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Archive for May 11th, 2009

Civilians Pay Price of War from Above

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 11th, 2009 4:41 am by HL

Civilians Pay Price of War from Above

Afghan protest

Of course there will be an inquiry. And in the meantime, we shall be told that all the dead Afghan civilians were being used as “human shields” by the Taliban and we shall say that we “deeply regret” innocent lives that were lost.

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Exclusive: DNC Ad Hits “The New GOP” Sunday Show Guests (VIDEO)

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 11th, 2009 4:40 am by HL

Exclusive: DNC Ad Hits “The New GOP” Sunday Show Guests (VIDEO)
As expected, Democrats pounced Sunday night on the Republican Party for trotting out a set of Sunday talk-show surrogates who didn’t exactly project political resurgence….

Raymond J. Learsy: The Air Force One Fly-Over And The Obama Presidency’s New Age Of Accountability
It happened. And it was irksomely stupid. The Air Force One 747 flying low over the still unrebuilt and raw lower Manhattan. With no…

Obama And Industry Groups To Propose $2 Trillion In Health Care Savings
In conjunction with the White House, a host of trade associations, pharmaceutical groups and other stakeholders in the health care debate are set to announce…

Raymond J. Learsy: The Air Force One Fly-Over And The Obama Presidency’s New Age Of Accountability
It happened. And it was irksomely stupid. The Air Force One 747 flying low over the still unrebuilt and raw lower Manhattan. With no…

Republican Women Make Up Less Than 10 Percent Of The Party In Congress
Women make up almost 51 percent of the U.S. population but less than 10 percent of the House and Senate GOP — a gender disconnect…


Wallace silent as Gingrich falsely claims Dems did not try to ban waterboarding

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 11th, 2009 4:39 am by HL

Wallace silent as Gingrich falsely claims Dems did not try to ban waterboarding

During the May 10 edition of Fox Broadcasting Co.’s Fox News Sunday, Fox News contributor and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) claimed that Democrats have “had control since January of 2007. They haven’t passed a law making waterboarding illegal. They haven’t gone into any of these things and changed law.” Host Chris Wallace did not point out that, in fact, Congress did pass a bill in 2008 that, had it become law, would have banned the use of waterboarding. President Bush subsequently vetoed the measure.

In December 2007, the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives passed the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008, which limited interrogation tactics to those approved by the Army Field Manual on Human Intelligence Collector Operations. That manual explicitly prohibits “[w]aterboarding.” The Democratic-controlled Senate subsequently approved the legislation in February 2008. A February 14, 2008, Washington Post article reported, “The Senate voted yesterday to ban waterboarding and other harsh interrogation tactics used by the CIA, matching a previous House vote and putting Congress on a collision course with the White House over a pivotal national security issue.” On March 8, 2008, Bush vetoed the bill, and a House vote to override the veto on March 11, 2008, did not receive the necessary two-thirds majority.

During the Fox News Sunday discussion, Wallace also stated, “[House Speaker Nancy] Pelosi [D-CA] says even if she was briefed on [enhanced interrogation techniques], that there was nothing she could do, because these were classified briefings.” Wallace subsequently asked Gingrich, “You, as House speaker, received these kinds of briefings back in the ’90s. If you objected to a secret operation, was there something you could do?” Gingrich responded, “Sure. The first thing you do is call the president and tell him you will feel compelled to pass a law cutting off the money. I mean, there are lots of things you can do if you want to do it. The Congress is pretty powerful if it wants to be.” However, Wallace did not ask Gingrich how Pelosi — as the ranking member of the House intelligence committee and a senior minority member of the House appropriations committee in 2002, or as House minority leader from 2003 to 2006 — could credibly have threatened “to pass a law cutting off the money” for the interrogations, or why Bush would have felt compelled to sign such a measure.

From the May 10 edition of Fox Broadcasting Co.’s Fox News Sunday:

WALLACE: I want to ask you about one other aspect of this. Pelosi says even if she was briefed on this, that there was nothing she could do, because these were classified briefings. She and the Republican chairman of the committee got this information. There’s nothing they could do.

You, as House speaker, received these kinds of briefings back in the ’90s. If you objected to a secret operation, was there something you could do?

GINGRICH: Sure. The first thing you do is call the president and tell him you will feel compelled to pass a law cutting off the money. I mean, there are lots of things you can do if you want to do it. The Congress is pretty powerful if it wants to be.

And second, you know, they’ve had control since January of 2007. They haven’t passed a law making waterboarding illegal. They haven’t gone into any of these things and changed law. And, in fact, they’ve had several votes — they, recently, you find that Attorney General Holder’s own Justice Department is saying, well, you know, some of these memos are actually right; they’re not wrong. So, I — this is — what we’re seeing now in a very sad way is as bitter a partisan attack on the Bush people as we’ve seen since the McCarthy era. The degree that they’re putting specific people at risk for criminal prosecution is unprecedented in modern America.

WALLACE: Meanwhile, the Obama administration says that it will close Guantánamo by next January and that some detainees who are judged not to be security risks will be released in this country.


Lawmaker On Withdrawn IG Report: “The American People Have Been Misled”

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 11th, 2009 4:38 am by HL

Lawmaker On Withdrawn IG Report: “The American People Have Been Misled”
Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) led the congressional charge against the Pentagon’s use of retired military analysts to shill for the Iraq war on TV — a program that was exposed in that Pulitzer-winning New York Times report. Now the Pentagon…

The Daily Muck
Pelosi spokesman on her being briefed in 2002 on CIA interrogation tactics: “The briefers described these techniques, said they were legal, but said that waterboarding had not been used.” But CIA documents “appear to conflict” with that line. [WSJ…


The Origins of the Two Mother’s Days

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 11th, 2009 4:35 am by HL

The Origins of the Two Mother’s Days
Before becoming the commercial holiday it is now, the Mother’s Day we celebrate on the second Sunday in May was originally about other issues, such as battlefield hospital sanitation and world peace. As Mother’s Day on the Net says in “The History (AKA Her-Story) of Mother’s Day”: “In the United States, Mother’s Day experienced a series […]


Hard Times for Women Living on the Edge: Economic Anxieties Send Domestic-Abuse Rates Soaring

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 11th, 2009 4:34 am by HL

Hard Times for Women Living on the Edge: Economic Anxieties Send Domestic-Abuse Rates Soaring
Even in good times, life for poor working women can be an obstacle-filled struggle to get by. In an economic crisis, it can be hell.

Is Whole Foods Just Another Evil Corporation?
Beneath the surface of Whole Foods’ fuzzy, progressive image is a company hell-bent on preventing its workers from unionizing.

Hey Miss California, How Does God Feel About Fake Breasts?
Carrie Prejean claims God disapproves of gay marriage. How does the Almighty feel about her breast implants?

Laughter and Lots of Angry Republicans After Wanda Sykes’s Jokes Blast Limbaugh and Palin
The stand-up comic stirs it up at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, ragging Rush Limbaugh for his OxyContin habits.


The Death of Jerusalem: Segregated Buses And Land Grabs

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 11th, 2009 4:33 am by HL

The Death of Jerusalem: Segregated Buses And Land Grabs
Yehuda Mirsky has a brilliant piece in the Jerusalem Post on what crazed Jewish religious fanatics have done to Jerusalem (the Jewish part, anyway). Mirsky is a brilliant scholar and writer, himself Orthodox, so he comes to his conclusion with…





Sexual Inequality, Cultural Imperialism and Political Correctness
As Gloria points out, despite all the debates about feminism in this country, men and women alike have both basically incorporated the movement’s fundamental principals. “[W]e assume women should have equal educational and job opportunities, that women should be…

Changing the Conversation Around Women’s Rights
First off, let me say how much I admire The Means of Reproduction, right down to the clever — more than clever — title. It brings together so many crucial strands of recent history and current international politics, and…


Kristol Issues Another Correction: I Was Wrong To Blame Obama For Stock Market Declines

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 11th, 2009 4:32 am by HL

Kristol Issues Another Correction: I Was Wrong To Blame Obama For Stock Market Declines
In discussing the state of the economy this morning on Fox News Sunday, conservative commentator Bill Kristol noted that the stock market has performed reasonably well over the last several months. “The market’s up 35 percent in the last two months, which is pretty amazing,” Kristol said. He then noted that those Republicans — including […]

In discussing the state of the economy this morning on Fox News Sunday, conservative commentator Bill Kristol noted that the stock market has performed reasonably well over the last several months. “The market’s up 35 percent in the last two months, which is pretty amazing,” Kristol said. He then noted that those Republicans — including himselfwho were “chortling” about the stock market’s significant decline just after President Obama’s inauguration would now be forced to admit that they were wrong:

Republicans who were chortling over that 20 percent drop in the stock market the first month or two of [Obama’s] administration are going to be, fairly enough, hoist on our own petard by the fact that now Obama’s getting this big stock market rally. … I — no one should base anything on this forecast — but in my view the short term is surprisingly bullish, but medium-long term very worrisome.

Watch it:

Indeed, a key talking point of the right-wing in late 2008 and the early part of 2009 was that the significant decline in the stock market was evidence that Obama’s approach to economic recovery was already failing. Kristol himself penned a column in the Weekly Standard entitled “Don’t Worry, Be Happy: Obama gives the markets the back of his hand.” In it, Kristol argued that Obama’s failure to base his entire economic agenda on ensuring day-to-day gains in the markets on Wall Street demonstrated he had already failed at governing:

So the stock market drops over 25 percent since Election Day, almost 20 percent since Inauguration — and Barack Obama tells the American people at his press conference Tuesday not to “spend all your time worrying about that.” […]

The stock market is about real money, about the real livelihoods of real. … I’m told almost every theme in Obama’s speech last Tuesday night was focus-group tested–and the speech played pretty well politically. But the markets weren’t impressed. Isn’t it time for Obama and his team to get up the nerve to stop playing politics and to govern?

Kristol, of course, was not alone in making this argument. Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, and Republicans in Congress all got on board. The question now is whether or not Kristol’s conservative brethren will follow his lead and issue a correction.


Biden’s Advisory Role Expands to Supreme Court Pick

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 11th, 2009 4:31 am by HL

Biden’s Advisory Role Expands to Supreme Court Pick
The person in the White House most knowledgeable about Supreme Court nominations sits in the vice president’s office.


Sallie Mae’s About-Face on Loan Subsidies
For the past two decades, every attempt to overhaul the $85-billion-a-year student loan industry by eliminating subsidies to lenders has faced insurmountable opposition from one of the most powerful institutions in the business: Sallie Mae, the world’s largest student loan company.


Chances Bright for Legislation Seeking FDA Regulation of Tobacco
After 15 years of debate, tens of millions spent on lobbying and a roller-coaster legislative history, public health advocates say they believe Congress is finally ready to regulate tobacco — and their opponents privately agree .


Former Hospital CEO Rick Scott Leads Opposition to Obama on Health Care
The television ads that began airing last week feature horror stories from Canada and the United Kingdom: Patients who allegedly suffered long waits for surgeries, couldn’t get the drugs they needed, or had to come to the United States for treatment.


Industry Groups Pledge to Stem Health-Care Cost Increases
Volunteering to “do our part” to tackle runaway health costs, leading groups in the health-care industry have offered to squeeze $2 trillion in savings from projected increases over the next decade, White House officials said yesterday.



Upside-Down Economy

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 11th, 2009 4:29 am by HL

Upside-Down Economy
George Will, Washington Post

Obsessive Housing Disorder
Steven Malanga, City Journal

Congressional Torture Critics In On It All Along

How David (the Underdogs) Beats Goliath
Malcolm Gladwell, New Yorker

Democrats and Immigration Reform
Ruben Navarrette, San Diego U-T