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Archive for June 30th, 2010

Early Morning Swim: Rachel Maddow Looks at the GOP Playbook Against Sotomayor, Kagan

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 30th, 2010 4:53 am by HL

Early Morning Swim: Rachel Maddow Looks at the GOP Playbook Against Sotomayor, Kagan
Funny how a bunch of white conservatives from the South hate Thurgood Marshall.

Funny how a bunch of white conservatives from the South hate Thurgood Marshall.

As Sens. Jeff Sessions, Jon Kyl and John Cornyn disparaged the late Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall on the opening day of Elena Kagan’s confirmation hearings, dismissing him as an “activist judge” in what appeared to be a raw attempt to score political points, I wondered: “Have you no sense of decency, at long last?”

No.


Petraeus Gets Tactical About Afghanistan

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 30th, 2010 4:52 am by HL

Petraeus Gets Tactical About Afghanistan
On Tuesday, Gen. David Petraeus succeeded in convincing the Senate Armed Services Committee that he’s fit to take over for Gen. Stanley McChrystal in Afghanistan, and he hinted that strategic shifts may be on the way in that war once his expected Senate confirmation has come to pass.  —KA The New York Times: Gen. David H. Petraeus told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday that he would take a new look at the rules governing the use of heavy firepower in the Afghan war, which have cut down on United States air strikes and civilian casualties but have been bitterly criticized by American forces who say they have made the fight more dangerous. Calling the protection of his troops a “moral imperative,” General Petraeus signalled in his Senate confirmation hearing to take command in Afghanistan what could be his first significant shift in policy since President Obama last week fired the top commander there, Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal. […] Saying that he had consulted the Afghan leadership on the need to adjust course and that they agreed with his view, he added: “I mention this because I am keenly aware of concerns by some of our troopers on the ground about the application of our rules of engagement and the tactical directive. They should know that I will look very hard at this issue.” Read more

Petraeus

On Tuesday, Gen. David Petraeus succeeded in convincing the Senate Armed Services Committee that he’s fit to take over for Gen. Stanley McChrystal in Afghanistan, and he hinted that strategic shifts may be on the way in that war once his expected Senate confirmation has come to pass.? —KA

The New York Times:

Gen. David H. Petraeus told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday that he would take a new look at the rules governing the use of heavy firepower in the Afghan war, which have cut down on United States air strikes and civilian casualties but have been bitterly criticized by American forces who say they have made the fight more dangerous.

Calling the protection of his troops a “moral imperative,” General Petraeus signalled in his Senate confirmation hearing to take command in Afghanistan what could be his first significant shift in policy since President Obama last week fired the top commander there, Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal.

[…] Saying that he had consulted the Afghan leadership on the need to adjust course and that they agreed with his view, he added: “I mention this because I am keenly aware of concerns by some of our troopers on the ground about the application of our rules of engagement and the tactical directive. They should know that I will look very hard at this issue.”

Read more

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Unhinged on the Right
To hijack the horrors of the Holocaust and slavery in the service of a political campaign demeans the candidate and, worse, dishonors the victims. Decency demands that some comparisons be off-limits. By Ruth Marcus

To hijack the horrors of the Holocaust and slavery in the service of a political campaign demeans the candidate and, worse, dishonors the victims. Decency demands that some comparisons be off-limits.


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Molly Hagerty: Al Gore A ‘Pervert And Sexual Predator’

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 30th, 2010 4:51 am by HL

Molly Hagerty: Al Gore A ‘Pervert And Sexual Predator’
The National Enquirer could be breaking open another sex scandal involving a former top Democratic presidential candidate. On the heels of uncovering an affair by…

Ken Adelman: Bard Blog — The Bad & Good of Aging
The passing of Robert Byrd at 92 — having represented West Virginia in the Senate for a stunning half-century plus — turns the mind to that age-old obsession of aging.

Robert Scheer: The Chinese Aren’t Coming
On Tuesday, the Cold War finally ended with a historic trade agreement between China and Taiwan that will dramatically integrate the mainland’s economy with that…

Most Americans Support Afghanistan Withdrawal Plan (POLL)
A majority of Americans support President Obama’s plan for withdrawing from Afghanistan starting in July 2011, according to a USA Today/Gallup poll released Tuesday. Fifty-eight…


Do media really think Obama promised stimulus alone would fill 8 million-job hole?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 30th, 2010 4:50 am by HL

Do media really think Obama promised stimulus alone would fill 8 million-job hole?

Media figures have falsely suggested that Vice President Joe Biden admitted the stimulus failed when he said, “There’s no possibility to restore 8 million jobs lost in the Great Recession.” In fact, the administration said all along that the stimulus would mitigate job losses but that government action alone could not restore all of the jobs lost since December 2007 and that “the private sector needs to do the rest.” In addition, private analysts have said the stimulus significantly raised employment over what would have occurred otherwise, and Congressional Budget Office estimates show that the unemployment rate is expected to return to pre-recession levels in the coming years.

Biden was neither saying that the stimulus failed to create jobs nor that employment levels would never recover

Biden was not saying that the stimulus failed nor was he saying that employment levels would never return to pre-recession levels. The Obama administration has long maintained that the stimulus was necessary in order to stem job losses and jump-start the economy but that the government alone would not be able to restore all of the jobs lost due to the recession. The administration has repeatedly argued that the government could provide a start to the recovery, but that “the private sector needs to do the rest.” In his comments, Biden was press conference, President Obama cited “the magnitude of the crisis” and stated that even with the stimulus package that would save or create millions of jobs, “[t]hat still means that you’re going to have some net job loss” in the short term, “but at least we can start slowing the trend and moving it in the right direction.”

Obama: Stimulus “not expected to restore the economy to full health on its own but to provide the boost necessary to stop the free fall.” Obama wrote in a July 12, 2009, Washington Post report on the job impact of a “prototypical” stimulus package “in the range that the President-Elect has discussed,” Christina Romer and Jared Bernstein estimated that a stimulus package would raise employment by between “3.3 to 4.1 million jobs” by the end of 2010. The report clearly notes that this estimate is calculated “relative to the no-stimulus baseline.”

CBO, Obama admin. expect unemployment rate to return to pre-recession levels by 2016

Administration estimates that unemployment rate will fall to 5.5 percent in 2016. The Obama administration’s 2011 budget estimates that the unemployment rate will fall to 5.9 percent in 2015 and to 5.5 percent in 2016. The budget estimates that the unemployment rate will be 5.2 percent in 2020.

CBO expects unemployment rate to return to 5 percent mid-decade. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) stated in January 2010: “CBO expects that the unemployment rate will average slightly above 10 percent in the first half of 2010 and then turn downward in the second half of the year. As the economy expands further, the rate of unemployment is projected to continue declining until, in 2016, it reaches 5 percent.” From CBO:

cbo_unemployment

Independent and private analysts agree stimulus significantly raised employment over what would have happened otherwise

CEA: As of first quarter of 2010, ARRA raised employment “by between 2.2 and 2.8 million.” In its third quarterly report on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) stated: “The CEA estimates that as of the first quarter of 2010, the ARRA has raised employment relative to what it otherwise would have been by between 2.2 and 2.8 million. These estimates are similar to those of other analysts, and are broadly consistent with the direct recipient reporting data available for 2009:Q4.”

CBO estimates job impact of between 1.2 and 2.8 million. CBO estimated in May that as of the first quarter of 2010, the stimulus package “[i]ncreased the number of people employed by between 1.2 million and 2.8 million” and “[i]ncreased the number of full-time equivalent jobs by 1.8 million to 4.1 million compared with what those amounts would have been otherwise.” CBO also estimated that the unemployment rate would be 0.7 percent to 1.5 percent higher today without the stimulus package.

IHS/Global Insight estimates job impact of 1.7 million “by the first quarter of 2010.” PolitiFact.com stated on February 17 that “[u]sing updated estimates provided to PolitiFact, IHS/Global Insight estimates that 1.7 million jobs will be created or saved by the first quarter of 2010.” The CEA report also cites this estimate from IHS/Global Insight.

Moody’s Economy.com estimates job impact of 1.9 million by the first quarter of 2010. The PolitiFact.com post further stated that “[u]sing updated estimates provided to PolitiFact … Moody’s economy.com estimated that 1.9 million jobs will be created or saved” by the first quarter of 2010. The CEA report also cited this estimate from Moody’s Economy.com.

Macroeconomic Advisers estimates job impact of 1.5 million in first quarter of 2010. The CEA report stated that Macroeconomic Advisers estimates that the Recovery Act raised employment by 1.46 million as of the first quarter of 2010, citing an analysis provided to CEA.

Economists say stimulus helped economic recovery

Wall Street Journal: 70 percent of economists surveyed said stimulus helped. The Wall Street Journal reported on March 12 that 38 of the 54 economists it surveyed “said the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act boosted growth and mitigated job losses, while six said the legislation had a net negative effect.”

ABC News: Most on panel of economists “think the economy would be worse” without the stimulus. ABC News reported on February 18 that “most” of the economists on its panel “think the economy would be worse today without the big aid package, which totaled $787 billion and was signed into law by President Obama on Feb. 17, 2009.”

NABE: 83 percent say stimulus raised GDP. A February survey of 203 members of the National Association for Business Economics (NABE) found that “[e]ighty-three percent believe that GDP is currently higher than it would have been without the 2009 stimulus package (ARRA).”

USA Today: Surveyed economists said “stimulus package saved jobs.” USA Today reported on January 25:

President Obama’s stimulus package saved jobs — but the government still needs to do more to breathe life into the economy, according to USA TODAY’s quarterly survey of 50 economists.

Unemployment would have hit 10.8% — higher than December’s 10% rate — without Obama’s $787 billion stimulus program, according to the economists’ median estimate. The difference would translate into another 1.2 million lost jobs.

Media falsely suggest Biden’s remarks were an “admission” that stimulus failed

Limbaugh: “Either Joe Bite Me has rebuked Obama or he’s telling us our president’s been a spectacular failure.” From the June 28 edition of Rush Limbaugh’s radio show:

LIMBAUGH: Joe Bite Me announced this weekend America would never, ever be able to create enough jobs to recover from the Great Recession. That’s not what we were promised, folks. That’s not what Obama told us when he took $1 trillion in the Porkulus bill. It’s not what he told us when he was immaculated. Either Joe Bite Me has rebuked Obama or he’s telling us our president’s been a spectacular failure, just like Jimmy Carter.

Moore: “This is quite an admission of failure.” From the June 28 edition of Fox News’ On the Record:

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN (host): Joining us live is Steve Moore. He’s a senior economics writer for The Wall Street Journal editorial page. Now, Vice President Biden is saying that we are not going to get those 8 million jobs back.

MOORE: Now he tells us, because it was his office, Greta, that exactly a year-and-a-half ago was saying if we pass this economic stimulus, we will create 3 million jobs. So, this is quite an admission of failure.

Doocy: “We found out from Joe Biden” that job creation isn’t “happening the way they thought.” From the June 28 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends:

STEVE DOOCY (co-host): So, Frank, now voters are moved by the fact that if you’re on the left and you voted for President Obama, you thought he was going to end the war quickly. You thought he could probably plug up that hole in the Gulf floor a little faster, and you thought that he could actually create jobs. But we found out from Joe Biden a couple of days ago, that’s not happening the way they thought.

Beck says “we should fire” Biden if he doesn’t think we can create 8 million new jobs. From the June 28 edition of Glenn Beck’s radio show:

BECK: Now The New York Times is carrying the water for the president of the United States, in particularly Joe Biden, who says we are not going to be able to replace those jobs. Well, then we should fire your ass and make you unemployed. Because you are the guy who said — I’m sorry, your boss is the guy who said only the federal government could create these jobs. Only the federal government. 

Well, if you don’t think you can now do it, well, welcome to the party, because that’s what we’ve been saying the whole time. The federal government doesn’t create jobs; the federal government creates redistribution of wealth. And if you really believe now that America cannot create 8 million new jobs, get the hell out. Resign. Because I know America can, but we need you out of office. We need the clowns in Washington to leave us, the job creators, alone.

IBD: Stimulus “didn’t work”; even Biden “admit[ted]” that 8 million jobs can’t be restored. From a June 28 Investor’s Business Daily editorial:

Krugman was among those who encouraged the new Obama administration and the Democratic Congress to spend massive amounts of money early on in a kind of Keynesian frenzy to shock the moribund economy back to life.

It didn’t work. With a stimulus — a deficit, that is — of nearly 11% of GDP, our economy is barely growing, while unemployment remains shockingly close to 10% of the adult working population.

This even prompted our nation’s vice president, Joe Biden, to admit last weekend: “There’s no possibility to restore 8 million jobs lost in the Great Recession.”

And he’s right — at least with current policy, which is based on massive spending, new tax hikes, trillion-dollar deficits for decades to come and tight government control of vast swaths of our nation’s economy, from banking to autos to energy.

Hoft: Biden “admits” Obama admin. “won’t be able to create lost jobs.” In a June 26 Gateway Pundit blog post, Jim Hoft wrote, “Biden Admits Obama Administration Won’t Be Able to Create Lost Jobs.” Hoft further wrote, “Joe Biden announced on Friday that the Obama Administration will not be able to replace the jobs that were lost during the recent recession.” His post also included a misleading chart comparing the average unemployment rate over the eight years of the Clinton and Bush administrations to the less than two years of Obama’s presidency, which began in the middle of a deep recession.


Was CA Fire Another Attack Targeted At Local Police?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 30th, 2010 4:49 am by HL

Was CA Fire Another Attack Targeted At Local Police?
The police department in Hemet, California, says that a fire today at an evidence storage building may be the seventh attempted attack in a six-month string of incidents targeting the local police.


PoliceCaliforniaHemet CaliforniaLaw EnforcementLaw

Blago Trial Update: Rahm’s ‘B.S.’ List Of Potential Senate Appointees
The corruption trial against former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) has been chugging along, with the highlight this week being testimony from Blago’s former chief of staff about Rahm Emanuel and President Obama’s Senate seat.



Rahm EmanuelBarack ObamaRod BlagojevichIllinoisUnited States Senate


Residents and tourists lured onto Florida beaches despite health warnings

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 30th, 2010 4:44 am by HL

Residents and tourists lured onto Florida beaches despite health warnings
Author’s note: I cannot believe people are letting their kids play in this crap! Check out some of the videos through the Examiner link…Social Darwinism at its finest. Excerpt: It appears that some Florida officials are more worried about the state’s economy than the health of residents and vacationers. Despite health advisory signs that have been posted as […]


Edwards Parties On

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 30th, 2010 4:43 am by HL

Edwards Parties On
The New Republic takes a look at John Edwards’ post-scandal life in North Carolina where he “tends to his legal problems and little else” but still manages to have a good time.

“In the aftermath of the 2008 presidential campaign, Edwards was said to be distraught. He lost a precipitous amount of weight, and advisers even told reporters at the time that they worried he might be suicidal. Since then, things have only gotten worse. But Edwards is refusing to follow in the tradition of other scandal-plagued figures like Tiger Woods and Eliot Spitzer, who initially kept low profiles after they were publicly humiliated.”

The piece has stories of Edwards letting loose at a prom-themed dance party for Duke public policy students, his affinity for white wine, and the implosion of his marriage while on a celebrity volunteer delegation to Haiti.

Wide Open Race for Ohio Senate
A new Quinnipiac poll in Ohio finds Lee Fisher (D) and Rob Portman (R) lcoked in a tight race for U.S. Senate with Fisher holding a narrow lead, 42% to 40%, and 17% still undecided.

Said pollster Peter Brown: “The Senate race remains far, far from any kind of clear picture, mostly because neither candidate is well known to Ohioans. Even though Fisher has been a figure in Ohio politics for two decades, 54% of voters say they don’t know enough about him to form an opinion. For Portman, 66% can’t rate him. With four months until Election Day the Senate race is wide, wide open.”

Bloomberg Unscathed by Budget Problems
Despite major budget cuts in New York City, a new Quinnipiac poll shows Mayor Michael Bloomberg still holds a 57% to 33% approval rating.


Sharron Angle: Rape, Incest Part of God’s Plan — Opposes Abortion No Matter What

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 30th, 2010 4:42 am by HL

Sharron Angle: Rape, Incest Part of God’s Plan — Opposes Abortion No Matter What
The Nevada GOP nominee for Senate thinks abortion should not be allowed even in cases of rape and incest.

The Nevada GOP nominee for Senate thinks abortion should not be allowed even in cases of rape and incest.

Israel’s 1.5 Million Starving Prisoners
Israel’s four-year blockade of Gaza continues to trample the lives of 1.5 million innocents.

Israel's four-year blockade of Gaza continues to trample the lives of 1.5 million innocents.

Right-Wing Groups Use Decline of White Birthrates to Stoke Fear of Homosexuality, Feminism and Abortion
Right-wing groups warn that Western civilization is facing a ‘demographic winter,’ risking the destruction of what they call the natural family.

Right-wing groups warn that Western civilization is facing a ‘demographic winter,’ risking the destruction of what they call the natural family.

10 Easy Steps for Becoming a Radical Homemaker
Go on and live dangerously — hang out the wash.

Go on and live dangerously — hang out the wash.


Israel’s Press’ Political Leukemia

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 30th, 2010 4:41 am by HL

Israel’s Press’ Political Leukemia
Packing for summer in New Hampshire is usually a disorienting time. We are leaving a place where we work to make anything grow for a place where we work, if at all, to cut things back. But this year it…


IsraelMiddle EastWarfare and ConflictIsrael-PalestineGaza

Post Flotilla–Congress Still In Thrall To Lobby
It is becoming clearer every day that liberals in Congress, with a few exceptions, do not care a whole lot about Israel. (It’s not news that they don’t care a whit about the Palestinians.) Think about it. On other foreign…



Middle EastIsrael-PalestineUnited StatesIsraeli governmentWarfare and Conflict

Summits! Summits!! SUMMITS!!!
On Thursday I head to Toronto to cover this week’s G-8/20 world leader jamboree. But before I do, conventional wisdom seems to demand that I justify why even bother. Is it just me, or is anyone else struck by the…


Climate changeEnvironmentEconomicActivismG-20 major economies


Shelby Tells ThinkProgress: ‘I Basically Agree’ With Boehner’s Metaphor That Financial Crisis Is Like An ‘Ant’

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 30th, 2010 4:40 am by HL

Shelby Tells ThinkProgress: ‘I Basically Agree’ With Boehner’s Metaphor That Financial Crisis Is Like An ‘Ant’
This morning, multiple media outlets including ThinkProgress noted comments made by Minority Leader Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, in which he told the editorial board that financial reform is like “killing an ant with a nuclear weapon.” In his criticism of the scope of banking reform, Boehner appeared to be minimizing the […]

This morning, multiple media outlets including ThinkProgress noted comments made by Minority Leader Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, in which he told the editorial board that financial reform is like “killing an ant with a nuclear weapon.” In his criticism of the scope of banking reform, Boehner appeared to be minimizing the financial crisis, which caused America to lose over 8 million jobs.

This morning, ThinkProgress caught up with Senate Banking Committee ranking member and financial conference member Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) outside of a fundraiser for U.S. Senate candidate Carly Fiorina (R-CA). Asked what he thought about Boehner’s metaphor for the financial crisis and the bill to fix it, Shelby said, “I basically agree with that”:

TP: This morning, it was reported that Minority Leader John Boehner said that financial reform is too broad, it’s basically like using a nuclear weapon on an ant. Do you agree with that kind of sentiment?

SHELBY: Well, I basically agree with that. I voted against it. We could have had a meaningful, substantive bill. There a few good things in it, but it’s a broad reach of power, and you got to ask a question, the real question, ‘are we going to be better off because of this legislation?’ And that’s problematic.

Watch it:

For months, bankers and their lobbyists have coaxed Republicans in both the House and the Senate to fight reform for their industry. At the outset of the legislative process, Shelby told a group of bankers that they could help kill reform if each of them gives $10,000 to Rep. Roy Blunt (R-MO), who is running for Senate. The fundraiser Shelby attended today for Fiorina was hosted by bank lobbyists, including Charlie Black, who is representing a trade group for financial firms, and Dan Meyer, a lobbyist for Goldman Sachs.

Senate Republicans block measure to provide additional benefits to homeless veterans.
Today, Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) brought her bill — the Homeless Women Veterans and Homeless Veterans With Children Act — to the Senate floor seeking unanimous consent. Murray said the bill would “expand assistance for homeless women veterans and homeless veterans with children and would increase funding and extend federal grant programs to address […]

Today, Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) brought her bill — the Homeless Women Veterans and Homeless Veterans With Children Act — to the Senate floor seeking unanimous consent. Murray said the bill would “expand assistance for homeless women veterans and homeless veterans with children and would increase funding and extend federal grant programs to address the unique challenges faced by these veterans.” However, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) objected on behalf of Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) to this seemingly non-controversial issue:

McCONNELL: Madam president, reserving the right to object and I will have to object on behalf of my colleague Sen. Coburn from Oklahoma. He has concerns about this legislation, particularly as he indicates in a letter that I’ll ask the Senate to appear on the record that it be paid for up front so that the promises that makes the Veterans are in fact kept. So madam president I object.

Watch it:

This is pretty low, even for Republicans,” the Washington Monthly’s Steve Benen said. While Murray pledged to continue to fight for the bill’s passage, Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-NV) spokesperson said “Republicans have their priorities backwards — according to them, it’s OK to give tax breaks to CEOs who send American jobs overseas, but not to help out-of-work Americans and homeless veteran.”