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Archive for June 20th, 2010

Tons of Bushmeat Pass Through Airport

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 20th, 2010 4:49 am by HL

Tons of Bushmeat Pass Through Airport
About 270 metric tons of illegal bushmeat could be passing through one of Europe’s busiest airports each year, according to the first systemic study of the criminal trade. The study of Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris found 11 species, including two types of primates, two kinds of crocodiles and three rodent species — four of which were listed as protected.


Late Late Night FDL: The Unmentionables

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 20th, 2010 4:48 am by HL

Late Late Night FDL: The Unmentionables
The Unmentionables starring Bugs Bunny. This Warner Bros Merrie Melodies cartoon was released on September 7, 1963.

The Unmentionables starring Bugs Bunny.  This Warner Bros Merrie Melodies cartoon was released on September 7, 1963.

Directed by Friz Freleng.  Story by John W. Dunn.  Voices by Mel Blanc and others.  Narration by Ralph James.  Film and Sound Effects Editing by Treg Brown.  Animation by Gerry Chiniquy, Lee Halpern, Art Leonardi, Bob Matz, and Virgil Ross.  Backgrounds by Tom O’Loughlin.  Layouts by Hawley Pratt.  Original Music and Music Direction by William Lava.

What’s on your mind?

Sunday Talking Heads: June 20, 2010
Happy Father’s Day all you dads out there, may your breakfast in bed be tasty and your tie not too tight. Well, I’m sorry to bring you today’s fabu listings, I think all our faves are featured today, we even have Greta Van Susteren appearing on This Week. Big topics: the BP Oil Disaster and Afghanistan.

father and son

photo: disgustipado (flickr)

Happy Father’s Day all you dads out there, may your breakfast in bed be tasty and your new tie not too tight.

Got some fabu listings for you today, I think all our faves are featured, we even have Greta Fox Susteren appearing on “This Week.” Big topics: the BP Oil Disaster and Afghanistan.

Washington Journal: 7:45am – Mark Schleifstein, New Orleans Times Picayune.  8am – James Weakley, Lake Carriers’ Association.  8:45am – Brian Fishman, New America Foundation.  9:30am – Carrie Severino, Judicial Crisis Network.

ABC’s This Week: White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel on a wide range of topics.  Roundtable: Greta Van Susteren, George WillMichel Martin, Richard Haass.

CBS’ Face The Nation Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Rep. Joseph Cao (R-LA), Sen. Bill Nelson ( D-FL), Sen. Richard Shelby R-AL).

Chris Matthews: Savannah Guthrie, John Heilemann, Rick Stengel, Helene Cooper. Topics: How Obama Can Take Charge of the Gulf Oil Crisis.  Is the Rise of the New Right Making Regular Republicans Harder To Elect?

CNN’s State of the Union: Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT), co-sponsor of the Kerry/Lieberman energy act. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), senior Republican member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee.  Then, Afghanistan with Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN).

Fareed Zakaria – GPS: The oil disaster, “Fareed’s take: we need to stop vilifying oil…because we’re not going to shake our addiction to it anytime soon.”  Then, Afghanistan, with opposition leader Abdullah Abdullah.  Next up: “more with neo-con mastermind Paul Wolfowitz. What’s wrong with President Obama’s foreign policy?  Then, one of the richest women in China points out the problems with the system that brought her such success.”  And, finally, Sen. John McCain wants more regime change.

Fox News Sunday: Afghanistan with Defense Secretary Robert Gates.  Then Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on energy legislation.  Fox News AllStars: Bill Kristol, Mara Liasson, Liz Cheney, Juan William, Power Player of the Week: Actor Janine Turner, Founder & Co-chair Constituting America.

NBC’s Meet The Press: The oil disaster, clean-up, restoration, containment, the government’s response, accountability. Gov. Haley Barbour (R-MS), Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA). Katty Kay of the BBC, and, fmr President of Shell Oil Company and author of “Why We Hate the Oil Companies,” John Hofmeister. Then Ken Feinberg, the man who will implement and administer the $20 billion BP fund.

Newsmakers; Sen. Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) joined Newsmakers to discuss the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan, which begins June 28th.

Q & A: Leo Damrosch, author of the new book “Tocqueville’s Discovery of America.” He follows Frenchman Alexis de Tocqueville on his tour of America in 1831 and 1832 and looks at Tocqueville’s subsequent book, “Democracy in America.”

Religion & Ethics: Adoption Ethics – Is it ever right to give a child back? Jailhouse Chaplain – Chaplain Dennis Gibbs says the LA County Jail is a “place.” Anecdotes of the Spirit – Mark Royko’s Art.  Open Spaces – These urban sanctuaries are sites of hope and healing.

60 Minutes: Assault on Pelindaba – Scott Pelley investigates the boldest assault ever on a facility containing weapons-grade uranium, a still-unsolved crime that could have had calamitous consequences had it been successful.  The Liquidator – The man in charge of recovering assets from Ponzi scheme king Bernard Madoff says there is about 18 billion still out there that he hopes to recover for victims of the scam.  A Living For The Dead – Marilyn Monroe, James Dean and Elvis are dead and now, so is Michael Jackson.

To The Contrary: Topics:  1- Labor Secretary Hilda Solis on Administration’s effort to clean up the Gulf oil spill; 2- Paid leave for dads; 3- The end of the deadbeat dad era?  Panelists: Chicago Tribune Columnist Clarence Page; The Daily Caller White House Correspondent Jon Ward; Global Summit of Women President Irene Natividad; and Independent Women’s Voice’s Sabrina SchaefferTTC onlne extra: A New Mommy War – Are lesbian parents better at raising children than heterosexual moms and dads?

Univision’s Al Punto: Abel Maldonado, Lieutenant Governor of California; Horacio Medina, Petroleum Engineer; Ricardo Flores, Father of slain Peruvian Student Stephany Flores; and Michael Zimbalist, Filmmaker, “The Two Escobars.”

Virtually Speaking: Culture of Truth and Christian Kendrick. The Sunday shows this week are gonna be filled with teh crazee, what with Republican leaders siding with a foreign corporation that has created the worst environmental catastrophe since Chernobyl.

Book TV.

FDL Book Club: Chat with Joseph Romm about his new book. Straight Up: America’s Fiercest Climate Blogger Takes on the Status Quo Media, Politicians, and Clean Energy Solutions. Hosted by Josh Nelson, 5pm ET.

FDL Movie Night Monday: The Reinactors, a look at the (now vanished, chased off by the Hollywood Division of the LAPD) film character impersonators and celebrity look-alikes on Hollywood Boulevard.  Join host Lisa Derrick and director David Markey for the discussion, 8pm ET.


Watching the World Cup in the West Bank

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 20th, 2010 4:46 am by HL

Watching the World Cup in the West Bank
The 465-mile-long wall that divides the Palestinian territories from neighboring Israel is both illegal and an eyesore, but one West Bank restaurant owner has decided to use the barrier for good: to screen every match of the World Cup soccer tournament. —JCL Al Jazeera English: Israel’s separation wall, twice the height of the former Berlin Wall and more than 750 km-long, is a much hated barrier in the Palestinian West Bank. Now, a restaurant owner in the occupied Palestinian West Bank has come up with a unique way to please World Cup fans: he has been showing every match of the tournament on a section of the wall, transforming it into a giant screen. Read more

The 465-mile-long wall that divides the Palestinian territories from neighboring Israel is both illegal and an eyesore, but one West Bank restaurant owner has decided to use the barrier for good: to screen every match of the World Cup soccer tournament. —JCL

Al Jazeera English:

Israel’s separation wall, twice the height of the former Berlin Wall and more than 750 km-long, is a much hated barrier in the Palestinian West Bank.

Now, a restaurant owner in the occupied Palestinian West Bank has come up with a unique way to please World Cup fans: he has been showing every match of the tournament on a section of the wall, transforming it into a giant screen.

Read more

Related Entries


Fewer Civilian Deaths in Afghanistan
Even in the face of increased military deployment and the fact that 2010 is on course to be one of the deadliest years for foreign troops in Afghanistan, the number of civilians killed there by U.S. and NATO forces has reportedly decreased due to stricter rules of engagement. Civilian deaths at the hands of coalition forces have been a major sore point in the ongoing battle against the Taliban. —JCL Reuters: Despite their boosted deployment and increased losses, foreign forces have been inflicting relatively fewer Afghan civilian casualties due to more stringent rules of engagement, a top coalition spokesman said on Saturday. Winning over civilians while reinforcing and stepping up military sweeps of Taliban-held areas is a centerpiece of the strategy formed over the past year by U.S. General Stanley McChrystal, the commander of foreign forces in Afghanistan. But with the clock ticking on planned troop pullouts, the United States and allies in the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) are troubled by its daily death tolls as well as Afghan losses that can reach triple figures in any given month. Presenting data from the last three months compared to the same period in 2009, ISAF spokesman Brigadier-General Josef Blotz said there were 7.8 percent fewer clashes involving civilians, with 44.4 percent fewer killed or wounded by coalition troops. Read more

McChrystal

Even in the face of increased military deployment and the fact that 2010 is on course to be one of the deadliest years for foreign troops in Afghanistan, the number of civilians killed there by U.S. and NATO forces has reportedly decreased due to stricter rules of engagement.

Civilian deaths at the hands of coalition forces have been a major sore point in the ongoing battle against the Taliban. —JCL

Reuters:

Despite their boosted deployment and increased losses, foreign forces have been inflicting relatively fewer Afghan civilian casualties due to more stringent rules of engagement, a top coalition spokesman said on Saturday. Winning over civilians while reinforcing and stepping up military sweeps of Taliban-held areas is a centerpiece of the strategy formed over the past year by U.S. General Stanley McChrystal, the commander of foreign forces in Afghanistan.

But with the clock ticking on planned troop pullouts, the United States and allies in the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) are troubled by its daily death tolls as well as Afghan losses that can reach triple figures in any given month.

Presenting data from the last three months compared to the same period in 2009, ISAF spokesman Brigadier-General Josef Blotz said there were 7.8 percent fewer clashes involving civilians, with 44.4 percent fewer killed or wounded by coalition troops.

Read more

Related Entries



William Bradley: What We Know Now About the Big California Races

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 20th, 2010 4:46 am by HL

William Bradley: What We Know Now About the Big California Races
Nearly two weeks into the general election, here are seven key things we know now about the races for California governor and senator. Both races are fully engaged and trends are emerging.

Arianna Huffington: Sunday Roundup
Tough to say who needs remedial PR training more, BP chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg, who this week referred to those affected by the Gulf catastrophe as “the small people” or Texas Rep. Joe Barton who used a high-profile hearing on the Hill to apologize to BP and accuse the White House of subjecting the company to “a shakedown.” Svanberg quickly went into contrition mode, blaming his tone-deaf remark on a “slip in translation” (he’s Swedish). Under pressure, Barton, who owns a natural gas well and has received nearly $1.5 million from oil and gas industry donors, apologized for his apology, saying: “If anything I’ve said this morning has been misconstrued… I want to apologize for that misconstruction.” He should apologize for that sentence. Then, as penance, both men should translate their regret into reparations, contributing a big amount to “the small people” devastated by the disaster.

John Huppenthal, Keith Wagner Interview: AZ State Senator Schooled By High School Student (VIDEO)
You’d think a State Senator who’s served 17 consecutive years on the State Senate Education Committee would be better informed about state education than a…

Pension Fund Benefits Cut By States In Budget Crisis
Many states are acknowledging this year that they have promised pensions they cannot afford and are cutting once-sacrosanct benefits, to appease taxpayers and attack budget…


Conservatives falsely claim Kagan compared NRA to Klan

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 20th, 2010 4:44 am by HL

Conservatives falsely claim Kagan compared NRA to Klan

Conservative media have falsely claimed that in hand-written notes Elena Kagan took as a Clinton administration official in 1996, she compared the National Rifle Association to the Ku Klux Klan. In fact, Kagan wasn’t comparing the NRA to the Klan; rather, she was reportedly taking notes that reflected a Justice Department attorney’s assessment of whether proposed legislation would shield volunteers for either of those two groups from lawsuits. Indeed, the supposedly controversial language in Kagan’s notes reportedly echoed the language of a memo that attorney had sent to Kagan.

Conservatives falsely accuse Kagan of comparing NRA to Klan

NRO: “Kagan apparently tied the NRA to the KKK.” From a June 18 National Review Online blog post headlined “Did Kagan Compare the NRA with the KKK?”:

National Review has learned that in 1996, Kagan apparently tied the NRA to the KKK — yes, the KKK — while debating the Clinton administration’s position on a bill.

[…]

Two documents discovered at the William J. Clinton Presidential Library and obtained by National Review suggest that Kagan was involved in these discussions. One does not contain her name, but the handwriting appears to be hers. (You can see an example of Kagan’s handwriting here.) It has the name of administration colleague Fran Allegra at the top, and lists two “Bad guy orgs” that might be covered — the NRA and the KKK.

[…]

Is Kagan so hostile to gun rights that she would compare the top gun-rights organization in the United States with a viciously racist hate group? It sure looks that way. We look forward to her explanation.

Fox: “Kagan Compares NRA to KKK?” From the front page of Fox Nation, which linked to a June 18 Fox Nation post:

Kagan didn’t compare the NRA to the Klan

REALITY: Kagan’s hand-written notes reportedly reflected the language of another attorney’s assessment. Kagan wasn’t indicating that the NRA was comparable to the Klan. Rather, according to the White House, Kagan was simply echoing the language of another attorney’s memo when, in hand-written notes about a conversation with that attorney, she listed the NRA under “bad guy orgs.” Both Kagan’s notes and the memo they are reportedly based on indicate that the NRA and the Klan would not have been covered by legislation that would have shielded volunteers for non-profits from lawsuits.

Kagan was taking notes about effects of legislation to protect volunteers for nonprofits from lawsuits. The documents in question related to legislation that would have protected volunteers for nonprofit organizations from lawsuits. The Washington Post‘s Greg Sargent wrote:

One of the docs in question is a handwritten note Kagan, then in the White House counsel’s office, took while discussing the act on the phone with a Department of Justice attorney. In it, she listed what she called two “bad guy orgs,” the “NRA” and the “KKK.”

[…]

Here’s the White House version of events. At the time, two separate things were going on simultaneously. First, Clinton officials were concerned that the proposal would make it tougher for victims of gun violence to pursue liability claims. Officials viewed the bill as a major giveaway to the gun industry and the NRA. As part of analyzing the impact in this area, Clinton lawyers looked at how it would benefit the NRA.

In a second, separate development, Democratic members of Congress were worried that the act could protect the KKK and other hate groups from liability. Senator Patrick Leahy branded it the “KKK protection act.” That prompted Clinton lawyers to analyze how it would impact such groups — the KKK included.

CNN: White House says Kagan was simply “writing down notes” about another lawyer’s memo. CNN’s Ed Henry reported on June 18 that the White House is “trying to make the point that this is not Elena Kagan herself calling them bad guys or lumping them together with a racist group like the KKK” and that in her notes, Kagan was simply repeating the language of the memo and the broader public “debate at the time.” Henry explained:

[W]hat they’re saying is, it’s important to note that Elena Kagan did not write the original memo suggesting perhaps that the KKK and NRA would be lumped together and would be known as “bad guys.” Instead, she was on phone, talking about this memo and writing down notes about it. Now, obviously we weren’t there in 1996. We don’t know all the details, but what the White House is insisting is that she did not lump the KKK and the NRA together originally. She was repeating the debate at the time.

A June 18 CNN.com article reported that the White House explained that Kagan’s notes simply “track[ed]” another lawyer’s memo and that the White House said that “the organizations discussed reflect the public debate over the legislation at that time”:

“Kagan’s notes from a conversation with DOJ Attorney Fran Allegra track an earlier memo Allegra sent to her outlining which organizations would be shielded under volunteer and nonprofit liability legislation,” said White House spokesman Ben LaBolt. “Allegra’s memo notes that neither the KKK nor the NRA would be shielded from liability under the bill, after Democrats in Congress and others raised concerns that the provision swept too broadly. It’s simply not credible to suggest that these jotted down notes represent anything but preliminary research on legal questions about what organizations would be covered under the legislation, and the organizations discussed reflect the public debate over the legislation at that time.”

“Bad guy” language in Kagan’s notes echoes language from memo she was reportedly discussing. Indeed, the memo Kagan was reportedly discussing was written on March 27, 1996, by then-Justice Department lawyer Fran Allegra. It suggested that the NRA and the Klan would likely not receive protection under the act and said, “[W]e probably need to be careful about suggesting that ‘bad’ organizations will qualify for the provision in the bill as it would suggest that we are allowing ‘bad’ organization to qualify for tax-exempt status.” In the notes she took the same day, reportedly while discussing Allegra’s memo, Kagan similarly wrote, “Bad guy orgs — not NRA … not KKK” — presumably summarizing Allegra’s analysis that the NRA and KKK would not be protected by the legislation.

Sargent: “[T]here’s no evidence of any comparison.” Nowhere in Kagan’s notes did she “compare” or “tie” the NRA to the Klan. As Sargent explained:

There’s nothing in the docs that draws an explicit comparison between the NRA and the KKK. The White House will argue that it’s incidental that they happened to be listed next to each other — they were only two of many groups that lawyers were examining in order to determine how they’d be impacted by the law.

It’s perhaps unfortunate for the White House that she happened to list the two names side by side. But there’s no evidence of any comparison, aside from the fact that they appeared next to each other on two pieces of paper amid a lengthy and wide-ranging analysis.


Blago Lawyers Try To Tie Kickbacks To Obama Donation

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 20th, 2010 4:43 am by HL

Blago Lawyers Try To Tie Kickbacks To Obama Donation
As the Rod Blagojevich trial wears on, defense attorneys are attempting to tie the shady dealings that took place during the former Illinois governor’s tenure to donations made to Barack Obama’s presidential campaign.


Rod BlagojevichBarack ObamaTony RezkoPresidentUnited States

Ethics Office Clears C Street House In Rent Probe
The Office of Congressional Ethics has sent letters to several residents of the C Street Christian fellowship house informing them that there is no “probable cause” to believe legislators are getting improper gifts in the form of below-market rent, Roll Call reports.



EthicsOffice of Congressional EthicsChristianRoll CallPhilosophy


Obesity at Disneyland: It’s down from four years ago

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 20th, 2010 4:41 am by HL

Obesity at Disneyland: It’s down from four years ago
Four years ago I spent Thanksgiving day at Disneyland and was shocked to see so many obese teenagers there — touring the place in wheelchairs and scooters because they were too overweight to walk. This sight made a lasting impression on me. I’m talking about 15-year-olds and 16-year-olds weighing up to 500 or 600 pounds. So […]


Senator Franken’s Small Victory on the Bond Rating Agencies

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 20th, 2010 4:40 am by HL

Senator Franken’s Small Victory on the Bond Rating Agencies
There are many issues in the financial reform debate that are hard. For example, breaking up the “too big to fail” banks, as proposed in the Brown-Kaufman amendment to the Senate bill, is really hard. This would have meant taking…



Al FrankenSenateWall StreetUnited States SenateSEC

The Obama Plot for a Carbon Tax
Teachable moments are rare in America. George Bush missed the chance right after 9/11 to call for a new era of service to the nation; he asked instead that Americans do more shopping. Tuesday night, President Obama did not call…


United StatesGeorge W BushBarack ObamaWashingtonPresident


Gulf Spill Highlights Republicans Who Are ?Owned, Bought And Paid By The Oil Industry?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 20th, 2010 4:39 am by HL

Gulf Spill Highlights Republicans Who Are ?Owned, Bought And Paid By The Oil Industry?
Pivoting off Rep. Joe Barton’s (R-TX) apology to BP CEO Tony Hayward for what he called a “shakedown” from the White House, the Washington Post noted yesterday that “the episode showed the uncomfortable spot in which some Republicans find themselves”: [S]ome Republicans are having trouble bringing themselves to say anything bad about an industry that has […]

bpPivoting off Rep. Joe Barton’s (R-TX) apology to BP CEO Tony Hayward for what he called a “shakedown” from the White House, the Washington Post noted yesterday that “the episode showed the uncomfortable spot in which some Republicans find themselves”:

[S]ome Republicans are having trouble bringing themselves to say anything bad about an industry that has been so good to them. It was notable that in their statement distancing themselves from Barton, House Republican leaders John A. Boehner (Ohio), Eric Cantor (Va.) and Mike Pence (Ind.) referred to the spill — caused by the explosion of an oil rig — as a “natural” disaster.

The oil industry “has deep pockets, and they have a long history of supporting Republicans,” said political consultant John Weaver, a former strategist for John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign. “Like any kind of addiction, it’s a terribly difficult thing to break.”

Indeed, Weaver’s comments are perfectly illustrated on the GOP side in a U.S. Senate campaign in Kansas. As the Kansas City Star reports, the “state’s next senator is widely expected to be either Rep. Todd Tiahrt or Rep. Jerry Moran,” Republicans who have each “been a consistent vote for oil and gas industry interests — supporting oil exploration subsidies and expansion while opposing Democratic plans to subsidize alternative energy sources.” And for their efforts, the two have been handsomely rewarded:

The oil and gas industry has been generous in return, giving the two almost $900,000 in campaign contributions since the mid-1990s. […]

Since his election to Congress in 1994, Tiahrt has raised $618,773, including $79,800 in this election cycle, from oil and gas interests, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Of the overall total, more than half — $312,353 — has come from individuals and political action committees related to Koch Industries of Wichita, one of the largest private energy companies in the world.

Rep. Roy Blunt (R-MO) who is running fo U.S. Senate in nearby Missouri, “has received more than $500,000 from oil and gas interests, including $133,100 in his 2010 Senate race.” Nearly 20 percent of Moran’s personal investment portfolio is invested in oil and gas stocks, including tens of thousands of dollars in ExxonMobil, Chevron, and Halliburton stock.

A Greenpeace spokesperson called Tiahrt “another example of someone who is obviously owned, bought and paid by the oil industry.” Tiahrt’s response? “That’s rather odd coming from somebody who…is bought and paid by the environmental groups.”


Records suggest Kagan played small part in settling Harvard-military dispute

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 20th, 2010 4:38 am by HL

Records suggest Kagan played small part in settling Harvard-military dispute
When Elena Kagan suspended help to military recruiters as dean of Harvard Law School, consternation inside the Pentagon reached all the way to then-Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, according to government documents released Saturday. The records show that the controversy was resolved by Harv…


Harvard UniversityElena KaganUnited StatesEducationMassachusetts

Democrats spend big to lure Obama’s minority and young voters back to the polls
As political gambles go, it’s a big and risky one: $50 million to test the proposition that the Democratic Party’s outreach to new voters that helped make Barack Obama president can work in an election where his name is not on the ballot.


DemocraticBarack ObamaUnited StatesPresidentObama

talk shows
Guests to be interviewed Sunday on major television talk shows:


Talk radioArtsTalk showRadioFormats