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Archive for July 6th, 2009

140 Dead Following China Protests

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 6th, 2009 4:42 am by HL

140 Dead Following China Protests

Chinese state media are reporting 140 people dead and more than 800 injured from what China Daily describes as “unrest” on the part of Uighur “outlaws.” Those figures and the nature of the protests are fiercely disputed by Uighur groups abroad who say police fired on peaceful demonstrators.

Uighurs are a minority ethnic group of Muslims who live mostly in China’s northwest frontier.

BBC:

Several hundred people were arrested after a protest, in the city of Urumqi on Sunday, turned violent.

Beijing says Uighurs went on the rampage but one exiled Uighur leader says police fired on students.

The protest was reportedly prompted by a deadly fight between Uighurs and Han Chinese in southern China last month.

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Zelaya Heads Back to Honduras

Manuel Zelaya

Manuel Zelaya is on a flight home to Honduras to reclaim his presidency. However, the post-coup government says it will not allow his plane to land and the military has fired tear gas at thousands of Zelaya supporters waiting at the airport. Zelaya is traveling with an entourage of journalists and a prominent U.N. official.

If his plane is diverted to neighboring El Salvador, he will join several other heads of state who have been following his ordeal.

BBC:

Ousted President Manuel Zelaya has left the US on a flight bound for Honduras, in a bid to reclaim his post.

Mr Zelaya, who was removed from office by troops a week ago, says he is determined to return to his country.

But the interim government says it will not allow Mr Zelaya’s plane to land. There are growing fears of violence in the Central American nation.

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Dems: Stimulus Money Needs To Be Spent Faster

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 6th, 2009 4:41 am by HL

Dems: Stimulus Money Needs To Be Spent Faster
A leading congressional Democrat and Republican both expressed disappointment Sunday with the pace of the government’s economic stimulus program, but offered differing views on whether…

Mullen Advises ‘Measured’ Approach To Gay Policy
WASHINGTON — The nation’s top military officer said Sunday he has advised President Barack Obama to move “in a measured way” in changing the “don’t…

Laurence Leamer: Senator Leahy Holds the Future of the Peace Corps in His Hands
Senator Patrick Leahy has done much to advance American democracy. When it comes to issues of civil liberties or governmental abuse, he has been there…


Wallace let Boehner falsely claim no stimulus contracts awarded in Ohio

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 6th, 2009 4:40 am by HL

Wallace let Boehner falsely claim no stimulus contracts awarded in Ohio

During the July 5 edition of Fox Broadcasting Co.’s Fox News Sunday, host Chris Wallace let stand House Minority Leader John Boehner’s false claim that “[i]n Ohio, the infrastructure dollars that were sent there months ago,” as part of the economic recovery package, “there hasn’t been a contract let, to my knowledge. And the fact is is that I don’t believe it will create jobs.” In fact, in a June 15 update on the state’s stimulus spending, the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) stated, “Combined with the contracts awarded so far using funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, ODOT has awarded more than $83.9 million in contracts for work on 52 projects — a combination of interstate, local roadway and bridge modernization projects.” The department’s statement continued:

As contracts are awarded, construction companies begin to mobilize workers for these jobs. Jobs are also being created and retained by firms that provide materials and equipment used in highway construction, and those jobs supported by consumer expenditures resulting from wages to ‘construction oriented’ and ‘supporting industries’ employment.

A June 8 Associated Press article reported: “President Barack Obama’s $787 billion economic spending package reached Ohio’s roads Monday when construction crews began work on a highway project in Cleveland. The $1.8 million project will widen a ramp from Interstate 490 to Interstate 77, and other stimulus projects are scheduled to begin in weeks.”

During the Fox News Sunday discussion of the economic recovery act and the current unemployment rate, Wallace stated, “Democrats say that unemployment would be a lot higher without the stimulus package.” Boehner responded:

BOEHNER: Listen, we argued early in the year when this bill was being debated that the way to help the economy grow is to help small businesses and American families keep more of what they earn, because at the end of the day, they’re the ones who can get the economy going again.

This was supposed to be about jobs, jobs, and jobs. And the fact is it turned into nothing more than spending, spending, and more spending on a lot of big government bureaucracy. In Ohio, the infrastructure dollars that were sent there months ago — there hasn’t been a contract let, to my knowledge. And the fact is is that I don’t believe it will create jobs. The president said earlier this year we’re not going to see unemployment above 8 percent if we pass this bill. And the fact is, we have. And, Steny, the real question is, where are the jobs?

At no point during the discussion did Wallace point out that, as of June 15, Ohio had awarded $83.9 million in contracts under the recovery package.

From the July 5 edition of Fox Broadcasting Co.’s Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace:

WALLACE: Back when the Obama team was pushing its stimulus plan, it said that it would keep unemployment below 8 percent. This week we all learned it’s now 9.5 percent, and the Republicans have put out a video about a bloodhound searching for stimulus jobs. Let’s watch.

NARRATOR : Finally, the dogs track down something in North Carolina. They used stimulus money to hire one new state worker. His job? Apply for more stimulus funds from the taxpayers by the way of the federal government.

WALLACE: Congressman Hoyer, can you honestly say you’re satisfied with the stimulus?

REP. STENY HOYER (House majority leader): I don’t think anybody can honestly say that we’re satisfied with the results so far of the stimulus, but we believe the stimulus was absolutely essential. Mark Zandi, as you know, who was one of McCain’s economic advisers, says it’s going to create 2 million jobs by the end of next year. And —

WALLACE: But why hasn’t it done more faster?

HOYER: Well, we’re disappointed that it hasn’t done more faster. John and I were talking earlier about getting money out more quickly. We need to do that. We’re disappointed, but after all, the ad is being run by a crowd that created about 4,000 jobs per month — the worst job creation performance in 75 years — and lost 2 million jobs the three months before the Obama administration came in.

So, they haven’t had such a hot track record. We’re disappointed that we inherited such a tanking economy, but we’re trying to do everything we can to get it moving again.

WALLACE: I think, Congressman Boehner, he’s talking about you as he says that. President Obama defended the stimulus this week. Let’s take a look.

OBAMA : The recovery act was designed to make sure that local school districts didn’t lay off teachers and firefighters and police officers, and it’s done its job.

WALLACE: Congressman Boehner, Democrats say that unemployment would be a lot higher without the stimulus package.

BOEHNER: Listen, we argued early in the year when this bill was being debated that the way to help the economy grow is to help small businesses and American families keep more of what they earn, because at the end of the day, they’re the ones who can get the economy going again.

This was supposed to be about jobs, jobs, and jobs. And the fact is it turned into nothing more than spending, spending, and more spending on a lot of big government bureaucracy. In Ohio, the infrastructure dollars that were sent there months ago — there hasn’t been a contract let, to my knowledge. And the fact is is that I don’t believe it will create jobs. The president said earlier this year we’re not going to see unemployment above 8 percent if we pass this bill. And the fact is, we have. And, Steny, the real question is, where are the jobs?

You can’t spend $800 billion of taxpayer money and not create jobs when you say that’s what the goal was. We haven’t seen the jobs yet.

HOYER: We have obviously invested in health care. We have invested in education. I think the president is absolutely right. We would have lost more jobs but for this investment, and economists agree with us. As a matter of fact, a lot of economists on John’s side of the aisle agreed with the stimulus package.

BOEHNER: No, no, no. They agreed —

HOYER: John — John, let me just finish —

BOEHNER: They agreed that we needed a stimulus bill.

HOYER: Let me just finish. John’s message is the same message we heard in 2001 — the same message that supported an economic policy that led us to the worst economic times that we’ve had.

WALLACE: Gentlemen, let’s look forward, not backward.


Climate Skeptic: “I Was Hoping People At EPA Would Pay Attention” To My Work

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 6th, 2009 4:39 am by HL

Climate Skeptic: “I Was Hoping People At EPA Would Pay Attention” To My Work
digg_url = ‘http://digg.com/politics/Climate_Study_By_Non_Scientist_Right_s_New_Cause_Celebre’; Conservatives are jumping up and down over a report by an EPA analyst expressing skepticism about climate change, which, they claim, was suppressed by agency brass because it didn’t conform to Obama administration orthodoxy on global…

Sanford Admits More Trysts With Lover
South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, who originally admitted to meeting his Argentine mistress four times in the past year, told the AP that the number is more like seven. Apparently there were five meetings in the last year, including “two…

More Obama Secrecy — This Time On Cheney’s Plame Interview
Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised at this point. But the latest example of the Obama administration mimicking the Bushies in opting for secrecy over openness feels like one of the most infuriating yet. The Justice Department is declining to release…






Gov. Palin May Be Over, But She’s Not Out

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 6th, 2009 4:36 am by HL

Gov. Palin May Be Over, But She’s Not Out
Further reading: catv“It Came From Wasilla” Todd S. Purdum, Vanity Fair, August 2009 issue.


Daily Pulse on Health Care Politics

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 6th, 2009 4:35 am by HL

Daily Pulse on Health Care Politics
Roll Call reports the Senate’s time line for passing a health care reform bill may slip.

“Senate Democratic leaders’ hopes of approving health care reform before adjourning for the August recess appear all but dead, with the prospect of meeting President Barack Obama’s demand for a bill on his desk by Oct. 15 looking increasingly difficult.”

However, on Face the Nation, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) promised that there will be a public health care insurance option in any legislation that emerges from the Senate.

Said Schumer: “Make no mistake about it, there will be a public option in the final bill — some form of it. We want it to be a fair level playing field, but you need something to keep the big boys honest. And the only thing that really is out there is a public option. We don’t trust the private insurance companies left to their own devices, and neither do the American people.”

The Hill notes the “major sticking point” between Democrats and Republicans on the Finance Committee has been the public option. However, as Schumer notes, the public option is supported by the House of Representative, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee and President Obama.

The Decay and Decline of New York
Fred Dicker: “Having witnessed the anarchy, chaos and lack of leadership that has engulfed the state Capitol during the past month, I have a painful confession to make. After three decades as a journalist covering state government, if I had to do it all over again, I’d find another job.”

“I’ve covered Govs. Hugh Carey, Mario Cuomo, George Pataki, Eliot Spitzer and David Paterson and for New York to wind up like this after 35 years of modern leadership, it’s clear to me that my real job has been to chronicle the devolution — the decay and decline — of New York state.”


Meatless Mondays: Do Something Good for the Earth and Your Health

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 6th, 2009 4:34 am by HL

Meatless Mondays: Do Something Good for the Earth and Your Health
A new campaign is focused on convincing the world not to eat chickens, pigs, and other animals — just one day per week.

This Is Your Country on Drugs: How the DARE Generation Got High
Exclusive from new book shares the '80s generation's encounter with illicit drugs, and how they really caught on.

Unemployed and on the Verge of Losing Everything: "I Don’t Know How I’ll Make It"
Luz Guerra has already lost her job. Now she might lose her car, her home and her health insurance.

Taibbi: New Secrecy Rule Lets Goldman Sachs Control Stock Prices Unmolested by Public Scrutiny
The new rule means the public will no longer be able to tell if large investment banks are manipulating the stock market for their own gain.

This Is Your Country on Drugs: How the DARE Generation Got High
Exclusive from new book shares the '80s generation's encounter with illicit drugs, and how they really caught on.


Palin Theories

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 6th, 2009 4:33 am by HL

Palin Theories
The word most used to describe Palin’s press conference yesterday was “breathless”. She sped through her little speech like a student with too much Adderal in her system. Last night at a dinner party the theories ranged between two poles….


Sponsored Topics: Michael PalinNews conferenceSarah PalinAlaskaUnited States

Open Thread: Eagles vs. Michael Jackson
David Kurtz asserted on the front page this morning that Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” is actually not the best-selling album of all time – The Eagles’ “Greatest Hits 1971-1975” tops the list. His source? Sales figures from the RIAA. So many…


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Powell Hits Back At Limbaugh: Calling Sotomayor A ?Reverse Racist? Is ?Nonsense?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 6th, 2009 4:32 am by HL

Powell Hits Back At Limbaugh: Calling Sotomayor A ?Reverse Racist? Is ?Nonsense?
Last May, hate radio talker Rush Limbaugh called Judge Sonia Sotomayor, President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, a “reverse racist,” referring to Sotomayor’s past comment that a “wise Latina woman with the richness of her experience would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.” Today on CNN, […]

Last May, hate radio talker Rush Limbaugh called Judge Sonia Sotomayor, President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, a “reverse racist,” referring to Sotomayor’s past comment that a “wise Latina woman with the richness of her experience would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.”

Today on CNN, former Secretary of State Colin Powell criticized such comments. Saying that Sotomayor is a “gifted” and an “accomplished woman” with “a judicial record that seems to be balanced and tries to follow the law,” Powell added that calling her a “reverse racist” is “nonsense”:

POWELL: What we can’t continue to have is to have somebody like a Judge Sotomayor…called a “racist,” or a “reverse racist” and she ought to withdraw her nomination because we’re mad at her. Fortunately the senators who will sit on this hearing in the Judiciary Committee after a few days of this kind of nonsense said, “Let’s slow down. Let’s examine her qualifications and the way we’re supposed to at a confirmation hearing.”

When host John King asked about the GOP’s “sensitivity” toward minorities, Powell took aim at Limbaugh directly, firing back at his claim that Powell only supported Obama’s candidacy for president because he is black:

POWELL: And when you have non-elected officials such as we have in our party who immediately shout racism or somebody who is quite prominent in the media says the only basis upon which I could possibly have supported Obama was because he was black and I was black even though I laid out my judgment on the candidates, then we still have a problem.

King later noted that Limbaugh has also said that Powell is no longer a Republican. “Mr. Limbaugh of course is entitled to his opinion but he’s not on any membership committee,” Powell replied, adding, “He doesn’t decide who I am or what I am no more than I decide who he is or what he is.” Watch it:

Transcript:

POWELL: [Judge Sonia Sotomayor] seems like a gifted and accomplished woman. She certainly has an open and liberal bent of mind but that’s not disqualifying. But she seems to have a judicial record that seems to be balanced and tries to follow the law. And so I hope we do have a spirited set of hearings. And Supreme Court confirmation hearings tend to always meet that standard. And she ought to be asked about everything from both the left and the right. What we can’t continue to have is to have somebody like a Judge Sotomayor who is announced, and based on one simple tricky but nonetheless case that the Supreme Court has now decided have her called a “racist,” or a “reverse racist” and she ought to withdraw her nomination because we’re mad at her.

Fortunately the senators who will sit on this hearing in the Judiciary Committee after a few days of this kind of nonsense said, “Let’s slow down. Let’s examine her qualifications and the way we’re supposed to at a confirmation hearing.” […]

And when you have non-elected officials such as we have in our party who immediately shout racism or somebody who is quite prominent in the media says the only basis upon which I could possibly have supported Obama was because he was black and I was black even though I laid out my judgment on the candidates, then we still have a problem. […]

KING: The guy who used the term “reverse racist” — you didn’t name him but it’s Rush Limbaugh. He has said some not so favorable things about you, saying, “this guy says he’s Republican but then he supported Obama. So he’s not really Republican.” You’re a Republican?

POWELL: Yes and Mr. Limbaugh of course is entitled to his opinion but he’s not on any membership committee. He doesn’t decide who I am or what I am no more than I decide who he is or what he is. We’ve had this running debate let’s call it that and he’s entitled to his opinion and I’m entitled to mine.


For U.S. and OAS, New Challenges to Latin American Democracy

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 6th, 2009 4:31 am by HL

For U.S. and OAS, New Challenges to Latin American Democracy
The Obama administration has signaled its support for democracy in Latin America by condemning the coup in Honduras, reducing military cooperation and joining with other countries in the hemisphere yesterday in a rare suspension of a nation from the Organization of American States.

Compromise Is Key to Health-Care Legislation
For the next five weeks, Congress will attempt the daunting feat of turning a mishmash of half-written proposals into health-care reform legislation that can pass the House and the Senate before the August recess.

Bill Would Compromise Offices, 5 Inspectors General SayBill Would Compromise Ability to Investigate, 5 IGs Say
Inspectors general at five financial regulatory agencies are objecting to legislation that would elevate their positions to the presidential-appointment level, arguing that the move would compromise their ability to conduct independent investigations.


Former Lawmakers and Congressional Staffers Hired to Lobby on Health Care
The nation’s largest insurers, hospitals and medical groups have hired more than 350 former government staff members and retired members of Congress in hopes of influencing their old bosses and colleagues, according to an analysis of lobbying disclosures and other records.

Report Faults Performance Bonuses for Contractors
Federal agencies have awarded billions in bonuses to contractors regardless of whether the work was deemed satisfactory, according to a Government Accountability Office report released last week.