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Archive for July 18th, 2009

Walter Cronkite, TV’s First Anchor, Dies at 92

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 18th, 2009 4:44 am by HL

Walter Cronkite, TV’s First Anchor, Dies at 92

Cronkite

One of the news industry’s longest-living legends, Walter Cronkite, died of cerebrovascular disease Friday at the age of 92. Over the course of his storied career as the anchor of CBS News, Cronkite covered some of the biggest events of the 20th century. He himself coined his famous and often-quoted sign-off line: “And that’s the way it is. …?”

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Palin Promises to Loosen Her Tongue

The Alaska governor tells her Twitter followers “elected is replaceable;Ak WILL progress! + side benefit=10 dys til less politically correct twitters fly frm my fingertps outside State site.” Palin indicates in a more recent message that later this month she will launch a personal Twitter account for nonstate business and, presumably, more quotes on the nature of quitting.

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James Zogby: The Evolution of the Acceptance of a Palestinian State

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 18th, 2009 4:43 am by HL

James Zogby: The Evolution of the Acceptance of a Palestinian State
With Benyamin Netanyahu agreeing to a Palestinian State (albeit one that meets his specifications), and the European Union’s Javier Solana calling for a Security Council…

Chris Weigant: Friday Talking Points [86] — Obama Warms Up In The Bullpen
Much to the dismay of just about everyone who breathlessly follows politics, the Senate hearings on the confirmation of Sonia Sotomayor turned out to be…

House Ethics Committee Opens 15 New Cases Of Alleged Misconduct By Lawmakers
The House ethics committee has started investigating 15 new cases of alleged misconduct so far this year while probing 11 cases held over from last…


Jamison Foser: The real story of the Sotomayor hearings

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 18th, 2009 4:42 am by HL

Jamison Foser: The real story of the Sotomayor hearings

The news media have been so fixated on the question of whether Sonia Sotomayor’s much-distorted “wise Latina” comment was racist, they have missed the real story of this week’s confirmation hearings: a pattern of inappropriate comments and double standards that highlight the biases of her critics.

Let’s start with the double standard. Countless news reports have — following the lead of a host of conservatives — suggested that Sotomayor’s vote in the Ricci case, combined with her comments about the effect of background and personal experiences on judicial decision-making, shows that she cannot be impartial. Some have gone so far as to suggest Sotomayor’s position on the Ricci case was racist.

Justice Samuel Alito — a white male of Italian-American ethnicity — made a comment very similar to Sotomayor’s during his confirmation hearings, saying that his ethnicity plays a role in his thinking when he hears cases, particularly discrimination cases. Neither the conservatives who now attack Sotomayor’s comments nor the media who go along with the fiction that her comments are remarkable complained about Alito’s comments.

But that’s not all. The plaintiff in the Ricci case is Frank Ricci, an Italian-American firefighter. Justice Alito, who voted in favor of Ricci, has said that his Italian-American heritage plays a role in his thinking when he hears discrimination cases. Yet reporters ignore that fact when they report on conservative allegations that Sotomayor’s background, rather than her reading in the law, determined her vote. Nor do they question why the Republican senators who are so concerned about Sotomayor’s Ricci vote are silent on the question of whether Alito’s ethnicity played a role in his vote.

That’s a clear double standard: A white man who rules in favor of a white man is presumed to have done so based on a neutral reading of the law — even though he has previously said his ethnicity plays a role in his judicial thinking — while a Latina is presumed to be unduly influenced by her background.

Then there’s Sen. Jeff Sessions’ bizarre suggestion that because Sotomayor is of Puerto Rican descent, she should have voted with another 2nd Circuit judge of the same background: “Had you voted with Judge [Jose] Cabranes, himself of Puerto Rican ancestry, had you voted with him, you could’ve changed that case.”

What does Cabranes’ “Puerto Rican ancestry” have to do with anything?

The news media didn’t care, even though the comment came from a senator whose own judicial nomination was scuttled amidst a controversy over his history of racially charged comments. MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow brought up Sessions’ strange reference to Cabranes’ “Puerto Rican ancestry.” So did her colleague Ed Schultz — and on Schultz’s show, former Republican congresswoman Susan Molinari agreed “the ancestry of anyone making that decision isn’t really pertinent.”

But that was it. Save a passing mention in a Washington Post article, Sessions’ comment is nowhere to be found in news reports available on Nexis.

Finally, there’s Sen. Lindsey Graham’s overt condescension and his use of what have been described as “sexist” anonymous quotes about Sotomayor.

Even while reporting Graham’s question about Sotomayor’s temperament based on anonymous quotes about her (a question that came at the end of a day in which Sotomayor had responded to a barrage of hostile GOP questioning without once responding in anger), ABC and NBC neglected to mention that Sotomayor’s Court of Appeals colleague, Judge Guido Calabresi, has called the criticism of her temperament “sexist, plain and simple.”

Several news accounts referred to the Republicans’ questioning of Sotomayor as “respectful” and “cordial,” overlooking Graham’s patronizing comments, including his statement — after reading the anonymous quotes — that “maybe these hearings are time for self-reflection.” Even Chris Matthews — himself no stranger to insulting treatment of women and minorities, including Sotomayor — found Graham’s comments “condescending.” But most news reports overlooked this aspect of the hearings.

Washington Post reporter Chris Cillizza even included Graham on his list of “winners,” praising his “low-key delivery” that proved he is “one of the best questioners/smart legal minds in the Senate.” Cillizza didn’t mention Graham’s condescension — and didn’t mention Sessions’ comment about Judge Cabranes’ ancestry, either. (Through two days of questioning, Cillizza couldn’t think of a single Republican to include among the hearings’ “losers,” though he found space for four Democrats, none of whom have been accused of making condescending or racially tinged comments.)

Graham began the Sotomayor hearings by noting that, barring a “meltdown,” she will be confirmed. Such a meltdown hasn’t happened. Like most recent Supreme Court nominees, Sotomayor’s comments have been fairly bland and uncontroversial. All the more reason why the media should pay attention to the real story of the week: the double standards and condescending treatment of Sotomayor, by conservatives and by many reporters.


Congress To Probe Secret CIA Program

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 18th, 2009 4:40 am by HL

Congress To Probe Secret CIA Program
Rep. Silvestre Reyes, who chairs the House Intelligence committee, has announced an investigation into the secret CIA program that Leon Panetta recently ended, and which Dick Cheney reportedly ordered kept secret from Congress. From Reyes’s statement: After careful consideration and…

Tapper Responds: We Didn’t Know About Sanford Affair When I Sent That Email*
It looks like Jake Tapper doesn’t feel like his network’s response to the news that he sucked up to Mark Sanford’s office by denigrating NBC’s coverage of the missing gov story — that Tapper was just “carrying some water” for…






Origins of ‘The Family’ AKA Flying Spaghetti Monster Christians

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 18th, 2009 4:37 am by HL

Origins of ‘The Family’ AKA Flying Spaghetti Monster Christians
Nikolas Kozloff: C Street Family — Sex Scandals, Moral Hypocrisy, and Far Right Agenda in Central America Buzzflash.com, July 10, 2009


At the Washington Premiere for ‘In the Loop’: When Moviemakers Meet Wonks

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 18th, 2009 4:36 am by HL

At the Washington Premiere for ‘In the Loop’: When Moviemakers Meet Wonks
The reviewer finds herself surrounded, not by Jimmy Cho-clad starlets, but by flip-flop-wearing interns and men donning khakis and polo shirts.

Could Dick Cheney Go to Prison?
Cheney seems to fear that if our system of justice works, he could be in for some serious, uncommuted jail time.

Five Foods You Shouldn’t Eat Raw
Did you know that children less than a year old should not eat honey?


Israel: On The Occupation, It Is All By Itself

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 18th, 2009 4:35 am by HL

Israel: On The Occupation, It Is All By Itself
It had to happen. Once the right wing of the pro-Israel community in the United States–and their Israeli allies–realized that President Barack Obama was serious about pursuing peace, they would go on the attack. Fortunately, the most virulent attacks have…


Sponsored Topics: Barack ObamaUnited StatesIsraelIsraeli governmentUnited States and Israel

Annals of Protest: A Jeremiah Without a God?
Had enough of Michael Jackson’s afterlife here on earth? I sure have, and I tuned out 99% of it. But some 31 million people watched his memorial service on 19 channels, and Chris Hedges explains why that’s scary in a…






Sponsored Topics: Martin Luther KingMichael JacksonJohn Maynard KeynesMariah CareyPeople

Change Congress
If ever there was a reason to support the Change Congress organization, it was in three stories in today’s paper. Larry Lessig and his partners have maintained since the start of their campaign to change the campaign financing system, that…


Sponsored Topics: Change CongressLawrence LessigCampaign financeJohn BoehnerJohn Kerry


The Week in Blog: TPM Conspiracy Edition

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 18th, 2009 4:34 am by HL

The Week in Blog: TPM Conspiracy Edition

The latest edition of The Week In Blog is up at Bloggingheads.tv featuring Matt Lewis and myself discussing blog complicity in the Gov. Sanford scandal, and blog reaction to the Sotomayor hearings, health care debate and Sarah Palin’s climate oped. Watch it below.


Pickering Affair Raises New Questions About ?Revolving Door? Of Secretive Fellowship Group

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 18th, 2009 4:33 am by HL

Pickering Affair Raises New Questions About ?Revolving Door? Of Secretive Fellowship Group
Last night on MSNBC, Rachel Maddow reported the story that former Rep. Chip Pickering’s (R-MS) wife has filed a lawsuit against Pickering’s mistress Elizabeth Creekmore Byrd, exposing a long-running affair. Pickering, now a lobbyist for Capitol Resources LLC, campaigned on a platform of promising to bring family values to Washington. Pickering tried to force his […]

Last night on MSNBC, Rachel Maddow reported the story that former Rep. Chip Pickering’s (R-MS) wife has filed a lawsuit against Pickering’s mistress Elizabeth Creekmore Byrd, exposing a long-running affair. Pickering, now a lobbyist for Capitol Resources LLC, campaigned on a platform of promising to bring family values to Washington. Pickering tried to force his own views on marriage upon the country by pushing a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage and using marriage as a cudgel to demand that President Bill Clinton resign:

– While engaged in the affair with Creekore Byrd, Pickering said of President Bill Clinton: “I think for the good of the country and the good of his own family it would be better for him to resign. When someone puts himself forward for public office, then his personal conduct does become relevant.” [Washington Times, 8/20/98]

– Pickering explained his support of a constitutional gay marriage ban, stating: “Marriage as an institution between one man and one woman promotes the best interest of the husband and wife, and the best interests of children.” [Mississippi Link, 7/20/06]

The suit filed by Pickering’s wife also alleges that Pickering pursued the affair while living in the “C Street Complex,” the boarding house for the secretive right-wing Christian group known as “the Fellowship.” Pickering’s former colleagues embroiled in similar scandals, Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) and Gov. Mark Sanford (R-SC), were also members of the Fellowship.

Doug Coe, the group’s spiritual leader, once preached that the willingness to behead one’s own mother was a “covenant” tantamount to what “Jesus said.” The organization “Youth with a Mission” owns the C Street boarding house, which is registered tax-exempt as a church, advocates seizing the “mountain of government” as part of an evangelical crusade to advance the “kingdom of God.” Coe, who holds misogynist beliefs, once counseled a lawmaker that his wife — who complained of not being sexually satisfied — might be possessed by demons.

Speaking with Maddow about the influence of the Fellowship, author Jeff Sharlet noted that the complex operates as a “fundamentalist frat house” where “if you’re part of God’s chosen…morality, ethics, these things don’t apply to them.” He also noted Steve Largent, a former Oklahoma congressman and former resident of the C Street house, now president of a telecom trade group, arranged lobbyist-funded trips for other members in the group, including both Pickering and Ensign. Sharlet questioned the lawmaker-to-lobbyist “revolving door” that “seems to be facilitated by the family.” Watch it:

Steele Explains His ?Urban-Suburban Hip-Hop? Strategy: I?m Going To Create ?A Little Hip-Hop Storm?
Last February, RNC Chairman Michael Steele got widely mocked when he told the Washington Times that he wanted to apply the Republican Party’s principles “to urban-surburban hip-hop settings.” Guest hosting Bill Bennett’s radio show today, Steele explained to a caller exactly how he planned to reach out to those “settings.” “I’m working up a little game […]

Michael Steele speaks at a podiumLast February, RNC Chairman Michael Steele got widely mocked when he told the Washington Times that he wanted to apply the Republican Party’s principles “to urban-surburban hip-hop settings.” Guest hosting Bill Bennett’s radio show today, Steele explained to a caller exactly how he planned to reach out to those “settings.”

“I’m working up a little game plan for the fall that would allow me to spend some time on a number of BET channels as well as Radio One Cathy Hughes, her network,” said Steele. Steele added that he plans “to actually visit some of these colleges and universities and have a conversation.” Steele said he planned “a little hip-hop storm”:

STEELE: What it’s about right now is your health care, ability for you to run a small business and grow it to a major business. Defining wealth in America. What I like to call creating legacy wealth that is generational. Empowering you to put your kids in schools that actually educate them as opposed to dumb them down to go out and be, you know, not very productive members of society. So, you know, these are important conversations to have. I’ve just been struck by the fact that this president has not addressed those issues in a meaningful way, in the black community especially. So, I’m looking forward to doing that and causing a little hip-hop storm, if you will.

Listen here:

In March, while appearing on D.L. Hughley’s now defunct CNN show, Steele explained that when he talks about hip-hop, he’s “really not talking about specifically just hip-hop” but “an urban agenda.” “I’m not trying to play off of hip-hop. I’m not trying to use hip-hop,” he added.

Transcript:

STEELE: Joseph in Texas, what’s going on buddy?

JOSEPH: Mr. Steele.

STEELE: Hey.

JOSEPH: Hey, I was was calling because I have two questions, if we can get to them. But the first question is, I attended an HBCU at Prairie View A and M University and I was wondering — because I’ve just got turned on to you, I guess, in the last couple months — I was wondering how come you aren’t on programs with like BET, doing interviews with like Cousin Jeff or like at hip hop summits with Russell Simmons and Puff Daddy and things like that. Or around the HBCU circuit because I think you have a very interesting message, even though it may be different than, you know, blacks are the minority

STEELE: Right.

JOSEPH: We’re getting from the Democrats. But, I, this is, you’re new to me and you’re new to our community.

STEELE: Well, no, I appreciate that and in fact we are. I’m working up a little game plan for the fall that would allow me to spend some time on a number of BET channels as well as Radio One Kathy Hughes, her network. And to actually visit some of these colleges and universities and have a conversation. I’m not afraid and I’m glad you, I’m glad you called Joseph and put that question up there, because I’m not afraid to go and have this conversation. I was at the NAACP this week and I thought that it went very well. People responded. They listened. And I wanted to engage in a different way and say, look, I don’t want to come here and start talking the same old platitudes that Republicans typically say and, “oh, I’ve got to remind you that Bull Connor was a Democrat, you know. That’s not what it’s about now. What it’s about right now is your health care, ability for you to run a small business and grow it to a major business. Defining wealth in America. What I like to call creating legacy wealth that is generational. Empowering you to put your kids in schools that actually educate them as opposed to dumb them down to go out and be, you know, not very productive members of society. So, you know, these are important conversations to have. I’ve just been struck by the fact that this president has not addressed those issues in a meaningful way, in the black community especially. So, I’m looking forward to doing that and causing a little hip hop storm, if you will. We’ll be back.


Obama Delivers Speech at NAACP Centennial Convention

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 18th, 2009 4:32 am by HL

Obama Delivers Speech at NAACP Centennial Convention
SPEAKER: PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA [*] OBAMA: Thank you. What an extraordinary night, capping off an extraordinary week, capping off an extraordinary 100 years at the NAACP. (Applause.) So Chairman Bond, Brother Justice, I am so grateful to all of you for being here. It’s just good to be among fri…

Concerns Over Health-Care Reform’s Scope, Price Tag Slow Momentum
President Obama sought to reassure jittery Democrats that health-care reform was within reach, although he urged his party to take bolder steps to address long-term cost concerns.


Crunch Time
What would you do if a computer hacker sent you a batch of purloined corporate documents?

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