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Archive for February 25th, 2010

Zazi Case Vindicates Traditional Methods

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 25th, 2010 5:46 am by HL

Zazi Case Vindicates Traditional Methods
Before Najibullah Zazi is finally dispatched to a secure cellblock for good, it is important to remember how the taxi-driver-turned-terrorist was brought to justice—and why the critics who jeered his civilian prosecution were dead wrong. By Joe Conason

Before Najibullah Zazi is finally dispatched to a secure cellblock for good, it is important to remember how the taxi-driver-turned-terrorist was brought to justice—and why the critics who jeered his civilian prosecution were dead wrong.


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You Bet Your Ass

By Mr. Fish

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Obama Tops South Carolina Republican Senators In Poll, Despite Losing State In 2008

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 25th, 2010 5:44 am by HL

Obama Tops South Carolina Republican Senators In Poll, Despite Losing State In 2008
President Barack Obama’s job approval may be eroding nationwide, but in South Carolina, a state he lost in 2008, a new poll gives him higher…

Wall Street Bankers Are Overpaid, Says Morgan Stanley Chairman John Mack
Morgan Stanley Chairman John Mack said investment bankers are overpaid and Wall Street compensation won’t decrease much because firms don’t want to lose their best…

Missile Defense Agency Logo Upsets Right: Comparisons To Obama Campaign, Islamic Crescent
The new Missile Defense Agency logo has bombed in certain circles. Critics say it looks to much like any number of well-known symbols, including the…

Maryland Recognizes Gay Marriages From Out-Of-State
Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler (D) said Wednesday that effective immediately, and until challenged in court, the state recognizes same-sex marriages performed elsewhere and…

Carla Seaquist: “Government Take-over” of Healthcare? We Already Have Corporate Take-over
Reality bites—and just in time. Republican ranting over the past year at the fearful prospect of a “government take-over” of healthcare has pretty completely obscured…


An O’Reilly Factor hat trick: Rove, Morris, and Schoen repeat falsehoods on the eve of health care summit

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 25th, 2010 5:43 am by HL

An O’Reilly Factor hat trick: Rove, Morris, and Schoen repeat falsehoods on the eve of health care summit

On the night before the bipartisan health care summit, Bill O’Reilly hosted Fox News contributors Karl Rove, Dick Morris, and Doug Schoen, all of whom repeated various falsehoods about health care reform.

Rove distorts CBO report to claim “everybody’s health care premiums are going to be higher than they would be otherwise”

From the February 24 edition of Fox News’ The O’Reilly Factor:

ROVE: There is a trillion dollars worth of additional money being spent over the next 10 years. It’s got to come from somebody, and it’s not just tanning salons. Remember, it’s going to come from everybody who has an insurance policy because the Congressional Budget Office says everybody’s health care premiums are going to be higher than they would be otherwise.

Premiums impact largely limited to nongroup market — about 17 percent of the market in 2016. In a November 30, 2009, summary of Obama’s health care proposal:

The President’s Proposal changes the effective date of the Senate policy from 2013 to 2018 to provide additional transition time for high-cost plans to become more efficient. It also raises the amount of premiums that are exempt from the assessment from $8,500 for singles to $10,200 and from $23,000 for families to $27,500 and indexes these amounts for subsequent years at general inflation plus 1 percent. To the degree that health costs rise unexpectedly quickly between now and 2018, the initial threshold would be adjusted upwards automatically. To ensure that the tax affects firms equitably, the President’s Proposal reforms it by including an adjustment for firms whose health costs are higher due to the age or gender of their workers, and by no longer counting dental and vision benefits as potentially taxable benefits.

A proposed compromise between the House and Senate bills would have exempted high-cost union health care plans from the excise tax until 2018, reportedly to give union members more time to renegotiate their contracts, while nonunion high-cost health care plans would have been subject to the excise tax starting in 2013.

O’Reilly and Schoen falsely suggest that GOP ideas like interstate competition “aren’t in the bill”

From the February 24 edition of The O’Reilly Factor:

O’REILLY: He may just try to show the country that the Democrats — that the Republicans are intractable because we do expect Republicans to go up there and say, look, unless you put in tort reform, unless you put in interstate competition of insurance companies — two stalwarts. And I — maybe — you’re a Democrat, maybe you could explain to me why those things aren’t in the bill, Mr. Schoen, because they seem to be common sense to me. They’re not in the bill. The Republicans have been hammering that for the last eight months, and the president basically just says, I’m not going to do it.

SCHOEN: Bill, I’ve been writing that the Democrats should include tort reform — malpractice reform — and interstate purchase of insurance, so I’m one Democrat —

O’REILLY: But why don’t they do it, then? If you’re a Democrat, I’m an independent, and all the Republicans want it, OK, why doesn’t President Obama say, “OK, I’ll give you both of those things”? Why not?

Obama: “[W]hen you say I ought to be willing to accept Republican ideas on health care, let’s be clear: I have.” During Obama’s question-and-answer period of his House GOP retreat visit on Section 3403 of the Senate health care bill, “Independent Medicare Advisory Board”:

(ii) The proposal shall not include any recommendation to ration health care, raise revenues or Medicare beneficiary premiums under section 1818, 1818A, or 1839, increase Medicare beneficiary cost sharing (including deductibles, coinsurance, and copayments), or otherwise restrict benefits or modify eligibility criteria.

CBO: Advisory Board provision “would place a number of limitations on the actions available to the board, including a prohibition against modifying eligibility or benefits.” In its December 19, 2009, analysis of the Senate bill incorporating the manager’s amendment, CBO noted that “[a]fter 2019, however, the threshold for Medicare spending growth that would trigger recommendations for spending reductions would be higher — specifically, the rate of increase in gross domestic product (GDP) per capita plus 1 percentage point.”


Senate Run For Bush Adviser Dan Senor?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 25th, 2010 5:42 am by HL

Senate Run For Bush Adviser Dan Senor?
Is Dan Senor, the face of the U.S. occupation of Iraq, mulling a run for the Senate from New York?

Yoo: ‘Sure,’ The President Could Order A Village Of Civilians Massacred
In John Yoo’s vision of executive power, the president can legally order a village of civilians “massacred,” according to the internal Justice Department report released Friday.

ACORN: We’re Still Around … But Maybe Not For Long
ACORN is pushing back against reports that it’s on the verge of collapse as a national organization, in the wake of last year’s hidden camera scandal. But it’s not making any long-term predictions about its future.



The Tattlesnake – CPAC Proof GOP is Still Doomed Edition

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 25th, 2010 5:38 am by HL

The Tattlesnake – CPAC Proof GOP is Still Doomed Edition
CPAC’s Corporate Mythmakers and True Believers Headed for a Hard Fall “Con artists have a word for the inability of their victims to accept that they’ve been scammed. They call it the ‘True Believer Syndrome.’” – Matt Taibbi, “Wall Street’s Bailout Hustle,” Rolling Stone, Feb. 21, 2010. You know you’re in trouble when your keynote speaker is Glenn […]


Is the Future Bright for Progressive Media?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 25th, 2010 5:37 am by HL

Is the Future Bright for Progressive Media?
A new book highlights how progressive media has achieved more influence than ever before. But there’s still work to be done.

A new book highlights how progressive media has achieved more influence than ever before. But there's still work to be done.

$100,000 Per Year to Lock up a Cheese Thief? The Perverse Logic of "Three Strikes"
That a man with unpaid-for cheese in his underwear could ever have faced essentially the same sentence as Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab is an absurdity.

That a man with unpaid-for cheese in his underwear could ever have faced essentially the same sentence as Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab is an absurdity.

Blackwater Rescued Progressive House Rep. Alan Grayson from Niger’s ‘Civil Unrest’
Grayson, who made his fortune by suing military contractors and later lambasted them as a lawmaker, was evacuated from Niger by personnel working for Xe Services.

Grayson, who made his fortune by suing military contractors and later lambasted them as a lawmaker, was evacuated from Niger by personnel working for Xe Services.


Try again!

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 25th, 2010 5:36 am by HL

Try again!
The trade press reports that the President is trying again to pass an energy bill with a long term price on carbon emissions. Good! Its critical to realize how easy this transition from carbon to clean can really be. With…


EnergyGreenhouse gasEnvironmentPresident of the United StatesCarbon Cycle

Obama Now Owns a Deficit Commission – and Senator Simpson.
On Thursday President Obama signed an executive order creating a?National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. This deficit commission is based on an idea promoted by two Senators, Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) and Judd Gregg (R-N.H.),? which would have required the…


Social SecurityAlan SimpsonUnited StatesBarack ObamaEconomic

GIVING CHUTZPAH NEW MEANING
OK, so now I have read it all…the Jewish settlers in the West Bank are complaining about the new Palestinian city of Rawabi that has been conceived of for Palestinian families and young professionals just outside of Ramallah because they…


West BankRawabiMiddle EastIsraelRamallah


Confused By ?Nuclear Option? Spin, Right-Wingers Claim Obama And Biden Called Reconciliation A ?Power Grab?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 25th, 2010 5:35 am by HL

Confused By ?Nuclear Option? Spin, Right-Wingers Claim Obama And Biden Called Reconciliation A ?Power Grab?
In 2005, frustrated by Democratic opposition to some of President Bush’s far right judicial nominees, Senate Republicans threatened to change the rules of the Senate in mid-session to prohibit Democrats from using the filibuster to block votes on judicial nominees. Then-Sen. Trent Lott (R-MS) dubbed the maneuver the “nuclear option” because it would be so […]

In 2005, frustrated by Democratic opposition to some of President Bush’s far right judicial nominees, Senate Republicans threatened to change the rules of the Senate in mid-session to prohibit Democrats from using the filibuster to block votes on judicial nominees. Then-Sen. Trent Lott (R-MS) dubbed the maneuver the “nuclear option” because it would be so divisive.

For months now, conservatives have been trying to similarly label the budget reconciliation process, which has been used 22 times between 1980 and 2008, the “nuclear option.” With Democrats warming to the idea of using reconciliation to complete passage of health care reform, the conservative Naked Emperor News posted a compilation video to Breitbart.tv today of Democrats — including President Obama and Vice President Biden — denouncing the 2005 GOP plan to rewrite the Senate rules as a “naked power grab.” The video was titled “Obama & Dems in ‘05: 51 Vote ‘Nuclear Option’ Is ‘Arrogant’ Power Grab Against the Founders’ Intent.” Watch it:

As Media Matters notes, the video has now been promoted by right-wing luminaries such as Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Ed Morrissey, Matt Drudge, Fox Nation as proof of hypocrisy if Democrats use reconciliation for health care reform. Human Events even claimed that the Democrats were calling reconciliation “unconstitutional“:

The Obama White House has recently announced that they will go forward with a reconciliation process — sometimes called the “nuclear option” — to try and pass their government run healthcare plan in the Senate. This process circumvents a Republican filibuster and only requires a simple majority vote of 51 rather than 60.

What did top Democrats think of this process previously? See below…

Despite the fact that the Democrats weren’t talking about the reconciliation process, Congressional Republicans are falsely claiming on Twitter that they were. For instance, Rep. Bob Latta (R-OH) links to the Human Events article and claims Obama and Biden “opposed reconciliation” in 2005:

Rep. Bob Latta lies on Twitter

As Media Matters’ Ben Dimiero notes, “The Democrats in the video are railing against the ‘nuclear option’ as defined by Lott, not the new definition conservatives have decided to bestow upon the phrase.” Additionally, as NPR reported today, the use of reconciliation to change health care would be in line with historical norms. “In fact, the way in which virtually all of health reform, with very, very limited exceptions, has happened over the past 30 years has been the reconciliation process,” Sarah Rosenbaum of the Department of Health Policy at George Washington University told NPR’s Julie Rovner.

The Gang That Can’t Think Straight: 6 GOP Senators Vote For Jobs Bill After Joining Filibuster Two Days Earlier
his morning, the Senate passed a $15 billion jobs bill that includes four provisions: a payroll tax break for hiring unemployed workers, an extension of highway construction funding, Build America bonds to help states fund infrastructure projects, and an extension of tax breaks for equipment purchase. The final vote for passage was 70-28, with 13 […]

Sens. Thad Cochran (R-MS) and Lamar Alexander (R-TN)

Sens. Thad Cochran (R-MS) and Lamar Alexander (R-TN)

This morning, the Senate passed a $15 billion jobs bill that includes four provisions: a payroll tax break for hiring unemployed workers, an extension of highway construction funding, Build America bonds to help states fund infrastructure projects, and an extension of tax breaks for equipment purchase. The final vote for passage was 70-28, with 13 Republicans joining all but one Democrat.

Today’s vote only occurred because, on Monday night, 5 Republicans joined the same group of Democrats in order to invoke cloture and overcome a filibuster by a 62-30 vote. Below are the Republicans who either voted against or did not vote at all on the cloture motion, but flipped and voted for the bill today:



NAY TO YEA ABSENT TO YEA
Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC)
Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT)
Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK)
Sen. George LeMieux (R-FL)
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)
Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS)

In addition to this flip-flop, all the above senators except Inhofe voted to sustain a Republican objection on a point of order before proceeding to the final vote. Plus, the Wonk Room noted two days ago that both Inhofe and Hatch were planning to vote against cloture despite the fact that the bill included provisions which they had previously supported. Inhofe followed through with his nay vote on cloture, while Hatch skipped the vote entirely, but both came around to support the bill today.

After the vote, Alexander said that he voted for the final bill “because it is modest.” “There are plenty of opportunities for bipartisan cooperation,” he said, which of course begs the question regarding why he couldn’t engage in bipartisan cooperation just two days ago if he supported the bill.

The bill now moves to the House of Representatives, which last year passed a far more ambitious $154 billion jobs creation package. Earlier today, Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) predicted that the House will pass the Senate bill as is.

Cross-posted on The Wonk Room.


Former vice president Cheney released from hospital after fifth heart attack

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 25th, 2010 5:34 am by HL

Former vice president Cheney released from hospital after fifth heart attack
Richard B. Cheney’s fifth heart attack may add to the lore surrounding the seemingly indomitable former vice president. But his ability to survive repeated coronaries is more a testament to modern medicine’s advances in detecting and treating the leading killer than any supernatural powers.

Obama nominates Berkeley professor Goodwin Liu to federal appeals court
President Obama on Wednesday nominated to the federal bench a California law professor who has criticized conservative legal theories and strongly opposed Supreme Court Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr.’s nomination.


Obama may compromise on consumer agency to pass financial regulation
The Obama administration is no longer insisting on the creation of a stand-alone consumer protection agency as a central element of the plan to remake regulation of the financial system.


Al Gore’s Nine Lies

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 25th, 2010 5:31 am by HL

Al Gore’s Nine Lies

Blame Republicans for Partisanship
Katrina vanden Heuvel, The Nation

How Dems Can Survive the Flood
Martin Frost, The Hill
     As Democratic House Members in swing districts get ready for tough campaigns this fall, let me offer the following advice based on my own experience in 1994.     As we all know, 1994 was the year that Democrats lost control of the House for the first time in 40 years.  Republicans picked up a net of 54 seats including defeating a number of Democratic incumbents and taking open seats previously held by Democrats.  It was the 100 year flood.     Democrats are now faced with the prospect of a second 100 year flood in 2010 though it is far from certain that Republicans can…