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Archive for May 24th, 2010

Late Late Night FDL: Carnac The Magnificent

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 24th, 2010 4:48 am by HL

Late Late Night FDL: Carnac The Magnificent
Johnny Carson as Carnac The Magnificent, featuring Ed McMahon. This skit aired on The Tonight Show in February, 1981.

Johnny Carson as Carnac The Magnificent, featuring Ed McMahon.  This skit aired on The Tonight Show in February, 1981.

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Early Morning Swim

The Spirit of ‘86
I was in college in the Spring of 1986 when the Chernobyl nuclear power plant had its meltdown. Without Twitter, Blogs or Facebook we actually had to sit around and hyperventilate with each other face-to-face, it was terrible. One thing we did have is Reagan Administration officials on television telling us that non-commie […]

Chernobyl Sarcophagus (photo: via stahlmandesign at Flickr)

I was in college in the Spring of 1986 when the Chernobyl nuclear power plant had its meltdown. Without Twitter, Blogs or Facebook we actually had to sit around and hyperventilate with each other face-to-face, it was terrible.

One thing we did have is Reagan Administration officials on television telling us that non-commie nuclear reactors were perfectly safe and we need to build more– “why look at France” they said, “the French nuclear reactors are wonderful!” Republicans praising France, it was a different time. But still, no new nuclear plants were getting built.

Move forward a quarter-century and without the Soviets to kick around these ecological disasters just cannot be spun so easily, so things go in reverse.

In the days since President Obama announced a moratorium on permits for drilling new offshore oil wells and a halt to a controversial type of environmental waiver that was given to the Deepwater Horizon rig, at least seven new permits for various types of drilling and five environmental waivers have been granted, according to records.

That’s quite a re-imagining of the definition of moratorium — and speaking of moratoriums.

Meanwhile, the oil geyser gets worse. Maybe we should bring in those Russian folks who fixed the problems at Chernobyl? Oh…right.


U.S. Base Will Stay on Okinawa

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 24th, 2010 4:47 am by HL

U.S. Base Will Stay on Okinawa
Despite campaign promises and widespread protests, Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama has finally made the widely unpopular decision to allow the relocation of a U.S. military base on Okinawa. Hatoyama had been on the fence for months on how to resolve the issue, with his approval rating plunging to less than 25 percent. —JCL The New York Times: Apologizing for failing to fulfill a prominent campaign promise, Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama told outraged residents of Okinawa on Sunday that he has decided to relocate an American air base to the north side of the island as originally agreed upon with the United States. On his second visit to Okinawa this month, Mr. Hatoyama for first time conceded what Japanese media had been reporting for weeks: that he would accept Washington’s demands and honor a 2006 agreement to move the United States Marine Air Station Futenma to the island’s less populated north. The decision is a humiliating setback for Mr. Hatoyama on a problem that has consumed his young government and could prove its undoing. Before last year’s historic election victory, he had vowed to move the base off of Okinawa or even out of Japan. But his apparent wavering on the issue helped drive his approval ratings below 25 percent. Read more

Despite campaign promises and widespread protests, Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama has finally made the widely unpopular decision to allow the relocation of a U.S. military base on Okinawa.

Hatoyama had been on the fence for months on how to resolve the issue, with his approval rating plunging to less than 25 percent. —JCL

The New York Times:

Apologizing for failing to fulfill a prominent campaign promise, Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama told outraged residents of Okinawa on Sunday that he has decided to relocate an American air base to the north side of the island as originally agreed upon with the United States.

On his second visit to Okinawa this month, Mr. Hatoyama for first time conceded what Japanese media had been reporting for weeks: that he would accept Washington’s demands and honor a 2006 agreement to move the United States Marine Air Station Futenma to the island’s less populated north.

The decision is a humiliating setback for Mr. Hatoyama on a problem that has consumed his young government and could prove its undoing. Before last year’s historic election victory, he had vowed to move the base off of Okinawa or even out of Japan. But his apparent wavering on the issue helped drive his approval ratings below 25 percent.

Read more

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Alex Blaze: Democrats Don’t Have the Right to Laugh at Rand Paul

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 24th, 2010 4:46 am by HL

Alex Blaze: Democrats Don’t Have the Right to Laugh at Rand Paul
LGBT people were told that the Employment Non-Discrimination Act would be passed in April, but it looks like it’ll be canned until 2011. Meanwhile, people think it’s illegal to fire someone for being gay, but it’s not in 29 states.

Gary Liberson: Income Disparity and Despair
The economic fabric of the US is broken. What is clear from income and wealth data is that we are strangling the American dream. The…

Wall Street’s Reaction To Reform Legislation: ‘A Sigh Of Relief’
The financial reform legislation making its way through Congress has Wall Street executives privately relieved that the bill does not do more to fundamentally change…

Cenk Uygur: Ask Goldman Sachs to Give it Back!
Sometimes when you explain to people that some of the most complicated financial transactions in the country were just side bets, they don’t really believe…

Richard Greener: Rand Paul’s Transparent Hypocrisy: He’s a Doctor!
How can a man be a truly dedicated libertarian and still be a doctor? A doctor! Is there a profession more intrinsically entwined with government than medicine?


Will advances false claim that Blumenthal fabricated his association with Harvard swim team

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 24th, 2010 4:45 am by HL

Will advances false claim that Blumenthal fabricated his association with Harvard swim team

George Will falsely claimed that Democratic Senate candidate Richard Blumenthal “told the Hartford Courant that he was the captain of a Harvard swim team when he was never on the swim team.” In fact, a former Harvard team captain has stated Blumenthal was on the team, and there is no evidence that Blumenthal personally provided the Courant with any information about his team status.

Will falsely claims Blumenthal misled Courant about being on Harvard’s swim team

Will: “How do you explain that he evidently told the Hartford Courant that he was the captain of the Harvard swim team when he wasn’t on the swim team?” On the May 23 edition of ABC’s This Week, George Will said if he “ran the Democratic party,” he “would be trying to get [Blumenthal] out” of the Senate race, adding: “How do you explain the fact that he evidently told the Hartford Courant that he was the captain of a Harvard swim team when he was never on the swim team?” Will added: “This is a serial problem.”

Courant profile does not state that Blumenthal said he was “captain”

Hartford Courant report does not attribute swim team claims to Blumenthal. In an October 3, 2004, profile of Blumenthal, the Courant reported (accessed via Nexis):

The Blumenthals paid for their children to attend Riverdale Country School, a private school in the Bronx, and later footed the bill for Ivy League schools, all the way through law and medical schools.

In Richard’s case, that meant four years at Harvard University, where he was captain of the swim team, editor-in-chief of the Harvard Crimson and a magna cum laude graduate, and Yale Law School.

Courant issued a correction to its story. On May 21, the Courant issued a correction to its 2004 profile that also did not indicate Blumenthal had supplied the Courant with false information:

State Attorney General Richard Blumenthal was never captain of the Harvard University swim team. A 1978 Courant story incorrectly reported that he was — an error repeated in subsequent Courant stories, including profiles in 1980 and 2004.

Courant: Former Harvard team captain confirms Blumenthal was on the team

Courant reported that a former Harvard team captain said Blumenthal “was on the team” and that Blumenthal said he had “no idea” where the captain claim came from. The Courant reported on May 20:

I called the school earlier today and was told the registrar’s office can verify attendance but could not verify an individuals participation on any athletic team. I was told to call the swim coach, who did not return my call.

But Waterbury native Peter Alter, who was the captain of the Harvard swim team in 1968, the year after Blumenthal graduated, told the Courant this morning that Blumenthal was on the team.

He was a freestyler and “was actually a pretty good one,” said Alter, now a lawyer in Glastonbury who still on occasion talks to Blumenthal.

The Yankee Institute for Public Policy, a conservative think-tank based in Hartford, unearthed a trove of photographs from Harvard that show Blumenthal was at least associated with the team.

A photo from the 1964 Harvard College yearbook, posted on the Yankee Institute’s Facebook page, shows Blumenthal participating in a Harvard swim meet his freshman year. “However, if Blumenthal was on the Harvard swim team, he is not included in the team’s group yearbook photo that year,” Yankee’s executive director Fergus Cullen noted in an email.

Blumenthal campaign manager Mindy Myers said it is her understanding that Blumenthal was a member of the freshman swim team at Harvard.

The captain of the swim team in 1967, Blumenthal’s senior year, was James Seubold, who is now a doctor in the Chicago area. He could not be reached for comment.

Alter, who was a diver and only the second diver in school history to be named captain, said it is a “big deal to be named captain” of any Harvard sports team.

Alter said he talked to Blumenthal a few years ago, when both of them were at a function. The two men joked about the inaccurate references to Blumenthal being the team captain. The attorney general told Alter “he had no idea where it came from.”

“He said he had tried to figure out where it had started and that he had never claimed to have been the captain,” Alter said.

NY Times first forwarded dubious claim that Blumenthal was “never on the team”

NY Times cited Hartford Courant description of Blumenthal as team captain when, “records at the college show that he was never on the team.” The New York Times reported on May 17:

On a less serious matter, another flattering but untrue description of Mr. Blumenthal’s history has appeared in profiles about him. In two largely favorable profiles, the Slate article and a magazine article in The Hartford Courant in 2004 with which he cooperated, Mr. Blumenthal is described prominently as having served as captain of the swim team at Harvard. Records at the college show that he was never on the team.

Mr. Blumenthal said he did not provide the information to reporters, was unsure how it got into circulation and was “astonished” when he saw it in print.


Presented By:

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 24th, 2010 4:44 am by HL

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Rand Paul: Economic Collapse Could Lead To ‘A Hitler’ Coming To Power
Rand Paul warned last year that a worsening economy could lead to “a Hitler” coming to power in the U.S.


Adolf HitlerUnited StatesGermanyHistoryThird Reich


The Amazing Randy Paul & the New Republican-Tea Party

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 24th, 2010 4:41 am by HL

The Amazing Randy Paul & the New Republican-Tea Party


Perry Leads White in Texas

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 24th, 2010 4:40 am by HL

Perry Leads White in Texas
The latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll finds Rick Perry (R) leads Bill White (D) by nine points, 44% to 35%, in the 2010 race for Texas governor.

“The numbers in the races polled aren’t far from the generic party numbers in the poll. Asked which party’s candidate they’d support in their local races for Congress, 46 percent chose the Republican and 34 percent chose the Democrat; 15 percent were undecided and 5 percent chose ‘someone else.'”

Quote of the Day
“I venture to say we’re going to lay the smackdown on him come November.”

–Co-Founder of World Wrestling Entertainment Linda McMahon (R), quoted by the Connecticut Mirror, on Democratic Senate candidate Richard Blumenthal (D).

Blumenthal Apologizes
“After nearly a week of criticism following revelations that he misrepresented his military record and five days after a press conference in which he expressed regret for his misstatements,” Richard Blumenthal (D) apologized in an email to the Hartford Courant.

Wrote Blumenthal: “At times when I have sought to honor veterans, I have not been as clear or precise as I should have been about my service in the Marine Corps Reserves. I have firmly and clearly expressed regret and taken responsibility for my words. I have made mistakes and I am sorry. I truly regret offending anyone.”


The Wall Street-Washington Axis of See No Evil Strikes Again: Ben Bernanke’s Illogical Argument About Why Taxpayers Should Continue to Subsidize Derivative Trading on the Street

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 24th, 2010 4:39 am by HL

The Wall Street-Washington Axis of See No Evil Strikes Again: Ben Bernanke’s Illogical Argument About Why Taxpayers Should Continue to Subsidize Derivative Trading on the Street
The Wall Street-Washington Axis of See-No-Evil is close to axing Blanche Lincoln’s important proposal for ending the taxpayer subsidy of derivative trading. For years the big banks have relied on taxpayer-funded deposit insurance to backstop their lucrative derivative businesses. Obviously…

Peter Beinart Lashes His Lobby Critics (UPDATE) ++Dershowitz
The original piece is below. It is about Dershowitz. I’m updating with Peter Beinart’s excellent response to the Jeff Goldbergs of the world, who are going after Beinart the way they go after…anyone who dares criticize the Israeli government. Except…


Middle EastAlan DershowitzWarfare and ConflictUnited StatesIsrael

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Sen. Lamar Alexander Advocates A Government Takeover Of The Oil Spill Clean-Up

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 24th, 2010 4:38 am by HL

Sen. Lamar Alexander Advocates A Government Takeover Of The Oil Spill Clean-Up
The oil spill that resulted from a British Petroleum rig exploding in the Gulf of Mexico is still continuing unabated, and many scientists are now saying that BP and the Obama administration are downplaying the amount of oil that is gushing into the water. The joint BP-federal command has been relying on an estimate from […]

The oil spill that resulted from a British Petroleum rig exploding in the Gulf of Mexico is still continuing unabated, and many scientists are now saying that BP and the Obama administration are downplaying the amount of oil that is gushing into the water. The joint BP-federal command has been relying on an estimate from NOAA scientists that the oil rate was increasing by 210,000 gallons (5000 barrels) a day, but independent scientists estimate that the flow rate is at least 850,000 gallons a day.

This week, a flurry of environmental organizations, members of Congress, and local officials in the states affected by the spill called for the federal government to take over the response effort from BP. “This is an all-hands-on-deck crisis, and we need to use every asset the U.S. has, including the Defense Department and all of its most sophisticated technology,” said Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA).

Today, on CBS’ Face the Nation, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) — who spends a lot of his time fearmongering about various government takeovers — seemed to advocate that the government simply let BP off the hook and take over the clean-up effort:

Alexander: There’s one thing [the administration] could do. Under the law, they could fire BP and take it over. But the truth is the federal government probably doesn’t have the capacity to do that. […]

Q: But would you favor taking over BP if that became necessary?

Alexander: Sure, that’s up to the President to decide. … Under the law the federal government can take it over if they choose. And I understand why they might not choose, but that option exists.

Watch it:

Last week, BP CEO Tony Hayward said that he expects the environmental impact of the disaster will be “very, very modest.” But as The Wonk Room’s Brad Johnson pointed out, “already, toxic sludge has started to ooze onto Louisiana’s fragile wetlands, and oil globs and tar balls have been found on barrier islands and beaches along the northeastern Gulf Coast. The federal government closed 19 percent of the Gulf to fishing on Monday when the slick doubled in size, caught by the Loop Current that is now dragging oil to the Florida Keys.”

Steele refuses to denounce Rand Paul: ?I can?t condemn a person?s view.?
This morning on ABC’s This Week, Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele had to address Kentucky GOP Senate candidate Rand Paul’s recent comments that private business owners should be allowed to discriminate against people of color or anyone else they choose. After a firestorm of criticism, he backtracked and said he would “not support any […]

This morning on ABC’s This Week, Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele had to address Kentucky GOP Senate candidate Rand Paul’s recent comments that private business owners should be allowed to discriminate against people of color or anyone else they choose. After a firestorm of criticism, he backtracked and said he would “not support any efforts to repeal the Civil Rights Act of 1964,” but the controversy has raised other questions about his views on the Americans with Disabilities Act, the federal minimum wage, and the Fair Housing Act. Today, Steele said that Paul’s philosophy is “misplaced in these times” because it’s not “where the country is right now.” However, he defended that position because “it’s a philosophical position held by a lot of libertarians” and refused to condemn Paul:

STEELE: That’s a direct quote, and it’s a philosophical position held by a lot of libertarians, which Rand Paul is. They have a very, very strong view about the limitations of government intrusion into the private sector. That is a philosophical perspective. We have had a lot of members go to the United States Senate with a lot of different philosophies, but when they get to the body, how they work to move the country forward matters. […]

TAPPER: But do you condemn that view?

STEELE: I can’t condemn a person’s view. That’s like, you know, you believe something and I’m going to say, well, you know, I’m going to condemn your view of it. It’s the people of Kentucky will judge whether or not that’s a view that they would like to send–

TAPPER: Are you comfortable with that?

STEELE: I am not comfortable with a lot of things, but it doesn’t matter what I’m comfortable with and not comfortable with. I don’t vote in that election. The people of Kentucky will. As a national chairman, I’m here to say that our party will move forward in fighting for the civil rights and liberties of the American people, especially minorities in this country, and we’re going to do everything in our power to make sure that everyone who’s going to come to the United States Congress or go to state capitals with a Republican label are in that fight with us.

TAPPER: It sounds like you’re not comfortable with it.

STEELE: I just said I wasn’t comfortable.

Watch it:

Transcript:

KAINE: I was a civil rights lawyer for 17 years. Rand Paul wrote a letter about the Fair Housing Act to a local newspaper, saying a free society should tolerate private discrimination, even if it means that hate-filled groups exclude people based on the color of their skin.

TAPPER: That’s pretty much a direct quote.

STEELE: That’s a direct quote, and it’s a philosophical position held by a lot of libertarians, which Rand Paul is. They have a very, very strong view about the limitations of government intrusion into the private sector. That is a philosophical perspective. We have had a lot of members go to the United States Senate with a lot of different philosophies, but when they get to the body, how they work to move the country forward matters, and right now, the federal government is not moving forward on BP and cleaning up that mess; the federal government is not moving forward on the economy and creating jobs. There are a lot of — there are a lot of philosophies, a lot of talk on this hill about folks to get stuff done. What the American people are looking for is what are the concrete steps that this administration has taken to clean up the mess in the Gulf before it gets worse, and to create the jobs that are necessary for people to go back to building the economy the way that everybody wants it to be.

TAPPER: Fair enough, but just one more — one more beat on Rand Paul, and that is do you condemn that point of view? I mean, where would African-Americans be if the federal government hadn’t come in and said, hotels, you have to–

STEELE: Exactly. That’s very much a part of the debate back in the ’60s, as it is going forward. But the reality of it is, our party has stood four-square behind, you know–

TAPPER: But do you condemn that view?

STEELE: I can’t condemn a person’s view. That’s like, you know, you believe something and I’m going to say, well, you know, I’m going to condemn your view of it. It’s the people of Kentucky will judge whether or not that’s a view that they would like to send–

TAPPER: Are you comfortable with that?

STEELE: I am not comfortable with a lot of things, but it doesn’t matter what I’m comfortable with and not comfortable with. I don’t vote in that election. The people of Kentucky will. As a national chairman, I’m here to say that our party will move forward in fighting for the civil rights and liberties of the American people, especially minorities in this country, and we’re going to do everything in our power to make sure that everyone who’s going to come to the United States Congress or go to state capitals with a Republican label are in that fight with us.

TAPPER: It sounds like you’re not comfortable with it.

STEELE: I just said I wasn’t comfortable.


Featured Advertiser

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 24th, 2010 4:37 am by HL

Featured Advertiser

Obama’s Hawaii birthplace gives House seat to GOP
Republican Charles Djou was elected to fill a vacant House seat in the overwhelmingly Democratic Hawaii district where President Obama was born and raised, handing the GOP a symbolic victory in its bid to retake control of Congress.



republicanHawaiiUnited StatesBarack ObamaPresident

Are Democrats pulling back on faith outreach?
If 2008 was the year Democrats finally got religion, will 2010 be the year the party loses it again?


United StatesDemocraticPoliticsPartiesWashington

Lawmakers divided on ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ as votes near
Key votes pending in Congress this week on whether to repeal the “don’t ask, don’t tell” law that prohibits openly gay men and lesbians from serving in the military remain too close to call, advocates on both sides say.


LawUnited StatesRepublican PartyLGBTPolitics

Senate Dems to give federal commission say over legal immigrant workers
Democrats crafting an overhaul of U.S. immigration laws are bringing a new approach to a long-stalled debate: giving a federal commission some power over the future flow of legal foreign workers.


United StatesForeign workerLawSenateGovernment