We are the Liberal Blog From Hollywood
L.A.'s Premier Post Facility

L.A.'s Premier Post Facility

Photographer in L.A.

Hot Pics & Gossip.

Archive for January 30th, 2010

Obama and the House GOP: Full Q&A From Baltimore

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 30th, 2010 5:48 am by HL

Obama and the House GOP: Full Q&A From Baltimore
Courtesy of C-SPAN, watch the whole (and at times, lively) exchange between President Barack Obama and Republican House members at a GOP retreat in Baltimore on Friday.

Republican conference

Courtesy of C-SPAN, watch the whole (and at times, lively) exchange between President Barack Obama and Republican House members at a GOP retreat in Baltimore on Friday.

Related Entries



Elizabeth Edwards ‘CONCUBINE’ Voice Mail (AUDIO): John Edwards’ Wife Goes Off On Andrew Young Over Rielle Hunter

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 30th, 2010 5:46 am by HL

Elizabeth Edwards ‘CONCUBINE’ Voice Mail (AUDIO): John Edwards’ Wife Goes Off On Andrew Young Over Rielle Hunter
Elizabeth Edwards left Andrew Young an angry voice mail in July 2008, calling John Edwards’s mistress, Rielle Hunter, a “concubine” and telling the former staffer…

Jeffrey Kaye: Mañana for Immigration Reform
A long-promised, bi-partisan U.S. Senate bill aimed at comprehensive immigration reform will be delayed until at least March, according to a lobbyist involved in negotiations…

3 Americans Killed In Afghanistan, NATO says
KABUL — Two U.S. service members and one U.S. employee were killed Friday in eastern Afghanistan, pushing the American death toll this month to 29….

Bankers Support Global Bank Tax: Barclays, Deutsche Bank Execs Back ‘Too-Big-To-Fail’ Insurance Fund
Some of the world’s most prominent bankers have come out in favour of a global bank wind-down fund, a concession from the industry after weeks…


Quick Fact: Hannity falsely claims Obama “created” the “massive deficit” and that “stimulus is a failure”

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 30th, 2010 5:45 am by HL

Quick Fact: Hannity falsely claims Obama “created” the “massive deficit” and that “stimulus is a failure”

On his radio show, Sean Hannity claimed that President Obama “seems to be concerned about a massive deficit,” which Hannity said Obama “created,” and asserted that the economic “stimulus is a failure.” In fact, the 2009 increases in spending and the deficit include the impact of policies enacted under former President Bush, and economists have estimated that the stimulus “raised employment” by as many as 2 million jobs through December 2009.

From the January 28 edition of ABC Radio Networks’ The Sean Hannity Show:

HANNITY: He lies about the Supreme Court decision in the Citizens United case. I think the biggest lie of the night, “Well, we saved 2 million jobs.” You’ve lost 4 million jobs. You know, he seems to be concerned about a massive deficit — he created it. You know, a guy that, you know, believes the federal government should run pretty darn near everything in your life — the auto industry, the banks, the insurance companies, student loans, health care, and it never ends.

What is appalling is the massive ego of this president, which was on full display last night, taking responsibility for nothing, learning nothing. It’s arrogant. He’s cold, he seems detached, and literally is insisting on dragging this nation off a cliff. And his stimulus is a failure, so we’ll spend $30 million more on the stimulus.

Fact: Policies enacted before Obama took office comprised much of FY 2009 spending increase

CBO: TARP, Fannie, Freddie commitments comprised much of spending increase in FY 2009. CBO stated in its January 2010 Budget and Economic Outlook that “[w]ithout changes in current laws and policies, CBO estimates, outlays will rise from $3.0 trillion in 2008 to $3.5 trillion in 2009.” This estimate included $240 billion — in contrast to the $91 billion recorded at the end of fiscal year 2009 — for “incorporating the two housing GSEs into the federal budget.” Before Obama took office or signed any legislation, CBO had estimated that the deficit would be $1.2 trillion for fiscal year 2009.

Spending for unemployment benefits, Medicaid increased as result of recession. CBO also stated of fiscal year 2009:

Social Security outlays rose by 9 percent ($53 billion) last year, primarily because the 5.8 percent cost-of-living adjustment that took effect in January 2009 was the largest annual adjustment since 1982. Medicaid spending (excluding stimulus funding) increased by 9 percent ($18 billion) in 2009 — exceeding its 7 percent average annual growth rate of the previous 10 years — largely because higher unemployment boosted enrollment in the program. Medicare outlays (including an offset for premium payments) also rose at a faster rate than the average of the past decade, growing by 10 percent ($39 billion).

In addition, payments for unemployment benefits rose by $76 billion in 2009, pushing outlays for that program to more than double the level recorded in 2008. The jump was caused by substantially higher unemployment as well as increased and extended benefits to unemployed workers ($27 billion from ARRA and $17 billion from other legislation).

New York Times: Obama policies are “responsible for only a sliver of the deficits.” According to a budget analysis by The New York Times, “Mr. Obama’s main contribution to the deficit is his extension of several Bush policies, like the Iraq war and tax cuts for households making less than $250,000. Such policies — together with the Wall Street bailout, which was signed by Mr. Bush and supported by Mr. Obama — account for 20 percent” of the increase between the FY 2008 and FY 2009 budget deficit estimates. The New York Times wrote that 70 percent of the increase is attributed to a combination of economic hardships, including “the fact that both the 2001 recession and the current one reduced tax revenue, required more spending on safety-net programs and changed economists’ assumptions about how much in taxes the government would collect in future years” and “new legislation signed by Mr. Bush … like his tax cuts and the Medicare prescription drug benefit.”

Fact: Economic analysts estimate the recovery act increased relative employment by as many as 2 million jobs

Economists estimate stimulus “raised employment” by as many as 2 million jobs through December 2009. In a quarterly report issued January 13, the White House Council of Economic Advisers estimated: “As of the fourth quarter of 2009, the CEA estimates that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has raised employment relative to the baseline by between 1½ and 2 million. The CEA estimates for both the effects on GDP and employment are similar to those of respected private forecasters and government agencies.” The CEA cited Moody’s Economy.com estimates that the stimulus increased employment by 1.6 million jobs through the fourth quarter of 2009. From the CEA’s quarterly report:

CEA chart of effects of ARRA on employment


Presented By:

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 30th, 2010 5:44 am by HL

Presented By:

Lawyer For Alleged Phone Tamperer: Plan Was To Embarrass Landrieu
The attorney for accused phone tamperer Robert Flanagan tells the AP that Flanagan, James O’Keefe, and co. were trying to expose Sen. Mary Landrieu for allegedly ignoring phone calls from health reform foes.

Birther Queen Files ‘Orly Taitz v. Barack Hussein Obama,’ Says She’s Mulling Run For Office
Orly Taitz, the dentist and lawyer whose birther lawsuits we’ve been following, filed a new suit in D.C. District Court Wednesday, titled Dr. Orly Taitz v. Barack Hussein Obama.


Two Giants Have Fallen

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 30th, 2010 5:40 am by HL

Two Giants Have Fallen
Both died Wednesday, Jan. 27th of natural causes, J.D. Salinger was 91; Howard Zinn was 87. Read more about Salinger here. Read more about Zinn here. A sampling of quotes from Howard Zinn: “I suggest that if you know history, then you might not be so easily fooled by the government when it tells you you must go to […]


Dollar Stores Reign: Appetite for Cheap Food Is Still Growing Despite ‘Slow Food’ Popularity

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 30th, 2010 5:39 am by HL

Dollar Stores Reign: Appetite for Cheap Food Is Still Growing Despite ‘Slow Food’ Popularity
Dollar stores may be places to nab a bargain but for many they are the only place to buy food — the rock-bottom of the food chain, the last stop before the food pantry.

Dollar stores may be places to nab a bargain but for many they are the only place to buy food — the rock-bottom of the food chain, the last stop before the food pantry.

Food and Investigations: Feed Your Appetite For Top-Notch Reporting
AlterNet’s hottest new sections — Food and Investigations — have just launched. Find out how to get the latest stories.

AlterNet's hottest new sections — Food and Investigations — have just launched. Find out how to get the latest stories.

Jesse Ventura Takes the Soaring Interest in Conspiracy Theory to TV — And Viewers Are Flocking to It
Bringing formerly taboo issues to TV, the former Minnesota governor and professional wrestler’s show has caught on. Conspiracy theorists probably aren’t surprised.

Bringing formerly taboo issues to TV, the former Minnesota governor and professional wrestler's show has caught on. Conspiracy theorists probably aren't surprised.

The 6 Weirdest Things Women Do to Their Vaginas
What the hell is vaginal rejuvenation? Who would want their vagina bleached? Here’s a list of the strangest ways to make your genitals meet the demands of the beauty industry.

What the hell is vaginal rejuvenation? Who would want their vagina bleached? Here's a list of the strangest ways to make your genitals meet the demands of the beauty industry.


GOP Media Mistake

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 30th, 2010 5:38 am by HL

GOP Media Mistake
The Republican House members invited President Obama to their retreat. The White House suggested that the whole session including the Q & A be on camera. The Repubs agreed. But as Luke Russert tweets from Baltimore. GOP aides telling…


RepublicanBarack ObamaBaltimoreLuke RussertUnited States

Sheikh Jarrah: ‘Ground Zero’
Yesterday’s vigil did not grow in numbers, but it was clear from the people who turned out that it is growing in moral prestige. During the week, J Street issued a statement of support. The world press has begun to…


IsraelEast JerusalemMiddle EastSheikh JarrahWarfare and Conflict

State Of The Union: Deep Twitter Thoughts on SOTU
Before the State Of The Union kthalps: guys, the only way obama can repeal dont ask dont tell is if we dont ask dont tell. so shut up abt it. duh! State Of The Union Starts kthalps: I guess we’ll…



don’t ask don’t tellBarack ObamaState Of The UnionUnited StatesPolitics


Boehner Feigns Ignorance That His GOP Retreat Is Attended By Goldman Sachs, Other Corporate Lobbyists

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 30th, 2010 5:37 am by HL

Boehner Feigns Ignorance That His GOP Retreat Is Attended By Goldman Sachs, Other Corporate Lobbyists
This weekend, Republican leaders will convene at the Renaissance Harborplace Hotel in Baltimore to plot strategy, socialize, and plan both legislative and campaign themes for the year. Yesterday morning, ThinkProgress caught up with House Republican Leader John Boehner (R-OH), who confirmed that the Congressional Institute — a nonprofit run by Republican corporate lobbyists — is […]

This weekend, Republican leaders will convene at the Renaissance Harborplace Hotel in Baltimore to plot strategy, socialize, and plan both legislative and campaign themes for the year. Yesterday morning, ThinkProgress caught up with House Republican Leader John Boehner (R-OH), who confirmed that the Congressional Institute — a nonprofit run by Republican corporate lobbyists — is sponsoring the retreat. Normally, such lobbyist-sponsored soirées would be illegal under House ethics rules. But by forming an ostensibly nonpartisan educational front called the Congressional Institute, lobbyists are able to skirt any such oversight. However, Boehner told ThinkProgress that he did not know if any lobbyists would be present at the retreat:

TP: For your retreat this weekend, is the Congressional Institute attending or sponsoring at all?

BOEHNER: They’ve always sponsored retreats for both Democrats and Republicans.

TP: Are any of their lobbyists attending this weekend?

BOEHNER: I don’t know. […] I said I don’t know.

Watch it:

Boehner is wrong when he claims that the Congressional Institute sponsors Democratic retreats. According to the Politico, House Democratic retreats are not paid for by any special interest funds or the lobbyist-run Congressional Institute.

To fact-check Boehner’s sheepish reply that he simply didn’t know if lobbyists would be at the retreat, I visited the Renaissance hotel in Baltimore yesterday afternoon. Upon arriving at the front desk, I spoke to Patrick Deitz, a staff assistant for the Congressional Institute, who confirmed that Congressional Institute board member Michael Johnson was upstairs at the retreat, and that Dan Meyer, another board member, was on his way. Johnson, a lobbyist at the OB-C Group, touts himself as a “Republican heavyweight” whose firm represents the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, JP Morgan Chase, and the health insurance giant WellPoint. Meyer, a longtime Republican operative and chairman of the Congressional Institute, works for the Duberstein Group, where he represents BP, Goldman Sachs, HealthNet, and AHIP, the umbrella trade group for the health insurance industry. Meyer’s colleague at his lobbying firm, Steve Champlin, urged insurance industry executives last year to fight ruthlessy to kill health reform, proclaiming, don’t “give comfort to the enemy who is down.”

After informing Deitz and other Congressional Institute staffers that I work for ThinkProgress and wanted to interview some of the lobbyists in attendance, another staffer, named Mary, told me to leave the building or else I would be arrested. Mary, who refused to give her business card or last name, told Deitz not to tell me his last name either. During the course of the conversation with Congressional Institute staffers, a gaggle of men dressed in business attire discussed technology policy behind me. One of them had a name tag that read John Sampson; who according to his LinkedIn profile is the chief lobbyist for Microsoft.

Unfortunately, it seems unlikely that ThinkProgress will be able to attend, or even approach the building, for the lobbyist-organized GOP retreat. If we could, we might witness quite a reunion. Many of the lobbyists running the Congressional Institute are former top staffers to Newt Gingrich, who is addressing the gathering. Here is a picture of Congressional Institute board members Meyer and Arne Christenson — now a lobbyist for American Express — plotting strategy for Gingrich back in 1995.

Responding to the State of the Union, Boehner was quick to attack the administration for supposedly lacking transparency. But for a retreat planning public policy, Boehner apparently prefers to keep the corporate lobbyists involved behind closed doors — and even refuses to acknowledge their attendance.

?Left-leaning? Washington Post op-ed page features mostly right wingers.
In an online chat earlier this week, Washington Post media reporter Howard Kurtz defended Fox News’ conservative orientation by saying there is a “distinction” between Fox’s opinion shows and news programming. “Just as you have to make a distinction between The Post’s news pages and its left-leaning editorial page,” said Kurtz. As Jamison Foser pointed […]

In an online chat earlier this week, Washington Post media reporter Howard Kurtz defended Fox News’ conservative orientation by saying there is a “distinction” between Fox’s opinion shows and news programming. “Just as you have to make a distinction between The Post’s news pages and its left-leaning editorial page,” said Kurtz. As Jamison Foser pointed out at the time, the idea that the Post’s op-ed pages are “left-leaning” is laughable. As if to prove that point today, the Post’s op-ed page features columns by two former Bush speechwriters, “Obama’s biggest critic,” and a former National Review editor:

Washington Post opinion page 1/29/10

Business columnist Robert Samuelson also has a piece saying that the Obama administration’s “blunder” of pushing for health care reform has caused “business planning and the willingness to expand” to suffer. The print edition of the Post also has a short item from liberal Eugene Robinson. This isn’t the first time that the Post has loaded its op-ed page overwhelmingly with conservatives.


Blackburn questions Obama at House GOP conference

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 30th, 2010 5:36 am by HL

Blackburn questions Obama at House GOP conference
After addressing the GOP House Issues Conference in Baltimore on Friday, President Obama took a series of questions from the lawmakers. Here is a transcript of one of the questions posed to the president:


Republicans woo ‘tea party’ members, but face activists’ distrust of GOP
HONOLULU — The Republican Party’s flirtation this week with a proposal to punish GOP candidates who do not commit to a list of conservative principles was about more than just purity. It was about winning over angry activists.

Conservative activist admits to plot in Landrieu’s office
The conservative activist accused this week in a plot to tamper with telephones in the office of Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) admitted to the scheme Friday, conceding that he “could have used a different approach” in trying to determine whether she was avoiding calls from opponents of the health-ca…

Obama talks to House Republicans in Baltimore in rare, televised debate in
BALTIMORE — President Obama offered a muscular defense of his first year in office Friday in the most hostile of territories — a gathering of House Republicans, who engaged him in a pointed debate that had moments of both tense drama and bipartisan comity over the stark policy differences that…


What Will Obama Do About Gridlock?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 30th, 2010 5:32 am by HL

What Will Obama Do About Gridlock?
Jim Manzi, National Review
Enter Your E-Mail Address to Sign UpFriday, January 29, 2010Delayed Reaction to the State of the Union   [Jim Manzi]It has taken me a while to assess my reaction to President Obama’s speech. On the whole, I think his supporters should be somewhat dismayed. It struck me as very effective in diagnosing problems, and in proposing policy solutions that — even though I disagree with many (but not all) of them — are well-reasoned and might plausibly succeed; but as far as I can see, he proposed no realistic solution to the political problem that he…

State of the Union Pressed Reset Button
Michael Tomasky, The Guardian
The main task before Barack Obama in his state of the union address was to push the reset button. To reclaim some control over the agenda, which he had basically lost since about last October, when it became apparent that the signature healthcare initiative was going to take longer to pass than Hadrian took to build his wall.So did he? Yes, for now. On the most fundamental level, Obama made it clear that the top item in his in-basket is the matter that most occupies Americas' minds: jobs. He mentioned the word 29 times in the speech. Thursday, he and vice-president Joe Biden followed up…

President Obama’s Health Care Mistake
Paul Howard, Forbes
It's never too late to do what you said you were going to do. This is the chief lesson that President Obama should draw from Massachusetts voters' stunning rebuke to Democrat's bloated and expensive health care legislation. Obama campaigned as a centrist who would draw on the best ideas of both parties, but he has governed by deferring to the liberal wing of his party and locking Republicans out of Democrats' backroom health care deals. As a result, the current bill is justly opposed by the majority of Americans as too expensive, too convoluted and packed with bribes,…

Misguided Policies: Obama Doesn’t Quit
Frank Beckmann, Detroit News
The most revelatory words from President Barack Obama's State of the Union address came near the end when he uttered, “I don't quit.” It's something to remember when digesting his incongruous remarks to the nation this week. The president re-emphasized just about every major point of his 2008 political campaign and even gave reason for brief hope that he might embrace a few ideas that aren't in lockstep with the left-wing ideology he has pushed for a year. Then came reality. When he said, “I don't quit,” he meant he truly will push every single…

The Obama Contradiction
Peggy Noonan, Wall Street Journal
When you watch a president give a State of the Union Address on television, you're always watching three people: the president at the podium, and the vice president and House speaker on the rise behind him. As a TV shot it's awkward. The vice president and the speaker have been instructed by media professionals not to let their eyes do what they want to do, which is survey the doings in the chamber. Instead they must stare unwaveringly at the back of the president's head. This is so that they appear to be fascinated by what he's saying, as if he's so interesting that…