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Archive for December 11th, 2009

Political Moral Hazard

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 11th, 2009 5:46 am by HL

Political Moral Hazard
Without consequences—or worse, with rewards—for wrongdoing, there is an incentive to do wrong. One need look no further than Wall Street and Washington, D.C. READ THE WHOLE ITEM By David Sirota

Without consequences—or worse, with rewards—for wrongdoing, there is an incentive to do wrong. One need look no further than Wall Street and Washington, D.C.

READ THE WHOLE ITEM

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Mike Elk: My Grandmother Takes a Stand for Gay Marriage in Church Despite Loving Glenn Beck

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 11th, 2009 5:45 am by HL

Mike Elk: My Grandmother Takes a Stand for Gay Marriage in Church Despite Loving Glenn Beck
I was shocked when I heard that my conservative Grandma had stormed out of church after her pastor denounced “being gay as the worst sin.”…

Arianna Huffington: Health Care Reform: Sifting Through the Suboptimal Solutions
The fight over health care reform has proven just how broken our system is — from the crippling influence of money on our politics to the misuse of the filibuster, which has taken away the power of the duly elected majority and given it to a handful of bought-and-paid-for senators. This disturbing and destructive state of affairs has created a country that is, in the words of Tom Friedman, “only able to produce ‘suboptimal’ responses to its biggest problems.” And that’s where we find ourselves on health care as we head towards the legislative end game. The big optimal solutions have all been gutted — and we are left to pick through the patchwork of suboptimal ones. Here are the things that absolutely have to be included in any health care bill for it to deliver reform in more than name only.

Jonathan Merritt: Manhattan Declaration Unlikely to Inspire Young Christians
This piece was recently posted on the Newsweek / Washington Post “On Faith” blog regarding the Manhattan Declaration and the possibility of it inspiring young…


Quick Fact: On Beck , Gray falsely claims Gore “admitted the entire premise for An Inconvenient Truth wasn’t really true”

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 11th, 2009 5:44 am by HL

Quick Fact: On Beck , Gray falsely claims Gore “admitted the entire premise for An Inconvenient Truth wasn’t really true”

On Glenn Beck’s radio show, Pat Gray falsely claimed that Al Gore “admitted the entire premise for An Inconvenient Truth wasn’t really true” because Gore said during 2007 congressional testimony that it “[s]ometimes … has been true in the past” that increases in global temperatures have preceded increases in the level of CO2 in the atmosphere. Gray’s claim is undermined by Gore’s very next remarks — part of which were aired, and which affirm the consensus on global warming — that “[t]he opposite has also been true in the past. But what’s happening now is that we because of human action are overwhelming all of those cycles

From the December 10 edition of Premiere Radio Networks’ The Glenn Beck Program:

GRAY: Al Gore — I just found this audio yesterday. Actually, testimony from 2007. I hadn’t seen this before. Apparently, he’s admitted CO2 doesn’t necessarily drive temperature; it can be the other way around. Temperature drives the CO2 up. And here’s where — this is Congressman Joe Barton of Texas pushing him on it.

[begin audio clip]

BARTON: Temperature goes up before the CO2 goes up.

GORE: Sometimes that has been true in the past. The opposite has also been true.

[end audio clip]

GRAY: OK. So, he just admitted the entire premise for An Inconvenient Truth wasn’t really true.

Fact: Gore’s testimony affirmed the central premise of global warming consensus

Gore: “[W]hat’s happening now is that we because of human action are overwhelming all of those cycles.” On March 21, 2007, during a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing, Barton stated, “I have an article from the Science magazine … that explains historically a rise in CO2 concentrations did not precede a rise in temperatures but actually lagged temperature by 200 to 1,000 years — yes, lagged. CO2 levels went up after the temperature rose. It appears that temperature appears to drive CO2, not vice versa.” During his response, Gore stated, “[T]he fact that more CO2 traps more heat in the lower part of the Earth’s atmosphere is really beyond dispute. I mean, it’s not — that’s not me saying that; that’s what the scientists have known for 180 years. And for 100 years they’ve done the calculations on pretty much exactly what the magnitude of the heating effect is.” After Barton then claimed that “the temperature goes up before the CO2 goes up,” Gore responded:

GORE: Sometimes that has been true in the past. The opposite has also been true in the past. But what’s happening now is that we because of human action are overwhelming all of those cycles. [Joint House committee hearing, 3/21/07 (from the Nexis database)]


What Were Five American Men Doing At Militant-Linked House In Pakistan?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 11th, 2009 5:43 am by HL

What Were Five American Men Doing At Militant-Linked House In Pakistan?
Five young American men have been arrested in Pakistan in a house with links to a militant group, but details of what they were doing are still hard to come by. The case is already being cited as the latest example in an emerging trend of radicalization of American Muslims who travel overseas and link up with foreign terrorist groups.

Supremes Could Weaken Key Anti-Corruption Law That Helped Convict Abramoff, Jefferson, Others
An anti-corruption law that helped convict Jack Abramoff, William Jefferson, and many others could be at risk of being struck down or narrowed after it was met with extreme skepticism by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Lawmakers Vote Down Sanford Impeachment
A panel of state lawmakers voted today not to move forward with impeachment charges against South Carolina governor Mark Sanford.


Palin’s Rejected Paperback Cover?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 11th, 2009 5:39 am by HL

Palin’s Rejected Paperback Cover?


Rick Warren declares he’s not "conspiring" to "rid the world of homosexuals"

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 11th, 2009 5:38 am by HL

Rick Warren declares he’s not "conspiring" to "rid the world of homosexuals"
Warren’s bizarre protest, in otherwise welcome statement criticizing Uganda’s notorious "kill the gays" bill, raises further questions.

Warren's bizarre protest, in otherwise welcome statement criticizing Uganda's notorious "kill the gays" bill, raises further questions.

Liberal Image vs. Liberal Achievements
Though Obama’s program is quite liberal, he doesn’t seem to care much how it’s achieved.

Though Obama's program is quite liberal, he doesn't seem to care much how it's achieved.

11 Ways to Make Your Holiday Economically and Environmentally Friendly
The holidays can mean big expenses and lots of waste (not to mention the emotional costs). Here’s how to avoid all that mess.

The holidays can mean big expenses and lots of waste (not to mention the emotional costs). Here's how to avoid all that mess.

Supreme Court’s Ruling Would Allow Bin Laden to Donate to Sarah Palin’s Presidential Campaign
I’m biting my nails waiting for the Supreme Court’s ruling in ‘Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission’ — here’s why you should be too.

I'm biting my nails waiting for the Supreme Court's ruling in 'Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission' — here's why you should be too.


Iran Sanctions — Let’s Hope Life Doesn’t Imitate Simulation

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 11th, 2009 5:37 am by HL

Iran Sanctions — Let’s Hope Life Doesn’t Imitate Simulation
Via Matt Duss and M.J. Rosenberg, it seems momentum may be building for Congressional legislation to pave the way for strengthened unilateral sanctions against Iran, though reports of a Senate vote Tuesday evening may end up being a false alarm….


IranSanctions against IranUnited StatesMiddle EastUnited States Senate

When Regulators Can’t Do Math: Gas Pipeline Edition
The Federal Regulatory Energy Commission (the FERC) is charged – amongst other things – with regulating the rate of return on interstate natural gas pipelines. Rates on these pipelines are by-and-large regulated so as to achieve a targeted return on…



BusinessEnergyOil and GasFERCOperating Companies

The Green Bank And Green Jobs
I’m the co-chair of the Coalition for the Green Bank. Here’s a white paper on the project we produced for the president’s Jobs Summit. I wanted to share it with the TPM audience. Let us know what you think….



White paperBusinessFinancial ServicesBanking ServicesBanks and Institutions


ThinkFast: December 10, 2009

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 11th, 2009 5:36 am by HL

ThinkFast: December 10, 2009
In his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech this morning, President Obama called his own accomplishments “slight” in comparison to past winners and spoke at length about the irony of winning the award as a wartime president. He evoked the concept of “just war” to argue for the use of force that is “necessary” and “morally […]

President Obama in Oslo

In his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech this morning, President Obama called his own accomplishments “slight” in comparison to past winners and spoke at length about the irony of winning the award as a wartime president. He evoked the concept of “just war” to argue for the use of force that is “necessary” and “morally justified.”

Five young Muslim American men from suburban Washington “who disappeared late last month were detained in Pakistan on Wednesday in a police raid on a house linked to a militant group.” One of the men left behind a video “calling for the defense of Muslims in conflicts with the West and suggesting that ‘young Muslims have to do something.’”

Hate radio talker Rush Limbaugh is “criticizing” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) for allowing Democrats “to debate and vote on amendments” during the health care debate. He has “questioned McConnell’s strategy a few times” this week, “joining a chorus of growing critics.” McConnell aides called Limbaugh’s show to explain, but he “did not seem to buy it.”

A bare majority of Americans support President Obama’s plan to send 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan,” a new CBS News/New York Times poll found. “But many are skeptical that the United States can count on Afghanistan as a partner in the fight or that the escalation would reduce the chances of a domestic terrorist attack.”

A recent pay increase for Afghan troops and police appears to have resulted in a surge of applicants,” said a top U.S. military official. Half of December’s recruiting objective was met in the first seven days, while “in the three previous months, recruiting fell short of targets.”

Yesterday, the UK Meteorological Office released a statement signed by 1,700 scientists in Britain expressing the “utmost confidence” in the “scientific basis” that global warming is “due primarily to human activities,” undercutting skeptics in the wake of the right-wing “Climategate” scandal.

To fight global warming, American businessman and philanthropist George Soros suggested that climate financing be boosted with some $100 billion in Special Drawing Rights from the International Monetary Fund. Soros called the current proposal of $10 billion insufficient.

Following a City Council vote of 7-1, the city of Berkeley “mailed coat hangers to 20 members of Congress on Wednesday in protest of the anti-abortion amendment in the House version of the federal health care bill.” The “metal coat hangers were mailed with a protest letter to members of the House of Representatives who voted in favor of the amendment but have a history of supporting abortion rights.”

South Carolina lawmakers defeated a measure to impeach Gov. Mark Sanford (R) yesterday but recommended a formal rebuke for his trips to Argentina to see his mistress. ”We can’t impeach for hypocrisy. We can’t impeach for arrogance. We can’t impeach an officeholder for his lack of leadership skills,” said GOP Rep. James Harrison.

And finally: Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) can’t understand why she’s so polarizing because she considers herself “a lovable little fuzz ball.”

Palin Refuses To Say If She?d Debate Gore On Climate Change: ?It Depends On What The Venue Would Be?
In an interview with NBC News’ Andrea Mitchell yesterday, former Vice President Al Gore pushed back against Sarah Palin’s anti-Copenhagen conference Washington Post op-ed by saying that “the global warming deniers persist in this air of unreality.” “The scientific community has worked very intensively for 20 years within this international process, and they now say […]

Sarah Palin at a book signingIn an interview with NBC News’ Andrea Mitchell yesterday, former Vice President Al Gore pushed back against Sarah Palin’s anti-Copenhagen conference Washington Post op-ed by saying that “the global warming deniers persist in this air of unreality.” “The scientific community has worked very intensively for 20 years within this international process, and they now say the evidence is unequivocal,” said Gore.

Palin responded to Gore yesterday afternoon on her Facebook page, saying that “he’s wrong in calling me a ‘denier.’” Palin added that she believed “Climategate” proved that the “findings” of “the leading experts” in climate science “are flawed, falsified, or inconclusive.” On Laura Ingraham’s radio show today, Palin continued her attack on Gore. But when Ingraham asked if she would be willing to debate Gore on the issue, Palin demurred, saying that if it was in the wrong “forum” she would “get clobbered”:

INGRAHAM: Would you agree to a debate with Al Gore on this issue?

PALIN: Oh my goodness. You know, it depends on what the venue would be, what the forum. Because Laura, as you know, if it would be some kind of conventional, traditional debate with his friends setting it up or being the commentators I’ll get clobbered because, you know, they don’t want to listen to the facts. They don’t want to listen to some reasonable voices in this. And that was proven with the publication of this op-ed, where they kind of got all we-weed up about it and wanted to call me and others deniers of changing weather patterns and climate conditions. Trying to make the issue into something that it is not.

INGRAHAM: But what if it’s an Oxford-style, proper debate format. I mean, he’s going to chicken out. I mean, if you challenge him to a debate, do you actually think he would accept it?

PALIN: I don’t know, I don’t know. Oh, he wouldn’t want to lower himself, I think, to, you know, my level to debate little old Sarah Palin from Wasilla.

Listen here:


Md. senator assails D.C. Metro managers over safety

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 11th, 2009 5:35 am by HL

Md. senator assails D.C. Metro managers over safety
Metro board Chairman Jim Graham said Thursday that the transit agency will soon announce a reorganization and substantial management changes, hours after Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.) angrily criticized senior managers at a hearing on Capitol Hill.

Maliki, lawmakers trade accusations
BAGHDAD — Iraqi lawmakers on Thursday chastised Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki for his government’s failure to prevent the massive bombings that rocked the capital this week, even as Maliki accused parliament of impeding his ability to improve security.

Pelosi supports Medicare buy-in plan in senate health-care deal
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi endorsed a proposal Thursday that would allow people in late middle age to buy insurance through Medicare, helping to sustain an idea that sprang unexpectedly from the Senate this week.


Unemployment plan would change rules on bank bailouts
The Obama administration plans to channel money from the government’s massive financial bailout program to small businesses as part of an effort to limit the political and economic damage of high unemployment.


Obama’s Nobel Speech: A More Muscular Moralism

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 11th, 2009 5:31 am by HL

Obama’s Nobel Speech: A More Muscular Moralism
Robert Kagan, Politico
For the best coverage of Copenhagen, see our Copenhagen Arena

An Unserious Afghan Approach
Monica Crowley, Washington Times
PoliticsObama accepts Nobel, says war has role in peaceSportsWill the Redskins keep Campbell?NationalHAYDEN: The free flow of secretsNationalCARAFANO: Oh Canada! Quelling cybersecurity threatsNationalCould 'good cry on Oprah' repair Tiger's image?WorldKey Shi'ite backs a democratic secular IraqPoliticsCatchall bill: Have guns, will travel on AmtrakWednesday, December 9, 2009Rate this storyAverage 5.00after 1 votes Login or register to rate this storyBy Monica Crowley Either a war has to be fought, or it doesn't. In his speech on Afghanistan last week,…

It Followed the Standard International Leftist Line
John Bolton, NRO
Thursday, December 10, 2009Bolton: Obama's 'Pedestrian, Turgid, and Uninspired' Address   [Robert Costa]Earlier today, Pres. Barack Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in a ceremony in Oslo. Former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton tells NRO that President Obama’s address in the Norwegian capital was “pedestrian, turgid, and uninspired.”“It followed the standard international leftist line,” says Bolton. “He played to the crowd and filled the speech with clichés from the…

Can the GOP Retake the Senate in 2010?
Karl Rove, Wall Street Journal
Democrats began the year as masters of the political universe, winning the White House and increasing their majorities in Congress. But the year is ending badly for them. Their top initiative, health care, is deeply unpopular. Congress's approval rating is 26%, Speaker Nancy Pelosi's is 28%, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's is an anemic 14%. Political currents are running against the party of Barack Obama. Democrats now trail Republicans by four points in Gallup's generic ballot poll. In 1994, the year the GOP took control of Congress, it wasn't until March…

The Senate’s Scary Health Care Deal
Tunku Varadarajan, The Daily Beast
Enter your email address:Enter the recipients' email addresses, separated by commas:Message: J. Scott Applewhite / AP Photo Harry Reid may have gotten a health-care deal, but he’s not doing his party—or the country—any favors. Tunku Varadarajan on the scary Medicare buy-in, and other goblins lurking within. Harry Reid, a small-state senator with all the allure of a small-town accountant, may offer unlikely echoes of the French monarchs of old; but one is still tempted to say this, after yesterday's…