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Archive for February 17th, 2010

Greece’s Dysfunctional Economy [A Cartoon From Slovakia]

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 17th, 2010 5:48 am by HL

Greece’s Dysfunctional Economy [A Cartoon From Slovakia]

By Martin Sutovec, Slovakia

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Tim Kaine Details Lessons Learned From Coakley Loss, Talks Mid-Term Election Strategy (VIDEO)

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 17th, 2010 5:47 am by HL

Tim Kaine Details Lessons Learned From Coakley Loss, Talks Mid-Term Election Strategy (VIDEO)
Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine appeared on The Rachel Maddow Show Tuesday to talk about the party’s strategy for the midterm elections. He predicted…

Microsoft, Dell Prepare To Fight Tax Increase
Software and computer companies such as Microsoft Corp., Hewlett-Packard Co. and Dell Inc. are gearing up to fight an Obama administration plan to curb offshore…

Richard (RJ) Eskow: Wall Street and GOP Senators: 8-Ball in the Side Pocket
The party that’s benefiting most from anti-bank “Tea Party” rage — and is organizing it — turns out to the party that is most willing to let the banks do whatever they want, regardless of the risks.

Norm Stamper: McCain and the Flip-Flops
“I don’t know, Senator,” says John McCain’s assistant. “There’s no return address. Just a Phoenix postmark.” “The bastard.” “J.D.?” “Who else?” McCain holds up one…


Fox News twists words of climate scientist Phil Jones in its continued assault on global warming theory

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 17th, 2010 5:46 am by HL

Fox News twists words of climate scientist Phil Jones in its continued assault on global warming theory

Following a February 13 BBC Q&A with Phil Jones, director of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, Fox News’ Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Stuart Varney and Fox & Friends have distorted Jones’ comments to suggest that they undermine the consensus that human activities are contributing to warming global temperatures.

Varney, Hannity, Beck misrepresent Jones’ comments on extent of Medieval Warm Period

Varney: Jones “says that the middle ages were warmer than they are – than the climate now.” From the February 16 edition of Fox News’ America’s Newsroom:

VARNEY: The story here, Alisyn, is that the conventional wisdom of the last generation is now in doubt. The man-made global warming theory has been seriously challenged. You mentioned Professor Jones, he’s the man who created and organized much of the data that went into the UN’s climate panel in Copenhagen. Three things on that issue there. Number one, he now says that the middle ages were warmer than they are – than the climate now, the temperature now. How did that happen way before industrialization? Number two, as you said Alisyn, there’s been no appreciable warming in the last 15 years. Why not? It was supposed to happen.

Hannity: Jones said “the world may have been warmer in Medieval Times, that is to say up until now, which would undermine the theory of this manmade global warming all together.” From the February 15 edition of Hannity:

HANNITY: And tonight’s “Meltdown” is brought to you by Phil Jones, the scientist at the center of the ClimateGate scandal. Believe it or not, the scandal is bigger than you think.

Now keep in mind that Jones’ findings have been used for years to bolster the U.N.’s findings on climate change. Now, in an interview with the BBC over the weekend Jones admitted that there has been no statistically significant warming since 1995, that the world may have been warmer in Medieval Times, that is to say up until now, which would undermine the theory of this manmade global warming all together. And that warming in recent times mirrors warming patterns from pre-industrial periods.

Beck: Jones said “to quote, obviously, the late 20th century was not unprecedented.” From the February 15 edition of Fox News’ Glenn Beck:

BECK: Phil Jones admits, yes, no real consensus on this one. Too much debate on whether an event known as the medieval warming period, yes, was global in nature and hotter than it is like right now.

So, to quote, obviously, the late 20th century was not unprecedented. Oh, good.

In fact, Jones said available data is insufficient to establish that Medieval Warm Period was “global in extent.”

Jones: Insufficient data available to determine “whether the Medieval Warm Period was global in extent.” During his Q&A with BBC, Jones stated that “[t]here is much debate over whether the Medieval Warm Period [MWP] was global in extent or not” and that “[f]or it to be global in extent the MWP would need to be seen clearly in more records from the tropical regions and the Southern Hemisphere. There are very few palaeoclimatic records for these latter two regions.” Jones further said, “We know from the instrumental temperature record that the two hemispheres do not always follow one another. We cannot, therefore, make the assumption that temperatures in the global average will be similar to those in the northern hemisphere.” From the Q&A:

[BBC:] G – There is a debate over whether the Medieval Warm Period (MWP) was global or not. If it were to be conclusively shown that it was a global phenomenon, would you accept that this would undermine the premise that mean surface atmospheric temperatures during the latter part of the 20th Century were unprecedented?

[JONES:] There is much debate over whether the Medieval Warm Period was global in extent or not. The MWP is most clearly expressed in parts of North America, the North Atlantic and Europe and parts of Asia. For it to be global in extent the MWP would need to be seen clearly in more records from the tropical regions and the Southern Hemisphere. There are very few palaeoclimatic records for these latter two regions.

Of course, if the MWP was shown to be global in extent and as warm or warmer than today (based on an equivalent coverage over the NH and SH) then obviously the late-20th century warmth would not be unprecedented. On the other hand, if the MWP was global, but was less warm that today, then current warmth would be unprecedented.

We know from the instrumental temperature record that the two hemispheres do not always follow one another. We cannot, therefore, make the assumption that temperatures in the global average will be similar to those in the northern hemisphere.

IPCC report similarly notes that Medieval Warm Period data is insufficient. Contrary to the suggestion that Jones’ remarks about the Medieval Warm Period are a new admission by climate scientists, Jones’ statement is “fully consistent with the conclusions of the most recent IPCC report,” as RealClimate.org IPCC report: [emphasis added]

In order to reduce the uncertainty, further work is necessary to update existing records, many of which were assembled up to 20 years ago, and to produce many more, especially early, palaeoclimate series with much wider geographic coverage. There are far from sufficient data to make any meaningful estimates of global medieval warmth (Figure 6.11). There are very few long records with high temporal resolution data from the oceans, the tropics or the SH [Southern Hemisphere].

The evidence currently available indicates that NH mean temperatures during medieval times (950-1100) were indeed warm in a 2-kyr context and even warmer in relation to the less sparse but still limited evidence of widespread average cool conditions in the 17th century (Osborn and Briffa, 2006). However, the evidence is not sufficient to support a conclusion that hemispheric mean temperatures were as warm, or the extent of warm regions as expansive, as those in the 20th century as a whole, during any period in medieval times (Jones et al., 2001; Bradley et al., 2003a,b; Osborn and Briffa, 2006).

Jones said that if the Medieval Warm Period “was shown to be global in extent … then obviously the late 20-th century warmth would not be unprecedented.” Contrary to Beck’s claim that Jones said, “to quote, obviously, the late 20th century was not unprecedented,” Jones stated during the Q&A that “if the MWP was shown to be global in extent and as warm or warmer than today (based on an equivalent coverage over the [Northern Hemisphere] and [Southern Hemisphere]) then obviously the late-20th century warmth would not be unprecedented.” He also stated that “[f]or it to be global in extent the MWP would need to be seen clearly in more records from the tropical regions and the Southern Hemisphere” and that “we cannot … make the assumption that temperatures in the global average will be similar to those in the northern hemisphere.”

Beck and Hannity claim Jones said warming in the late 20th century is “not unique,”‘ “mirrors warming patterns from pre-industrial periods”

From the February 15 edition of Fox News’ Glenn Beck:

BECK: Central figure of the leaked e-mail scandal known by some who actually read papers that report the truth – climate-gate. Along with his admissions now in an interview with the right wing organization, the BBC, this is what he said. The rate of warming in the late 20th century not unique. What? Really?

Yes, he goes on to say, “Yeah, it happened two other times in the past 150 years alone. Almost had you.” Between 1860 and 1880, and then again 1910 to 1940, started to heat up and then it went down again. That seemed to work itself out. Oh by the way, those were both far before anybody had an SUV or there was a significant impact from man-made emissions.

From the February 15 edition of Hannity:

HANNITY: Now keep in mind that Jones’ findings have been used for years to bolster the U.N.’s findings on climate change. Now, in an interview with the BBC over the weekend Jones admitted that there has been no statistically significant warming since 1995, that the world may have been warmer in Medieval Times, that is to say up until now, which would undermine the theory of this manmade global warming all together. And that warming in recent times mirrors warming patterns from pre-industrial periods.

In fact, Jones said explanation of recent warming differs from previous warming periods

Jones: Cause of previous warming periods differs from “recent warming” which is “predominantly manmade.” During his Q&A with BBC, Jones stated that “the warming rates” of previous warming periods after 1860 are “similar and not statistically significantly different” from the most recent warming period. Jones was later asked, “If you agree that there were similar periods of warming since 1850 to the current period, and that the MWP is under debate, what factors convince you that recent warming has been largely man-made?” Jones responded, “The fact that we can’t explain the warming from the 1950s by solar and volcanic forcing.” He further stated that it would not be reasonable to conclude that “recent warming is not predominately manmade” from the evidence that there have been previous periods of warming since 1850. From the Q&A:

[BBC:] D – Do you agree that natural influences could have contributed significantly to the global warming observed from 1975-1998, and, if so, please could you specify each natural influence and express its radiative forcing over the period in Watts per square metre.

[JONES:] This area is slightly outside my area of expertise. When considering changes over this period we need to consider all possible factors (so human and natural influences as well as natural internal variability of the climate system). Natural influences (from volcanoes and the Sun) over this period could have contributed to the change over this period. Volcanic influences from the two large eruptions (El Chichon in 1982 and Pinatubo in 1991) would exert a negative influence. Solar influence was about flat over this period. Combining only these two natural influences, therefore, we might have expected some cooling over this period.

[…]

[BBC:] H – If you agree that there were similar periods of warming since 1850 to the current period, and that the MWP is under debate, what factors convince you that recent warming has been largely man-made?

[JONES:] The fact that we can’t explain the warming from the 1950s by solar and volcanic forcing – see my answer to your question D.

[BBC:] I – Would it be reasonable looking at the same scientific evidence to take the view that recent warming is not predominantly manmade?

[JONES:] No – see again my answer to D.

Beck:  Jones “says” planet is “cooling in the last few years”

From the February 16 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends:

DOOCY: Let’s talk real quickly. There’s a report out of the British tabloids — newspapers yesterday that said that apparently Phil Jones is a professor over in England who has been overseeing a lot of this data and in fact is famous for the so-called hockey stick chart that shows that the earth has got a fever. Apparently he doesn’t actually have the paperwork that supports it, and there’s been no global warming for apparently 15 years.

BECK: 15 years. And it’s now cooling. He says it’s cooling in the last few years. I mean, I don’t know why anyone believes this, but you’ll notice that all of the supporters will all say, well it doesn’t matter anyway. It doesn’t matter anyway. If this was truly about science, especially at this critical time in our economic history, we’d be saying whoa, whoa whoa. We’d be doing what India’s doing. Back off. Wait a minute, wait a minute. This whole thing is falling apart. We’re not going to do this.

In fact, Jones said there has not been statistically significant cooling in recent years

Jones: Cooling trend “is not statistically significant.” During his Q&A with BBC, Jones stated that from 1995-2009, there has been a positive warming trend that is “not significant at the 97% significance level.” When asked, “Do you agree that from January 2002 to the present there has been statistically significant cooling?” Jones stated, “No,” adding that a cooling trend during this period “is not statistically significant.” From the Q&A:

[BBC:] B – Do you agree that from 1995 to the present there has been no statistically-significant global warming

[JONES:] Yes, but only just. I also calculated the trend for the period 1995 to 2009. This trend (0.12C per decade) is positive, but not significant at the 95% significance level. The positive trend is quite close to the significance level. Achieving statistical significance in scientific terms is much more likely for longer periods, and much less likely for shorter periods.

[BBC:] C – Do you agree that from January 2002 to the present there has been statistically significant global cooling?

[JONES:] No. This period is even shorter than 1995-2009. The trend this time is negative (-0.12C per decade), but this trend is not statistically significant.

Fox & Friends claimed Jones “Hints ‘warming’ may not be man made”

The following on-screen text aired during a February 16 Fox & Friends discussion of Jones’ comments:

Fox & Friends screen grab

In fact, Jones cited “evidence that most of the warming since the 1950s is due to human activity.”

Jones: “[T]here’s evidence that most of the warming since the 1950s is due to human activity.” Jones was asked by BBC, “How confident are you that warming has taken place and that humans are mainly responsible?” Jones stated that “I’m 100% confident that the climate has warmed” and that “I would go along with IPCC Chapter 9 – there’s evidence that most of the warming since the 1950s is due to human activity.” As noted above, Jones also stated that “[t]he fact that we can’t explain the warming from the 1950s by solar and volcanic forcing” indicates that recent warming is man-made. From the Q&A:

[BBC:] E – How confident are you that warming has taken place and that humans are mainly responsible?

[JONES:] I’m 100% confident that the climate has warmed. As to the second question, I would go along with IPCC Chapter 9 – there’s evidence that most of the warming since the 1950s is due to human activity.

Beck and Hannity suggest Jones’ statement that warming since 1995 is not statistically significant is an “admission” that undermines man-made global warming theory

From the February 15 edition of Fox News’ Glenn Beck:

BECK: Jones admits that there has been no significant warming since 1995, no statistically significant warming since 1995. Just doing the math in my head – that’s 15 years. Fifteen years – that’s weird.

Doesn’t it go all the way back to when Al Gore was just a dull vice president and not a dull atmospheric scientist slash Nobel Prize- winning slash climate profiteer? Yes, I think it does – 1995.

[…]

BECK: The warming – not unprecedented. No significant warming since 1995. Is this the head of the global warming alarmist or a right wing think-tank? I’m not sure. After everything else that has happened lately, if this really was about science and we’re really in a debt and the problems we’re in now, wouldn’t you already say, “Whew, we don’t have to spend that money”?

From the February 15 edition of Hannity:

HANNITY: Now keep in mind that Jones’ findings have been used for years to bolster the U.N.’s findings on climate change. In an interview with the BBC over the weekend Jones admitted that there has been no statistically significant warming since 1995, that the world may have been warmer in Medieval Times, that is to say up until now, which would undermine the theory of this manmade global warming all together. And that warming in recent times mirrors warming patterns from pre-industrial periods.

In fact, longer-term data establishes warming trend

Jones: “Achieving statistical significance in scientific terms” is “less likely for shorter periods.” When asked, “Do you agree that from 1995 to the present there has been no statistically-significant global warming,” Jones stated:

Yes, but only just. I also calculated the trend for the period 1995 to 2009. This trend (0.12C per decade) is positive, but not significant at the 95% significance level. The positive trend is quite close to the significance level. Achieving statistical significance in scientific terms is much more likely for longer periods, and much less likely for shorter periods.

RealClimate.org: “It is extremely difficult to establish a statistically significant trend over a timer interval as short as 15 years.” In a February 15 post, RealClimate.org’s staff, which is comprised of several working climate scientists, similarly stated that “it is extremely difficult to establish a statistically significant trend over a timer interval as short as 15 years.”

Met Office: Climate shows “continued variability, but an underlying trend of warming in the previously steady long-term averages.” The Met Office states: “In 1998 the world experienced the warmest year since records began. In the decade since, however, this high point has not been surpassed. Some have seized on this as evidence that global warming has stopped, or even that we have entered a period of ‘global cooling’. This is far from the truth and climate scientists have, in fact, recognised that a temporary slowdown in warming is possible even under increasing levels of greenhouse gas emissions.” [Met Office, accessed 9/22/09]

The Met Office further notes:

After three decades of warming caused by man-made greenhouse gas emissions, why would there suddenly be a period of relative temperature stability — despite more greenhouse gases being emitted than ever before? This is because of what is known as internal climate variability. In the same way that our weather can be warm and sunny one day, cool and wet the next, so our climate naturally varies from year to year, and decade to decade.

Before the twentieth century, when man-made greenhouse gas emissions really took off, there was an underlying stability to global climate. The temperature varied from year to year, or decade to decade, but stayed within a certain range and averaged out to an approximately steady level.

In the twentieth century we have had continued variability, but an underlying trend of warming in the previously steady long-term averages. This is what we observed in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. Now we have seen a decade of little change in the average global temperature — but that doesn’t mean climate change has stopped, it’s just another part of natural variability.

2000-2009 was warmest decade on record. NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), The National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), The U.K. Met Office, and the World Meteorological Organisation have all stated that 2000-2009 was the warmest decade on record for the globe.


Maddow Calls Out GOP Rep For Flubbing Facts Of Abdulmutallab Case (VIDEO)

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 17th, 2010 5:45 am by HL

Maddow Calls Out GOP Rep For Flubbing Facts Of Abdulmutallab Case (VIDEO)
On Meet The Press yesterday, Rachel Maddow challenged Rep. Aaron Schock (R-IL) on the issue of the Miranda warning read to the attempted Christmas bombing suspect, correcting Schock’s assertion that Abdulmutallab stopped talking after he was read his rights.

The Professor Accused In University Of Alabama Shooting: What Do We Know?
The revelations about the past of the biology professor accused of shooting three colleagues to death at the University of Alabama Friday are stacking up by the day.

Auto Body Worker: Prof In Alabama Case Held Me Up After Shooting In ’86
A former car repairman has come forward to tell the Boston Herald that Amy Bishop, charged in the killing of three professors at the University of Alabama Friday, held him up at gunpoint while searching for a getaway vehicle after killing her brother in 1986


88% (aka dumbasses) think their taxes weren’t cut

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 17th, 2010 5:41 am by HL

88% (aka dumbasses) think their taxes weren’t cut
Excerpt: According to a CBS News/New York Times poll released last weekend, only 12 percent of respondents think that their federal taxes were reduced under the Obama administration. Twice as many respondents think that their federal taxes have increased. The results of this poll can only lead to one of two mutually exclusive conclusions: Either the President […]


Vast Majority Oppose Supreme Court Ruling

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 17th, 2010 5:40 am by HL

Vast Majority Oppose Supreme Court Ruling
A new Washington Post/ABC News poll finds that Americans of both parties “overwhelmingly oppose” a Supreme Court ruling that allows corporations and unions to spend as much as they want on political campaigns.

Interestingly, the poll reveals relatively little difference of opinion on the issue among Democrats (85% opposed to the ruling), Republicans (76%) and independents (81%).

“The results suggest a strong reservoir of bipartisan support on the issue for President Obama and congressional Democrats, who are in the midst of crafting legislation aimed at limiting the impact of the high court’s decision.”

Meanwhile, Republican leaders “have praised the ruling as a victory for free speech and have signaled their intent to oppose any legislation intended to blunt the impact of the court’s decision.”

Sanford Dishes on the Competition
With Jenny Sanford’s Staying True debuting at number eight on the New York Times bestseller list this week, the Chicago Tribune asked her about some of her competition.

Game Change by John Heilemann and Mark Halperin and The Politician by Andrew Young: “Politics don’t interest me, and I have no interest in reading about a guy who lied for the guy he worked for.”

On the Brink by Henry M. Paulson Jr.: “Having worked on Wall Street, I am fascinated with what happened. But also, I would like to see his justification — my husband was actually fighting the stimulus.”

Going Rogue by Sarah Palin: “I don’t have any interest. I know Sarah. If it were sitting on my desk I would page through it, but I wouldn’t drive out and buy it. Sarah, or as my boys call her, Piper’s mom.”

I Am Ozzy by Ozzy Osbourne: “I would read this. He sounds like a really cool guy.”


Health Insurers More Grotesquely Greedy Than Wall Street Bankers

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 17th, 2010 5:39 am by HL

Health Insurers More Grotesquely Greedy Than Wall Street Bankers
The great thing about Corporate America is that competition is always fierce for the national title of greediest.

The great thing about Corporate America is that competition is always fierce for the national title of greediest.

Campaign to Pull Glenn Beck Off the Air Gains Momentum, Here and Abroad
Beck’s Fox News show advertisers are dropping like flies. Will the ad exodus take him off-air, or will Fox continue to foot the bill for its propaganda goals?

Beck's Fox News show advertisers are dropping like flies. Will the ad exodus take him off-air, or will Fox continue to foot the bill for its propaganda goals?

What Happened When a Professor Got His Students to Participate in His "Veil for a Day" Project
Anyone who thinks we’re a post-racial society should get a load of the reactions.

Anyone who thinks we're a post-racial society should get a load of the reactions.

The Richest 1% Have Captured America’s Wealth — What’s It Going to Take to Get It Back?
The United States already had the highest inequality of wealth in the industrialized world prior to the financial crisis — and it’s gotten even worse since.

The United States already had the highest inequality of wealth in the industrialized world prior to the financial crisis — and it's gotten even worse since.


Dershowitz Under Siege

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 17th, 2010 5:37 am by HL

Dershowitz Under Siege
Alan Dershowitz is feeling the heat. Last week, the Harvard Law professor agreed that Judge Richard Goldstone, author of the report on war crimes in Gaza, is a “moser,” Hebrew term for a snitch. Historically (i.e., in the case of…


GazaAlan DershowitzIsraelMiddle EastRichard Goldstone

Google Plays Politics
Google’s announcement yesterday that it was going to finance some ultra-High Speed Broadband test markets only highlights the dizzying ascent of video online. The average broadband user spends about 760 minutes a month watching online video. Clearly the world of…


GoogleBroadbandAT&TSearchingSearch Engines

Schumer-Hatch: Money for Nothing
It’s great that the Senate is prepared to do something to help create jobs. Unfortunately, its most likely course of action, the Schumer-Hatch tax credit will probably create almost no jobs. The basic deal with Schumer-Hatch is provide a tax…



United States SenateSenateTaxationBarack ObamaSocial Security


Beck loses 103 sponsors as his UK television broadcast runs for five days straight without any ads.

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 17th, 2010 5:36 am by HL

Beck loses 103 sponsors as his UK television broadcast runs for five days straight without any ads.
Today, Color of Change and StopBeck.com announced that the United Kingdom has forcefully rejected Fox News host Glenn Beck. In fact, the UK broadcast of his show “was forced to run without any advertisements” for five days in a row as of yesterday. Additionally, 103 companies have agreed to stop their ads from appearing […]

Today, Color of Change and StopBeck.com announced that the United Kingdom has forcefully rejected Fox News host Glenn Beck. In fact, the UK broadcast of his show “was forced to run without any advertisements” for five days in a row as of yesterday. Additionally, 103 companies have agreed to stop their ads from appearing on his program. Some of the latest defections include Allstate Insurance, Anheuser-Busch, Idaho Potato Commission, Marriott International, Volkswagen, and Western Union. Some of their comments:

– “We in no way want to promote the hateful rhetoric of Mr. Glenn Beck, and therefore take this matter very seriously,” said Dino Balzano, director of advertising at Concord Music Group, parent company of Hear Music, in an email to ColorOfChange.org.

– “We do not intend to have any additional ad placements during the program,” said Jeff Flaherty, spokesperson for Marriott International, in an email to ColorOfChange.org. “I’d like to point out that diversity and inclusion are core values at Marriott and an essential component of our success.

– “I first learned about this controversy [in November] and asked Fox to take his show out of our rotation,” said Steve Schwartz, executive vice president of consumer services for Intersections, Inc., in an email to ColorOfChange.org. “We no longer advertise on Glenn Beck’s show.”

ThinkFast: February 16, 2010
Writing on the Tea Party movement, the New York Times observes, “It is a sprawling rebellion, but running through it is a narrative of impending tyranny.” The Tea Party movement will play a central role at the Conservative Political Action Conference that kicks off in Washington, D.C. on Thursday. About 50 Tea Party leaders will “discuss […]

Tea Party

Writing on the Tea Party movement, the New York Times observes, “It is a sprawling rebellion, but running through it is a narrative of impending tyranny.” The Tea Party movement will play a central role at the Conservative Political Action Conference that kicks off in Washington, D.C. on Thursday.

About 50 Tea Party leaders will “discuss campaign strategies and conservative principles” with RNC Chairman Michael Steele in Washington today, the first time that “a broad coalition” of the activists will meet with GOP leaders. One of the Tea Party organizers said that they will also set up a meeting with the DNC, although she admitted that they “agree with more of the Republican platform.”

In an interview with the Financial Times, Center for American Progress President and CEO John Podesta asserted that the current state of the U.S. political system “sucks.” Podesta also strongly encouraged the Obama team to use their cabinet officials in a way that the White House is now not doing.

Defending the stimulus on its first anniversary, President Obama “is dispatching his Cabinet across the country” to highlight programs that are putting people back to work under the $787 billion recovery bill. “In all, senior administration officials are scheduled to visit 35 communities before Friday to counter Republican claims the massive deficit-spending program has failed.”

American and Pakistani intelligence forces captured the Taliban’s top military commander, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, several days ago in Karachi, Pakistan. U.S. officials said Baradar — the second in command to Taliban leader Mullah Muhammed Omar — is “the most significant Taliban figure to be detained” since the start of the war in 2001.

Jane Lubchenco, the head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, “struck back at climate skeptics who claim that record snowstorms this winter have undercut evidence of global warming.” “It is important that people recognize that weather is not the same thing as climate,” said Lubchenco on NPR yesterday, adding that snowy weather “is not a contradiction and it is not really unexpected.”

The country’s largest banks have ramped up their spending on lobbying “to fight off some of the stiffest regulatory proposals pending in Congress.” Lobbying expenditures “jumped 12% from 2008 to $29.8 million last year among the eight banks and private equity firms that spent the most to influence legislation.”

“At least four major trade associations are looking to hire” new leaders, positions that will likely be filled by retiring lawmakers. With salaries in excess of $1 million a year, the “revolving door” is “troubling to some government watchdogs.”

More than a dozen Republican lawmakers “supported stimulus-funding requests,” despite voting against the package, according to letters obtained by The Wall Street Journal through the Freedom of Information Act. “Lawmakers routinely send letters in support of federal funding for projects in their constituencies.” See ThinkProgress’s research document on stimulus hypocrisy here.

And finally: If you can’t make it to the White House for a photo op with the President, you can now instead visit the Madame Tussauds wax museum at The Venetian in Las Vegas. In fact, the Obama figure is “the most popular in Las Vegas” and has twice been “removed for maintenance because of manhandling.”

Follow ThinkProgress on Twitter.


Senator Evan Bayh’s departure sparks debate about partisanship in Congress

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 17th, 2010 5:35 am by HL

Senator Evan Bayh’s departure sparks debate about partisanship in Congress
Sen. Evan Bayh’s surprise decision not to seek reelection touched off a debate Tuesday among strategists and scholars about whether the Indiana senator’s depiction of the “brain dead” politics and hyper-partisanship of Congress is accurate or overblown — and, if accurate, whether walking away was…

The Fix: Winners and losers from Evan Bayh’s retirement
Indiana Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh’s decision not to run for re-election is a massive shock to the political system, the full ramifications of which won’t be fully known for weeks or months.

Notable conservative leaders craft manifesto to energize, coordinate supporters
Some of the nation’s most prominent conservative leaders will gather Wednesday to unveil what they propose as a manifesto for a growing movement against the political establishment.


White House to issue progress report on anniversary of economic stimulus
The White House is releasing its first annual report on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act on Wednesday, summarizing its progress on the first anniversary of President Obama’s signing of the massive, politically contentious economic stimulus package.