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Archive for November 15th, 2009

FDA Goes After Caffeinated Alcoholic Beverages

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 15th, 2009 5:44 am by HL

FDA Goes After Caffeinated Alcoholic Beverages
News flash: Adding caffeine to alcoholic drinks may lead consumers to underestimate how drunk they are. The Food and Drug Administration is getting to the bottom of this potential health issue by ordering close to 30 manufacturers of caffeinated adult beverages to prove that their drinks are safe—or else.  —KA The New York Times: In a statement, the Food and Drug Administration said it told nearly 30 manufacturers of the drinks that unless they could provide clear evidence of safety, the agency would “take appropriate action to ensure that the products are removed from the marketplace.” Officials did not say how long such a determination might take. The drinks, which combine malt liquor or other spirits with caffeine and fruit juices at alcohol concentrations up to about 10 percent, have become increasingly popular among college students. In a news conference, Dr. Joshua M. Sharfstein, the agency’s principal deputy commissioner, said consumption was associated with increased risk of serious injury, drunken driving, sexual assault and other dangerous behavior. Read more READ THE WHOLE ITEM

Joose

News flash: Adding caffeine to alcoholic drinks may lead consumers to underestimate how drunk they are. The Food and Drug Administration is getting to the bottom of this potential health issue by ordering close to 30 manufacturers of caffeinated adult beverages to prove that their drinks are safe—or else.? —KA

The New York Times:

In a statement, the Food and Drug Administration said it told nearly 30 manufacturers of the drinks that unless they could provide clear evidence of safety, the agency would “take appropriate action to ensure that the products are removed from the marketplace.” Officials did not say how long such a determination might take.

The drinks, which combine malt liquor or other spirits with caffeine and fruit juices at alcohol concentrations up to about 10 percent, have become increasingly popular among college students. In a news conference, Dr. Joshua M. Sharfstein, the agency’s principal deputy commissioner, said consumption was associated with increased risk of serious injury, drunken driving, sexual assault and other dangerous behavior.

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Lincoln Mitchell: Obama and Charges of Elitism-Again

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 15th, 2009 5:43 am by HL

Lincoln Mitchell: Obama and Charges of Elitism-Again
President Obama’s most enduring political weakness has been his relative difficulty connecting with working class white Americans. He won the Democratic nomination in 2008 by…

Abortion Rights Groups Scramble In Stupak Amendment’s Wake
WASHINGTON — Abortion rights groups, outflanked and outnumbered in the health debate, are scrambling to regain lost ground after the House passed a health bill…

Thomson Illinois Residents Welcome Gitmo Detainees: ‘It Would Help The Businesses Here’
News that the federal government seems interested in transferring detainees from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to the Thomson Correctional Center was greeted warmly in this small,…

An Interview With David Bromwich About Obama, Afghanistan
David Bromwich seems to me better yet at Obama-watching than at press criticism. He can write with penetration of Barack Obama as an American almost-literary…

Frank Rich: The Missing Link Between Fort Hood And The War In Afghanistan
For all the right’s jeremiads, its own brand of political correctness kept it from connecting two crucial dots: how our failing war against terrorists in…


Rogue Fact: Palin suggests “no other candidate” subjected to scrutiny “about their hair, makeup, or clothes”

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 15th, 2009 5:42 am by HL

Rogue Fact: Palin suggests “no other candidate” subjected to scrutiny “about their hair, makeup, or clothes”

Sarah Palin writes in her memoir that after it was reported that the Republican National Committee spent $150,000 “to clothe and accessorize” Palin and her family, “many wondered at the same time why no other candidates or their spouses were being asked a thing about their hair, makeup, or clothes.” However, John Edwards, Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, and Barack Obama were repeatedly subjected to critiques and questions about “their hair, makeup, or clothes” during the 2008 campaign.

Palin: “[M]any wondered at the same time why no other candidates or their spouses were being asked a thing about their hair, makeup, or clothes”

From Pages 314 – 315 of Going Rogue: An American Life:

The first wardrobe story hit on October 22: “RNC Shells Out $150K for Palin Fashion.” The [Politico] headline was highly misleading, as was the article itself, which said that according to campaign financial disclosures, the McCain campaign had spent $150,000 “to clothe and accessorize vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin and her family.”

[…]

I didn’t care so much about the petty potshots because I knew they weren’t true, and people who knew me laughed out loud when they read the “diva” accusations. But my family was made to look like a herd of hillbillies who had come to the big city and started living high on the hog, and that hurt me for them. My family is frugal. We clip coupons. We shop at Costco. We buy diapers in bulk and generic peanut butter. We don’t have full-time nannies or housekeepers or drivers. So the portrayal of my family as wasting other people’s money on clothes was a false one. And many wondered at the same time why no other candidates or their spouses were being asked a thing about their hair, makeup, or clothes.

Politico article Palin cited contradicts her “no other candidate” claim

Politico: “The business of primping and dressing on the campaign trail has become fraught with political risk in recent years.” The same Politico article Palin referenced noted that questions have been raised about other candidates’ “primping and dressing,” and Politico reported that it reviewed “similar records” for Obama but found “no similar spending.” From the article:

The business of primping and dressing on the campaign trail has become fraught with political risk in recent years as voters increasingly see an elite Washington out of touch with their values and lifestyles.

In 2000, Democrat Al Gore took heat for changing his clothing hues. And in 2006, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) was ribbed for two hair styling sessions that cost about $3,000.

Then, there was Democrat John Edwards’ $400 hair cuts in 2007 and Republican McCain’s $520 black leather Ferragamo shoes this year.

A review of similar records for the campaign of Democrat Barack Obama and the Democratic National Committee turned up no similar spending.

But all the spending by other candidates pales in comparison to the GOP outlay for the Alaska governor whose expensive, designer outfits have been the topic of fashion pages and magazines. [Politico, 10/21/08]

Edwards, Obama, Clinton and Biden were subjected to frequent scrutiny “about their hair, makeup, or clothes”

Edwards’ haircuts. During the Democratic primary, the media devoted significant attention to John Edwards’ “expensive” haircuts. For instance:

  • Media followed Politico in reporting on haircuts. After Politico senior political writer Ben Smith, in an April 16, 2007, blog entry, “broke” the story that Edwards had spent $800 on two haircuts the media — including The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, USA Today, the Associated Press, NBC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News — seized on it. In the months after the story first surfaced, media figures on NBC and MSNBC repeatedly brought up the haircuts.
  • MSNBC and Fox offered more coverage of haircuts than GOP senator’s call for “new strategy” in Iraq. On July 5, 2007, MSNBC and Fox News devoted significantly more time during their late-afternoon political and prime-time news programs to covering a July 5 Washington Post report on Edwards’ haircuts than they did to covering then-Sen. Pete Domenici’s (R-NM) July 5 press conference on the Iraq war, at which he called for “a new strategy that will move our troops out of combat operations.” Between 4 p.m. and 10 p.m. ET on July 5, MSNBC devoted approximately 15 minutes, 28 seconds to the Edwards story and only 1 minute, 20 seconds to Domenici. Further, Fox News devoted approximately 16 minutes, 25 seconds to the Edwards story during that same time period, and only 1 minute, 40 seconds to Domenici.
  • Haircut became a presidential debate topic. Edwards’ haircut was brought up by moderators in two 2007 Democratic presidential debates.
  • Washington Post “Front-runners” packaged obsessed with haircut. In its “Front-runners” package on December 11, 2007, The Washington Post published four pieces that each highlighted the cost or “expensive” nature of Edwards’ haircuts.
  • Hannity linked to war on terror. On May 24, 2007, Fox News’ Sean Hannity suggested that Edwards’ “primping” is evidence that he does not “understand the nature of the battle in the war that’s being waged against us.”

Obama. During the campaign, Obama was the subject of critiques and attacks about his clothing:

  • Purported lack of patriotic clothing. In one of the pieces comprising The Washington Post‘s December 14, 2007, “Front-runners” profile of Obama, Post fashion editor Robin Givhan wrote: “One of the most distinctive elements of Barack Obama’s public style comes down to what he so often is not wearing: patriotism on his sleeve.” Givhan continued: “Whether he is speaking at a campaign rally, attending a fish fry or debating his Democratic challengers, he comes across as the candidate least willing to drape himself in the usual symbols of nationalism and politics. No flag pin on the lapel. No hand on heart during the national anthem. And he generally shuns bold red ties.” Givhan offered no explanation as to how a “bold red tie” is a “usual symbol[] of nationalism and politics,” or how Obama’s alleged avoidance of “bold red ties” constitutes a statement on patriotism.
  • Obama dressed in Somali clothing. During the campaign, a photograph of Obama dressed in traditional Somali clothing was posted on the Drudge Report. On Fox News’ The O’Reilly Factor, Rush Limbaugh claimed Obama “look[ed] like Ayman Zawahiri” in the photo. Clear Channel radio host Dan Caplis likened the clothing to “the kind of garb you often see Osama bin Laden in” and to “Somali warlord garb.”
  • Debate question: “I want to know why you don’t” wear a flag pin. During the April 16, 2008, presidential debate on ABC, a questioner asked via videotape: “Senator Obama, I have a question, and I want to know if you believe in the American flag. I am not questioning your patriotism, but all our servicemen, policemen and EMS wear the flag. I want to know why you don’t.” Before Obama answered, moderator and ABC anchor Charlie Gibson explained, “Just to add to that, I noticed you put one on yesterday. But — you’ve talked about this before, but it comes up again and again when we talk to voters. And as you may know, it is all over the Internet.” Obama was frequently attacked and critiqued over the flag pin and purported “patriotism problems.” 

Clinton. Then-Sen. Hillary Clinton was the frequent target of critiques about her clothing:

  • Post discusses Clinton’s neckline. In a July 20, 2007, article headlined “Hillary Clinton’s Tentative Dip Into New Neckline Territory,” Givhan wrote that “[t]here was cleavage on display Wednesday afternoon on C-SPAN2. It belonged to Sen. Hillary Clinton.” Givhan further asserted that Clinton’s look was “unnerving” and claimed: “The last time Clinton wore anything that was remotely sexy in a public setting surely must have been more than a decade ago.” Several media outlets picked up the story, including MSNBC and CNN.
  • Fox News links Clinton’s “bright colors” to “likability problem.” On the May 9, 2007, edition of Fox News’ Special Report, chief political correspondent Carl Cameron claimed that Clinton adopted an uncharacteristic wardrobe and sunny expression in order to combat her “likability problem.” Cameron said: “Wearing bright colors, smiling constantly, as if to deal with what polls say is a likability problem, she has surged 10 points since the Democratic debate in three new polls: USA Today/Gallup, CNN, and Rasmussen.”
  • Debate question: “diamonds or pearls?” On CNN’s broadcast of the November 15, 2007, Democratic presidential primary debate in Las Vegas, one questioner said, “And my question is for Senator Clinton. This is a fun question for you. Do you prefer diamonds or pearls?” As The Atlantic’s Marc Ambinder first reported, the questioner wrote on her MySpace page that she had originally prepared two questions, but CNN insisted she “ask the frilly question instead of a pre-approved query about the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository.” On CNN, Time national political correspondent Karen Tumulty called it “the stupidest question of the night.”  

Biden. Biden’s hair was frequently a topic among journalists. For instance:

  • The Politico wrote on August 24, 2008, that Biden “has taken steps to pre-empt baldness. The most common hypothesis is that he received a hair transplant, where follicles from the bushier back of the head are grafted onto fading spots closer to the front of the dome.” Politico also took a “quick Politico survey of stylists and hair transplant surgeons” to discuss Biden’s hair.
  • The National Review’s Denis Boyles wrote on August 26, 2008, that the “selection of Joe Biden, the oldest functioning white liberal senator with a foreign policy background who is Catholic with hair-plugs in the Democratic party, must have come as quite a shock to many people.”
  • Conservative columnist Debbie Schlussel wrote on August 25, 2008, that “[t]here is no doubt he had hair transplants. The guy is wearing Barbie’s hair.”
  • During the October 3, 2008, edition of Fox News’ Hannity & Colmes, Ann Coulter said that “Biden is so out of his mind. He is Lyndon LaRouche with hair plugs at this point.”
  • An October 26, 2008, New York Post article about horror movies mentioned the “Real-life scare” of “Joe Biden’s hair plugs.”
  • In an October 29, 2008, discussion (retrieved from Nexis) on NBC’s Today about how “clothing has somehow become part of both campaigns,” Newsweek contributing editor Julia Reed said that “nobody in my generation can look at Joe Biden and forget — I mean, and not remember his hair plugs. I mean, you know, it’s not just about the women, let’s face it. I mean, John Kerry got Botox to like — to sort of fix his craggy forehead. I mean, the men are just as obsessed for good reason because people really do care about how these people look. … It’s hypocritical to say we don’t.”


Moderator: Klein, Kirchick ‘Went At Each Other From The Get-Go’

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 15th, 2009 5:41 am by HL

Moderator: Klein, Kirchick ‘Went At Each Other From The Get-Go’
Time’s Joe Klein and The New Republic’s Jamie Kirchick engaged in a bitter war of words at a panel discussion on Israel Tuesday — with Klein ultimately calling Kirchick “a dishonest prick.”

Gaubatz: When I Called For Backlash Against ‘Muslim Community,’ I Meant To Type ‘Muslim Brotherhood’
A conservative author’s call for a backlash against the “Muslim community” earlier this week was nothing more than an honest typing error, the editor of the Web site that interviewed Dave Gaubatz tells TPMmuckraker.


Yet more media “inaccuracy” on Ft. Hood

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 15th, 2009 5:38 am by HL

Yet more media “inaccuracy” on Ft. Hood
Excerpt: From the earliest reports, it was obvious that the corporate media dropped the ball on the coverage of the Ft. Hood shootings. Now there is yet more evidence that the media did nothing more than parrot the military’s version of what happened. According to The New York Times on Nov. 7th, police Sgt. Kimberly Munley heroically […]


Fort Hood: It’s Not Muslims It’s Religious Nuts ++ Tom Friedman, Joe Klein Urge Israel Aid Cut

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 15th, 2009 5:36 am by HL

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…


MuslimReligionReligion and SpiritualityIslamInterfaith

“Financial Transactions Tax” Comes before “Value-Added Tax”
The deficit hawk crew, famous for missing the $8tn housing bubble that wrecked the economy, is now on the warpath, pressing the case for a big, new, national sales tax (a.k.a. “value-added tax”). They claim that the United States badly…


United StatesTaxSales taxWall StreetReal estate bubble


Palin Calls Decision To Try 9/11 Defendants In Federal Court ?Atrocious,? Wants To ?Hang ?Em High?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 15th, 2009 5:35 am by HL

Palin Calls Decision To Try 9/11 Defendants In Federal Court ?Atrocious,? Wants To ?Hang ?Em High?
Yesterday, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the five individuals accused of conspiring to commit the 9/11 attacks — including alleged mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed — will be prosecuted in U.S. federal court. “I am confident in the ability of our courts to provide these defendants a fair trial, just as they have for […]

Yesterday, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the five individuals accused of conspiring to commit the 9/11 attacks — including alleged mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed — will be prosecuted in U.S. federal court. “I am confident in the ability of our courts to provide these defendants a fair trial, just as they have for over 200 years,” said Holder. “The alleged 9/11 conspirators will stand trial in our justice system before an impartial jury under long-established rules and procedures.”

But the U.S. justice system apparently isn’t good enough for former Alaska governor Sarah Palin (who believes that the White House has a “Department of Law“). Last night she went on Facebook and posted a message calling the Obama administration’s decision “atrocious”:

Horrible decision, absolutely horrible. It is devastating for so many of us to hear that the Obama Administration decided that the 9/11 terrorist mastermind, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, will be given a criminal trial in New York. This is an atrocious decision. […]

Criminal defense attorneys will now enter into delaying tactics and other methods in the hope of securing some kind of win for their “clients.” The trial will afford Mohammed the opportunity to grandstand and make use of his time in front of the world media to rally his disgusting terrorist cohorts. It will also be an insult to the victims of 9/11, as Mohammed will no doubt use the opportunity to spew his hateful rhetoric in the same neighborhood in which he ruthlessly cut down the lives of so many Americans. […]

If we are stuck with this terrible Obama Administration decision, I, like most Americans, hope that Mohammed and his co-conspirators are convicted. Hang ‘em high.

Palin further insulted the U.S. legal system by lamenting that a “hung jury” or “court room technicalities” may allow the defendants to walk away from this trial without receiving just punishment.” But the decision to make terrorists face the U.S. court system isn’t just an idea dreamed up by the Obama administration; there’s a strong precedent for it in this country. The U.S. has already successfully prosecuted 145 terrorism cases in federal court,including shoe bomber Richard Reid and Zacarias Moussaoui.

In fact, former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani praised the prosecution of the 1993 World Trade Center bombers:

-– “‘It should show that our legal system is the most mature legal system in the history of the world,’ he [Giuliani] said, ‘that it works well, that that is the place to seek vindication if you feel your rights have been violated.’” [The New York Times, 3/5/94]

-– “[M]any who were bruised by the traumatic event were certain that no verdict by a jury or punishment by a judge will exorcise the pain and terror that remain. … Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani declared that the verdict ‘demonstrates that New Yorkers won’t meet violence with violence, but with a far greater weapon — the law.’” [The New York Times, 3/5/94]

-– “I think it shows you put terrorism on one side, you put our legal system on the other, and our legal system comes out ahead,” said Giuliani. [CBS Evening News, 3/5/94]

Even in the weeks after Sept. 11, Giuliani “framed the attacks in the language of crime, describing the hijackers as ‘insane murderers’ and calling for restoration of the ‘rule of law.’” As CAP’s Ken Gude explains, Holder’s decision is a “victory for the rule of law and the American system of justice.”


Health-care reform and abortion coverage: Questions and answers

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 15th, 2009 5:34 am by HL

Health-care reform and abortion coverage: Questions and answers
After the House passed its health-care bill last weekend, debate exploded over an amendment by Reps. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) and Joe Pitts (R-Pa.) that restricts abortion coverage.

9/11 trial could become a parable of right and wrong
NEW YORK — If it happens, the trial of Khalid Sheik Mohammed will make for riveting drama amid the dry routines of procedure in federal court. Of all the many risks in the contest, the greatest may be the drama itself.

The talk shows
Guests to be interviewed Sunday on major television talk shows:


On Afghanistan, an Audience of One

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 15th, 2009 5:31 am by HL

On Afghanistan, an Audience of One
Richard Reeves, RealClearPolitics
LOS ANGELES — Most of what you read, see and hear about Afghanistan is not meant for you. The words, optimistic and pessimistic, right and wrong, all the leaks, all the numbers of troop estimates, costs and polls are aimed at an audience of one: the president.It is very hard to get to chat with any president. But any president has to know what is in the big three of American newspapers (or their Web sites): The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal. And those papers right now are filled with shouting and whispering to President Obama. The latest shout, a big one, is…

America on Trial as Much as Muhammed
Alan Dershowitz, Globe and Mail
+ Show all sectionsInvalid Email/Password combination.Passwords are case sensitive.Please check your CAPS lock key.Forgot your password?Don't have an account? Register now.Enter your email address above and click submit to have your account informatione-mailed to you.Don't have an account? Register now.Please check your email for a message from the Globe and Mail online with the subjectline “Globe and Mail Member Information Request”.To protect your privacy, we only send this information to the email address on filefor this accountWe've sent an email to…

A Recovery for Some
Bob Herbert, New York Times
President Obama’s strongest supporters during the presidential campaign were the young, the black and the poor — and they are among those who are being hammered unmercifully in this long and cruel economic downturn that the financial elites are telling us is over.Bob Herbert If the elites are correct, if the Great Recession really is over, then these core supporters of the president are being left far, far behind — as are blue-collar workers of every ethnic and political persuasion. Nobody wants to talk seriously about class in America, but the elites are smiling…

The One Obama Bailout That’s Working
Joshua Zumbrun, Forbes