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Archive for July 9th, 2010

Late Late Night FDL: The Rodeo Song

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 9th, 2010 4:51 am by HL

Late Late Night FDL: The Rodeo Song
David Allan CoeThe Rodeo Song set to scenes from Buster Keaton films (totally NSFW audio).

David Allan CoeThe Rodeo Song set to scenes from Buster Keaton films (totally NSFW audio).

It is so fucking hot that… (fill in the blank in the comments).

What’s on your mind?

Of course it is…
Everything is good news for Republicans

Good News for Republicans — it always is — pic via Steadyjohn at Flickr

Atrios long ago noticed that through the media filter everything is good news for Republicans. But I do believe, courtesy of the Atlantic’s Joshua Green, we have just achieved the ziggurat of the art:

So LeBron James is abandoning Cleveland for sunny Miami. That’s a tough break for Ohio sports fans. But what effect might LeBron’s departure have on Ohio’s politics? I think it helps the Tea Party…

Early Morning Swim


Federal Judge Finds Gay Marriage Ban Unconstitutional

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 9th, 2010 4:50 am by HL

Federal Judge Finds Gay Marriage Ban Unconstitutional
A U.S. district judge in Massachusetts decided in two separate cases that the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act signed into law by Bill Clinton encroaches on the states’ right to regulate marriage and violates the equal protection clause of the Constitution. AP via Google (emphasis added): “Congress undertook this classification for the one purpose that lies entirely outside of legislative bounds, to disadvantage a group of which it disapproves. And such a classification the Constitution clearly will not permit,” [U.S. District Judge] Tauro wrote. […] Andrea Lafferty, executive director of the Traditional Values Coalition, called Tauro’s ruling “judicial activism” and said Tauro was a “rogue judge.” Gay marriage advocates will keep pushing their agenda in the courts, she said, but noted voters often reject gay marriage at the ballot box, including in a recent California vote. “We can’t allow the lowest common denominator states, like Massachusetts, to set standards for the country,” Lafferty said. Read more

A U.S. district judge in Massachusetts decided in two separate cases that the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act signed into law by Bill Clinton encroaches on the states’ right to regulate marriage and violates the equal protection clause of the Constitution.

AP via Google (emphasis added):

“Congress undertook this classification for the one purpose that lies entirely outside of legislative bounds, to disadvantage a group of which it disapproves. And such a classification the Constitution clearly will not permit,” [U.S. District Judge] Tauro wrote.

[…] Andrea Lafferty, executive director of the Traditional Values Coalition, called Tauro’s ruling “judicial activism” and said Tauro was a “rogue judge.” Gay marriage advocates will keep pushing their agenda in the courts, she said, but noted voters often reject gay marriage at the ballot box, including in a recent California vote.

“We can’t allow the lowest common denominator states, like Massachusetts, to set standards for the country,” Lafferty said.

Read more

Related Entries


Are Low Taxes Exacerbating the Recession?
Though the Reagan zeitgeist created the illusion that taxes stunt economic growth, the numbers prove that higher marginal tax rates generate more resources for the job-creating, public investments that sustain an economy and create incentives for businesses to grow. By David Sirota

Though the Reagan zeitgeist created the illusion that taxes stunt economic growth, the numbers prove that higher marginal tax rates generate more resources for the job-creating, public investments that sustain an economy and create incentives for businesses to grow.


Related Entries



Charlie Melancon Hits David Vitter Again Over Brent Furer Furor (VIDEO)

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 9th, 2010 4:49 am by HL

Charlie Melancon Hits David Vitter Again Over Brent Furer Furor (VIDEO)
Rep. Charlie Melancon’s (D-La.) campaign closed out the month of June taking a hard shot at his opponent in the Louisiana Senate race, incumbent Sen….

William J. Astore: Hope and Change Fade, but War Endures: Seven Reasons Why We Can’t Stop Making War
Our nation’s pursuit of war taps so many wellsprings of our behavior that a concerted effort to cap it would dwarf BP’s efforts in the Gulf of Mexico.

Chris Rodda: No, Mr. Beck, Our Constitution Is Not Based on the Book of Deuteronomy
I sometimes get criticized for coming right out and calling David Barton a liar. It’s moments like that one with John Hagee that expose him as the liar that he is, and that is exactly what I will continue to call him.

Judge H. Lee Sarokin: What Did Sen. Ben Nelson Want — That He Did Not Get?
Isn’t it incredible that extending benefits for the unemployed is discussed in economic rather than humane terms?

Bush MMS Director Johnnie Burton: ‘When I Was There It Seemed To Work Well’
Johnnie Burton, the director of Bush’s Minerals Management Service (MMS) from 2002 to 2007, has no regrets about her tenure, saying in an interview that…


Adams cites outdated and controversial lawsuit to smear Obama DOJ

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 9th, 2010 4:48 am by HL

Adams cites outdated and controversial lawsuit to smear Obama DOJ

J. Christian Adams claimed the Justice Department’s decision to dismiss a voter registration lawsuit against Missouri demonstrates the Obama administration’s “record” of hostility to voting laws. In fact, the highly controversial Bush-era case has been connected to the politicization of the Justice Department and the U.S. attorneys scandal, and was dismissed due to outdated evidence.

Adams cites outdated, controversial lawsuit to smear Obama DOJ

Adams: “There’s actually a record” of hostility “where they dismissed a case the Bush administration brought against Missouri.” During an appearance on the July 7 edition of Fox News’ America Live, Adams claimed that the Justice Department had issued a mandate not to enforce election laws that deal with voter registration maintenance, which host Megyn Kelly claimed amounted to “sanctioning voter fraud.” To support his unsubstantiated allegation, Adams said:

And you could look at the record. There’s actually a record on this during this administration where they dismissed a case that the Bush administration had brought against Missouri, and they haven’t brought any new cases.

Fund cites dismissal as “evidence backing up” Adams. In a July 8 Wall Street Journal post, John Fund cited the Justice Department’s decision not to pursue the lawsuit against Missouri as “evidence backing up” Adams’ claims. Fund asserted:

When filed in 2005, one-third of Missouri counties had more registered voters than voting-age residents. What’s more, Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan, a Democrat who this year is her party’s candidate for a vacant U.S. Senate seat, contended that her office had no obligation to ensure individual counties were complying with the federal law mandating a cleanup of their voter rolls.

The case made slow but steady progress through the courts for more than three years, amid little or no evidence of progress in cleaning up Missouri’s voter rolls. Despite this, Obama Justice saw fit to dismiss the case in March 2009.

In fact, the lawsuit against Missouri was highly controversial and dismissed due to outdated evidence

  • The lawsuit against Missouri was filed in 2005 over the objection of the U.S. attorney and approved by Bradley Schlozman, who participated in the Bush-era politicization of the Justice Department.
  • The Bush-era lawsuit was harshly criticized as emblematic of the politicization of the Justice Department and the U.S. attorneys scandal.
  • The Justice Department said that the case was dismissed due to outdated evidence.

2005 lawsuit connected to Bush-era U.S. attorneys scandal

Bush-era case accused Missouri of not purging voter roles. The Bush Justice Department filed a complaint in November 2005 alleging that the state of Missouri was not effectively removing ineligible voters from registration lists, citing Section 8 of the National Voter Registration Act, commonly referred to as the Motor Voter law. After a district court judge ruled against the DOJ, the Bush administration appealed. The case was subsequently remanded to the district court, and the Obama Justice Department ultimately asked the court to dismiss the case due to outdated evidence and the court’s refusal to reopen an investigation into Missouri’s voter registration maintenance procedures.

NYT: Lawsuit against Missouri was part of “highly suspicious case” connected to U.S. attorney scandal. According to a May 10, 2007, New York Times editorial:

As the United States attorney scandal grows, so does the number of prosecutors who seem to have been pushed out for partisan political reasons. Another highly suspicious case has emerged in the appointment of Bradley Schlozman, a controversial elections lawyer, to replace a respected United States attorney in Missouri. From the facts available, it looks like a main reason for installing Mr. Schlozman was to help Republicans win a pivotal Missouri Senate race. 

Jim Talent, the Republican incumbent, was facing a strong challenge from Claire McCaskill last year when the United States attorney, Todd Graves, resigned suddenly. Mr. Graves suspects that he may have been pushed out in part because he refused to support a baseless lawsuit against the state of Missouri that could have led to voters’ being wrongly removed from the rolls.

NYT: Lawsuit “could have led to thousands of Demcorat-leaning voters being wrongly purged from the polls.” According to a June 8, 2007, New York Times editorial, former DOJ attorney Bradley Schlozman “pushed a lawsuit, which was thrown out by a federal judge, that could have led to thousands of Democratic-leaning voters being wrongly purged from the rolls.” From the editorial:

Mr. Schlozman fits neatly into the larger picture. Prosecutors who refused to use their offices to help Republicans win elections, like John McKay in Washington State, and David Iglesias in New Mexico, were fired. Prosecutors who used their offices to help Republicans did well.

U.S. attorney reportedly refused to file lawsuit and was eventually replaced with Schlozman. A May 10, 2007, Washington Post article reported that Todd Graves, the U.S. attorney for Missouri at the time the lawsuit was filed, said he “clashed with [the Department of] Justice’s civil rights division over” the voter registration lawsuit and that Bradley Schlozman “signed off on [the complaint] after [Graves] refused to do so.” The Post article further reported that Graves said “he was asked to step down from his job by a senior Justice Department official in January 2006, months before eight other federal prosecutors would be fired by the Bush administration.” The Post went on to report:

The same month he was asked to step down, Graves’s name was included in a Jan. 9, 2006, list assembled by Gonzales’s then-chief of staff, D. Kyle Sampson, of seven U.S. attorneys the administration was considering forcing from their jobs. That April, Sampson sent another e-mail noting that two of the prosecutors on that list had already left. Three names, including Graves’s, were redacted when Justice officials released the January list.

[…]

Graves acknowledged that he had twice during the past few years clashed with Justice’s civil rights division over cases, including a federal lawsuit involving Missouri’s voter rolls that Graves said a Washington Justice official signed off on after he refused to do so. That official, Bradley J. Schlozman, was appointed as interim U.S. attorney to succeed Graves, remaining for a year until the Senate this spring confirmed John Wood for the job. Wood was a counselor to the deputy attorney general and is a son of Bond’s first cousin, although the senator’s spokeswoman, Shana Marchio, said Bond did not recommend him for the job.

Schlozman had been a controversial figure in Justice’s civil rights division for stances on voting rights. After he arrived in Kansas City, he came under fire from Democrats for pushing forward with an indictment of voter-registration activists in Missouri just weeks before last November’s elections.

Schlozman did not deny that he “overruled the recommendation” of Graves. From Schlozman’s June 5, 2007, testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee:

SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D-CA): In late 2005, you overruled the recommendation of then-U.S. Attorney Todd Graves and authorized a lawsuit to be filed against the Missouri secretary of state. The chairman referred to it.

And the suit alleged that Missouri was not making the reasonable effort to remove ineligible voters from its voter rolls.

In early ’06, Mr. Graves was told to resign and you became the interim U.S. attorney.

Why was Mr. Graves told to resign?

SCHLOZMAN: Senator, I have no idea. In fact, I did not know that he had resigned until I read about it in the Kansas City Star.

FEINSTEIN: So you had no involvement in the decision.

SCHLOZMAN: None whatsoever.

DOJ IG “found that Schlozman considered political and ideological affiliations when hiring and taking other personnel actions relating to career attorneys, in violation of Department policy and federal law.” A July 2008 report from the Department of Justice Inspector General’s Office and the Office of Professional Responsibility concluded that Schlozman “considered political and ideological affiliations when hiring and taking other personnel actions relating to career attorneys in violation of Department policy and federal law.” The same report outlined statements from Justice Department officials who said that Schlozman attempted to remove Democrats and liberals and hire “real Americans” or “right-thinking Americans,” which the report determined to mean conservatives.

Knight-Ridder: Bush DOJ “pursued an aggressive legal effort to restrict voter turnout” that resulted in eligible voters being purged from voter rolls. An April 19, 2007, Knight-Ridder article (from Nexis) reported, “For six years, the Bush administration, aided by Justice Department political appointees, has pursued an aggressive legal effort to restrict voter turnout in key battleground states in ways that favor Republican political candidates.” Knight-Ridder, citing “former department officials, public records and other documents,” further reported that part of the strategy included suing “at least six states on grounds that they had too many people on their voter rolls” and that “[s]ome eligible voters were removed in the resulting purge.”

NY Times: Bush DOJ “push to prosecute voter fraud figured in the removals last year of at least two United States attorneys.” An April 12, 2007, New York Times article reported, “Five years after the Bush administration began a crackdown on voter fraud, the Justice Department has turned up virtually no evidence of any organized effort to skew federal elections, according to court records and interviews.” The article further reported, “The push to prosecute voter fraud figured in the removals last year of at least two United States attorneys whom Republican politicians or party officials had criticized for failing to pursue cases.”

After judge remanded case to lower court, DOJ sought its dismissal due to outdated evidence

U.S. district court enters judgment against Bush DOJ. The Bush administration filed a complaint against the state of Missouri in November 2005. In 2007, Judge Nanette K. Laughrey of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri entered judgment against the Bush DOJ, stating in part that the Missouri Secretary of State’s Office had “done many of the things that the United States Government now seeks Court supervision to accomplish.” Judge Laughrey further wrote (from the PACER database):

It is also telling that the United States has not shown that any Missouri resident was denied his or her right to vote as a result of deficiencies alleged by the United States. Nor has the United States shown that any voter fraud has occurred.

Appellate court remanded case to consider local compliance with voter registration laws. On July 29, 2008, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit remanded the case, asking the district court to consider whether local election agencies were complying with voter registration laws.

DOJ sought dismissal due to outdated evidence. In a March 4, 2009, motion for voluntary dismissal signed by Robert Popper, deputy chief of the civil rights division’s voting section, the Justice Department noted that discovery in the underlying lawsuit against Missouri closed July 24, 2006, and that on October 9, 2008, the court declined a request to reopen discovery. The motion further explained (from PACER):

The United States now moves for a voluntary dismissal of this matter on the ground that events have overtaken this litigation. Discovery in this action closed more than two and-one-half years ago, and the evidence in the record at that time may have limited applicability to current conditions in Missouri. As the United States would not seek an injunction on old or stale evidence, it hereby moves for this dismissal.

In light of the above, the United States respectfully moves this Court to approve and order the attached Stipulation and Order of Dismissal.


Greer’s Defense Attorney Plans To Call Crist, McCollum To The Stand

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 9th, 2010 4:46 am by HL

Greer’s Defense Attorney Plans To Call Crist, McCollum To The Stand
Embattled former Florida Republican Party chair Jim Greer is ramping up his defense against fraud charges in the Sunshine State — and he plans to enlist some of his old friends to help. At a press conference Monday, Greer’s attorney,…


Bill McCollumFlorida RepublicansFloridaJim GreerRepublican

In The NV Desert, A Duel Between Sheriff And D.A.
The Wall Street Journal reports today on a feud in the deserts of Nevada, where a sheriff recently arrested the district attorney on charges that he misused public funds, prompting the D.A. to arrest one of the sheriff’s deputies, creating an intractable boondoggle for the poor desert county where they live.


SheriffNevadaWall Street JournalLawDistrict attorney

7 Cops And An FBI Agent Charged In Florida Mortgage Fraud Ring
Federal prosecutors in Florida have accused eight current and former law enforcement officers, along with a group of attorneys and mortgage brokers, with falsifying documents to obtain $16.5 million in loans in order to buy and flip real estate, reports the Miami Herald.


FloridaLawMiami HeraldFederal Bureau of InvestigationReal estate


Orszag Will Head to Think Tank

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 9th, 2010 4:42 am by HL

Orszag Will Head to Think Tank
Obama budget director Peter Orszag will join the Council on Foreign Relations as distinguished visiting fellow when he leaves the White House at the end of the month, Mike Allen reports.

Bentley Poised to Win Runoff in Alabama
A Baselice and Associates poll in Alabama shows Robert Bentley (R) with a substantial lead over Bradley Byrne (R) in the runoff for the Republican nomination for Alabama governor, 53% to 33%.

The runoff election is Tuesday and the winner face Ron Sparks (D) in the general election.


What a Disaster: Grappling with the Gulf’s "Dead Zones"

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 9th, 2010 4:41 am by HL

What a Disaster: Grappling with the Gulf’s "Dead Zones"
Until Washington comes up with a plan to address the growing Gulf Dead Zones, thousands of square miles of ocean waters face a grim future.

Until Washington comes up with a plan to address the growing Gulf Dead Zones, thousands of square miles of ocean waters face a grim future.

Feminism is Alive and Well … Even Sarah Palin Wants to Be One
Gloria Steinem, grande dame of the feminist movement, and Jehmu Greene, Women’s Media Center director, discuss the state of feminism with Katie Couric.

Gloria Steinem, grande dame of the feminist movement, and Jehmu Greene, Women's Media Center director, discuss the state of feminism with Katie Couric.

Lakoff: Why Conservative Lies Spread and What Progressives Can Do to Fight Them
When Democrats use conservative language to promote their agenda, it ultimately creates more support for Republicans.

When Democrats use conservative language to promote their agenda, it ultimately creates more support for Republicans.


The Tea Party and the new right-wing Christian feminism

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 9th, 2010 4:40 am by HL

The Tea Party and the new right-wing Christian feminism
Why have American women become so active in the right wing Tea Party movement? Could it be that they are drawn to the new conservative Christian feminism publicized by Sarah Palin? Without its grassroots female supporters, the Tea Party…



TeaUnited StatesRight-wing politicsRepublicanPolitics

Day Of The Dead
[We are pleased to come into possession of a tape of President Barack Obama’s July 4th address.] “My fellow Americans, as we come together in celebration this Independence Day, I would like to reaffirm my commitment to securing jobs for…



Barack ObamaUnited StatesIndependence DayPresidentPresident of the United States

Good News, I Hope
I wrote earlier this month that TMPCafé had not been working well because we screwed up implementing some fixes and improvements to the site. As I mentioned then, we had to hire outside programmers to help us resolve the problems….



FacebookSocial networkTwitterGood NewsOnline Communities


ThinkFast: July 8, 2010

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 9th, 2010 4:39 am by HL

ThinkFast: July 8, 2010
Three people suspected of having links to al Qaeda were arrested in Norway and Germany today. “They are suspected of committing terrorist crimes, period,” said Janne Kristiansen, the head of Norway’s Police Security Service. The suspects — a Uighur from China, an Iraqi, and an Uzbek — are said to “be linked to bomb plots […]

Three people suspected of having links to al Qaeda were arrested in Norway and Germany today. “They are suspected of committing terrorist crimes, period,” said Janne Kristiansen, the head of Norway’s Police Security Service. The suspects — a Uighur from China, an Iraqi, and an Uzbek — are said to “be linked to bomb plots in the US and UK.”

The Congressional Budget Office has found that the Senate’s climate change legislation would reduce the deficit by $19 billion over the next decade if enacted. “There is no more room for excuses; this must be our year to pass comprehensive climate and energy legislation and begin to send a price signal on carbon,” said the legislation’s authors, Sens. John Kerry (D-MA) and Joe Lieberman (I-CT).

Former White House green jobs adviser Van Jones spoke at the Campus Progress National Conference yesterday and encouraged students to be patient with Obama. “We’re trying to build a pro-democracy movement in a country that at least for eight years was run by straight-up authoritarians, and it’s not going to be easy,” he said. Jones added that despite his “rough exit,” the whole experience was “worth it.”

BP is pushing to have relief wells complete by July 27 on its runaway Gulf well, “weeks before the deadline the company is discussing publicly” of mid-August. At the behest of the federal government, BP is also “readying a series of backup plans in case its current operations go awry.” The moves are seen as a bid to reassure investors.

International Monetary Fund’s latest assessment of the global economy, released today, predicted “the world economy will grow faster than expected this year,” but that the “recovery remains overshadowed by major risks, and the pace of growth is likely to slow next year.”

TARP makes a profit. “According to a Keefe Bruyette & Woods report issued yesterday, the Capital Purchase Program (CPP), a major part of TARP, has generated a 10.3 percent return on investment from the 61 banks that have fully repaid the government.”

The Military Times has obtained a draft-copy of a “confidential survey of 400,000 active-duty and reserve troops’ attitudes on service by openly gay people.” While the Pentagon said the actual questions contain “substantial” changes, but the tone of the draft “leans toward the potential impact that repealing ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ might have on unit performance.”

Gen. David Petraeus will “issue a new tactical directive” to clarify the rules of engagement in Afghanistan. The new directive will not change the rules but will “clarify actions soldiers may take” under the rules so as to “clear up confusion and alleviate frustration” felt by troops in the field.

An independent commission in the UK “cleared climate-change researchers of charges of academic misconduct” making it “the latest to find no evidence that researchers embroiled in the ‘Climate-gate’scandal had violated academic standards.” After reviewing evidence from the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit, the commission said, “We find that their rigor and honesty as scientists are not in doubt.”

And finally: South Carolina Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Alvin Greene’s jobs plan: “They can make toys of me.”

ThinkProgress is hiring! Details here.


Obama Heads West to Campaign for Candidates

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 9th, 2010 4:32 am by HL

Obama Heads West to Campaign for Candidates

Is Immigration Lawsuit a Joke?

Show Us the Money
Joe Conason, New York Observer
So often are the certitudes and pronouncements of the chattering class simply mistaken that they must always be treated with deep skepticism. That is especially true when anything important is at stake — from the arguments for invading Iraq several years ago to today's economic stagnation. Whatever the conventional wisdom tells you must be true is almost certainly false.The choral complaint emanating from every mainstream-media outlet — and the mouth of nearly every mainstream pundit — is that the federal government is spending too much and that the public will not stand for …

Obama’s Partisanship: What Happened to Change?
Keith Koffler, Politico
President Barack Obama was elected in 2008 to unite the country, transform Washington and inspire Republicans and Democrats to work together. Now he looks more like a typical partisan pol, battering the opposite party with the kind of vitriol almost never displayed by the man he was sent to replace, former President George W. Bush.Obama may put some short-term points on the board by reverting to classic political meanness. But by repudiating the mantle of change he was given, he is undermining his own raison d’etre.

Clueless in Illinois