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Archive for October 28th, 2009

Two Arrested for Alleged Plot on Danish Paper

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 28th, 2009 4:49 am by HL

Two Arrested for Alleged Plot on Danish Paper
Two men from Chicago were arrested recently for allegedly plotting to attack overseas targets, including the Danish newspaper that sparked a huge controversy in 2006 by running the now-infamous cartoon of the prophet Mohammed sporting an explosive turban.  —KA BBC: David Coleman Headley, 49, and Tahawwur Hussain Rana, 48, were arrested earlier this month. US prosecutors say Mr Headley travelled to Denmark twice to plan an attack on the Jyllands-Posten newspaper offices. They say he was infuriated by the paper’s publication of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed in 2006. Read more READ THE WHOLE ITEM

Jyllands-Posten

Two men from Chicago were arrested recently for allegedly plotting to attack overseas targets, including the Danish newspaper that sparked a huge controversy in 2006 by running the now-infamous cartoon of the prophet Mohammed sporting an explosive turban.? —KA

BBC:

David Coleman Headley, 49, and Tahawwur Hussain Rana, 48, were arrested earlier this month.

US prosecutors say Mr Headley travelled to Denmark twice to plan an attack on the Jyllands-Posten newspaper offices.

They say he was infuriated by the paper’s publication of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed in 2006.

Read more

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Surprise! Lieberman Stabs Dems in the Back
Now that serial opportunist Joe Lieberman is holding health care reform hostage in the Senate, we wonder whether the president regrets shielding the Connecticut independent from political retribution. Democrats had wanted to punish Lieberman, you may recall, for the many nasty things he said during the 2008 campaign. Although he caucuses with the Democrats (in theory, anyway) and considers himself to be one, Lieberman is technically an independent. That’s because the Democrats of his state got fed up with Lieberman’s diet Republican routine and nominated Ned Lamont to run against him. The former rival was quoted by Politico responding to Lieberman’s latest betrayal: “To me, it’s a generational opportunity. … To me, to filibuster, to delay and delay is failure.” The former vice presidential candidate says he doesn’t believe in the public option, but we suspect his opposition to the Senate bill is just an old-fashioned mugging. If that’s true, it’s despicable. People are dying for lack of affordable health care. Delaying urgently needed reform for political gain is repugnant. It’s also exactly the kind of behavior we’ve come to expect from Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut.  —PZS READ THE WHOLE ITEM

Now that serial opportunist Joe Lieberman is holding health care reform hostage in the Senate, we wonder whether the president regrets shielding the Connecticut independent from political retribution.

Democrats had wanted to punish Lieberman, you may recall, for the many nasty things he said during the 2008 campaign. Although he caucuses with the Democrats (in theory, anyway) and considers himself to be one, Lieberman is technically an independent.

That’s because the Democrats of his state got fed up with Lieberman’s diet Republican routine and nominated Ned Lamont to run against him.

The former rival was quoted by Politico responding to Lieberman’s latest betrayal: “To me, it’s a generational opportunity. … To me, to filibuster, to delay and delay is failure.”

The former vice presidential candidate says he doesn’t believe in the public option, but we suspect his opposition to the Senate bill is just an old-fashioned mugging. If that’s true, it’s despicable. People are dying for lack of affordable health care. Delaying urgently needed reform for political gain is repugnant. It’s also exactly the kind of behavior we’ve come to expect from Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut.? —PZS

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California Would Lose Seats Under Census Change

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 28th, 2009 4:48 am by HL

California Would Lose Seats Under Census Change
A Republican senator’s proposal to count only United States citizens when reapportioning Congress would cost California five seats and New York and Illinois one each,…

RJ Eskow: Health Reform: Look How Far We’ve Come. Now Where the Heck Are We?
Putting Sen. Lieberman aside for a moment (and who wouldn’t want to?), what can we expect to see if the final health reform bill conforms to Sen. Reid’s outline?

Chamber Of Commerce To Begin Ads Against Health Care Reform
WASHINGTON — Looking to build pressure on moderate Democrats, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce says it will begin airing new TV ads in seven states…

Bennet Kelley: Net Neutrality, Green Tech and the Pong Republicans
The ultimate question is whether we will summon our resources to meet the challenges of a new era and be at the forefront of innovation — or whether we will be content simply playing Pong.

Sen. Ron Wyden: Patriot Act: Congress Shouldn’t Rush to Judgement (again)
Congress passed the USA Patriot Act six weeks after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The understandably intense fear and panic gripping the nation…


Commentators again tout poll results to make flawed claim that America is a “conservative” country

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 28th, 2009 4:47 am by HL

Commentators again tout poll results to make flawed claim that America is a “conservative” country

Several conservative commentators have touted a Gallup poll finding that 20 percent of respondents identify themselves as “liberal,” 36 percent as “moderate” and 40 percent as “conservative” to criticize President Obama and his agenda and to claim America is ideologically a “conservative” country. But political scientists dispute the reliability of voters’ identification with political ideologies, and other polling has found that a strong majority favors the more progressive position on a number of issues.

Media conservatives claim Gallup poll shows America is “center-right”

Brit Hume: United States “is clearly center right. The president, though, is thought to enact an agenda which is clearly left of center.” On the October 26 edition of Fox News’ Special Report, Hume said: “If you’re wondering why President Obama and his party are finding health care reform and much of the rest of his agenda such heavy lifting, look no farther than a Gallup poll out today. It finds 40 percent of Americans call themselves conservatives, 36 percent said they’re moderate, and only 20 percent said they are liberal. That’s no doubt why liberals today prefer to call themselves progressives. The findings are of a piece with a poll taken on Election Day last year in which people were asked to rate themselves on a scale of one to nine, with one being far left, nine being far right. It averaged out to 5.88, the answers did, which is clearly center-right. The president, though, has sought to enact an agenda which is clearly left of center.” [10/26/09]

RedState.com’s Erickson cites Gallup to claim, “When the GOP paints a clearly distinct picture of ideas and issues from the Democrats, they win.” In an October 26 blog post RedState.com managing editor Erick Erickson quoted from Gallup’s website and said:

I hope the RNC, GOP, NRSC, NRCC, etc. are paying attention to this.

As I have noted repeatedly, data from the 2008 exit polling showed that more people considered themselves “conservative” than “liberal.” This new Gallup poll is in accord with that.

This goes straight to NY-23, where both the DCCC and NRCC are attacking Doug Hoffman, the conservative candidate. Apparently, unlike the NRCC, the DCCC sees a path to victory for Doug Hoffman.

When the GOP paints a clearly distinct picture of ideas and issues from the Democrats, they win. Voters do not want to vote for Democrat-lite when they get have the real thing. The GOP should offer competing ideas, not just repacked Democrat ideas that have lower price tags. [10/26/09]

NRO’s Lopez cites Gallup to claim United States is a “conservative nation.” National Review Online’s (NRO) Kathryn Jean Lopez quoted from Gallup in a post on NRO’s The Corner blog titled “Conservative Nation.” Later, NRO editor-at-large Jonah Goldberg wrote of the Gallup poll: “I do think one plausible theory as to why the Democratic party is having some of its problems these days is that they misread their pre-election unity. I think this is understandable. Lots of polls suggested that America was becoming more liberal under Bush (at least on a bunch of issues). The differences between centrist and left-wing Democrats seemed trivial. Barack Obama won handily without ever tacking back to the center in the general election. In short, those eager to find evidence that the country was poised to lurch leftward had lots to go on.” Goldberg later added: “I don’t think they’re doomed or anything like that. But, they’ve managed to rebrand themselves as a very liberal party again, and that’s a problem when 80% of Americans don’t describe themselves as liberals.” [10/26/09]

Political scientists dispute reliability of voters’ identification with political ideologies

Political scientists Erikson & Tedin dispute effectiveness of asking about political ideologies. As Media Matters for America has documented, in the 2005 edition of American Public Opinion, Robert S. Erikson and Kent L. Tedin, political science professors at Columbia University and the University of Houston, respectively, questioned the reliability of poll questions that ask voters to self-identify with a political ideology. Noting that “a standard poll question is to ask respondents their ideological identification, usually with three choices of liberal, moderate, and conservative,” Erikson and Tedin wrote:

Ideally, ideological classification is a convenient way to measure individuals’ core political values and to summarize their political views on a variety of issues. In practice, the result is mixed. The most politically sophisticated segment of the public approximates the ideal. For them, ideological identification goes a long way toward describing their political convictions. But when less sophisticated people respond to the ideological identification question with a response of liberal, moderate, or conservative, we can be less sure of what the response means. At worst, the response represents some idiosyncratic meaning known only to the respondent, or perhaps a doorstop opinion made up on the spot. [Page 67]

After listing traditionally conservative and liberal views, Erikson and Tedin continued: “These kinds of relative distinctions are familiar to people who follow politics closely. But the language of ideology holds less meaning for the public as a whole. One test is whether the individual can both identify the Republican as the more conservative party and offer a plausible definition of the term conservative. Roughly half the public passes this test of understanding of ideological labels” [Page 68].

Political scientists Ellis & Stimson: 34 percent “of self-identified conservatives rejects operationally conservative beliefs” in both “social welfare” and “moral issues” areas. In a working paper titled “Pathways to Ideology in American Politics,” political scientist Christopher Ellis and James Stimson studied the positions self-identified liberals and conservatives take in areas dealing with “social welfare” and “moral issues.” They defined “social welfare” to include “traditional ‘New-Deal’ spending and redistribution issues along with issues of race and civil rights.” They defined “moral issues” to include “preferences for and against abortion, gays in the military, and the rights of gays to adopt children.” The found that 34 percent of conservatives took the liberal position in both the social welfare and moral issues area, while only 4 percent of liberals did not hold liberal views in either area:

Only about one in five self-identified conservatives holds consistently conservative issue positions: right of center positions on both dimensions. Put another way, almost 80% of professed conservatives are not conservative on at least one of these dimensions. A larger group (30%) of conservatives is operationally conservative only on the narrow set of issues related to traditional morality, not the broader social welfare dimension. The “economic conservatives,” conservative on social welfare issues alone, are not very numerous (15%). But the largest group (34%) of self-identified conservatives rejects operationally conservative beliefs on both the social welfare and the moral issue domains. This stands in contrast to the less than 4% of self-identified liberals who hold no liberal issue views. [emphasis in original] [Ellis & Stimson working paper]

Polling on a variety of issues shows that public holds progressive positions

Media Matters, Campaign for America’s Future study shows public holding progressive positions on a variety of issues. In a study produced by Media Matters and Campaign for America’s Future found that, based on several polls: “Polling data regarding a wide range of issues, including the role of big business, health care reform, gay marriage, stimulus spending, international trade, and Social Security, indicate that Americans are increasingly receptive to and comfortable with a progressive agenda.”

Polling has found that public option has widespread support. Media Matters has also documented that polling consistently shows broad support for inclusion of a public option in health care reform legislation.

Transcript

From the October 26 edition of Fox News’ Special Report with Bret Baier:

 

BRET BAIER (host): Senior political analyst Brit Hume is here tonight with some insights into why perhaps the reform debate has been so difficult. Good evening Brit.

HUME: Hi, Bret. If you’re wondering why President Obama and his party are finding health care reform and much of the rest of his agenda such heavy lifting, look no farther than a Gallup poll out today. It finds 40 percent of Americans call themselves conservatives, 36 percent said they’re moderate, and only 20 percent said they are liberal. That’s no doubt why liberals today prefer to call themselves progressives.

The findings are of a piece with a poll taken on Election Day last year in which people were asked to rate themselves on a scale of one to nine, with one being far left, nine being far right. It averaged out to 5.88, the answers did, which is clearly center-right. The president, though, has sought to enact an agenda which is clearly left of center.

That same Election Day poll also asked people their top priority issue: 44 percent said the economy. Only 5 percent, as you can see, said health care reform. Even after all the talk about it, health care still ranks far below the economy in current polling. After accepting what millions saw as a bloated stimulus bill to revive the economy, the president has spent much more time and effort on health care reform, even as the unemployment rate has climbed far past what his advisers said it would be.

Making great big changes on an issue as big as health care was never going to be easy, but especially not with a left-of-center program for a right-of-center country — a country focused on an entirely different issue.


Not Guilty Plea In Rehberg Boat Crash

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 28th, 2009 4:46 am by HL

Not Guilty Plea In Rehberg Boat Crash
The Montana Republican who was driving a boat that crashed while carrying Rep. Denny Rehberg and four other passengers has pleaded not guilty to three felony charges related to the August incident.

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Beltway Conventional Wisdom Wrong Again

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 28th, 2009 4:41 am by HL

Beltway Conventional Wisdom Wrong Again


Corzine Takes Five Point Lead

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 28th, 2009 4:40 am by HL

Corzine Takes Five Point Lead
A new Quinnipiac poll in New Jersey finds Gov. Jon Corzine leading challenger Chris Christie (R) for the first time in five months, 43% to 38% among likely voters. Independent candidate Christopher Daggett has 13%, with 5 percent undecided.

Two weeks ago the group’s survey had Christie ahead by one point.

Said pollster Maurice Carroll: “You could see it coming. Gov. Jon Corzine’s numbers crept steadily up and Christopher Christie’s steadily shrank and now, for the first time, we have Corzine ahead. But don’t be in a hurry to mark this election as over. Christopher Daggett changed it from ‘ABC’ – Anybody But Corzine – to a real three-way scrap. But a lot of Daggett’s voters say they might change their minds by Election Day. Where will they go?”


What’s So Scary About Michael Pollan? Why Corporate Agriculture Tried to Censor His University Speech

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 28th, 2009 4:39 am by HL

What’s So Scary About Michael Pollan? Why Corporate Agriculture Tried to Censor His University Speech
Agribusiness is trying to combat Pollan’s message of sustainable, healthy eating.

How a Dysfunctional Immigration System Keeps Hard-Working Families Apart
Those who say the status quo works just don’t grasp how damaging it is to the families it tears apart.

Thousands March in 3-Day Showdown with Banking Industry
Tired of bailouts and fat paychecks for those that created the economic catastrophe, marchers made clear demands to tame an out-of-control financial system.

Why Won’t Obama Send Condolence Letters to the Parents of Soldiers Who Have Committed Suicide?
The bereaved parents of Chancellor Keesling, a US soldier who took his own life in Iraq, wonder why the death of their son is treated differently than other mortalities.

The Case for Marijuana Legalization and Regulation
An exclusive look at the historic testimony prepared for a special hearing on legalizing marijuana to the California Assembly.


Winning the Peace

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 28th, 2009 4:38 am by HL

Winning the Peace
With all the Bloviators pulling out their “Afghanistan=Vietnam” analogies, Joshua Kurlantzick writes in the Washington Post, that we should only be so lucky. 76 percent of Vietnamese say U.S. influence in Asia is positive, according to a 2008 study by…


Sponsored Topics: VietnamWashington PostAsiaAfghanistanUnited States

Praying At J Street
I don’t know what did it. Sure Jeremy Ben Ami worked for two years to get to this moment, and then assembled a terrific team. Obama helped. So did the disastrous Gaza war and its ugly aftermath. And then the…


Sponsored Topics: J StreetNew YorkUnited StatesIsraelEthnicity

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Inhofe: ?Natural warming cycle? ended ?about nine years ago.?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 28th, 2009 4:37 am by HL

Inhofe: ?Natural warming cycle? ended ?about nine years ago.?
At the outset of Senate hearings on clean energy and climate legislation today, Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), ranking member of the Environment and Public Works Commitee, mockingly praised chair Barbara Boxer (D-CA) for mentioning “global warming” in a YouTube video about the bill. Inhofe claimed that people “have been running from that term” once “that […]

At the outset of Senate hearings on clean energy and climate legislation today, Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), ranking member of the Environment and Public Works Commitee, mockingly praised chair Barbara Boxer (D-CA) for mentioning “global warming” in a YouTube video about the bill. Inhofe claimed that people “have been running from that term” once “that natural warming cycle” ended “nine years ago”:

I do want to congratulate you on your Youtube, the fact you’re using the term global warming again, I appreciate that. People have been running from that term ever since we went out of that natural warming cycle about nine years ago.

Watch it:

Inhofe’s dangerous nonsense has been debunked repeatedly by scientists, from the UK Met Office and NOAA to independent statisticians. 2005 is the hottest year on record, and the last ten years have been the hottest decade on record. Furthermore, it is clear that fossil fuel emissions are responsible.


A nuclear power boost for bill

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 28th, 2009 4:36 am by HL

A nuclear power boost for bill
Will a heaping spoonful of nuclear power help Congress swallow a climate bill?


Proposed long-term insurance program raises questions
As congressional leaders haggle over the shape of a proposed government-run “public option” in health-care reform legislation, a quiet revolt is brewing against a different public insurance program — a plan to create government insurance for long-term care.


Business Digest: House panel votes to regulate hedge funds
OVERSIGHT The government would gain far-reaching new powers to regulate, and even shut down, large financial firms that threaten economic stability under a draft bill released Tuesday in Congress.