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Archive for October 17th, 2009

Israel-Turkey: No TV Drama

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 17th, 2009 4:47 am by HL

Israel-Turkey: No TV Drama
Relations were already strained between Israel and Turkey, owing in large part to the Israeli-Palestinian clash in Gaza last winter, and then came this week’s diplomatic drama caused by a Turkish TV show that depicted Israeli soldiers shooting children in Gaza. READ THE WHOLE ITEM

Turkish show

Relations were already strained between Israel and Turkey, owing in large part to the Israeli-Palestinian clash in Gaza last winter, and then came this week’s diplomatic drama caused by a Turkish TV show that depicted Israeli soldiers shooting children in Gaza.

READ THE WHOLE ITEM



Hoffman Releases Tax Returns, Dares Giannoulias To Follow

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 17th, 2009 4:46 am by HL

Hoffman Releases Tax Returns, Dares Giannoulias To Follow
Democratic U.S. Senate candidate David Hoffman released his last five end-of-year federal income tax returns Thursday and pointedly called on frontrunner Alexi Giannoulias to follow…

John Gimbel, California Man, Charged With Threatening Obama
SAN FRANCISCO — A Northern California man remained in federal custody without bail Friday after being charged with sending racist, profanity-laced e-mail threatening to kill…

There’s A Rep For That: Fake Apple Commercial Mocks Republicans In Congress (VIDEO)
A blogger with a grudge against Republicans in Congress made a fake ad this week spoofing the iPhone app commercials. “If you want to refute…


NY Times article ignores anti-gay bigotry and smears at heart of attacks on Jennings

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 17th, 2009 4:45 am by HL

NY Times article ignores anti-gay bigotry and smears at heart of attacks on Jennings

An October 15 New York Times article by David Kirkpatrick about “Fifty-three House Republicans [who] have signed a letter to the Obama administration asking for the ouster of Kevin Jennings, an official charged with promoting school safety” ignored that a key claim in the letter — that Jennings has a “history of ignoring the sexual abuse of a child” — is false. Moreover, the article included no mention that the conservative attacks on Jennings are largely based on anti-gay smears and falsehoods.

From the New York Times article:

Fifty-three House Republicans have signed a letter to the Obama administration asking for the ouster of Kevin Jennings, an official charged with promoting school safety, because of his career as an advocate of teaching tolerance of homosexuality.

“As the founder of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, Mr. Jennings has played an integral role in promoting homosexuality and pushing a pro-homosexual agenda in America’s schools — an agenda that runs counter to the values that many parents desire to instill in their children,” the lawmakers write.

They cite as evidence the foreword Mr. Jennings wrote for a book titled “Queering Elementary Education: Advancing the Dialogue About Sexualities and Schooling” (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 1999). [The New York Times, 10/15/09]

GOP letter falsely charges that Jennings ignored “the sexual abuse of a child”

From the October 15 letter:

Equally troubling is Mr. Jennings’ self-described history of ignoring the sexual abuse of a child. In his book, One Teacher in Ten, Mr. Jennings recounts a 15-year old student confiding in him that he had a sexual relationship with a much older man. Mr. Jennings’ only response was to ask if the underage boy used a condom. As a mandatory reporter, Mr. Jennings was required by law to report child abuse, including sex crimes. Mr. Jennings cannot serve as the “safe schools” czar when his record demonstrates a willingness to overlook the sexual abuse of a child.

Claim that Jennings failed to report “sexual abuse of a child” because student he counseled was 15 has been conclusively debunked. Media Matters for America exclusively obtained the Massachusetts driver’s license of the student confirming that he was 16 years of age — the legal age of consent in Massachusetts — at the time Jennings counseled him in 1988. The student also provided Media Matters with a statement in which he said, “I was a sixteen-year-old” and “was of legal consent at the time.”

Conservative media have repeatedly falsely accused Jennings of covering up sexual assault. On his radio show, Rush Limbaugh falsely asserted that Jennings “is the guy that, the 15-year-old kid approached him, said, ‘I’m having a — an older man is forcing his way on me, sex and so forth.’ ” Limbaugh added, “And Jennings says, ‘That’s fine, are you using a condom?’ and urged the 15-year-old to further the relationship.” Sean Hannity repeatedly ignored evidence to falsely claim that Jennings ignored the statutory rape of a 15-year-old student, even advancing the falsehood after the claim had been widely debunked. Additionally, Media Matters has documented several conservative media figures comparing Jennings to film director Roman Polanski, who was charged with rape and pleaded guilty to having sex with a 13-year-old girl after allegedly plying her with drugs and alcohol.

Evidence in no way supports Limbaugh’s claims that Jennings “urged” the student “to further the relationship,” or that student was sexually assaulted. Neither Jennings’ 2000 speech for the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), nor his 1994 book, nor the student’s own statement in any way suggests that the student told Jennings that someone was “forcing his way on” him or that Jennings “urged” the student to “further the relationship.”

Times ignored that other conservative smears of Jennings are also based on falsehoods

Erickson, Rove falsely claimed Jennings is a NAMBLA advocate. In an anti-gay rant posted on his blog, Erick Erickson wrote: “Kevin Jennings is a profoundly sick and immoral human being — a proponent of statutory rape, an opponent of the Boy Scouts of America, and a zealous advocate of NAMBLA.” Appearing on Fox News on October 7, Karl Rove accused Jennings of engaging in “high-profile, in-your-face advocacy of things like NAMBLA.” There is no evidence that Jennings has been supportive of NAMBLA.

Hannity and Rios claim Jennings favors indoctrinating schoolchildren about homosexuality. Citing Queering Elementary Education, a book Jennings wrote the foreword to, Hannity asked on his October 8 Fox News show, “What about Christian parents that send their kids to school that don’t want their kids to be indoctrinated into your belief system?” On the same program, his guest, radio talk show host Sandy Rios, distorted a passage from Queering Elementary Education to claim that “it’s all about having sex with adults — children and adults.” But the passage about sexual education that Rios cited has nothing to do with children and adults having sex. [Media Matters, 10/9/09]

Washington Times, Breitbart distort Jennings comments to claim he “criticize[d] schools for promoting heterosexuality.” Andrew Breitbart and The Washington Times grossly distorted comments Jennings made to a GLSEN audience in 2000 to claim he “spoke about the promotion of homosexuality in the public school curriculum” and “criticize[d] schools for promoting heterosexuality,” advancing the conservative Family Research Council’s attack that Jennings was “promoting a pro-homosexual agenda in America’s schools.” In fact, in the audio files posted by the Times and Breitbart, Jennings promoted a curriculum that demands “respect [for] every human being regardless of sexual orientation, regardless of gender identity, regardless of race or religion or any of the arbitrary distinctions we make among people,” and said that efforts to promote a specific sexual orientation through schools were ineffective.

Washington Times doctored transcript to claim Jennings called for mandatory “LGBT course” for teachers. On October 7, The Washington Times‘ Kerry Picket reprinted a doctored transcript of 2008 comments by Jennings to falsely claim Jennings had said he wanted teachers to be required to “take an LGBT course” — a claim also echoed by the Fox Nation. In fact, responding to an audience member who asked about how to combat stereotypes held by teachers based on race, gender, and ethnicity as well as sexual orientation, Jennings did not call for a mandatory “LGBT course,” but rather called for a mandatory course on “issues of bias in the classroom” for aspiring teachers in order for them to be aware of “how biases can influence how you interact with your students.”


The Muni Bonds In The Hardin Jail Project: Who Lost Money?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 17th, 2009 4:44 am by HL

The Muni Bonds In The Hardin Jail Project: Who Lost Money?
Bondholders — including the muni funds of some big New York-based investment firms — have lost out on the Hardin, MT, jail project, along with the struggling town.

Arson Expert: Perry’s “Conflict” Hurts Panel’s Credibility
The nationally known arson expert who had been scheduled to testify before a Texas panel probing an investigation that may have led to the death of an innocent man has slammed Governor Rick Perry’s handling of the controversy.

Indicted Man Threatened To Kill President And Scrawl “Fed …” On His Chest
A California man has been indicted after allegedly writing a deranged and racist email screed that urged recipients to “kill the ‘president,'” along with his family, and invoked the recent death of a Census Bureau worker in an apparent act of anti-government violence.



Judge: Birther Queen Orly Taitz ‘Borders on Delusional’

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 17th, 2009 4:40 am by HL

Judge: Birther Queen Orly Taitz ‘Borders on Delusional’
Read More Below “When a lawyer files complaints and motions without a reasonable basis for believing that they are supported by existing law or a modification or extension of existing law, that lawyer abuses her privilege to practice law,” [Judge] Land writes. “When a lawyer uses the courts as a platform for a political agenda disconnected […]


The 10 Most Notorius Sex Scandals in Hollywood History

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 17th, 2009 4:39 am by HL

The 10 Most Notorius Sex Scandals in Hollywood History

We can learn a lot about shifting mores by charting the careers of those caught in the spotlight with their zippers down.

Why Is Everyone Pretending Olympia Snowe Is so Darn Important?

Now all of American politics is focused on this unaccomplished backbencher and whether or not she will endorse the final bill.

Politicians Have Failed in Efforts to Stave Off Climate Change, Now It’s Up to Us

The political method has not worked so well. In fact it's lurching toward something between abject and embarrassing failure. Let's try something else.


Pentagon Boondoggle

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 17th, 2009 4:38 am by HL

Pentagon Boondoggle
From The Hill. The Pentagon pays an average of $400 to put a gallon of fuel into a combat vehicle or aircraft in Afghanistan. The statistic is likely to play into the escalating debate in Congress over the cost of…


Sponsored Topics: AfghanistanPentagonCongressAsiaUS

Shame on Schumer and Gillibrand
Ben Smith of Politico reports that New York’s Senators, Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, have withdrawn their names from the host committee for J Street’s upcoming first-ever conference. Schumer departed first, before the Congressional sponsor list was published; Gillibrand was…


Sponsored Topics: New YorkKirsten GillibrandChuck SchumerBen SmithUnited States


The LiberalOasis Radio Show: My River Chronicles Edition

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 17th, 2009 4:37 am by HL

The LiberalOasis Radio Show: My River Chronicles Edition

The LiberalOasis Radio Show was broadcast Saturday at 12 noon on WHMP in Western MA. This week’s show features Jessica DuLong, author of the new book, My River Chronicles: Rediscovering America on the Hudson, detailing her career journey from dotcommer to fireboat engineer, and what she learned about the potential of the American economy. Plus, my weekly analysis of the health care and climate bill debates.

You can download the podcast at these links: (iTunes / XML feed / MP3).


Patient Denied Care For Her Brain Tumor Says Insurers Want You To ‘Die Now, So We Can Save Money Later’

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 17th, 2009 4:36 am by HL

Patient Denied Care For Her Brain Tumor Says Insurers Want You To ‘Die Now, So We Can Save Money Later’
Yesterday, Dawn Smith — who has a brain tumor her insurer has refused to help treat — traveled from her home in Atlanta, Georgia to request a meeting with H. Edward Hanway, CEO of the health insurance giant CIGNA. She has been a victim of a series of insurance company abuses, and she wanted to […]

Yesterday, Dawn Smith — who has a brain tumor her insurer has refused to help treat — traveled from her home in Atlanta, Georgia to request a meeting with H. Edward Hanway, CEO of the health insurance giant CIGNA. She has been a victim of a series of insurance company abuses, and she wanted to give both Hanway and leaders in Congress a message. Hanway refused to meet with Smith, and instead dispatched his Cheif Medical Officer Jeff Kang to listen to her. Kang admitted that CIGNA’s complex claims unit requires serious changes but said his company would not even review the possibility of paying for her care until November.

Smith, a premiums-paying customer of CIGNA, was diagnosed with a type of brain tumor in 2005, then another one in 2007. Although CIGNA covered her brain biospy and some medication payments, she has battled with the insurer for years because of multiple denials of payment for the specialized care she needs to cure the tumors. After paying out-of-pocket for care in one instance, CIGNA nearly doubled her premiums anyway. In early October, a CIGNA representative told her that the co-pay on her anti-epileptic medicine was being hiked by more than $3,000 a year.

With the assistance of MoveOn.org, Smith has launched a nationwide campaign to not only receive the treatments she deserves from her insurance company, but to help reform the entire system and help all Americans gain quality, affordable healthcare. ThinkProgress asked Smith what message she has for Congress:

DAWN SMITH: I would encourage them to hear the stories from their citizens because, you know, a lot of people talk about the cost [to] children of our future, our grandchildren. But, there are grandchildren dying now. There are children dying now. […] I don’t understand how you can justify ‘die now, so we can save money later.’ Because that’s what it is; that’s what it boils down to.

Watch it:

CIGNA has a long history of denying care for its own policyholders. One of the most infamous cases involves Nataline Sarkisyan, a 17-year-old who died after CIGNA refused to cover her liver transplant. When Nataline’s mother requested a meeting with CIGNA officials, employees of CIGNA reportedly started heckling her from a balcony above the building’s lobby, with one giving her “the finger.”

Rather than use Smith’s or Sarkisyan’s premium dollars to pay for life-saving medical treatments, CIGNA has poured its cash into lobbying against health reform. Those premium dollars are also spent on two private luxory jets, sky-high CEO compensation (Hanway was paid $25.8 million in 2007 alone), and profits.

Fox News Reportedly Fires Liberal Analyst Marc Lamont Hill
Yesterday, Accuracy in Media’s Cliff Kincaid announced that at today’s annual News Corp. meeting, he would urge Chairman Rupert Murdoch to fire Fox News analyst Marc Lamont Hill, whom he called a “left-wing cop-killer apologist.” Hill appears as an on-air contributor on shows such as The O’Reilly Factor. The Live Feed reports that when Murdoch […]

marclamonthillwebYesterday, Accuracy in Media’s Cliff Kincaid announced that at today’s annual News Corp. meeting, he would urge Chairman Rupert Murdoch to fire Fox News analyst Marc Lamont Hill, whom he called a “left-wing cop-killer apologist.” Hill appears as an on-air contributor on shows such as The O’Reilly Factor.

The Live Feed reports that when Murdoch was asked this question (presumably by Kincaid), he replied that Hill had already been fired:

Rupert Murdoch continued Fox News Channel’s duel with the White House on Friday while also announcing the termination of the network’s left-leaning analyst Marc Lamont Hill. […]

Murdoch also said that Hill has been fired. He revealed the move after a shareholder had raised the question of how Hill was hired, citing his “reputation of defending cop killers and racists.”

According to the report, Murdoch did not say why Hill had been fired. On his twitter feed, Hill seemed to acknowledge news of the report — saying, “Relax, y’all. Don’t believe the internet rumors” — but he didn’t directly deny that he had been fired. Neither Hill, nor Fox News have responded yet to inquiries from ThinkProgress.

But Hill appeared on the Fox Business Network just yesterday. In fact, just after radical Fox host Glenn Beck led a crusade to oust Van Jones from his position as White House clean jobs adviser, Hill defended Jones on the network:

HOST: We now know that he was involved in signing a petition that asked the question of whether or not the Bush administration had involvement in 9/11. He admits he signed it. He says…he didn’t know what he was signing. Would that have come up if he had been required to fill out this form?

HILL: Probably not, actually, because he — if we believe in good faith that he didn’t do it on purpose — and I believe that he didn’t do it on purpose — then he probably wouldn’t have put that down. And I’ll tell you why I believe he didn’t do it on purpose because he’s been very straightforward.

Hill also criticized the White House for not defending Jones. “[Obama] could have dispensed surrogates on the Sunday shows to defend Van Jones. Instead, they did nothing,” Hill complained.

Also during today’s News Corp. meeting, when asked about recent criticism from White House communications director Anita Dunn that Fox News is the “communications arm of the Republican Party,” Murdoch didn’t exactly deny it, saying her comments have “tremendously increased their ratings.”

We’ll update this post as we learn more.


Obama Remarks at DNC Fundraiser

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 17th, 2009 4:35 am by HL

Obama Remarks at DNC Fundraiser
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Nancy Pelosi! Hello, San Francisco! (Applause.) Hey! How are you? Hello. It’s good to see all of you. Thank you. Thank you. Just a couple of quick special thank yous. I love all of you. (Applause.) But there are a couple people I want to make sure to acknowledge.


Voices of Power Transcript: Jay Rockefeller
LOIS ROMANO: Welcome, Senator Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia, a longtime leading voice in favor of health-care reform. Thanks for joining us today.

Advocacy Groups Assail Immigration Enforcement Program
Immigrant advocacy groups on Friday assailed a Department of Homeland Security decision to continue deputizing state and local law enforcement agents to catch illegal immigrants, saying the department’s new rules aimed at curbing racial profiling by police were inadequate.

Estimated Cost of House Health-Care Bill Falls
Congressional budget analysts have given House leaders cost estimates for two competing versions of their plan to overhaul the health-care system, concluding that one comes within striking distance of the $900 billion limit set by President Obama and the other falls below it.