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Archive for February 12th, 2010

Poll Shows Americans’ Dissatisfaction with Gov’t, Doubts About Palin

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 12th, 2010 5:48 am by HL

Poll Shows Americans’ Dissatisfaction with Gov’t, Doubts About Palin
Do Americans really get what the tea party movement is about? Did Sarah Palin’s performance at last weekend’s inaugural Tea Party Convention in Nashville help or hurt her standing among her fans and would-be supporters? These may not be questions that keep us all up at night, especially in these hard times—but hey, that’s what pollsters are for. Seems like the answers to both of our questions here would tend toward the negative, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. What’s more, the poll’s results suggest that over half of the country is quite displeased with the way the federal government is currently operating. Just bad news all around for Washington types of all stripes, in other words, but the former Alaska governor seemed to take a particular hit in terms of her public image. Note to Palin: Consider using a teleprompter, perhaps?  —KA The Washington Post: The opening is clear: Public dissatisfaction with how Washington operates is at its highest level in Post-ABC polling in more than a decade—since the months after the Republican-led government shutdown in 1996—and negative ratings of the two major parties hover near record highs. […] Although Palin is a tea party favorite, her potential as a presidential hopeful takes a severe hit in the survey. Fifty-five percent of Americans have unfavorable views of her, while the percentage holding favorable views has dipped to 37, a new low in Post-ABC polling. There is a growing sense that the former Alaska governor is not qualified to serve as president, with more than seven in 10 Americans now saying she is unqualified, up from 60 percent in a November survey. Even among Republicans, a majority now say Palin lacks the qualifications necessary for the White House. Palin has lost ground among conservative Republicans, who would be crucial to her hopes if she seeks the party’s presidential nomination in 2012. Forty-five percent of conservatives now consider her as qualified for the presidency, down sharply from 66 percent who said so last fall. Read more

Do Americans really get what the tea party movement is about? Did Sarah Palin’s performance at last weekend’s inaugural Tea Party Convention in Nashville help or hurt her standing among her fans and would-be supporters? These may not be questions that keep us all up at night, especially in these hard times—but hey, that’s what pollsters are for.

Seems like the answers to both of our questions here would tend toward the negative, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. What’s more, the poll’s results suggest that over half of the country is quite displeased with the way the federal government is currently operating. Just bad news all around for Washington types of all stripes, in other words, but the former Alaska governor seemed to take a particular hit in terms of her public image. Note to Palin: Consider using a teleprompter, perhaps?? —KA

The Washington Post:

The opening is clear: Public dissatisfaction with how Washington operates is at its highest level in Post-ABC polling in more than a decade—since the months after the Republican-led government shutdown in 1996—and negative ratings of the two major parties hover near record highs.

[…] Although Palin is a tea party favorite, her potential as a presidential hopeful takes a severe hit in the survey. Fifty-five percent of Americans have unfavorable views of her, while the percentage holding favorable views has dipped to 37, a new low in Post-ABC polling.

There is a growing sense that the former Alaska governor is not qualified to serve as president, with more than seven in 10 Americans now saying she is unqualified, up from 60 percent in a November survey. Even among Republicans, a majority now say Palin lacks the qualifications necessary for the White House.

Palin has lost ground among conservative Republicans, who would be crucial to her hopes if she seeks the party’s presidential nomination in 2012. Forty-five percent of conservatives now consider her as qualified for the presidency, down sharply from 66 percent who said so last fall.

Read more

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Bill Clinton Hospital Release Expected Day After Heart Surgery

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 12th, 2010 5:47 am by HL

Bill Clinton Hospital Release Expected Day After Heart Surgery
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Patrick Kennedy WILL NOT RUN: No Re-Election Race For Ted Kennedy’s Son In Rhode Island
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Carol Smaldino: Shades of Praise and Prejudice for the Movie Precious
I liked the film “Precious,” and I think it’s worth talking about. Any work of art, film, or music that provokes deeper awareness of our differences and similarities, can make a dent in the usual lack of dialogue.


Quick Fact: Limbaugh wields CRA myth as a weapon against Dems

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 12th, 2010 5:46 am by HL

Quick Fact: Limbaugh wields CRA myth as a weapon against Dems

During his February 11 radio program, Rush Limbaugh advanced the right-wing myth that the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) “was used by ACORN and their allies to wreck the housing market by wrecking the mortgage market” and thus caused the financial crisis. Limbaugh later added: “Obama still supports the very thing that caused the sub-prime mortgage crisis in the first place. ACORN still supports it. [Rep.] Barney Frank and [Sen.] Chris Dodd, both of whom should be sharing a cell with Bernie Madoff, still support it”

From the February 11 broadcast of Premiere Radio Networks’ The Rush Limbaugh Show:

LIMBAUGH: So what exactly, I need to ask, what exactly did the Republicans do to reduce regulations? Honestly. What specifically did they do that eliminated key regulation that would have prevented the housing collapse. Specifics please. They can sit around here and they can blame Bush and blame the Republicans all they want but I want to know what the Republicans did. Because the truth of the matter is, they did it.

The Community Reinvestment Act was hatched by Carter, it was expanded by Bill Clinton, it was used by ACORN and their allies to wreck the housing market by wrecking the mortgage market by demanding that mortgages be given to people who could no way pay them back. Ergo the sub-prime mortgage crisis. It was called affordable housing and it was designed to wreck the whole system. AIG and the rest, I mean the- I meant I’m not I don’t defend AIG, but they were treating loans derivatives, if you will, that was based fundamentally on loans created by liberal policies.

[…]

Meanwhile, in case you don’t know it, Obama still has not killed the Community Reinvestment Act. Obama still supports it. Obama still supports the very thing that caused the sub-prime mortgage crisis in the first place. ACORN still supports it. Barney Frank and Chris Dodd, both of whom should be sharing a cell with Bernie Madoff, still support it. So let me challenge. They’re not going to come on this program and debate me. I know they’re not going to do that on healthcare. Let me challenge them again. Obama and the Democrats, eliminate the Community Reinvestment Act and all laws that compel banks to make loans to poor people who can’t afford them.

Fact: Experts say CRA did not contribute to financial crisis “in any substantive way”

Bernanke: Experience “runs counter to the charge that CRA was at the root of, or otherwise contributed in any substantive way to, the current mortgage difficulties.” In a November 25, 2008, letter, Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke stated: “Our own experience with CRA over more than 30 years and recent analysis of available data, including data on subprime loan performance, runs counter to the charge that CRA was at the root of, or otherwise contributed in any substantive way to, the current mortgage difficulties.”

Most subprime mortgages not issued by institutions under CRA. In a speech criticized efforts to blame CRA lending for weaknesses in the mortgage market, article, Daniel Gross, a business columnist for Newsweek and author of Dumb Money: How Our Greatest Financial Minds Bankrupted the Nation, criticized the notion that affordable housing initiatives caused the financial crisis, writing that “the notion that the Community Reinvestment Act is somehow responsible for poor lending decisions is absurd” and that “lending money to poor people and minorities isn’t inherently risky. There’s plenty of evidence that in fact it’s not that risky at all.” Gross further explained, “On the other hand, lending money recklessly to obscenely rich white guys … can be really risky. In fact, it’s even more risky, since they have a lot more borrowing capacity.”

Fact: Since 2008, Limbaugh has repeatedly parroted debunked CRA claim

Following the aftermath of the financial crisis in 2008, Rush Limbaugh has frequently used his radio show — and on one occasion The Jay Leno Show — as a platform to make the false claim that the CRA and affordable housing led to the subprime mortgage crisis.


Yoo: Je Ne Regrette Rien

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 12th, 2010 5:45 am by HL

Yoo: Je Ne Regrette Rien
Asked at an event whether he would have done anything differently with regard to the torture memos he wrote, John Yoo said no, but that he would have been sure to “say nice things about everyone, I guess,” according to a corespondent.

Lawsuit: Blackwater Put Filipino Prostitute On Government Tab
A lawsuit filed by two former employees of Blackwater charges that controversial security contractor defrauded the U.S. government, including charging it for strippers and prostitutes, the New York Times reports.


Sarah Palin: Sheena of the Bungle

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 12th, 2010 5:40 am by HL

Sarah Palin: Sheena of the Bungle


Kennedy On What’s Next

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 12th, 2010 5:39 am by HL

Kennedy On What’s Next
Rhode Island Monthly has an exclusive interview with Rep. Patrick Kennedy (R-RI) explaining the reasons why he decided not to run for re-election and what he plans to do next.

“If Ted Kennedy was Patrick’s model for his public life, his aunt, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, is the model for what comes next. As a private citizen, she leveraged the family name to found and promote the Special Olympics, now a worldwide organization.”

Said Kennedy: “It’s our family’s biggest legacy. I’m awed by it.”

Buddy TV
Ironically it was former Providence Mayor Buddy Cianci — who was mulling a challenge to Rep. Patrick Kennedy — who actually first broke the news on Rhode Island television that Kennedy would retire.

Perry, White Hold Big Leads in Texas
A new University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll finds Gov. Rick Perry (R) well ahead of Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R) and Debra Medina (R), who are locked in a statistical tie for second place in a GOP gubernatorial primary that could go to a runoff.

Perry leads with 45% — still short of the 50% needed to avoid a runoff — followed by Hutchison at 21% and Medina at 19%.

In the Democratic primary race, Bill White (D) has a huge lead over his next closest challenger, Farouk Shami (D), 50% to 11%.


Why Does Everyone Obsess Over the Tea Party Yahoos?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 12th, 2010 5:38 am by HL

Why Does Everyone Obsess Over the Tea Party Yahoos?
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Zinn-ophobia at NPR
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5 Ways to Have Better Sex
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What Tea Partiers Do — and What They Should Do

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 12th, 2010 5:37 am by HL

What Tea Partiers Do — and What They Should Do
I don’t see why Tea Party Patriots in Nashville paid Sarah Palin $100,000 for a keynote last week when, for no more than the love of country, they could have honored me, a living witness to the Boston Tea Party…


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Dershowitz Under Siege
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Tennessee Mosque Vandalized After Local TV Station Airs Irresponsible Report On ?Homegrown Jihad?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 12th, 2010 5:36 am by HL

Tennessee Mosque Vandalized After Local TV Station Airs Irresponsible Report On ?Homegrown Jihad?
Last year, the right-wing Christian Action Network and PRB films produced a “documentary” called “Homegrown Jihad: The Terrorist Camps Around U.S.” It claims to expose 35 “Islamic terrorist training compounds” devoted to “radical Pakistani cleric, Sheikh Mubarak Gilani.” (Watch the trailer here.) In February 2009, CBS News reviewed the film and dismissed it as […]

Inside Islamville Last year, the right-wing Christian Action Network and PRB films produced a “documentary” called “Homegrown Jihad: The Terrorist Camps Around U.S.” It claims to expose 35 “Islamic terrorist training compounds” devoted to “radical Pakistani cleric, Sheikh Mubarak Gilani.” (Watch the trailer here.) In February 2009, CBS News reviewed the film and dismissed it as nothing more than “sensationalistic” fear-mongering:

Officials describe the film to CBS News as “sensationalistic” and without any real foundation. According to one official, it is strictly designed to upset and inflame people and does not present a true picture of any so-called “homegrown Jihad” danger. No current intelligence exists to suggest any threat connected with this group, which officials describe as “wannabes” and not terrorists.

Nevertheless, a year later, the Nashville CBS affiliate (Channel 5) decided to give the film legitimacy by conducting an “EXCLUSIVE” investigation into a Muslim community in rural Tennessee called Islamville, which is featured in the movie. “Some believe it is a secret Islamic terrorist training camp,” reads the Channel 5 article. “Others have said that’s simply not true. In a NewsChannel 5 Exclusive Special Report, Nick Beres went looking for the truth.”

What Beres found was a quiet community that willingly allowed him onto their property, although he made sure to point out that it’s built in “a clearing of trees” and is “very remote.” One person even joined Beres and Stewart County Sheriff John Vinson — who has said that there is no terrorist activity going on in Islamville — to show them around. What Channel 5 found:

Frankly, there was not much to see. … There are single and double-wide trailers along with a few houses and a tent for the 40 or so people who live there. … We saw children out playing. Driving, we saw a couple more youngsters walking home, and two women running. Others, we learned, were off working jobs in Dover and even Nashville. There is a mosque in the middle of the village, and they allowed us inside for a look around. It’s a place of prayer, five times of day, and Sheriff Vinson believes that is the focus of what they do: pray, not train terrorists.

Beres added that he didn’t go in every building, but they saw every corner of the community from the ground and the air and saw no evidence of terrorist activities. Nevertheless, that didn’t stop the station from airing a twopart report and lending credibility to the dangerous claims of “Homegrown Jihad.” Watch Part II of Channel 5’s report:

Just a week after Channel 5’s reports aired, the Al-Farooq Islamic Center in Nashville has been vandalized with anti-Muslim graffiti:

Vandalism in Islamville

The Nashville City Paper also reports that members of the mostly Somali congregation found a handwritten note “taped to the outside of their youth training building a few blocks away,” with the words “The Enemy Is Islam” underlined at the top. The note “was filled with statements tying Muslims to Satan and the downfall of Western nations.” Salaad Nur, a spokesman for the mosque, pointed to the recent Channel 5 report as a possible catalyst for the hate crime:

“It’s unexpected,” he adds. “The only thing I can think of is the sensationalized reporting [by Channel 5] over Sunday and Monday. That’s the only thing I can think of. Even after 9/11 we have never had any vandalism.

Since the vandalism yesterday, Channel 5 has mentioned the crime several times, but only briefly as part of its news round-ups. Where’s the two-part series on this incident? (HT: @agolis)


Dodd, Corker to work together on financial reform

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 12th, 2010 5:35 am by HL

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