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Archive for May 9th, 2009

Farrow Passes Darfur Fast to Branson

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 9th, 2009 4:42 am by HL

Farrow Passes Darfur Fast to Branson

Mia Farrow

After nearly two weeks of subsisting only on liquids, actress Mia Farrow has ended her hunger strike for Darfur, passing the proverbial torch to another member of the Celebrity Darfur Fasting Network, British mega-mogul Richard Branson.

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Military Office Director Resigns Over Photo Op Gone Awry

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On Friday, the White House Military Office director resigned after stirring beaucoup controversy by authorizing Air Force One, trailed by two fighter jets, to fly low over Manhattan on April 27. The incident brought up all too recent memories for New Yorkers, sending thousands of panicked workers out into the streets.

The New York Times:

Louis Caldera, who served as the secretary of the Army in the Clinton administration, apologized for the “distraction” that approving the flyover caused. He said in a brief letter to President Obama on Friday that it “has made it impossible for me to effectively lead the White House Military Office.”

[…] It was a photo opportunity – authorized by several government officials, including Mr. Caldera – that infuriated Mr. Obama.

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Marjorie Cohn: Stanford Anti-War Alumni, Students Call for Condi War Crimes Probe

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 9th, 2009 4:41 am by HL

Marjorie Cohn: Stanford Anti-War Alumni, Students Call for Condi War Crimes Probe
Last weekend, 150 activist alumni and present Stanford students targeted Condoleezza Rice for authorizing torture and misleading Americans into the illegal Iraq War.

Senators Weigh 3 Government Health Plans: AP
WASHINGTON — Senators are considering three different designs for a new government health insurance plan that middle-income Americans could buy into for the first time,…

Handwritten Notes Show Fed Oversight Bill Neutered On Senate Floor
Legislation to give Congress greater oversight of the Federal Reserve was severely watered down on the Senate floor Wednesday in private negotiations between two powerful…


CNN poll misrepresents scientific consensus on climate change as view of “some people”

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 9th, 2009 4:40 am by HL

CNN poll misrepresents scientific consensus on climate change as view of “some people”

In a May 5 post on CNN’s Political Ticker blog, deputy political director Paul Steinhauser wrote that a recently released CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll “suggests that a slight majority [of Americans] oppose a proposal called ‘cap and trade,’ which would allow the federal government to limit the emissions from industrial facilities such as power plants and factories that some people believe cause global warming.” According to Pollingreport.com, the poll asked respondents if they “favor or oppose” a “proposal called ‘cap and trade’ [that] would allow the federal government to limit the emissions from industrial facilities such as power plants and factories that some people believe cause global warming.” In fact, it is not the view of “some people,” but rather, the overwhelming scientific consensus that those emissions are a major contributor to global warming. CNN host Wolf Blitzer also noted the poll results on the May 5 edition of The Situation Room, saying: “Our new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll shows just over half of the public opposes the so-called cap-and-trade plan to set a limit and a price on greenhouse gas emissions from large companies. That helps explain why negotiations on climate and energy legislation right now are so tense in the Congress.”

From the poll, as provided by pollingreport.com:

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, comprised of hundreds of scientists from countries belonging to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) issued a “Synthesis Report” in 2007 concluding that “[w]arming of the climate system is unequivocal, as is now evident from observations of increases in global average air and ocean temperatures, widespread melting of snow and ice and rising global average sea level.” Addressing the causes of the warming, the report stated that “[h]uman activities result in emissions of four long-lived GHGs [greenhouse gases]: CO2, methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O) and halocarbons (a group of gases containing fluorine, chlorine or bromine),” and that “[m]ost of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely [defined in the report as a “>90%” chance] due to the observed increase in anthropogenic [human-caused] GHG concentrations.”

According to the EPA, the “Electric Power Industry” and “Industry” economic sectors together produced a majority of 2007 U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, comprising 34.2 and 19.4 percent, respectively.

The national academies of sciences from G8 nations — including the U.S. National Academies of Sciences — issued a joint statement in June 2005 reading, “[T]here is now strong evidence that significant global warming is occurring” and that “[i]t is likely that most of the warming in recent decades can be attributed to human activities (IPCC 2001). This warming has already led to changes in the Earth’s climate.” The statement continued: “human activities are now causing atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases — including carbon dioxide, methane, tropospheric ozone, and nitrous oxide — to rise well above pre-industrial levels.”

Other prominent scientific organizations, including NASA, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and NOAA, have also concluded that human-caused greenhouse gas emissions contribute to global warming.

From the May 5 edition of CNN’s The Situation Room:

BLITZER: Now to the Democrats’ divisions over the president’s efforts to ease global warming.

Our new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll shows just over half of the public opposes the so-called cap-and-trade plan to set a limit and a price on greenhouse gas emissions from large companies. That helps explain why negotiations on climate and energy legislation right now are so tense in the Congress.


Scenes From The Ninth Circle Of Financial Bureaucracy

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 9th, 2009 4:38 am by HL

Scenes From The Ninth Circle Of Financial Bureaucracy
We’ve been poring over the report — hit piece? — on the SEC issued today by the Government Accountability Office, and we’re starting to understand why Hank Paulson wanted to shut the place down and put all those “enforcers” out…





Docs Show Rockefeller Was Briefed On “How The Water Board Was Used”
The hot story of the morning is the release of CIA documents appearing to show that Nancy Pelosi was briefed on “enhanced interrogation techniques” in September 2002. Things have already descended into a he-said she-said debate — literally — over…





With Impeachment Talk Swirling, Bybee Reaches Out to Nevada Lawmakers
Via Think Progress: Jay Bybee may not be responding to Pat Leahy’s invitation that he testify before the Senate Judiciary committee. But that doesn’t mean he isn’t trying to get out his side of the story behind the scenes….


GOP Love in Vain?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 9th, 2009 4:36 am by HL

GOP Love in Vain?


‘The Most Humiliating Experience I Have Ever Had’ — Why Is the Supreme Court So Callous About Privacy?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 9th, 2009 4:35 am by HL

‘The Most Humiliating Experience I Have Ever Had’ — Why Is the Supreme Court So Callous About Privacy?
A teenage girl is strip-searched and gets snickered at by old men in robes for challenging it — what’s so funny about the Fourth Amendment?

Obama Officials Talk About Countries Like They Own Them — Anyone Else Think That’s Strange?
It’s the norm for U.S. civilian and military leaders to say about what other countries "must do"; that’s called imperial attitude.

Is Porn That Depicts the Subjugation of Hispanic Women Tied to the Rise of Hate Crimes Against Latinos?
Lou Dobbs cheers on anti-Latino backlash, while pornography provides the context for the dangerous stereotypes.

Capitalist Pigs: What the Wall Street Meltdown and Swine Flu Have in Common
Pigs are supposed to be the smartest domestic animal. But they clearly have trouble when charged with managing capitalism.

These God Pundits Can Give You a Splitting Headache
God People are constantly fine-tuning their weird arguments to pimp the righteousness of faith.


Overturning Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 9th, 2009 4:34 am by HL

Overturning Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell
This week, our nation’s armed forces suffered another casualty–the loss of 1st Lt. Dan Choi, an Iraq war veteran and a member of the New York National Guard. On March 19, on the Rachel Maddow Show, Choi announced he was…

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VIDEO: Michael Steele?s First 100 Days

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 9th, 2009 4:33 am by HL

VIDEO: Michael Steele?s First 100 Days
Tomorrow marks Michael Steele’s 100th day as chairman of the Republican National Committee (RNC). While many members of the GOP were hoping for a dynamic spokesman that could communicate conservative values to the American public, what they ended up getting was a gaffe machine. Since taking office, Steele has become most known for statements about […]

Tomorrow marks Michael Steele’s 100th day as chairman of the Republican National Committee (RNC). While many members of the GOP were hoping for a dynamic spokesman that could communicate conservative values to the American public, what they ended up getting was a gaffe machine.

Since taking office, Steele has become most known for statements about how the GOP needs to “uptick” its image with “everyone, including one-armed midgets“; how he likes to “wear my hat backwards, you know, because that’s how we roll in the Northeast”; and how he has “slum love” for Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-LA). ThinkProgress’s Victor Zapanta has put together a video of the highlights. Watch it:

The RNC itself also continues to struggle under Steele’s leadership. In the Daily Beast today, ThinkProgress’s Amanda Terkel writes:

According to the latest FEC reports, the RNC had just over 100 people on its payroll in March compared to more than 200 people on payroll in March 2007 and nearly 260 in March 2005, both off-election years shortly after new chairmen took over. […]

Steele also has yet to purchase any voter-registration data, which can be key to expanding outreach and field operations. In contrast, when Mehlman took over at the RNC in 2005, he spent nearly $55,000 on voter information in his first two months in office. In 2007, then-Chairman Mike Duncan spent almost $14,000 on such data and files during the same period.

Roll Call also reported yesterday that the RNC is still trying to fill “top spots,” including that of finance director. At least one candidate has turned the job down, and the organization “had to hire a headhunter for a while to look for potential candidates for the job.”

Many Republicans have become discouraged by Steele’s first 100 days and are looking to marginalize him. Although the RNC outpaced the DNC in first-quarter fundraising, a Republican strategist told Terkel, “A lot of donors seem totally underwhelmed by Steele. Some donors are looking for another organization to donate to, and right now, for a lot of them, the [Republican Governors Association] looks like an ideal alternative.” Steele also recently agreed to sign a “secret pact agreeing to controls and restraints on how he spends hundreds of millions of dollars in party funds and contracts,” after media reports leaked about how he is spending precious RNC funds on redecorating his office.

Just remember: Although Steele’s first 100 days may seem like nothing short of a train wreck, there’s supposedly a “logic” behind all this madness. “It’s all strategic.”

What Did Pelosi Know About Torture And What Could She Have Done About It?
ABC News reported last night that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) was “was briefed on the use of ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ on terrorist suspect Abu Zubaydah in September 2002,” according to a documents prepared by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. The documents appear to contradict Pelosi’s previous claims that she […]

ABC News reported last night that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) was “was briefed on the use of ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ on terrorist suspect Abu Zubaydah in September 2002,” according to a documents prepared by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. The documents appear to contradict Pelosi’s previous claims that she did not know that the Bush administration had employed the “enhanced interrogation techniques” authorized by the Office of Legal Counsel.

In a February 25 interview with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, Pelosi explained what she knew about the Bush administration’s use of torture, saying that she had been briefed but was not told that the techniques had been used:

PELOSI: They did not brief us that these enhanced interrogations were taking place. They were talking about an array of interrogations that they might have at their disposal. … We were never told they were being used. … The inference to be drawn from what they told us was that these are things that we think could be legal. … But they never told us that they were being used.

Watch it:

Pelsoi’s spokesperson, Brendan Daly, reiterated this position yesterday, stating, “As this document shows, the speaker was briefed only once, in September 2002. The briefers described these techniques, said they were legal, but said that waterboarding had not been used.” But in a one-sentence description of the meeting, the CIA document states the Pelosi was given a “description of enhanced interrogation techniques” that were used on Abu Zubaydah. Based on Daly’s statement, it appears that Pelosi was in fact aware that at least some of the “enhanced techniques” — though not waterboarding — had been used.

That said, in a letter accompanying the new documents, CIA Director Leon Panetta explains that it is possible that the CIA’s description of the briefing is inaccurate. Panetta explains that its report is based on the “best recollections” of those in attendance and states that the Senate Intelligence Committee, to whom they sent the report, “will have to determine whether this information is an accurate summary of what actually happened”:

While it remains unclear what Pelosi knew and when she knew it, it should not be forgotten that Pelosi did not write the memos authorizing the use of torture or carry that torture out; the Bush administration did. Further, the CIA briefed Pelosi without staff, told her their practices were legal, and forbade her from discussing the meeting with colleagues. As such, Pelosi could not work to “outlaw the practices.” Marc Ambinder notes that the only way Pelosi could have registered her objections at that time was to “walk out of the briefing, telling those CIA officials who came that what she just heard did not constitute a formal briefing.” The result? The CIA would have simply tried to re-brief her at a later date, but the Bush administration would have continued to carry out torture anyways.


Obama Set to Revive Military Commissions The Obama

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 9th, 2009 4:32 am by HL




Obama Set to Revive Military Commissions
The Obama administration is preparing to revive the system of military commissions established at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, under new rules that would offer terrorism suspects greater legal protections, government officials said.


Top Pelosi Aide Learned of Waterboarding in 2003
A top aide to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi attended a CIA briefing in early 2003 in which it was made clear that waterboarding and other harsh techniques were being used in the interrogation of an alleged al-Qaeda operative, according to documents the CIA released to Congress on Thursday.


N.Y. Flyover Results in Resignation
The White House official who approved the alarming Air Force One flight over New York City last month resigned yesterday following an internal investigation.



Elizabeth: Victim or Co-conspirator?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 9th, 2009 4:29 am by HL

Elizabeth: Victim or Co-conspirator?
Roger Simon, Politico

Obama’s $17 Billion: Important or Really Important?
Jay Cost, RCP

In Which Nancy Pelosi Tortures the Truth
Scott Johnson, Power Line