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Archive for January 7th, 2010

Bullets, Wizards and Too Much Love

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 7th, 2010 5:46 am by HL

Bullets, Wizards and Too Much Love
It wasn’t the Gunfight at the NBA Corral that turned Gilbert Arenas’ life into a bittersweet story. That happened a long time ago—at birth—but that’s how it works in a subculture ruled by stars, in which everyone prefers the sweet to the bitter.

By Mark Heisler

It wasn’t the Gunfight at the NBA Corral that turned Gilbert Arenas’ life into a bittersweet story. That happened a long time ago—at birth—but that’s how it works in a subculture ruled by stars, in which everyone prefers the sweet to the bitter.


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I Don’t Have the Constitution for It

By Mr. Fish

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George Pataki: The Obama Administration’s Systemic Failure on Terrorism

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 7th, 2010 5:45 am by HL

George Pataki: The Obama Administration’s Systemic Failure on Terrorism
As one who has seen and experienced the consequences of prior failures up close, I am urging the Administration to drastically change its approach to defending America.

Steven Newton: Science Denial on the Rise
From evolution to global warming to vaccines, science is under assault from denialists–those who dismiss well-tested scientific knowledge as merely one of many competing ideologies….

Sec. Hilda Solis: Green Jobs: A Down Payment on the Workforce of Tomorrow
As we help workers through these challenging times, our real focus is investing in their future and today I announced nearly $100 million in green jobs training grants.

Rob Richie: Rhode Island Expands Voter Registration and Requires Elections for Senators
I wanted to share some good news that put a smile on my colleagues’ faces here. These reform efforts have taken years, but have won…

Chris Weigant: Obama’s Second-Year Potential
President Barack Obama has the potential of having a pretty good second year in office. Conventional inside-the-Beltway wisdom is that “nothing much gets done in…


Media report on Dodd’s “sweetheart deal” without noting Ethics Committee cleared him

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 7th, 2010 5:44 am by HL

Media report on Dodd’s “sweetheart deal” without noting Ethics Committee cleared him

Following reports that Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) would not seek re-election this year, several media figures — including Fox News’ Stuart Varney and Steve Doocy and MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough — have claimed Dodd received a “sweetheart” mortgage deal from Countrywide. However, in their reports, these same media figures failed to note that the Senate Ethics Committee “found no credible evidence” Dodd’s mortgages violated Senate ethics rules.

Conservative media revive claims about Dodd’s mortgage “scandal”

Varney: Dodd “got a sweetheart deal from Countrywide Financial right at the center of the subprime mess.” From the January 6 edition of Fox News’ America’s Newsroom:

VARNEY: This shows the public mood. It shows that the public is intensely angered by bonuses and bailouts. In fact, Senator Dodd could not escape the panic, the banking panic of ’08 because he is the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee. On his watch, he allowed AIG executives to walk away with millions of dollars in bonuses after a huge taxpayer bailout. He got a sweetheart deal from Countrywide Financial right at the center of the subprime mess.

Doocy: “friend of Angelo” Dodd “got that below-public, subprime mortgage for … one or two of his properties.” From the January 6 edition of Fox & Friends:

BRIAN KILMEADE (co-host): Now let’s talk about four Democratic seats in the Senate. You know the Democrats have 60 seats in the Senate. Well, four are up for grabs after two announcements yesterday.

DOOCY: Well, one official announcement yesterday, and that is Byron Dorgan of North Dakota — has said, “You know what? I’m going to bow out.” He’s a Democrat. Later on today, Chris Dodd, friend of Angelo, who got into — there’s Byron Dorgan right there — Chris Dodd, who got that below-public, subprime mortgage for one of — actually, one or two of his properties — he will announce later today at his home in Connecticut that he is saying goodbye.

Scarborough: Dodd “had the Countrywide scandal, where he got the sweetheart deal on the loan.” From the January 6 edition of MSNBC’s Morning Joe:

MIKA BRZEZINSKI (co-host): Senator Chris Dodd is retiring. He’s out.

SCARBOROUGH: Isn’t that something?

BRZEZINSKI: NBC News is confirming reports that the longtime senator is calling it quits. He says he will not seek a sixth term.

SCARBOROUGH: A lot of things going into this decision. Obviously, his poll numbers have dropped precipitously. He had the Countrywide scandal, where he got the sweetheart deal on the loan. He was also, of course, on the Banking cCommittee when things blew up. A lot of things he said about Fannie and Freddie, saying they were solvent, nothing to see here.

But Varney, Doocy, and Scarborough failed to note that Senate Ethics Committee cleared Dodd in loan “scandal”

Senate Ethics Committee dismissed complaint after spending year reviewing 18,000 pages of documents. As Media Matters noted, on August 7, the Select Committee on Ethics wrote to Dodd that “the Committee finds no substantial credible evidence as required by Committee rules that your Countrywide mortgages violated Senate ethics rules.” The letter stated:

No Credible Evidence of an Ethics Rule Violation

After examining the extensive record before it, the Committee found no credible evidence that you knowingly accepted a gift, including a loan not available to the public.

First, your mortgages were made in a commercially-reasonable manner based on terms and conditions available to borrowers with similar loan profiles. While your Countrywide loans were handled through the V.I.P. loan unit and designated as F.O.A. loans, the service you received was available to thousands of other non-Senate customers at Countrywide and the loans you received appear to have been available industry-wide to borrowers with comparable loan profiles. It appears your loans met all applicable underwriting standards and that you and your wife were excellent loan candidates and established Countrywide customers in good standing. You sought competing mortgage offers from other lenders that offered terms substantially similar to the ones Countrywide provided. There is no evidence that the interest rates for your Countrywide mortgages were below prevailing market rates.

Second, there is no credible evidence that you sought or knowingly received any financial benefits not available to other borrowers with similar loan profiles. The Committee has found no evidence that you or your wife ever asked for special treatment or that anyone ever communicated to you or your family that you were receiving specific discounts or other special treatment not available to other borrowers because of your status as a Senator.

Third, there is no credible evidence that you used your official position for personal gain. The Committee found no evidence that you fully understood the scope of the V.I.P. program, knew that you were in the “Friends of Angelo” program, or attempted to use your status as a Senator to receive loan terms not available to the public.


Murtha-Tied Military Contractor Barred From Federal Contracts — Again

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 7th, 2010 5:43 am by HL

Murtha-Tied Military Contractor Barred From Federal Contracts — Again
Kuchera Defense Systems, a Pennsylvania contractor closely tied to Rep. John Murtha and his military earmark machine, has again been barred from getting government contracts.


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Lawyer: Alleged Holocaust Shooter Dies In Prison
James Von Brunn, the elderly neo-Nazi who was charged with killing a guard at the U.S. Holocaust Museum last June, has died in prison, according to his lawyer.



The Secret Life of Charles Krauthammer

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 7th, 2010 5:39 am by HL

The Secret Life of Charles Krauthammer
Click below for the stirring conclusion!


Fox News Contributor Goes Off on Anti-Gay Rant

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 7th, 2010 5:38 am by HL

Fox News Contributor Goes Off on Anti-Gay Rant
This gets weirder and weirder as it goes on.

This gets weirder and weirder as it goes on.

Are Progressives Depressed or Too Privileged to Produce Social Change? Or Are We Just Failing to Organize Effectively?
Real change seems almost impossible. What are we doing wrong?

Real change seems almost impossible. What are we doing wrong?

Is an Anti-Semite Overseeing the Holocaust Museum?
Labeled an anti-Semite by at least one fellow professor, historian Marek Jan Chodakiewicz is a board member with oversight of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Labeled an anti-Semite by at least one fellow professor, historian Marek Jan Chodakiewicz is a board member with oversight of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Does Atheism Offer As Much Comfort in Death As Religion?
The comfort of religion doesn’t eradicate grief. And many people would much rather believe in no afterlife at all than an afterlife determined by a sadistic god.

The comfort of religion doesn't eradicate grief. And many people would much rather believe in no afterlife at all than an afterlife determined by a sadistic god.


Economic Sea-Change

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 7th, 2010 5:37 am by HL

Economic Sea-Change
I don’t want to rain on Wall Street’s parade, but I’m a bit suspicious of the current economic recovery boomlet. When 20% of U.S. personal income (chart above) is coming from Government transfer payments (social security, unemployment compensation, etc),…


Wall StreetUnited StatesSocial securityUnemployment benefitsEconomic

ANTI-SEMITISM ALERT: C-SPAN Features Israel Hating Michael Scheuer While COMMENTARY Condemns Jews For Disliking Palin
Former CIA analyst Michael Scheuer really, really hates Israel. No, he is not opposed to its policies. He seems to hate the whole idea of Israel and, as in days of yore, blames Israelis and pro-Israel Jews for his, and…


Central Intelligence AgencyMichael ScheuerAntisemitismJewRace-Ethnic-Religious Relations


Fox News chyron cast Dorgan and Dodd as ?defecting Democrats.?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 7th, 2010 5:36 am by HL

Fox News chyron cast Dorgan and Dodd as ?defecting Democrats.?
This morning, Fox and Friends hosted a segment on the retirements of Sens. Chris Dodd (D-CT) and Byron Dorgan (D-ND), both of whom will not be running for re-election in 2010. Fox News, however, cast the retirements as defections: Dodd and Dorgan are not “defecting” from the Democratic Party. They are retiring. Rep. Parker Griffith […]

This morning, Fox and Friends hosted a segment on the retirements of Sens. Chris Dodd (D-CT) and Byron Dorgan (D-ND), both of whom will not be running for re-election in 2010. Fox News, however, cast the retirements as defections:

Defecting Democrats?

Dodd and Dorgan are not “defecting” from the Democratic Party. They are retiring. Rep. Parker Griffith (AL) recently announced that he was switching from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party, but no one else has joined him. (HT: TP Reader AC)


Dorgan to leave Senate, giving Republicans chance to win North Dakota seat

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 7th, 2010 5:35 am by HL

Dorgan to leave Senate, giving Republicans chance to win North Dakota seat
Sen. Byron L. Dorgan (D-N.D.) will not run for reelection this year, he said Tuesday, providing Republicans with a major opportunity to pick up a Senate seat in the November midterm elections.

Democrats’ announcements change 2010 landscape
While most Americans spent the holidays relaxing with their families and recharging for 2010, a trio of veteran Democrats apparently had visions of retirement dancing in their heads.


Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd’s retirement improves Democrats’ chances for seat
Sen. Christopher J. Dodd (D-Conn.) announced his retirement from Congress on Wednesday, bringing an end to an illustrious political career and, in so doing, bolstering his party’s chances of holding his seat.

Pharmacy benefit managers and the rising drug costs for federal workers
When Uncle Sam arranges prescription drug coverage for millions of federal employees and their dependents, you’d expect him to have enough muscle to keep those prices low.


The New Two Party System

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 7th, 2010 5:31 am by HL

The New Two Party System
Dick Morris, The Hill
The very public way in which the existence of a center-right in the Democratic Party proved to be a mirage has done more to undermine the party's chances for victory in 2010 than any other aspect of the healthcare debate.When liberal Republicans failed to rally to Bill Clinton's 1993-1994 agenda – including his failed healthcare proposal – they laid the basis for their total demise in subsequent years. Sens. Jeffords, Chaffee, D'Amato, Packwood, Hatfield and Specter (as a Republican) are gone. Sens. Snowe and Collins are all that remain of the once-dominant Rockefeller wing of…

Stillbirth of a Progressive Era
Harold Meyerson, Washington Post
Every Democratic president since Lyndon Johnson — Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama — has raised the hope that he would bring with him a new era of progressive reform. The legislative torrents of the New Deal and the Great Society — a few brief years in the 1930s and the '60s that fundamentally reshaped the nation's economy and society — are the templates that fire the liberal imagination.Two great liberal historians — the Arthur Schlesingers, senior and junior — posited a cyclical theory of American political history, in which periods of progressive advance…

If Fed Missed This Bubble, Will It See a New One?
David Leonhardt, NYT
If only we’d had more power, we could have kept the financial crisis from getting so bad.Ben Bernanke, the Fed chairman, has said it is difficult “to know in real time if an asset price is appropriate or not.” That has been the position of Ben Bernanke, the Federal Reserve chairman, and other regulators. It explains why Mr. Bernanke and the Obama administration are pushing Congress to give the Fed more authority over financial firms. So let’s consider what an empowered Fed might have done during the housing bubble, based on the words of the people who…

Dodd Exits, Gracefully
Steve Kornacki, New York Observer

A Case for Presidential Power on Terrorism
Ruth Marcus, Washington Post