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Archive for June 25th, 2010

A Right-Wing and a Prayer

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 25th, 2010 4:53 am by HL

A Right-Wing and a Prayer
You see it’s not you that gets Hope, it’s the Democrats in Congress.

Well now that every Republican and Ben Nelson have voted against helping the unemployed in a New York Times styled act of bipartisanship we have but one choice.

Uh, have Joe Barton apologize to the spoiled unemployed?

What, have you no notion of reality?

No, we must do the rational and logical thing.

Pray!

Democrats See Signs of Hope in Job Trends

Behold, ye’ unemployed and let not ye’ despair.

And by that I mean, panic!


Late Late Night FDL: Monkey Man
Toots and the MaytalsMonkey Man, at Reggae Rising 2009.

Toots and the MaytalsMonkey Man, at Reggae Rising 2009.

What’s on your mind?

Early Morning Swim: Steve King (R-IA) Goes Birther on Floor of House
Meanwhile, another House Republican compares Obama to Hitler — also on the House floor.

Meanwhile, another House Republican compares Obama to Hitler — also on the House floor.

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) drew a comparison between President Obama and Hitler in a speech on the House floor last night that quoted a recent op-ed by conservative columnist Thomas Sowell. In his op-ed, Sowell argued that Obama’s call for BP to set up an escrow account to help oil spill victims in the Gulf was a sign that “American democracy is being dismantled, piece by piece, before our very eyes.”

Think Gohmert or King will apologize after a few days of shitstorm in the media?

Nah. We assume by now that elected Republican officials think Obama’s not a US citizen — just like Hitler!


Into the Valley of Death Rode the … 15?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 25th, 2010 4:52 am by HL

Into the Valley of Death Rode the … 15?
The documentary “Restrepo” paints an empathetic portrait of U.S. soldiers at an Afghanistan outpost, but it keeps its audience at a distance.

The documentary “Restrepo” paints an empathetic portrait of U.S. soldiers at an Afghanistan outpost, but it keeps its audience at a distance.

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Bad Press

By Mike Luckovich

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Gulf Drilling Firms Gear Up For Spill Liability Fight

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 25th, 2010 4:50 am by HL

Gulf Drilling Firms Gear Up For Spill Liability Fight
As BP opens its checkbook to pay damages related to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, it is beginning to do battle over a high-stakes…

Mark Sanford, One Year After ‘Hiking The Appalachian Trail’
COLUMBIA, S.C. — The governor who became the butt of late-night jokes for “hiking the Appalachian Trail” may be having the last laugh. A year…

Colbert, Immigrant Farm Workers Challenge Pundits And Unemployed To ‘Take Our Jobs’
SAN FRANCISCO â?? In a tongue-in-cheek call for immigration reform, farm workers are teaming up with comedian Stephen Colbert to challenge unemployed Americans: Come on,…


Drudge hypes discredited attack on Kagan’s admiration for a judge that Scalia, Fried also praised

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 25th, 2010 4:50 am by HL

Drudge hypes discredited attack on Kagan’s admiration for a judge that Scalia, Fried also praised

The Drudge Report is hyping a discredited attack that Elena Kagan’s past praise of former Israeli Supreme Court Justice Aharon Barak is evidence that she is outside of the mainstream. In fact, conservative Justice Antonin Scalia and former Reagan administration Solicitor General Charles Fried also praised Barak.

Drudge trumpets attack on Kagan for calling “Israeli Activist Judge ‘My Hero'”

Drudge: “Kagan calls Israeli Activist Judge ‘My Hero.'” Posting the headline, “Kagan Calls Israeli Activist Judge ‘My Hero,'” the Drudge Report program for the event said Scalia was scheduled to present the award to Barak during a reception at the U.S. Supreme Court; the Spring 2008 issue of Justice Magazine, a publication by the International Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists (IAJLJ) called Scalia’s presentation the “highlight of the conference.”

The Jewish Daily Forward described Scalia’s remarks as “singing Barak’s praises.” In a July 10, 2007, profile in the Jewish Daily Forward, Benjamin Soskis wrote that during the reception, Scalia was “singing Barak’s praises,” even as he “addressed the other obvious disparity between himself and the honoree.” From the article:

With the court’s two Jewish justices looking on (Stephen Breyer and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, also two of the most enthusiastic champions of foreign court decisions as juridical resources), Scalia offered a moving tribute to his “good friend” Barak. No other living jurist has had a greater impact on his own country’s legal system — and perhaps on legal systems throughout the world — Scalia argued. He went on to celebrate his fruitful and long-standing relationship with the Israeli judge, and to affirm a profound respect for the man, one that trumped their fundamental philosophical, legal and constitutional disagreements.

Forward: Scalia described Barak as a “judicial pioneer.” Soskis also reported in the article that while Scalia noted differences between his and Barak’s judicial philosophies, he “exposed a crucial condition of their intellectual camaraderie: the recognition that the substantial differences of the constitutional systems in which they operated necessarily produced divergent judicial philosophies.” From the article:

In his celebration of Barak, Scalia had described him as a judicial pioneer, stressing that the Israeli judge had struggled with questions concerning the nature and limits of his responsibilities as a jurist that Scalia, as a resident of a more mature constitutional system, had not had to confront. With this pronouncement, Scalia exposed a crucial condition of their intellectual camaraderie: the recognition that the substantial differences of the constitutional systems in which they operated necessarily produced divergent judicial philosophies. This insinuation angered Boston University’s Lahav. At the ceremony’s conclusion, she approached Barak, her former teacher, to complain that Scalia had celebrated his friend only to sequester him within the exceptionality of the Israeli legal system. Why didn’t you confront Scalia, she asked, and let him know that he, too, could follow your example, championing vulnerable rights and liberties, if he only willed to do so?

IAJLJ president: Holocaust survivor Barak’s life exemplifies “a life filled with hope for a Jewish society based on freedom, justice and human dignity.” According to Justice Magazine, at the same conference at which Scalia presented Barak with an award, IAJLJ president Alex Hertman said:

“The life of Aharon Barak, a child survivor of the Holocaust, symbolizes the victory of the Jewish people over those who tried to destroy them,” said IAJLJ President Alex Hertman. “His life exemplifies a victory of values over violence, a victory of excellence over mediocrity, and a life filled with hope for a Jewish society based on freedom, justice and human dignity as opposed to a society living by the sword.”

Fried tied Dworkin’s “picture…of a judge, superman, a mythical character, whom he calls Hercules” to Barak. At a 2002 event sponsored by the Harvard Law Review, Fried spoke immediately after Barak and said:

FRIED: The philosopher Ronald Dworkin — in his, I think, chef-d’oeuvre, his absolutely best piece written many years ago and published in the Harvard Law Review, which was called “Hard Cases” — develops a theory of judging. And his picture is of a judge, superhuman, a mythical character, whom he calls Hercules, who manages to integrate — and I use the word integrate in the mathematical sense where you [gestures] — manages to integrate the principle elements of law and judging, that is to say text, history, custom, precedent and to come up with the one right answer. It is a remarkable experience to be in the presence of and to have just heard a lecture from a living myth. Because Hercules lives, and you have just heard from him. (42:45 mark of the C-SPAN video)


The Gore Allegations: What You Need To Know

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 25th, 2010 4:48 am by HL

The Gore Allegations: What You Need To Know
You’ve no doubt heard by now about the sexual assault allegations made against Al Gore by a Portland, Oregon massage therapist stemming from a 2006 incident. It’s a complicated case, and we’ve now read the 73-page police report so you don’t have to.


algoreMassageVice President of the United StatesUnited StatesPortland Oregon

Fundraising Group Led By GOP All-Stars Falling Short Of Goals
American Crossroads, formed by some of the GOP’s biggest names with the aim of helping the party win the 2010 midterms, launched a few months ago with an ambitious $52 million fundraising goal. So how much did the group pull in in May? A whopping $200.



RepublicanKarl RoveUnited StatesPoliticsEd Gillespie


Cap’n Wells Introduces BP’s New Careers in the Gulf

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 25th, 2010 4:44 am by HL

Cap’n Wells Introduces BP’s New Careers in the Gulf


Palin Defense Fund Violated Ethics Law

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 25th, 2010 4:43 am by HL

Palin Defense Fund Violated Ethics Law
An investigator has determined Sarah Palin’s legal defense fund broke Alaska ethics law, the Anchorage Daily News reports.

Palin has agreed to settle the matter by having the trust return more than $386,000 to donors.

Kanjorski Under Fire for Remarks
Rep. Paul Kanjorski (D-PA) is taking heat for comments that Republicans say suggest minorities are not “average, good American people,” the Allentown Morning Call reports.

During a meeting on financial reform, Kanjorski insisted that he’s not fighting for relief for, “people that aren’t responsible, that don’t know what the hell they’re doing or don’t care what they’re doing. We’re giving relief to people who I deal in my office with every day now unfortunately that because of the longevity of the recession, these are people — and they’re not in minorities and they’re not defective and they’re not all the things you’d like to insinuate that these programs are. These are average, good American people.”

Lawmakers Reach Deal on Financial Reform Bill
“After more than 20 hours of continuous wrangling, Congressional Democrats and White House officials reached agreement on the final shape of legislation that would transform financial regulation, avoiding last-minute defections among New York lawmakers that had threatened to upend the bill,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“After months of uncertainty about how the U.S. would craft new rules, the agreement offers the clearest picture since the financial crisis of how markets and the government will interact for decades to come. The common thread: large financial companies are facing a tougher leash.”

Politico: “The final piece of the deal fell into place when Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) agreed to limit the reach of new derivatives rules to only the riskiest investments, a move to mollify New York lawmakers and moderate Democrats who feared the original plan would cripple Wall Street.”

The bill is expected to have enough support to become law when the House and Senate vote on the package next week.

If signed into law, Washington Wire notes the bill will be called the Dodd-Frank Act.

McCain Holds Big Lead Over Hayworth
A new Magellan Strategies poll in Arizona shows Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) easily handling his Republican primary challenger J.D. Hayworth and leads by 23 points, 52% to 29%.


The Couchsurfing Culture Is Spreading Across the Planet

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 25th, 2010 4:42 am by HL

The Couchsurfing Culture Is Spreading Across the Planet
Venturesome travelers are using the web to create an international gift economy of hospitality.

Venturesome travelers are using the web to create an international gift economy of hospitality.

Obama Making BP Pay Is Good Government, and That’s Why Republicans and the Corporate Media Are Freaking Out
Obama’s hardline move on BP is exactly what government is supposed to do; whatever it can, within the limits of the law, to protect its citizens’ interests.

Obama's hardline move on BP is exactly what government is supposed to do; whatever it can, within the limits of the law, to protect its citizens’ interests.

Global Trade Unions Demand Sustainability From G8 Leaders
Gathering ahead of today’s G8 summit in Canada, labor leaders sent a message to leaders of the world’s leading economies: It’s about sustainablity, stupid!

Gathering ahead of today's G8 summit in Canada, labor leaders sent a message to leaders of the world's leading economies: It's about sustainablity, stupid!


Why China’s Currency Announcement is Hokum

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 25th, 2010 4:41 am by HL

Why China’s Currency Announcement is Hokum
The stock market is euphoric over China’s apparent decision to allow its currency to rise against the dollar. Watch your wallets. China isn’t really changing anything. It’s only doing the minimum to prevent Congress from listing China as a currency…


ChinaUnited StatesCurrencyAsiaStock market

ObamaLove. If you don’t stop it you go blind.
Isn’t it annoying when people from on high declaim to the Left to “grow up”? The President has charted an unambiguously rotten, centrist path. A genuine liberal committed to informing the public would elaborate the contrast between centrism and progressive…


White HouseUnited StatesPresidentBarack ObamaObama


Van Susteren: ?I Would Never Make The Mistake Of Debating Military Policy And Strategy? With McCain

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 25th, 2010 4:40 am by HL

Van Susteren: ?I Would Never Make The Mistake Of Debating Military Policy And Strategy? With McCain
This week on Fox News, host Greta Van Susteren challenged Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) argument that Iraq should serve as a model for how the U.S. should stabilize Afghanistan. “But in Iraq, they at least had some form of government, you know, that was not so remotely dissimilar from our own,” Van Susteren asserted. “Afghanistan […]

This week on Fox News, host Greta Van Susteren challenged Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) argument that Iraq should serve as a model for how the U.S. should stabilize Afghanistan. “But in Iraq, they at least had some form of government, you know, that was not so remotely dissimilar from our own,” Van Susteren asserted. “Afghanistan is a tribal area, where they have different tribes and different families. It’s a different — can we do that?” But McCain wouldn’t back down, suggesting that Afghanistan might be easier to pacify because violence was worse in Iraq at the height of the war there than it currently is in Afghanistan.

Last night talking with Newt Gingrich, Van Susteren scolded herself for disagreeing with McCain:

VAN SUSTEREN: Senator McCain said that I was wrong. And far be it for me to disagree with military policy and strategy with someone like Senator McCain, so I backed off. But they seem to have very different histories to me. […]

Well, with Senator McCain’s distinguished military career and history, you know, the other option, too, is that my question was inartfully posed and that I didn’t make myself clear because I — you know, I don’t — I would never make the mistake of debating military policy and strategy with Senator McCain.

Watch it:

Van Susteren shouldn’t be so hard on herself. Although McCain appears to view an Iraq-like “surge” as a solution to every military problem, it is not entirely analogous to the current situation in Afghanistan. Indeed, as one administration official said when the White House was debating its new strategy, “We spent a lot of time discussing the fact that the only thing Iraq and Afghanistan have in common is a lot of sand.” And as the New York Times noted:

The Iraq surge worked in large part because there was powerful support in Anbar Province from the so-called Awakening. […] But a series of intelligence reports supplied to Mr. Obama since September found no evidence in Afghanistan of anything on the scale of the Iraqi Awakening movement. What’s more, in Afghanistan the extremists, the Taliban, are natives.

Military commanders, experts, and even other conservatives have noted the “considerable” differences between pre-surge Iraq and Afghanistan today. Even Gingrich told Van Susteren last night, “Afghanistan must be probably 20 times more complex than Iraq.” “Using the Iraq strategy, may be one that may not be exactly applicable,” Charles Krauthammer said yesterday.

Given how wrong McCain has been on matters of foreign policy and national security in recent years, Van Susteren should have more faith in her ability to challenge him — and any other other lawmaker — on his views.

Cantor Tries To Brush Off Barton’s Defense Of BP: ‘He Is Not The Issue’
Yesterday, House Republicans decided to let Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) keep his seat as the ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, despite his apology to BP executives last week for the White House’s supposed “shakedown” of the company. Barton apologized to his Republican colleagues during a meeting behind closed doors, and House […]

Yesterday, House Republicans decided to let Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) keep his seat as the ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, despite his apology to BP executives last week for the White House’s supposed “shakedown” of the company. Barton apologized to his Republican colleagues during a meeting behind closed doors, and House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) apparently though that was enough to excuse Barton for his “poor choice of words.”

This morning on MSNBC, Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA) defended his party’s decision, claiming Barton “is not the issue.” Host Joe Scarborough — a former Republican congressman from Florida — repeatedly pressed Cantor on the decision, noting that Barton’s comments are important because he is the “most powerful Republican” on energy issues. The best Cantor could muster was to brush off Barton’s apology to BP as a mere gaffe, comparing him to Vice President Biden:

SCARBOROUGH: But why is Joe Barton allowed to keep his job when Joe Barton apologized to a corporation that is destroying my hometown and its economy and destroying the environment across the Gulf coast?

CANTOR: Joe, listen. Joe Barton is not the issue.

SCARBOROUGH: He kind of is, though. If he is the most powerful Republican on the Hill right now when it comes to energy, he is the issue, isn’t he?

CANTOR: No, he is not. […]

SCARBOROUGH: Eric, I press you respectfully here, but it was a written statement. You and I both know that sometimes you get tired. Sometimes you say stupid things. I spoke, of course, of myself. I say it every day. You’re like, oh, God, I shouldn’t have said that. You kick yourself. Joe Barton is sitting here reading a statement ‘I apologized to BP!’

MIKA: He’s calling it a poor choice of words.

SCARBOROUGH: That was a calculated statement that shows a troubling mindset and I know you agree with me. You just can’t say it.

CANTOR:Joe, listen. If the standard for resignation is a YouTube moment or an inappropriate statement, wouldn’t you think the Vice President would be handing in his letters twice a week? I mean, come on!

Watch it:

Barton’s comments were no “gaffe.” As Scarborough noted, Barton was reading from a written statement, not making an off-the-cuff remark. “That was a calculated statement. That shows a troubling mindset,” Scarborough said to Cantor.

Cantor’s attempt to deflect attention from Barton by comparing him to Biden’s gaffes is laughable. While Biden is known for his “verbal miscues,” as the Hill noted, Biden’s “most notable gaffe as vice president may have been when he whispered into President Barack Obama’s ear while next to a live mic that passing healthcare reform legislation was a ‘big f—— deal.’” Biden’s comment was made off-the-cuff, when he didn’t think anyone could hear him, and reflected a non-controversial position. Barton spoke from a prepared statement, during an official House hearing, fully aware of what he was saying.

Despite Cantor’s protests, Barton’s apology to BP is an “issue” because it reflects what many conservatives believe — Barton just had the guts to come out and say it.