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Archive for January 6th, 2011

Late Late Night FDL: My Blackberry Is Not Working

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 6th, 2011 5:49 am by HL

Late Late Night FDL: My Blackberry Is Not Working
Ronnie Corbett and Harry Enfield My Blackberry Is Not Working, from The One Ronnie.

Ronnie Corbett and Harry Enfield My Blackberry Is Not Working,  from The One Ronnie.

What’s on your mind?


No Warrant Necessary for Cell Phone Searches in California

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 6th, 2011 5:48 am by HL

No Warrant Necessary for Cell Phone Searches in California
The California Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that police officers in the Golden State don’t need a warrant to be able to peruse the cell phones of those under arrest—a decision that may have troubling implications and may eventually involve the U.S. Supreme Court.  —KA AP via CBS News: California Deputy Attorney General Victoria Wilson, who represented the prosecution in the case decided Monday, told the newspaper the split opinions in California and Ohio could lead the U.S. Supreme Court to weigh in on the cell phone issue. The California Supreme Court decided the loss of privacy upon arrest extends beyond the arrestee’s body to include personal property. Authorities can not only seize items but also can open and examine what they find, the ruling said. Read more  

The California Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that police officers in the Golden State don’t need a warrant to be able to peruse the cell phones of those under arrest—a decision that may have troubling implications and may eventually involve the U.S. Supreme Court.? —KA

AP via CBS News:

California Deputy Attorney General Victoria Wilson, who represented the prosecution in the case decided Monday, told the newspaper the split opinions in California and Ohio could lead the U.S. Supreme Court to weigh in on the cell phone issue.

The California Supreme Court decided the loss of privacy upon arrest extends beyond the arrestee’s body to include personal property.

Authorities can not only seize items but also can open and examine what they find, the ruling said.

Read more

?

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Robert Greenwald: Wall Street Attacks Your Garbage Collector

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 6th, 2011 5:47 am by HL

Robert Greenwald: Wall Street Attacks Your Garbage Collector
Big bankers taking home large bonuses are blaming the childcare workers and parking-meter collectors in this country, saying that their jobs are the reason we’re in a recession.

Chris Weigant: Reading the Constitution
The newly-Republican House of Representatives is going to start off their tenure reading the entire Constitution on the floor of the House. There’s one problem with this: Who gets to read the uncomfortable bits?

Boehner Cries As He Moves To Speakership
WASHINGTON — The chin started trembling partway down the center aisle as the applause rose to a roar. John Boehner, the emotional Ohioan about to…

Fed CAVES On Foreclosure Regulations
WASHINGTON — The Federal Reserve has reversed its opposition to new rules reining in foreclosure abuses, and will support stronger regulations on the nation’s largest…

Ex-Governor George Ryan’s Wife In Intensive Care
KANKAKEE, Ill. — Attorneys for imprisoned former Illinois Gov. George Ryan asked a federal court Wednesday to free Ryan so he can be at the…


Right-Wing Media Falsely Claim Dems Trying To Outlaw Filibusters

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 6th, 2011 5:46 am by HL

Right-Wing Media Falsely Claim Dems Trying To Outlaw Filibusters

Right-wing media have attacked Senate Democrats’ filibuster reform proposals by falsely claiming they plan to outright ban filibusters. In fact, Democrats are currently proposing a variety of changes to the overall process that are designed to promote transparency and curb abuse — none of which include an outright ban of filibusters.

Right-Wing Media Claim Dems “Will Try To Kill The Filibuster”

Erickson: “Within The Next 24 Hours, Liberal Senators Will Try To Kill The Filibuster.” In a January 4 post, RedState editor-in-chief and CNN contributor Erick Erickson referred to Democratic filibuster reform efforts and claimed, “Within the next 24 hours, liberal senators will try to kill the filibuster.” [RedState, 1/4/11]

Fox Nation: “Dems Trying To Nuke The Filibuster.” In a January 4 post, Fox Nation linked to a FoxNews.com article about Democrats’ filibuster reform efforts with the headline, “Dems Trying to Nuke the Filibuster.”

dems_filibuster

[Fox Nation, 1/4/11]

In Fact, Dems’ Reform Proposals Do Not Include An Outright Ban On Filibusters

Politico: “Democrats Say They Don’t Plan To Do Away With The 60-Vote Requirement To Break Filibusters.” In a January 4 article about Democrats’ filibuster reform efforts, Politico reported:

Democrats say they don’t plan to do away with the 60-vote requirement to break filibusters – but want to discourage the overuse of the filibuster. Any senator can filibuster almost any Senate action – whether it’s bringing up a bill for debate or trying to push a measure toward a final vote. The cloture votes to override a filibuster can take days to unfold under the Senate rules. [Politico, 1/4/11]

Politico: Democrats Hope To Eliminate “Secret Holds” And “Require” Senators To Make Their Objections To Legislation Public. From Politico:

In general, Democrats hope to narrow the scope of the filibuster, potentially doing away with the ability of one senator to simply object to even debating legislation. Democrats also hope to eliminate so-called secret holds, which allow senators to block legislation or a nomination anonymously. And they want to actually require senators to go to the floor and make their arguments public, much like the famous scenes in the movie classic, “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.” These days, a simple threat of the filibuster is enough to thwart legislation and produce time-consuming cloture votes. [Politico, 1/4/11]

CNN: Senate Democrats Trying To “Curb The Use Of Filibusters But Not Ban Them Entirely.” In a January 4 article, CNN reported:

Frustrated by Republicans’ escalating use of the filibuster, to stall even routine legislation and nominations, a group of Senate Democrats, led, in part, by first-term Sen. Tom Udall of New Mexico, is trying to build support for a wide-range of proposed Senate rule changes that would curb the use of filibusters but not ban them entirely. [CNN.com, 1/4/11]

AP: Udall’s Proposal Does Not “End All Filibusters,” But Rather “Eliminate[s]… ‘Secret Holds'” And Requires Filibustering Senator To “Actually Debate The Bill.”  In an article about Sen. Tom Udall’s (D-NM) filibuster reform proposal, The Associated Press reported:

Udall’s proposal already falls short of ending all filibusters. It would eliminate the practice of “secret holds” where a single senator can anonymously block a bill or nomination from reaching the floor and end the use of filibusters to prevent a bill from being taken up.

It would also require those waging a filibuster to stay on the floor and actually debate the bill, a la Jimmy Stewart in the 1939 movie “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.” Udall would also guarantee the minority the right to offer a certain amount of amendments to bills. [The Associated Press, 1/4/11]


SC ‘Coon Hunter’ License Plate Not Offensive, Says Raccoon Hunter

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 6th, 2011 5:45 am by HL

SC ‘Coon Hunter’ License Plate Not Offensive, Says Raccoon Hunter
To some, the word “coon” is most recognizable as a racial slur. Yet as South Carolina considers issuing specialty plates with “Coon Hunters” written on them, the president of a raccoon hunting organization there says the term is hardly offensive….

As Deadline On Anti Gun Trafficking Rule Passes, ATF Fights Back In PSA (VIDEO)
The White House has yet to approve an emergency rule requested by the ATF to combat gun trafficking on the Mexican border, but ATF is fighting back in their own way: with an afterschool-special-style public service announcement.



Dawn Treader: Applying for the next flotilla to Gaza

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 6th, 2011 5:43 am by HL

Dawn Treader: Applying for the next flotilla to Gaza
On New Years Day, me and my family all trudged off to see “The Voyage of the Dawn Treader” and once again got inspired to take sword in hand and fight against Injustice and the Bad Guys. I wanna be Queen Lucy! (But non-violently of course). And now I just may get my chance. Sometime in April […]


John Edwards Left Out of Wife’s Will

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 6th, 2011 5:42 am by HL

John Edwards Left Out of Wife’s Will
Elizabeth Edwards, “a political spouse whose battle against breast cancer and marital problems made her a public figure, made no mention of her estranged husband in her will,” the Raleigh Observer reports.

Instead she left all her possessions to her three children.

Politico notes that though “some reports suggested that the two became closer during Elizabeth Edwards’ final days, John was noticeably silent at Edwards’ funeral.”

Daley Expected to be Obama’s Chief of Staff
William Daley is expected to be named White House chief of staff as earlier as today. Pete Rouse is expected to return to his previous role as a Senior Advisor, “at least for awhile.”

A little bird tells Mike Allen: “This is just about done. Staff is being deferential to Pete, but he is totally on board with this plan and is looking forward to getting his old office back.”

Republicans Still Leaderless
Mark Halperin: “Despite (or maybe because of) the GOP’s big midterm victory, not a soul has stepped forward to be the face of the party. It is always difficult for the opposition to provide a clear counterweight to the President, but never in recent memory has a party, let alone an ascendant one, been so headless.”

“Republicans were able to win the midterm rout without a public captain but were outfoxed in December’s lame-duck session by a President who took full advantage of the bully-pulpit mismatch. Now Obama has both the platform and the mojo, and it will take a strong Republican voice to be heard.”


A Hearing-by-Hearing Look at the GOP’s Immigration Agenda

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 6th, 2011 5:41 am by HL

A Hearing-by-Hearing Look at the GOP’s Immigration Agenda
Expect an abundance of crazy in the new Congress.

Hightower: How Wall Street Elites Are Dynamiting Our Democracy
Our society can tolerate such raw selfishness by the privileged few, or it can have democracy. It can’t have both.

Vision: Phil Ochs, a Musical American Hero
An interview with Kenneth Bowser, director of the new documentary, ‘Phil Ochs: There But for Fortune.’

Why Are Believers So Hostile Toward Atheists?
Atheists get labeled as offensive and bitter when we express anger, when we express hope, morality and meaning. What are believers scared of?

Surprise — Drug War Now Killing More People Than War in Afghanistan
Mexico’s death toll is a wake-up call that drug prohibition is as dangerous as the ‘war on terror.’


Arab Nazareth, Israeli Democracy–Bundist Dreams

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 6th, 2011 5:40 am by HL

Arab Nazareth, Israeli Democracy–Bundist Dreams
A little over three weeks ago (around the time this blogger went quiet, in this season of reflection), Sidra and I took a little road trip to the Israeli Arab town of Nazareth, where we spent the weekend in a…


Hu’s on First? Key US-China Summit Ahead
During the 2008 presidential election, Hillary Clinton took a very tough line on China — arguing then that President George W. Bush should boycott the Beijing Olympics opening ceremonies because of China’s policies on Tibet and Darfur. My response to…



House GOP Repeatedly Promised $100 Billion In Spending Cuts That It Now Calls ‘Hypothetical’

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 6th, 2011 5:39 am by HL

House GOP Repeatedly Promised $100 Billion In Spending Cuts That It Now Calls ‘Hypothetical’
House Republicans made a lot of noise in their pre-election “Pledge to America” regarding exactly how much government spending they were going to cut. At the document’s unveling, incoming Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) confidently asserted “we can save $100 billion dollars a year. That’s $1 trillion over the next ten years.” And […]

House Republicans made a lot of noise in their pre-election “Pledge to America” regarding exactly how much government spending they were going to cut. At the document’s unveling, incoming Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) confidently asserted “we can save $100 billion dollars a year. That’s $1 trillion over the next ten years.”

And Boehner was far from the only one laying out $100 billion in non-defense discretionary spending cuts as the benchmark. Incoming House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) said that the GOP’s goal was to cut “a good $100 billion.” Rep. Kevin McCarthy (of “Young Gun” fame) reiterated the promise, saying, “We’re saying you go through, go back to pre-stimulus bailout numbers. We can live with that.” “We’ve got to roll back there. That will save $100 billion in the first year,” agreed Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN).

Just yesterday, in fact, incoming Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) repeated that the GOP is aiming for $100 billion in cuts. However, according to the New York Times, this promise was not a promise in the literal sense:

Now aides say that the $100 billion figure was hypothetical, and that the objective is to get annual spending for programs other than those for the military, veterans and domestic security back to the levels of 2008, before Democrats approved stimulus spending to end the recession.

“I think they woke up to the reality that this will have a direct negative impact on people’s lives,” said Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), who will be the ranking member on the House Budget Committee. “You know, it’s easy to talk about these things in the abstract. It’s another thing when you start taking away people’s college loans and Pell Grants or cutting early education programs.”

Indeed, since the contractionary effects of $100 billion in spending cuts, and the layoffs that would follow, would do real damage to the economy, the fact that the GOP is backing away from its commitment is a good thing. But it’s just the latest in a flurry of budget promises that the GOP has broken, before it even officially comes into power. The Wonk Room has a round up of all the broken pledges. This morning, Ryan said on NBC’s Today Show that, while spending will be reduced, he doesn’t know by how much. “I can’t tell you by what amount…but it will all be coming down,” he said.

Even Bill Kristol Thinks Bachmann?s Opposition To Raising The Debt Ceiling Is ?Silly? And ?Irresponsible?
A growing number of right-wing lawmakers have expressed opposition to raising the debt ceiling, a normally noncontroversial action that Congress has to take every few years to prevent the government from defaulting on it debt and potentially shutting down. Despite the dire consequences, conservatives are attempting to hold the debt ceiling vote hostage to extort […]

A growing number of right-wing lawmakers have expressed opposition to raising the debt ceiling, a normally noncontroversial action that Congress has to take every few years to prevent the government from defaulting on it debt and potentially shutting down. Despite the dire consequences, conservatives are attempting to hold the debt ceiling vote hostage to extort draconian cuts to federal programs, and Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) has even launched an ad campaign to stoke public support for her plan. Bachmann — whose office confirmed today that she is seriously considering a run for the presidency in 2012 — is demanding that Congress go “cold turkey” to eliminate the deficit before the debt ceiling comes up for a vote.

With a vote coming as soon as February or March of this year, even conservative stalwart Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol, who says he is a fan of Bachmann, calls her plan a “silly position,” noting, “there’s no turkey cold enough to enable us to avoid raising the debt ceiling”:

When you click on the ad, you’ll read that Bachmann is asking us “to personally tell Congress not to increase the amount of money the government can borrow” by adding our names to the “Don’t Raise the Debt Ceiling” petition.

This is irresponsible. I’ve seen no plausible plan that would enable us to go “cold turkey” (to use her term) fast enough or dramatically enough that we could reduce the deficit to zero in a few months–which is what would be required if Congress were not to authorize an increase in the debt ceiling. […]

But there’s no turkey cold enough to enable us to avoid raising the debt ceiling.

While Kristol’s comment is directed specifically toward Bachmann, it could equally apply to numerous other far-right lawmakers like Sens. Mike Lee (R-UT) and Rand Paul (R-KY) who are demanding equally harsh and nonsensical cuts to government spending. Already, House Republicans have conceded that they can’t even find the $100 billion they promised to cut from the budget, and as Kristol suggests, Bachmann and her comrades’ position on the debt ceiling just more rhetorical nonsense, but with very real consequences.