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Archive for March 27th, 2010

Late Late Night FDL: Club Poodle

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 27th, 2010 4:52 am by HL

Late Late Night FDL: Club Poodle
Featuring new videos from Bomb The Bass and Groove Armada.

Early Show: Bomb The Bass “Up The Mountain”
Late Show: Groove Armada “Warsaw”

What’s on your mind tonight?

Tags: Bomb The Bass, Groove Armada


Capsize and Trade

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 27th, 2010 4:51 am by HL

Capsize and Trade
Cap and trade was all the rage back in 2009, with the market-driven system of curbing emissions seen as a dominant force in addressing global warming problems. Now the concept has seemingly fallen out of favor. For years, many on the left have criticized cap and trade as just a way for corporations to fake offsets and do little to curb the root causes of environmental degradation. Yet government officials seem to be listening only to right-wing, tea-party protesters, who have effectively labeled cap and trade as “cap and tax” as they rail against any kind of climate change plan—shunning even an admission of climate change’s existence. Now, a bipartisan bill—led by Sens. Lindsay Graham, John Kerry and Joe Lieberman—is likely to be introduced in April with no mention of the cap and trade scheme.  —JCL The New York Times: Less than a year ago, cap and trade was the policy of choice for tackling climate change. Environmental groups and their foes in industry joined hands to embrace the approach, a market-driven system that sets a ceiling on global warming pollution while allowing companies to trade permits to meet it. President Obama praised it by name in his first budget, and the authors of the House climate and energy bill passed last June largely built their measure around it. Today, the concept is in wide disrepute, with opponents effectively branding it “cap and tax,” and Tea Party followers using it as a symbol of much of what they say is wrong with Washington. Mr. Obama dropped all mention of cap and trade from his current budget. And the sponsors of a Senate climate bill likely to be introduced in April, now that Congress is moving past health care, dare not speak its name. Read more

Cap and trade was all the rage back in 2009, with the market-driven system of curbing emissions seen as a dominant force in addressing global warming problems. Now the concept has seemingly fallen out of favor.

For years, many on the left have criticized cap and trade as just a way for corporations to fake offsets and do little to curb the root causes of environmental degradation. Yet government officials seem to be listening only to right-wing, tea-party protesters, who have effectively labeled cap and trade as “cap and tax” as they rail against any kind of climate change plan—shunning even an admission of climate change’s existence.

Now, a bipartisan bill—led by Sens. Lindsay Graham, John Kerry and Joe Lieberman—is likely to be introduced in April with no mention of the cap and trade scheme.? —JCL

The New York Times:

Less than a year ago, cap and trade was the policy of choice for tackling climate change.

Environmental groups and their foes in industry joined hands to embrace the approach, a market-driven system that sets a ceiling on global warming pollution while allowing companies to trade permits to meet it. President Obama praised it by name in his first budget, and the authors of the House climate and energy bill passed last June largely built their measure around it.

Today, the concept is in wide disrepute, with opponents effectively branding it “cap and tax,” and Tea Party followers using it as a symbol of much of what they say is wrong with Washington.

Mr. Obama dropped all mention of cap and trade from his current budget. And the sponsors of a Senate climate bill likely to be introduced in April, now that Congress is moving past health care, dare not speak its name.

Read more

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Sunni Side Up
Results from Iraq’s March 7 parliamentary election have come in, bringing news that a predominately Sunni opposition alliance has taken the majority of the country’s legislative body and ended seven years of Shiite domination. The Shiite power lock began after the U.S. deposed President Saddam Hussein, a Sunni, in 2003. The opposition victory could test the country’s “democratic” character, as Shiite politicians more or less promised violence if defeated. Sunnis make up only about 20 percent of Iraq’s population. —JCL The Wall Street Journal: Ayad Allawi’s predominantly Sunni alliance has won Iraq’s national election, narrowly edging out Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki’s list to become the largest bloc in the country’s next parliament. The upset threatens to end the lock on power that Iraq’s majority Shiites have enjoyed since the 2003 after decades of oppression under Saddam Hussein and could severely test the country’s fragile institutions. Before the announcement, Shiite politicians warned of violence should their parties lose the election. The preliminary results announced Friday night show Mr. Allawi’s Iraqiya bloc winning 91 seats in the 325-member parliament to 89 seats for Mr. Maliki’s State of Law. In a hastily convened press conference, the prime minister announced he would press for a recount, citing suspicions of fraud. Read more

Results from Iraq’s March 7 parliamentary election have come in, bringing news that a predominately Sunni opposition alliance has taken the majority of the country’s legislative body and ended seven years of Shiite domination.

The Shiite power lock began after the U.S. deposed President Saddam Hussein, a Sunni, in 2003.

The opposition victory could test the country’s “democratic” character, as Shiite politicians more or less promised violence if defeated. Sunnis make up only about 20 percent of Iraq’s population. —JCL

The Wall Street Journal:

Ayad Allawi’s predominantly Sunni alliance has won Iraq’s national election, narrowly edging out Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki’s list to become the largest bloc in the country’s next parliament.

The upset threatens to end the lock on power that Iraq’s majority Shiites have enjoyed since the 2003 after decades of oppression under Saddam Hussein and could severely test the country’s fragile institutions. Before the announcement, Shiite politicians warned of violence should their parties lose the election.

The preliminary results announced Friday night show Mr. Allawi’s Iraqiya bloc winning 91 seats in the 325-member parliament to 89 seats for Mr. Maliki’s State of Law.

In a hastily convened press conference, the prime minister announced he would press for a recount, citing suspicions of fraud.

Read more

Related Entries



John Nichols, Terry O’Neill On ‘Bill Moyers’: Health Care Overhaul Needs More Reforms (VIDEO)

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 27th, 2010 4:50 am by HL

John Nichols, Terry O’Neill On ‘Bill Moyers’: Health Care Overhaul Needs More Reforms (VIDEO)
Bill Moyers tackles health care reform Friday evening on “Bill Moyers Journal” in an interview with journalist John Nichols of The Nation and women’s advocate…

Steve Clemons: My Fault: Apologies to David Frum!
It truly is a shame that the AEI didn’t realize that it could reinvent its own place and relevance in Washington with the kind of creative bridge-building and policy innovation that Frum was pushing.

Chris Weigant: Friday Talking Points [117] — Piece Of Cake
What a week! Into the cake mix that was this week went triumphant House votes, Senate votes, and then even another House vote, just for…

Marine Corps General James Conway: Marines Would Not Be ‘Forced’ To Live With Gay Soldiers
WASHINGTON — The Marine Corps’ commandant said he won’t force his troops to bunk with gays on base and would give them separate rooms if…

Josh Mull: 5 Lessons The Tea Parties Can Learn From The Anti-War Movement
I am the Afghanistan Blogging Fellow for The Seminal and Brave New Foundation. You can read my work on The Seminal or at Rethink Afghanistan….


Fox advances misleading GOP attack on NLRB nominee Becker

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 27th, 2010 4:49 am by HL

Fox advances misleading GOP attack on NLRB nominee Becker

Fox News advanced the attack that Obama nominee Craig Becker would be an “anti-democratic and anti-free speech” member of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) because he believed “employers should have no role in union-organizing elections at all.” But during a congressional hearing on his nomination, Becker stated that as a board member, he would be bound by law, which includes the “indisputable” right of employers to express views on unionization.

Fox advanced claim that Becker wants to alter current union-election rules

Republican strategist on Fox: Becker wants to forbid employers to “communicate or participate” in union-organizing elections. Discussing Becker’s nomination on the March 26 edition of Fox News’ America Live, anchor Megyn Kelly asked Republican strategist Justin Sayfie: “Tell us why Becker is so controversial.” Sayfie replied:

SAYFIE: Well, he’s controversial because he — the National Labor Relations Board is supposed to decide disputes between employers and employees, and he has been a scholar who’s written quite extensively on labor issues. And one of the things that he believes — he’s stated before in his writings — is that employers should have no role in union-organizing elections at all. We all know about the card check bill that was proposed earlier this year and that was discussed where there would be no more secret ballots in the union-organizing elections. His previous views would state that the employers wouldn’t be allowed to even communicate or participate and to have any role in those elections at all.

KELLY: [Democratic strategist] Mary Anne [Marsh], how do you —

SAYFIE: It’s very anti-democratic and anti-free speech.

Becker: “I will be bound by the law,” including employers’ “indisputable” right to express views on unionization

Becker’s 1993 law review article: Employers “should be stripped of any legally cognizable interest in their employees’ election of representatives.” In an article (subscription required) for the February 1993 issue of the Minnesota Law Review, Becker, then an assistant law professor at the University of California-Los Angeles, wrote that “employers should be stripped of any legally cognizable interest in their employees’ election of representatives.”

Becker: “I understand that there’s a different role that I will have than the one I played as a scholar.” During a February 2 congressional hearing on his nomination (around 51:20), Becker referred to the Minnesota Law Review article and stated that he wrote it in an “attempt to contribute to a scholarly debate and ask questions about the regulation of union elections.” Becker further stated that it “was intended to be provocative and to ask fundamental questions in order for scholars and others to re-evaluate.” Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA) then asked whether this statement — “You completely respect Congress’ responsibility in terms of writing the labor laws of the United States and Congress should completely respect the ability of scholars to challenge and discuss in an academic environment the application of those laws” — was the same as his views. Becker replied:

That is absolutely correct, Senator. I understand that there’s a different role that I will have than the one I played as a scholar, and I respect that part of that role is to respect the will of Congress.

Becker: “If I am confirmed … I will be bound by the law as enacted by Congress.” In response to written questions by members of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP), Becker explained the difference between a legal scholar and a member of the NLRB. Becker wrote that while scholars “can and often do advocate for changes in existing law,” they “do not have the benefit of or a duty to consider a full and fair presentation of arguments by both sides as takes place in adjudication.” He added:

If I am confirmed as a Member of the NLRB, I will be bound by the law as enacted by Congress. I will also fully respect and apply any applicable precedents of the Supreme Court. I will also respect the prior precedents of the Board itself, consistent with the principle of stare decisis. I would review scholarly and academic work cited by parties to Board proceedings or otherwise brought to my attention. They would, of course, be given no controlling weight of any sort.

Becker: Employers have a “legitimate interest” and “indisputable” “right” to express views on unionization. During his February 2 congressional hearing, Becker addressed critics’ views that, in Isakson’s words, he has “stated that the NLRB is not required to, quote, ‘permit the employer to be an active participant either favoring or opposing or even obstructing such an election,’ referring to union elections.” Replying to Isakson’s question on whether he “favor[s] the NLRB limiting employers’ involvement in the election process as it currently operates,” Becker replied:

The current law clearly provides a right to employers to express their view, not only the National Labor Relations Act, but the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. It’s clear that employers have a legitimate interest and have a right, which is indisputable, to express their views on the question of whether their employees should unionize. So, nothing in that article, if that’s what you’re referring to, or others in my writing, should be construed to suggest that in any way I think that employers don’t have a right to freely express their views on the question of unionization.

In response to written questions from Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Becker reiterated his view that “the current law clearly protects employers’ ability to express their views on the question of whether their employees should vote to be represented by a labor organization.”


Presented By:

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 27th, 2010 4:48 am by HL

Presented By:

MAP: A Guide To Recent Vandal Attacks On Democrats
Smashed windows. Threats of violence. A slashed gas line. Reports of vandalism and threats against Democrats have been stacking up over the past few days. So just how bad is it out there?


GOP plans to obstruct Senate legislation (so, what’s new?)

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 27th, 2010 4:43 am by HL

GOP plans to obstruct Senate legislation (so, what’s new?)
Excerpt: After losing the battle against health care reform, Republican Senate leaders, like impetuous, spoiled brats who take away the ball after losing the ball game, have publicly stated that they intend to use childish parliamentary tricks to bring legislative procedures in the Senate to a halt. On Wednesday that became apparent to Col. Ann Wright (U.S. […]


Rubio Stays in Control in Florida

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 27th, 2010 4:42 am by HL

Rubio Stays in Control in Florida
A new Mason-Dixon poll in Florida finds Marco Rubio (R) leading Gov. Charlie Crist (R) in the GOP Senate race, 48% to 37%.

The gap between the two men is not as wide as some other polls have suggested. However, pollster Brad Coker notes: “Rubio is now in control of the race — that’s not in dispute.”

In general election match ups, Crist leads Rep. Kenrick Meek (D), 50% to 26%, and Rubio beats Meek, 44% to 29%.

Dissatisfaction with Paterson Grows
A new Marist Poll finds New York Gov. David Paterson’s (D) approval rate sinking to just 17%.


Learn to Speak Tea Bag

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 27th, 2010 4:41 am by HL

Learn to Speak Tea Bag

Check out Mark Fiore’s latest cartoon video — it’s spot on: “Learn to Speak Tea Bag: “You too can speak Tea Bag, and what better time to learn than now? The pathway to health care reform is through appropriate language!” Report This Post

Teacher Sued For Bashing Christianity — Will Others Be Censored?
A teacher in California was found to have violated a student’s First Amendment rights by disparaging religion in the classroom. The ruling could silence outspoken teachers.

A teacher in California was found to have violated a student’s First Amendment rights by disparaging religion in the classroom. The ruling could silence outspoken teachers.

Poop Is the Most Important Indicator of Your Health
Like it or not, our bowels are the ID cards of our bodies, charting our recent histories with terrifying accuracy. So, how do we ensure a healthy gut?

Like it or not, our bowels are the ID cards of our bodies, charting our recent histories with terrifying accuracy. So, how do we ensure a healthy gut?

Union Busting, Bloomberg Sale Looming at ABC News?
Amid sale rumors, ABC News says it intends to use cuts to reinvent itself in the digital era. But at what cost?

Amid sale rumors, ABC News says it intends to use cuts to reinvent itself in the digital era. But at what cost?


Religion in Politics: Can’t Live With It, Can’t Live Without It

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 27th, 2010 4:40 am by HL

Religion in Politics: Can’t Live With It, Can’t Live Without It
1. The more the Roman Catholic hierarchy resembles a Congregation for the Propagation of Coercive Fondling, the less credibly it clothes what the late Father Richard John Neuhaus called “the naked public square.” The next time some politically presumptuous bishop…


AbrahamReligion and SpiritualityJudaismChristianityReinhold Niebuhr

What’s in the Bill?
The envelopes have been opened but the winners’ names have yet to be read. The big political stories are evident: Barack Obama corrected course. (Ceci Connolly in the WP today has interesting details.) Nancy Pelosi pulled out the stops. The…



Barack ObamaNancy PelosiUnited StatesPresidentRepublicans

Party of No Class
Here are a bunch of Republican Congressmen yesterday egging on their Teabagger supporters from the House Balcony. These guys have as much class as a convention of Used Car salesmen. The day’s debate on the House floor was in its…



RepublicanHealth Care ReformUnited StatesPoliticsRush Limbaugh


IRS Commissioner Debunks GOP Fear-Mongering: We Won?t Audit People To Check Health Insurance Status

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 27th, 2010 4:39 am by HL

IRS Commissioner Debunks GOP Fear-Mongering: We Won?t Audit People To Check Health Insurance Status
Now that health care reform is law, conservatives have come up with a new line of attack to scare the American public: The IRS will be tracking you down if you don’t purchase health insurance. Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) fueled the scare in a March 18 press release, announcing the findings of a study by […]

Now that health care reform is law, conservatives have come up with a new line of attack to scare the American public: The IRS will be tracking you down if you don’t purchase health insurance. Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) fueled the scare in a March 18 press release, announcing the findings of a study by Republican Hill staff:

A new analysis by the Joint Economic Committee and the House Ways & Means Committee minority staff estimates up to 16,500 new IRS personnel will be needed to collect, examine and audit new tax information mandated on families and small businesses in the ‘reconciliation’ bill being taken up by the U.S. House of Representatives this weekend.

“When most people think of health care reform they think of more doctors exams, not more IRS exams,” says U.S. Congressman Kevin Brady, the top House Republican on the Joint Economic Committee. “Isn’t the federal government already intruding enough into our lives? We need thousands of new doctors and nurses in America, not thousands more IRS agents.”

This news quickly spread to conservative media outlets, which hyperbolized the claim with statements like: the “IRS will now oversee health control and determine whether you are compliant,” and the IRS will now be responsible “for finding and punishing those who don’t” have “acceptable” health insurance. An article on the Daily Caller published an article headlined “IRS looking to hire thousands of tax agents to enforce health care laws” accompanied by a picture of armed soldiers.

Yesterday during a House Ways and Means Committee hearing, IRS Commissioner Daniel Shulman made clear that all these claims are nothing but misinformation. He said that, essentially, Brady’s analysis was premature because the IRS is still figuring out the resources it will need “to implement the tax provisions” in the health care legislation. He also completely refuted the notion that IRS agents would be going after people to see if they have acceptable health care:

REP. RON KIND (D-WI): And IRS agents are not going to go out and auditing taxpayers to verify if they have obtained acceptable health insurance, will they?

SHULMAN: No. … [I]t’s probably worth me being very clear because I think there have been some misconceptions out there. The way we envision this working is that HHS, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the exchanges will be working with the insurance companies to determine what is acceptable coverage.

All that will happen with the IRS is similar to a current 1099 where a bank sends IRS a statement that says “here’s the interest” someone owes, and they send it to the taxpayer. We expect to get a simple form — that we won’t look behind — that says this person has acceptable health coverage. There are not going to be any discussions about health coverage with an IRS employee.

Shulman added that the role of the IRS is going to be “the tax portions of this, not the health portions of this,” including helping educate individuals and businesses learn about the tax incentives they qualify for. Watch it:

Transcript:

KIND: Dr. Boustany raised the issue of the health reform bill and I think there is a lot of misinformation, a lot of misperception, about the role that IRS will play in the implementation of the recently passed health care bill.

So let me ask you a series of questions and as much as you can just answer them yes or no to clarify some questions that I have about the exact role that the IRS will play.

The health care bill that was just signed by the President will not fundamentally alter the relationship between the IRS with the American taxpayer, will it?

SHULMAN: No.

KIND: You said that right now you are moving forward doing calculations of costs and staffing needs that the IRS has but you haven’t made any of those final determinations yet, have you?

SHULMAN: That is correct.

KIND: And IRS agents are not going to go out and auditing taxpayers to verify if they have obtained acceptable health insurance, will they?

SHULMAN: No.

KIND: In fact, it’s going to be the insurance companies that will merely be certifying whether or not an individual has obtained health care coverage, and they’ll be certifying that to the IRS?

SHULMAN: Yes, it’s probably worth me being very clear because I think there have been some misconceptions out there. The way we envision this working is that HHS, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the exchanges will be working with the insurance companies to determine what is acceptable coverage.

All that will happen with the IRS is similar to a current 1099 where a bank sends IRS a statement that says “here’s the interest” someone owes, and they send it to the taxpayer. We expect to get a simple form — that we won’t look behind — that says this person has acceptable health coverage. There are not going to be any discussions about health coverage with an IRS employee.

KIND: In fact, I would envision that the major role the IRS will play is trying to get information into the individuals’ hands and businesses about the various tax incentives that the health reform bill has, and how they can best access those incentives and utilize them, is that right?

SHULMAN: Yes, I mean, the role of the IRS is going to be again, the tax portions of this, not the health portions of this, and what we’re going to try to do is make sure that people are educated, there’s information, we process payments quickly. We also will make sure there is no fraud and abuse in the system as we always do.

KIND: So the IRS is still going to pick up the phone and answer questions in regards to the tax incentives in the health care bill?

SHULMAN: Yes.

KIND: I assume that the IRS will try to build some type of online education service too for people to access as far as what they’re eligible for?

SHULMAN: Absolutely.

KIND: And that you will probably be performing some additional outreach services with businesses and taxpayers about the health care bill?

SHULMAN: Absolutely.

KIND: And as you indicated earlier to Mr. Etheridge, you are already moving forward on a 35 percent tax credit that small businesses are going to be getting this year already with enactment of the health care bill?

SHULMAN: That’s our first move.

KIND: And no taxpayer is going to be subject to any IRS liens or levies, or jail time, for failing to disclose insurance requirements to the IRS?

SHULMAN: That is what the legislation calls for, yes.

KIND: And as soon as your internal review is done, I assume you’re going to report back to Congress what type of resources you’ll need for staffing or for additional funds in order to implement the health care bill?

SHULMAN: Yes, I do want to be clear as I was with Mr. Boustany, we will need resources to implement the tax provisions in this legislation and we will look forward to working with Committee to make sure we have the proper resources to serve the American people.