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Archive for November 28th, 2009

‘Left, Right & Center’: America the Ungovernable?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 28th, 2009 5:42 am by HL

‘Left, Right & Center’: America the Ungovernable?
On this Black Friday edition of “Left, Right & Center,” regulars Robert Scheer, Tony Blankley, Matt Miller and Arianna Huffington get philosophical, trotting out the likes of Karl Marx and Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel to get a read on the timely and fundamental question of whether it’s truly possible to govern the people of the United States under the “of, by and for” setup. READ THE WHOLE ITEM

Left, Right & Center

On this Black Friday edition of “Left, Right & Center,” regulars Robert Scheer, Tony Blankley, Matt Miller and Arianna Huffington get philosophical, trotting out the likes of Karl Marx and Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel to get a read on the timely and fundamental question of whether it’s truly possible to govern the people of the United States under the “of, by and for” setup.

READ THE WHOLE ITEM

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Global Markets Hit by Dubai’s Debt Crisis
Dubai’s debt issues caused trouble in other parts of the world Friday. Stock markets from Europe to Asia to the U.S. registered the effects of the city-state’s announcement that it would need to put off paying back $60 billion in debt incurred from investments, according to The Wall Street Journal.  —KA The Wall Street Journal: The Dow Jones Industrial Average was off 233 points at its morning low and ended the shortened post-Thanksgiving session with a 154.48-point decline, off 1.5%, at 10309.92, hurt by declines in all 30 components. The Dow, which entered Friday’s session at a 13-month high, ended the week down 0.1%, snapping a three-week winning streak. Traders and money managers drew some comfort from the U.S. market’s recovery from its intraday lows Friday. Many point out that Dubai’s main creditors are European banks, not Wall Street firms. But that could still lead to gyrations next week and beyond if investors with exposure to Dubai’s troubles continue to unload commodities, U.S. shares, and other assets that have shown hefty gains this year to raise cash. “We still need to see if there’s going to be a domino effect here,” with Dubai’s credit woes spreading to its neighbors and trading partners, said Kevin Shacknofsky, of Alpine Woods Capital Investors. “The markets are telling us for now that this is a containable problem, but we’re not absolutely certain of that yet.” Read more READ THE WHOLE ITEM

Dubai financial towers

Dubai’s debt issues caused trouble in other parts of the world Friday. Stock markets from Europe to Asia to the U.S. registered the effects of the city-state’s announcement that it would need to put off paying back $60 billion in debt incurred from investments, according to The Wall Street Journal.? —KA

The Wall Street Journal:

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was off 233 points at its morning low and ended the shortened post-Thanksgiving session with a 154.48-point decline, off 1.5%, at 10309.92, hurt by declines in all 30 components. The Dow, which entered Friday’s session at a 13-month high, ended the week down 0.1%, snapping a three-week winning streak.

Traders and money managers drew some comfort from the U.S. market’s recovery from its intraday lows Friday. Many point out that Dubai’s main creditors are European banks, not Wall Street firms. But that could still lead to gyrations next week and beyond if investors with exposure to Dubai’s troubles continue to unload commodities, U.S. shares, and other assets that have shown hefty gains this year to raise cash.

“We still need to see if there’s going to be a domino effect here,” with Dubai’s credit woes spreading to its neighbors and trading partners, said Kevin Shacknofsky, of Alpine Woods Capital Investors. “The markets are telling us for now that this is a containable problem, but we’re not absolutely certain of that yet.”

Read more

READ THE WHOLE ITEM

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Johann Hari: Why Are These Artists Defending Pedophiles?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 28th, 2009 5:41 am by HL

Johann Hari: Why Are These Artists Defending Pedophiles?
Over the past few years, there has been a drip-drip of artists, from Alan Bennett to Gore Vidal, defending old men who abuse their power over young boys and girls for sexual pleasure.

Huff Radio: Left, Right & Center: Is America Ungovernable? Plus: Men, Women and History
Are moneyed and special interests so entrenched that we cannot govern of, for and by the people? Is history made by great men and women? Or is it the reverse: Does the moment make the man/woman?

Allison Kilkenny: Jail Is For Good Samaritans, Party Crashers, And Poor People
People on my TV won’t shut up about these two idiot party crashers. I know most of you have been trapped in the same room…

DOJ Says Government Can Honor Existing ACORN Contracts
The department’s conclusion, laid out in a recently disclosed five-page memorandum from David Barron, the acting assistant attorney general for the Office of Legal Counsel,…


Dem Rep Controls DOJ Budget While Under DOJ Investigation

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 28th, 2009 5:40 am by HL

Dem Rep Controls DOJ Budget While Under DOJ Investigation
Rep. Alan Mollohan (D-WV) has his hands on the reins of the Justice Department budget at the same time the Feds are investigating his personal finances and allegations he steered taxpayer dollars to non-profits Mollohan himself created.


White House Releases More Names From Visitor Logs — Help Us Search
The White House just posted nearly 2,000 records of visitors who came through the gates at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue this year, as part of its new transparency policy. The release includes the names of people who visited President Obama and other top officials.

Backlash Grows Against NC Health Insurer’s Anti-Reform Campaign
A North Carolina health insurer is now facing a major backlash in the wake of its campaign to enlist customers to lobby a U.S. senator against health-care reform.



FOXhole Tales — Chessmaster Obama?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 28th, 2009 5:38 am by HL

FOXhole Tales — Chessmaster Obama?


Shocking: High School Grads 234% More Likely To Be Jobless Than College Grads – and Right-Wingers are Profiting From Their Pain

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 28th, 2009 5:37 am by HL

Shocking: High School Grads 234% More Likely To Be Jobless Than College Grads – and Right-Wingers are Profiting From Their Pain
The economic meltdown has hit non-college grads much harder than the educated. And conservatives are very good at exploiting their anger and unease.

How One Journalist Learned About Modern Union-Busting the Hard Way
Sara Steffens thought that labor negotiations were civilized affairs … until her newsroom became a battlefield.

Rabid Right-Wing Media Mogul Building a News Empire
If you like what Rupert Murdoch has done for the national discourse, you’ll love what Philip Anschutz is trying to do in your hometown.

"You Like That Baby, You Like That?": Has Porn Made Men Bad at Sex?
Porn is entertainment, not a how-to manual. If men want to know what really turns women on, hetero porn is the last place they should look.


Mortgage Modifications: Another Way to Bail Out Wall Street

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 28th, 2009 5:36 am by HL

Mortgage Modifications: Another Way to Bail Out Wall Street
It seems that the folks in power have a hard time doing anything that doesn’t end up making the Wall Street boys even richer. We are constantly told that they simply could not think of any way to rescue the…


Wall StreetGoldman SachsBusinessFinancial ServicesEconomic

Why are Americans fascinated by Sarah Palin?
The meteoric ascent of Sarah Palin as a celebrity puzzles many Americans. Why, her detractors ask, did a presidential candidate choose an inexperienced and inarticulate former beauty queen who had governed the state of Alaska for two years as his…


United StatesSarah PalinAlaskaGovernmentExecutive Branch

Goucher College Bans Speakers It Deems Anti-Israel –Also, How Joe Lieberman Became A Rightwing Crank
Anyone who still doubts the Walt-Mearsheimer thesis (that the lobby tries to squelch debate on Israel-Palestine) should check this out. It is a piece by Rabbi Brian Walt who was scheduled to participate on a panel called “Palestinian Human Rights:…


PalestineMiddle EastIsraelWarfare and ConflictIsrael-Palestine


New Report: Triggered Public Option Is Better Than The Existing Public Option Provisions

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 28th, 2009 5:35 am by HL

New Report: Triggered Public Option Is Better Than The Existing Public Option Provisions
A new report from the Urban Institute argues that a “strong” public option — one that is triggered in the event that overall growth in national health spending exceeds a pre-determined target — may do more to control health care spending than the public option proposals offered in existing legislation: In the absence of enough […]

A new report from the Urban Institute argues that a “strong” public option — one that is triggered in the event that overall growth in national health spending exceeds a pre-determined target — may do more to control health care spending than the public option proposals offered in existing legislation:

In the absence of enough political support to pass a strong public option at this time, a “trigger” for a strong public option should be considered for inclusion in health reform legislation whether or not a weak public option is included as a political compromise. Even the threat of such a plan being triggered offers the potential to affect market dynamics between insurers and providers.

The report says that the Senate and House’s public option provisions (which require the public plan to independently negotiate rates with providers) hold little hope of lowering costs in areas of the country with high provider concentration. In areas where hospitals have “too strong a market presence to be excluded from insurer networks,” hospitals could dictate prices, stripping the public plan of its ability to negotiate cheaper rates, the report warns. According to a 2006 study, 86% “of large metropolitan areas were considered to have highly concentrated hospital markets.”

Policymakers can overcome the political challenges of enacting a strong public option — one which compels Medicare providers to participate and establishes Medicare-like reimbursement rates — by placing the plan behind a trigger mechanism which “would allow private insurers the opportunity to show that they can provide affordable coverage under the new health reform rules.”

The report recognizes that “many proponents of a strong public option oppose a compromise relying on triggers because they believe that triggers would never be pulled” and suggests that structuring the trigger around overall growth in national health spending — rather than affordability — would make it more likely that a public plan would be established in the absence of meaningful cost containment.

“Opponents of a public option could argue to override the trigger by claiming that factors other than health plans’ inability to manage spending caused the lack of affordability,” the report warns. A “triggering event tied to affordability” could subject the public option “to the same controversy as now, with opponents arguing that other policies should be adopted instead of a public option and increasing the likelihood of congressional pre-emption of the trigger.”

To avoid these pitfalls, policymakers should consider basing the trigger on “overall growth in national health spending.” “An advantage of using growth in national health expenditures (NHE) is that the data are regularly and consistently reported and are directly related to the purpose of a public option — to create competition with private insurers to reduce health spending growth,” the report notes.

Cross-posted on The Wonk Room.


Australian leader will visit Obama

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 28th, 2009 5:34 am by HL

Australian leader will visit Obama
Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd will visit the White House on Monday as President Obama begins a week during which he will announce his war strategy in Afghanistan and appeal to allies such as Australia for more help.

Secret Service takes blame for uninvited couple’s access to White House
Getting to the president is not supposed to be this easy.

U.N. censure may start more confrontational phase with Iran
The resounding censure of Iran on Friday by the board of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N. nuclear watchdog, signals the start of a potentially more confrontational phase in the Obama administration’s dealings with the Islamic republic, including the prospect of strengthened U.S.-led…



The Copenhagen Climate Con

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 28th, 2009 5:31 am by HL

The Copenhagen Climate Con

Will Climate Scandal Be a Tipping Point?
Kim Strassel, Wall St. Journal

Voter Anger Is Building Over Spending
Karl Rove, Wall Street Journal
After engineering an unprecedented spending surge for nearly a year, President Barack Obama now wants to signal that he takes deficits seriously. So this week the White House announced that it is considering creating a commission to figure how to fix the budget mess.Eureka!Well, almost. What seems to concern the president is not the problem runaway spending poses for taxpayers and the economy. Rather, what bothers him is the political problem it poses for Democrats.Last year, Mr. Obama made fiscal restraint a constant theme of his presidential campaign. “Washington will have to tighten…

Reflections Over the Turkey
Suzanne Fields, RealClearPolitics
This is not the happiest Thanksgiving holiday. So many out of work, so many others afraid they're next, and the recession is not receding as swiftly as we were told it would.Yet all these worries pale against the collective remembrance of the fearful hardships endured by the first immigrants to these shores. They spread the first feast of gratitude in the New World. They laid the foundation for the generations who followed to enjoy life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness (and turkey). Receive news alertsWe give thanks for their gifts to us — the right to worship freely and speak our…