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Archive for November 4th, 2009

Bloomberg’s In for Third Term as NYC Mayor

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 4th, 2009 5:46 am by HL

Bloomberg’s In for Third Term as NYC Mayor
He changed the rules, he put down the cash, and now New York City’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg has been re-upped for a third term, beating his Democratic competitor, City Comptroller Bill Thompson, by a slim margin on Tuesday.  —KA Reuters: Bloomberg defeated City Comptroller Bill Thompson, a Democrat, according to The New York Times, the Daily News and NY1 television. With 96 percent of the votes counted, Bloomberg was ahead 51 to 46 percent. His margin was far smaller than expected, given polls that showed him as recently as Monday with a double-digit lead and expectations of a large, lopsided victory. Bloomberg vastly outspent his challenger, laying out $13 for every $1 spent by Thompson. Bloomberg is described by Forbes magazine as the richest man in New York, with a $16 billion fortune. Read more READ THE WHOLE ITEM

Bloomberg and feathery friend

He changed the rules, he put down the cash, and now New York City’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg has been re-upped for a third term, beating his Democratic competitor, City Comptroller Bill Thompson, by a slim margin on Tuesday.? —KA

Reuters:

Bloomberg defeated City Comptroller Bill Thompson, a Democrat, according to The New York Times, the Daily News and NY1 television.

With 96 percent of the votes counted, Bloomberg was ahead 51 to 46 percent.

His margin was far smaller than expected, given polls that showed him as recently as Monday with a double-digit lead and expectations of a large, lopsided victory.

Bloomberg vastly outspent his challenger, laying out $13 for every $1 spent by Thompson. Bloomberg is described by Forbes magazine as the richest man in New York, with a $16 billion fortune.

Read more

READ THE WHOLE ITEM

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Mitchell Bard: Candidate Obama Might Have Some Questions for President Obama

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 4th, 2009 5:45 am by HL

Mitchell Bard: Candidate Obama Might Have Some Questions for President Obama
Coming off the election, the president had enormous political capital (really a blank check to move forward with anything he campaigned for), and I can’t help thinking that he didn’t make enough use of it.

Maine Voters First To License Medical Pot Shops
Maine voters became the first to license nonprofit organizations to sell medical marijuana on Tuesday, with the state’s Question 5 cruising to a landslide victory….

’09 Exit Polls: Voters Approve Of Obama, Wary Of Economy
Vast economic discontent marked the mood of Tuesday’s off-year voters, portending potential trouble for incumbents generally and Democrats in particular in 2010. Still the gubernatorial…

Antonia Juhasz: Chevron Gets Fixed
On Sunday, Chevron became the first oil company to come under a Yes Men Audience Attack. (See Video, Photos, and Yes Man Andy Bichlbaum’s Blog…

Maine Gay Marriage Vote: Voters Repeal Law Legalizing Gay Marriage
PORTLAND, Maine — Maine voters repealed a state law Tuesday that would have allowed same-sex couples to wed, dealing the gay rights movement a heartbreaking…


Washington Times adds judicial nominee David Hamilton to its witch hunt on Obama nominees

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 4th, 2009 5:44 am by HL

Washington Times adds judicial nominee David Hamilton to its witch hunt on Obama nominees

A Washington Times editorial has again used select comments and decisions made by one of President Obama’s judicial nominees to smear him as a “radical’s radical.” In addition to invoking judicial nominee Judge David Hamilton’s views on “empathy” — a favorite conservative attack — the editorial, which is being highlighted by the Fox Nation, misleadingly suggested that Hamilton believes judges should “effectively amend the Constitution” and that he discriminated against Christianity by banning the word “Jesus” from state legislature prayer, but allowing the word “Allah.”

Wash. Times: Hamilton believes judges should “effectively amend” the Constitution with “footnotes”

From the November 3 Washington Times editorial:

Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, the ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee, sent a letter on Friday to his fellow senators outlining his objections to Mr. Hamilton, who is a federal district judge. The senator first objected to Judge Hamilton’s stated belief that judges should effectively amend the Constitution — “writing footnotes to the Constitution,” the judge called it — through evolving case law. [link added]

Hamilton said “footnotes” comment was about how to apply the Constitution to “new situations” — not amend it

Hamilton: Speech was “in honor of my late colleague S. Hugh Dillin,” who desegregated schools. During Hamilton’s confirmation hearing on April 29, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) asked Hamilton to clarify comments he reportedly made in 2003 during a dedication for the Birch Bayh United States Courthouse in Indiana about it being “part of a judge’s job … to write a series of footnotes to the Constitution.” Hamilton replied:

HAMILTON: The speech you are referring to was in honor of my late colleague S. Hugh Dillin, whose seat I was nominated to take back in 1994. And to give you an idea, I attended schools as a boy that Judge Dillin had desegregated, and he drew great criticism for doing that back in the 1960s. The way he described our work is the daily or weekly application of the provisions and principles of our Constitution to new cases and new situations as they arise. And, at least to me, the concept of the footnote implies what we’re trying to do is not something new, but work out the details of how those principles apply to new situations.

Wash. Times: Hamilton “embraced the president’s ’empathy standard’ ”

From the Times editorial:

Second, Judge Hamilton has publicly and specifically embraced the president’s “empathy standard,” which even Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor has now openly rejected.

But Hamilton’s comments about “empathy” echo similar comments about personal experience celebrated by conservatives

Hamilton: “Empathy is the ability to understand the world from another person’s point of view.” In his October 30 letter opposing Hamilton, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) wrote that “[i]n a response to a follow-up question after his hearing, Judge Hamilton stated: ‘Federal judges take an oath to administer justice without respect to persons, and to do equal right to the poor and to the rich. Empathy — to be distinguished from sympathy — is important in fulfilling that oath. Empathy is the ability to understand the world from another person’s point of view. A judge needs to empathize with all parties in the case — plaintiff and defendant, crime victim and accused defendant — so that the judge can better understand how the parties came to be before the court and how legal rules affect those parties and others in similar situations.’ ”

Conservatives have also cited empathy as an important quality in a judge. Undermining The Washington Times‘ suggestion that Hamilton’s “embra[cing] the president’s ’empathy standard’ ” makes him “radical,” numerous conservatives have previously cited empathy and personal experience as important qualities in a judge — including Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito. Conservatives including Justice Clarence Thomas, President George H.W. Bush, and Bush administration lawyer John Yoo have cited personal experience or empathy as an important quality in a judge.

Wash. Times, Fox Nation: Hamilton ruling banned invoking the name Jesus, but not Allah, in legislature prayer

From the editorial:

Third, Judge Hamilton in many cases has shown an extreme hostility against innocuous expressions of religion in the public square. Mr. Sessions noted, though, that Judge Hamilton’s odd ruling in Hinrichs v. Bosma “prohibited prayers in the Indiana House of Representatives that expressly mentioned Jesus Christ … yet he allowed prayers which mentioned Allah.”

Fox Nation promotes Washington Times editorial under the headline, “Obama Judicial Nominee: Jesus, No, But Yes to Allah.” From Fox Nation:

fnhamilton

In fact, Hamilton’s decision did not favor Islam over Christianity — it simply banned “sectarian” prayer

Hamilton struck down “sectarian” prayer in Indiana legislature — not just the words “Jesus Christ.” Using Supreme Court precedent (Marsh v. Chambers), Hamilton ruled in Anthony Hinrichs, et al. v. Brian Bosma that prayer in the Indiana House of Representatives “should refrain from using Christ’s name or title or any other denominational appeal” and that such prayer “must be nonsectarian and must not be used to proselytize or advance any one faith or belief or to disparage any other faith or belief.” Hamilton wrote that the “sectarian content of the substantial majority of official prayers in the Indiana House therefore takes the prayers outside the safe harbor the Supreme Court recognized for inclusive, non-sectarian legislative prayers in Marsh v. Chambers, 463 U.S. 783 (1983).”

Post-judgment motion clarified that prayers may include all “non-sectarian” references to God. In a post-judgment motion, Hamilton wrote that “[t]he Arabic word ‘Allah’ is used for ‘God’ in Arabic translations of Jewish and Christian scriptures” and that “[i]f those offering prayers in the Indiana House of Representatives choose to use the Arabic Allah, the Spanish Dios, the German Gott, the French Dieu, the Swedish Gud, the Greek Theos, the Hebrew Elohim, the Italian Dio, or any other language’s terms in addressing the God who is the focus of the non-sectarian prayers contemplated in Marsh v. Chambers, the court sees little risk that the choice of language would advance a particular religion or disparage others.” He continued: “If and when the prayer practices in the Indiana House of Representatives ever seem to be advancing Islam, an appropriate party can bring the problem to the attention of this or another court.”

Millhiser: Conservatives are “mak[ing] up stories about how Judge Hamilton is a secret Muslim.” In a post on The Huffington Post, Center for American Progress’ Ian Millhiser noted that Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) had made similar claims about Hamilton, and added: “I imagine we will hear this claim — that Hamilton banned references to Jesus but endorsed references to ‘Allah’ — a lot in the future, so let me take a moment to explain why Inhofe doesn’t know what he’s talking about.” After pointing to Hamilton’s post-judgment motion, Millhiser wrote that “[c]onservatives know that they cannot win the case against Hamilton on the merits, so they make up stories about how Judge Hamilton is a secret Muslim.”

Times, Fox News previously smeared judicial appointee Chen as a “radical”

Fox News, Wash. Times smear Chen as “radical.” Fox News and The Washington Times also used a series of comments reportedly made by Edward Chen — one of 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.


CAIR Sues ‘Muslim Mafia’ Author Over Property Lifted By Undercover Intern

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 4th, 2009 5:43 am by HL

CAIR Sues ‘Muslim Mafia’ Author Over Property Lifted By Undercover Intern
The Council on American-Islamic Relations has sued the author of Muslim Mafia, a book that sparked calls by four House Republicans for an investigation into intern spies, seeking the return of documents taken by the author’s son while he was…


Tea Partiers Get Set For Hectic Final Push Against Health-Care Reform
Tea Party activists are planning a slew of direct lobbying activities this week in a final effort to stop health-care reform — and singing the praises of Michele Bachmann.

Madoff Accountant Pleads Guilty To Fraud
Bernie Madoff’s former accountant has pleaded guilty to fraud in connection with his auditing of Madoff’s operation, but denies that he knew anything about the underlying Ponzi scheme.


Swine flu cases overestimated?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 4th, 2009 5:41 am by HL

Swine flu cases overestimated?
Excerpt: According to an exclusive report by CBS News Investigates, “if you’ve been diagnosed ‘probable’ or ‘presumed’ 2009 H1N1 or ’swine flu’ in recent months, you may be surprised to know this: odds are you didn’t have H1N1 flu.” According to CBS, “with most cases [now] diagnosed solely on symptoms and risk factors, the H1N1 flu epidemic […]


Winners and Losers in New Jersey

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 4th, 2009 5:40 am by HL

Winners and Losers in New Jersey
Here’s a quick snapshot of the winners and losers in New Jersey:

Winners:

  • Republicans — for winning the governorship in a decidedly blue state.
  • Public Policy Polling — for being the only pollster to nail the final result.

Losers:

  • President Obama — for spending a lot of time campaigning in the final days only to come up empty.
  • Democrats — for not being able to push the very unpopular Corzine out of the race last summer.
  • Corzine — for wasting millions of dollars of his own money.

Maine Votes Down Gay Marriage Law
“Maine voters on Tuesday narrowly voted to repeal a law that would have made the state one of a handful that allow same-sex couples to marry,” the Portland Press Herald reports.


Barbara Ehrenreich: Why Your Children May Not Get a Swine Flu Shot Before They Need It

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 4th, 2009 5:39 am by HL

Barbara Ehrenreich: Why Your Children May Not Get a Swine Flu Shot Before They Need It
Too much faith in private enterprise has left us open to a flu epidemic.

Why Can’t the Corporate Media Just Tell the Truth About Iraq & Afghanistan?
One NY Times reporter finally ‘fesses up that the invasion of Iraq wasn’t presented truthfully by the big media outlets. It’s still not too late to tell the truth.

The Execution of a Potentially Innocent Man Less Scandalous Than an Affair?
There’s something really rotten in the state of Texas.

Iraq Movie, ‘The Hurt Locker’ Is Generating Oscar Buzz: But Does It Deserve It?
Critics have praised the film as a realistic, Academy Award-worthy piece of filmmaking. But is there really anything realistic about it?


How Obama Can Convince Congress to Enact a Larger Stimulus, and Why He Must

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 4th, 2009 5:38 am by HL

How Obama Can Convince Congress to Enact a Larger Stimulus, and Why He Must
The Administration’s biggest economic mistake so far was to badly underestimate last January how bad the employment situation would become by Fall. As a result, it low-balled the stimulus — settling for a plan that, while avoiding even worse job…


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Nation-building at Home
When ideology trumps reality, political parties enter a dead zone where no facts can be marshalled and politicians seem to live in a truth-free world. Take Mitt Romney this morning. Romney said on CBS’s “The Early Show” that the administration’s…


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ThinkFast: November 3, 2009

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 4th, 2009 5:36 am by HL

ThinkFast: November 3, 2009
Buoyed by their success in New York’s 23rd congressional race, right-wing activists “are gearing up to challenge leading GOP candidates in more than a dozen key House and Senate races in 2010.” “What you’re going to see,” said FreedomWorks’ Dick Armey, “is moderates and conservatives across the country in primaries.” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) […]

Tea Party

Buoyed by their success in New York’s 23rd congressional race, right-wing activists “are gearing up to challenge leading GOP candidates in more than a dozen key House and Senate races in 2010.” “What you’re going to see,” said FreedomWorks’ Dick Armey, “is moderates and conservatives across the country in primaries.”

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has reportedly reached a “private understanding” with Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) that would ensure the Connecticut senator does not block a final vote on health care reform. “Lieberman keeps assuring Reid that he’s OK,” said one source. “But he’s one of those characters — you never know with Joe.

Maine could become the first state to endorse gay marriage by popular referendum” today “as voters head to the polls to decide whether to repeal a recently-passed law legalizing unions between people of the same gender.” Following the disappointment of Proposition 8’s success last year in California, “advocates of same-sex marriage are optimistic that ballot box history won’t repeat itself in Maine.”

The suicide rate in the Army has passed that of the general population for the first time. Sixteen American soldiers took their lives in October, and suicides have risen 36 percent since 2006.

The Senate voted 85-2 to cut off debate on a bill that would expand homebuyer and business tax credits and expand jobless benefits. This bill would add up to 20 more weeks of aid to unemployment benefits, extending them through Thanksgiving and Christmas.

A “record number of lobbyists have quit the business this year,” according to a new study by the Center for Responsive Politics and OMB Watch. “About 1,400 lobbyists, or 8% of the industry, left in the three-month period ending June 30.” The report’s authors say the drop may be a consequence of the Obama administration’s new ethics regulations.

Pentagon auditors have warned contractor KBR that it needs to “cut its workforce there or face nearly $200 million in penalties for keeping thousands too many on the payroll.” Without “significant action,” KBR will have “one employee for every 3.6 troops in Iraq by August 2010.”

Media Matters Action Network is launching a new website today that aims to document the financial and political ties of conservative groups, called Conservative Transparency. Knowing the source of conservative funding will assist the entire progressive movement in responding to attacks from ‘astroturf’ organizations,” said Chris Harris, the group’s communications director.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged Iran to “stick to an agreement to ship low-enriched uranium abroad for processing.” “Acceptance of this proposal would be a good indication that Iran does not wish to be isolated,” Clinton said. Iran is seeking greater assurances that the fuel “would be enriched to a higher level and returned.”

And finally: Did actor Edward Norton “beat Sarah Palin like a rug” in the New York Marathon on Sunday? You betcha.

Follow ThinkProgress on Twitter.


In New Jersey, Christie beats incumbent Corzine in governor’s race

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 4th, 2009 5:35 am by HL

In New Jersey, Christie beats incumbent Corzine in governor’s race
EAST BRUNSWICK, N.J. — Chris Christie defeated Democratic Gov. Jon S. Corzine on Tuesday, handing Republicans a rare victory in a state that Barack Obama carried last year by 15 percentage points.

Dodd to go alone with draft for financial reform
Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher J. Dodd (D-Conn.) plans to circulate a draft bill of sweeping financial reforms as soon as next week that breaks with the Obama administration and the House on two key issues, officials said.

Washington Sketch: Republicans give global-warming hearing the cold shoulder
The senators’ nameplates were lined up neatly on the green felt. A row of black leather chairs awaited senatorial bottoms. The microphones were live and the water iced.

Democrat wins hard-fought N.Y. House special election
Democrat Bill Owens took a surprising victory in a special election Tuesday in Upstate New York, winning a House seat that Republicans had controlled since 1872 and, in the process, potentially deepening a split that emerged within the GOP during the campaign.

German Chancellor Merkel urges U.S. to act on climate change
German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged Congress and the Obama administration Tuesday to take bold steps to address global warming, even as Senate Democrats and Republicans feuded over whether to press ahead with a climate bill.