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Archive for November 16th, 2009

Obama Has Tough Love For China

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 16th, 2009 5:47 am by HL

Obama Has Tough Love For China
President Obama’s remarks at a Shanghai town hall meeting Monday were unlikely to please either the power brokers in Beijing or hawks on the home front. Obama said China and the U.S. were not adversaries, but he also spoke of “universal rights,” which he said should extend to “all people, including ethnic and religious minorities, whether they are in the United States, China or any nation.” That reference to “ethnic and religious minorities” comes at a sensitive time for China, which recently executed eight Uighur prisoners on charges related to ethnic riots in Xinjiang. Although he covered controversial territory, Obama took pains not to offend, saying “We do not seek to impose any system of government on any other nation … .” Wait a second, haven’t we been doing that for years?  —PZS BBC: “We do not seek to impose any system of government on any other nation, but we also don’t believe that the principles we stand for are unique to our nation,” he said. “These freedoms of expression and worship, of access to information and political participation – we believe are universal rights.” Mr Obama added: “They should be available to all people, including ethnic and religious minorities, whether they are in the United States, China or any nation.” Read more READ THE WHOLE ITEM

President Obama’s remarks at a Shanghai town hall meeting Monday were unlikely to please either the power brokers in Beijing or hawks on the home front. Obama said China and the U.S. were not adversaries, but he also spoke of “universal rights,” which he said should extend to “all people, including ethnic and religious minorities, whether they are in the United States, China or any nation.”

That reference to “ethnic and religious minorities” comes at a sensitive time for China, which recently executed eight Uighur prisoners on charges related to ethnic riots in Xinjiang.

Although he covered controversial territory, Obama took pains not to offend, saying “We do not seek to impose any system of government on any other nation … .” Wait a second, haven’t we been doing that for years?? —PZS


BBC:

“We do not seek to impose any system of government on any other nation, but we also don’t believe that the principles we stand for are unique to our nation,” he said.

“These freedoms of expression and worship, of access to information and political participation – we believe are universal rights.”

Mr Obama added: “They should be available to all people, including ethnic and religious minorities, whether they are in the United States, China or any nation.”

Read more

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The Onion: Realistic War Game to Feature Waiting
The new Call of Duty game took in a cool $310 million on the day it launched, partly thanks to “heart-racing action,” as the developer put it. According to the Onion, the next version is so realistic, it’s boring. READ THE WHOLE ITEM

The new Call of Duty game took in a cool $310 million on the day it launched, partly thanks to “heart-racing action,” as the developer put it. According to the Onion, the next version is so realistic, it’s boring.

READ THE WHOLE ITEM

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Obama Town Hall In China (VIDEO): President Says Uncensored Internet Is Healthy

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 16th, 2009 5:45 am by HL

Obama Town Hall In China (VIDEO): President Says Uncensored Internet Is Healthy
SHANGHAI (AP)- President Barack Obama gave China a pointed, unexpected nudge to stop censoring the Internet access of its own people, offering an animated defense…

Hal Donahue: Defense Health Board Subcommittee: DoD Misrepresented to Congress Their Report on Walter Reed Construction
“The Committee is dismayed by the Department’s assertion that the Committee concluded that the WRNMMC design plans were “…sufficiently close to the newly defined standard…

Jay Michaelson: Reflections of a Jewish Gay Rights Advocate on Visiting the Martin Luther King, Jr, Museum: An Open Letter to Ruben Diaz, Sr., and other Latino and African-American Opponents of Gay Rights
On a trip to Atlanta this week, amid the same-sex marriage debate in my home state of New York , I had an opportunity to…

Julie Menin: Lower Manhattan is the Proper Place to Try Khalid Sheikh Mohmammed
it should indeed be a jury of New Yorkers, the community who was most adversely impacted by the horrific events of September 11th, who decide Mr. Mohammed’s fate.

Lapham’s Quarterly: 1784: When Universal Health Care Was as Simple as Donating Your Body to Science
The poor who came to its halls could be assured that they were receiving the finest medical treatment Europe had to offer. The price for this service was simple: if things didn’t turn out well and you didn’t make it, the hospital kept your body.


Rogue Facts: Media Matters ‘ ongoing list of falsehoods in Palin’s memoir

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 16th, 2009 5:44 am by HL

Rogue Facts: Media Matters ‘ ongoing list of falsehoods in Palin’s memoir

Media Matters for America has documented numerous falsehoods in Sarah Palin’s memoir, Going Rogue: An American Life. Below is a list of what we’ve found so far.

1. Palin falsely suggests poor will be “hit hardest” by cap and trade

Palin: Obama “admitted” cap and trade will cause “electricity bills to ‘skyrocket’ ” and “those hit hardest will be those who are already struggling to make ends meet.” Palin falsely suggests that “those hit hardest [by cap and trade] will be those who are already struggling to make ends meet” and that Obama “has already admitted that the policy he seeks will cause our electricity bills to ‘skyrocket.’ ” She added: “So much for the campaign promise not to raise taxes on anyone making less than $250,000 a year. This is a tax on everyone.” [Going Rogue, Pages 390-391]

CBO says poorest quintile will benefit from Waxman-Markey. The Congressional Budget Office found that in 2020, the version of the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill that passed the House in June with the support of the Obama administration would result in a $125 average annual benefit to the quintile of households with the lowest income and a $160 average annual cost to all American households.

Obama was talking about a different plan causing energy costs to “skyrocket.” As the Associated Press noted in fact-checking Palin’s book, Obama was not talking about the cap-and-trade legislation that has since passed in the House when he referred to energy costs “necessarily skyrocket[ting].” When Obama made that statement to the San Francisco Chronicle editorial board in January 2008, he was describing a cap-and-trade proposal that would auction off 100 percent of available carbon allowances, and he made no mention at the time of a plan to compensate consumers for potential cost increases. But as PolitiFact.com noted, the Waxman-Markey bill initially would distribute most of the carbon allocations for free and contains substantial provisions to offset costs to consumers, and thus “should reduce costs to consumers.”

2. Palin still falsely claiming stimulus money for energy efficiency she vetoed required tougher building codes

Palin: “One-size-fits-all codes” required to get funds “simply wouldn’t work.” Palin claims that she vetoed a $25 million “earmark for energy conservation” available through the stimulus because Alaska would have needed to adopt “universal energy building codes” to be eligible for the funds. She comments: “Universal building codes — in Alaska! A practical, libertarian haven full of independent Americans who did not desire ‘help’ from government busybodies. A state full of hardy pioneers who did not like taking orders from the feds telling us to change our laws. A state so geographically diverse that one-size-fits-all codes simply wouldn’t work.” [Going Rogue, Pages 361-362]

PolitiFact: Palin’s claim that funds were “tied to universal energy building codes” is “false.” After Palin made similar comments on Fox News’ Hannity, PolitiFact said she was “wrong” because “municipalities are not forced to accept the specific standards and, given that local governments set their own codes, the feds would be satisfied if Alaska merely promoted such building codes [emphasis in original].” PolitiFact also reported that in a letter to Palin’s chief of staff, a Department of Energy official “wrote that the provision ‘provides flexibility with regard to building codes’ and ‘expressly includes standards other than those cited so long as the standards achieve equivalent energy savings.’ “

3. Palin continues distortion of NY Times article to defend “palling around with terrorists” claim

Palin claimed her “palling around” comment followed report on “friendship” between Obama and Ayers. Palin claims: “In relation to the breaking news about the friendship between the unrepentant domestic terrorist [Bill Ayers] and the Democrat candidate for president of the United States, headquarters issued an approved sound bite about Obama ‘palling around with terrorists,’ and I was happy to be the one to deliver it. As more information was made public concerning Obama’s associations and the fact that he had kicked off his political career in Ayers’s living room, the sound bite was written into a rally speech.” [Going Rogue, Pages 306-307]

NY Times article Palin cited reported that Obama and Ayers “do not appear to have been close.” In the October 2008 speech to which Palin is presumably referring, she cited that day’s New York Times article in claiming that Obama is “palling around with terrorists.” But, in fact, the Times reported that “the two men do not appear to have been close.” From the October 3, 2008, New York Times: “A review of records of the schools project and interviews with a dozen people who know both men, suggest that Mr. Obama, 47, has played down his contacts with Mr. Ayers, 63. But the two men do not appear to have been close. Nor has Mr. Obama ever expressed sympathy for the radical views and actions of Mr. Ayers, whom he has called ‘somebody who engaged in detestable acts 40 years ago, when I was 8.’ “

CNN Fact Check: Palin statement “false.” In an October 5, 2008, Fact Check, CNN’s Political Ticker blog found Palin’s statement “false,” writing: “There is no indication that Ayers and Obama are now ‘palling around,’ or that they have had an ongoing relationship in the past three years. Also, there is nothing to suggest that Ayers is now involved in terrorist activity or that other Obama associates are.”

4. Palin stands by falsehood that Obama opposed “protect[ing] babies born alive after botched abortions”

Palin: Obama “opposed laws that would protect babies born alive after botched abortions.” Palin writes that during her September 2008 interviews with CBS’ Katie Couric, she asserted that the “real extremism” on abortion comes from people “like Barack Obama, who opposed laws that would protect babies born alive after botched abortions” — joining other conservatives in misleadingly referencing Obama’s opposition to legislation that would have amended the Illinois Abortion Law of 1975. [Going Rogue, Page 278]

As Obama and other opponents noted, criminal code already prevented killing of children. Opponents of the bill noted that the legislation was unnecessary, as the Illinois criminal code unequivocally prohibits killing children, and said that the bill posed a threat to abortion rights. When tasked by the Illinois attorney general’s office with investigating allegations that fetuses born alive at an Illinois hospital were abandoned without treatment — the alleged incident that inspired the “Born Alive Act” — the Illinois Department of Public Health reportedly said that it was unable to substantiate the allegations but said that if the allegations had proved true, the conduct alleged would have been a violation of existing Illinois law. The Obama presidential campaign subsequently cited specific provisions of the Illinois Compiled Statutes in stating that the “born alive principle was already the law in Illinois.” Time magazine and The Washington Post’s “fact checker” have previously debunked similar claims previously advanced by Palin.

5. Palin falsely suggests she did not support aerial hunting

Palin: Radio host “suggested we get together and hunt from helicopters, which Alaska hunters don’t do.” Palin falsely suggests that Alaskans do not engage in the aerial hunting of wolves, writing of her phone call with a radio host impersonating French President Nicolas Sarkozy: “Then Sarkozy started talking about hunting and suggested we get together and hunt from helicopters, which Alaska hunters don’t do (despite circulated Photoshopped images of me drawing a bead on a wolf from the air).” [Going Rogue, Page 327]

Aerial hunting of wolves takes place in Alaska under program supported by Palin. Under Alaska law, “the Board of Game may authorize a predator control program as part of a game management plan that involves airborne or same day airborne shooting.” In 2007, Palin introduced a bill to “simplify and clarify Alaska’s intensive management law for big game and the state’s ‘same day airborne hunting’ law,” which she stated would “give the Board of Game and state wildlife managers the tools they need to actively manage important game herds and help thousands of Alaskan families put food on their tables.”

6. Palin falsely suggested media did not criticize Dems over fashion

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.” Palin noted reports that the Republican National Committee spent $150,000 “to clothe and accessorize” Palin and her family and asserted that “many wondered at the same time why no other candidates or their spouses were being asked a thing about their hair, makeup, or clothes.” [Going Rogue, Pages 314-315]

Edwards, Obama, Clinton, and Biden were subjected to frequent scrutiny “about their hair, makeup, or clothes.” During the Democratic primary, the media devoted significant attention to John Edwards’ “expensive” haircuts — which were brought up by moderators in two Democratic presidential debates in 2007 — to Obama’s clothing, including during the April 16, 2008, presidential debate and in a Washington Post article stating: “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”; to then-Sen. Hillary Clinton’s clothing, including linking Clinton’s “bright colors” to “likability problem” and calling attention to her neckline; and to questions over whether Biden had “taken steps to pre-empt baldness.”

7. Palin attacks “Democrat lawmaker” who’s actually a Republican

Palin: “Democrat lawmaker … complained that I wasn’t as ‘sparky.’ “ Palin mocks the “political buckshot” her “critics fired” at her, writing: “[L]ocally, the opposition would criticize me for focusing on national issues — as if I suddenly needed to become parochial and think of Alaska’s issues as irrelevant to the nation. In Juneau, one Democrat lawmaker complained that I wasn’t as ‘sparky’ as before and that Piper and I no longer brought around bagels like we used to.” [Going Rogue, Page 344]

“Democrat lawmaker” actually a Republican. Palin appeared to be referring to a January 31 AP article that quoted Alaska state Sen. Bert Stedman — a Republican — describing Palin as “[n]ot so sparky.” The article also reported that a separate Alaska lawmaker, a Democrat, mentioned that Palin, before the 2008 election, “walked around the building with (her daughter) Piper handing out bagels. I think those days are gone.”


Affidavit In Birther Suit Contains Extraordinary Claims Against Orly Taitz

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 16th, 2009 5:43 am by HL

Affidavit In Birther Suit Contains Extraordinary Claims Against Orly Taitz
An affidavit from conspiracy theorist Lucas Smith filed in a now-dismissed Birther lawsuit details charges that attorney Orly Taitz, among many other things, asked Smith to perjure himself. The federal judge in the case has said he was “deeply concerned” about the charges, along with similar claims from at least one other prospective witness.


Jefferson Sentenced To 13 Years For Corruption
Former Louisiana congressman William Jefferson was sentenced this afternoon to 13 years in federal prison for his conviction on public corruption charges.

Rice: New Consulting Firm Will Help U.S. Companies In “Key Emerging Markets”
Condoleezza Rice tells TPMmuckraker that her new strategic advisory firm, whose existence we revealed yesterday, will help U.S. companies doing business in key emerging markets abroad.


The GOP: Blinded By the Wrong

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 16th, 2009 5:39 am by HL

The GOP: Blinded By the Wrong


A Fresh Look at the Political Twitterati

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 16th, 2009 5:38 am by HL

A Fresh Look at the Political Twitterati
In just a few short months, Twitter has become a necessary tool for anyone interested in politics and government. But unless you find the right people to follow, it can be hard to make the most of it.

For all you Twitter geeks, Twiangulate, a new Twitter analysis tool, debuts this morning. It’s definitely worth checking out.

Here are some of the more interesting discoveries I’ve made:

Did I mention this is a tool for geeks?

Twiangulate is a skunkworks project at BlogAds, which sells ads on some of the biggest political blogs on the web. Blogads founder Henry Copeland tells us the site grew out of his “desire to figure out who people follow on Twitter without browsing long, long jumbled lists of followers. I looked around for a tool, but couldn’t find one. So we put some spare hours over the last six months into programming the service. When we saw that a few other people liked the idea, we decided to spruce up the design and add some features.”

Twiangulate has been under private beta for a month — @pwire was one of the first users — and they just opened their doors to everyone today.


Immigration Hardliners Gearing Up to Kill Pragmatic Reform Once Again

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 16th, 2009 5:37 am by HL

Immigration Hardliners Gearing Up to Kill Pragmatic Reform Once Again
Organized anti-immigrant groups range from extremist neo-Nazi organizations to respected Washington, D.C.-based think tanks.

Catholic Bishops Put Sex Obsession Ahead of Mission to the Sick and the Poor
First they threatened to take down health-care reform over abortion coverage. Now they’re threatening services to the sick and poor of Washington, D.C., over same-sex marriage.

Who Is Calling Whom a Douche Bag?
The NY Times has just discovered that "douche" is used as an insult in mainstream media. Why do they seem to see the spread of a term derogatory to women as progress?

Obama’s Strongest Supporters Suffering the Most in Recession, While Elites Thrive
The young, the black and the poor are among those who are being hammered unmercifully in this long and cruel economic downturn that the financial elites are telling us is over.


11/11–A Friend From Junior High Recalls The Horror of Vietnam

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 16th, 2009 5:36 am by HL

11/11–A Friend From Junior High Recalls The Horror of Vietnam
I knew Marc Adin, author of this piece, during our childhood days in Kingston, New York. I remember him as pretty good at Nok Hockey which was the main fun thing at our local Jewish center. Anyway, Marc’s life spun…



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Neocon-Realist Collaboration on Ending Cuba Embargo?
Poland’s Foreign Minister Radoslaw “Radek” Sikorski, husband of Washington Post editorial writer (and Polish cuisine expert) Anne Applebaum, is a compelling, brilliant, eclectic political intellectual who I admire a great deal. In part, I admire Sikorski because while tenacious and…


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Report: In her memoir, Palin says she doesn?t believe in evolution.

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 16th, 2009 5:35 am by HL

Report: In her memoir, Palin says she doesn?t believe in evolution.
In the past, former Alaska governor Sarah Palin has been cagey about her views on creationism and evolution, saying that she believes “we have a creator” but she didn’t want “to pretend I know how all this came to be.” But in her new memoir, Going Rogue, Palin apparently writes that she doesn’t believe in […]

In the past, former Alaska governor Sarah Palin has been cagey about her views on creationism and evolution, saying that she believes “we have a creator” but she didn’t want “to pretend I know how all this came to be.” But in her new memoir, Going Rogue, Palin apparently writes that she doesn’t believe in evolution. New York Times reviewer Michiko Kakutani writes:

Elsewhere in this volume, she talks about creationism, saying she “didn’t believe in the theory that human beings — thinking, loving beings — originated from fish that sprouted legs and crawled out of the sea” or from “monkeys who eventually swung down from the trees.” In everything that happens to her, from meeting Todd to her selection by Mr. McCain for the Republican ticket, she sees the hand of God: “My life is in His hands. I encourage readers to do what I did many years ago, invite Him in to take over.”

While running for governor in 2006, Palin said that she was “a proponent of teaching both” evolution and creationism in Alaska’s schools. ” In September 2008, she told Fox News’ Sean Hannity that because she grew up “in a school teacher’s house with a science teacher as a dad,” she has “great respect for science being taught in our science classes and evolution to be taught in our science classes.”


Featured Advertiser

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 16th, 2009 5:34 am by HL

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So much for the power of incumbency
Amid the spin spewing from the parties over what this month’s elections in New Jersey, Virginia and New York meant, there is one indisputable lesson learned: Voters don’t like incumbents these days.

Digest
Iraq’s Sunni Arab vice president threatened Sunday to veto the country’s election law unless changes are made giving Iraqis living abroad more guaranteed seats in parliament, throwing the January vote into question.