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Archive for September 1st, 2010

Late Late Night FDL: I Can’t Get Next To You

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 1st, 2010 4:49 am by HL

Late Late Night FDL: I Can’t Get Next To You
The TemptationsI Can’t Get Next To You on the Andy Williams Show, 1969.

The TemptationsI Can’t Get Next To You on the Andy Williams Show, 1969.

What’s on your mind?


Church Picnic With a Buzz

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 1st, 2010 4:48 am by HL

Church Picnic With a Buzz
It has not been clear whether, or how, the tea party would seek to accommodate the religious aspect of the conservative movement. Glenn Beck’s “Restoring Honor” rally illustrated one potential route. By Ruth Marcus

It has not been clear whether, or how, the tea party would seek to accommodate the religious aspect of the conservative movement. Glenn Beck’s “Restoring Honor” rally illustrated one potential route.


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Carly Fiorina No Es Mi Amiga
The latest video from our friends at Brave New Films takes on Senate prospect Carly Fiorina, who, like all ambitious California politicians, is courting the Latino vote. But Fiorina’s “Amigos de Carly” site doesn’t make much mention of her support for Arizona’s immigration law.

The latest video from our friends at Brave New Films takes on Senate prospect Carly Fiorina, who, like all ambitious California politicians, is courting the Latino vote. But Fiorina’s “Amigos de Carly” site doesn’t make much mention of her support for Arizona’s immigration law.

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Chris Kelly: Bristol Palin Dances, Pregnant, on Lisa Murkowski’s Grave

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 1st, 2010 4:47 am by HL

Chris Kelly: Bristol Palin Dances, Pregnant, on Lisa Murkowski’s Grave
Last night, Alaska senator Lisa Murkowski conceded something that had been obvious for a week: She won’t be her party’s nominee this fall. She lost…

Saul Friedman: The Downside of Medicare–And Alternatives
Those of us of a certain age sing the praises of Medicare, which thanks to the recently passed health reforms, according to the latest…

Stem Cell Restraining Order Appealed By Obama Administration
WASHINGTON — The Obama administration on Tuesday asked a federal judge to lift a restraining order that it says could undercut federally funded embryonic stem…

Ernest Istook: Obama Creates Backdoor Amnesty by Mass Dismissals of Deportation Cases
Whether the issue is immigration, voting rights, drug laws, or anything else, there’s an even greater threat involved in the administration’s approach. Our very rule of law is threatened by the Obama edicts of not enforcing laws.


Beck doesn’t want his church “preach[ing] who to vote for,” but his “Black Robe” associates do

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 1st, 2010 4:46 am by HL

Beck doesn’t want his church “preach[ing] who to vote for,” but his “Black Robe” associates do

Glenn Beck recently announced that he would leave a church that “preach[ed] who to vote for,” while discussing his 8-28 “Restoring Honor” rally. However, Beck is working with James Dobson on the formation of his “Black Robe Regiment,” who, along with his organizations, has a history of trying to influence elections through churches, including advocating for pastors to endorse political candidates.

Beck says he “would leave [his] church” if it “started to preach who to vote for”

Beck: “If my church started to preach who to vote for, oh, the Republicans are better than the Democrats or vice versa, I would also leave my church on that.” On the August 30 edition of Fox News’ The O’Reilly Factor, discussing his 8-28 rally, Beck said, “If my church started to preach who to vote for, oh, the Republicans are better than the Democrats or vice versa, I would also leave my church on that.” From The O’Reilly Factor:

BILL O’REILLY (host): Now let’s talk about the theocratic theme of the event. So there’s — do you think America should be run with a Judeo-Christian model of behavior? Is that what you want in the halls of power?

BECK: That’s what we’ve — well —

O’REILLY: We had it at one time? We did have it?

BECK: For our behavior? Yes. Does that mean that I want — for instance, I’ve gotten in a lot of trouble for saying if my church is teaching social justice the way that Jeremiah Wright teaches social justice, leave your church. Let me say the same thing. If my church started to preach who to vote for, oh, the Republicans are better than the Democrats or vice versa, I would also leave my church on that. Teach people correct principles that all rights come from God.

Beck noted that he was working with Dobson in forming Black Robe Regiment

Beck said that he discussed with Dobson formation of Black Robe Regiment. Discussing his Black Robe Regiment initiative earlier in the day on his radio show, Beck said that there were religious leaders he met with who were wary of the initiative and were concerned that if they joined him they would “lose half [of their] congregation.” However, Beck said, Dobson endorsed the initiative. According to Beck, Dobson “looked [Beck] right in the eye … and he said; ‘I will start tomorrow.’ “

But Dobson and his organizations have history of using churches to influence elections

ADF, which Dobson co-founded, encouraged pastors to endorse candidates in 2008 and “challenge IRS rules that prohibit tax-exempt churches from engaging in partisan politics.” In a September 2008 post onThe Washington Post‘s On Faith blog, David Waters wrote that the Alliance Defense Fund, which Dobson co-founded, “is recruiting preachers to challenge IRS rules that prohibit tax-exempt churches from engaging in partisan politics, step up to the pulpit … and endorse a candidate.” From the blog post:

The ADF is recruiting preachers to challenge IRS rules that prohibit tax-exempt churches from engaging in partisan politics, step up to the pulpit Sept. 28 and endorse a candidate.

ADF officials say this will be a courageous act of civil disobedience to defend free speech. It’s really just a stunt by a conservative Christian organization to get evangelical Revs. to rev up the base for the Republican Party ticket. ADF was founded years ago by leaders of more than 30 Christian groups, including Focus on the Family’s James Dobson, a born-again convert to the McCain-Palin Republican Party ticket.

Not that conservative evangelicals are the only churchgoers who appreciate a good stump speech under the cross on Sunday morning. Democratic candidates have been known to increase their church attendance in campaign seasons, especially in African-American churches. In too many churches, the long liturgical season between Easter and Advent isn’t “Ordinary Time,” it’s “Campaign Time.”

It’s clearly Campaign Time for the ADF. “The (Sept. 28) sermon will be an evaluation of conditions for office in light of scripture and doctrine. They will make a specific recommendation from the pulpit about how the congregation would vote,” ADF attorney Erik Stanley told the Post. “They could oppose a candidate. They could oppose both candidates. They could endorse a candidate. They could focus on a federal, state or local election.”

Beck recently promoted ADF’s “Pulpit Freedom Sunday” initiative, in which “several hundred preachers” say to IRS: “[C]ome after me. I dare you.” On the August 27 edition of his Fox News show, Beck hosted former co-chair of the Texas Republican Party and evangelical minister David Barton, who touted this year’s “Pulpit Freedom Sunday” initiative, saying that “you’ll have several hundred preachers standing up and saying, ‘IRS, come after me. I dare you. Come get me.'” Beck later told Barton that “you’ve got to come back next week … because we have to talk about that” and stated: “Oh, America, oh, tell your preachers and your pastors and your priests and your rabbis about this. Please.” Beck has credited Barton as suggesting the formation of the “Black Robe Regiment,” and Barton spoke at Beck’s August 27 “Divine Destiny” event.

In 2006, Dobson’s group sought “‘church coordinators’ who would encourage pastors to ‘speak about Christian citizenship,’ conduct voter-registration drives, distribute voter guides and run get-out-the-vote efforts.” An August 16, 2006, Washington Post article reported that Dobson’s Focus on the Family organization sought “‘church coordinators’ who would encourage pastors to ‘speak about Christian citizenship,’ conduct voter-registration drives, distribute voter guides and run get-out-the-vote efforts.” The Post reported also reported that Focus on the Family “said its efforts would be nonpartisan.” From the Post:

Conservative Christian radio host James C. Dobson’s national organization, Focus on the Family, said yesterday that it will work with affiliated groups in eight battleground states to mobilize evangelical voters in the November elections.

In targeting individual churches the way political organizers traditionally pinpointed certain wards, Focus on the Family is filling a void left by the near-collapse of the Christian Coalition and stepping into an area where recent Republican Party efforts have created resentment among evangelicals.

As a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization, Focus on the Family is barred from endorsing candidates. Tom Minnery, vice president of the Colorado-based group, said its efforts would be nonpartisan.

[…]

In an e-mail message to supporters last week, Focus on the Family said it would partner with its state-level “family policy councils” to “combat voter apathy and encourage Christians to go to the polls” in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio, New Jersey, Minnesota, Montana and Tennessee. Minnery, in a telephone interview, said those states were chosen for their “live, hotly contested races.”

The e-mail said Focus on the Family is looking for volunteer county coordinators whose duties would include “recruiting key evangelical churches.” It also is seeking “church coordinators” who would encourage pastors to “speak about Christian citizenship,” conduct voter-registration drives, distribute voter guides and run get-out-the-vote efforts.

In 2006, Dobson reportedly “work[ed] with ministers around Minnesota to mobilize in time to influence the Nov. 7 elections.” The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported in September 2006 [accessed via Nexis] that “[a]s part of a campaign to rouse Christian conservative voters, Dobson is coming to the Twin Cities next week to speak. His group also is working with ministers around Minnesota to mobilize in time to influence the Nov. 7 elections.” While the article noted that Dobson had previously “stressed that they wouldn’t tell people how to vote,” he also said that”[w]hether Republicans deserve the power they were given, the alternatives are downright frightening.” From the Star-Tribune:

As part of a campaign to rouse Christian conservative voters, Dobson is coming to the Twin Cities next week to speak. His group also is working with ministers around Minnesota to mobilize in time to influence the Nov. 7 elections.

Republicans counting on a strong turnout of Christian conservatives at the polls may have other reasons for concern. Midterm elections often do not excite the masses. A signature issue, such as a ban on same-sex marriage, is on the ballot in fewer states this year. And the federal government has promised to crack down on church-based partisan politicking after complaints about such behavior in 2004, which could suppress religious leaders’ involvement and dampen turnout.

Dobson and others are working hard to counter that possibility, though they acknowledge their disappointment.

“Whether Republicans deserve the power they were given, the alternatives are downright frightening,”Dobson told more than 3,000 attendees at a recent “Stand for the Family” rally in Pittsburgh.

The event was the first of three designed to energize Christian conservative voters. All three are in states that have hotly contested Senate races: Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Tennessee.

The Pittsburgh event was part political rally, part church revival. Held at a downtown hockey arena, it featured entertainment by the Christian pop group the Sounds of Liberty. An enormous U.S. flag hung behind the speakers, who included Dobson, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council and Gary Bauer of American Values. All warned of threats to religious liberty, to marriage and, as Perkins put it, of “our children being indoctrinated with homosexuality in our public schools.”

All the speakers stressed that they wouldn’t tell people how to vote.

But if a politician shares his principles on issues from judges to marriage “and is committed to the God of the universe, and from my perspective, Jesus Christ his only begotten son … it would be a sin not to go to the polls and vote for him or her,” Dobson said.


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Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 1st, 2010 4:45 am by HL

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Minuteman PAC — Now With More Islamophobia?
The border patrolling Minuteman are primarily known for their vehement opposition to illegal immigration. But now, amidst the country’s recent anti-mosque fervor, it seems one arm of the group is dabbling in a new kind of campaign — fear-mongering about radical Islam.


IslamIslamophobiaIllegal immigrationUnited StatesImmigration


EVERYONE dies eventually: My thoughts on death (and suicide)

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 1st, 2010 4:41 am by HL

EVERYONE dies eventually: My thoughts on death (and suicide)
Someone I know just died in her sleep. This person and I had been at loggerheads with each other on a number of political issues for the last 30 years but I still wanted to say something nice about her — and so I came up with this: “She pissed me off so much that […]


Smooth Sailing for Gillibrand

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 1st, 2010 4:40 am by HL

Smooth Sailing for Gillibrand
A new Quinnipiac poll in New York shows Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D) way ahead of any of her three possible Republican challengers for U.S. Senate.

She beats Bruce Blakeman (R), 44% to 26%, tops David Malpass (R), 45% to 24%, and is ahead of Joseph DioGuardi (R), 43% to 28%.

Said pollster Maurice Carroll: “Who are those guys who want to run against Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand? In match-ups, each of the three gets the generic Republican vote. But most voters don’t know much about any of them.”

Cuomo Headed Towards a Landslide
A new Quinnipiac poll in New York finds Andrew Cuomo (D) leads either of his Republican rivals for governor by more than 2-1. He tops Rick Lazio (R), 57% to 25%, and leads Carl Paladino (R), 60% to 23%.

Key finding: New York State voters approve of the job Cuomo is doing as Attorney General by a 69% to 20% margin.


Why a Civil Society — Like Ours Is Supposedly — Extends Unemployment Benefits

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 1st, 2010 4:39 am by HL

Why a Civil Society — Like Ours Is Supposedly — Extends Unemployment Benefits
A record number of Americans is unemployed for a record length of time. This is a national tragedy.

A record number of Americans is unemployed for a record length of time. This is a national tragedy.

Inside The Great Reptilian Conspiracy: From Queen Elizabeth to Barack Obama — They Live!
A look at one of the more fascinating alternate universes of belief.

A look at one of the more fascinating alternate universes of belief.

One of Obama’s Social Security Slasher Wannabes Threatens Small Town with Nuclear Annihilation
David Cote is so dangerous he’s willing to risk nuclear fallout in order to force uranium workers to cut their retiree health care and pension plans.

David Cote is so dangerous he's willing to risk nuclear fallout in order to force uranium workers to cut their retiree health care and pension plans.

Hidden Corporate Scandal: CEOs Who Laid Off the Most Workers Rake in the Most Treasure
CEOs are throwing workers onto the unemployment rolls and dodging taxes to boost short-term profits and fatten their own paychecks.

CEOs are throwing workers onto the unemployment rolls and dodging taxes to boost short-term profits and fatten their own paychecks.


Warning: Why Cheaper Money Won’t Mean More Jobs

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 1st, 2010 4:38 am by HL

Warning: Why Cheaper Money Won’t Mean More Jobs
Can the Fed rescue the economy by making money even cheaper than it already is? A debate is being played out in the Fed about whether it should return to so-called “quantitative easing” – buying more mortgage-backed securities, Treasury bills,…


United States Treasury securityMortgage-backed securityQuantitative easingBusinessFederal Reserve System

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ThinkFast: August 31, 2010

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 1st, 2010 4:37 am by HL

ThinkFast: August 31, 2010

Troops Return

In a speech from the Oval Office tonight, President Obama will formally end the seven-year combat mission in Iraq that left 4,400 U.S. troops dead and thousands more wounded. White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Obama will be careful not to declare victory: “Obviously tomorrow marks a change in our mission. It marks a milestone that we have achieved in removing our combat troops,” Gibbs said. “That is not to say that violence is going to end tomorrow.”

A new Newsweek poll has found that a majority of Republicans believe President Obama “sympathizes with the goals of Islamic fundamentalists who want to impose Islamic law around the world.” Only 33 percent of Republicans said the “allegation” was “probably not true,” while 38 percent said it was probably true and 14 percent said it was “make sense of the world I see,” Beck said on the website.

Two U.S. men of Yemeni descent were arrested in Amsterdam yesterday, after arriving on a flight from Chicago with suspicious items in their baggage. Authorities say the men had a mobile phone taped to a Pepto-Bismol bottle and other phones and watches strapped together.

Yesterday, President Obama urged Senate Republicans to “drop the blockade” on the Small Business Jobs bill, which “will cut more taxes and make available more loans, including $55 billion in tax relief.” After the Republican minority blocked the bill from coming to the Senate floor in July, Obama asked Congress to make it the “first order of business” when it returns from recess in September.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) “was dealt another major setback Monday when the Alaska Libertarian Party announced it would not swap its chosen candidate for the Republican senator if she loses her party’s nomination.” “The party voted unanimously Sunday not to allow Murkowski to run on its ticket,” so her only remaining option to stay in the race would be to run as a write-in candidate.

The Justice Department filed another lawsuit against Arizona yesterday, arguing “that a network of community colleges acted illegally in requiring noncitizens to provide their green cards before they could be hired for jobs.” The suit alleges that the colleges “discriminated against nearly 250 noncitizen job applicants by mandating that they fill out more documents than required by law to prove their eligibility to work.”

And finally: Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin took to Twitter yesterday to bang out a condemnation of the “sheeple” (sheep people) in the “silly media” for supposedly under counting the crowd size at Fox News personality Glenn Beck’s “Restoring Honor” rally. Unfortunately, when Palin tried to mention her buddy Beck, she got his twitter handle wrong, name dropping psychedelic indie-pop musician Beck instead.

ThinkProgress is hiring! Details here.

9/11 Victims? Families Group: Sept. 11 Mosque Protests ?Disrespect The Memories Of Our Loved Ones?

protest3 One of the chief arguments critics have employed against the construction of the proposed Islamic center near Ground Zero in New York is that the center would be “insensitive” to the families of the victims of the 9/11 terror attacks. “[T]he overriding concern should be the sensitivities of the families of the victims,” wrote Abe Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League, who surprised many by coming out against the Islamic center. “The question here is a question of sensitivity, people’s feelings,” said former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani. Some 9/11 families “are crying over this,” he added.

But now a “key” 9/11 victims’ families group is breaking with the mosque opposition movement, demanding that an anti-mosque protest planned for September 11th be rescheduled, “and, if it isn’t, that participants back out.” In an email to members reposted by Politico, Dennis McKeon (who started the group Where to Turn as a clearinghouse of information about the attacks and subsequent plans to redevelop Ground Zero) wrote that any protests planned for the ninth anniversary of the attacks “disrespect the memories of our loved ones on this sacred day at this sacred site”:

As most of you probably know there is a proposed protest rally against the mosque being planned for 9/11. There are also reports that there is a pro mosque rally in the works for 9/11 as well. … We have always stood against any rallies scheduled for September 11th and we will do so again with these events.

We will be joining other 9/11 organizations in asking that the organizers change the date for these events. If they refuse to change the date we will also ask those scheduled to appear to withdraw from the events.

Over the past 9 years more and more of what’s been going on at Ground Zero has excluded the families. …
We will never support such activities that disrespect the memories of our loved ones on this sacred day at this sacred site.

Indeed, while conservative critics have attempted to co-opt the families of the 9/11 victims for political purposes, painting them as monolithically opposed to the proposed community center, in reality, their opinions are split, much like those of other New Yorkers.

The September 11th protest is to be the biggest yet, featuring former U.N. ambassador John Bolton, right-wing media tycoon Andrew Breitbart, and Dutch Parliamentarian Geert Wilders, a proud hater of Islam. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich was scheduled to deliver a video address, but canceled under mysterious circumstances. The protest is being organized by anti-mosque crusader Pamela Geller, who has organized other demonstrations against the proposed center, and uses her blog Atlas Shurgs to pump out new smears against the project’s organizers every day.