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Archive for February 5th, 2010

Larry Blumenfeld on Ned Sublette’s ‘The Year Before the Flood’

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 5th, 2010 5:49 am by HL

Larry Blumenfeld on Ned Sublette’s ‘The Year Before the Flood’
Four years after Katrina, New Orleans struggles against the odds to preserve its unruly spirit through its unique musical legacy.

book cover

Four years after Katrina, New Orleans struggles against the odds to preserve its unruly spirit through its unique musical legacy.

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Dave Johnson: Roots of Conservative Failure: Bush Called Deficits “Incredibly Positive News”

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

Dave Johnson: Roots of Conservative Failure: Bush Called Deficits “Incredibly Positive News”
When George W. Bush learned that his budgets had erased the huge surplus his administration inherited, he called deficit spending “a fiscal straitjacket for Congress.”

Congress Needs To Extend Unemployment Benefits — Again
Just like it did in December, Congress must once again scramble to prevent hundreds of thousands of people from exhausting their unemployment benefits in the…

James P. O’Neil: The Hurt Locker: My Response to Hoit
‘The Hurt Locker’ has done more to raise the awareness of the Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) profession than any single work to date, for which I am grateful.

Senate Plans Bipartisan Jobs Bill
WASHINGTON — Senate leaders plan to pass a jobs bill next week featuring tax breaks for employers that hire unemployed workers, a rare bipartisan effort…


Ignoring previous claims by experts, RedState attacks DHS for citing climate change as national security threat

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 5th, 2010 5:47 am by HL

Ignoring previous claims by experts, RedState attacks DHS for citing climate change as national security threat

A RedState post — advanced by the Fox Nation — cited a recent Department of Homeland Security report noting that “[d]ependence on fossil fuels and the threat of global climate change” threatens “America’s national interests” to question whether “DHS is more serious about Homeland Security than they are about advancing Obama Administration policy goals.” However, defense and intelligence experts — including a National Intelligence Council chair under President Bush — have previously said that climate change and fossil fuel consumption are relevant to national security.

Citing report, RedState questions whether DHS “is more serious about Homeland Security than they are about advancing” Obama’s policy goals

From a February 4 RedState post titled, “DHS: Fossil Fuels and Climate Change are ‘National Threats'”:

On February 1, Janet Napolitano’s Department of Homeland Security released a 108-page report to Congress, the Quadrennial Homeland Security Review Report. Subtitled “A Strategic Framework for a Secure Homeland”, a quick glance at the report left me questioning whether the DHS is more serious about Homeland Security than they are about advancing Obama Administration policy goals.

The following item is in a bullet list of threats to America’s national interests (p. 7):

Dependence on fossil fuels and the threat of global climate change that can open the United States to disruptions and manipulations in energy supplies and to changes in our natural environment on an unprecedented scale. Climate change is expected to increase the severity and frequency of weather-related hazards, which could, in turn, result in social and political destabilization, international conflict, or mass migrations.

If there’s a Smithsonian exhibit on Muddled Thinking and Bureaucratic Gobbledegook, that paragraph belongs in it.

Fox Nation highlighted RedState post: On February 4, the Fox Nation linked to RedState’s post. From the Fox Nation:

redstate_dhs

However, experts — including Bush NIC chair — have previously seen climate change, fossil fuel use as relevant to national security

Bush NIC chair testified on “wide ranging implications for US national security.” In June 25, 2008, testimony, Dr. Thomas Fingar, then-chairman of the National Intelligence Council, stated that “global climate change will have wide ranging implications for US national security interests over the next 20 years,” citing the possible worsening of “existing problems — such as poverty, social tensions, environment degradation, ineffectual leadership, and weak political institutions” abroad, as well as the likelihood that “economic migrants will perceive additional reasons to migrate.” The NIC’s 2025 Global Trends Report, published in November 2008, further stated that “[c]limate change is likely to exacerbate resource scarcities, particularly water scarcities.”

NY Times: Military, intelligence experts considering security impacts of climate change, fossil fuel consumption. An August 8, 2009, New York Times report stated that “military and intelligence analysts” have said that climate change “will pose profound strategic challenges to the United States in coming decades.” The Times further reported that “[i]f the United States does not lead the world in reducing fossil-fuel consumption and thus emissions of global warming gases, proponents of this view say, a series of global environmental, social, political and possibly military crises loom that the nation will urgently have to address”:

The changing global climate will pose profound strategic challenges to the United States in coming decades, raising the prospect of military intervention to deal with the effects of violent storms, drought, mass migration and pandemics, military and intelligence analysts say.

Such climate-induced crises could topple governments, feed terrorist movements or destabilize entire regions, say the analysts, experts at the Pentagon and intelligence agencies who for the first time are taking a serious look at the national security implications of climate change.

Recent war games and intelligence studies conclude that over the next 20 to 30 years, vulnerable regions, particularly sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and South and Southeast Asia, will face the prospect of food shortages, water crises and catastrophic flooding driven by climate change that could demand an American humanitarian relief or military response.

[…]

But a growing number of policy makers say that the world’s rising temperatures, surging seas and melting glaciers are a direct threat to the national interest.

If the United States does not lead the world in reducing fossil-fuel consumption and thus emissions of global warming gases, proponents of this view say, a series of global environmental, social, political and possibly military crises loom that the nation will urgently have to address.

Bipartisan report identified global warming as potential “threat to our security.” On October 28, 2009, the Associated Press reported that the American Security Project, “an advisory group of high-powered Republicans and Democrats,” affirmed that global warming is relevant to national security:

A recent report by the American Security Project, an advisory group of high-powered Republicans and Democrats, called global warming “not simply about saving polar bears or preserving beautiful mountain glaciers … (but) a threat to our security.” The group has on its board Republicans such as former Sen. Warren Rudman as well as Democrats including Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, the chief author of the Senate climate bill.

Across the globe there exist conflicts and security challenges including ethnic conflicts and emerging radicalism and often “these are also the parts of the world where we will see the most severe consequences from climate change,” Bernard Finel, a co-author of the American Security Project report, said in an interview. “The intelligence community, CIA, (military) commanders, they’re all looking at these issues.”

Former Republican Sen. John Warner, a longtime chairman of the Armed Services Committee and a close ally of the military, has been touring the country to talk about climate change and national security.

“We are talking about energy insecurity, water and food shortages, and climate-driven social instability,” says Warner. “We ignore these threats at the peril of our national security and at great risk to those in uniform.”


Holder To GOP: We’re Simply Doing What Bush Did

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

Holder To GOP: We’re Simply Doing What Bush Did
In a letter to Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Attorney General Eric Holder is continuing the push back against GOP attacks on the Obama Administration’s decision to handle Umar Abdulmutallab in American courts.


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McCain Again Cites Bogus Abdulmutallab ‘One-Way’ Ticket Meme (VIDEO)
McCain, the third-ranking Republican on the Homeland Security Committee, again claimed that the “fact” that Umar Abdulmutallab was traveling on a one-way ticket should have been a red flag — even though he had been corrected on the same bogus point two weeks ago.


Mary Worthless’ True Nursing Home Tales

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 5th, 2010 5:41 am by HL

Mary Worthless’ True Nursing Home Tales


Democrats Have a Big Problem in Illinois

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

Democrats Have a Big Problem in Illinois
It turns out that Scott Lee Cohen (D), the Democratic nominee for Lt. Governor in Illinois, has bigger problems that were reported yesterday.

In an extraordinary interview with the local CBS news affiliate, we learn Cohen’s own brother sued him for $200,000, he tried to choke his wife before they were married and he didn’t pay child support while spending $3 million on his primary race.

In an interview with the ABC News affiliate, Cohen also admitted to using “inject-able steroids” which “contributed to periodic episodes of violence against his family.”

As for the allegations that he pulled a knife on his prostitute ex-girlfriend, Cohen claims the wounds on her throat were “self-inflicted.”

Arch Pundit: “Dude is like Jack Ryan meets Blair Hull meets Charlie Sheen.”


Americans Are Learning Medicine the Cuban Way

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

Americans Are Learning Medicine the Cuban Way
The Bay Area is a hub for new doctors who want to practice family medicine and help the poor, yet had to leave the country to learn how to do it.

The Bay Area is a hub for new doctors who want to practice family medicine and help the poor, yet had to leave the country to learn how to do it.

White "Savior-Afflicted" Christians, Black Haitian Babies: This Won’t End Well
Would the Baptists accused of taking Haitian kids out of the country illegally have tried to pull this off in a predominantly white country? Doubtful.

Would the Baptists accused of taking Haitian kids out of the country illegally have tried to pull this off in a predominantly white country? Doubtful.

Medicaid is Failing, and Nothing Short of Health-Care Reform Can Fix It
Poor children are losing their government-funded health-care at a record rate, thanks to the stalled health-care reform bill.

Poor children are losing their government-funded health-care at a record rate, thanks to the stalled health-care reform bill.

Fury at Wall St. Banks Fuels Public Action for Move Your Money Campaign
The banking behemoths have used our dollars to destroy our economy. The Move Your Money campaign says we don’t have to wait for financial reform to fight back.

The banking behemoths have used our dollars to destroy our economy. The Move Your Money campaign says we don't have to wait for financial reform to fight back.


Dershowitz Justifies Killing Goldstone; Siegman Says Israel Practices Apartheid

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

Dershowitz Justifies Killing Goldstone; Siegman Says Israel Practices Apartheid
UPDATE: In an interview, Alan Dershowitz, the Harvard law professor, seems to justify the assassination of Judge Richard Goldstone for writing the UN report on Gaza. He calls Goldstone, a “moser,” which is a term reserved for Jews who inform…


Ehud BarakIsraelAmerican Jewish CongressMiddle EastDefense Minister of Israel

How’s That Counter-Terror Debate Working Out?
God bless my fellow Democracy Arsenal blogger Adam Blickstein, who is on the case, right on the ball. He’s there at every turn, exposing the deceit, hysteria and all-around ridiculousness of the opposition’s fear-mongering. Adam and others have built up…


Democracy ArsenalUnited StatesAdam BlicksteinWarfare and ConflictWar on Terrorism


McCain On DADT: ?I Will Be Glad To Listen To The Views Of Military Leaders?

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

McCain On DADT: ?I Will Be Glad To Listen To The Views Of Military Leaders?
In October 2006, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) said that “the day that the leadership of the military comes to” and says the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy “ought to change,” he would “seriously” consider changing it. In an interview with the Washington Blade in 2008, he said he would “defer to our military commanders” […]

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) talks to Adm. Michael Mullen.In October 2006, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) said that “the day that the leadership of the military comes to” and says the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy “ought to change,” he would “seriously” consider changing it. In an interview with the Washington Blade in 2008, he said he would “defer to our military commanders” on the issue.

But in a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Tuesday, McCain bristled when the Pentagon’s top military and civilian leaders, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Adm. Mike Mullen and Defense Secretary Robert Gates, announced they were in favor of overturning the policy. “I’m happy to say we still have a Congress of the United States that would have to pass a law to repeal ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’, despite your efforts to repeal it in many respects by fiat,” said McCain.

In an interview on Bill Bennett’s radio show today, McCain claimed “the policy is working” and repeated his opposition to repealing, but claimed that he would “be glad to listen to the views of military leaders”:

MCCAIN: Look, the policy is working. I talk to military all the time. I have a lot of contact with them. The policy is working and the president made a commitment in his campaign that he would reverse it and the president then made the announcement that wants it reversed. And it is a law. It has to be changed. So Admiral Mullen said, speaking for himself only, he thought it ought to be reversed and of course Secretary Gates said that. I do not. I do not know what the other military leadership wants. I know that I have a letter signed by over a thousand retired admirals and generals that said they don’t want it reversed. And so, I will be glad to listen to the views of military leaders. I always have. But I’m not changing my position in support of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell unless there is the significant support for the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. And I would remind you that we’re in two wars. You know that and our listeners know that. And do we need, don’t we need a serious assessment of the effect on morale or battle and combat effectiveness before we go forward with a reversal in a campaigning, carrying out an Obama campaign.

Listen here:

On Fox News last night, McCain also said that he was hoping “to get the opinion from our military leadership,’ saying that “If they can show me the evidence that it needs to be changed, obviously, then I would give that serious consideration.” McCain says that he has “respect” for Mullen’s view, but he dismisses it as simply an “individual opinion.”

But McCain has previously said that the “individual opinion” of military leaders for whom he has “respect” influenced his views on military policy. In June 2009, he told Ana Marie Cox that he originally supported the policy because General Colin Powell had “strongly recommended” it and he hadn’t “heard General Powell or any of the other military leaders reverse their position.” Powell released a statement yesterday saying he now opposes the continuation of DADT because “attitudes and circumstances have changed.”

So basically, McCain is willing to “listen” to military leaders on DADT — he’s just not going to let their expert opinions get in the way of what he already thinks.

Transcript:

BENNETT: You, you know, we’re very proud of you for a lot of reasons, but not least your lonely vigil the other day — it looked to me lonely — on the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, you were strong, you were tough and looked to me to be pretty much by yourself. I know a lot of Americans are with you, but what’s the story with the Senate?

MCCAIN: Well, I, there are members who obviously agree with me, but look, the policy is working. I talk to military all the time. I have a lot of contact with them. The policy is working and the president made a commitment in his campaign that he would reverse it and the president then made the announcement that wants it reversed. And it is a law. It has to be changed.

BENNETT: Yes.

MCCAIN: So Admiral Mullen said, speaking for himself only, he thought it ought to be reversed and of course Secretary Gates said that. I do not. I do not know what the other military leadership wants. I know that I have a letter signed by over a thousand retired admirals and generals that said they don’t want it reversed. And so, I will be glad to listen to the views of military leaders. I always have. But I’m not changing my position in support of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell unless there is the significant support for the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. And I would remind you that we’re in two wars. You know that and our listeners know that. And do we need, don’t we need a serious assessment of the effect on morale or battle and combat effectiveness before we go forward with a reversal in a campaigning, carrying out an Obama campaign pledge.

BENNETT: Yeah, let me ask you quickly. Some things I want to get to too. Gay serve in the military now, but you know, don’t ask, don’t tell, keep your mouth shut. Keep, mind your own business.

MCCAIN: They’re not precluded from serving in the military and…say that they have.

BENNETT: Right. But what changes?

MCCAIN: And what this would do, would obviously have openly gay individuals serving and that could, I want to emphasize could, in the view of many have an effect on both retention, re-enlistment and morale. And there was a Military Times, Army Times, Navy Times, Marine Corp Times survey that showed there was significant resistance to repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell within the ranks of the military. So we need to carefully examine this before we take any action in my view on a policy that is working.

BENNETT: Yeah.

Hatch blasts ?liberal groups? for ?misconstruing? his position on DADT: ‘I certainly do not support repeal.’
Yesterday, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) surprised many by suggesting that he was open to repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT). Explaining that he saw both sides of the issue, Hatch told MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell that he “believe[d] there are very outstanding, patriotic gay people who serve in the military. … And they shouldn’t have to […]

zzhatchYesterday, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) surprised many by suggesting that he was open to repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT). Explaining that he saw both sides of the issue, Hatch told MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell that he “believe[d] there are very outstanding, patriotic gay people who serve in the military. … And they shouldn’t have to lie about being gay.” When Mitchell asked whether he would vote for repeal, Hatch left the door open, saying, “Well I don’t know about that, I’d have to look at it.” His comments were quickly picked up by liberal and pro-gay rights blogs, leading some to speculate that this “significant development” meant there was more support for repealing DADT in the Senate than previously thought. But today, Hatch made clear that he does not support repeal and attacked “liberal groups” for “misconstruing” his position:

It’s deeply regrettable that liberal groups are misconstruing my position on ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ for activist purposes. I certainly do not support repealing this policy,” Hatch’s statement on Thursday said. […]

“What I said was that I want to see Adm. Mullen’s report. This is a controversial issue with inflamed passions on both sides,” Hatch said.

“Over the years, the views of the military officers and experts, whom I respect, have said that repealing ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ would make life for our troops more difficult — especially as our armed forces wage a global war on terrorism,” Hatch said.

(HT: FDL)


NAACP gives Reid an A in latest report card on Congress

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

NAACP gives Reid an A in latest report card on Congress
Despite being at the center of a racial firestorm last month, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid scored an A on the latest report card from the NAACP.

Pentagon to stock health facilities with morning-after pill
The Department of Defense will begin making the morning-after pill Plan B available at all of its hospitals and health clinics around the world, officials announced Thursday.

Tea Party convention begins in Nashville
NASHVILLE — The grass-roots movement that exploded across the nation last year in revolt against President Obama’s economic policies and health-care agenda reached a critical milestone Thursday as hundreds of conservative activists converged here for the start of the inaugural National Tea Party…


Republican lawmaker’s budget plan gets Obama’s attention
Rep. Paul D. Ryan says he is determined to make sure the Republican Party is viewed as “the alternative party, not the opposition party.”