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Archive for June 1st, 2009

Al Gore Puts on His Capitalist Cap

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 1st, 2009 4:41 am by HL

Al Gore Puts on His Capitalist Cap

Al Gore

Al Gore has thrown plenty of his own money at the climate crisis, but now the Nobel prize-winning philanthropist is hoping to profit from his policy ideas. “An environmental start-up backed by Al Gore’s venture capital firm aims to take advantage of coming U.S. climate change legislation by helping companies like Coca Cola and even cities cut pollution,” reports Reuters.

Reuters:

Hara, a 25-employee company that debuted in 2008, provides online software to help companies reduce their carbon footprint—a $2.5 billion market that will grow 10-fold if the proposed energy bill, which will require companies to get permits for emissions, becomes law, Chief Executive Amit Chatterjee said.

At the heart of the legislation is a “cap-and-trade” system that will gradually reduce the amount of greenhouse gases emitted by industry, by requiring them to have permits to spew their emissions.

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Abortion Doctor Murdered in Church

Dr. George Tiller was volunteering at his Kansas church Sunday when a gunman shot him dead. Republicans in Congress recently made a villain of Tiller when they stalled the confirmation of Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius to head the Department of Health and Human Services.

Tiller, who performed late-term abortions, had made campaign contributions to Sebelius.

BBC:

Dr Tiller, one of the few US doctors who performed so-called late-term abortions, had been vilified by anti-abortionists in the US.

His clinic – called Women’s Health Care Services – had often been the site of demonstrations, and he had been shot and wounded by an assailant 16 years ago.

Dr Tiller’s lawyer, Dan Monnat, said he was killed while serving as an usher during a morning church service. His wife was in the choir at the time.

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Rob Richie: Britain may adopt instant runoff voting for next general election

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 1st, 2009 4:40 am by HL

Rob Richie: Britain may adopt instant runoff voting for next general election
The “special relationship” between the United Kingdom and its former colony the United States can extend to the countries’ respective politics. British prime minister Margaret…

Scott Roeder Held As “Person Of Interest” In Probe Of Dr. George Tiller’s Murder
***UPDATE*** McClatchy Newspapers is reporting that Scott Roeder, the “person of interest” held by police in Kansas, belonged to the “Freemen” anti-government group in the…

Drew Westen: Why President Obama Should Welcome a Discussion of Social Issues, and Why He Needs to Lead One Now
Whether the public is with Democrats on social issues depends entirely on whether they continue to remain silent or whether they speak to the public in ways that address their values and sensibilities.


AP calls Sotomayor comment “a rallying call for conservative critics,” ignores similar comments by conservatives

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 1st, 2009 4:39 am by HL

AP calls Sotomayor comment “a rallying call for conservative critics,” ignores similar comments by conservatives

In a May 30 article, the Associated Press reported that Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor’s 2001 statement that “I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life” “has emerged as a rallying call for conservative critics who fear she will offer opinions from the bench based less on the rule of law and more on her life experience, ethnicity and gender.” But the AP did not note that such conservatives as Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas have made similar comments. Nor did the AP note that Sotomayor’s comments came in the context of discussing the importance of diversity in adjudicating race and sex discrimination cases.

As Media Matters for America has noted, Thomas and Alito have each acknowledged the significant impact that their personal background and experiences have had on their judicial thinking. Alito asserted during his 2006 confirmation hearing:

ALITO: I don’t come from an affluent background or a privileged background. My parents were both quite poor when they were growing up.

And I know about their experiences and I didn’t experience those things. I don’t take credit for anything that they did or anything that they overcame.

But I think that children learn a lot from their parents and they learn from what the parents say. But I think they learn a lot more from what the parents do and from what they take from the stories of their parents lives.

And that’s why I went into that in my opening statement. Because when a case comes before me involving, let’s say, someone who is an immigrant — and we get an awful lot of immigration cases and naturalization cases — I can’t help but think of my own ancestors, because it wasn’t that long ago when they were in that position.

And so it’s my job to apply the law. It’s not my job to change the law or to bend the law to achieve any result.

But when I look at those cases, I have to say to myself, and I do say to myself, “You know, this could be your grandfather, this could be your grandmother. They were not citizens at one time, and they were people who came to this country.”

When I have cases involving children, I can’t help but think of my own children and think about my children being treated in the way that children may be treated in the case that’s before me.

And that goes down the line. When I get a case about discrimination, I have to think about people in my own family who suffered discrimination because of their ethnic background or because of religion or because of gender. And I do take that into account. When I have a case involving someone who’s been subjected to discrimination because of disability, I have to think of people who I’ve known and admire very greatly who’ve had disabilities, and I’ve watched them struggle to overcome the barriers that society puts up often just because it doesn’t think of what it’s doing — the barriers that it puts up to them.

So those are some of the experiences that have shaped me as a person.

During Thomas’ Supreme Court confirmation hearings, Sen. Herb Kohl (D-WI) asked, “I’d like to ask you why you want this job?” Thomas replied in part: “I believe, Senator, that I can make a contribution, that I can bring something different to the Court, that I can walk in the shoes of the people who are affected by what the Court does.”

Former Bush Justice Department lawyer John Yoo has similarly stressed that Thomas “is a black man with a much greater range of personal experience than most of the upper-class liberals who take potshots at him” and argued that Thomas’ work on the court has been influenced by his understanding of the less fortunate acquired through personal experience.

From the AP article:

“I am certain that she is the right choice,” the president said in his weekly radio and Internet address in which he scolded critics who he said were trying to distort her record and past statements. Those include her 2001 comment that a female Hispanic judge would often reach a better decision than a white male judge.

[…]

On Friday, Obama personally sought to deflect criticism about Sotomayor’s comment in a 2001 lecture that “I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.”

The quote in question from Sotomayor has emerged as a rallying call for conservative critics who fear she will offer opinions from the bench based less on the rule of law and more on her life experience, ethnicity and gender. That issue is likely to play a central role in her Senate confirmation process.

“I’m sure she would have restated it,” Obama told NBC News, without indicating how he knew that.

Obama also defended his nominee, saying her message was on target even if her exact wording was not.

“I think that when she’s appearing before the Senate committee, in her confirmation process, I think all this nonsense that is being spewed out will be revealed for what it is,” Obama said in the broadcast interview, clearly aware of how ethnicity and gender issues are taking hold in the debate.

A veteran federal judge, Sotomayor is poised to be the first Hispanic, and the third woman, to serve on the Supreme Court She appears headed for confirmation, needing a majority vote in a Senate, where Democrats have 59 votes. But White House officials also want a smooth confirmation, not one that bogs down them or their nominee.


Gonzo: Don’t Blame Me For Torture — I Wasn’t At DOJ Yet

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 1st, 2009 4:38 am by HL

Gonzo: Don’t Blame Me For Torture — I Wasn’t At DOJ Yet
TPMmuckraker favorite Alberto Gonzales went on CNN this afternoon to talk Sotomayor. But Wolf Blitzer also asked him about the ongoing torture debate. And it was interesting to see that Gonzo — who was White House counsel at the time…

Obama Administration Taking Secrecy Efforts Abroad
This came out a few weeks ago, but it’s worth taking note of: We’ve told you about the Obama administration’s frequent invocations of the state secrets claim in domestic national security cases — mimicking the Bush administration. But it now…


No prejudice here

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 1st, 2009 4:35 am by HL

No prejudice here


Rachel Maddow, Keith Olbermann, Ed Schultz — How MSNBC Became a Liberal Mecca

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 1st, 2009 4:34 am by HL

Rachel Maddow, Keith Olbermann, Ed Schultz — How MSNBC Became a Liberal Mecca
MSNBC’s star pundits have positioned the network as the progressive alternative to Fox.

Taibbi: No More Compromise — Obama Must Wholly Reject Bush’s Dictator Policies
The recent haggling over Guantanamo is such classic Democratic Party politics, it’s almost laughable. Almost, except that it’s, you know, revolting.

"Weird" Sex Fantasies, And Why They’re Good For You
Having sexual fantasies is an absolutely normal, if not necessary, part of being a sexual being. It’s not having them that is aberrant.

Bush-Era Moral Crusaders Still Pushing Marriage on the Rest of Us
Under Bush, conservatives hijacked federal assistance money to promote marriage. Will they have any luck under Obama?


Amos Elon (1926-2009)

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 1st, 2009 4:33 am by HL

Amos Elon (1926-2009)
Amos Elon died earlier this week at age 82. I published this appreciation of him on New Yorker.com. “Well, I hope you are r-right, dear boy.” This was the way my conversations with Amos Elon almost always ended. Year after…

Economists, Win Back the Respect of Your Children, Support the Third Stimulus!
We know it’s not easy being an economist these days. Everyone blames you for the fact that they are losing their jobs and their homes, and their life savings. They hold you responsible because you didn’t warn the country about…


Right-wing hate reacts to murder of Dr. George Tiller.

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 1st, 2009 4:32 am by HL

Right-wing hate reacts to murder of Dr. George Tiller.
Earlier today, George Tiller, a Kansas doctor who administered abortions, was murdered “as he stood in the foyer of his church.” Tiller, who frequently wore a bullet-proof vest for protection, was shot and killed by an assailant, purported to be a 51-year old man named Scott Roeder. The killing comes only two months after he […]

captec07ftillercandleEarlier today, George Tiller, a Kansas doctor who administered abortions, was murdered “as he stood in the foyer of his church.” Tiller, who frequently wore a bullet-proof vest for protection, was shot and killed by an assailant, purported to be a 51-year old man named Scott Roeder. The killing comes only two months after he was found not guilty of performing illegal late-term abortions. People For The American Way’s right-wing watch blog notes that “those who had long targeted and demonized Tiller were quick to issue statements,” including this one by Randall Terry which essentially blamed Tiller for his own murder:

George Tiller was a mass-murderer. We grieve for him that he did not have time to properly prepare his soul to face God. I am more concerned that the Obama Administration will use Tiller’s killing to intimidate pro-lifers into surrendering our most effective rhetoric and actions. Abortion is still murder. And we still must call abortion by its proper name; murder.

Those men and women who slaughter the unborn are murderers according to the Law of God. We must continue to expose them in our communities and peacefully protest them at their offices and homes, and yes, even their churches.

Some pro-life groups have been quick to denounce the murder. Attorney General Eric Holder said “the murder of Doctor George Tiller is an abhorrent act of violence. … As a precautionary measure, we will also take appropriate steps to help prevent any related acts of violence from occurring.” And President Obama released a statement expressing his shock and outrage. “However profound our differences as Americans over difficult issues such as abortion, they cannot be resolved by heinous acts of violence,” Obama said.


Sotomayor’s College Activism Was Passionate but Civil

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 1st, 2009 4:31 am by HL

Sotomayor’s College Activism Was Passionate but Civil
Around Christmas of 1973, a fellow sophomore approached Frank Reed, a leader of Princeton University’s Chicano Caucus, to hand him a formal complaint she had typed up and to ask him to support it.

Late-Term Abortion Provider George Tiller Killed in Wichita Church
George R. Tiller, the nation’s most prominent provider of controversial late-term abortions, was shot and killed yesterday in the lobby of his Lutheran church in Wichita, where he was serving as an usher.

U.S. Gets Majority Stake in New GM
The Obama administration plans to take the next step toward resuscitating the American auto industry today, sending General Motors, the storied manufacturer, into bankruptcy protection.


In GOP, Supreme Court Nominee Sotomayor’s Record Takes a Back Seat to Her Words
Republican senators voiced skepticism yesterday about President Obama’s choice for the Supreme Court, Judge Sonia Sotomayor, but avoided the name-calling that has come from some conservative activists, notably former House speaker Newt Gingrich and radio host Rush Limbaugh, who have labeled…


Political Class Attacks California’s Voters

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 1st, 2009 4:29 am by HL

Political Class Attacks California’s Voters
Matt Welch, Reason

Universal Pre School Doesn’t Work
Chester Finn, New York Post

Why GM Is Sunk
Richard Bank, Washington Post

Carbon Offsets: A Small Price to Pay
Robert Frank, New York Times