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Archive for August 9th, 2010

Late, Late Night FDL: Cows With Guns

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

Late, Late Night FDL: Cows With Guns
Dana Lyons-Cows With Guns

Dana Lyons-Cows With Guns

Moo…! What’s on your mind…?

Little minds embrace their hobgoblins
Imagine how the GOP heads would explode if someone wanted to re-write the Second Amendment — but any other Amendment is fine to tinker with.

photo from TangoPango at flickr.com

John Boehner delayed one of his 119 annual golf rounds yesterday to bring his orange-glow to Meet the Press. As usual he managed to say something ridiculous — this time without crying.

GREGORY: Do you support efforts to have the 14th amendment amended at this point?…

BOEHNER: Listen, I think it’s worth considering. It’s a serious problem that affects our country, and in certain parts of our country, clearly our schools, our hospitals are being overrun by illegal immigrants…

Yes, some people with an identifiable skin tone not usually confined to the Wonka factory are alleged to have done something that barely affects white people but bothers some of them nonetheless.

By GOD let’s change the Constitution!

Meanwhile, we cannot even get Republicans (and too many Democrats) to even read the first half of the Second Amendment. Not that it is considered polite to ask them to do so. They might level their .38 special at you for your impertinence.


Afghan Civilian Deaths Up in 2010

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 9th, 2010 4:47 am by HL

Afghan Civilian Deaths Up in 2010
Afghanistan’s human rights commission announced Sunday that civilian deaths so far in 2010 had risen by 6 percent, a fact construed as negative unless you’re The Associated Press, which seems to think “the modest increase suggested that U.S. and NATO efforts to hold down civilian casualties were having some success.” The increase was calculated in comparison with civilian casualties over the same period in 2009. Insurgents were reported to have caused the majority of the civilian casualties. Also important to note is that July was the deadliest month for U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan over the nine years since the invasion. —JCL Associated Press: Civilian war deaths in the first seven months of 2010 rose by 6 percent over the same period last year, Afghanistan’s human rights commission said Sunday. The modest increase suggested that U.S. and NATO efforts to hold down civilian casualties were having some success. Also Sunday, the bodies of 10 members of a medical team – six Americans, two Afghans, one German and a Briton – were flown to Kabul from the northern province of Badakhshan, where they were gunned down three days ago at the end of a humanitarian mission. The Taliban claimed responsibility and accused the group of spying and seeking to convert Muslims to Christianity. The Taliban and their allies were responsible for 68 percent of the at least 1,325 civilian deaths recorded by the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission, the organization said in a report. Twenty-three percent were ascribed to NATO or Afghan government forces. Responsibility for the remaining 9 percent could not be determined because they occurred in areas that were too dangerous for a thorough investigation, the commission said. Read more

Afghan mourners

Afghanistan’s human rights commission announced Sunday that civilian deaths so far in 2010 had risen by 6 percent, a fact construed as negative unless you’re The Associated Press, which seems to think “the modest increase suggested that U.S. and NATO efforts to hold down civilian casualties were having some success.”

The increase was calculated in comparison with civilian casualties over the same period in 2009. Insurgents were reported to have caused the majority of the civilian casualties.

Also important to note is that July was the deadliest month for U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan over the nine years since the invasion. —JCL

Associated Press:

Civilian war deaths in the first seven months of 2010 rose by 6 percent over the same period last year, Afghanistan’s human rights commission said Sunday. The modest increase suggested that U.S. and NATO efforts to hold down civilian casualties were having some success.

Also Sunday, the bodies of 10 members of a medical team – six Americans, two Afghans, one German and a Briton – were flown to Kabul from the northern province of Badakhshan, where they were gunned down three days ago at the end of a humanitarian mission. The Taliban claimed responsibility and accused the group of spying and seeking to convert Muslims to Christianity.

The Taliban and their allies were responsible for 68 percent of the at least 1,325 civilian deaths recorded by the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission, the organization said in a report. Twenty-three percent were ascribed to NATO or Afghan government forces.

Responsibility for the remaining 9 percent could not be determined because they occurred in areas that were too dangerous for a thorough investigation, the commission said.

Read more

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HuffPost Radio: Both Sides Now w/ Huffington & Matalin: On Kagan, Gay Marriage, Birthers, Spitzer

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

HuffPost Radio: Both Sides Now w/ Huffington & Matalin: On Kagan, Gay Marriage, Birthers, Spitzer
Prodded by host Mark Green, the women would have both voted to confirm Kagan but split sharply on whether today’s birthers were no worse than W’s detractors. But they both loved Spitzer!

Ellis Weiner: I’m America, and I’m Tired
Andrew McCarthy, one of the dependable frothers over at what experts call “American’s Shittiest Website,” has some indignant things to say about Islam and Islamists–and…

Victoria Jones: Sharron Angle — Bill of Rights? On Her Terms Only
Is Sharron Angle’s understanding of the First Amendment a press that is her friend, that contributes to her web site, and reports the news the way the wants it to be reported? Is she that naive?

Spencer Jones: From a Mormon Gay Couple: Thank You Judge Walker
We in the LGBT community must all commit to telling our stories and to showing our neighbors, co-workers, and faith groups who we are and why marriage and equal rights is important to us.


Liz Cheney contradicts economists, claims the stimulus has “not worked”

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 9th, 2010 4:45 am by HL

Liz Cheney contradicts economists, claims the stimulus has “not worked”

Liz Cheney spread the myth that the stimulus bill has “not worked” to mitigate job losses. In fact, many independent and private analysts have agreed that stimulus spending significantly raised employment over what would have happened without it.

Cheney advances discredited claim that stimulus has “not worked”

Cheney suggests the stimulus didn’t create employment. During the August 8 edition of Fox News Sunday, Juan Williams asked Cheney, “Where are there any Republican ideas for getting this economy back on track? All we get from Republicans is no, no, no, to everything from unemployment benefits to stimulus spending.” Cheney said:

The Republicans are saying no to things that have not worked. We’ve lost 3.3 million jobs since the stimulus passed last year. And what is clear is that the private sector is not going to hire when they’re traumatized. And I think they have been pretty well-traumatized by the policies of this administration. They don’t know what coming next; more taxes, more regulation.

But independent and private analysts agree stimulus significantly raised employment

CEA: Recovery Act has raised employment “by between 2.5 and 3.6 million.” In its fourth 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 second quarter of 2010, the ARRA has raised employment relative to what it otherwise would have been by between 2.5 and 3.6 million. These estimates are broadly consistent with the direct recipient reporting data available for 2010:Q1.”

Independent analysts agree that recovery act significantly raised employment. In its quarterly report, the CEA included figures from independent analyses that also credited the recovery act with increasing employment:

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.


Google Pushes Back On Times’ Report Of Verizon Deal

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 9th, 2010 4:44 am by HL

Google Pushes Back On Times’ Report Of Verizon Deal
Google is disputing a New York Times report that the company is close to a private deal with Verizon in which Google could pay Verizon to ensure that its content received priority in reaching web users.

Waters Pushes For Ethics Trial Before Elections
Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) wants the House ethics committee to set a date for her trial — and to set one before November’s midterm elections.


Maxine WatersUnited States House Committee on Standards of Official ConductUnited StatesEthicsCommittee


Obama Heads to Texas

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

Obama Heads to Texas
President Obama visits Texas today to raise money for Democrats, thought the Texas Tribune notes “many Democrats are finding their schedules too full to make it to Obama’s events.”

Dallas Morning News: “Texas has mainly provided a thorn in Barack Obama’s side. The governor taunts him. The senators defy him. He lost the state by nearly 1 million votes in 2008. When the president lands today to raise campaign cash in Austin and Dallas, even the Democratic nominee for governor will make himself scarce. Yet many Texas Democrats are thrilled.”


Why the Views of the Wall Street Journal’s Letter Writers Are Far From This World

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

Why the Views of the Wall Street Journal’s Letter Writers Are Far From This World
Thoughtful debate is to be found in places other than Letters to the Editor of the Wall Street Journal where, in Friday’s edition, under the ad hominem heading “Mr. Reich’s View Seems to Be Far From This World,” the editor…



Wall Street JournalLetter to the editorJ.P. RuggioEditingUnited States

Why We Fight — Countering the Conservative Foreign Policy Critique
A lot of debate lately on the question of whether conservative foreign policy thinking (and politics) have been taken captive by a wild-eyed form of neoconservatism. The recent round — which has drawn the most response from conservatives themselves –…

Despite Missouri, Nullification Efforts Failing Across the Country
Health care nullification forces scored a symbolic victory in Missouri yesterday as voters supported a ballot initiative to block the individual mandate portion of the federal health care law. But it was a primary electorate dominated by GOP primary voters–…



MissouriHealth careUnited StatesRepublican PartyHealth insurance mandate


Deficit Frauds Boehner And Pence Can?t Answer How Tax Cuts For Wealthy Will Be Paid For

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

Deficit Frauds Boehner And Pence Can?t Answer How Tax Cuts For Wealthy Will Be Paid For

Today on NBC’s Meet the Press, House Republican leaders John Boehner (R-OH) and Mike Pence (R-IN) had a tough time answering host David Gregory’s questions about how they would pay for extending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy.

Gregory asked Boehner to respond to former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan, who said last week that extending the tax cuts without offsets would be “disastrous” and that they do not pay for themselves. “The only way we’re going to get our economy going again…is to get the economy moving,” was all Boehner could muster in response. Gregory repeatedly pushed Boehner to answer how they would paid for, but the Minority Leader simply wouldn’t respond:

GREGORY: You’re not being responsive to a specific point which is how can you be for cutting the deficit and also cutting taxes as well when they’re not paid for?

BOEHNER: Listen, you can’t raise taxes in the middle of a weak economy. […]

GREGORY: But tax cuts are not paid for is that correct?

BOEHNER: I am not for raising taxes on the American people in a soft economy.

GREGORY: That’s not the question. Are tax cuts paid for or not?

BOEHNER: Listen, what you’re trying to do is get into this Washington game and their funny accounting over there. …

GREGORY: Do you believe tax cuts pay for themselves or not?

BOEHNER: I do believe that we’ve got to get more money in the hands of small businesses.

Later in the program, Pence ran into the same trouble:

GREGORY: This tension that I got out with Leader Boehner. Republicans want more tax cuts seems to me he acknowledged that they’re not paid for and yet at the same time they want tax cuts but they’re so worried about the deficit. How do you resolve that tension?

PENCE: Well I think the way you resolve it is you focus on jobs. …

GREGORY: But congressman, you’re asking Americans to believe that Republicans will have spending discipline when you’re saying extend the tax cuts that aren’t paid for and cut the deficit, how is that a consistent credible message?

PENCE: Well I understand the credibility problem. …

GREGORY: You acknowledge, tax cuts being extended cannot be paid for, it would be borrowed money.

PENCE: Well no I don’t acknowledge that. … I think it’s apples to oranges.

Watch it:

The reality is that extending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy will cost $830 billion over the next ten years and the Republicans — who have made bringing down the deficit one of their signature issues — have no idea how they will pay for them.

Ted Olson To Chris Wallace On Marriage Equality: ?Would You Like Fox?s Right To Free Press Put Up To A Vote??

This morning, Ted Olson — the conservative lawyer who represented President Bush in Bush v. Gore — appeared on Fox News Sunday to discuss his recent victory in overturning Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriages in California. Throughout the interview, host Chris Wallace attempted to trip up his guest with a series of familiar Republican talking points, all of which Olson repudiated.

Wallace asked Olson to identify the right to same-sex marriage in the constitution and wondered why “seven million Californians” “don’t get to say that marriage is between a man and a woman.” Olson replied that the Supreme Court has ruled that marriage was a fundamental right and pointed out that the constitution made no explicit mention of interracial marriage either. He stressed that under our system of government, voters can’t deprive minority groups of their constitutionally guaranteed protections and reminded Wallace that in the 1960s, “Californians voted to change their constitution to say that you could discriminate on the basis of race in the sale of your home; the United States Supreme Court struck that down.”

When Wallace pressed the point further, likening same-sex marriage to abortion and noting that “the political process in the case of same-sex marriage was working” since states had been deciding the issue on a “state-by-state basis,” Olson asked Wallace how he would like it if Fox News’ right to free speech was decided in such a manner:

OLSON: Well, would you like your right to free speech? Would you like Fox’s right to free press put up to a vote and say well, if five states approved it, let’s wait till the other 45 states do? These are fundament constitutional rights. The Bill of Rights guarantees Fox News and you, Chris Wallace, the right to speak. It’s in the constitution. And the Supreme Court has repeatedly held that the denial of our citizens of the equal rights to equal access to justice under the law, is a violation of our fundamental rights. Yes, it’s encouraging that many states are moving towards equality on the basis of sexual orientation, and I’m very, very pleased about that. … We can’t wait for the voters to decide that that immeasurable harm, that is unconstitutional, must be eliminated.

Watch a compilation:

At the end of the interview, Wallace conceded that his right-wing points failed to crack Olson’s arguments. “Mr. Olson, we want to thank you so much for joining us today. We’ll keep following your lawsuit. And I gotta say, after your appearance today, I don’t understand how you ever lost a case in the supreme court, sir,” he said.


Q& A: Chairs of BP oil-spill panel discuss drilling moratorium, response efforts

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 9th, 2010 4:37 am by HL

Q& A: Chairs of BP oil-spill panel discuss drilling moratorium, response efforts
On Aug. 25, the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling will meet in Washington. The seven members of the bipartisan panel appointed by the president held their inaugural session in New Orleans in July to investigate the April 20 BP blowout. The commission…


BPOil spillEnvironmentEnergyPetroleum in the Environment

In Harlem, Rangel faces Powell: The next generation
NEW YORK — Forty years ago, a Harlem political legend named Adam Clayton Powell Jr. refused to step down from his House seat in the face of an ethics scandal. Rather than allowing Powell to retire on his own time, an ambitious New York assemblyman took on the incumbent — and won.


HarlemHistoryRecreationScoutingBaden-Powell

A deep bench of substitute justices goes unused
Justice John Paul Stevens has been retired from the Supreme Court for more than a month. Maybe it’s time to bring him back.



RecreationOutdoorsElena KaganJohn Paul StevensUnited States Supreme Court

Obama gets to test his game against hoops greats
Every hoops fan dreams of that one special birthday when his pro-ball heroes gather on a court to see if he’s got game.


LeBron JamesDwyane WadeBarack ObamaKobe BryantGames


After Bell’s Toll: Can California Be Reformed?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 9th, 2010 4:31 am by HL

After Bell’s Toll: Can California Be Reformed?
Brian Calle, OC Register
Calling out the city of Bell's flagrant misuse of taxpayer funds for enormous salaries for city executives has started a statewide movement for local cities and municipalities to post all salary information on their websites.That's good news for those of us concerned with greater transparency, but the approach must be uniform for cities throughout the Golden State, and transparency should not be the only reform. Much work needs to be done on the public policy front to protect local taxpayers and address unbalanced compensation for civic employees. Such actions as local…

More on the Higher Education Bubble
Glenn Reynolds, DC Examiner
Back at the beginning of the summer, I had a column in this space in which I predicted that higher education is in a bubble, one soon to burst with considerable consequences for students, faculty, employers, and society at large.My reasoning was simple enough:  Something that can’t go on forever, won’t.  And the past decades’ history of tuition growing much faster than the rate of inflation, with students and parents making up the difference via easy credit, is something that can’t go on forever.  Thus my prediction…

ObamaCare: Can Dems Keep Ignoring Public?
Merrill Matthews, Forbes
Democracy is breaking out all over the country, and some in Washington don't like it one little bit.The latest example occurred in Missouri Tuesday, where more than 70% of voters rejected ObamaCare. Actually what they did was pass Proposition C, which declares that the federal government cannot tell Missourians they must have health insurance or pay a fine if they don't. That mandate to have health insurance is one of the most controversial provisions in ObamaCare.When President Obama and the Democratic leadership pushed through the health care reform bill last March, a number…

For Politicians, a Marriage of Inconvenience
Lou Cannon, New York Times
WHEN a federal judge ruled last week that a California ballot measure banning same-sex marriage violated the Constitution, he complicated the political strategy of Meg Whitman, the personable Republican billionaire who wants to be our next governor. Yet while most close observers of California politics think the decision is either irrelevant to the race or puts Ms. Whitman in a tough corner, there’s also a chance it could play out in a way that gives her an edge on her opponent, Attorney General (and former governor) Jerry Brown.After disposing of a more conservative rival in…

Can Christina Romer Get Her Soul Back?
Tim Cavanaugh, Reason
Christina D. Romer is quitting as chairwoman of President Obama's Council of Economic Advisers.The ordinary function of government is to destroy talented people, but Romer's epic failure has an additional element of tragedy. As an economist, Romer did an excellent job of establishing that New Deal stimulus failed to end or seriously mitigate the Great Depression. As an Obama team player (and poignantly, a sunny supporter of the then-senator's campaign), she made a 180-degree turn toward pro-stimulus hocus pocus. Romer will be remembered as the main advocate of the mythical…