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Archive for May 7th, 2009

Bush Lawyers Likely in the Clear

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 7th, 2009 4:44 am by HL

Bush Lawyers Likely in the Clear

Yoo Heritage

A Justice Department report suggests that the possibility of legal consequence for those who broke the law is steadily waning, as Bush administration lawyers who approved the torture-interrogation technique of waterboarding will likely escape prosecution. The laughable back-up plan for disciplinary action has fallen to possible punishment by the lawyer’s respective bar associations.

The Guardian:

The Bush administration lawyers who approved the use of waterboarding and other brutal interrogation techniques are likely to escape criminal prosecution, according to a US justice department draft report.

The lawyers, at worst, face being referred to their bar associations for possible disciplinary action. This could result in a reprimand or even disbarment, ending any further legal career on the part of once high-flying government lawyers.

The justice department has been conducting an inquiry into the role of the lawyers who wrote the now infamous memos giving the go-ahead for the CIA to use waterboarding, which simulates drowning, and other techniques such as slamming detainees against false walls and prolonged sleep deprivation.

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D.C. Council Opens Its Eyes

DC Flag Gay

The D.C. council passed a measure Tuesday to recognize same-sex marriages within the district by a 12-1 vote—with D.C. stalwart/weirdo Marion Barry casting the lone dissension. The result will likely prime the debate on legalizing same-sex marriage in D.C.

The Washington Post:

The D.C. Council overwhelmingly approved a bill yesterday to recognize same-sex marriages performed elsewhere, in a vote that followed a sharp exchange between an openly gay member and a civil rights champion and set off shouts of reproach from local ministers.

The council passed the measure by a vote of 12 to 1. During the debate, council member David A. Catania (I-At Large) accused Marion Barry (D-Ward 8), who cast the dissenting vote, of having taken a “bigoted” position.

After the vote, enraged African American ministers stormed the hallway outside the council chambers and vowed that they will work to oust the members who supported the bill, which was sponsored by Phil Mendelson (D-At Large). They caused such an uproar that security officers and D.C. police were called in to clear the hallway.

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Lane Hudson: White House Speechless on Marriage Progress

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 7th, 2009 4:43 am by HL

Lane Hudson: White House Speechless on Marriage Progress
We are in the midst of a revolution. The White House and other Democrats should shed their feigned distaste for equal rights for gays. Now is the time.

AKMuckraker: Sarah Palin’s Approval Rating in Alaska is Crashing. When will the burning start?
After the last six weeks of watching the Palin train cars derail one by one, in what can only be described as agonizing political slow…

Dawn Teo: AZ GOP Top Director Arrested At Party Headquarters
PHOENIX – Just as Arizona Republican Party Chairman Randy Pullen was concluding a meeting this morning at the Arizona Republican Party headquarters, he and fellow…

Donnie Fowler: The Big Three Fight On: Cheney, Gingrich, & Limbaugh
This week, the House Republican’s #2 leader, Minority Whip Eric Cantor (Virginia) said he wants to start a national “listening tour” because he still is…


Will Holmes, Coulter, Pinkerton follow Wash. Times in retracting Obama polling falsehood?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 7th, 2009 4:42 am by HL

Will Holmes, Coulter, Pinkerton follow Wash. Times in retracting Obama polling falsehood?

In a May 6 editorial titled, “We Were Wrong,” The Washington Times retracted its false claim that “Americans have a lower approval of Mr. Obama at this point than all but one president since Gallup began tracking this in 1969.” The editorial read: “We hereby retract our April 28 editorial ‘Barack’s in the basement’ because we misapplied several polling comparisons of various presidents after their first 100 days in office.” Media Matters for America documented several other media figures advancing this falsehood, including CNN political contributor Amy Holmes and conservative columnist Ann Coulter, who each cited the April 28 Times editorial. Media Matters now asks: Will Holmes, Coulter, and Fox News analyst Jim Pinkerton, who also repeated a variation of the falsehood, follow The Washington Times’ example and retract the claim that President Obama’s approval rating at this point in his presidency, according to Gallup, is lower than that of most or all recent presidents?

As Media Matters documented, the falsehood is based on an apples-to-oranges comparison between an April 20-21 Gallup poll question that asked respondents to “rate the job Barack Obama has been doing as president so far — excellent, good, just okay, poor, or terrible,” and the historical results of the traditional Gallup approval rating poll question that simply asked whether respondents “approve” or “disapprove” of the president’s performance. Based on its traditional presidential approval poll question, Gallup itself reported that Obama’s average approval rating for the first quarter of his first year in office was the highest of any president since 1969 other than Jimmy Carter, and Obama’s most recent weekly average approval rating at that time was higher than the April approval ratings of every first-term president since 1969 other than Ronald Reagan.

Holmes referred to the April 28 Times editorial when she repeated the falsehood, stating that “one of the little-known facts — The Washington Times reported this last week — is that, actually, at this point in his presidency, Barack Obama is the fourth least popular of the past five presidents.” Holmes added: “You wouldn’t know that from the press coverage. And you wouldn’t know that George Bush in — you know, at this point in his presidency in 2001, after having had the recount, not even winning the popular vote, in fact had higher Gallup approvals than Barack Obama does right now.”

Echoing the falsehood on Fox News’ Hannity, Coulter did not refer to the Times by name, but she did state: “I linked to this on my Web page. He’s actually the second least popular president, 100 days in, we’ve had in 40 years.” The link on Coulter’s website went to the April 28 Times editorial and cited the editorial’s title.

From Coulter’s website, accessed at 9:08 a.m. on May 6:

Retracting its April 28 editorial, the Times wrote on May 6:

We hereby retract our April 28 editorial “Barack’s in the basement” because we misapplied several polling comparisons of various presidents after their first 100 days in office.

The point of our editorial was that various establishment media outlets were overstating President Obama’s popularity. We continue to believe that, in terms of the tone of coverage, the point is valid. However, for data establishing that point, we followed George Mason University professor Judith Apter Klinghoffer’s analysis and compared Gallup polling data for elected presidents going back to President Nixon. We did our own analysis but failed to see that some of the polls we were using did not lend themselves to direct intercomparisons.

Most importantly, we used figures for overall “approval” ratings for former President George W. Bush — 62 percent — and compared them to the ratings of “excellent” or “good” for Mr. Obama, which combined were 56 percent. However, when asked the same question — approve or disapprove — for Mr. Obama for the same three days of his first term, April 20-22, his rating actually was 65 percent, thus putting him above rather than below Mr. Bush.

In short, even if our overall figures did not compare oranges to something almost entirely different like apples, we did at least do something like comparing oranges to tangerines. But close doesn’t cut it in this business. We regret the errors.


Bush DOD Officials Mum On Using TV Military Analysts To Tout Admin Policies

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 7th, 2009 4:41 am by HL

Bush DOD Officials Mum On Using TV Military Analysts To Tout Admin Policies
So, as the New York Times has reported, the Pentagon’s Inspector General has taken the unusual step of withdrawing a report into the department’s use of retired military analysts to tout Bush administration policies on network news shows. The report,…

Chrysler Hedge Funds Denied Motion For Protection From — Anonymous Internet Commenters?
On Monday we brought you news that the Chrysler bond-holding hedge funds courageously defending the U.S. Constitution by holding out for a bigger payout in bankruptcy court were appealing to have their names sealed after receiving death threats. Blaming a…

AIG Subsidiary Explains “Timely” Decision To Pretend It Was Never Called “AIG”
“We are pleased to announce our decision to rebrand to a familiar name — VALIC,” begins a brochure titled, “Back to our roots” that was recently distributed to holders of policies with the Variable Life Insurance Company. Um, and guess…






New Republicans Still Going to the Devil

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 7th, 2009 4:37 am by HL

New Republicans Still Going to the Devil
‘New Ideas’ Mitt Romney distorts American history for fun and profit… ** Actual quote from Mitt Romney babbling BS in public at the GOP-Lite National Council for a New America ‘town hall listening tour’ at a pizza place in Northern Virginia, May 2, 2009, as quoted by CNN. Brief history lesson: During the Revolutionary War the American […]


Specter’s Tough Switch

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 7th, 2009 4:36 am by HL

Specter’s Tough Switch
Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA), “has rapidly discovered that switching parties is not as simple as checking a new box on a voter-registration card,” the New York Times reports.

“After a week and a day as a Democrat, Mr. Specter is viewed with suspicion by his new Democratic colleagues, with general disdain by his old Republican friends, and with an odd mix of amusement and pity all around.”

“Under intense analysis of his every move and utterance, Mr. Specter canceled a scheduled appearance on Wednesday night on Larry King Live on CNN.”

CQ Politics: More losers than winners from Specter switch.


How Is it that the Wall Street Journal Editors Have Absolutely No Memory of the Last 8 Years?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 7th, 2009 4:35 am by HL

How Is it that the Wall Street Journal Editors Have Absolutely No Memory of the Last 8 Years?
They are blaming Obama for spending, after Bush’s accomplishments: a crippled economy, two failed wars and environmental crisis?

Peak-Oil Prophet James Howard Kunstler on Food, Fuel and Why He Became a Vegan
Kunstler dishes on the collapse of our institutions, why "recovery" may never come and how to survive the fall of farming as we know it.

Is a Cheney Cover-Up Scandal Brewing?
Cheney may responsible for deep-sixing an important torture memo — an act that could be a crime. Will Dems bring the truth to light?

How Is it that the Wall Street Journal Editors Have Absolutely No Memory of the Last 8 Years?
They are blaming Obama for spending, after Bush’s accomplishments: a crippled economy, two failed wars and environmental crisis?


Watershed: Peter Beinart of TIME (Former Editor of New Republic) Says It’s Time To Deal With Hamas

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 7th, 2009 4:34 am by HL

Watershed: Peter Beinart of TIME (Former Editor of New Republic) Says It’s Time To Deal With Hamas
Check it out. Peter Beinart of Time, former editor of The New Republic, believes that it’s time to deal with Hamas. And he wrote his piece saying so before Hamas chief. Khaled Meshal, told the New York Times that he…





Netherland
As you may have heard, the President is now reading Joseph O’Neill’s Netherland, a novel about playing cricket in New York, and the American Dream, and so forth. Excellent choice, POTUS. We here at Cafe also love Netherland, and you…

Culture, Identity and Women’s Rights
It’s interesting how the paranoia surrounding communism engineered just about every policy emanating from the west at the height of the cold war. The uninhibited use of the religious radical right amidst the mujahideen groups to combat communism has…


Michelle Obama – Mom-in-chief

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 7th, 2009 4:33 am by HL

Michelle Obama – Mom-in-chief

michelle_obama_inauguralNo one could tell this story better than Melissa Harris-Lacewell, a mother and associate professor at Princeton. Michelle Obama’s greatness (yes, I said greatness) lies in her ability not to outshine her husband, Barack. She is easily as bright, if not brighter, than Barack is. Yet she has held back. Think of the uproar that would occur if Michelle Obama began to take the lead on any issue. The Right would go nuts.

From The Nation:

With Mother’s Day approaching I want think about Michelle Obama’s assertion that her primary role as First Lady is “Mom-in-Chief.”

Many progressive feminists were distressed with Michelle’s assertion of motherhood as her primary role. They hoped she would seek a more aggressive policy agenda. After all Michelle Obama is a graduate of Princeton University and Harvard Law School. She spent her career as an effective advocate for urban communities in their fraught relationship with powerful institutions. She is smart, capable, and independent. She maintained her own career and ambitions throughout Barack’s early political career and even during his election to the U.S. Senate.

Truth is, some of us who were in the orbit of the Obamas ten years ago believed Michelle, not Barack, was the real star of the couple. So while I don’t think anyone expected her to commute to a 9-to-5 job in D.C; many hoped that she would take on an independent political role in the Obama administration.

Instead, Michelle has crafted a more traditional role for herself. She is highly visible, but she has taken on relatively safe issues like childhood literacy, advocacy for women and girls, and support of military families. Even her White House garden is framed more as an initiative for healthy eating and quality family meals than as a statement of commitment to local foods as an effort against global climate change. (more… )


ThinkFast: May 6, 2009

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 7th, 2009 4:32 am by HL

ThinkFast: May 6, 2009
Though an internal Justice Department inquiry concluded that the Bush administration lawyers who authored the torture memos “committed serious lapses of judgment,” a draft of the report says “that they should not be prosecuted.” Instead, the report, which has yet to be approved by Attorney General Eric Holder, is likely to “ask state bar associations […]

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Though an internal Justice Department inquiry concluded that the Bush administration lawyers who authored the torture memos “committed serious lapses of judgment,” a draft of the report says “that they should not be prosecuted.” Instead, the report, which has yet to be approved by Attorney General Eric Holder, is likely to “ask state bar associations to consider possible disciplinary action,” such as disbarment.

For the “first time in memory,” “rebel members” of the RNC’s national governing body have successfully taken on the party’s powerful chairman. RNC Chairman Michael Steele “has signed a secret pact agreeing to controls and restraints on how he spends” party funds and contracts. Last week, Steele accused the resolution’s proponents of a power grab “scheme.”

At least one U.S. diplomat and a number of international relations experts believe that should Israel decide to attack Iran, the country would “seek forgiveness, not permission” by only notifying the U.S. after any such mission got underway. Israel would likely notify the U.S to ensure that “its jets would not be shot down by accident if overflying U.S.-occupied Iraq.”

Asked in a recent New York Times magazine interview whether he cared about a shortage of Jewish Republicans in the Senate, Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA) replied: “I sure do. There’s still time for the Minnesota courts to do justice and declare Norm Coleman the winner.” Yesterday, however, he clarified his remarks. “In the swirl of moving from one caucus to another, I have to get used to my new teammates,” he said. “I conclusively misspoke.”

The British government yesterday banned 22 people from entering Britain for “fostering extreme hatred.” American hate radio host Michael Savage (real name Michael Alan Weiner), who has called the Quran “a book of hate” and questioned autism cases, is one of them. Now Savage is suing the British government for defamation. 

President Obama urged House Democrats to reach consensus on global warming and energy legislation during a closed-door White House meeting. “We’re talking to each other. And we’re working out these issues because we want to be together and we want to succeed in getting this legislation through,” said Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA).

Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) will chair a hearing today on the future of newspapers. Among those testifying: Steve Coll, former managing editor of the Washington Post; Arianna Huffington, founder of the Huffington Post; and James Moroney, CEO of the Dallas Morning News

Yesterday, President Obama called Senate Judiciary Committee ranking member Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), who said that there would have to be “extraordinary circumstances” for Republicans to mount a filibuster of Obama’s Supreme Court nominee. “He’s so nice,” Sessions said of Obama.

The government told Bank of America that “it needs $33.9 billion in capital to withstand any worsening of the economic downturn.” Should the bank be unable to raise the capital “by selling assets or stock, it would have to rely on the government, which has provided $45 billion in capital through the Troubled Asset Relief Program.”

And finally: On Tuesday, Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-CT), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), George Voinovich (R-OH), and Claire McCaskill (D-MO) were traveling in the Senate subway when their car broke down. What were they to do? Luckily, McCaskill began tweeting, “Stuck in a tram from Capitol to Hart. Broken. Not moving. Lieberman and Alexander in next car. And Voiniitch.[sic] Wonder how long we’ll be here?” It seems that they were rescued; an hour later, McCaskill wrote, “Rescued from stuck tram awhile ago…in case you wondered. Now going back to Capitol for a vote, takes longer, but think I’ll walk.”

Rep. King: Hate crimes law creates ‘sacred cows? that puts ?victimizer?s focus on someone else.?
The right wing has been in hysterics this past week over the hate crimes bill (also known as the Matthew Shepard Act) that the House passed last week, calling it tyrannical and Orwellian and claiming it will end religious freedom. Last night on Fox News, Rep. Steve King (R-IA) went even further, classifying these crimes […]

The right wing has been in hysterics this past week over the hate crimes bill (also known as the Matthew Shepard Act) that the House passed last week, calling it tyrannical and Orwellian and claiming it will end religious freedom. Last night on Fox News, Rep. Steve King (R-IA) went even further, classifying these crimes as an either/or situation. He argued that if society punishes people for attacking someone based on their gender identity, sexual orientation, or disability, it will result in more attacks on the rest of the public:

KING: If they’re one of God’s children let’s protect them equally and when you go down the path of special protected status, then you end up with the sacred cows walking around the street that have another extra shield around them that actually would put the victimizer’s focus on someone else. I think it’s unequal protection of the law that results from it.

Watch it: