon’s suggestion that the Clinton administration opposed the use of sampling in the census, the Supreme Court stated in the 1999 case Department of Commerce v. United States House of Representatives that the Commerce Department under Clinton “announced a plan to use two forms of statistical sampling in the 2000 Decennial Census to address a chronic and apparently growing problem of ‘undercounting’ of some identifiable groups, including certain minorities, children, and renters.” In the case, which dealt with statutory and constitutional challenges to the Commerce Department’s plan, the court stated in its majority opinion that the Census Act “prohibits the proposed uses of statistical sampling in calculating the population for purposes of apportionment.” As Media Matters for America has documented, the court also explicitly stated that it was not deciding whether the Constitution banned sampling for that purpose.

The court decided that the Census Act did not bar the Commerce Department from using sampling in the decennial census for other purposes. Discussing amendments to the Census Act passed in 1976, the majority opinion stated:

[T]he amendments served a very important purpose: They changed a provision that permitted the use of sampling for purposes other than apportionment into one that required that sampling be used for such purposes if “feasible.” They also added to the existing delegation of authority to the Secretary to carry out the decennial census a statement indicating that despite the move to mandatory use of sampling in collecting nonapportionment information, the Secretary retained substantial authority to determine the manner in which the decennial census is conducted. [emphases in original]

Subsequently, however, President Bush’s first commerce secretary, Don Evans, decided that for purposes of redistricting, the department would release as its “official data” only data that had not been adjusted by sampling, thereby reversing the Clinton administration’s policy.

Additionally, during the Weekend Edition segment, Schorr claimed that in response to the concerns of “the black caucus,” “the White House said, ‘OK, it won’t be under the Department of Commerce. We’ll take it to the White House.’ ” In fact, in a February 5 statement, LaBolt stated that the White House planned to “return” to the “model” of the “historic precedent for the director of the Census, who works for the commerce secretary and the president, to work closely with White House senior management.” During a February 6 briefing, press secretary Robert Gibbs was asked whether the White House had “moved the control of the Census Bureau into the White House for the purposes of the 2010 census.” Gibbs stated: “No. … I think the historical precedent of this is there’s a director of the census that works for the Secretary of Commerce, the President, and also works closely with the White House, to ensure a timely and accurate count. And that’s what we have in this instance.” Moreover, LaBolt reportedly said on February 11, “This administration has not proposed removing the census from the Department of Commerce and the same congressional committees that had oversight during the previous administration will retain that authority.”

From the February 14 edition of NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday:

SIMON: President Obama’s nominee for commerce secretary, Republican Senator Judd Gregg of New Hampshire, took his name out of the running. He cited disagreement over the stimulus package.

SCHORR: Mm-hmm.

SIMON: There was another reason, though, too, wasn’t there?

SCHORR: That is a fascinating story. That had to do with the Census Bureau, which is preparing for the big census in 2010. That’s under the Department of Commerce. If he were the secretary of commerce, he would be in charge of it. Except that minority groups and the black caucus have objected to having the census come under a Republican conservative, because they say that there was an undercount in the census of up to 6 million in the last census, and there may be —

SIMON: But that was under the Clinton administration. That was under a Democratic administration.

SCHORR: It was under a Democratic administration. But the black caucus went to the White House and said, “We can’t have a census that may work against us and take away some of our voting rights,” so to speak. And the result of that was, the White House said, “OK, it won’t be in the Department of Commerce. We’ll take it to the White House.”

At that point, Senator Gregg says, “What, what? One of the big things that the Commerce Department does is run the census, and you’re going to take that away?” I have a feeling that that was a triggering mechanism for him to pull out.


Real Progress for the American People

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 15th, 2009 5:36 am by HL

Real Progress for the American People
This week, I spent some time with Americans across the country who are hurting because of our economic crisis — people closing the businesses they scrimped and saved to start; families losing the homes that were their stake in the American Dream; folks who’ve given up trying to get ahead, and given in to the stark reality of just trying to get by. They’ve been looking to those they sent to Washington for some hope at a time when they need it most.


Presented By:

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 15th, 2009 5:35 am by HL

Presented By:

Domenici Subpoenaed In US Attorneys Probe
Last week, TPMmuckraker reported that the investigation by prosecutor Nora Dannehy into the US Attorney firings was focusing on Pete Domenici. And today, the Washington Post reports that Dannehy has issued a subpoena to the former New Mexico Republican senator….


History And The White Swan

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 15th, 2009 5:34 am by HL

History And The White Swan
Eric and bluemeanie have kicked off a terrific thread, and in so doing have underscored a key question that has resonated throughout this week’s discussion: How can the past inform the present? History rarely repeats. But to borrow the…

Carol Browner
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Iraq attacks account for more than half of global suicide terrorism since 1981.

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 15th, 2009 5:33 am by HL

Iraq attacks account for more than half of global suicide terrorism since 1981.
In an analysis of trends in suicide attacks worldwide since 1981 (pdf), researcher Assaf Moghadam presents a pretty shocking statistic: Iraq accounts for 1,067 suicide attacks in the period under review — “a number that accounts for more than half (54.8%) of all suicide attacks since 1981. The sheer volume in which this tactic has […]

In an analysis of trends in suicide attacks worldwide since 1981 (pdf), researcher Assaf Moghadam presents a pretty shocking statistic:

Iraq accounts for 1,067 suicide attacks in the period under review — “a number that accounts for more than half (54.8%) of all suicide attacks since 1981. The sheer volume in which this tactic has struck Iraq is even more impressive since no suicide attacks were recorded in Iraq prior to the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003.

The Wonk Room’s Matt Duss comments: “Understand, this is what George W. Bush’s strategy of ‘fighting them over there so we don’t have to fight them over here’ entails. Luring terrorists to Iraq to blow themselves up in markets and mosques wasn’t some tragic side-effect of Bush’s plan, it was in fact a component of Bush’s plan. Let’s not pretend to be confused when Iraqis fail to show appropriate gratitude.”


Starting Out Strong

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 15th, 2009 5:32 am by HL

Starting Out Strong
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