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Archive for March 27th, 2009

Rare Red Meat

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 27th, 2009 4:43 am by HL

Rare Red Meat

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What You Dig

Here are the five most-read stories from the last week, including Chris Hedges on America’s moral meltdown and Robert Scheer on the economic incompetents who find easy employment in the Obama administration. Full list after the jump.

Note: Two of these items were actually published earlier than this week, but were so popular they still made it into the top five.

1. Chris Hedges on Education’s Role in Capitalist Abuses
America Is in Need of a Moral Bailout”—The methods used to attain what we want, we are told by reality television programs, business schools and self-help gurus, are irrelevant. Success, always defined in terms of money and power, is its own justification. Our moral collapse is as terrifying, and as dangerous, as our economic collapse.

Obama, Gensler and Tarullo

2. Robert Scheer on Obama’s Lousy Economic Team
Obama’s Toxic Advisers”—Bernie Sanders, the senator from Vermont who is independent in spirit as well as party label, has placed a hold on President Obama’s nomination of Gary Gensler to head the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Sounds like a minor issue to get worked up about, but I see this appointment as further evidence that the president has entrusted his economic policy to the wrong people.

Cuomo and AIG

3. Robert Scheer on the AIG Swindle
Perp Walks Instead of Bonuses”—There must be a criminal investigation of the AIG debacle, and it looks as if New York’s top lawman is on the case. The collusion to save this toxic company in order to salvage the rogue financiers who conspired to enrich themselves by impoverishing millions is being revealed as the greatest financial scandal in U.S. history.

4. Scott Ritter on the Climate Crisis
Obama’s Plan to Save the World”—Forget about terrorism for a moment. The potential catastrophe that climate change could unleash on America makes every other national security crisis pale in comparison. President Obama cannot secure the homeland without addressing this global emergency.

5. The Truthdig Book Review Edited by Steve Wasserman
Jacob Heilbrunn on Alger Hiss”—Susan Jacoby’s lucid new book reminds us that the Hiss case offered a vengeful postwar right a golden opportunity to tar the New Deal as a crypto-communist conspiracy—and why it still matters.

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Obama’s Afghanistan Plan: 4,000 More Troops

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 27th, 2009 4:42 am by HL

Obama’s Afghanistan Plan: 4,000 More Troops
WASHINGTON — Grappling with a war gone awry, President Barack Obama plans to send thousands more U.S. forces into Afghanistan, hoping to hasten the end…

Robert Schlesinger: Laura Tyson: “The Democratic Coalition Is Badly Broken”
Laura Tyson, on the President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board, says that the “Democratic coalition is badly broken.” Do you suppose that struggle over how to…

Tom Vander Ark: In Favor of Risk
Risk capital made this country great — that and an amazing foundation of founding principles. But we’re getting ready to send risk capital overseas.

Howie Klein: Paul Ryan Throws A Poisoned T-Bone Towards The Blue Dogs
John Spratt (D-SC) has long been considered a decent moderate and a budget hawk. Unlike the Republican party-line rubber stamps, he believes the emergency…

Shannyn Moore: Palin Appoints “W.A.R.”
Governor Palin just nominated Wayne Anthony Ross as the new attorney general. He’s anti-choice advocate and NRA official, is a blatant pander to the base Sarah Palin is hoping to woo in the 2012 election.


NY Times mag sends a sports and music writer to do a science writer’s job

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 27th, 2009 4:41 am by HL

NY Times mag sends a sports and music writer to do a science writer’s job

For an article to be published March 29, The New York Times Magazine sent Nicholas Dawidoff, whom Brad Johnson refers to as a “baseball writer” and who has not previously written about science for the Times, to profile physicist and global warming skeptic Freeman Dyson. Dawidoff, who has published four books — The Fly Swatter, a biography of his grandfather Alexander Gerschenkron; In the Country of Country, a collection of biographies of country musicians; The Catcher Was A Spy: The Mysterious Life Of Moe Berg; and The Crowd Sounds Happy: A Story of Love, Madness and Baseball — and began his career covering baseball for Sports Illustrated, allowed Dyson to advance the falsehood that in the 1970s, there was a widespread belief that the earth was cooling that is tantamount to the current global warming consensus. Dawidoff also quoted Dyson accusing Al Gore of being global warming’s “chief propagandist” and “an opportunist” and scientist James Hansen, the head of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, of “consistently exaggerat[ing] all the dangers” of global warming.

New York Times science writer Andrew Revkin reported in a New York Times Dot Earth blog post that Hansen responded to Dyson’s characterization, writing: “Mr. Dyson’s own analytical work on climate and greenhouse gases is very limited, however, which is why James Hansen of NASA, whose work is strongly challenged by Mr. Dyson in the magazine story, fires back that Mr. Dyson ‘doesn’t know what he’s talking about.’ ”

According to a Nexis search, Dawidoff has written the following articles for The New York Times Magazine:

  • A December 28, 2008, article about lyricist Lew Spence, headlined “A Tune for His Times.”
  • An August 22, 2008, article headlined “John McEnroe Is Still Pretty Complicated.”
  • A December 30, 2007, article about tennis player Gloria Connors, mother of tennis star Jimmy Connors, headlined “Mom vs. the World.”
  • A December 28, 2003, article about New York Mets fan and frequent caller to New York City radio station WFAN Doris Bauer headlined “THE LIVES THEY LIVED; Doris of Rego Park.”
  • An October 13, 2003, article about Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, headlined “Mr. Washington Goes to Mississippi.”
  • An August 26, 2001, article about the 2001 baseball season, headlined “The Way We Live Now: 8-26-01; Hurts So Good.”
  • An August 12, 2001, article about the Mets’ minor league stadium in Brooklyn, headlined “The House That Rudy Built.”
  • An April 4, 1999, article about the beginning of the 1999 baseball season, headlined “The Way We Live Now: 4-4-99 — Vocal Minority; The Tyranny of the Slugger.”
  • An October 19, 1997, article about newspaper columnist Sidney Zion headlined “Hopefuls, Street Toughs; Power Brokers; Networkers; Strivers; Grande Dames; Musclemen; Exiles; Reformers; Purists; Clones; Big Mouths; Outsiders; Air Kissers; Fanatics; Gossips; Nightclubbers; The Last Smoke-Filled Room.”
  • A January 26, 1997, article about Bruce Springsteen entering the political arena, headlined “The Pop Populist.”
  • A December 29, 1996, article about bluegrass singer Bill Monroe, headlined “GOOD SAD.”

Dawidoff has also written the following pieces printed in other sections of The New York Times:

  • A June 15, 2008, op-ed about his father’s mental illness, headlined “The Man Who Wasn’t There.”
  • A June 1, 2008, article for the Times‘ former quarterly sports magazine “Play” (a separate section from The New York Times Magazine) about sports fans, headlined “These Total Stangers Are My Family.”
  • An October 4, 2005, op-ed about the Peck Slip boulevard in New York City, headlined “Catch of the Day.”
  • An October 30, 2004, op-ed about the Red Sox winning the 2004 World Series, headlined “What Boston Won, What Boston Lost.”
  • A September 29, 2002, book review of former Major League Baseball commissioner Fay Vincent’s book The Last Commissioner, headlined “A Kid in a Candy Store.”
  • A March 30, 2002, op-ed about baseball teams’ payrolls, headlined “Buying Up Baseball’s Possibilities.”
  • An October 20, 2001, op-ed about resuming the Major League Baseball playoff series after the 9-11 terrorist attacks, headlined “It’s Still O.K. to Root Against the Yankees.”
  • A March 23, 2000, op-ed about playing major league games in Japan, headlined “The International Pastime?”
  • A May 30, 1999, book review of Marcos Breton and Jose Luis Villegas’ book Away Games, headlined “The Dominican National Pastime.”


Geithner Announces Regulatory Reform Plan

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 27th, 2009 4:40 am by HL

Geithner Announces Regulatory Reform Plan
To the House Financial Services Committee Thank you Chairman Frank, Ranking Member Bachus, and other members of the Committee. I appreciate the opportunity to testify about the critical topic of financial regulatory reform. Over the past 18 months, we have faced the most severe global financial crisis in generations. Some of the world’s largest financial institutions have failed. Equity and real estate prices have fallen sharply, eroding the value of our savings. The supply of credit has tightened dramatically. Confidence in the overall financial system, in the protections it is supposed to afford for investors and consumers, has eroded. These financial pressures have intensified the recession now underway around the world.

Drugs, Guns and a Reality Check
WASHINGTON — It’s an indictment of our fact-averse political culture that a statement of the blindingly obvious could sound so revolutionary. “Our insatiable demand for illegal drugs fuels the drug trade,” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told reporters on her plane Wednesday as she flew to Mexico for an official visit. “Our inability to prevent weapons from being illegally smuggled across the border … causes the deaths of police, of soldiers and civilians.” Amazingly, U.S. officials have avoided facing these facts for decades. This is not just an intellectual blind spot but a moral failure, one that has had horrific consequences for Mexico, Colombia, Peru, Bolivia and other Latin American and Caribbean nations. Clinton deserves high praise for acknowledging that the United States bears “shared responsibility” for the drug-fueled violence sweeping Mexico, which has claimed more than 7,000 lives since the beginning of 2008. But that means we will also share responsibility for the next 7,000 killings as well.


Presented By:

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 27th, 2009 4:39 am by HL

Presented By:

AIG Execs: We’re Being Extorted!
No really, AIG Financial Products chief Gerry Pasciucco told a meeting of his European based derivatives gurus that the money vortex CEO Ed Liddy’s request that they return their bonuses amounted to “blackmail.” That’s according to a London-based recipient of…


Of Course He Is…

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 27th, 2009 4:36 am by HL

Of Course He Is…
An actual undoctored comic book cover, presented without further comment…


New Poll in NY-20

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 27th, 2009 4:35 am by HL

New Poll in NY-20
We’ll have a new poll on the special election in NY-20 later this morning… check back for details. It promises to be an exciting weekend in that race.

Coleman Donor Ordered Payments
The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that a former CFO of a Texas company controlled by a close friend of Norm Coleman said in a deposition last week that he was ordered to pay $100,000 to a Minneapolis insurance agency where Coleman’s wife was employed — even though their was no indication of any services received.


How Bush and Co. Broke the Law to Keep Women from Using Birth Control

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 27th, 2009 4:34 am by HL

How Bush and Co. Broke the Law to Keep Women from Using Birth Control
Political operatives and ideological helpmates of George W. Bush broke the law to keep birth control away from women — particularly teenagers.

Obama Should Have Taken the the Pot Question Seriously At His Public Townhall
Since 1965, police have arrested over 20 million Americans for violating marijuana laws. Obama shouldn’t laugh at questions about legalizing it.

Why Is a Progressive Think Tank Telling Obama to Escalate the War in Afghanistan?
It is deeply disappointing that the Center for American Progress has issued a call for a 10-year war in Afghanistan.

How Bush and Co. Broke the Law to Keep Women from Using Birth Control
Political operatives and ideological helpmates of George W. Bush broke the law to keep birth control away from women — particularly teenagers.

Cell Phone Scare: What Do We Really Know About the Health Risks?
Given the confusing studies and the fact that cell phones are a part of modern life, what is a concerned person to do?


A Pro-Unity Government Palestinian Minister from Fatah Speaks Out

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 27th, 2009 4:33 am by HL

A Pro-Unity Government Palestinian Minister from Fatah Speaks Out
Yesterday afternoon, I had the pleasure of hosting Advisor to President Mahmoud Abbas and Palestine Minister for Economic Development Mohammad Shtayyeh in my office to discuss the status of Palestinian Government unity government talks between Fatah and Hamas….

Budget Deficits and Blow Up Dolls: It’s the Economy Stupid!
In the movie Lars and the Real Girl, the main character imagines that a female blow-up doll is his fiancé. To humor Lars, his brother and sister-in-law go along with the charade. Over the course of the movie, more people…

Energy Conservation and Taxes
Jeff Zeleny reports this morning that President Obama promised Centrist Democratic Senators that “he will think about his proposal to raise taxes on gas and oil producers, which has evoked an outcry among small producers in gulf states.” It is…






Kristol Launches Project For A New American Century 2.0: ?The Foreign Policy Initiative?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 27th, 2009 4:32 am by HL

Kristol Launches Project For A New American Century 2.0: ?The Foreign Policy Initiative?
In November, after Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and his neoconservative foreign policy were soundly defeated at the polls, Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol told right-wing talker Hugh Hewitt that he was considering putting together a refashioned version of the Project for a New American Century (PNAC). “A little bit of a political organization” for “the […]

kagan.jpgIn November, after Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and his neoconservative foreign policy were soundly defeated at the polls, Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol told right-wing talker Hugh Hewitt that he was considering putting together a refashioned version of the Project for a New American Century (PNAC). “A little bit of a political organization” for “the Fred Kagans and Bob Kagans and Reuel Gerechts of the world” wouldn’t “be bad,” said Kristol:

Kristol’s new “political organization” for neoconservatives is now a reality:

A newly-formed and still obscure neo-conservative foreign policy organisation is giving some observers flashbacks to the 1990s, when its predecessor staked out the aggressively unilateralist foreign policy that came to fruition under the George W. Bush administration.

The blandly-named Foreign Policy Initiative (FPI) – the brainchild of Weekly Standard editor William Kristol, neo-conservative foreign policy guru Robert Kagan, and former Bush administration official Dan Senor – has thus far kept a low profile; its only activity to this point has been to sponsor a conference pushing for a U.S. “surge” in Afghanistan.

Though it’s not mentioned on their Foreign Policy Initiative (FPI) bio page, Kristol and Kagan were co-founders of PNAC in 1997. Matt Duss writes at the Wonk Room that Kristol and Kagan seem to be re-naming their old organization because it became “inextricably bound in the public’s imagination to one of the worst foreign policy blunders in American history,” the invasion of Iraq.

Noting that FPI’s first public event next week, Afghanistan: Planning For Success, features a heavy representation of Iraq war advocates, Duss suggests that a far better title for the event would be Afghanistan: Dealing With The Huge Problems Created By Many Of The People On This Very Stage.

ThinkFast: March 26, 2009
U.S. and Pakistani intelligence officials are “drawing up a fresh list of terrorist targets for Predator drone strikes along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, part of a U.S. review of the drone program.” Pakistani officials want the program to target domestic extremists. Adding to the “fragility of the situation,” the U.S. believes Pakistan’s intelligence agency is supporting […]

pakafgh.jpg

U.S. and Pakistani intelligence officials are “drawing up a fresh list of terrorist targets for Predator drone strikes along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, part of a U.S. review of the drone program.” Pakistani officials want the program to target domestic extremists. Adding to the “fragility of the situation,” the U.S. believes Pakistan’s intelligence agency is supporting the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Today, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner plans to propose “a sweeping expansion of federal authority over the financial system, breaking from an era in which the government stood back from financial markets and allowed participants to decide how much risk to take in the pursuit of profit.” The plan would regulate derivative trading for the first time, as well as hedge funds and large insurers like AIG.

Despite the focus on Wall Street executives and their bonuses, “This is a blue-collar recession, just like we saw in ‘81,” Andrew Sum, professor of labor economics at Northeastern University, told the Washington Times. “In fact, we’ve seen no net loss among college graduates. At least not yet.” Close to 70 percent of the 5 million jobs lost in the recession belonged to blue-collar workers, Sum said.

Melting glaciers in the Alps may prompt Italy and Switzerland to redraw their borders near the Matterhorn,” according to new legislation being prepared in Rome. “This draft law is born out the necessity to revise and verify the frontiers given the changes in climate and atmosphere,” Franco Narducci of Italy’s Democratic Party said.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton offered “a blunt mea culpa,” in Mexico yesterday saying that U.S. “anti-narcotics policies have been a failure and have contributed to the explosion of drug violence south of the border.” “Our insatiable demand for illegal drugs fuels the drug trade,” she said, adding, “Our inability to prevent weapons from being illegally smuggled across the border” arms the drug warriors.

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