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Archive for August 2nd, 2010

Krauthammer Calls Chevy Volt ‘a Disaster’

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 2nd, 2010 4:54 am by HL

Krauthammer Calls Chevy Volt ‘a Disaster’
“The only people who are going to buy it are going to be very rich people who are going to park it outside their townhouse for ostentatious show of how virtuous they are while they drive around in their Cadillac Escalade,” claims columnist Charles Krauthammer.



Early Morning Swim

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 2nd, 2010 4:53 am by HL

Early Morning Swim


Picking the Wrong Education Fight

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 2nd, 2010 4:52 am by HL

Picking the Wrong Education Fight
It’s galling that civil rights groups would oppose Obama administration initiatives to improve failing schools—initiatives that hold the greatest promise for minority students. By Ruth Marcus

It’s galling that civil rights groups would oppose Obama administration initiatives to improve failing schools—initiatives that hold the greatest promise for minority students.


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Dropping Temperatures Take Toll in Peru
After hundreds of children died in weather that has gripped Peru and plunged temperatures to 50-year lows, the country has declared a state of emergency. The declaration will provide funds intended to lessen additional casualties. —JCL The Guardian: Peru has declared a state of emergency after hundreds of children died from freezing conditions that have seen temperatures across much of the South American country plummet to a 50-year low. In 16 of Peru’s 25 regions, temperatures have fallen below -24C [roughly minus 75 degree Fahrenheit]. Reports from the country say 409 people, most of them children, have already died from the cold, with temperatures predicted to fall further in coming weeks. Worst hit are Peru’s poorest and most isolated communities, which are already living on the edge of survival in remote Andean mountain villages more than 3,000 metres above sea level. Read more

After hundreds of children died in weather that has gripped Peru and plunged temperatures to 50-year lows, the country has declared a state of emergency. The declaration will provide funds intended to lessen additional casualties. —JCL

The Guardian:

Peru has declared a state of emergency after hundreds of children died from freezing conditions that have seen temperatures across much of the South American country plummet to a 50-year low. In 16 of Peru’s 25 regions, temperatures have fallen below -24C [roughly minus 75 degree Fahrenheit].

Reports from the country say 409 people, most of them children, have already died from the cold, with temperatures predicted to fall further in coming weeks.

Worst hit are Peru’s poorest and most isolated communities, which are already living on the edge of survival in remote Andean mountain villages more than 3,000 metres above sea level.

Read more

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AlaskaDispatch.com: Why Isn’t Sarah Palin Endorsing Alaska Gov. Parnell?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 2nd, 2010 4:51 am by HL

AlaskaDispatch.com: Why Isn’t Sarah Palin Endorsing Alaska Gov. Parnell?
Wasilla political queen-maker Sarah Palin endorsed a candidate for governor last week, but it wasn’t her old sidekick Sean Parnell, Alaska’s governor.

Kevin Powell: Why is Congressman Ed Towns Suing Opponent Kevin Powell?
Why is Congressman Ed Towns Suing Opponent Kevin Powell? A Statement by Kevin Powell Monday, August 2, 2010 Good day to you all. Today is…

Diane Ravitch: Obama’s Race to the Top Will Not Improve Education
On their present course, Obama and Secretary Duncan will end up demoralizing teachers, closing schools that are struggling to improve, dismantling the teaching profession, and harming public education.


Why is Ingraham’s book on the? NY Times’ ? non fiction list?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 2nd, 2010 4:50 am by HL

Why is Ingraham’s book on the? NY Times’ ? non fiction list?

Fox News contributor Laura Ingraham’s book The Obama Diaries recently appeared on the New York Times’ list of bestselling hardcover nonfiction, even though the Times describes it as a “satirical fictional journal with commentary” (emphasis added). Moreover, the “commentary” parts of Ingraham’s book are filled with fictitious attacks on President Obama, his administration, and his family.

NY Times classifies Ingraham’s book as “nonfiction” while describing it as “a satirical fictional journal”

NY Times contradicts its own classification of The Obama Diaries as “nonfiction.” On July 23, Laura Ingraham’s The Obama Diaries debuted as number one on The New York Times‘ list of bestselling hardcover nonfiction; this week, it fell to second behind Justin Halpern’s —- My Dad Says. Despite classifying the book as “nonfiction,” the Times describes it as a “satirical fictional journal with commentary, by the conservative political commentator.”

Ingraham acknowledges her book is partly a “fictional account” of Obama’s presidency. ;In the final section of the book, Ingraham admits that it is at least partly a work of fiction. From The Obama Diaries:

This book was designed to open your eyes to the true agenda and motives of Team Obama. For those of you who haven’t gotten the joke yet, these diaries were my way of pulling back the curtain on Barack Obama’s Theater of the Politically Absurd. My musings – raw and uncensored – are informed by actual events and, on many occasions, by the main characters’ own words.

[…]        

What you do with the insights in this true and fictional account of the historic presidency of Barack Obama is up to you. [p. 350]

Ingraham’s supposedly “nonfiction” commentary is filled with fictitious claims

Ingraham ignores economic realities to attack Obama on “the welfare state.” On page 60, Ingraham claims “Obama’s policies are disempowering the family…and leaving future generations holding the bag.” Ingraham also claims that “As the economy contracted, President Obama did manage to grow one thing: the welfare state.” Ingraham writes that “welfare programs like housing and food stamps will have increased a staggering 30 percent” during Obama’s first two years in office. However, Ingraham fails to mention that the economy’s “contract[ion]” predated Obama’s presidency, and that the economy has actually improved under his administration. 

Ingraham misleads on DC voucher policy. On page 61, Ingraham claims “[t]he D.C. voucher program was a raging success, with 1,700 children participating each year.” Ingraham accuses Obama of sitting “back while Congress defunded this program in 2009,” and suggests that “[h]e would rather condemn poor children to failing schools than offend the teachers unions.” But, according to the Department of Education’s June report, there is “no conclusive evidence” that the program “affected student achievement overall,” and “students themselves rated school satisfaction and safety the same whether they received a voucher or not.”

Ingraham ignores context of Obama 2008 remarks on sexual health to attack his stance on abortion. On page 44, Ingraham repeats often-distorted quotes from then-Senator Obama’s 2008 speech at a rally in Pennsylvania, attacking Obama for saying, “I’ve got two daughters — nine years old and six years old. I am going to teach them first of all about values and morals. But if they make a mistake, I don’t want them punished with a baby.” Ingraham falsely suggests that Obama was discussing abortion, and comments: “Of all the deeply troubling remarks made by this president, there is none that I find more offensive or tragic than this one. It reveals President Obama’s true feelings about human life and gives us a unique perspective into his notions of family.”

Ingraham ignored the fact that Obama was reportedly responding to a question about “the issue of HIV and AIDS and also sexually transmitted diseases with young girls,” and that he went on to say: “I don’t want them punished with an STD at the age of 16. You know, so, it doesn’t make sense to not give them information. You still want to teach them the morals and the values to make good decisions.

Ingraham repeats tired falsehood that health care reform legislation funds abortion. In her book, Ingraham writes that “Representative Stupak’s House career was effectively ended by his decisions to break with his pro-life supporters – and his own pro-life rhetoric – by voting for a health-care bill that will use government funds to pay for abortions.” [p. 344] As Media Matters has repeatedly documented, the claim that the health care reform bill funds elective abortions is false. The final bill forbade use of federal subsidies for abortion services except in cases allowed by the Hyde amendment.

Ingraham baselessly claims nuclear posture review “weakened our national security.” Ingraham writes:

“In a staggering announcement on April 6, 2010, President Obama revamped U.S. nuclear policy and weakened our national security. CBS News reported that, for the first time, the United States had “limited the circumstances under which the U.S. would resort to nuclear weapons.” This meant if a nonnuclear state were to attack America with a biological or chemical weapon, the United States would no longer consider a nuclear response.” [p.297]

Media Matters previously noted that this policy applies only to “non-nuclear weapons states that are party to the NPT [Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty] and in compliance,” and that “there remains a narrow range of contingencies in which U.S. nuclear weapons may still play a role in deterring a conventional or CBW attack,” and that the United States reserves the right to adjust the policy. Additionally, nuclear experts and military brass rejected the notion that the review weakens America’s national security.

Ingraham repeats old, discredited claim that DHS right-wing extremism report targeted “the Tea Party activists.” In her book, Ingraham writes:

“To understand this particular Obama tactic against the Tea Party activists, we have to go back to April 9, 2009. That’s when Obama’s Department of Homeland Security issued a report titled “Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment.” It was distributed to law enforcement officials all over the country. The report suggested that the Obama presidency had spurred a rise in activity among racist groups, hate groups, and antigovernment groups.

[…]

For those who might have missed it, the Obama administration had officially classified pro-lifers, anyone hostile to high taxes, veterans, and any citizen opposed to illegal immigration as ‘right-wing extremists.’ ” [p. 306-307] 

As Media Matters repeatedly documented, while the DHS report addressed potential issues that could spur right-wing extremism, it did not allege that someone is an extremist simply because he or she holds conservative views.  Also, before it issued the memo on right-wing extremism, DHS released a memo on left-wing extremism, warning of the threat of increased cyber attacks. Nonetheless, many conservative media figures freaked out over the DHS report soon after it was issued.

Ingraham revives tired “death panel” falsehood. Purporting to represent Office of Management and Budget director Peter Orszag, Ingraham revives the long debunked falsehood that the health care reform bill contains “death panels.” Ingraham purports to quote Orszag, writing: “We got the death panel through the door …This is a killer panel! And I mean killer! Every financial model indicates that the only way to restore fiscal sanity to this country is for people to die.” [p. 120]

Ingraham also recycles tired right-wing smears

Ingraham rehashes old attacks on Michelle Obama’s patriotism. Ingraham rehashed old attacks on Michelle Obama, suggesting repeatedly that she is unpatriotic. On page 6, Ingraham writes: “Michelle and Barack Obama have a truly lamentable track record when it comes to celebrating America as the greatest country on the face of the earth.” Ingraham baselessly speculated that it’s “[p]robably because they don’t believe it’s true.” Ingraham quotes Michelle Obama’s February 2008 statement that “for the first time in my adult lifetime, I am really proud of my country,” and asked “Can you imagine reaching the age or forty-four and never having been proud of your country?” Later, in Michelle Obama’s “diary,” Ingraham wrote “After I unpack Sasha’s room, I’ve got to get dressed and go to some damn military thing. Just what I need today. All that flag-waving, hillbilly music, hand-on-the-heart crap.” [p. 8]

Ingraham continues right-wing’s attempt to psychologically “diagnose” Obama. In chapter eight, entitled “The Audacity of Narcissism,” Ingraham continued the rightwing media’s attempt to “diagnose” Obama:

There are certain traits of narcissistic personality that help physicians identify the condition. To be diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder, the patient must show signs of at least five of the eight criteria. Some mental health experts have suggested that Barack Obama may suffer from NPD. [p. 255] 

Ingraham invokes “apology tour.” Revving another tired conservative claim, Ingraham labels Obama’s foreign policy an “apology tour,” consisting of “so many ‘sorry’ statements” that “many of us began to wonder whether Michael Moore had joined his speech-writing staff” [p. 221]. Ingraham also attributes the following quote to Russian Prime Minister Vladamir Putin: “I berated him about the many injustices my great country has suffered. And he lapped it up. I had him eating out of my hand … if we could have had this president back in the 1980s, the Warsaw Pact would still be going strong.” [p. 242].

Ingraham ridiculously suggests Obama sees Jeremiah Wright as “Jesus.” Repeating a favorite attack from Sean Hannity’s playbook, Ingraham writes: “Peter and Paul had Jesus to teach them ‘in the flesh’; Obama had Jeremiah Wright.” [p. 179]. Ingraham later wrote that when Obama delivers a stump speech, “[t]he measured staccato Obama of the exclusive interview vanishes, and out pops Obama the pastor,” She concluded: “What you are hearing is the ghost of Jeremiah Wright.” [p. 209].

Ingraham attacks Obama’s family

Ingraham smears Obama’s father as a “polygamist” who “has spread more seed than the Park Service on the South Lawn.” After railing against the president for his “polygamist” father [p. 55] and “twisted” family tree [p. 56], Ingraham inserts a diary entry where Obama reflects, “I should write a multivolume book titled “Children from My Father.” That man has spread more seed than the Park Service on the South Lawn.” [p. 95]

Ingraham invokes crack cocaine with Marian Robinson. When caught by her daughter smuggling cookies into Sasha’s room, Michelle Obama’s mother, Marian Robinson laments in a fictitious journal entry, “You’d swear she had busted me with a crack pipe.” [p. 51]

Ingraham aims a slew of attacks at Michelle Obama. Ingraham depicts the first lady as an angry woman who derides patriotism as “flag-waving, hillbilly music, hand-on-the-heart crap,” [p. 8], and rants during her gardening project, “I’ll be damned if all this fabulosity is going to waste reading Dr. Seuss to snot-nosed kids all day … if we can scare up some poor kids to pick at the dirt, we could land the front cover of the New York Times. I’ll be kind of a fashionable, toned, and tall Mother Teresa with a rake.” [p. 86-7]

Matteo Gomez, an intern at Media Matters for America, assisted with this item.


Anti-Defamation League Comes Out Against Ground Zero Mosque

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 2nd, 2010 4:48 am by HL

Anti-Defamation League Comes Out Against Ground Zero Mosque
The Anti-Defamation League, a Jewish organization whose programs “counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry,” has released a statementexcoriating plans to build an Islamic community center and mosque near Ground Zero.



IslamAnti-Defamation LeagueMosqueGround zeroUnited States

Gates And Mullen: Wikileaks Might Already Have Blood On Their Hands
Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Admiral Mike Mullen held a press conference today to address the leak of 92,000 documents about the Afghanistan War by the website Wikileaks. Gates condemned the leaks, warning “the battlefield consequences” are “potentially severe and dangerous for our troops.”



WikileaksRobert GatesWar in AfghanistanMichael MullenAfghanistan


There goes the Judge: CA’s scary court-closing epidemic

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 2nd, 2010 4:44 am by HL

There goes the Judge: CA’s scary court-closing epidemic
Next Friday I’m going to be the plaintiff in a small claims court trial — at least that’s the plan. But according to a judge who recently spoke before the Berkeley-Albany Bar Association, there’s a rather good chance that I might show up for the trial but there might not be a courtroom left to […]


Dayton Leading Primary Race in Minnesota

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 2nd, 2010 4:43 am by HL

Dayton Leading Primary Race in Minnesota
A new Star Tribune Minnesota Poll finds Mark Dayton (D) leading the Democratic primary race for governor among likely voters with 40%, followed by Margaret Anderson Kelliher (D) at 30% and Matt Entenza (D) at 17%.

The DFLers will face of in August 10 primary to determine which of the three will run against Tom Emmer (R) in the November election.

In general election match ups, Dayton and Kelliher both hold significant leads over Emmer.


Presented By:

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 2nd, 2010 4:42 am by HL

Presented By:

Pakistan’s Generals Really, Really “Heart” The Afghan Taliban
One of the zingers from the WikiLeaks War Diaries — some 92,000 classified reports on secret military hunting squads, on military encounters with the Taliban, unreported accidental killings of innocent civilians, and more — is that there may be detailed…


TalibanPakistanWikileakAfghanistanPakistani government

The Great Decoupling Of Corporate Profits From Jobs
Second-quarter earnings reports are coming in, and they’re making Wall Street smile. Corporate profits are up. And big American companies are sitting on a gigantic pile of money. The 500 largest non-financial firms held almost a trillion dollars in the…


United StatesWall StreetChinaBusinessCorporation


Palin Writes Down Cost Of Extending Bush Tax Cuts On Her Hand, But She Still Gets It Wrong

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 2nd, 2010 4:41 am by HL

Palin Writes Down Cost Of Extending Bush Tax Cuts On Her Hand, But She Still Gets It Wrong
Since he was on the campaign trail, President Obama has proposed renewing the 2001 and 2003 Bush tax cuts for the lower- and middle-class, while allowing them to expire on schedule at the end of the year for the richest two percent of Americans. Republicans, however, have begun to obfuscate the issue by saying that […]

Since he was on the campaign trail, President Obama has proposed renewing the 2001 and 2003 Bush tax cuts for the lower- and middle-class, while allowing them to expire on schedule at the end of the year for the richest two percent of Americans. Republicans, however, have begun to obfuscate the issue by saying that the end of the year will bring history’s largest tax increase, deliberately leaving out that Democrats have proposed extending most of the cuts.

Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) pulled this rhetorical trick last week, saying “Democrats are poised to allow the largest tax increase in American history to take effect,” and on Fox News Sunday today former half-term governor Sarah Palin went down the same road. Fox’s Chris Wallace rightly pointed out that “the Republicans keep talking about being deficit hawks. This is $678 billion you are not going to pay for.” Palin responded “no, this is going to result in the largest tax increase in U.S. history. Again, it’s idiotic.”

Wallace proceeded to let Palin spend the next minute reading from notes on paper that she had written down. He interrupted her just for a moment to ask if she had anything written down on her hand, to which she responded that she did:

PALIN: My palm isn’t large enough to have written all my notes down on what this tax increase, what it will result in.… Democrats are poised to cause the largest tax increase in U.S. history, it’s a tax increase of $3.8 trillion in the next ten years and it will have an effect on every single American who pays an income tax. Small businesses, especially, will be hit hardest. Small businesses account for roughly 70 percent of our job creation in this country. So raising taxes on these employers is the worst thing that can happen.

WALLACE: Can I ask you, what do you have written on your hand?

PALIN: $3.8 trillion in the next ten years, so I have didn’t say $3.7 trillion and get dinged by the liberals saying I didn’t know what I was talking about.

Watch it:

Despite the preparation of her “cheat sheet,” she still doesn’t know what she is talking about.

For one thing, according to the Pew Economic Policy Group, an extension of all of the Bush tax cuts will cost $3.1 trillion over ten years, once the costs of servicing the debt are factored in. But no one has proposed allowing them all expire, and it’s incredibly disingenuous of Republicans to claim otherwise, especially since it was a budget gimmick by former President George W. Bush to include the ten-year sunset at all.

Extending just the cuts for the wealthiest two percent of Americans will cost $830 billion over ten years. As Center for American Progress Associate Director for Tax Policy Michael Linden wrote, “to put that figure in perspective, $830 billion is enough to pay for all veterans’ hospitals, doctors, and the rest of the Veteran’s Affairs health system, plus the United States Coast Guard, plus the Food and Drug Administration, plus the operation and maintenance of every single national park for the entire 10-year period — with more than $100 billion left over.”

It was good that Wallace pointed out to Palin that Republicans are being hypocritical by complaining about deficits at the same time they’re calling for renewing huge tax breaks for the wealthy, but he then let her spew irresponsible claims that have no basis in reality.

Boehner Spouts Anti-Intellectualism Screed: ?I Don?t Need To See GDP Numbers Or Listen To Economists?
This morning on Fox News Sunday, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH), who has waffled on the impact of the stimulus, argued against the need for more stimulus funding. He claimed that he doesn’t need to listen to economists when putting together his policy agenda: WALLACE: Congressman — a number of top economists say what we […]

This morning on Fox News Sunday, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH), who has waffled on the impact of the stimulus, argued against the need for more stimulus funding. He claimed that he doesn’t need to listen to economists when putting together his policy agenda:

WALLACE: Congressman — a number of top economists say what we need is more economic stimulus.

BOEHNER: Well, I don’t need to see GDP numbers or to listen to economists. All I need to do is listen to the American people, because they’ve been asking the question now for 18 months, “where are the jobs?”

Later, the interview grew a bit more hostile as Wallace tried to press Boehner on the deficit-impact of his call for extending the Bush tax cuts. “Chris, you’ve been in Washington too long because that’s all a bunch of Washington talk,” Boehner said dismissively. “I’m just asking a question, sir,” Wallace persisted, noting the exorbitant cost of extending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy. “This is the whole Washington mindset, all these CBO numbers,” Boehner responded. Watch it:

Boehner — whose blind political ideology often leads him to oppose anything that Democrats and Obama might be supportive of — is not interested in hearing the facts. The GDP numbers that Boehner doesn’t want to see showed a relatively weak 2.4 percent growth rate in the 2nd quarter, which indicates that the economy is losing momentum:

MW-AF692_econom_MD_20100730085435

The consensus from leading experts is that the original stimulus was too small for the magnitude of the crisis. Forty notable economists and historians, including Joseph Stiglitz, Alan Blinder, and Mark Zandi, recently signed their names to statements calling for more government stimulus. “The urgent need is for government to replace the lost purchasing power of the unemployed and their families and to has praised in the past — has said that deficit spending is critical in the short-term and that pulling support from the stimulus isn’t the right solution. “At the current moment…the large deficits, as unattractive as they are, are important for supporting economic activity, and they were important also in restoring financial stability,” he said. “And so I think they were justified in that respect, and I would be reluctant to withdraw that support too precipitously in the near term.”

CBO Director Doug Elmendorf — yet another expert that Boehner has praised in the past — has explained that there is “no intrinsic contradiction” between supporting more stimulus now and demanding deficit reduction later. Yale economics professor Robert Schiller writes in today’s New York Times, “We need more stimulus, not less — but we need to focus much more on actually putting people to work. … [U]nless we take new measures, we face the prospect of protracted unemployment.”