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Archive for November 14th, 2009

Bring Them Home, Mr. President

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 14th, 2009 5:45 am by HL

Bring Them Home, Mr. President
It is wrong to sacrifice troops without military goals that are clear, achievable and worthwhile. And what goals in Afghanistan remotely satisfy those criteria? READ THE WHOLE ITEM By Eugene Robinson

It is wrong to sacrifice troops without military goals that are clear, achievable and worthwhile. And what goals in Afghanistan remotely satisfy those criteria?

READ THE WHOLE ITEM

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Lloyd Garver: The Heels Who Caused The Recession?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 14th, 2009 5:44 am by HL

Lloyd Garver: The Heels Who Caused The Recession?
Some feel the recession had to do with sneaky mortgages. Others believe it was the result of greedy Wall Street. All of these people should just look down at their feet — shoes caused the meltdown.

Obama Eyes Domestic Spending Freeze
WASHINGTON — The Obama administration has alerted domestic agencies to plan for a freeze or even a 5 percent cut in their budgets, part of…

Brad Friedman: Did Doug Hoffman Actually Win the NY-23 Special Election? If So, Does It Actually Matter?
A narrowing margin in the post-election canvass raises hopes for GOP/Conservatives, but recent Republican-set precedent may well dash that hope.


Gingrich’s attack on the “Obama administration’s job-killing policies” falls flat

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 14th, 2009 5:43 am by HL

Gingrich’s attack on the “Obama administration’s job-killing policies” falls flat

In a Washington Examiner column, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich (R-GA) claimed that President Obama and Congress “don’t seem to realize that adopting bad policies kills jobs” and that “[w]e now have proof that the Obama administration’s job-killing policies are hurting America.” But to support his assertions, Gingrich made false and misleading claims about the Obama administration’s and Congress’ policies and failed to mention that the steep rise in unemployment began well before Obama even took office.

Gingrich blames Obama administration policies for recent job losses

Gingrich accuses Obama of “adopting bad policies [that] kill jobs.” In a November 13 Washington Examiner column, Gingrich blamed Obama and Congress for the high unemployment rate, claiming, “We now have proof that the Obama administration’s job-killing policies are hurting America.” Gingrich cited job loss statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), writing that if one were to “consult a more objective source — like the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the government’s official job counter … you’ll find that 3.2 million Americans have lost their jobs since February when the stimulus act was signed.” Gingrich also predicted that the problem will get worse because of health care reform legislation, claiming, “Democratic economic policies aren’t simply ineffective, they are affirmatively job killing. And they’re about to get worse.” From his Examiner column:

In the face of the worst jobless rate in 26 years, the Obama administration and congressional Democrats don’t seem to realize that adopting bad policies kills jobs.

What’s most remarkable about this is that the president should know better. We now have proof that the Obama administration’s job-killing policies are hurting America.

[…]

So much for promises. By the White House’s own standards of success, its economic recovery policies have been an abject failure. That doesn’t mean they don’t keep touting the stimulus as a success, of course, aided by that most meaningless of economic metrics, “jobs created or saved.”

As recently as the end of October, Vice President Biden claimed that the stimulus act “saved or created” one million jobs.

But consult a more objective source — like the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the government’s official job counter — and you’ll find that 3.2 million Americans have lost their jobs since February when the stimulus act was signed.

But Gingrich’s argument is undermined by the fact that job losses stem from 2007 recession, and data suggest losses are slowing

The recession that began in 2007 — not Obama’s policies — continues to drive job losses. Contrary to Gringrich’s assertion that job losses this year resulted from Obama administration policies such as the stimulus, BLS data show that the trend of increasing unemployment resulting from the recession that began in December 2007 took root long before Obama was elected or inaugurated. From BLS seasonally adjusted unemployment data through October:

BLS chart of unemployment October 2007 - October 2009

Unemployment data suggest job losses are slowing. Gingrich wrote that BLS found “that 3.2 million Americans have lost their jobs since February when the stimulus act was signed.” But Gingrich ignores that job losses have generally slowed since January. From BLS seasonally adjusted payroll employment data through October:

BLS chart of job losses

Gingrich falsely claims House health care surcharge applies to all filers “who make more than $500,000 a year”

From Gingrich’s column:

Democratic economic policies aren’t simply ineffective, they are affirmatively job killing. And they’re about to get worse.

The health care bill Speaker Nancy Pelosi bribed, cajoled and threatened through the House last weekend imposes a 5.4 percent income tax “surcharge” on any tax filer who makes more than $500,000 a year.

In fact, only single filers who make more than $500,000 a year would be subject to surcharge

Single filers who make $500,000 or more and married couples or families who make $1 million or more would be subject to surcharge. Contrary to Gingrich’s claim, the House’s health care legislation imposes a surcharge only on individuals making more than $500,000 a year. Couples and families are imposed a surcharge if their income is more than $1 million a year, which accounts only for the top 0.3 percent of households in the United States.


AmeriCorps Official Urged Colleague To Destroy Docs On Walpin Firing

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 14th, 2009 5:42 am by HL

AmeriCorps Official Urged Colleague To Destroy Docs On Walpin Firing
An AmeriCorps official urged a colleague to “destroy” documents relating to the controversial firing of the agency’s inspector general, according to emails obtained by a conservative news site.


Party Foul! Tea Partiers Eat Their Own In Bitter Internal Feud
The Tea Party movement is being ripped apart by bitter internal rancor, highlighted by a lawsuit against a former leader, vituperative name-calling, and charges of financial mismanagement and corruption.



Dobbs Quits Before He’s Fired

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 14th, 2009 5:38 am by HL

Dobbs Quits Before He’s Fired


Those Stories About Religious Groups Taking Over the World with Birth Rates Are for Suckers

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 14th, 2009 5:37 am by HL

Those Stories About Religious Groups Taking Over the World with Birth Rates Are for Suckers
Many have fallen sway to demographically data about cultural or religious birth rates — here’s why it’s a fool’s game.

The Relentless War on Drug Users Is Escalating Violence in the US: It’s Time for Harm Reduction
Hundreds gather in Albuquerque to celebrate a new dawn of wider acceptance of drug reform, while still feeling a little nervous about the path ahead.

Memo to the Tea-Baggers: God and Country Aren’t with You
You don’t appear to know what "freedom" means.


Breaking up the Banks, Like Renegotiating NAFTA?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 14th, 2009 5:36 am by HL

Breaking up the Banks, Like Renegotiating NAFTA?
Remember way back in 2008 when the three leading contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination all argued in favor of renegotiating NAFTA? We don’t hear much talk about renegotiating NAFTA these days, even though one of the three leading contenders…


DemocraticBusinessFinancial ServicesWhite HouseBarack Obama

An Open Letter to Harry Reid on Controlling Health Care Costs
Dear Senator,I know you’re in a tough spot. It would be bad enough if you only had to get Ben Nelson, Evan Bayh, Mary Landrieu, and Blanche Lincoln on board, but anyone who has to kiss Joe Lieberman’s derriere deserves…


Ben NelsonHarry ReidMary LandrieuBlanche LincolnEvan Bayh

Do Lieberman and Brooks Know What Time It Is?
Now that we know that Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan was steeping in a kettle of Islamicist paranoia and rage, Joe Lieberman will hold hearings to examine the dark brew. And David Brooks, wired just like Lieberman, fans the fumes this…



David BrooksUnited StatesLong IslandNew YorkGovernment


Napolitano on Sheriff Arpaio: ?He was unwilling to accept there were standards that needed to be met.?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 14th, 2009 5:35 am by HL

Napolitano on Sheriff Arpaio: ?He was unwilling to accept there were standards that needed to be met.?
One of the more controversial steps the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has recently taken is the revision and standardization of its 287(g) immigration-enforcement agreements with state and local police as part of DHS’ efforts to prioritize the removal of dangerous undocumented immigrants. Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio made national headlines last month when he belligerently […]

One of the more controversial steps the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has recently taken is the revision and standardization of its 287(g) immigration-enforcement agreements with state and local police as part of DHS’ efforts to prioritize the removal of dangerous undocumented immigrants. Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio made national headlines last month when he belligerently stated that DHS had unfairly singled him out and took away his authority to make a political example out of him. DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano sat down with ThinkProgress today to explain what drove DHS’ decision to limit some of Arpaio’s authority amidst rampant allegations of racial profiling against the Sheriff’s Office:

It was time to build some standards into 287(g) and to put some organization into this. … And he [Arpaio] was unwilling to accept that there were standards that needed to be met. He wanted to go off on his own. And so that’s where we had a parting of ways.

Watch it:

During an event at the Center for American Progress today, Napolitano openly opposed Arpaio’s blind immigration raids, stating that she doesn’t believe that they are the best way to ensure public safety. The event featured Napolitano’s first detailed discussion on comprehensive immigration reform and what DHS is doing to prepare for it. Napolitano announced that there’s a desperate need for immigration reform that consists of a “commitment to serious and effective enforcement, improved legal flows for families and workers, and a firm but fair way to deal with those who are already here.” Though significant improvements have been made, “the laws themselves need to be reformed,” she said. More coverage at the Wonk Room.


Obama taps new counsel

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 14th, 2009 5:34 am by HL

Obama taps new counsel
By selecting Bob Bauer to be his new White House counsel, President Obama on Friday tapped a tough political warrior with deep partisan ties to serve as his official legal adviser on some of the country’s most highly charged and difficult issues.

Alleged Sept. 11 planner will be tried in New York
Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the self-proclaimed mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, and four co-conspirators will be tried in Manhattan federal courthouse less than a mile from Ground Zero, the Justice Department announced Friday, the most concrete demonstration yet of the Obama administration’…

White House counsel steps down, will be replaced by Bob Bauer
TOKYO — White House Counsel Gregory B. Craig will step down from his post and be replaced by Bob Bauer, a prominent Democratic lawyer who is President Obama’s personal attorney, the White House said Friday.


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Ex-Rep. Jefferson (D-La.) gets 13 years in freezer cash case
Former congressman William J. Jefferson was sentenced to 13 years in prison Friday for accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes, the longest prison term ever handed down to a member of Congress convicted of corruption charges.



What White Women Want, Surprisingly the GOP

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 14th, 2009 5:30 am by HL

What White Women Want, Surprisingly the GOP
David Paul Kuhn, RCP
This week, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a Florida Democrat, told reporters the GOP offers a “back-of-the-hand treatment to women.” Later she said two conservative female representatives only serve to further “repulse women.” You see, Schultz said on MSNBC, Republicans “don't really get very many women when it comes to elections.”The week before, in Virginia, the Republican gubernatorial candidate actually won women. And in blue New Jersey, the Republican won white women by 18 percentage points. Receive news alertsLast year John McCain won a majority of the…

Dunn Takes Parting Shot At FOX News
Sam Stein, Huffington Post
In a parting shot at Fox News, White House Communications Director Anita Dunn mocked the conservative-leaning network on Friday and laughed off its controversial host Glen Beck for calling her a Mao enthusiast.The outgoing administration spokeswoman took a clear and enjoyable dig, first at Sean Hannity for recently airing spliced footage designed to make a crowd of anti-health care protesters seem bigger than reality.”A fun fact from this week is that an opinion show on a certain news network was using edited footage to make it appear that a rally last week, and political opposition to…

Can the Clinton Coalition Survive Obama?
Sean Trende, RealClearPolitics
John Judis and Ruy Teixeira's well-regarded 2002 work The Emerging Democratic Majority begins with a vignette set in Virginia. They tell the story of a telecom executive named Mark Warner, who runs a moderate campaign that appeals to upper-middle class suburbanites and working class rural voters, and manages to put together a winning coalition that, if imitated in other states, might put the Democrats in power for decades to come.Democrats did build coalitions similar to Warner's, and in fact had been doing so for the better part of a decade. Warner's coalition was essentially…