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Archive for September 25th, 2009

Prize-Winning Industry

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 25th, 2009 4:45 am by HL

Prize-Winning Industry
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Kennedy’s Seat Is Temporarily Filled
With Ted Kennedy’s death, the Democrats fell one vote short of the 60-seat threshold needed to stop a filibuster in the Senate. But now the governor of Massachusetts has named former Democratic Party Chairman Paul Kirk to temporarily fill Kennedy’s seat, giving the Democrats a major tool in the fight for health care reform. The BBC: The governor of Massachusetts has named Paul Kirk as a temporary replacement to fill the Senate seat left vacant by the death of Edward Kennedy. Mr Kirk, 71, is a former Democratic Party chairman and worked for Sen Kennedy for eight years. The move means that Democrats in the US Senate have regained the majority needed to push through President Obama’s healthcare reform agenda. They fell one seat short through the death of Sen Kennedy. The Massachusetts state senate voted on Wednesday to allow the state governor to appoint a temporary replacement senator. Read more READ THE WHOLE ITEM

Paul

With Ted Kennedy’s death, the Democrats fell one vote short of the 60-seat threshold needed to stop a filibuster in the Senate. But now the governor of Massachusetts has named former Democratic Party Chairman Paul Kirk to temporarily fill Kennedy’s seat, giving the Democrats a major tool in the fight for health care reform.

The BBC:

The governor of Massachusetts has named Paul Kirk as a temporary replacement to fill the Senate seat left vacant by the death of Edward Kennedy.

Mr Kirk, 71, is a former Democratic Party chairman and worked for Sen Kennedy for eight years.

The move means that Democrats in the US Senate have regained the majority needed to push through President Obama’s healthcare reform agenda.

They fell one seat short through the death of Sen Kennedy.

The Massachusetts state senate voted on Wednesday to allow the state governor to appoint a temporary replacement senator.

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Gail Austin Cooney, M.D.: Debate Misses Point of End-of-Life Counseling

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 25th, 2009 4:44 am by HL

Gail Austin Cooney, M.D.: Debate Misses Point of End-of-Life Counseling
As a doctor specializing in palliative care and hospice, I’m disheartened to see how end-of-life counseling was twisted into something sinister and untrue, then ultimately dropped because it was deemed too divisive.

Jeremy Scahill: To the Dems Who Voted to ‘Defund ACORN’: Where is the Defund Blackwater Act?
Democrats have joined Republicans in voting to “Defund ACORN,” yet they have done nothing to stop Blackwater’s ongoing taxpayer-funded crusade in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Kevin Powell: While Leaders Meet, American Tourists Detained and Forgotten
Since September 4th, six Brooklyn tourists have been detained in Antigua, where a trial that is hugely slanted against them continues with no end in sight, and without help from the Obama Administration.


More witch-hunting: Fox News targets “safe schools czar” Kevin Jennings

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 25th, 2009 4:43 am by HL

More witch-hunting: Fox News targets “safe schools czar” Kevin Jennings

In its Glenn Beck-driven witch hunt for “czars” in the Obama administration, Fox News has turned its attention to attacking Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools director Kevin Jennings, with Sean Hannity and Fox & Friends asking whether Jennings should be “fired” and whether he is “the guy for the job.” In pressing for Jennings to be fired and misconstruing Jennings past comments, Fox News continues its pattern of using gross distortions to attack President Obama’s advisers.

Hannity panel named Jennings “most dangerous” and “worst” of Obama’s “czars”

Hannity: Jennings’ group “provided graphic answers to children about how to perform various sexual acts.” On the September 18 edition of his Fox News program, Sean Hannity aired a list of “10 people who President Obama has appointed or nominated to work on your behalf in your government,” and asked, “Should any of them be fired?” Jennings was No. 7 on the list:

HANNITY: Now, No. 7 is the assistant deputy secretary at the Department of Education, Kevin Jennings. Now, before joining the administration, he was the executive director of a group called the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, or GLSEN.

Now, according to the Parents’ Rights Coalition, the group sponsored a Massachusetts conference called Teach Out 2000, at which Department of Education employees provided graphic answers to children about how to perform various sexual acts. Now, doesn’t that sound like something that parents ought to be teaching their kids, even if they so desire? [Hannity, 9/18/09]

Andrew McCarthy: Jennings is “the worst [czar] that [Obama’s] appointed.” During a subsequent panel discussion about the top 10 list, Hannity asked National Review‘s McCarthy: “Who do you think is the worst person he appointed? Who do you think is the most dangerous?” McCarthy replied: “Well, I certainly think, of the list we’ve looked at, Jennings is the worst that he’s appointed. McCarthy went on to say, “[N]ext to [former Weather Underground member Bill] Ayers, I guess maybe Jennings is pretty mainstream, but I find him to be the worst.” [Hannity, 9/18/09 (from the Nexis database)]

Noelle Nikpour also said on Hannity that Jennings is Obama’s most dangerous czar. Hannity asked Republican strategist Noelle Nikpour, “Who do you think is the most dangerous?” Nikpour answered: “Well, I think it’s Kevin Jennings. Not only that, that he’s a gay activist, but he was part of the GLISTEN. He was the former director for GLISTEN. They held a conference in which techniques for, I think it was, homosexuality, how to perform different techniques. That’s insane.” The Wall Street Journal‘s Stephen Moore then added, “Remember, we — used to be that sex education was putting condoms on bananas. Lord knows what they’re going to do now.” [Hannity, 9/18/09 (from Nexis)]

Fox & Friends questions whether Jennings’ “past” makes him “the guy for the job”

Steve Doocy asks, “given his past, is [Jennings] the guy for the job?” Introducing a segment that echoed many of the criticisms of Jennings included in a September 23 FoxNews.com article, Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy claimed, “We’ve been talking here at Fox because nobody else is talking about — who exactly are these czars who have been appointed by the president to various high jobs. Let’s take a look at” Jennings. “And there are some who are questioning whether or not this is a guy who should have the job given his history.” Doocy later said that Jennings “expressed no regret” in his memoir for having used drugs in the past and concluded that “apparently he’s been very successful at [preventing bullying], but only half the job revolves around that; the other half is about usage of drugs in school. And given his past, is he the guy for the job?” [Fox & Friends, 9/24/09]

Brian Kilmeade claims Jennings “promoted homosexuality in schools” and “expressed contempt for religion.” During the Fox & Friends segment, Kilmeade stated, “[T]he safe school czar position was actually from George Bush’s administration in 2002. President Bush said we need something like this. But maybe this wasn’t the job — this wasn’t the resume he thought he’d get: Former schoolteacher who has promoted homosexuality in schools. Also, he has a — he details a report on how he did not report an incident with an underage student who had sex with an older man, and also has expressed contempt for religion. So, as you expand the resume, it might not be the perfect candidate.”

Fox News joins conservatives in attacking Jennings

Family Research Council launched “Stop Kevin Jennings” campaign in June. In a June 29 press release, the Family Research Council stated, “Today, Family Research Council announced the launch of the Stop Kevin Jennings campaign. Kevin Jennings is a radical homosexual activist whom President Barack Obama appointed to head the Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools. The campaign includes a full page ad in today’s DC Examiner newspaper and an online ad initiative.” The release continued:

As the former president of the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network, Mr. Jennings worked tirelessly to bring the homosexual agenda into our nation’s classrooms, even in grades as young as kindergarten. In addition, in his autobiography, Mr. Jennings expresses no regret about his past drug abuse or recognition of its risks. Instead, he seems amused. In his words, “[W]atching the planes take off and land is actually quite fun when you are drunk and stoned.”

Jennings has spoken publicly about a high school student he once counseled who was in a sexual relationship with an older man he met in a bus station – yet Jennings never reported this abuse to the authorities, the school, or the child’s parents.

WorldNetDaily, HotAir also have targeted Jennings. Jennings has also recently come under fire from the right-wing website WorldNetDaily and Michelle Malkin’s blog HotAir.com.

FRC, Kilmeade distorted Jennings’ remark about “promoting homosexuality”

Jennings actually expressed hope that someday “most straight people … wouldn’t necessarily equate homosexuality with something bad.” Kilmeade’s baseless claim that Jennings “promoted homosexuality in schools” calls to mind the Family Research Council’s “Stop Kevin Jennings” campaign, which quoted Jennings saying during October 25, 1997, remarks at GLSEN’s mid-Atlantic conference, “I can envision a day when straight people say, ‘So what if you’re promoting homosexuality?’ … That is our mission from this day forward” [ellipsis in original]. But FRC distorted Jennings’ remarks, as the blog Good As You noted. Jennings was actually calling for tolerance; he talked about countering “stereotypes and misinformation” in order to change peoples’ views about homosexuality over time and stated that GLSEN’s “mission from this day forward” was “[t]o not lose our faith, to not lose our belief that the world can, indeed, be a different place.” Jennings also spoke in reference to a day when “most straight people, when they would hear that someone was promoting homosexuality … wouldn’t necessarily equate homosexuality with something bad that you would not want to promote” and “a day when straight people say, ‘So what if you’re promoting homosexuality? Or straight kids say, ‘Hey, why don’t you and your boyfriend come over before you go to the prom and try on your tuxes on at my house?’ ” Peter LaBarbera, president of a group that seeks to “expos[e] and counter the homosexual activist agenda,” published a transcript of Jennings’ 1997 remarks that LaBarbera said were reprinted from the Lambda Report.

From LaBarbera’s transcript of Jennings’ remarks, with the portions FRC quoted in bold:

JENNINGS: Two years ago, one of our board members, one named Ann Simon, was called to testify before Congress when they had hearings on the promotion of homosexuality in schools. And we were busy putting out press releases, and saying, ‘We’re not promoting homosexuality, that’s not what our program’s about. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.’ And my best friend, who’s a straight women who lives in London, e-mailed me … and she said, ‘So what if you are?’ And I thought of how I can get so wrapped up in my own defensiveness, and … the day-to-day struggle, and stuff, that being finished might some day mean that most straight people, when they would hear that someone was promoting homosexuality, would say ‘Yeah, who cares?’ because they wouldn’t necessarily equate homosexuality with something bad that you would not want to promote. And when we were talking there, and Mike said, ‘You know, and I’d like five years from now — right now let’s face it, for large swells of people they think of GLSEN and kids, and they think, ‘GLSEN is bad for kids.’ They do because of their stereotypes and misinformation — I’d like five years from now for most Americans when they hear the word GLSEN to think, ‘Ooh, that’s good for kids.”

[…]

JENNINGS: All of us who are thinking this way are crazy, because you know what? Sane people keep the world the same [sh*tty] old way it is now. It’s the people who think, ‘No, I can envision a day when straight people say, ‘So what if you’re promoting homosexuality?’ Or straight kids say, ‘Hey, why don’t you and your boyfriend come over before you go to the prom and try on your tuxes on at my house?’ That if we believe that can happen, we can make it happen. The only thing that will stop us is our lack of faith that we can make it happen. That is our mission from this day forward. To not lose our faith, to not lose our belief that the world can, indeed, be a different place.

Fact: Kilmeade misrepresented Jennings’ remarks about religion

Think Progress: Jennings indicated that “he later returned to religion,” and he went on to join a Protestant seminary. Kilmeade’s claim that Jennings “has expressed contempt for religion” — which is based on a statement Jennings made in his memoir and has also been a component of FRC’s campaign against Jennings — ignores, as the blog Think Progress noted, “what Jennings writes a few sentences later: that he later returned to religion.” Think Progress also noted that Jennings “went on to serve as an active member on the board of the Union Theological Seminary (UTS) in New York, the nation’s most prestigious Protestant seminary.”

Fox engaging in witch hunt for “czars”

Fox has led charge against Obama administration officials they have called “czars.” As Media Matters for America has extensively documented, Fox News personalities such as Beck and Hannity have been leading the charge against Cass Sunstein, Van Jones, Mark Lloyd, John Holdren, and other Obama administration officials and nominees they have described as “czars” — often by unearthing and criticizing statements the officials had made in the past rather than critiquing their job performance or credentials for those positions — with Hannity, for example, declaring that “my job starting tomorrow night is to get rid of every other [‘czar’].”


Presented By:

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 25th, 2009 4:42 am by HL

Presented By:

FBI: Sparkman Was Found Touching Ground, Not Hanging From Tree
An FBI spokesman tells TPMmuckraker that Bill Sparkman was found with his feet on the ground, not hanging from a tree as was previously reported. The spokesman was trying to ratchet back speculation that Sparkman, a Census worker in Kentucky, was killed in an act of anti-government violence.

Census Worker Found Dead In Kentucky — What Do We Know?
A Census Bureau worker was found dead recently in a remote part of Kentucky. An anonymous law enforcement source told the AP that Bill Sparkman had the word “Fed” scrawled across his chest, sparking speculation that the death may have been an expression of anti-government sentiment. But the picture remains unclear.



The GOP House of Stupidity

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 25th, 2009 4:39 am by HL

The GOP House of Stupidity


Naomi Klein Interviews Michael Moore on the Perils of Capitalism

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 25th, 2009 4:38 am by HL

Naomi Klein Interviews Michael Moore on the Perils of Capitalism
Moore discusses his new documentary film, widely praised as a call for a revolt against capitalist madness.

Readers Weigh In: How Do I Help My Son Become a Free Thinker?
A recent article about how to raise children as humanists received hundreds of responses. Here its author, Danny Postel, chooses his favorites.

Is Eating a Plant-Based Diet a Cure for Cancer?
Experts are saying a plant-based diet is not only good for our health, but it’s also curative of the very serious diseases we face.


Looking For Answers In Columbine

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 25th, 2009 4:37 am by HL

Looking For Answers In Columbine
I spent a week in Littleton, Colorado, in August 2000, trying to understand what had happened. I was doing a piece with a co-writer for a website, and a Littleton City Council member gave us a guided tour of…


Sponsored Topics: City councilViolence and AbuseSchoolColumbine High SchoolIncidents

Handling Victims With Sensitivity
The story of Columbine seems so familiar as it’s become part of our national consciousness. One word, and we all nod our heads. Ah, yes, Columbine. And we think we know it. Yet revisiting it through your deft, sensitive…


Sponsored Topics: ColumbineColumbine High SchoolViolence and AbuseSchoolIncidents


Beck Refuses To Define What He Meant By The Phrase ?White Culture?: ?Ummmmm, I Don?t Know?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 25th, 2009 4:36 am by HL

Beck Refuses To Define What He Meant By The Phrase ?White Culture?: ?Ummmmm, I Don?t Know?
In July, Fox News’ radical host Glenn Beck called President Obama a “racist,” saying that he “has a deap-seated hatred for white people, or white culture” — a comment that sparked a successful advertising boycott of his Fox News program. This week in an interview with CBS News’ Katie Couric, Beck said he was “sorry” […]

In July, Fox News’ radical host Glenn Beck called President Obama a “racist,” saying that he “has a deap-seated hatred for white people, or white culture” — a comment that sparked a successful advertising boycott of his Fox News program. This week in an interview with CBS News’ Katie Couric, Beck said he was “sorry” for the way he “phrased” the claim, but still contended that it’s a “serious question” as to whether Obama is a racist.

During the interview, Couric posed a question from a Twitter user who wanted to know what Beck meant by “white culture” in his attack on Obama. Beck responded by stuttering: “Ummmmm, I don’t know.” He then suggested that he had already answered the criticism on his website, and therefore didn’t want to “make news” by responding to Couric.

“Can you explain what you mean by the white culture?” Couric insisted, “because some people say that sounds kind of racist.” Beck complained that he shouldn’t be the “target” for “asking” if Obama is a racist. Then he turned snarky as Couric persisted with her line of questioning:

COURIC: People just want to know. What is white culture?

BECK: I’m going to see if I can play your game. People just want to know.

COURIC: You know, well, [Twitter questioner] Adrian wants to know.

BECK: That’s good for Adrian.

When Beck said that he’s “not going to get into your soundbite gotcha game,” Couric noted that the interview would be “completely unedited so if you felt like you wanted to explain it, you have all the time in the world.” But Beck still wouldn’t give an answer. Couric gave Beck a final opportunity to disavow his view that Obama is a “racist,” but Beck just dug in:

COURIC: But basically, you stand behind your assertion that in your view, President Obama is a racist.

BECK: I believe that Americans should ask themselves tough questions. Americans should turn over all the rocks and make their own decisions.

Watch it:

So what did Beck mean by “white culture”? A Google search of his website and a Lexis/Nexis search of the transcripts from his Fox News program found no evidence that Beck addressed its meaning.

Transcript:

COURIC: A twitter question is, adrianinflorida: what do you mean by white culture?

BECK: Um, I, I don’t…

COURIC: You said he had a deep-seated hatred for the white culture, what is that? What is the white culture?

BECK: I guess it’s…gosh. I’m so tempted to make news here today.

COURIC: No no, I’m just curious, this was actually adrianinflorida.

BECK: What to do? What to do? Adrian, Go to glennbeck.com. Listen to it. You can hear all of it.

COURIC: No, but you didn’t really address white culture, I think, in your explanation about President Obama, I haven’t seen the whole show, but can you? Just for our purposes?

BECK: Just for your purposes? So this will be a little secret between us?

COURIC: No, for this show, can you explain what you mean by the white culture? Because some people say that sounds kind of racist.

BECK: Really? It’s amazing to me that, for the first time, I think in history somebody can ask a question and say, “Don’t you think that maybe we have several pieces here?” We have several pieces; George Bush says my grandmother was a typical African-American that had, that had her views bred into her. You don’t think maybe we would ask questions about that comment? How is it that the first time I think in history, you should check on it, somebody says, “Hey. There’s some red flags here maybe we should look at?” … How am I? How am I the target for asking questions?

COURIC: People just want to know. What is white culture?

BECK: I’m going to see if I can play your game. People just want to know.

COURIC: You know, well, Adrian wants to know.

BECK: That’s good for Adrian.

COURIC: No but I mean it’s fine if you make a statement though, shouldn’t you be able to defend exactly what you mean by it. I’m not –

BECK: Katie, how many times have you said, how many times have you said something where you’re like, “I didn’t think. What’s white culture? I don’t know. What’s the white culture?”

What? What is the white culture? I don’t know how to answer that that’s not a trap.

COURIC: Mhmm.

BECK: You know what I mean?

COURIC: Yeah I’m not, I’m just, I’m not trying to trap you, I’m just, I think people wanted to know what that meant exactly.

BECK: Well we know Adrian does.

COURIC: Yeah, and you’re not going to answer her?

BECK: I’m not going to get into your sound bite gotcha game which we already are. We already are.

COURIC: No we’re actually, this is completely unedited so if you felt like you wanted to explain it, you have all the time in the world.

BECK: Mhmm.

COURIC: No? Don’t want to go there?

BECK: Nope.

COURIC: But basically, you stand behind your assertion that in your view, President Obama is a racist.

BECK: I believe that Americans should ask themselves tough questions. Americans should turn over all the rocks and make their own decisions.

Kent Conrad claims U.S. doesn?t need a public option because France doesn?t have one.
Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND) has been one of the fiercest opponents of including a new public plan in health care reform legislation, even going so far as to say that it’s a “wasted effort” to even try to get one. At a hearing before the Senate Finance Committee this past Tuesday, Conrad made a curious […]

conradian2

Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND) has been one of the fiercest opponents of including a new public plan in health care reform legislation, even going so far as to say that it’s a “wasted effort” to even try to get one. At a hearing before the Senate Finance Committee this past Tuesday, Conrad made a curious argument against the public option — he cited the French health care system as an example of why we don’t need one:

Let me just conclude for my progressive friends who believe that the only answer to getting costs under control and having universal coverage is by a government-run program. I urge my colleagues to read the book by T.R. Reid, “The Healing of America.”

I had the chance to read it this weekend. He looks at the health-care systems around the world. And what he found is in many countries they have universal coverage. They contain costs effectively. They have high-quality outcomes, in fact higher than ours. They’re not government-run systems in Germany, in Japan, in Switzerland, in France, in Belgium — all of them contain costs, have universal coverage, have very high quality care and yet are not government-run systems.

The truth is, as the Washington Post’s Ezra Klein notes, France has had a public insurance system that covers all of its citizens since 1945. Known as Sécurité Sociale (social security), their public insurance program accounts for nearly 75 percent of total health expenditures in France, and people have the option of buying complementary private health insurance if they’d like. In its most recent ranking of health care systems, the World Health Organization concluded that France has the best health care system in the world.


White House Regroups on Guantanamo

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 25th, 2009 4:35 am by HL

White House Regroups on Guantanamo
With four months left to meet its self-imposed deadline for closing the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, the Obama administration is working to recover from missteps that have put officials behind schedule and left them struggling to win the cooperation of Congress.

Israeli Leader Blasts Ahmadinejad at U.N.
UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 24 — Brandishing Nazi orders for the extermination of the Jews, Israel’s prime minister blasted Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Thursday for continuing to deny that the Holocaust occurred and rebuked U.N. delegates who politely listened to the Iranian leader’s spee…


Objecting to ‘Gag Order’ on Insurers, Republicans Threaten to Delay HHS Confirmations
Senate Republicans said they will delay confirmation of Obama administration nominees to the Department of Health and Human Services unless HHS lifts what Republicans are calling a “gag order” on insurers.

Senators Spar Over Medicare on Day 3 of Reform Negotiations
The Senate Finance Committee rejected an amendment Thursday aimed at squeezing $106 billion from the nation’s pharmaceutical sector, averting the potential collapse of a deal struck between drug makers and the White House to gain industry support for health-care reform.


Washington Sketch: Senate Finance Panel Is Too Much Hot Air, Not Enough Deep Breathing
It sounded as if it were time for Jon Kyl’s nap. The second-ranking Senate Republican was speaking to his fellow Finance Committee members about an amendment to the health-care bill Thursday morning when he suddenly started shouting at his colleagues. “We don’t believe in a massive government…



Obama’s Foreign Policy Needs a Domestic Boost

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 25th, 2009 4:31 am by HL

Obama’s Foreign Policy Needs a Domestic Boost
Joe Klein, Time

Two Cheers for Andrew Breitbart
Jack Shafer, Slate

Iranians Will Decide Their Own Fate
Timothy Garton Ash, Guardian

ACORN Fights Back With Lobbying & Lawsuits
Jake Sherman, Politico