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Archive for October 11th, 2009

Nobel Committee Secretary Explains Why Obama Won

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 11th, 2009 4:44 am by HL

Nobel Committee Secretary Explains Why Obama Won
Perhaps Geir Lundestad, head of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, knew that there would be questions about President Barack Obama’s Peace Prize win, but regardless, he’s ready for the biggest one—why Obama?—in this interview conducted and posted by his Nobel colleagues on Friday. READ THE WHOLE ITEM

Nobel explained

Perhaps Geir Lundestad, head of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, knew that there would be questions about President Barack Obama’s Peace Prize win, but regardless, he’s ready for the biggest one—why Obama?—in this interview conducted and posted by his Nobel colleagues on Friday.

READ THE WHOLE ITEM

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Jose Antonio Vargas: Why Gays Can’t Wait — Gay Rights is Civil Rights

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 11th, 2009 4:43 am by HL

Jose Antonio Vargas: Why Gays Can’t Wait — Gay Rights is Civil Rights
If not now — with a Democratic Congress in power, with a Democratic president who says directly to the audience and cameras that “I’m here with you in that fight” — then when?

Obama HRC Speech: “I Will End Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” Says President Obama
WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama reaffirmed his campaign pledge to end the ban on homosexuals serving openly in the military in a speech Saturday, but…

Rabbi Jennifer Krause: A Time for War, A Time for Peace Prizes
The Nobel Committee’s puzzling decision to award President Obama with the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize inspired me to return to Ecclesiastes.

Aubrey Sarvis: Rousing Speech, Mr. President, But the Pressure Continues
First the good news. For the first time as president, Barack Obama said at the Human Rights Campaign extravaganza in Washington Saturday evening, “I will…

Allison Kilkenny: Marcy Kaptur’s Fight Club
Fight Club entered popular culture in 1999 when director David Fincher adapted Chuck Palahniuk’s novel into a film that reflected the zeitgeist of modern America…


Anonymous APPF ‘Investor’ Comes Forward, Claims Jail Project Still Alive

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 11th, 2009 4:42 am by HL

Anonymous APPF ‘Investor’ Comes Forward, Claims Jail Project Still Alive
A “California man” claims to a Montana TV station, under condition that his name not be used, that he is one of several private individuals who gave APPF money for the Hardin jail project.

“Slimy Thug For Hire” Behind Horton Ad Back With Impeach Obama Campaign
The veteran conservative activist behind the Willie Horton ad is back, leading an effort to impeach President Obama.

Report: Republican US Attorney With Role In Firings Scandal Mulls Bid For Congress
U.S. Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan, who has been accused of pursuing politically motivated prosecutions and who played a role in the US attorneys firings scandal, is reportedly looking at a run for Congress in Pennsylvania.


Rush to Judgment at Miss America Pageant

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 11th, 2009 4:40 am by HL

Rush to Judgment at Miss America Pageant
Limbaugh to Judge 2010 Miss America Pageant AP, Oct. 9, 2009


Photos: Worlds Collide Outside Obama Speech: Randall Terry, Code Pink, Militant Gays and the ‘God Hates Fags’ Folks Commune in DC

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 11th, 2009 4:39 am by HL

Photos: Worlds Collide Outside Obama Speech: Randall Terry, Code Pink, Militant Gays and the ‘God Hates Fags’ Folks Commune in DC

It had the feel of a political campaign, when polar opposites find themselves occupying the same space, drawn by media who came for somebody else. The somebody was Obama.


Unemployment Is Up, but the Banks Are Doing Well

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 11th, 2009 4:38 am by HL

Unemployment Is Up, but the Banks Are Doing Well
Last Friday’s job report showed that most of the US is experiencing enormous economic pain, even if America’s economy is now in a recovery. Overall unemployment rose to 9.8%, with the unemployment rate for men hitting a new post-depression high….


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Gingrich gripes that Obama doesn?t have an ambassador to Brazil yet (because he?s being blocked by DeMint).

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 11th, 2009 4:37 am by HL

Gingrich gripes that Obama doesn?t have an ambassador to Brazil yet (because he?s being blocked by DeMint).
Earlier this month, Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) attempted to block government funding for Sen. Jim DeMint’s (R-SC) trip to Honduras as retribution for DeMint’s obstruction of two of Obama’s diplomatic nominations, including Thomas A. Shannon Jr., the nominee to be ambassador to Brazil. But DeMint’s hold is being criticized by a major Republican. At Harvard […]

Earlier this month, Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) attempted to block government funding for Sen. Jim DeMint’s (R-SC) trip to Honduras as retribution for DeMint’s obstruction of two of Obama’s diplomatic nominations, including Thomas A. Shannon Jr., the nominee to be ambassador to Brazil. But DeMint’s hold is being criticized by a major Republican. At Harvard on Thursday, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich decried the lack of an ambassador to Brazil:

“If you want to live in the most productive, creative, and prosperous nation in the world, what is it you have to do?” Gingrich asked. “The answer is to reform litigation, regulation, taxation, health, education, and infrastructure.”

“Bureaucracies just don’t work,” he said. “When you build a bureaucracy, the bureaucracy ages, and the bureaucracy develops self-interest. We still don’t have an ambassador to Brazil, for example, eight months into the new administration.”

Gingrich should direct his ire at DeMint. The South Carolina senator has said that he “will not lift the hold on these nominations until the United States works out an arrangement with the Honduran government to recognize the outcome of the elections in Honduras and restores the U.S. foreign aid that has been cut by the Obama administration.”

Obama Stands By His LGBT Nominees Under Attack From The Right: ?I Will Not Waver In My Support?
President Obama received a warm welcome at the Human Rights Campaign’s annual dinner tonight, where he promised to sign hate crimes legislation — which just passed the House — into law and repeal both Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and the Defense of Marriage Act, although he didn’t outline a specific timeline. Acknowledging some frustrations that […]

President Obama received a warm welcome at the Human Rights Campaign’s annual dinner tonight, where he promised to sign hate crimes legislation — which just passed the House — into law and repeal both Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and the Defense of Marriage Act, although he didn’t outline a specific timeline. Acknowledging some frustrations that there hasn’t been quicker action on these issues, Obama reiterated that he remains committed to the fight for LGBT equality:

OBAMA: This story, this fight, continues, now, and I’m here with a simple message: I’m here with you in that fight. (APPLAUSE)

For even as we face extraordinary challenges as a nation, we cannot and we will not put aside issues of basic equality. I greatly appreciate the support I’ve received from many in this room. I also appreciate that many of you don’t believe that progress has come fast enough. I want to be honest about that. (APPLAUSE) Because it’s important to be honest amongst friends.

Obama also addressed right-wing criticisms being hurled at his LGBT nominees and staffers, such as EEOC nominee Chai Feldblum and Department of Education official Kevin Jennings. Both have been the subjects of extremely homophobic slurs. WorldNetDaily editor and CEO Joseph Farrah said that Obama must find “people” like Feldblum on “Perverts.gov,” and the Traditional Values Coalition wrote that she wanted “the gay agenda to trump the First Amendment and religious freedom.” Rep. Steve King (R-IA) has claimed that Jennings wants to push a “homosexual agenda” in U.S. schools.

While Obama didn’t specifically point to any of his nominees, he strongly reiterated his support for them and condemned homophobic slurs:

OBAMA: For the first time ever, an administration official testified in Congress in favor of this law. Nobody in America should be fired because they’re gay, despite doing a great job and meeting their responsibilities. It’s not fair, it’s not right, we’re going to put a stop to it. (APPLAUSE)

And it’s for this reason if any of my nominees are attacked not for what they believe but for who they are, I will not waver in my support because I will not waver in my commitment to ending discrimination in all its forms. (APPLAUSE)

Watch it:

Transcript:

OBAMA: This story, this fight, continues, now, and I’m here with a simple message: I’m here with you in that fight. (APPLAUSE)

For even as we face extraordinary challenges as a nation, we cannot and we will not put aside issues of basic equality. I greatly appreciate the support I’ve received from many in this room. I also appreciate that many of you don’t believe that progress has come fast enough. I want to be honest about that. (APPLAUSE) Because it’s important to be honest amongst friends.

Now, I said this before, I’ll repeat it again. It’s not for me to tell you to be patient, anymore than it was for others to counsel patience to African-Americans petitioning for equal rights half a century ago. (APPLAUSE) But I will say this: We have made progress, and we will make more, and I think it’s important to remember that there is not a single issue that my administration deals with on a daily basis that does not touch on the lives of the LGBT community. […]

For the first time ever, an administration official testified in Congress in favor of this law. Nobody in America should be fired because they’re gay, despite doing a great job and meeting their responsibilities. It’s not fair, it’s not right, we’re going to put a stop to it. (APPLAUSE)

And it’s for this reason if any of my nominees are attacked not for what they believe but for who they are, I will not waver in my support because I will not waver in my commitment to ending discrimination in all its forms. (APPLAUSE)


The Washington Post Profiles Robert F. McDonnell

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 11th, 2009 4:36 am by HL

The Washington Post Profiles Robert F. McDonnell
The tour around Alexandria was Bob McDonnell’s idea, part of his campaign’s effort to at once prove his poise and demonstrate his ties to Northern Virginia — an attempt to show locals that he is one of them. He looked quite serene that early September day for a candidate who had been operating in…

As Pressure Grows, Obama Addresses Gay Rights Group
President Obama, struggling to keep promises he made during last year’s campaign, renewed his pledge to end the military’s ban on openly gay service members as he appeared at a fundraising dinner for the nation’s largest gay advocacy group on Saturday night.


Fact Checker
It was an alarming advertisement , claiming that Virginia’s former attorney general supported a bill that would have allowed employers to drop mammograms and cancer screenings from health-care plans — made more alarming by the claim that Robert F. McDonnell was one of only nine attorneys general in…

In Today’s Viral World, Who Keeps a Civil Tongue?
Late last month, Charisse Carney-Nunes fired up the computer at her home in Northeast Washington to check her e-mail. Her brain already was on morning drive time: breakfast for the kids, her day’s work at a government agency. She glanced down at her screen, then froze.

Sunday Take: McCain Keeps Pressure on Obama
Sen. John McCain says the coverage of his exchange with President Obama at a White House meeting last week has been vastly overblown. “There was no sharp exchange whatsoever,” he said in a telephone interview. “To say that there was anything to it — it’s so insulting and so outrageous.”


A Dangerous Secret to the Baucus Bill

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 11th, 2009 4:30 am by HL

A Dangerous Secret to the Baucus Bill
Shawn Tully, Fortune
But the CBO's comforting analysis relies on a big assumption that's highly questionable, an assumption that virtually no one on either side of the debate — politicians, pundits, even economists — is even challenging.The assumption is that America's employers will keep providing coverage for their workers. But, in fact, the Baucus bill severely undermines the employer rationale for offering insurance. Economist Michael Tanner of the conservative Cato Institute points out two main reasons.First, the Baucus bill would substantially increase the costs of coverage, for example by…

Abandoning Ashraf an Embarrassment for US
Gary Morsch, Boston Globe
AS US officials grapple with Iran’s drive to acquire nuclear weapons, they also need to address its human rights abuses against its own people as well as the regime’s meddling in Iraqi affairs.Soldiers don’t concern themselves with politics; we leave that to the politicians. There are times, though, when a soldier makes an exception. Like all American troops who have been deployed to Iraq, I went to serve my country and to help bring peace and democracy to the Middle East. I’m a doctor from Kansas and a colonel in the Army Reserve, and I served for a…

Making the ‘Public Option’ a Simple One
Robert Pozen, Boston Globe
WHEN THE Senate Finance Committee voted down the "public option'' for health care reform last week, the ideological and economic strands of this debate were fused. For certain politicians, the main objective behind the public option is to move toward nationalized health care. For others, it is to move toward a one-payer system in which the federal government disburses payments to private doctors and hospitals. However, neither of those concepts will probably garner enough votes to pass the Senate, and the ideological debate is not likely to be resolved.By contrast, Congress…

Fannie’s Next Big Adventure

Who’s in Big Brother’s Database?
James Bamford, NY Review of Books
Bloomsbury, 423 pp., $30.00On a remote edge of Utah's dry and arid high desert, where temperatures often zoom past 100 degrees, hard-hatted construction workers with top-secret clearances are preparing to build what may become America's equivalent of Jorge Luis Borges's “Library of Babel,” a place where the collection of information is both infinite and at the same time monstrous, where the entire world's knowledge is stored, but not a single word is understood. At a million square feet, the mammoth $2 billion structure will be one-third larger than the US…