We are the Liberal Blog From Hollywood
L.A.'s Premier Post Facility

L.A.'s Premier Post Facility

Photographer in L.A.

Hot Pics & Gossip.

Archive for October 29th, 2009

Earth [A Cartoon From Greece]

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 29th, 2009 4:46 am by HL

Earth [A Cartoon From Greece]
READ THE WHOLE ITEM

READ THE WHOLE ITEM

Related Entries


Racist Judge Inadvertantly Makes the Case For Gay Marriage
The marriage equality movement has been severely damaged by the argument that those opposed to same-sex marriage would be forced to perform weddings against their will. READ THE WHOLE ITEM

By The Rev. Madison Shockley

The marriage equality movement has been severely damaged by the argument that those opposed to same-sex marriage would be forced to perform weddings against their will.

READ THE WHOLE ITEM

Related Entries



Rep. Earl Blumenauer: An Historic and Emotional Moment

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 29th, 2009 4:44 am by HL

Rep. Earl Blumenauer: An Historic and Emotional Moment
Today, after too many years of delay, President Obama signed into law a bill that makes it a federal hate crime to assault people based on sexual orientation.

Obama Visits To Dover Air Force Base To Honor Fallen Soldiers
DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. — Standing in the pre-dawn darkness, President Barack Obama saw the real cost of the war in Afghanistan: The Americans…

Jonathan Weiler: Olympia Snowe Still Opposes Public Option Because it’s Too Good
Snowe’s blindly ideological view on health care asserts, against common sense, that even when the outcome is likely to be inferior, we should prefer “private” solutions.

Mike Elk: Labor Leader Trumka To Testify Against “Reform” Bill Deemed “TARP on Steroids”
After leading the dramatic three day Showdown in Chicago at the American Bankers Association (ABA) Convention in Chicago, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka will head to…


Fox News- Wash. Times witch hunt takes aim at new target: judicial nominee Edward Chen

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 29th, 2009 4:43 am by HL

Fox News- Wash. Times witch hunt takes aim at new target: judicial nominee Edward Chen

Fox News and The Washington Times have used a series of comments reportedly made by Edward Chen — one of President Obama’s judicial nominees — to smear him as a “radical leftist” who “doesn’t appear to love America,” and as a “biased radical” when, in fact, the quotes in question establish nothing of the sort. These attacks on Chen follow months of a Fox News-led witch hunt against other Obama advisers and appointees, as well as race-baiting attacks on then-Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor.

Fox News, Wash. Times smear Chen as “radical”

Wash. Times smear: Comments indicate Chen “doesn’t appear to love America.” An October 25 Washington Times editorial charged that Chen was “another Obama nominee who doesn’t appear to love America.” The Times continued:

Judge Chen’s words speak for themselves. When the congregation sang “America the Beautiful” at a funeral, Judge Chen told the audience of his “feelings of ambivalence and cynicism when confronted with appeals to patriotism — sometimes I cannot help but feel that there are too much [sic] injustice and too many inequalities that prevent far too many Americans from enjoying the beauty extolled in that anthem.”

In a speech on Sept. 22, 2001, he said that among his first responses to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on America was a “sickening feeling in my stomach about what might happen to race relations and religious tolerance on our own soil. … One has to wonder whether the seemingly irresistible forces of racism, nativism and scapegoating which has [sic] recurred so often in our history can be effectively restrained.”

And talking about the role of judges, he in effect embraced the “empathy standard” that Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor was forced to denounce in her own confirmation hearings: “Simply put, a judge’s life experiences affect the willingness to credit testimony or understand the human impact of legal rules upon which the judge must decide. These determinations require a judge to draw upon something that is not found in the case reports that line the walls of our chambers. Rather judges draw upon the breadth and depth of their own life experience. … Inevitably, one’s ethnic and racial background contributes to those life experiences.”

You get the picture. To quote and paraphrase Sen. Charles E. Schumer from another occasion, this man’s attitude “doesn’t even whisper ‘judge.’ ” Instead, it yells out that he is a biased radical willing to impose his own politics from the bench. Judge Chen should not be confirmed. [The Washington Times, 10/25/09]

O’Reilly smear: Comments show that “you can’t get more radical than Judge Chen.” During his October 27 Fox News show, O’Reilly aired transcript of the purportedly offensive comments “radical leftist” Chen reportedly made and claimed that “you can’t get more radical than Chen,” and that Chen was wrong in his September 2001 comments. [The O’Reilly Factor, 10/27/09]

Hannity smear: Comments prove Chen should not be confirmed. During his Fox News show, Sean Hannity asserted that Chen’s “comments over the years have been so controversial that The Washington Times recently called him, quote, ‘another Obama nominee who doesn’t appear to love America.’ For example, he’s no fan of the song ‘America the Beautiful.’ ” Hannity concluded, “Judge Chen should not be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.” [Hannity, 10/27/09]

Chen’s reported comments do not indicate that he is a “radical leftist” who doesn’t “love America”

Chen’s 2001 reported comments warning of possible “racism, nativism and scapegoating” following the September 11 attacks are supported by rise in anti-Muslim hate crimes. As Fox News’ Alan Colmes stated in discussing Chen’s comments on The O’Reilly Factor, “We have seen nativism; we have seen racism.” A 2002 FBI hate crimes analysis reported that the distribution of hate crimes based on national origin changed in 2001, “presumably as a result of the heinous incidents that occurred on September 11.” The FBI further noted, “Anti-Islamic religion incidents were previously the second least reported, but in 2001, they became the second highest reported among religious-bias incidents (anti-Jewish religion incidents were the highest), growing by more than 1,600 percent over the 2000 volume. In 2001, reported data showed there were 481 incidents made up of 546 offenses having 554 victims of crimes motivated by bias toward the Islamic religion.” A November 26, 2002, San Francisco Chronicle article reported, “Hate crimes against Muslims soared after Sept. 11, according to an FBI report released Monday that also shows that most hate offenses in 2001 were committed against African Americans.”

Justice Department Inspector General found numerous problems with DOJ’s treatment of “aliens” after 9-11. Further supporting Chen’s reported comments, in 2003, the Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General released a report about the treatment of “aliens following the 9-11 attacks and the inspector general stated: “”While our review recognized the enormous challenges and difficult circumstances confronting the Department in responding to the terrorist attacks, we found significant problems in the way the detainees were handled.” The IG report found that “762 aliens were detained in connection with the FBI terrorism investigation,” but that “The FBI in New York City made little attempt to distinguish between aliens who were subjects of the FBI terrorism investigation (called “PENTTBOM”) and those encountered coincidentally to a PENTTBOM lead.” Additionally, some detainees did not receive charging documents “for more than a month after being arrested. This delay affected the detainees’ ability to understand why they were being held, obtain legal counsel, and request a bond hearing.” The report also found problems with the conditions in which detainees were held.

Lawsuit alleges misuse of federal law to detain Muslims. Additionally, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has allowed a lawsuit to go forward by former detainee Abdullah Al-Kidd against then-Attorney General John Ashcroft and others alleging that al-Kidd was unlawfully detained because he was the target of “surveillance as part of a broad anti-terrorism investigation allegedly aimed at Arab and Muslim men”

Chen’s comments do not support charge that he is a “biased radical”

Chen explicitly advocated for judges to “administer the law equally.” In the speech in which Chen said “a judge’s life experiences affect the willingness to credit testimony or understand the human impact of legal rules upon which the judge must decide,” Chen explicitly advocated for equal administration of the law. From a law review article reprinting Chen’s speech: “The case for diversity is especially compelling for the judiciary. It is the business of the courts, after all, to dispense justice fairly and administer the laws equally. It is the branch of government ultimately charged with safeguarding constitutional rights, particularly protecting the rights of vulnerable and disadvantaged minorities against encroachment by the majority.” [“The Judiciary, Diversity, and Justice for All, reprinted in the California Law Review, July 2003 (obtained via Nexis)]

Chen’s comments — like Sotomayor’s — echo similar comments about personal experience made and celebrated by conservatives. Also undermining The Washington Times‘ suggestion that Chen’s remarks about “a judge’s life experiences” mark him as “a biased radical,” numerous conservatives have previously cited empathy and personal experience as important qualities in a judge — including Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito. Conservatives including Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, President George H.W. Bush, Sen. Strom Thurmond, Sen. Kit Bond, and John Yoo have cited personal experience or empathy as an important quality in a judge.

Chen gave specific examples of how “a judge’s life experiences affect” credibility determinations

Chen: Different cultures view eye contact differently. The Times attack on Chen ignores the concrete examples Chen gave to back up his assertion that “a judge’s life experiences affect the willingness to credit testimony.” For instance, Chen stated that different cultures view avoidance of eye contact differently when deciding credibility issues. From Chen’s law review article:

For example, it is commonly assumed within the legal profession that if a witness will not look you in the eye, he or she is untrustworthy. But such an assumption may be blind to cultural differences. In some cultures, meeting the eyes of another is a sign of disrespect under certain circumstances. Averting eye contact in some cultures may thus be a sign of  respect rather than untruthfulness. Diversity among those who must make these types of evaluations can significantly reduce occasions of cross-cultural misunderstanding.

Chen: White judge and African-American judge viewed testimony about racial harassment in locker room differently. From Chen’s law review article:

Another time, an African American judge recalled for me an instance in which a White colleague of his presided over a racial harassment trial. The White judge apparently expressed incredulity as to the plaintiff’s testimony regarding racist graffiti found on a locker, considering the plaintiff’s descriptions of a drawing of a hangman’s noose around a baboon inherently hard to believe, even though the plaintiff was otherwise credible. While his colleague found the allegations unbelievable, the African American judge recounted how members of his own family had experienced precisely the kinds of harassment described by the plaintiff.

Chen, like Alito, stated that judges are affected by personal experience. In his law review article, Chen wrote:

I have heard more than one judge remark about how a particular witness or litigant reminds them of a friend or relative, causing them to perhaps listen a bit more carefully or give pause before passing judgment on that person. It should not be surprising that one might tend to have an initial visceral, perhaps unconscious, sympathetic reaction to someone who strikes a chord of familiarity.

Similarly, Justice Samuel Alito stated during his confirmation hearing in 2006, “When I get a case about discrimination, I have to think about people in my own family who suffered discrimination because of their ethnic background or because of religion or because of gender. And I do take that into account.”

American Bar Association gave Chen its highest rating

ABA unanimously rated Chen “well qualified.” The American Bar Association’s standing committee on the federal judiciary unanimously rated Chen “well qualified,” its highest rating.

Conservative attacks on Chen follow race-baited smears of Sotomayor

Conservatives compared Sotomayor to David Duke and labeled her an “affirmative action pick” and a “racist” who is “not that bright.” Among the numerous outrageous smears of Sotomayor, Fox News’ Glenn Beck referred to her as a “racist” who is “not that bright” and said that those who nominated her addressed her by saying, “Hey, Hispanic chick lady”; Rush Limbaugh compared her nomination to nominating David Duke and called her “a bigot” and “a racist”; and MSNBC’s Pat Buchanan said she was an “affirmative action pick.”


Intel Panel: CIA Misled Lawmakers On Torture, Other Issues

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 29th, 2009 4:42 am by HL

Intel Panel: CIA Misled Lawmakers On Torture, Other Issues
A House intelligence panel has concluded that the CIA misled Congress several times in recent years — including during that 2002 torture briefing with Nancy Pelosi.


White House Responds To Wash Times Story: We’ve Set ‘Toughest Ethics Standards’ Ever
The Obama Administration has released a lengthy response to the Washington Times story that reported Democrats are using the White House as a fundraising tool, saying that “contributing does not guarantee a ticket to the White House, nor does it…

Schakowsky: GOPers Who Slammed Pelosi On CIA Lie Charge Should Apologize
A top Democrat on the House Intelligence committee says Republicans who criticized Nancy Pelosi’s claim that the CIA lied to her now owe the Speaker an apology.


Wall Street meets main street in Chicago

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 29th, 2009 4:38 am by HL

Wall Street meets main street in Chicago
Excerpt: Early this week, over 1500 banking executives gathered at the Sheraton hotel in Chicago for what is normally a tranquil, low-key event, the American Bankers Association (ABA) convention. Thousands of protesters from across the nation made sure it was different this year. The morning protests started outside the Chicago offices of Goldman Sachs. A speaker on […]


The First Marriage

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 29th, 2009 4:37 am by HL

The First Marriage
New York Times Magazine: “The centrality of the Obama marriage to the president’s political brand opens a new chapter in the debate that has run through, even helped define, their union. Since he first began running for office in 1995, Barack and Michelle Obama have never really stopped struggling over how to combine politics and marriage: how to navigate the long absences, lack of privacy, ossified gender roles and generally stultifying rules that result when public opinion comes to bear on private relationships.”


Company Says NYC Watershed More Important Than Profit From a Gas Well

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 29th, 2009 4:36 am by HL

Company Says NYC Watershed More Important Than Profit From a Gas Well
The company’s announcement takes many of NYC’s concerns off the table, but others, including what will happen with the wastewater from drilling across the state, remain.

Washed-Up Actor Leads Cause to Distribute Christianized Version of Darwin’s Evolution Theory
Attempting to subvert the 150th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s groundbreaking ‘Origin of the Species,’ 50,000 copies will be handed out.

It’s All About the People: Meet the AlterNet People
The progressive super stars and the key players who bring you the stories you want.


Whose Israel is It?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 29th, 2009 4:35 am by HL

Whose Israel is It?
I have spent the day in Washington, first at the Americans for Peace Now board meeting, where I am an officer, and later at the J Street conference, where I am a participant. I go to sleep tonight with this…


Sponsored Topics: IsraelJ StreetUnited StatesMiddle EastAmericans for Peace Now

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


Blair On Middle East Peace Talks: ‘You’ll Never Get The Most Optimal Context…So Let’s Get It Going’

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 29th, 2009 4:34 am by HL

Blair On Middle East Peace Talks: ‘You’ll Never Get The Most Optimal Context…So Let’s Get It Going’
This Saturday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will travel to Israel for her first official visit since Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government was sworn in. Her visit comes at a time when the Middle East peace dialogue appears to have stalled. Clinton “aims to push forward the discussions with Israel and the Palestinians about agreeing […]

This Saturday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will travel to Israel for her first official visit since Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government was sworn in. Her visit comes at a time when the Middle East peace dialogue appears to have stalled. Clinton “aims to push forward the discussions with Israel and the Palestinians about agreeing to a framework for negotiations.”

In an interview with ThinkProgress today, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair — who previously served as a Middle East envoy — said, “I just think the essential thing is to get the negotiations underway. You’ll never get the most optimal context. … It’ll never be perfect, so let’s get it going.” Blair also emphasized the need to show “real changes on the ground.”

Rather than embrace final-status negotiations for a two-state solution in the Middle East, Netanyahu has recently suggested the idea of forging an “economic peace” with Palestinians. Blair told us this idea isn’t practical because economic issues must be coupled with political progress:

You’ve got to have the political and the economic and the security. But however, having said that, the economics — provided it’s not separated out from the politics or the security — the economics can play a part. The West Bank economy at the moment is growing pretty strongly. … So it’s not all bad news, but you need the political context.

Watch it:

The Wonk Room’s Pat Garofalo asked Blair about the UK experience with community schools. Blair, who was at the Center for American Progress today to discuss how to improve student outcomes, emphasized that the longer hours and valuable services provided by community schools could mean they are “the wave of the future.”

FLASHBACK: Lieberman Voted Yes On Cloture For Legislation He Ultimately Opposed
Yesterday, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT), who caucuses with the Democrats, made headlines when he vowed to join the Republican filibuster the Senate health care bill unless the public option is removed from it. As Rachel Maddow pointed out last night, “A member of the majority has never before crossed party lines to filibuster with the […]

lolieberman

Yesterday, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT), who caucuses with the Democrats, made headlines when he vowed to join the Republican filibuster the Senate health care bill unless the public option is removed from it.

As Rachel Maddow pointed out last night, “A member of the majority has never before crossed party lines to filibuster with the minority. And that is exactly what Joe Lieberman is threatening to do to kill health care reform.” In fact, according to research dug up by Maddow and her staff, Lieberman has voted for cloture and allowed up-or-down floor votes on a number of major bills he opposed in the past:

– Lieberman joined 55 Republicans and 13 Democrats to back cloture for a bill that made it more difficult for people to declare bankruptcy. [5/8/05] He voted with the minority in opposing final passage. [5/10/05]

– Lieberman joined 93 other senators in voting for cloture on the Secure Fence Act, which beefed up the use of technology for border security. [9/20/06] He voted with the minority in opposing final passage. [9/29/06]

– Lieberman joined 96 other senators in backing cloture for an Iraq funding bill that included a timeline for withdrawal. [3/28/07] He voted with the minority in opposing final passage. [4/26/07]

One of the most glaring examples of Lieberman’s past flexibility on filibusters was during the nomination of Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito. Lieberman, who was part of the notorious “Gang of 14” that ended the chances of a filibuster of Alito’s nomination, explained his rationale to Fox News host Sean Hannity: “I did vote against the filibuster cause I thought that, you know, it was time to move on.”

Indeed, the same argument can now be made for health care.


N.Y. contest a bellwether for the GOP over ideology, electability

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 29th, 2009 4:33 am by HL

N.Y. contest a bellwether for the GOP over ideology, electability
Is politics about standing for principles and fighting for them? Or is politics about winning elections and passing legislation?

White House rebuts allegation that big donors get special perks
What does being a top Democratic donor get you in Obama’s Washington?

The Take: Squabbles among Democrats on health care and Republicans in House race
Is politics about standing for principles and fighting for them? Or is politics about winning elections and passing legislation?