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Archive for December 18th, 2009

Lebanese Rappers Make Their Case for Peace

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 18th, 2009 5:48 am by HL

Lebanese Rappers Make Their Case for Peace
Young hip-hop artists in Lebanon are using their music to deal with their lives in the wake of years of violence, reaching across religious and sectarian divisions and promoting nonviolence, and they’ve joined forces with pro-peace organizations while they’re at it.

Martyr's Square statue

Young hip-hop artists in Lebanon are using their music to deal with their lives in the wake of years of violence, reaching across religious and sectarian divisions and promoting nonviolence, and they’ve joined forces with pro-peace organizations while they’re at it.

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Homeowners Often Rejected Under Obama’s Make Home Affordable Loan Modification Plan

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 18th, 2009 5:47 am by HL

Homeowners Often Rejected Under Obama’s Make Home Affordable Loan Modification Plan
WASHINGTON — Ten months after the Obama administration began pressing lenders to do more to prevent foreclosures, many struggling homeowners are holding up their end…

Andy Worthington: Judge Orders Release From Guantanamo Of Unwilling Yemeni Recruit
On Monday, as I explained in a previous article, Judge Thomas Hogan refused the habeas corpus petition of Musa’ab al-Madhwani, a Yemeni who had been…

Trumka: Senate Bill As Is Will Die In The House
The head of the most powerful union group in the country said on Thursday that the Senate version of the health care bill will not…

Senate Passes $626 Billion Pentagon Bill, Defeats GOP Stalling On Health Care
WASHINGTON — Must-pass legislation that wraps up the bulk of the remaining congressional agenda besides health care easily cleared a key Senate hurdles early Friday…

Norm Stamper: Help Wanted: Mexican Drug Kingpin
Mexico’s drug-related violence will not end with the death of drug kingpin Beltran Leyva. Until we recognize that the U.S.-led global war on drugs is the systemic cause of the carnage, violence will intensify.


Beck selectively quoted interview to falsely suggest Sunstein and FDR wanted to “pass” a second Bill of Rights

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 18th, 2009 5:46 am by HL

Beck selectively quoted interview to falsely suggest Sunstein and FDR wanted to “pass” a second Bill of Rights

By selectively quoting an interview during which Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs Director Cass Sunstein discussed his support for Franklin D. Roosevelt’s proposed “second Bill of Rights,” Glenn Beck falsely suggested that Sunstein supported amending the U.S. Constitution to include a right to health care. However, in the interview Beck cited, Sunstein made clear that he shared Roosevelt’s view that he “didn’t want to change the text of the Constitution.”

Beck suggests FDR and Sunstein “are advocating” “pass[ing] a second Bill of Rights”

Beck questions the need for FDR’s “second Bill of Rights,” which “neo-progressives have” revived. On the December 17 edition of his Fox News show, Beck aired audio from Roosevelt’s 1944 State of the Union address — during which Roosevelt discussed a second Bill of Rights, “so to speak” — and said: “Why would we need a second Bill of Rights? He just said we need a second Bill of Rights, one that says that there is a right to adequate medical care.” Beck continued: “Why would we need that if you could pass just some stuff in the Congress with the original Constitution?” He later compared Roosevelt’s second Bill of Rights to “the Soviet Union and China” and stated that “that’s why the second Bill of Rights ended up on the scrap heap of history.” He further stated, “This new progressive, the neo-progressives have pulled it off that heap. They’ve dusted it off, shined it up, and put a fresh coat of lipstick on the same old disgusting pig.”

Beck contrasted constitutional volatility in several European states with the U.S. “one Constitution” to suggest Sunstein supports altering Constitution. Beck said: “You might think, oh, that second Bill of Rights, that’s crazy” and asserted that “the premise is you don’t need a second Bill of Rights if you can do” health care reform “constitutionally.” Beck then called Sunstein “the most dangerous man in America because no one is paying attention to him,” and stated that Sunstein “also wrote a book called The Second Bill of Rights: FDR’s Unfinished Revolution and Why We Need It More Than Ever.” After playing a segment from Sunstein’s appearance on the public television program The Open Mind where Sunstein commented that FDR’s “second Bill of Rights has turned out to be one of the best American exports,” Beck stated that “in more than 200 years since ratification of this document, we have had one Constitution, one government in the United States.” He then noted the volatility in some European states, and commented: “Why would we want to covet the European example of chaos, tyranny, and instability?” Beck later said that America achieved prosperity because of the Constitution and “the original Bill of Rights.”

But Sunstein said he (and FDR) “didn’t want to change the text of the Constitution”

Sunstein: “Roosevelt didn’t want to change the text of the Constitution,” but to create “a declaration which isn’t part of our legally binding text.” In the Open Mind interview Beck cited, Sunstein further commented: “Roosevelt didn’t want to change the text of the Constitution. So he didn’t want to add the right to a good education or the right to a home or the right to Social Security in the text of the Constitution.” Sunstein added: “What Roosevelt wanted to do was not to put the Second Bill in the Constitution, but to follow the model of his hero Thomas Jefferson, who was responsible for the Declaration of Independence, a declaration which isn’t part of our legally binding text, but which helps animate our self understanding of the Declaration of Independence.” [The Open Mind, 9/8/04]

Sunstein said he shared Roosevelt’s view and was “nervous” about altering the Constitution. Sunstein also stated that Roosevelt’s “view of the Second Bill of Rights, which I share, is that what we should think of this as, is very much like Jefferson’s Declaration. Part of what we’re committed to, part of what defines our self-understandings, but we’re going to keep the judges out of it.” Further, Sunstein commented that “[i]f, if we are excited about judicial protection of individual rights, then we might want the Second Bill of Rights in our Constitution. I, myself, am nervous about that, because I’m nervous about the judges” and that “I’d much prefer that we recover this aspect of our history.”


‘Pure Intimidation’: Arpaio Deputies Question Judges’ Assistants In Their Homes

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 18th, 2009 5:45 am by HL

‘Pure Intimidation’: Arpaio Deputies Question Judges’ Assistants In Their Homes
Deputies of the Maricopa County, Arizona sheriff went to the homes of judges’ assistants to try to interview them about what Sheriff Joe has asserted — with little evidence — is corruption on the part of their bosses.

RNC Mum On Treasurer Who Played Down Stalking Allegations
The RNC is clamming up about a top official who said it’s no big deal that the executive director of the Arizona GOP allegedly used the party’s voter registration database to stalk a woman.


The Health Care Grapes of Graft

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 18th, 2009 5:41 am by HL

The Health Care Grapes of Graft


Specter Deadlocked with Toomey

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 18th, 2009 5:40 am by HL

Specter Deadlocked with Toomey
A new Quinnipiac poll in Pennsylvania finds Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA) and challenger Pat Toomey (R) are tied, 44% to 44%, in next year’s U.S. Senate race.

Said pollster Peter Brown: “Specter has the state’s Democratic registration advantage on his side, while Toomey can take heart in the numbers that show problems for Specter in measures in addition to the horse race. For example, voters say 50% to 38% he does not deserve reelection.”

In the Democratic primary, Specter holds a commanding 53% to 30% lead over Rep. Joe Sestak (D).

Quote of the Day
“We’re not here to husband our poll numbers like a trophy on a shelf.”

— White House adviser David Axelrod, quoted by The Nation, when asked about President Obama’s falling approval rate.


8 Things We Love That Climate Change Will Force Us to Kiss Good-Bye

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 18th, 2009 5:39 am by HL

8 Things We Love That Climate Change Will Force Us to Kiss Good-Bye
We face losing everything from 50,000 species a year to the world’s best wines. How to put it all in perspective?

We face losing everything from 50,000 species a year to the world's best wines. How to put it all in perspective?

And They’ll Call This Health-Care Reform: How Three Senators Are Extorting You For Their Big-Time Buddies
Harry Reid will do anything to get sixty votes — which means Lieberman, Nelson, and Snowe can use extortion on behalf of Big Insurance, Big Pharma, the AMA, and abortion foes.

Harry Reid will do anything to get sixty votes — which means Lieberman, Nelson, and Snowe can use extortion on behalf of Big Insurance, Big Pharma, the AMA, and abortion foes.

Atheism Was one of the Year’s Hottest Topics, and Greta Christina Caught the Wave as Well as Anyone
Have you been missing out on one of AlterNet’s most popular authors? Here are 10 of Christina’s best works from the year.

Have you been missing out on one of AlterNet's most popular authors? Here are 10 of Christina's best works from the year.

Always Controversial Cornel West Disses Obama, Survives Cancer and Almost Spent His Life in Prison
Cornel West dishes on his new memoirs and Obama’s clique of ‘recycled neo-liberals and recycled neo-Clintonites.’

Cornel West dishes on his new memoirs and Obama's clique of 'recycled neo-liberals and recycled neo-Clintonites.'


Obama, The Fallen Messiah and The Problem With Secular Salvation Narratives

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 18th, 2009 5:38 am by HL

Obama, The Fallen Messiah and The Problem With Secular Salvation Narratives
In responding to my initial post, Sarah Posner, Todd Gitlin, and Fred Clarkson make some very important points about the appeal of the Christian right to ordinary Americans. I think their points dovetail with one another. Posner argues quite…


Barack ObamaUnited StatesGeorge W. BushBill ClintonPolitics

Joe Lieberman: Senator from Aetna
Everyone’s trying to figure out: What’s with Joe Lieberman? To secure Lieberman’s support, in order to get 60 votes to avoid a filibuster, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid last week replaced the public option in the health reform bill with…



Joe LiebermanUnited StatesSenateGovernmentJohn McCain


Why women ?hate? Limbaugh: because he balks at giving them adequate health care coverage

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 18th, 2009 5:37 am by HL

Why women ?hate? Limbaugh: because he balks at giving them adequate health care coverage
On Feb. 23, Public Policy Polling released a survey showing that only 37 percent of women held a favorable opinion of hate radio host Rush Limbaugh, compared to 56 percent of men. Limbaugh was baffled by these results and decided to hold a “female summit” to find out why women hate him. Maybe, Limbaugh should […]

On Feb. 23, Public Policy Polling released a survey showing that only 37 percent of women held a favorable opinion of hate radio host Rush Limbaugh, compared to 56 percent of men. Limbaugh was baffled by these results and decided to hold a “female summit” to find out why women hate him. Maybe, Limbaugh should just listen to his own show. Today, for example, Limbaugh griped that health insurance premiums will be going up if reform legislation is passed, in large part because private insurers will have to provide “women’s issues coverage”:

LIMBAUGH: About the premiums going up, and my brilliant dissertation on why prices will go up in the private sector, even if the public option is not there, and even if the Medicare buy-in is not there. It’s not just preconditions that are mandated to be covered in the health care bills in either the House or the Senate.

There was a recent amendment that was mandating private insurers to provide mammogram and other women’s issues coverage, including spousal abuse! Insurance for spousal abuse! And mammograms! Even though the mammogram age has been raised to the age of 50. You think of all the mandates that will be added onto private insurance, and this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Listen here:

Right now, many insurers treat domestic violence as a pre-existing condition and deny women health insurance coverage if they have been a victim. Women are also denied coverage — or face significantly higher premiums — if they are pregnant or have had a C-Section pregnancy in the past; the health care reform legislation would ban this discrimination. Additionally, an amendment by Sen. Barbara Milkulski’s (D-MD) amendment would make sure that insurers often women free mammograms and other preventive services.


Bernanke clears hurdle for second term

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 18th, 2009 5:36 am by HL

Bernanke clears hurdle for second term
Ben S. Bernanke cleared a key hurdle Thursday to being confirmed for a second term as Federal Reserve chairman, but the discussion and vote by a Senate committee suggested that confirmation is not a foregone conclusion.

McCaskill calls for increased oversight of contract work in Afghanistan
The chairman of a Senate investigative subcommittee called Thursday for stepped-up government oversight of contract work in Afghanistan, saying Pentagon auditors have already challenged nearly $1 billion in charges by military contractors.


GOP senators to block defense bill in bid to delay health-care vote
Senate Republicans said Thursday that they would try to filibuster a massive Pentagon bill that funds the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, an unusual move that several acknowledged was an effort to delay President Obama’s health-care legislation.