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Archive for November 10th, 2009

Remembering the Fall of the Berlin Wall

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 10th, 2009 5:48 am by HL

Remembering the Fall of the Berlin Wall
To mark the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, a group of world leaders from past and present—including Mikhail Gorbachev, Lech Walesa, Nicolas Sarkozy and Hillary Rodham Clinton—joined German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday for a stroll through the Brandenberg Gate, which stood between East and West Berlin.  —KA The New York Times: The anniversary has provided Germans and people around the once-divided continent with an opportunity to reflect upon the successful reunification of Germany and the once-unthinkable integration of countries from the former Warsaw Pact into the NATO alliance and the European Union. “It is also possible to overcome the barriers of our own time, just as we succeeded in bringing this about in this divided city in 1989,” Mrs. Merkel told the crowd that had assembled on a rainy Berlin night to mark the anniversary of the fall of the wall on Nov. 9, 1989, calling it “a day of celebration for all of Europe.” “Because of your courage two Berlins are one, two Germanys are one, and now two Europes are one,” Mr. Brown [British Prime Minister Gordon Brown] said. Read more READ THE WHOLE ITEM

dominoes

To mark the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, a group of world leaders from past and present—including Mikhail Gorbachev, Lech Walesa, Nicolas Sarkozy and Hillary Rodham Clinton—joined German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday for a stroll through the Brandenberg Gate, which stood between East and West Berlin.? —KA

The New York Times:

The anniversary has provided Germans and people around the once-divided continent with an opportunity to reflect upon the successful reunification of Germany and the once-unthinkable integration of countries from the former Warsaw Pact into the NATO alliance and the European Union.

“It is also possible to overcome the barriers of our own time, just as we succeeded in bringing this about in this divided city in 1989,” Mrs. Merkel told the crowd that had assembled on a rainy Berlin night to mark the anniversary of the fall of the wall on Nov. 9, 1989, calling it “a day of celebration for all of Europe.”

“Because of your courage two Berlins are one, two Germanys are one, and now two Europes are one,” Mr. Brown [British Prime Minister Gordon Brown] said.

Read more

READ THE WHOLE ITEM

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Chris Weigant: Cold War’s End — The Wall Comes Down

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 10th, 2009 5:47 am by HL

Chris Weigant: Cold War’s End — The Wall Comes Down
It must be a little hard to understand, for anyone reading this under the age of about 30 or so, the significance of the fall…

Catholic Church Shows Its Influence In Health Care Fight
Injecting itself aggressively into the health-care debate, the Roman Catholic Church in America has emerged as a major political force with the potential to upend…

Michael B. Laskoff: The Second Amendment: Love the Fighter, Hate the Lover
The massacre at Fort Hood has me wondering what kind of nation we really are. My inescapable conclusion is that as a nation, we’re a…


Quick fact: Hume says if Obama had included tax cuts in stimulus, GOP would have supported it — but he did and they didn’t

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 10th, 2009 5:46 am by HL

Quick fact: Hume says if Obama had included tax cuts in stimulus, GOP would have supported it — but he did and they didn’t

Brit Hume claimed that if President Obama included tax cuts with the stimulus bill’s “spending extravaganza,” it “would have attracted Republican votes.”

From the November 9 broadcast of Fox News’ Special Report with Bret Baier:

HUME: [O]n the main issues of this year — the economic stimulus package and the Obama health care plan — Republicans have stood in near unanimous opposition while Democrats have struggled to round up votes despite their large majorities in both houses.

The person most responsible for this is no Republican leader, but President Obama himself. His policies have made it easy for Republicans of all stripes to oppose him. Just think how different it would have been if the President had insisted on mixing in some tax rate cuts with that spending extravaganza in that stimulus bill. That would have attracted Republican votes, allowed the President to claim a bipartisan victory, and provided the Democrats some political cover, not to mention some potential economic benefits.

Fact: The $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act included $288 billion in tax relief

As Media Matters for America has Making Work Pay tax credit, an annual credit of $400 per individual or $800 for families. In addition, the recovery act included a temporary increase in the earned income tax credit, a temporary increase in the refundable portion of the child tax credit, an increase in the first-time homebuyer tax credit, and tax incentives for businesses.


Revealed: Pictures Of Gov. Crist’s $50K Birthday Cake From Accused Fraudster

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 10th, 2009 5:44 am by HL

Revealed: Pictures Of Gov. Crist’s $50K Birthday Cake From Accused Fraudster
Accused fraudster Scott Rothstein — who Gov. Charlie Crist claims, improbably, is just another supporter — shelled out $52,000 to sponsor the governor’s 52nd birthday cake. The Rothstein joined Crist to help blow out the candles. We’ve got the pictures.

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Reyes Takes Shot At GOPer Over Criticism Of Obama On Fort Hood
House intelligence committee chair Silvestre Reyes (D-TX) made a thinly veiled swipe at his GOP counterpart today over comments made by Pete Hoekstra (R-MI) criticizing the Obama Administration’s handling of information about the Fort Hood shootings. As we told you…


All options considered mean more troops to Afghanistan and more spending

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 10th, 2009 5:41 am by HL

All options considered mean more troops to Afghanistan and more spending
Excerpt: President Obama is considering several options for Afghanistan, all of which involve an escalation of the conflict, increasing troop levels and increasing spending. The only question is how many more troops will be sent. That option most likely would call for sending three Army brigades from the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Ky., the 10th […]


Americans Divided on Health Care Legislation

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 10th, 2009 5:40 am by HL

Americans Divided on Health Care Legislation
Gallup: “Americans are evenly split on the potential impact of new health care legislation, should it ultimately be passed into law. Forty-one percent say a new health care bill would make the U.S. health care system better in the long run, while 40% say it would make things worse.”

Behind the Scozzafava Endorsement
The Washington Post has a great piece on how the White House orchestrated a campaign to get Dede Scozzafava (R) to endorse Bill Owens (D) in the wild special election in New York’s congressional district.

“The conservative movement’s third-party candidate, Doug Hoffman, expected her support but, she said, the newcomer accountant ‘had no integrity.’ Plus, the Democrats were so nice! They called. They sympathized. They made her feel good about tossing her support to Bill Owens, who — with her help — became the area’s first Democratic representative in more than a century.”

Meanwhile, the Albany Times Union reports Scozzafava was stripped of her GOP leadership post in the New York Assembly.


Who’s Paying for the Recession Most of All? Young Workers

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 10th, 2009 5:39 am by HL

Who’s Paying for the Recession Most of All? Young Workers
Young people have lost 2.5 million jobs to the crisis, making them the hardest-hit age group.

Soda Helps Make Americans Unhealthy and Fat — Will Soda Tax Prevail Despite Pushback by Beverage Industry?
Soft drink makers, supermarket companies, agriculture and the fast-food business have poured millions into campaigning against taxes on sweetened beverages.

10 Suicides a Month at Ft. Hood — War Stress Is Taking Soldiers to the Brink
The shooting tragedy at Fort Hood on Friday points to a much larger problem of combat stress and overdeployment in Iraq and Afghanistan.

9 Silly Things People Say When They Hear You Don’t Want Kids (And Ways to Counter Them)
Wanting kids isn’t just the social norm, it’s said to be a biological imperative, the only supposed "duh" of evolution. But yet, some of us choose not to — and for good reason.

Is Blind Faith in God and the Bible a Modern Invention?
A new book points out that the ancient Christians — and even early Americans — did not share the blind faith of today’s fundamentalists.


Hindery Report on Effective Unemployment: 19.2%

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 10th, 2009 5:38 am by HL

Hindery Report on Effective Unemployment: 19.2%
Each month when I get the official unemployment figures from the US government, I quickly search in my inbox for a note from former cable network CEO and senior economic adviser in the John Edwards and Barack Obama campaigns Leo…


Barack ObamaJohn EdwardsFederal government of the United StatesUnited StatesUnemployment

Fort Hood: It’s Not Muslims It’s Religious Nuts ++ Tom Friedman, Joe Klein Urge Israel Aid Cut
Yesterday Joltin Joe Lieberman tried to put the Fort Hood slaughter in a religious context, specifically in an Islamic context. Of course, as a self-proclaimed “man of faith”, he won’t say that the problem is not Islam but fanatics of…


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Westboro Baptist Church Organizes Homophobic Anti-Obama Protest Outside Sasha And Malia?s School

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 10th, 2009 5:37 am by HL

Westboro Baptist Church Organizes Homophobic Anti-Obama Protest Outside Sasha And Malia?s School
Fred Phelps’ Westboro Baptist Church is a hate group that goes around the country staging anti-gay rallies at some of the most inappropriate places (e.g. the funerals of former White House press secretary Tony Snow, victims of the Minneapolis bridge collapse, and U.S. troops) with messages like “Thank God For AIDS” and “God Hates Fags.” This […]

Fred Phelps’ Westboro Baptist Church is a hate group that goes around the country staging anti-gay rallies at some of the most inappropriate places (e.g. the funerals of former White House press secretary Tony Snow, victims of the Minneapolis bridge collapse, and U.S. troops) with messages like “Thank God For AIDS” and “God Hates Fags.”

This week, they’re bringing their hateful message to children in Washington, DC, planning pickets at a handful of local schools. This morning, they showed up outside of Sidwell Friends, the school that Sasha and Malia Obama attend. On Twitter, Megan Phelps-Roper — one of Fred Phelps’ grandchildren — posted a picture of the protest:

Westboro protest outside of Sidwell Friends School

Washington Post education reporter Michael Birnbaum said that he spent the morning at the protest, and MSNBC host David Shuster wrote, “Hopefully, some of the more rational conservatives/republicans will condemn this stuff today. It was beyond the pale.” ThinkProgress contacted Sidwell for more details on the protest and are awaiting a response.

In the past, extreme anti-choice activist Randall Terry has also targeted the Obama children’s school, saying, “We will continue to show images of aborted babies at high schools, no matter what the cost.”

Murdoch: Glenn Beck Was ?Right? To Say Obama Is ?A Racist? With ?A Deep-Seated Hatred For White People?
After President Obama inserted himself into the July spat between Prof. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Officer Jim Crowley, Glenn Beck infamously declared on Fox & Friends that Obama “exposed himself” with the incident “as a guy, over and over and over again, who has a deep-seated hatred for white people, or white culture.” Challenged […]

After President Obama inserted himself into the July spat between Prof. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Officer Jim Crowley, Glenn Beck infamously declared on Fox & Friends that Obama “exposed himself” with the incident “as a guy, over and over and over again, who has a deep-seated hatred for white people, or white culture.” Challenged by co-host Brian Kilmeade, Beck claimed that he was “not saying that he doesn’t like white people,” just that he’s a “racist.” Beck’s comments led to a boycott of his program by Color for Change, which has resulted in 81 companies refusing to advertise on his show.

In an interview with Sky News Australia last week, Rupert Murdoch, the owner of Fox News’ parent company, stood by Beck. Though he claimed that Beck probably shouldn’t have said such a thing, Murdoch concluded that “if you actually assess what he was talking about, he was right”:

SPEERS: The Glenn Beck, who you mentioned, has called Barack Obama a racist and he helped organize a protest against him. Others on Fox have likened him to Stalin. Is that defensible?

MURDOCH: No, no, no, not Stalin, I don’t think. I don’t know who that, not one of our people. On the racist thing, that caused a grilling. But he did make a very racist comment. Ahhh…about, you know, blacks and whites and so on, and which he said in his campaign he would be completely above. And um, that was something which perhaps shouldn’t have been said about the President, but if you actually assess what he was talking about, he was right.

Murdoch apparently isn’t very familiar with the content of the network he owns. Numerous Fox News personalities, including Glenn Beck, have compared Obama and members of his administration to Stalin. Watch it (starting around 16:00):

Earlier in the interview, Sky News political editor David Speers asked Murdoch if “people who switch on Fox News know when they’re getting news and when they’re getting opinion.” “Oh, absolutely,” replied Murdoch, pointing to Glenn Beck at 5 p.m. and Sean Hannity, “a pretty academic conservative,” at 9 p.m. as the only examples of the network’s opinion programming. But as Jon Stewart pointed out last month, Fox only considers its programming to be news from “9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. on weekdays.” “The only people you ever think about when you think about Fox News are not news,” said Stewart. “They’re Fox opiniotainment.”


Fort Hood suspect’s links to imam under scrutiny

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 10th, 2009 5:36 am by HL

Fort Hood suspect’s links to imam under scrutiny
Federal investigators are examining possible links between Fort Hood shooting suspect Maj. Nidal M. Hasan and an American-born imam who U.S. authorities say has become a supporter and leading promoter of al-Qaeda since leaving a Northern Virginia mosque, officials said.

Some Democrats to fight abortion amendment in health bill
President Obama and Senate Democrats sought on Sunday to generate momentum from the House’s passage of health-care legislation, even as a new hurdle emerged: profound dismay among abortion-rights supporters over antiabortion provisions inserted into the House bill.


Political eyes on Republican Scozzafava after conservatives urge her to quit
GOUVERNEUR, N.Y. — Over Halloween weekend, Dede Scozzafava morphed from a rosy-cheeked Republican mom to a political figure of speech.