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Archive for February 17th, 2009

And Now for the Disillusionment Phase

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 17th, 2009 5:40 am by HL

And Now for the Disillusionment Phase

Hope mural

His presidency is not yet a month old, but there already are some who are wondering aloud whether Barack Obama is going to make good on his pre-election pledges. What’s this—he’s a politician?


Los Angeles Times:

And Obama’s recent moves regarding a lawsuit by detainees have left some liberal groups and Bush critics, including the American Civil Liberties Union, feeling betrayed, given that Obama was a harsh critic of Bush’s detainee policies when running for office last year.

The anxiety is also being felt in the labor movement, one of Obama’s most important support bases. Some union officials and their allies are frustrated that at a crucial point in negotiations over his massive stimulus package, Obama seemed to call for limits on “Buy American” provisions in the bill aimed at making sure stimulus money would be spent on U.S.-made materials.

Obama has been president for less than a month, and his liberal critics concede that the economic crisis has understandably taken the focus off their issues. But some of the issues in play were crucial to building excitement on the left and mobilizing grass-roots support for Obama’s candidacy.

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After Stimulus Battle, Liberals Press Obama On Rest Of Agenda

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 17th, 2009 5:39 am by HL

After Stimulus Battle, Liberals Press Obama On Rest Of Agenda
As President Obama prepares to sign a $787 billion economic stimulus package today amid gales of Republican criticism of its cost, he is also facing…

Chris Weigant: The Failure Of Lincoln’s Bipartisan Outreach
Happy birthday, Abie baby,Happy birthday to you!Happy birthday, Abie baby,Happy birthday to you!– “Abie Baby” from the musical “Hair” Since it’s the random Monday when…

Obama Gains G.O.P. Support From Governors
WASHINGTON – President Obama must wish governors could vote in Congress: While just three of the 219 Republican lawmakers backed the $787 billion economic recovery…

Obama Strategy: Keep Lawmakers Close
President Barack Obama’s scheduled signing Tuesday of a $787 billion economic stimulus law culminates three rapid-fire legislative weeks when a new presidential style emerged in…


Obama in the Eye of the Storm

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 17th, 2009 5:38 am by HL

Obama in the Eye of the Storm
CHICAGO — Barack Obama senses that he’s in the middle of a hurricane whose gale-force winds could blow history his way. He doesn’t mind acknowledging that he is learning as he goes along, and he is not bitter about how little help he is getting from Republicans. But he will never again let bipartisanship become the defining test of his success. And, yes, he is aware that the passage of his stimulus package, though a big deal three weeks into a presidency, is only a prelude to the “really tough” part. The next step, “getting credit flowing again” and averting “potential catastrophe in the banking system,” may make the stimulus fight look like a friendly warm-up game.

A Lost Decade Ahead?
“If you delay acting on an economy of this severity, (it potentially) becomes much more difficult for us to get out of. We saw this happen in Japan in the 1990s, where they … suffered what was called the ‘lost decade.'” — President Barack Obama, Feb. 9 “The Japanese … had eight separate stimulus packages. … It was unprecedented. And it didn’t work.” — Conservative TV talk show host Sean Hannity, Jan. 23 We argue by analogy. The president says that Japan’s history demonstrates the need for his “stimulus package.” To the contrary, claim Hannity and other conservatives, Japan shows that stimulus plans don’t work. Up to a point, they’re both right. But the possible parallels between Japan’s experience and our own are much broader and pose the question of whether we, too, might face a “lost decade.”


Newsweek: Report Will Blast Bush Lawyers On Torture Opinions

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 17th, 2009 5:37 am by HL

Newsweek: Report Will Blast Bush Lawyers On Torture Opinions
Those Bush lawyers who approved torture may not be in the clear just yet. Newsweek reveals that a report into the integrity of opinions given by Bush DOJ attorneys, approving water-boarding and other harsh interrogation techniques, is sharply critical of…

The Daily Muck
Illinois Republicans are seeking an investigation into whether Sen. Roland Burris (D-IL) committed perjury after he admitted in a sworn affidavit, released over the weekend, to having been asked by associates of former governor Rod Blagojevich to make campaign contributions…





Justice Department Replaces Stevens Prosecution Team
Talk about ironic. Amid concerns over the integrity of their work, the Justice Department has removed the head of the Public Integrity Section and several other prosecutors from the Ted Stevens trial, according to court filings examined by The Politico….






Lugar is Key Obama Ally on Foreign Policy

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 17th, 2009 5:34 am by HL

Lugar is Key Obama Ally on Foreign Policy
Bloomberg notes that after first joining the U.S. Senate, Barack Obama “would dutifully sit through” hours-long Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearings while more senior members left, “an act of deference to the chairman,” Sen. Richard Lugar, (R-IN).

Said Lugar: “Frequently, Barack Obama and I were the only two people left at the table. On several occasions I made a point just for the record that I appreciated his diligence and patience.”

“At a time when bipartisanship has all but broken down in Washington, the young Democratic president and the 76-year-old Republican wise man are quietly working to restore the notion that politics must end at the water’s edge. The two have spoken on the phone four times since Election Day, a contrast to the limited communication that Lugar had with President George W. Bush over eight years.”


5 of the Most Overrated Legal Highs — An Attack on Everyday Drugs (and a Few You’ve Never Heard of)

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 17th, 2009 5:33 am by HL

5 of the Most Overrated Legal Highs — An Attack on Everyday Drugs (and a Few You’ve Never Heard of)
Have you ever noticed that a lot of the legal drugs out there — including the popular ones, like alcohol — are wildly overrated?

No More Band-Aid Solutions to the Financial Crisis: We Need to Build an Economy that Works
Our economic system has failed in every dimension: financial, environmental, and social. We must go in a new direction.

Blue Dogs: The Democrats Who Love Big Business
A bloc of 49 influential Dems thinks government’s biggest problem is that it provides too much for its citizens.

U.S. Intel Chief’s Shocking Warning: Wall Street’s Disaster Has Spawned Our Greatest Terrorist Threat
The Director of National Intelligence argued that Wall Street, rather than Islamic jihad, has produced our most dangerous terrorists.

Amy Goodman: "The Most Powerful Single Black Individual That’s Ever Walked Planet Earth" — Historian Puts Obama in Context
Ali Marzui, a giant in African studies, explains Obama’s unprecedented rise to power.


Unsolved Terrorist Crimes: A Thought Experiment

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 17th, 2009 5:32 am by HL

Unsolved Terrorist Crimes: A Thought Experiment
The reliable Jackson (MS) Clarion-Ledger has just printed the FBI’s list of unsolved hate-crime murders in Mississippi before 1970. (This list omits the Chaney-Goodman-Schwerner case of 1964, though there may still be living suspects on the loose.) Ask yourself if…

Eric Cantor is Jack Abramoff’s Boy (Don’t Let Them Forget it)
The GOP has decided that Eric Cantor is their fair haired boy. He’s young, he has hair and he’s Jewish. This is the new GOP outreach. Find black, Jewish (and eventually gay) Republicans, move them up, and hope no one…





Obama Sea-change
Nothing of him that doth fade, But doth suffer a sea-change, into something rich and strange -William Shakespeare, The Tempest The essence of my obsession with the concept of The Interregnum is that we are entering a period in which…


Cantor creates rock music video boasting that zero Republicans voted for recovery package.

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 17th, 2009 5:31 am by HL

Cantor creates rock music video boasting that zero Republicans voted for recovery package.
House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA) has created a YouTube video set to the tune of Aerosmith’s “Back In The Saddle” boasting that zero Republicans voted for the recovery package. The video is called “The House GOP is Back.” Watch it: “Republicans in the House of Representatives are trying to mold success out of what is, […]

House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA) has created a YouTube video set to the tune of Aerosmith’s “Back In The Saddle” boasting that zero Republicans voted for the recovery package. The video is called “The House GOP is Back.” Watch it:

“Republicans in the House of Representatives are trying to mold success out of what is, at its core, a legislative failure,” notes the Huffington Post. Many conservatives have been rooting for the economic recovery package’s defeat, hoping to turn it into a political issue in 2010.

George Will makes up facts in his column denying global warming.
In the Washington Post yesterday, conservative columnist George Will chastised Energy Secretary Stephen Chu for “doomsaying” about global warming, arguing that concerns about climate change are just “eco-pessimism.” As evidence to support his point, Will claimed that “according to the University of Illinois’ Arctic Climate Research Center, global sea ice levels now equal those of […]

In the Washington Post yesterday, conservative columnist George Will chastised Energy Secretary Stephen Chu for “doomsaying” about global warming, arguing that concerns about climate change are just “eco-pessimism.” As evidence to support his point, Will claimed that “according to the University of Illinois’ Arctic Climate Research Center, global sea ice levels now equal those of 1979.” But, as TPMmuckraker notes, the Arctic Climate Research Center (ACRC) quickly disputed Will’s claim:

We do not know where George Will is getting his information, but our data shows that on February 15, 1979, global sea ice area was 16.79 million sq. km and on February 15, 2009, global sea ice area was 15.45 million sq. km. Therefore, global sea ice levels are 1.34 million sq. km less in February 2009 than in February 1979. This decrease in sea ice area is roughly equal to the area of Texas, California, and Oklahoma combined.

In its statement, the ACRC added that “It is disturbing that the Washington Post would publish such information without first checking the facts.” Washington Post editorial page editor Fred Hiatt told TPMmuckraker that “he’d try to respond to questions about the editing process later today.” They have yet to hear back from him.


Senators Seek Ethics Findings

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 17th, 2009 5:30 am by HL

Senators Seek Ethics Findings
Two Senate Democrats urged the Justice Department yesterday to quickly release its findings of an ethics investigation into legal opinions under President George W. Bush that paved the way for waterboarding prisoners and other harsh interrogation practices.

Pentagon Rethinks Its 18-Year Ban on Photos and Videos of Coffins Bearing War Dead Home
Every week, Air Force cargo jets land and taxi down the runway at Dover Air Force Base, Del., carrying the remains of fallen U.S. troops. After a chaplain says a simple prayer, an eight-man military honor guard removes the metal “transfer cases” from the planes and carries them to a mortuary van.

After Stimulus Battle, Liberals Press Obama
As President Obama prepares to sign a $787 billion economic stimulus package today amid gales of Republican criticism of its cost, he is also facing quieter misgivings from liberal Democrats who say the bill does not go far enough — and who are already looking ahead to future legislation that they…

Big-City Leaders Call Stimulus a Fine Start
NEW YORK — New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg (I) has said the federal money from the economic stimulus plan could save 14,000 teacher jobs and 1,000 police officer positions he had planned to cut. The money could expand the subway system, avert hospital closures and create a new urban…

Justice Dept. Defends Bush Rule on Guns
The Obama administration is legally defending a last-minute rule enacted by President George W. Bush that allows concealed firearms in national parks, even as it is internally reviewing whether the measure meets environmental muster.