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Archive for October 18th, 2010

A Tale of Two Parties

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 18th, 2010 4:44 am by HL

A Tale of Two Parties
Two Parties, unlearned and underwhelming.

pic via Nick Busse at flickr.com

It certainly wasn’t the best of times, and thankfully not the worst of times — but it was certainly closer to the latter than the former. Sorry Dickens.

Republican Exhibit A:

Pressed by “Meet the Press” moderator David Gregory, Buck said he believed that being gay was a lifestyle choice and expressed no regrets about his four-year-old characterization of an alleged rape as “buyer’s remorse.”

Huh, a Republican pressed by David Gregory usually means they got a big ol’ hug. But it gets worse:

“You can choose who your partner is. I think birth has an influence over it, like alcoholism and some other things, but I think that basically you have a choice,” Buck said.

That’s right, being gay is like being an alcoholic. Classy.

Oh those Republicans. What about the Democrats?

During our hour together, Obama told me he had no regrets about the broad direction of his presidency. But he did identify what he called “tactical lessons.” He let himself look too much like “the same old tax-and-spend liberal Democrat.”

Oh, for crap’s sake!

Here’s a summary of the two parties:

The Democrats always learn the wrong thing, while the Republicans have never learned a damn thing.

Late, Late Night FDL: Burning Hell
Tom Jones – Burning Hell

Tom Jones – Burning Hell (H/T That Guy…!)

What’s on your mind tonite…?


The GOP’s Triple Play

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 18th, 2010 4:43 am by HL

The GOP’s Triple Play
The Republican Party is running a three-level campaign this year that gives its candidates a wealth of advantages—in flexibility, deniability, and determination. By E.J. Dionne, Jr.

The Republican Party is running a three-level campaign this year that gives its candidates a wealth of advantages—in flexibility, deniability, and determination.


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Shannyn Moore: Joe Miller’s Alaskan Militia

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 18th, 2010 4:42 am by HL

Shannyn Moore: Joe Miller’s Alaskan Militia
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Facebook Apps Transmitting, Selling Personally Identifying Information
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Joe Miller Security Guards Handcuff & Detain ‘Alaska Dispatch’ Editor
Security guards for Alaska senate candidate Joe Miller handcuffed and detained the editor of the online magazine “Alaska Dispatch” on Sunday while he tried to…

CO-Sen: 47% Buck (R), 45% Bennet (D) (Rasmussen 10/14)
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GOP Lawyers Group That Gins Up Voter Fraud Claims Hosting Training Events Across Country

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 18th, 2010 4:41 am by HL

GOP Lawyers Group That Gins Up Voter Fraud Claims Hosting Training Events Across Country
Election law seminars that a Republican lawyers group was holding in Illinois — which happened to coincide with GOP senate candidate Mark Kirk being secretly recorded saying his campaign would be running voter integrity squads in predominately black neighborhoods of Chicago — are actually part of a series of seminars the group is hold for Republican lawyers in several states around the country.


Outside Groups Have A Leg Up On RNC In ‘Ballot Security’ Efforts
Tea Party groups, the Republican National Lawyers Association, conservative organizations and websites like Pajamas Media have at least one major advantage over the Republican National Committee when it comes to anti-voter fraud programs. Unlike the RNC, such groups aren’t subject to a consent decree which requires the RNC to inform both the Democratic National Committee and a federal judge when they are operating “ballot security” programs.

Reports: Search For ‘Lake Pirates’ Victim Suspended
CNN and the Mcallen Monitor are reporting that the Mexican authorities have suspended the search for David Hartley, the American man reportedly shot by “lake pirates” on the Mexican side of Lake Falcon two weeks ago.


The Political Pundit’s Weekend Off

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 18th, 2010 4:39 am by HL

The Political Pundit’s Weekend Off
This column will not contain any political commentary and, instead, will be about a fan’s reaction to attending Bouchercon 41 in San Francisco Oct. 14 to 17, which is the annual convention for mystery writers and fans and is named after William Anthony Parker White (AKA Anthony Boucher) who was a pioneer in the fields […]


Miller Guards Handcuffed Journalist

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 18th, 2010 4:38 am by HL

Miller Guards Handcuffed Journalist
Security guards for Alaska U.S. Senate candidate Joe Miller (R) handcuffed and detained the editor of the Alaska Dispatch at a campaign event in Anchorage, the Anchorage Daily News reports.

Tony Hopfinger was handcuffed by the guards and detained in a hallway at a school until Anchorage police came and told the guards to release him.

Will the Senate Flip?
“Since 1930, party control of the House has flipped seven times. And each time, Senate control has also switched,” Chris Cillizza observes.

“The reason is simple: Wave elections are, well, wave-y. If the voting public wants to send a message to the majority party, it tends to send it across the board, not just in a single chamber.”


Presented By:

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 18th, 2010 4:37 am by HL

Presented By:

Where “Social Network” Really Began — and Ends
What happens between Mark Zuckerberg and Eduardo Saverin in “Social Network” may not be quite what happened between them in real life, but the movie version bears some uncanny resemblances to what really did happen between Time magazine co-founders and…


Values? We Don’t Have to Show You Any Stinking Values
Sarah Robinson has a piece up at TNR complete with a double headline: “We Have No Idea Who Progressives Really Are–Because They’ve Never Told Us” and “Building the Progressive Brand.” The idea is that the Republicans pound your brains in…



Bauer On Whether He?ll Disclose Donors Behind His Israel Ads: ?No, Of Course Not!?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 18th, 2010 4:36 am by HL

Bauer On Whether He?ll Disclose Donors Behind His Israel Ads: ?No, Of Course Not!?
Appearing on CNN this morning, Candy Crowley challenged Gary Bauer, a board member of the neoconservative Emergency Committee for Israel (ECI), to reveal the names of the donors funding ECI’s attack ads in Pennsylvania against Democrat senate candidate Joe Sestak. Bauer refused (“of course not!”), and then explained that his pro-Israel donors might face harassment […]

Appearing on CNN this morning, Candy Crowley challenged Gary Bauer, a board member of the neoconservative Emergency Committee for Israel (ECI), to reveal the names of the donors funding ECI’s attack ads in Pennsylvania against Democrat senate candidate Joe Sestak. Bauer refused (“of course not!”), and then explained that his pro-Israel donors might face harassment if their names were known:

CROWLEY: Let me turn to you the money question. You are co- chair of one group that is putting ads on the air usually concerning people’s — candidates’ support for or against Israel…

BAUER: Yes.

CROWLEY: … and do not disclose the donors. Would you do that? Would you give me the name of the donors?

BAUER: No, of course not! […] The reason this disclosure issue is so important, Candy, quite frankly, is that, on the left in this country, there has been in recent years campaigns of intimidation and outright thuggery when people have put their names on the line and promoted conservative ideas.

CROWLEY: So you’re saying that the main reason that you wouldn’t tell me the donors who are putting these ads up trying to influence the outcome of an election — you’re telling me that they are afraid that they’ll be harassed if people know they are pro-Israel?

BAUER: I think one — well, I think one of the factors is that some of these folks are Democrats, and they don’t want to alienate Democratic friends and people that they work with.

CROWLEY: But isn’t that what democracy is all about?

Watch it:

One of the main claims of ECI — which belatedly came out in support of a two-state solution last month after being shamed into it by the pro-Israel, pro-peace group J Street — is that Americans overwhelmingly agree with them on issues relating to Israel. Yet now one of their board members suggests that ECI cannot reveal the names of donors for fear that they would be harassed. That doesn’t really indicate much confidence in their claims, or in democracy itself.

Asked 7 Times, Fiorina Fails To Give A Frustrated Wallace One Solution To Cut Spending
Touting her outisde, business-executive saavy, GOP Senate candidate Carly Fiorina (R-CA) constantly chants the GOP mantra to cut government spending. She even released a budget plan last month intended to prove that she’d “rein in out-of-control government spending.” But, in telling her constituents that she will cut government spending, Fiorina seems undaunted by one minor […]

Touting her outisde, business-executive saavy, GOP Senate candidate Carly Fiorina (R-CA) constantly chants the GOP mantra to cut government spending. She even released a budget plan last month intended to prove that she’d “rein in out-of-control government spending.” But, in telling her constituents that she will cut government spending, Fiorina seems undaunted by one minor fact: she has no idea how.

Today on Fox News Sunday, host Chris Wallace gave Fiorina a chance to lay out her actual plan. Touting her “tough, bottom-line business executive” motto, Wallace pointed out that Fiorina also wants “to extend all, all the Bush tax cuts which would add $4 trillion dollars to the deficit…where are you going to find $4 trillion dollars to cut?” But when Fiorina retreated to recycled response of government waste and an earmarks ban, a frustrated Wallace begged Fiorina seven times to “name one single entitlement expenditure you’re willing to cut” because “that’s where the money is.” Fiorina’s only response? “You’re asking a typical political question”:

WALLACE: You’re campaigning and you just alluded to it, to your record as a tough, bottom line, former business executive. But you want to extend all the Bush tax cuts which would add 4 trillion to the deficit. You say balance the budget by cutting spending. Question, as a bottom line businesswoman, where are you going to find $4 trillion to cut?

FIORINA: …We don’t know how taxpayer money is spent in Washington, D.C, which is why I think we ought to put every agency budget up on the internet for everyone to see, ban earmarks, and we ought to give citizens the opportunity to desginate up to 10% of their federal income tax toward debt reduction. If we did, that we would reduce our debt by $95 billion a year.

WALLACE: Miss Fiorina, the traditional ways that people talk about non-discretionary – I mean discretionary, non-defense spending is only 16% of the budget. You could cut all of that out, all for education and energy, and for police support and government worker support around the country, it wouldn’t be anywhere close to $4 trillion. Where are you going to get that kind of money if you extend all of the bust era tax cuts. That only adds to the deficit. It doesn’t even deal with the deficit we already have.

FIORINA: Well, of course, first the thing we need to do, to deal with our debt and our deficit is to both cut spending and grow the economy. That’s fundamentally what we have to do. Those tax cuts are central to growing the economy. Indeed, I would argue there are some additional tax cuts we need to make.[…]

WALLACE: Miss Fiorina, let me ask you a specific question because I still haven’t gotten many specifics on how you will cut $4 trillion and more out of the budget. Back when there was talk about a non-partisan, or a bipartisan deficit, debt commission you blasted that idea in January and said we know all the solutions. We don’t need another commission to study it. Now…you tell me specifically what are you going to do to cut the billions, the trillions of dollars in entitlements?

FIORINA: First, I didn’t blast the commission saying we already had solutions. I blasted the commission because I believed it was a feint for tax increases.[…]

WALLACE: But forgive me, Miss Fiorina, where are you going to cut entitlements? What benefits are you going to cut? What eligibility are you doing..

FIORINA: Chris, I have to say, with all due respect, you’re asking a typical political question.[…]

WALLACE: It may be a typical political question but that’s where the money is. The money is in Medicare and Social Security. We have baby-boomers coming. There will be a huge explosion of entitlement explosion and you call it a political question when I ask you to name one single entitlement you are willing to cut.

FIORINA: Chris, I believe to deal with entitlement reform, which we must deal with, we ought to put every possible solution on the table, except we should be very clear we are not going to cut benefits to those nearing retirement or those nearing retirement or those in retirement.[…]

WALLACE: I’m going to try one last time, and if you don’t want to answer it, Miss Fiorina, you don’t have to.

FIORINA: It’s not a question of not wanting to answer it!

WALLACE: Let me ask the question, if I may, please. You’re not willing to put forward a single benefit – I’m not talking about the people 60 or let alone 65, or 70. I’m talking about people under 55. You’re not willing to say there is a single benefit eligibility for Medicare, Medicaid, or Social Security that you are willing to say “Yeah, I would cut that?”

FIORINA: What I think we need to do to engage the American people in a conversation about entitlement reform is to have a bipartisan group of people who come together and put every solution on the table, every alternative on the table. Then we ought to engage in a long conversation with the American people so they understand the choices.

Watch it:

Wallace’s exasperation is understandable. For all of Fiorina’s bluster about government spending, her solutions don’t add up to any serious impact. An earmark ban would only account for less than one percent of the federal budget and eliminating ineffective or duplicative programs would not come close to addressing the deficit. As the Wonk Room’s Pat Garofalo points out, she’d have to eliminate the entire discretionary budget — which includes defense spending defense spending, all federal education funding, some veteran’s benefits, the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Secret Service, federal highway funding, and Congress itself — to eliminate the deficit. In fact, the only “solution” Fiorina has offered is to defund the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau — an agency that does not yet exist.

While frustrating, Fiorina’s lack of solutions should not be surprising. As a member of the GOP, Fiorina joins a slew of Republicans in their refusal to offer any deficit solutions no matter how many times a reporter may beg:


The Correspondence of Daniel Patrick Moynihan

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 18th, 2010 4:31 am by HL

The Correspondence of Daniel Patrick Moynihan
David Brooks, NY Times
Sometime in the late 1980s, I had lunch with Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan. The drug war was a hot topic of conversation, and at the start of the lunch I asked him how he thought it was going. To answer the question fully, he said, would require a little historical background. President-elect Richard Nixon with Daniel Patrick Moynihan in 1968. DANIEL PATRICK MOYNIHANA Portrait in Letters of an American VisionaryEdited by Steven R. WeismanIllustrated. 705 pp. PublicAffairs. $35He proceeded to launch off on a fascinating survey of government efforts to…

If Sarah Palin Falls in a Forest?
Joan Walsh, Salon
It's strange to be aware that Sarah Palin is in California and no one I know seems to care much about it. Sure, my crowd is mostly Democrats, but I'm also thinking about GOP senate candidate Carly Fiorina and our would-be governor Meg Whitman. Both said they had other engagements this weekend — they're washing their hair? — and that's particularly hurtful coming from Fiorina. Palin's May endorsement helped shore up the former HP CEO's standing with party right-wingers, since Fiorina was a McCain surrogate in the state, and a real Tea Party candidate, Chuck…

Massachusetts: A Little Less Blue?
Michal Warren, Weekly Standard
Last January, the voters of Massachusetts chose Republican Scott Brown to serve in the Senate, no small feat in that famously Democratic state. Can Massachusetts Republicans build on their rare victory this fall?First things first: Republicans in Massachusetts are still fighting behind enemy lines. The state’s governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of the commonwealth, attorney general, and state auditor are all Democrats. Democrats have 35 seats in the state senate to the Republicans’ 5 and 144 seats in the state house to the Republicans’ 16.