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Archive for September 30th, 2009

Toyota Recalls 3.8 Million Cars

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 30th, 2009 4:46 am by HL

Toyota Recalls 3.8 Million Cars
Toyota has announced a recall of 8 U.S. models, including the 2004-2009 Prius. A problem with floor mats has reportedly caused the death of 5 people so far. The BBC calculates the total recall at two years worth of U.S. sales for the automaker. Toyota’s explanation of the problem—including advice for avoiding calamity—can be found here.  —PS BBC: The problem is with loose floormats, which may cause the accelerator pedal to stick. The problem affects eight models of Toyota and Lexus cars and trucks in the US, where owners have been told to remove floormats on the driver’s side. The US government said it had received reports of 100 related incidents that involved 17 crashes and five deaths. Read more READ THE WHOLE ITEM

Toyota has announced a recall of 8 U.S. models, including the 2004-2009 Prius. A problem with floor mats has reportedly caused the death of 5 people so far. The BBC calculates the total recall at two years worth of U.S. sales for the automaker.

Toyota’s explanation of the problem—including advice for avoiding calamity—can be found here.? —PS

BBC:

The problem is with loose floormats, which may cause the accelerator pedal to stick.

The problem affects eight models of Toyota and Lexus cars and trucks in the US, where owners have been told to remove floormats on the driver’s side.

The US government said it had received reports of 100 related incidents that involved 17 crashes and five deaths.

Read more

READ THE WHOLE ITEM

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Exorcising America’s Diplomatic Demons
Communism once was, as the Islamic terrorist threat is today, presented as an undifferentiated revolutionary impulse that could never be diplomatically accommodated without sacrificing our own security or, indeed, our freedom. The various communist nations and movements, like those currently led by a polyglot collection of Islamist radicals, were stripped of any complexity, be it in their national identity or ideology.  READ THE WHOLE ITEM

Obama at G-20 summit

By Robert Scheer

Communism once was, as the Islamic terrorist threat is today, presented as an undifferentiated revolutionary impulse that could never be diplomatically accommodated without sacrificing our own security or, indeed, our freedom. The various communist nations and movements, like those currently led by a polyglot collection of Islamist radicals, were stripped of any complexity, be it in their national identity or ideology.?

READ THE WHOLE ITEM

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Huff TV: HuffPost Editor Roy Sekoff On Senate Dems Reaction To Public Option Loss (VIDEO)

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 30th, 2009 4:45 am by HL

Huff TV: HuffPost Editor Roy Sekoff On Senate Dems Reaction To Public Option Loss (VIDEO)
HuffPost Editor Roy Sekoff went on “The Ed Show” Wednesday to discuss the defeat in the Senate Finance Committee of two public option amendments. Preceding…

Senate Dems Look To Obama To Move Health Care Votes
For many months, advocates of health care reform have implored President Obama to outline in greater detail the provisions he’s prepared to push and defend….

Abner Mikva Endorses David Hoffman For Obama’s Old Senate Seat
Former Chicago inspector general David Hoffman picked up the endorsement of a venerable former judge and unveiled a transparency platform Tuesday in his bid for…


Conservative media raise ACORN bogeyman to baselessly cast doubt on Franken’s campaign victory

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 30th, 2009 4:44 am by HL

Conservative media raise ACORN bogeyman to baselessly cast doubt on Franken’s campaign victory

The Fox Nation, Gateway Pundit blog, and Mickey Kaus all highlighted a Minneapolis Star Tribune column to claim or suggest that ACORN stole the 2008 Minnesota Senate election for Sen. Al Franken (D). In fact, the column — which Gateway Pundit and Kaus falsely claimed was a Star Tribune “report” or “story” — did not contain a single allegation of a fraudulently cast vote, and the Minnesota Supreme Court stated that counsel for Franken’s 2008 opponent, Norm Coleman, “confirmed at oral argument that Coleman makes no claim of fraud on the part of either voters or election officials.”

Media cite Star Tribune columnist to tie ACORN bogeyman to Franken victory

Star Tribune columnist Katherine Kersten: “Did ACORN folks pull some fast ones to help get their favorite son Franken elected?” Kersten wrote: “Here in Minnesota, ACORN has boasted of playing a major role in the 2008 elections. It claims to have registered 43,000 new voters, which it describes as 75 percent of the state’s new registrations. Franken’s margin of victory in the Senate race was razor-thin: 312 votes out of about 3 million cast. And Minnesota’s laws on proof of voter eligibility are notoriously loose.” Kersten added: “Did ACORN folks pull some fast ones to help get their favorite son Franken elected — a win that handed Democrats the 60-vote, veto-proof majority that they needed to enact their liberal agenda? Secretary of State Mark Ritchie assures us that Minnesota’s system of voter verification protects electoral integrity. But here’s an uncomfortable fact: Ritchie himself was endorsed by the now-notorious ACORN and elected with its help.” [Minneapolis Star Tribune, 9/26/09]

Gateway Pundit: “Figures. ACORN Was Behind Franken’s Stolen Senate Seat.” Following Kersten’s column, GatewayPundit.com posted a piece with the headline, “Figures. ACORN Was Behind Franken’s Stolen Senate Seat.” The post falsely claimed that Kersten’s opinion piece constituted a Star Tribune “report.” The post stated, “Here’s a shocker. ACORN may have helped Al Franken steal the US senate seat from Minnesota.” It then added, “The Minnesot [sic] Star-Tribune reported,” and then quoted extensively from Kersten’s piece. [GatewayPundit.com, 9/28/09]

Fox Nation: “New Questions About ACORN Role in Franken’s Victory.” From a Fox Nation headline linking to Kersten’s column:

foxnationfranken

Mickey Kaus: “Did ACORN chicanery elect Al Franken? That’s the import of this tactfully phrased Minneapolis Star Tribune story.” On his Slate.com blog, Kausfiles, Mickey Kaus linked to Kersten’s column, which he falsely claimed was a “Minneapolis Star Tribune story,” and stated: “Did ACORN chicanery elect Al Franken? That’s the import of this tactfully phrased Minneapolis Star Tribune story. Franken won by 312 votes. ACORN claimed to have registered 48,000 new Minnesota voters. If just 1% were ineligible but cast ballots, or had ballots cast for them illegally, and survived the recount process … that’s 480 votes, almost certainly overwhelmingly cast for Franken. … Maybe in pristine Minnesota even ACORN is clean. If so, the state would apparently be an outlier.” [Kausfiles, 9/28/09]

Star Tribune column does not contain a single allegation of a fraudulently cast vote

Star Tribune column contains no allegations about fraudulently cast votes in Minnesota. Kersten’s column acknowledges that in Minnesota, ACORN “has so far been able to keep its nose relatively clean.” Kersten does not point to any allegations that any vote was fraudulently cast in Minnesota. Indeed, she states that “Secretary of State Mark Ritchie assures us that Minnesota’s system of voter verification protects electoral integrity.” She then added, “But here’s an uncomfortable fact: Ritchie himself was endorsed by the now-notorious ACORN and elected with its help.”

Column highlights allegations of fraudulent registration in Minnesota and other states, not fraudulent votes. Rather than point to any evidence of fraudulently cast votes, Kersten highlighted allegations of voter registration fraud in Minnesota and other states. For instance, Kersten stated: “In October 2008, ACORN announced triumphantly that it had registered about 1.3 million new voters in 18 battleground states, among them Minnesota. A few weeks later, however, the director of Project Vote — an ACORN affiliate — acknowledged to the New York Times that election officials had rejected about 400,000 of those, for reasons including duplicate registrations, incomplete forms and (in the Times’ words) ‘fraudulent submissions from low-paid field workers trying to please their supervisors.’ “

Justice Department statistics do not support suggestion that fraudulent registrations lead to fraudulent votes. As Media Matters for America has documented, during the 2008 election, media frequently reported Republican charges that ACORN was engaged in “voter fraud,” echoing charges of voter fraud Republicans had made in previous elections. In fact, while a 2005 Senate Republican Policy Committee paper claimed, “[v]oter fraud continues to plague our nation’s federal elections, diluting and canceling out the lawful votes of the vast majority of Americans,” Justice Department statistics indicate that few actual instances of voter fraud have been prosecuted in recent years. According to a report by the Justice Department’s Criminal Division of prosecutions between October 2002 and September 2005, the Justice Department charged 95 people with “election fraud” and convicted 55. Among those, however, just 17 individuals were convicted for casting fraudulent ballots; cases against three other individuals were pending at the time of the report. In addition, the Justice Department convicted one election official of submitting fraudulent ballots and convicted five individuals of registration fraud, with cases against 12 individuals pending at the time of the report. Thirty-two individuals were convicted of other “election fraud” issues, including people convicted of offenses arising from “a scheme to block the phone lines used by two Manchester [New Hampshire] organizations to arrange drives to the polls during the 2002 general election” — in other words, these convictions were connected to voter suppression efforts, not voter fraud. Several other people listed in the report were convicted of vote buying.

NYU’s Brennan Center: “[W]e are aware of no recent substantiated case in which registration fraud has resulted in fraudulent votes being cast.” From a 2007 report by New York University’s Brennan Center for Justice:

There have been several documented and widely publicized instances in which registration forms have been fraudulently completed and submitted. But it is extraordinarily difficult to find reported cases in which individuals have submitted registration forms in someone else’s name in order to impersonate them at the polls. Furthermore, most reports of registration fraud do not actually claim that the fraud happens so that ineligible people can vote at the polls. Indeed, we are aware of no recent substantiated case in which registration fraud has resulted in fraudulent votes being cast.

Coleman challenged vote count but did not make a single allegation of vote fraud

Minnesota Supreme Court stated that Coleman did not make any allegations of vote fraud. In its decision rejecting Coleman’s appeal of the decision declaring Franken the winner of the 2008 Minnesota Senate race, the Minnesota Supreme Court stated that “[n]o claim of fraud in the election or during the recount was made by either party” and that “Coleman’s counsel confirmed at oral argument that Coleman makes no claim of fraud on the part of either voters or election officials.”

St. Paul Pioneer Press: Experts said there was a “lack of crookedness in the election.” The Pioneer Press reported in a June 29 article (via Nexis): “Experts said the lack of crookedness in the election, as well as a commitment to the law and not politics, allowed the five state high court justices to explore the key issues in depth.” The Pioneer Press added: “Rick Hasen, an election law professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, said the court’s ruling Tuesday was so thorough that it also ruled out the possibility that either candidate — or their lawyers — could be accused of stealing the election.”

Fox News, conservative media have repeatedly baselessly claimed MN election was stolen

Conservative media promote stolen election claims. As Media Matters has documented, Fox News personalities have repeatedly promoted baseless claims of fraud in the Minnesota race and claimed that there was a lack of impartiality in the recount process to accuse Franken of “stealing” the election. Additionally, radio host Jim Quinn has claimed the Minnesota Senate race was “stolen” and that ACORN played a role.


Stanford Gets Prison Transfer To Pore Over Mass Of Case Docs

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 30th, 2009 4:43 am by HL

Stanford Gets Prison Transfer To Pore Over Mass Of Case Docs
A judge will allow accused fraudster Allen Stanford to be transferred from a private Texas jail to a federal prison in downtown Houston so he can better prepare his case.

WaPo Columnist Should Have Checked Out The Guestbook At Nazi Propaganda Exhibit
Post columnist Michael Gerson cited an exhibit on Nazi propaganda to make a point about bigotry online. It turns out a guest book at that exhibit contains entries calling Obama the “new Hitler.”


Sparkman’s Son: “He Didn’t Do This To Himself”
Bill Sparkman’s son tells the AP that he has no doubt his father was murdered. “No person on this planet is going to fight cancer like he did, then … kill himself ” said Josh Sparkman, whose father, a Census Bureau worker, was found dead with the word “Fed” scrawled across his chest.



History channel contradicts itself

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 30th, 2009 4:39 am by HL

History channel contradicts itself
Just for the record, I am not a conspiracy theorist. I do however, support a new scientific, forensic and independent investigation into what really happened on 9/11. There are too many questions that Lee “whitewash” Hamilton painted over. Excerpt: To what temperature do steel core columns in buildings have to be heated in order to sufficiently weaken and […]


Corzine Closes In on Christie

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 30th, 2009 4:38 am by HL

Corzine Closes In on Christie
New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine (D) has cut challenger Chris Christie’s (R) lead in half and now trails by just four points, 43% to 39%, among likely voters, according to a new Quinnipiac poll. Independent candidate Christopher Daggett gets 12% with 6% undecided.

Christie had a 10 point lead a month ago.

Said pollster Maurice Carroll: “”This race looks as if it will go down to the wire. Does Christopher Daggett’s impressive climb measure a swing to him or simply a distaste for the two guys hollering at each other? Will Daggett fade on Election Day? At this stage, his numbers matter.”


Imagine No Religion? Atheist Movement Gains Momentum

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 30th, 2009 4:37 am by HL

Imagine No Religion? Atheist Movement Gains Momentum

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is using quotes from famous atheists to spread the message in its national billboard campaign.

G-20 Meetings: Nothing Much Happened in the Suites, and There Was Too Much Punch in the Streets

Underrepresented booming countries <i>may</i> get a bigger voice in global finance. Nice. But under-represented people? They got arrested.

Americans Are Still Buying Gas-Guzzlers, But Here Are 7 Signs That the Market for Green Transport Is Exploding

More and more Americans are finding other ways to get around in greener fashion, from Smart Cars to Vespas.

Right-Wing Media Send Their Mobs of Crazy Fans to Go After Private Citizens — Including Kids

The right-wing is igniting the crazies by pushing them to snoop on everyday people.


Obama Tells UN He Is Determined To End Israeli Occupation

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 30th, 2009 4:36 am by HL

Obama Tells UN He Is Determined To End Israeli Occupation
Anyone who thought that President Obama was backing away from his commitment to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by moving away from the emphasis on a settlement freeze has already been proven wrong. In a speech to the United Nations General…


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Exposing The Emotional Landscape
The most difficult work a journalist can take on is an emotional autopsy of a tragedy. The breadth of the Columbine horror and its damage on the psyches of a community and nation makes this a torturous assignment. But…


Sponsored Topics: ColumbineAutopsyViolence and AbuseSchoolIncidents


Steele Hits Obama For Olympics Trip, But Squirms When Reporter Pointedly Asks Him If It?s A ?Mistake?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 30th, 2009 4:35 am by HL

Steele Hits Obama For Olympics Trip, But Squirms When Reporter Pointedly Asks Him If It?s A ?Mistake?
Today in an RNC conference call, chairman Michael Steele criticized President Obama for going to Copenhagen, Denmark this week to pitch Chicago as the site of the 2016 Olympics. Steele said that “at a time of war, at a time of recession,” Obama’s short trip would distract him from focusing on pressing problems. Steele […]

Today in an RNC conference call, chairman Michael Steele criticized President Obama for going to Copenhagen, Denmark this week to pitch Chicago as the site of the 2016 Olympics. Steele said that “at a time of war, at a time of recession,” Obama’s short trip would distract him from focusing on pressing problems.

Steele basically tried to argue that the country couldn’t move forward with Obama in Copenhagen, saying that Obama should tell the public if he wants the country to make the Olympics “the priority” as his job-creation program:

STEELE: If the priority is the Olympics in seven years, okay, then tell the nation that’s the priority and that’s what we should be focused on because we’ll create jobs then and we won’t worry about it between now and 2016. But if the goal is to create jobs here in America today, then let’s do that.

After the RNC chairman bashed Obama over the Olympics for several minutes, Baltimore Sun reporter Paul West asked Steele, “So are you saying that it’s a mistake for him to go to Copenhagen?” Steele tried to dodge the question (eliciting an audible sigh from West), and eventually tersely cut off West when he tried to follow-up:

PAUL WEST, BALTIMORE SUN: Hi, I just wanted to follow-up on that last question: So are you saying that it’s a mistake for him to go to Copenhagen?

STEELE: You know, a mistake is in the eye of the beholder. I just don’t think it’s necessary. I mean, I don’t know the judgment behind the President going. […]

WEST: Okay, but I’m still not clear. Is it a mistake in your eyes?

STEELE: My eyes don’t — What do you mean, my eyes?

WEST: Well, you said a mistake is in the eyes of the beholder. I’m wondering if you think it’s a mistake?

STEELE: I gave you my answer, Paul.

Listen here:

The whole trip will take approximately 18 hours. The New York Times reported:

Moreover, aides noted that it would be a relatively small time investment. Mr. Obama will leave Thursday evening and fly overnight, arriving in Copenhagen just in time to join Chicago’s final presentation Friday morning, when he and the first lady will address the committee. He returns to Washington on Friday afternoon.

So according to Steele, Obama spending 18 hours to promote an event that has the opportunity to increase U.S. prestige, generate $22.5 billion in economic activity, and the equivalent of 315,000 new full-time jobs must mean that he has completely abandoned his entire policy agenda and plans to now spend all his time on this issue. Does this mean that Obama is no longer overexposed?

Transcript:

BETH FOUHY, ASSOCIATED PRESS: Just to clarify — You said that you’re concerned that the President and the Democrats have lost focus, and you did reference the President’s upcoming trip to Copenhagen as an example of perhaps where he’s lost focus. I just want to clarify if indeed that’s the case, if that’s yet another example of him not concentrating on jobs and the economy and health care?

STEELE: I do very much, Beth. I think while it’s a noble idea for the President to want to pitch his home city, Chi-town, for the Olympics — and of course America would be more than honored to host the Olympics in the future — I think at a time of war, at a time of recession, at a time where Americans have expressed rather significantly their concerns and frustrations over the course of the spring and the summer about health care, about the economy, about a host of domestic issues — and even international issues — I think that this trip, while nice, is not necessary for the President. […]

But the goal is, should be, creating not job opportunities seven years from now, but job opportunities today. […]

PAUL WEST, BALTIMORE SUN: Hi, I just wanted to follow-up on that last question: So are you saying that it’s a mistake for him to go to Copenhagen?

STEELE: You know, a mistake is in the eye of the beholder. I just don’t think it’s necessary. I mean, I don’t know the judgment behind the President going. […]

If the priority is the Olympics in seven years, okay, then tell the nation that’s the priority and that’s what we should be focused on because we’ll create jobs then and we won’t worry about it between now and 2016. But if the goal is to create jobs here in America today, then let’s do that.

WEST: Okay, but I’m still not clear. Is it a mistake in your eyes?

STEELE: My eyes don’t — What do you mean, my eyes?

WEST: Well, you said a mistake is in the eyes of the beholder. I’m wondering if you think it’s a mistake?

STEELE: I gave you my answer, Paul.

Right-wing icon Schlafly: Feminism is ?the most dangerous, destructive force in our society today.?
Phyllis Schlafly, the anti-Equal Rights Amendment activist who heads the Eagle Forum, hosted the right-wing conference How To Take Back America last weekend. Several GOP members of Congress attended the conference, and each paid their respects to Schlafly for her leadership in the conservative movement. Schlafly delivered several speeches and led a discussion advocating traditional […]

Phyllis Schlafly, the anti-Equal Rights Amendment activist who heads the Eagle Forum, hosted the right-wing conference How To Take Back America last weekend. Several GOP members of Congress attended the conference, and each paid their respects to Schlafly for her leadership in the conservative movement. Schlafly delivered several speeches and led a discussion advocating traditional roles for women as well as warning about the dangers of feminism and blasting single mothers:

I submit to you that the feminist movement is the most dangerous, destructive force in our society today. […] My analysis is that the gays are about 5% of the attack on marriage in this country, and the feminists are about 95%. […] I’m talking about drugs, sex, illegitimacy, drop outs, poor grades, run away, suicide, you name it, every social ill comes out of the fatherless home.

Watch it:

At the closing ceremony, Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA) thanked Schlafly for her critical support of his candidacy last year, and Mike Huckabee stood by as she was presented with the “American Hero of the Century” award. “God bless you,” said Huckabee, “and God bless Phyllis Schlafly most of all.”


After Votes, Prospects for Public Health Insurance Option Dim in Senate

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 30th, 2009 4:34 am by HL

After Votes, Prospects for Public Health Insurance Option Dim in Senate
A key Senate panel twice beat back efforts Tuesday to create a government-run insurance plan, dealing a crippling blow to the hopes of liberals seeking to expand the federal role in health coverage as a cornerstone of reform.

U.S. Official’s Brief Cuba Visit Turned Into Six-Day Stay
In an unusual move, Cuban authorities this month invited a State Department official to turn a brief visit to the Communist-ruled island into a six-day stay that included meetings with officials, opposition figures and people from Cuban civil organizations, U.S. officials said Tuesday.

U.S. Diplomat’s Visit to Cuba Turned Into Extended Talks
In an unusual move, Cuban authorities this month invited a State Department official to turn a brief visit to the Communist-ruled island into a six-day stay that included meetings with officials, opposition figures and people from Cuban civil organizations, U.S. officials said Tuesday.