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Archive for April 14th, 2010

Fear of Science Will Kill Us

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on April 14th, 2010 4:53 am by HL

Fear of Science Will Kill Us
American denialism threatens many areas of scientific progress, including the widespread fear of vaccines and the useless trust placed in the vast majority of dietary supplements quickly come to mind. It doesn’t seem to matter how often vaccines are proved safe or supplements are shown to offer nothing of value. When people don’t like facts, they ignore them.


Late Late Night FDL: Kashmir

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on April 14th, 2010 4:52 am by HL

Late Late Night FDL: Kashmir
Lucia Micarelli and Jethro TullKashmir.

Lucia Micarelli and Jethro TullKashmir.

What’s on your mind?

Early Morning Swim: Paul Krugman Talks Financial Reform with Keith Olbermann
So, the Republicans don’t want anything to do with Obama’s proposal. No one could’ve predicted…

So, the Republicans don’t want anything to do with Obama’s proposal. No one could’ve predicted…

“The fact is, this bill wouldn’t solve the problems that led to the financial crisis. It would make them worse,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said of legislation that recently passed the chamber’s banking committee on a party-line vote. “This bill not only allows for taxpayer-funded bailouts of Wall Street banks; it institutionalizes them.”

McConnell’s remarks offered a glimpse of how Republicans might frame their opposition to the far-reaching legislation as it heads toward the Senate floor, even as members of both parties continue to work behind the scenes on a potential bipartisan agreement.

Consumer groups, taking note of the minority leader’s recent trip to New York, quickly sent e-mails with headlines such as, “McConnell slams financial reform bill after meeting with hedge fund managers and other Wall Street elites.”

The GOP dropped their ‘populism’ pose pretty quickly, didn’t they?

In retrospect I can see what Michael Steele was up to
Michael Steele, most popular with the de-base.

Lesbian Bondage Clubs are probably a good way to get those popularity ratings up (especially if you “make it rain”), after all, like most things, it is more popular than Michael Steele:

None of the Republican Party’s individual leaders get very good marks either. 25% of voters have a negative opinion of John Boehner to 15% who view him favorably. Mitch McConnell’s numbers are almost identical with 26% seeing him unfavorably to 15% with a positive take. RNC Chair Michael Steele is particularly unpopular with 33% of Americans holding a negative opinion of him to only 10% with a favorable one.

Those numbers are worse than Nancy Pelosi’s or Harry Reid’s (and good luck with that in Nevada Harry). But in fairness to Steele, all those negative numbers are only as important as who shows up to vote in a mid-term election and HE is not on any ballot (other than the V.I.P. list at Scores). I’m also sure the near unanimous polling response to the name of DNC Chair Tim Kaine would be “Who?”.


What Obama’s Nuclear Weapons Conference Missed

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on April 14th, 2010 4:51 am by HL

What Obama’s Nuclear Weapons Conference Missed
The specific inspiration for weapons proliferation among vulnerable Third World states is the desire to have a nuclear deterrent against invasion or attack by the United States (or in the Iran case, Israel), or by some other nation in the future. By William Pfaff

The specific inspiration for weapons proliferation among vulnerable Third World states is the desire to have a nuclear deterrent against invasion or attack by the United States (or in the Iran case, Israel), or by some other nation in the future.


Related Entries



Bicycle Policy Draws Mixed Reviews For Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on April 14th, 2010 4:50 am by HL

Bicycle Policy Draws Mixed Reviews For Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood
WASHINGTON — Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, a weekend bicyclist, might consider keeping his head down and his helmet on. A backlash is brewing over his…

Rob Johnson: Help Take the Move Your Money Campaign to the Next Level
In the short time since the Move Your Money project started, we’ve seen the movement grow beyond anything we ever anticipated. Now we’re asking for your help to take it to the next level.

Computer Glitch Missed Eight Safety Violations At Upper Big Branch Mine
WASHINGTON — A computer error prevented the West Virginia coal mine where 29 workers died in an explosion last week from receiving a warning about…

Rob Richie: Why FairVote Opposes California’s Prop 14 – But Seeks Reform
FairVote’s Board of Directors recently voted to oppose Proposition 14 on the ballot this June in California. Here is our statement. Many Californians are…

Rep. John B. Larson: 2010 Census: Answers to the Top 10 Most Frequently Asked Questions
By being counted in the Census, you’re helping your community secure the resources and representation that it needs and deserves. Learn what you need to know about the Census here.


Fox & Friends baselessly suggests Obama exacerbated decline in personal income

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on April 14th, 2010 4:49 am by HL

Fox & Friends baselessly suggests Obama exacerbated decline in personal income

Echoing a Washington Times article, Fox & Friends reported that personal income “has fallen 3.2 percent during President Obama’s term” and suggested Obama’s policies exacerbated the decline. In fact, this trend began in 2008 and has largely leveled off in the past year. Moreover, the figure they cite excludes “transfer” payments, including Social Security, Medicaid, food stamps, and unemployment insurance, which, if included, mean that personal income has increased by 1.2 percent since January 2009.

Fox & Friends: “Pay falls under president: Numbers reveal 3.2% decline”

Kilmeade: “Compare that” decline “to when President Bush took over, which was also a recession.” Fox News’ Peter Johnson Jr. stated during Fox & Friends: “There’s more disturbing news on the horizon now. Income in America has fallen 3.2 percent during President Obama’s term.” Co-host Brian Kilmeade said of the numbers, “Compare that to when President Bush took over, which was also a recession, income did fall but just .4 percent.” During the segment, Fox & Friends aired on-screen text stating, “Pay falls under president: Numbers reveal 3.2% decline.” From the April 13 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends:

JOHNSON: There’s more disturbing news on the horizon now. Income in America has fallen 3.2 percent during President Obama’s term.

KILMEADE: So since 2008, since he took over, income has fallen that much. Compare that to when President Bush took over, which was also a recession, income did fall but just .4 percent. So income falling and tax could be increasing, and we also know President Bush’s tax cuts are sunsetting.

JOHNSON: Income has dropped in 47 of the 50 states, and the two most affected states are New York and California, almost 4 percent each.

KILMEADE: We have 57 states.

GRETCHEN CARLSON (co-host): I don’t think anyone’s surprised with that, and so a lot of people are saying — including somebody who was on our show yesterday who was the former director of the Congressional Budget Office, Douglas Holtz-Eakin. He was on our show yesterday to talk about how the health care numbers, in his mind, don’t seem to add up.

And he’s now quoted as saying that the government cannot spend its way to prosperity, talking about the fact that income continues to drop while spending in this country continues to go up. He says that those two things don’t mean prosperity. You can’t have incomes going down and spending going up, which seems like simple math, and yet so many people disagree on that.

Personal income excluding transfer payments has been declining since 2008 and has largely leveled off in the past year

NBER: “Personal income less transfers peaked in December 2007” and has “generally declined since June” 2008. In December 2008, the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) announced that the recession began in December 2007. At that time, NBER stated, “Our measure of real personal income less transfers peaked in December 2007, displayed a zig-zag pattern from then until June 2008 at levels slightly below the December 2007 peak, and has generally declined since June.” NBER noted that “[t]o adjust personal income less transfer payments from nominal to real terms (that is, to remove the effects of price changes), the committee uses the deflator for gross domestic product.”

Personal income excluding transfer payments dropped during Bush’s last year in office. Fox & Friends and The Washington Times compared personal income excluding transfer payments under Obama to data for President Bush’s first year in office, while ignoring that the current recession began during Bush’s final year in office. BEA data show that personal income excluding current transfer payments fell from $9.614 trillion in January 2008 to $9.302 trillion in January 2009, a decrease of 3.2 percent. While Fox & Friends and The Washington Times did not provide this context, the following chart shows that the fall in personal income excluding transfer payments began around January 2008 — long before Obama took office — and has essentially leveled off since mid-2009:

personal income excluding transfers chart

Personal income including transfer payments has increased 1.2 percent from January 2009 to February 2010

Wash. Times: “Real personal income for Americans — excluding government payouts such as Social Security — has fallen by 3.2 percent since President Obama took office.” An April 13 Drudge Report headline stated, “Personal income drops 3.2% since Obama.” Drudge linked to an April 13 Washington Times report with the headline, “Income falls 3.2% during Obama’s term.” Fox Nation also linked to The Washington Times article under the headline, “Incomes Fall 3.2% During Obama’s Term.” The Fox & Friends segment strongly echoed The Washington Times article, which reported that “[r]eal personal income for Americans — excluding government payouts such as Social Security — has fallen by 3.2 percent since President Obama took office in January 2009, according to the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis.” However, Fox & Friends did not note that the 3.2 percent decrease in personal income excludes government transfer payments including unemployment benefits and refundable tax credits from the stimulus package.

BEA measurement of “personal income” includes transfer payments from government. The Bureau of Economic Analysis defines “Personal income” as “[i]ncome received by persons from all sources. It includes income received from participation in production as well as from government and business transfer payments.”

Wash. Times: “Personal income with government ‘transfers’ … has grown during Mr. Obama’s time in office, up 1.2 percent from January 2009 to February 2010.” The Washington Times article noted: “Personal income with government ‘transfers’ — which include such federal money as Social Security, unemployment insurance, Medicare and food stamps — has grown during Mr. Obama’s time in office, up 1.2 percent from January 2009 to February 2010.”

BEA data states that personal income in February 2010 was $12.179 trillion, up from $12.038 trillion in January 2009. From BEA data complied by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis:

personal income chart

Commerce Department credits government recovery efforts with supporting spending, income. On March 29, U.S. Commerce Under Secretary for Economic Affairs Rebecca Blank said of the most recent personal income and outlays data: “Today’s data indicate that, as the Administration’s economic recovery efforts have pulled us back from the brink and taken hold, American families have been able to save more and improve their financial positions.” Commerce Department chief economist Mark Doms stated on February 1 that “[r]eal disposable income also increased in the fourth quarter, partly reflecting growth in government benefits. Further stimulus expenditures will support the ongoing expansion in consumer spending and income.”

Fox & Friends has repeatedly downplayed impact of economic stimulus

On anniversary of bill’s passage, Fox & Friends repeatedly attacked and misinformed about stimulus. On the one-year anniversary of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Fox & Friends purported to analyze the results of the bill and repeatedly shed doubt on the impact of the stimulus on the employment situation. But Fox & Friends ignored independent analyses of the stimulus, including those conducted by Moody’s Economy.com and the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office that said the measure raised employment by 1 million to 2.4 million jobs by the end of 2009.

Fox & Friends promoted GOP attack over job losses since stimulus, ignoring estimates that it saved jobs. The hosts of Fox & Friends and Fox Business’ Dave Ramsey aired a graphic sourced to House Republicans that highlighted “Job Losses Since The ‘Stimulus’ ” to support the claim that the stimulus “didn’t work.” But economic analysts have estimated that employment has increased by as many as 2 million jobs relative to where the economy would be without the stimulus.

Bolling falsely claimed only 595,000 jobs have been created by the stimulus. On the February 16 edition of Fox and Friends, guest host Eric Bolling claimed of stimulus money: “$272 billion has been spent,” but only “595,000 jobs [have been] created,” adding, “that’s $450,000 per job.” In fact, the Recovery.gov employment numbers Bolling cited only represents jobs funded from October 1-December 31, 2009, which make up a small part of the total number of jobs that the White House and other economists estimate have been funded by the stimulus.

Fox & Friends recited misleading GOP press release on stimulus. Fox & Friends hosts parroted a House Republican press release and repeated its claim that the stimulus impact is “6 million jobs shy of what the administration promised us” since the administration stated “that 3.5 million jobs would be created. And, in fact, the United States has lost 2.7 million since the stimulus plan.” However, the administration estimated that by 2011 — not September 2009, when the 2.7 million job losses since February were recorded — 3.5 million jobs would be created or saved by the stimulus compared to the number of jobs that would have existed at the end of 2010 had the government not passed the legislation.


Report: Dry Cleaning Corp. Official Gave Illegal Donation To Vitter

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on April 14th, 2010 4:48 am by HL

Report: Dry Cleaning Corp. Official Gave Illegal Donation To Vitter
A former official with a dry cleaning corporation seeking to curry favor with Sen. David Vitter says he was reimbursed for a $4,800 contribution to the senator, which if true is a violation of federal campaign finance law, the Times-Picayune reports.

VA Gov McDonnell Institutes Writing Test For Felons Seeking Voting Rights
Virginia governor Bob McDonnell wants to change the process by which non-violent felons apply to have their voting rights restored, making them submit an essay outlining their contributions to society since their release.


Justice Department Moves To Reform Notorious New Orleans Police Department
The federal criminal investigation of the police shootings of civilians on Danziger Bridge in post-Katrina New Orleans is just part of what the Justice Department acknowledges is an intensive review of the city’s notorious police department. One option under review, TPMmuckraker has learned, is filing a civil rights lawsuit against the city in a move similar to the one the Justice Department took against the Los Angeles Police Department a decade ago.



The Catholic Church’s Divine Right?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on April 14th, 2010 4:43 am by HL

The Catholic Church’s Divine Right?


Quote of the Day

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on April 14th, 2010 4:42 am by HL

Quote of the Day
“I have my hands full with this election. I’m not going to be a vice presidential or presidential contender. Just the fact that I’m addressing it embarrasses me.”

— Marco Rubio (R), quoted by the St. Petersburg Times, on conservatives urging him to run for president in 2012.

How Colorado Went from Red to Blue
Just published: The Blueprint: How Democrats Won Colorado (and Why Republicans Everywhere Should Care) by Rob Witwer and Adam Schrager.

The book looks at how Colorado Democrats flipped the solid red state in just ten years and provides fascinating insights into one of the most sustained and coordinated political efforts in recent history.

Independent in New England
“They make less of a ruckus than the tea party people, but independents in New England are brewing their own revolution,” Froma Harrop observes. “Third-party governors may have been elected elsewhere — Walter Hickel in Alaska (1990) and Jesse Ventura in Minnesota (1998) — but in New England, such candidacies have become almost routine.”

“Independents are making credible runs for governor in Massachusetts, Maine and Rhode Island. The strongest contender, Rhode Island’s Lincoln Chafee, is a former U.S. senator and former Republican. Polls show Chafee comfortably ahead of his likely Democratic and Republican rivals.”

“This regional trend preceded the tea party phenomenon. The U.S. Senate’s two independents are Connecticut’s Joe Lieberman and Vermont’s Bernie Sanders, both of whom caucus with Democrats. Connecticut’s former governor, Lowell Weicker, had been a Republican-turned-independent. And if elected, Eliot Cutler would be Maine’s third independent governor.”


Speculating Banks Still Rule — Ten Ways Dems and Dodd Are Failing on Financial Reform

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on April 14th, 2010 4:41 am by HL

Speculating Banks Still Rule — Ten Ways Dems and Dodd Are Failing on Financial Reform
None of this is reform. We are better off with nada than vapid promises and a false sense of security.

None of this is reform. We are better off with nada than vapid promises and a false sense of security.

Right Wing Red Meat in Cruel April
CNN beefs up with the angry white man punditry, this time with RedState.com’s Erick Erickson.

CNN beefs up with the angry white man punditry, this time with RedState.com's Erick Erickson.

Countdown to Zero Nuclear Weapons: Addressing Our Most Urgent Security Threat
After seeing the film Countdown to Zero and hearing terrifying stories about terrorists trying to acquire nuclear weapons, people will be motivated to act.

After seeing the film Countdown to Zero and hearing terrifying stories about terrorists trying to acquire nuclear weapons, people will be motivated to act.


Presented By:

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on April 14th, 2010 4:40 am by HL

Presented By:

Steve Walt Exposes WINEP/AIPAC’s Satloff …Plus I Re-State Offensive Truths…Plus Proof of The GOP/ Racism Nexus…Plus My Take On the Obama Plan
Even before you read me, you should read Steve Walt’s delicious takedown of Robert Satloff, the head of the AIPAC-founded Washington Institute For Near East Policies. Satloff pretends that he does not know that WINEP is an AIPAC creation. Maybe…


Middle EastIsraelIsrael Defense ForcesMuslimWarfare and Conflict

The Future of American Jobs
Many of my students at Berkeley who will be graduating in June are worried about the job market. I understand their worries. But they and other new college grads have less cause for concern than most American workers. Let me…


United StatesLabour economicsGreat RecessionEmploymentLatin America