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Archive for June 26th, 2009

Arlington

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 26th, 2009 4:43 am by HL

Arlington

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Andrew Bergman: Clarence Thomas Stands Up for the Right to Strip Teenagers Naked

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 26th, 2009 4:42 am by HL

Andrew Bergman: Clarence Thomas Stands Up for the Right to Strip Teenagers Naked
Hats off to Justice Clarence Thomas for his courageous stand on behalf of school officials’ right to strip teenagers naked in an effort to find prescription pills.

Shannyn Moore: Palin’s Faux Outrage; Round Two
The recent faux outrage from Palin’s office is the most transparent in almost a year. The photoshopped picture posted by Linda Kellen Biegel has been…

Laurence Leamer: Chris Dodd’s Peace Corps: “The Ambitious Sense of the Possible”
Early this evening Senator Christopher Dodd of Connecticut gave what will probably prove the most important speech in the history of the Peace Corps since…

Andy Sernovitz: What “appreciating our troops” really means
I consider myself a patriot, but I’ve never had any real contact with the armed services. I read about it in the paper while I…


Cameron whitewashes Barbour’s record on Katrina

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 26th, 2009 4:41 am by HL

Cameron whitewashes Barbour’s record on Katrina

During the June 24 edition of Fox News’ Special Report, chief political correspondent Carl Cameron stated that Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R) is a potential presidential candidate in 2012 and is “one of the few politicians to emerge from the Katrina disaster with a reputation for competence and effectiveness in crisis.” However, according to reports, Barbour, leading the recovery effort in Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina, repeatedly sought and obtained waivers from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) allowing the state to redirect funds designated for low-income Katrina victims.

An April 25, 2006, Congressional Research Service report noted that “Congress included $11.5 billion in supplemental CDBG [Community Development Block Grant] disaster recovery assistance” for the five states affected by the Gulf Coast hurricanes in the Defense Appropriations Act for FY2006. The CRS also noted that the CDBG “program’s authorizing statute requires each state and entitlement community to allocate 70% of its CDBG funds to activities that primarily benefit low- and moderate-income persons,” but that the Defense Appropriations Act “lower[ed] the income targeting requirement for activities benefiting low- and moderate-income persons from 70% to 50% of the state’s allocation.” According to the report, the act also allowed HUD to “grant waivers of program requirements” — including the already reduced requirement that 50 percent of CDBG funds go to low- to moderate-income people.

After Congress passed the supplemental appropriations bill, Mississippi sought and obtained waivers to the 50 percent CDBG requirement, according to reports. According to a March 9, 2007, memo from the National Low Income Housing Coalition, Mississippi sought and failed to obtain a blanket waiver for the requirement but instead obtained “piecemeal” waivers from HUD going back to June 2006, at the request of Barbour. According to a May 21 (Jackson, Mississippi) Clarion-Ledger article, an attorney for the Mississippi Center for Justice stated that Congress “intended for states to use 50 percent of the funding to help low- and moderate-income families, but the state sought waivers for the requirement and spent only 21 percent on housing for those families.” The Clarion-Ledger also reported that “Mississippi officials dispute the figure, saying it’s closer to 73 percent, including funding for such programs as wastewater treatment.” The article also reported that Barbour has requested additional housing subsidies for low-income hurricane victims.

The New York Times reported on November 16, 2007, that Mississippi was the only state that had requested waivers to the 50 percent rule; that it had “spent $1.7 billion in federal money on programs that have mostly benefited relatively affluent residents and big businesses”; and that “[j]ust $167 million, or about 10 percent of the federal money, has been spent on programs dedicated to helping the poor”:

Like the other Gulf Coast states battered by Hurricane Katrina, Mississippi was required by Congress to spend half of its billions in federal grant money to help low-income citizens trying to recover from the storm.

But so far, the state has spent $1.7 billion in federal money on programs that have mostly benefited relatively affluent residents and big businesses. The money has gone to compensate many middle- and upper-income homeowners, to aid utility companies whose equipment was damaged and to prop up the state’s insurance system.

Just $167 million, or about 10 percent of the federal money, has been spent on programs dedicated to helping the poor, mostly through a smaller grant program for lower-income homeowners.

And while that total will certainly increase, Mississippi has set aside just 23 percent of its $5.5 billion grant money — $1.25 billion — for these programs. About 37 percent of the residents of the state’s coast are low income, according to federal figures.

Mississippi is the only state for which the Bush administration has waived the rule that 50 percent of its Community Development Block Grants be spent on low-income programs, according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, which administers the program. It is also the only state to ask for such waivers.

Moreover, on December 11, 2008, The Washington Post reported on a lawsuit “to stop the distribution of nearly $600 million in Hurricane Katrina relief aid to expand the Port of Gulfport, as sought by Gov. Haley Barbour,” which then-HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson said would “divert emergency federal funding from other more pressing recovery needs, most notably affordable housing”:

Mississippi civil rights and housing groups sued the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development yesterday to stop the distribution of nearly $600 million in Hurricane Katrina relief aid to expand the Port of Gulfport, as sought by Gov. Haley Barbour (R).

Filed in federal court in the District, the lawsuit alleges that the money is part of $5.5 billion approved by Congress for Mississippi after the August 2005 storm — emergency relief that was supposed to pay largely for affordable housing. But HUD granted waivers allowing the state to use 21 percent of the money for low-income housing, instead of 50 percent as required for Katrina aid channeled through the Community Development Block Grant program, plaintiffs charged.

[…]

In a January letter to Barbour, then-HUD Secretary Alphonso R. Jackson wrote that he shared concerns that the port expansion “does indeed divert emergency federal funding from other more pressing recovery needs, most notably affordable housing.”

Congress, however, “allows me little discretion,” Jackson wrote. He approved the funding shift before resigning in April.

Barbour’s office released a statement saying the port project is part of the state’s recovery program that was vetted by Congress. “It’s always been in the plan,” Barbour said. “Restoration of the Port of Gulfport is critical to recovery of the Gulf Coast from the worst natural disaster in American history.”

A June 2 Associated Press article reported that, according to the plaintiffs’ attorney, a federal judge will likely hold a hearing on HUD’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit this summer.

From the June 24 edition of Fox News’ Special Report with Bret Baier:

CAMERON: With Republican would-be candidates seemingly sort of dying on the vine, however, there is no shortage of hopefuls coming to the Granite State.

[begin video clip]

CAMERON: It’s a White House hopeful two-step to the two leadoff presidential voting states. Mississippi’s governor, Haley Barbour, visited New Hampshire, home of 2012’s first presidential primary, to raise money for Granite State Republicans. Tomorrow he’ll go to Iowa, home of the leadoff caucuses.

Like all early water-testers, the former chairman of the National Republican Party plays coy, lest he draw too much attention too early.

BARBOUR: You never say never. I have no plan to run for president. I don’t have any intention to run for president. But I do have an intention of trying to [unintelligible] Republican governors as I can between now and the end of 2010. I’m going to take a deep breath and see where we are.

CAMERON: As Mississippi’s governor, he’s one of the few politicians to emerge from the Katrina disaster with a reputation for competence and effectiveness in crisis. A strong social and fiscal conservative, he campaigned for gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell in Virginia recently and says the GOP must broaden its appeal.

BARBOUR: The mathematics of politics is not about subtraction and division, it’s about addition and multiplication. And that’s what we need as a party to be doing. Not looking for the purer, but finding the people that agree with us on most things.

[end video clip]

CAMERON: And though he says he still hasn’t made up his mind about running for president, as you heard there, he’ll think about it after the midterms of 2010.


SC Lawmaker On Sanford: “Lies Lies Lies”

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 26th, 2009 4:40 am by HL

SC Lawmaker On Sanford: “Lies Lies Lies”
MSNBC just had the reaction from State Sen. Jake Knotts, who has been raising the alarm about Sanford’s disappearance for days now. Said Knotts: Cover-up, cover-up. Lies, lies, lies. His staff lied — they didn’t know where he was. I…

Revealed: The Sanford/Ensign Connection
We couldn’t help noticing during Mark Sanford’s reality-show-style press conference that there’s a tie-in between this week’s GOP 2012 presidential contender sex scandal and last week’s involving Sen. John Ensign. Sanford said that in dealing with his affair, he’d been…

Guv’s Wife: I Asked Him To Leave Two Weeks Ago
Jenny Sanford, the First Lady of South Carolina, has released a statement in which she reveals that two weeks ago she asked her husband to leave, beginning a trial separation. It was agreed that the two would not be in…


Conservative sentiment in Pasadena

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 26th, 2009 4:36 am by HL

Conservative sentiment in Pasadena
This conservative sentiment was seen in a church’s parking lot in Pasadena CA.


Quote of the Day

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 26th, 2009 4:35 am by HL

Quote of the Day
“But do you want to be non-partisan and get nothing? Or do you want to be partisan and end up with a good health care plan? That is the choice.”

— Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), quoted in the Charleston Gazette, expecting little Republican support in passing health care reform.

Most Insiders See Health Care Reform Passing
The latest Congressional Insiders Poll looked at how likely it is that health care reform will be passed this year.

Democrats: Very likely 62%, Somewhat likely 33%, Somewhat unlikely 5%, Very unlikely 0%

Republicans: Very likely 13%, Somewhat likely 39%, Somewhat unlikely 39%, Very unlikely 8%

Democrats Lead in Oregon Governor’s Race
A new DailyKos/Research 2000 poll in Oregon finds Democrats ahead in next year’s gubernatorial race. Former Gov. John Kitzhaber (D) and Rep. Peter DeFazio (D) hold small, but significant leads over their potential Republican opponents.

Kithaber beats former Sen. Gordon Smith (R), 46% to 37%, and tops Greg Walden (R), 44% to 38%.

DeFazio beats Smith, 47% to 37%, and leads Walden, 45% to 37%.

CQ Politics has a good backgrounder on the race.


What Did You Sacrifice to Afford Health Care?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 26th, 2009 4:34 am by HL

What Did You Sacrifice to Afford Health Care?
Think about it. Get angry. The current system has robbed us of the chance to save, educate ourselves, see the world and live to a robust old age.

Will the ‘Dollar Wars’ Kill What’s Left of the American Dream?
Countries yoked to America's currency, and therefore its cratering empire, want to kick the dollar to the curb. And that's bad news for the U.S.

‘He Thought a Baby Would Keep Me in His Life Forever’: When Partner Abuse Isn’t a Bruise But a Pregnant Belly
Intimate partner violence doesn't always show up in police photos as swollen bruises. Instead, the evidence might be the victim's pregnant belly.


“What Can I Do?”

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 26th, 2009 4:33 am by HL

“What Can I Do?”
Someone recently approached me at the cheese counter of a local supermarket, asking “what can I do?” At first I thought the person was seeking advice about a choice of cheese. But I soon realized the question was larger than…






Sponsored Topics: CheeseUnited StatesBarack ObamaSupermarketWashington

Meet the ‘settlers’ lawyer’ – Elliott Abrams
Elliott Abrams has an oped in today’s Wall Street Journal trying to defend Ariel Sharon’s legacy, and evidently further ruin the Bush administration’s. In his article, “Hillary Is Wrong About the Settlements,” he attempts to show that there was a…


Sponsored Topics: Elliott AbramsAriel SharonWall Street JournalMiddle EastBush administration

Reconstructing Afghanistan?
In the year I spent in the White House, I kept being surprised by government agencies that simply ignored the president’s instructions and directives. In some cases, the political heads of the agencies were more liberal than the president and…


Brownback Becomes Third GOP Senator To Announce He Won?t Vote For Sotomayor

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 26th, 2009 4:32 am by HL

Brownback Becomes Third GOP Senator To Announce He Won?t Vote For Sotomayor
Yesterday in a speech on the Senate floor, Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS) “became at least the third Republican” to announce that he will vote against Judge Sonia Sotomayor’s nomination to the Supreme Court: Mr. President, judges do not make law, and under no circumstance should they be under the impression that they do. Judge Sotomayor sees […]

Yesterday in a speech on the Senate floor, Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS) “became at least the third Republican” to announce that he will vote against Judge Sonia Sotomayor’s nomination to the Supreme Court:

Mr. President, judges do not make law, and under no circumstance should they be under the impression that they do. Judge Sotomayor sees judges as lawmakers — as both umpire and player. […]

I wonder how Alexander Hamilton would respond. I think he would wholly disagree with that interpretation. Unfortunately, Judge Sotomayor’s writings and statements lead me to believe she is a proponent — a clear proponent — of an activist judiciary. I cannot support her nomination. I will vote “no” when it comes before the full Senate.

Watch part of his floor speech:

During the confirmation hearings for Samuel Alito in 2006, Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) lamented to the judge that there were “those who have already decided to vote against your nomination and are looking for some reason to do so.”

At the time, however, no Democrat had announced plans to vote against Alito; only Republicans had made up their minds to support him. This time around, Republicans — like Brownback — are the ones who are rushing to announce their opposition to Sotomayor, even though Senate Republicans have promised to give Sotomayor a “fair opportunity to provide full and complete answers” about her record.

Last week, Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) also said that his vote to oppose Sotomayor was a “foregone conclusion” 11 years before she was even nominated for the Supreme Court, citing his opposition to her in 1998. He also blew off a scheduled meeting with the judge. As early as May 28, Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) came out and became the first Republican to oppose Sotomayor, saying, “I do not plan to vote for her. … I voted no in 1998. … Since that time, she has made statements on the role of the appeals court I think is improper and incorrect.”

Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) also blew off his meeting with Sotomayor. The judge, who has been “[h]obbling along with her leg in a cast,” was 10 minutes late. Impatient, Corker said he didn’t feel like waiting on the injured judge: “I decided to proceed on to the next meeting.” In the wake of the press attention, Corker rescheduled the meeting. After the meeting, Corker said that he is “reserving judgment on her nomination until the conclusion of a fair and thorough hearings process.”

Maryland GOP group distances itself from letter comparing Obama to Hitler: We ?never approved it.?
As former TP editor Judd Legum reported earlier this week, the website of the Republican Women of Anne Arundel County — “one of Maryland’s most prominent Republican organizations” — prominently featured a letter from RWAAC President Joyce Thomann that compared Obama to Hitler. “Obama and Hitler have a great deal in common in my […]

thomann As former TP editor Judd Legum reported earlier this week, the website of the Republican Women of Anne Arundel County — “one of Maryland’s most prominent Republican organizations” — prominently featured a letter from RWAAC President Joyce Thomann that compared Obama to Hitler. “Obama and Hitler have a great deal in common in my view,” she wrote. That letter has now been taken down and replaced with an “urgent message“:

The article put on our web site by Joyce Thomann was done solely by her. Our Board of Directors never saw the article and would never have approved it. We are not in support of Mrs. Thomann’s personal thoughts ot [sic] opinions.

Ms. Thomann’s husband, Charles, told the Baltimore Sun that the letter “wasn’t meant in the way people are taking it.” He conceded that “maybe she wasn’t as artful as she could have been,” but said the main point was still valid: “The methods that [House Speaker Nancy] Pelosi and [President] Obama are using to get the socialist view point across, is similar to what Hitlder [sic] did. … I happen to be a history teacher.”


Emanuel Says Immigration Reform Bill Lacks Votes to Pass

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 26th, 2009 4:31 am by HL

Emanuel Says Immigration Reform Bill Lacks Votes to Pass
Just hours before President Obama hosted lawmakers for a discussion on immigration at the White House, Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel conceded that Obama and his allies on Capitol Hill do not have the votes to pass a comprehensive reform bill.


South Carolina Governor Sanford Says He’ll Repay Cost of 2008 Argentina Trip
COLUMBIA, S.C., June 25 — The only signs remaining here of Gov. Mark Sanford’s riveting confession of infidelity were the television cameras staked out on the manicured lawns encircling the copper-domed state Capitol. Inside, the marble-floored rotunda, where Sanford tearfully bared his soul and…

Bernanke Holds Firm in Hot Seat
Legislators yesterday pounded Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke with questions about his role in Bank of America’s purchase of Merrill Lynch, discarding the deference long accorded to him and his predecessors in a demonstration of mounting concern about the Fed’s performance.

White House Says Overhaul of Transportation System Must Wait
After rejecting criticism that it is taking on too much, the Obama administration has identified one area where ambitious reforms will have to wait: overhauling the nation’s aging, congested and carbon-emitting transportation system.


Politicians’ Scandals Elevate the Profile of a Spiritual Haven on C Street SE
No sign explains the prim and proper red brick house on C Street SE.