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Archive for March 12th, 2009

The Point of Pointing Fingers

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 12th, 2009 4:43 am by HL

The Point of Pointing Fingers

Obama speaks disdainfully of “ideology,” but there comes a time when first principles need to be articulated. Conservatives have entered this fight with guns blazing while progressives have hidden behind a Maginot Line armed only with the word pragmatism.

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A Changing Community Now Wants Softer U.S. Policy on Cuba

A majority of Florida’s Cuban-Americans, including many former hard-liners, have come to oppose a U.S. embargo strategy that has proved futile over the decades.

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Burris Added As Defendant In Special Election Lawsuit

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 12th, 2009 4:42 am by HL

Burris Added As Defendant In Special Election Lawsuit
U.S. Sen. Roland Burris has been added to the list of defendants in a lawsuit aimed at forcing Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn to call an…

The Wacky Characters Who Populate The White House Briefing Room (VIDEO)
There’s no more prestigious post for a Washington journalist than to be a member of the White House press corps. But oddly enough, it isn’t…

ABC Calls Out Conservative Group For Smearing Pelosi
The treasure trove of documents obtained by Judicial Watch from the Department of Defense regarding Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s use of military aircraft…

Bob Cesca: The “Obama Bear Market” and Other Tales of Cable News Insanity
How could President Obama possibly be held responsible for a stock market decline that’s been underway since the Dow’s high water mark in October of 2007?

Tom Vander Ark: Eli Finally Won
Obama’s speech sounded like Eli wrote it. It was about choice and charter schools, human capital and performance pay. It was right on message from pre-school to college.


Hannity misrepresents source of editorial to claim that “liberal media” outlet claimed Obama has “embarrassed America”

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 12th, 2009 4:41 am by HL

Hannity misrepresents source of editorial to claim that “liberal media” outlet claimed Obama has “embarrassed America”

On the March 10 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio program, Sean Hannity claimed that “the solid wall of the liberal media, in terms of support for [President Obama], may be starting to crack.” To support this claim, Hannity said, “In fact, we have the leading newspaper in San Francisco, no less, complaining that it looks like amateur hour at the White House, and they’re saying that Obama has, already, quote, ’embarrassed America.’ ” Hannity then read from what he claimed was a San Francisco Chronicle editorial criticizing Obama. In fact, the editorial from which Hannity read was not from the San Francisco Chronicle, which endorsed Obama in the 2008 presidential election, but rather The San Francisco Examiner, which endorsed Sen. John McCain in that race.

From the March 10 edition of ABC Radio Networks’ The Sean Hannity Show:

HANNITY: Now the solid wall of the liberal media, in terms of support for the anointed one, may be starting to crack. In fact, we have the leading newspaper in San Francisco, no less, complaining that it looks like amateur hour at the White House, and they’re saying that Obama has, already, quote, “embarrassed America.”

And here’s their editorial today, San Francisco Chronicle: It was embarrassing enough that President Barack Obama insulted British Prime Minister Gordon Brown last week by handing him 25 movie videos as the chief executive’s diplomatic gift to the visiting representative of America’s most important ally. Compared to Brown’s gifts, which included a pen holder which was made of wood from a British warship that helped stamp out the slave trade, Obama’s gift, in the words of The Telegraph, looked like the kind of thing the White House might hand out to a visiting head of a minor African state. Even worse is the context in which the huge diplomatic gaffe took place — a six-week succession of miscues, oversights, miscalculations, and outright errors that suggest things may have gone seriously wrong in the White House.

The list of Obama administration blunders include: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton telling the European Union at a gathering that American democracy has been around a lot longer than European democracy. This no doubt particularly surprised the Dutch, whose republic commenced years before the U.S. won its independence. Somebody should tell Clinton about Athens, too.

Then they go on, they say White House chief of staff “Rahmbo” — deadfish, my words — and OMB director Peter Orszag saying that Obama’s going to sign the $410 billion omnibus spending bill because it’s last year’s business, even though the bill requires the president’s signature now to become law. Saying that a catastrophe would result from delays in passing the $1.3 trillion stimulus bill, according to Obama, who took a four-day shopping trip with his family in Chicago before signing the emergency legislation.

Remember [Sen.] Sherrod Brown’s [D-OH] mother had died, and he had to fly back that Friday — he didn’t sign it until the following Tuesday. Attorney General Holder, calling Americans a nation of cowards.

Folks, this is the San Francisco Chronicle. And they’re — they’re getting a lot — they haven’t even begun to touch the surface as we have.


Richard Allen Davis: Safe on Death Row

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 12th, 2009 4:40 am by HL

Richard Allen Davis: Safe on Death Row
When a jury found Richard Allen Davis guilty of the murder of Petaluma’s 12-year-old Polly Klaas in 1996, Davis puckered his lips and extended a middle finger to TV cameras. Later, Davis was sentenced to death, and outraged California voters passed a three-strikes sentencing law. From death row now, Davis still is puckering up and extending his finger at the public — and the public is paying for it. It’s 2009, yet it was only this month that Davis’ first appeal was argued before the California Supreme Court.


Stanford Financial: Help Wanted!

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 12th, 2009 4:39 am by HL

Stanford Financial: Help Wanted!
Allen Stanford may have been accused of orchestrating an $8 billion Ponzi scheme. But maybe things aren’t all doom and gloom for his firm. It looks like Stanford Financial is still hiring — even in these tough economic times! The…

McGraw-Hill Tells Kids: “Good Intentions Caused The Financial Crisis”
Looks like someone’s been reading a few too many of those Republican talking points on the financial crisis. You may not have been aware of this, but apparently “good intentions caused the financial crisis.” That’s the headline of a helpful…

Schumer Wants Probe Of Theresa Hatt Phenomenon
From TPMmuckraker to the U.S. Senate. Kind of. Remember our story from last month about how a Bank of America estates rep tried to guilt-trip the son of a deceased card-holder into paying his mother’s credit-card balance, though he was…






Cloning, pro and con

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 12th, 2009 4:36 am by HL

Cloning, pro and con


Defense Lobbyist, Relatives Gave Lawmakers $1.5 Million

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 12th, 2009 4:35 am by HL

Defense Lobbyist, Relatives Gave Lawmakers $1.5 Million
CQ Politics: “A defense lobbyist and his family made $1.5 million in political contributions from 2000 through 2008 as the lobbyist’s now-embattled firm helped clients win billions of dollars in federal contracts. A sizable chunk of those campaign dollars went to the House members who control Pentagon spending.”


Howard Zinn: Obama "Is Going to Need Demonstrations and Protest and Letters and Petitions" to Do the Right Things

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 12th, 2009 4:34 am by HL

Howard Zinn: Obama "Is Going to Need Demonstrations and Protest and Letters and Petitions" to Do the Right Things
The author of A People’s History of the United States discusses his newest project and why dissent is as important as ever.

The Financial Crisis Pushes Europe to the Brink of Disaster
What is happening there will make things worse for us here.

America Is a Dangerous Vigilante, Heroes Are Sociopaths: The Not-So-Mythical World of ‘Watchmen’
"Watchmen" depicts what happens when an individual or a nation assumes unwarranted and unlimited powers.


Revisionism

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 12th, 2009 4:33 am by HL

Revisionism
As a historian of the period about which Robert Norrell is writing, I have two fairly strong reactions to his new biography of Booker T. Washington, Up from History. On the one hand, I know Norrell to be a…

Freeman Opponents Pyrrhic Victory
I know the blogosphere has been waiting with bated breath (whatever that means) to know what I think the implications are of Amb. Chas Freeman’s withdrawal yesterday. I don’t know but, after a few conversations, I have an idea. For…

America, Get a Grip
Last night on the NBC Nightly News, one of the lead stories was of a homeless encampment in Sacramento, California–complete with archival images of depression era shantytowns. This morning the stock market is up 300 points and GE, which some…


Vitter went ?ballistic on an airline worker,? then ?fled the scene? before security arrived.

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 12th, 2009 4:32 am by HL

Vitter went ?ballistic on an airline worker,? then ?fled the scene? before security arrived.
Last week, scandal-plagued Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) went “ballistic on an airline worker after missing a flight from Washington’s Dulles airport to New Orleans.” After arriving just 20 minutes before the plane was scheduled to depart, Vitter gave the airline employee who denied him entrance to the already closed gate “an earful, employing the timeworn […]

vittersad.jpgLast week, scandal-plagued Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) went “ballistic on an airline worker after missing a flight from Washington’s Dulles airport to New Orleans.” After arriving just 20 minutes before the plane was scheduled to depart, Vitter gave the airline employee who denied him entrance to the already closed gate “an earful, employing the timeworn ‘do-you-know-who-I-am’ tirade that apparently grew quite heated.” But when the employee left to find a security guard, Vitter “simply fled the scene”:

Vitter, according to the witness, remained defiant, yelling that the employee could call the police if he wanted to and their supervisors, who, presumably, might be more impressed with his Senator’s pin.

But after talking a huffy big game, Vitter apparently thought better of pushing the confrontation any further. When the gate attendant left to find a security guard, Vitter turned tail and simply fled the scene.

(HT: Raw Story)

Update Vitter said today that Roll Call is making much too much of the incident:

“After being delayed on the Senate floor ensuring a vote on my anti-pay-raise amendment and in a rush to make my flight home for town hall meetings the next day, I accidentally went through a wrong door at the gate,” Vitter said in a statement. “I did have a conversation with an airline employee, but it was certainly not like this silly gossip column made it out to be.”

Update A TSA spokeswoman said that the agency “will be reviewing the alleged incident.”

?Fair And Balanced? Fox News Wages Assault On Unions, Distorts Facts Of Employee Free Choice Act
Yesterday, the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) — a bill that makes it easier for workers to form unions and prevent employer harassment and intimidation — was introduced in both the House and Senate. The bill allows workers to unionize if a majority agrees, rather than forcing them to go through the months-long and often […]

Yesterday, the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) — a bill that makes it easier for workers to form unions and prevent employer harassment and intimidation — was introduced in both the House and Senate. The bill allows workers to unionize if a majority agrees, rather than forcing them to go through the months-long and often fruitless process of negotiating with powerful employers for the right to organize.

With a multi-million dollar campaign to defeat the bill under way, Fox News has enthusiastically taken up the anti-union, Big Business talking points. Even putting aside the network’s frequent right-wing guests, Fox News hosts describe EFCA using anti-union rhetoric while constantly distorting the truth about the legislation:

– BILL HEMMER: “Soon Americans who want to say no to unions might not be able to vote in private.

– BILL O’REILLY: “Union officials have an open invitation to appear here on The Factor. They won’t, because their arguments for socialism won’t stand up.

– MARTHA MACCULLUM: “This is going to make it very tough for small businesses to function. … They might have to lay people off!

Watch some of the worst examples from the last 72 hours:

No matter how many times it’s been debunked, the Fox hosts keep repeating the falsehood that workers will no longer have access to a secret ballot under EFCA. The legislation does not eliminate the secret ballot. The bill would simply allow workers to choose whether to have a majority sign-up or a normal election process. And as American Rights At Work points out, a secret ballot is no guarantee to a fair election. Under current rules, union organizers do not have equal access to voters, the right to free speech, funding and resources equal to employers, or the ability to bring about elections in a timely manner.

More than concern for the secret ballot, the Fox hosts make it clear they are simply against unions. When they insist that union bosses — not employers — are intimidating workers, or when they declare that unions that drive up wages and benefits are harmful for Big Business, it’s clear whose side they’re on — and it’s not the American worker’s.