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Archive for February 12th, 2011

Late Late Night FDL: Sweet Tooth Jam

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 12th, 2011 5:46 am by HL

Late Late Night FDL: Sweet Tooth Jam
Dr. Teeth and the Electric MayhemSweet Tooth Jam, from The Muppet Show, episode 110.

Dr. Teeth and the Electric MayhemSweet Tooth Jam, from The Muppet Show, episode 110.

Grab your popcorn, put your feet up on the coffee table, and try to keep the spitballs off the screen please.  This is Late Late Night FireDogLake, where off topic is the topic … so dive in. What’s on your mind?


Smackdown in Venezuela

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 12th, 2011 5:45 am by HL

Smackdown in Venezuela
In a brawl broadcast live on television and radio, Venezuelan legislators exchanged blows as members of President Hugo Chavez’s United Socialist Party tried to remove an opposition member from the parliament’s speaker’s podium. Video of the melee was seen and heard across the country through a direct link-up system often used by Chavez to broadcast his speeches. The transmission was cut after the violence began. —JCL Al-Jazeera English: Venezuelan legislators from the socialist party of President Hugo Chavez and their rivals have exchanged punches in parliament. The fist-fight on Thursday began after Socialist party legislator Henry Ventura tried to remove an opposition member, Alfonso Marquina, from the speaker’s podium. The pair were soon joined by several other legislators and parliamentary employees who shoved and punched one another for several minutes. “We came to work in peace, like we always do, and we hope that we are not subject to aggression for the words we say, like we were just now,” Nicolas Maduro, the foreign minister, said. Read more

In a brawl broadcast live on television and radio, Venezuelan legislators exchanged blows as members of President Hugo Chavez’s United Socialist Party tried to remove an opposition member from the parliament’s speaker’s podium.

Video of the melee was seen and heard across the country through a direct link-up system often used by Chavez to broadcast his speeches. The transmission was cut after the violence began. —JCL

Al-Jazeera English:

Venezuelan legislators from the socialist party of President Hugo Chavez and their rivals have exchanged punches in parliament.

The fist-fight on Thursday began after Socialist party legislator Henry Ventura tried to remove an opposition member, Alfonso Marquina, from the speaker’s podium.

The pair were soon joined by several other legislators and parliamentary employees who shoved and punched one another for several minutes.

“We came to work in peace, like we always do, and we hope that we are not subject to aggression for the words we say, like we were just now,” Nicolas Maduro, the foreign minister, said.

Read more

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GOP Proposes More Spending Cuts

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 12th, 2011 5:44 am by HL

GOP Proposes More Spending Cuts
WASHINGTON — House Republicans filed a bill Friday evening proposing $60 billion in spending cuts for current levels and hundreds of millions of dollars in…

Ex-Shell CEO: Big Oil Doesn’t Need Government Help
WASHINGTON — A former top oil executive said on Thursday that big oil companies don’t need government help, inserting a new dynamic into the debate…

Governor Readies National Guard Against Unions
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) said Friday that he was willing to mobilize the state’s National Guard force in order to address the potential repercussions…

WATCH: Egypt’s ‘Return Of The Jedi’ Moment
Today is truly an historic day for Egypt, now that President Mubarak has stepped down and the massive protests can finally come to a stop….


Right-Wing Media Distort CBO To Claim Health Care Law Kills “800,000 Jobs”

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 12th, 2011 5:43 am by HL

Right-Wing Media Distort CBO To Claim Health Care Law Kills “800,000 Jobs”

Misrepresenting testimony from the CBO director, conservative media claim the health care reform law will eliminate 800,000 jobs. In fact, CBO said the law will “reduc[e] the amount of labor that workers choose to supply, and as health expert Paul Van De Water stated, “If people voluntarily choose to reduce their hours of work … that’s not killing jobs.”

CBO: Health Care Reform Lets People “Choose” To Work Less

Elmendorf: Health Care Reform Causes “Reduction Of 800,000 Workers” in 2021. In his February 10 testimony before the House Budget Committee, CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf stated:

REP. JOHN CAMPBELL (R-CA): Thank you, Mr. Chairman, we’ll — and Dr. Elmendorf — and we’ll continue this conversation right now. First on health care, before I get to — before I get to broader issues, you just mentioned that you believe — or that in your estimates, that the health care law would reduce the labor used in the economy by about one-half of 1 percent, given that, I believe you say, there’s 160 million full-time people working in 2021. That means that, in your estimation, the health care law would reduce employment by 800,000 in 2021. Is that correct?

DOUGLAS ELMENDORF: Yes. The way I would put it is that we do estimate, as you said, that the household employment will be about 160 million by the end of the decade. Half a percent of that is 800,000. That means that if the reduction in the labor used was workers working the average number of hours in the economy and earning the average wage that it would be a reduction of 800,000 workers. [House Budget Committee, 2/10/11]

CBO: Health Care Reform Reduces “The Amount Of Labor That Workers Choose To Supply.” In August 2010 the Congressional Budget Office stated of the health care reform law:

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that the legislation, on net, will reduce the amount of labor used in the economy by a small amount — roughly half a percent — primarily by reducing the amount of labor that workers choose to supply. [Congressional Budget Office, 8/10]

CBO: People Will Work Less Because Health Care Reform Provisions Increase Their “Financial Resources.” CBO further stated that the “reduction in the supply of labor is largely attributable to the substantial expansion of Medicaid and the provision of subsidies that will reduce the cost of insurance obtained through the newly created exchanges.” CBO explained that these measures “will effectively increase beneficiaries’ financial resources. Those additional resources will encourage some people to work fewer hours or to withdraw from the labor market.” [Congressional Budget Office, 8/10]

Health Expert Paul Van De Water: “If People Voluntarily Choose To Reduce Their Hours Of Work … That’s Not Killing Jobs.” Paul N. Van de Water, health care expert at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, told Media Matters via email:

The CBO report … finds that health reform’s major effect on employment will be a small reduction in the amount of labor that workers choose to supply. For example, some people with pre-existing health conditions may choose to retire earlier if they can obtain health insurance coverage through the new health insurance exchanges and no longer have to wait until age 65 for Medicare. If people voluntarily choose to reduce their hours of work, however, that’s not killing jobs. [Email to Media Matters, 10/27/10]

Harvard Economist David Cutler: “People Who Are Working Solely To Get Health Care” Will “No Longer Need To Do That.” Health economist and Harvard professor David Cutler, who also advised Obama’s presidential campaign, told Media Matters via email:

First, the CBO noted that there were many effects in different directions. In fact, they are particularly conservative in their estimate of the cost savings to firms, which are a huge driver in employment. Second, most of the possible employment losses come from people who are working solely to get health care, who no longer need to do that. Why we need disabled people and people who would prefer to be home raising a family to instead be crammed into the work force is beyond me. [Email to Media Matters, 10/27/10]

Factcheck.org: “Reduction In Supply Of Labor” Is “Not The Same As A Reduction In The Supply Of Jobs.” FactCheck.org rejected Republicans’ claim that health care reform is a “job-killing” law, stating that “Experts predict the health care law will have little effect on employment.” FactCheck.org further stated that the Republicans’ claim “badly misrepresents what CBO actually said”:

To support its claim, the GOP report first cites the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office — but the report badly misrepresents what CBO actually said.

House GOP Leadership, Jan. 6: The health care law will cause significant job losses for the U.S. economy: the Congressional Budget Office has determined that the law will reduce the “amount of labor used in the economy by … roughly half a percent…,” an estimate that adds up to roughly 650,000 jobs lost.

In fact, CBO did not predict a 650,000 job loss. The Republican report cites a CBO report from August, which actually said that the economy will use less labor primarily because many people will choose to work less, or retire early, as a result of the new law. (See Box 2.1, pages 48 and 49.) What CBO projects is mostly a reduction in the supply of labor, which is not the same as a reduction in the supply of jobs. [Factcheck.org, 1/7/11]

Politifact:A Person Who Voluntarily Chooses To Work Less Is Not Having Their Job ‘Killed.'” Evaluating the claim that the health care reform law is a “job killer”, Politifact found the claim to be “False,” and noted that the CBO report was being distorted:

Basically, the CBO is saying that some people right now are working mostly to keep their health insurance. Once they have other options — to enroll in Medicaid, or to qualify for tax breaks to buy insurance from a health exchange — they might choose to work less. The CBO describes this as a “small segment” of the population. And, because the CBO is describing reduced hours rather than lost jobs, it never uses the 650,000 number that the Republican document cites. The Republican extrapolated that number from the CBO’s estimate of one-half percent of the labor supply. Finally, we should point out that a person who voluntarily chooses to work less is not having their job “killed” by federal legislation. [Politifact, 1/20/11]

Conservative Media: “CBO Admits Health Care Law Will Kill” 800,000 Jobs

Glenn Beck: “According To The CBO” Health Care Reform “Will Create 800,000 New Positions In The Unemployment Line.” On the February 11 edition of his radio show, Glenn Beck stated: “According to the CBO, the job creating health care bill will create 800,000 new positions in the unemployment line.” [Premiere Radio Networks, The Glenn Beck Program, 2/11/10]

The Blaze: “800,000 Jobs Gone.” Glenn Beck’s website The Blaze posted video of Elmendorf’s testimony under the headline: “800,000 Jobs Gone: CBO Admits Health Care Law Will Kill Jobs.” [The Blaze, 2/10/11]

National Review Online: “Job Killing.” In a blog post titled, “Job Killing,” National Review Online’s Yuval Levin cited Elmendorf’s testimony and stated: “That’s 800,000 fewer jobs in ten years than we would have had without the law, even if you accept all the dubious assumptions that CBO was required to accept about future spending and taxes under the law.” [National Review Online, 2/10/11]

Hot Air: “ObamaCare Will Crush 800,000 Jobs Into Nonexistence”. In an article titled, “Video: CBO admits ObamaCare will kill 800,000 jobs”, Hot Air’s Ed Morrissey stated:

Oh, sorry; that headline isn’t really a New Tone entry. What shall we say, then? ObamaCare will crush 800,000 jobs into nonexistence? It will give 800,000 jobs a hug that, er, chokes the life out of them. Let’s take a cue from Mom and Dad after the dog disappeared — ObamaCare will send 800,000 to a nice farm where they can run free all day long and chase rabbits. [Hot Air, 2/10/11]

The Weekly Standard: Obamacare Will “Reduce The Number Of Jobs In The Labor Market By An Estimated 800,000.” A post by Jeffrey Anderson on The Weekly Standard’s blog stated: “Testifying today before the House Budget Committee, Congressional Budget Office (CBO) Director Doug Elmendorf confirmed that Obamacare is expected to reduce the number of jobs in the labor market by an estimated 800,000.” [The Weekly Standard, 2/10/11]

Fox Nation: “CBO Director: Obama Health Law Will Cost 800,000 Jobs.” Linking to The Weekly Standard, Fox Nation claimed:

800,000 jobs

[Fox Nation, 2/10/11]

Jim Hoft: “Obamacare” “Will Cost 800,000 Jobs.” Also linking to the faulty Weekly Standard report, Jim Hoft wrote: “Not only will Obamacare impose $500 billion in new taxes on American taxpayers… Not only will it actually cost more than $2.3 trillion in ten years… It will cost 800,000 jobs, too.” [Gateway Pundit, 2/11/11]


Rep. Rivera Refers Reporters To Anonymous Email Account For Answers To Scandal Questions

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 12th, 2011 5:42 am by HL

Rep. Rivera Refers Reporters To Anonymous Email Account For Answers To Scandal Questions
When I asked Rep. David M. Rivera to answer a few questions on one of many brewing scandals he’s involved with yesterday, the Florida Republican asked me to send questions to a Comcast.net e-mail address for his campaign.


Ted Stevens FBI File Could Answer Questions On Botched Prosecution
The FBI will post the bureau’s file on the late Sen. Ted Stevens today, which could clear up some questions about the long serving Alaska Republican who was found guilty in a corruption trial but had his case tossed out due to prosecutorial misconduct.

Presented By:


The Tattlesnake – “Finally We Are Free!” Edition

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 12th, 2011 5:39 am by HL

The Tattlesnake – “Finally We Are Free!” Edition
Title quote via MSNBC from a pro-democracy demonstrator celebrating in Cairo’s Tahrir (Liberation) Square following the resignation of Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak, Feb. 11, 2011. The US media reported yesterday that Hosni Mubarak had finally resigned, the message conveyed to the world by his Vice President and Torturer-in-Chief, Omar Suleiman. Of course, the pro-democracy demonstrators wildly […]


US Chamber’s Lobbyists Has Firm To Investigate Opponents’ Families, Children

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 12th, 2011 5:38 am by HL

US Chamber’s Lobbyists Has Firm To Investigate Opponents’ Families, Children
New emails reveal that the private spy company investigated the families and children of the Chamber’s political opponents.

The Woman Behind ‘Craigslist Congressman’ Chris Lee’s Downfall
What started out as a laugh turned into a resignation for the New York Republican.

Grace Paley: How to Be A Great Writer While Spending Half Your Life Picketing, Leafleting, Sitting In, Teaching Out, and Getting Arrested
A new documentary spotlights the celebrated writer/artist/activist, inspiration to all.

Insider’s Account of Egypt: "A Truly Civilized, Peaceful People Who Decided to Regain Control of Their Destiny"
Olfa G. Tantawi, an Egyptian mother of two, talks about what the revolution means for her country.


Beyond the Huffington Post Windfall: A New Way to Finance Creative Work

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 12th, 2011 5:37 am by HL

Beyond the Huffington Post Windfall: A New Way to Finance Creative Work
AOL’s buyout of the Huffington Post has prompted fierce debate among progressives. I don’t have much to add to this debate. It’s great that the outstanding reporters who are on the paid staff may reach an even larger audience as…

Needed in Egypt: A Potluck, Not a Hosted Dinner
Egyptians are still in the streets. There is violence in some parts of the country. The demands for Mubarak to go are still echoing through Tahrir Square. And Vice President Soleiman seems to be scrambling to find the point of…

UN Bashing Redux
In the category of right wing retreads, guess what’s near the top of the agenda for the House Foreign Affairs Committee under its new Republican management. Did you guess witholding the dues our country pays to the big bad anti-American…


ChamberLeaks Primer: How The US Chamber Plotted To Smear Unions And Undermine Political Opponents

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 12th, 2011 5:36 am by HL

ChamberLeaks Primer: How The US Chamber Plotted To Smear Unions And Undermine Political Opponents
Yesterday, ThinkProgress released an exclusive investigation into the underhanded and surreptitious campaign waged by a lobbying firm representing the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a right-wing association representing big business. The report detailed how Hunton & Williams, a lobbying firm hired by the Chamber, solicited “private security” companies to investigate the Chamber’s political opponents, including ThinkProgress, […]

Yesterday, ThinkProgress released an exclusive investigation into the underhanded and surreptitious campaign waged by a lobbying firm representing the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a right-wing association representing big business. The report detailed how Hunton & Williams, a lobbying firm hired by the Chamber, solicited “private security” companies to investigate the Chamber’s political opponents, including ThinkProgress, the labor coalition Change to Win, SEIU, US Chamber Watch, and StopTheChamber.com. Their tactics included planting false documents, creating fake personas, and targeting opponents’ families and children.

In response, the Chamber of Commerce said these were “baseless attacks” because the Chamber had “never seen the document in question.” In addition, they mention that the security firm in question (presumably HBGary) had not been “hired” by the Chamber or on the Chamber’s behalf.

However, as Marcy Wheeler wrote, their response is a “carefully worded nondenial denial.” In reality, the reason why the Chamber can claim not to have “hired” HBGary is because until as recently as a week ago, the security firm was working on spec. As Wheeler pointed out, a February 3 email shows that Hunton & Williams simply got “HBGary to do a month of work for free to decide whether they want to hire them.”

In fact, the Chamber conveniently used Hunton & Williams as a go-between for the Chamber and private security firms including HBGary, as the following graphic shows:

Indeed, leaked emails show that Hunton & Williams met with the security firms in late 2010, including a November 3 meeting at H&W’s offices and a phone discussion on November 8.

On January 13, 2011, an email shows that the private security firms assumed the project was “a go.” However, an email on February 3 showed that Hunton & Williams wanted the firms to work on spec “and then present jointly with H&W to the Chamber” on or around February 14. Then, after their work was approved, the security firms planned to “begin enduring work at agreed upon rates (approx. $250-300k per month for the entire team – both services and license fees).”

It is not clear if that meeting will still happen after HBGary’s emails were leaked.

Former Bush-Cheney National Spokesman Thinks Muslims Are Incapable Of Democracy: ?This Is The Middle East?
This morning on Fox News, anchor Martha MacCallum hosted a panel of three experts that was very hostile towards the idea of backing the protesters in Egypt. MacCallum pointed out that people in Tahrir Square “want democracy, they’re tired of being repressed, they want something better,” but her point was immediately challenged by former CIA […]

This morning on Fox News, anchor Martha MacCallum hosted a panel of three experts that was very hostile towards the idea of backing the protesters in Egypt. MacCallum pointed out that people in Tahrir Square “want democracy, they’re tired of being repressed, they want something better,” but her point was immediately challenged by former CIA agent (and frequent Fox guest) Michael Scheuer, who said that only “ill-educated Americans” think that Muslims would reach for an “alien ideology” like democracy. Terry Holt, a former national spokesman for the 2004 Bush-Cheney presidential campaign, immediately agreed, saying “unfortunately, this is the Middle East” before suggesting he supported the Mubarak dictatorship:

MACCALLUM: What about the argument that these people — you know, you hear them, you listen to what they’re saying in that square, they want democracy, they’re tired of being repressed, they want something better.

SCHEUER: Well Martha, you know, it is only in the minds of ill-educated Americans and especially their leaders to expect 32 million Muslims to reach for — in a time of violence and uncertainty and tumult, to reach for an alien ideology like secular democracy instead of reaching towards a thousand years of faith and trust in Islam. It is absolutely counter-intuitive to believe that people will reach for the strange, rather than for the familiar and trusted. And I really think that —

HOLT: I would like to say — can I say — I appreciate people’s sympathy and interest in democracy, that’s an American instinct. But unfortunately in this case, this is the Middle East. And the traditions there do not support their embracing — if they were allowed to vote in an open election, they would put themselves vulnerable, and make us vulnerable, to dangerous terrorism. Egypt has been our friend as an intelligence gathering operation and we need to realize the reality of the situation.

Watch it:

These opinions ignore and disrespect the serious democratic urges held by many of the Egyptian protesters. “If you turn on your TV, you will see that the protests in Tahrir Square have not ended. We want a civilian, democratic government,” wrote one prominent Egyptian blogger yesterday.

But it’s also the height of irony for a former Bush-Cheney spokesman to ridicule the idea of democracy in the Middle East, in favor of a repressive dictator. President Bush, of course, centered his foreign policy around “our efforts to help the Iraqi people build a lasting democracy in the heart of the Middle East,” and often touted its ouster of the “brutal dictator” Saddam Hussein. Holt himself has championed this principle in defense of Bush’s foreign policy, telling CNN’s Candy Crowley in 2005 that Bush couldn’t set timetables for withdrawal in Iraq because “the first sign of weakness you give to the terrorists, you know, I think that you have to stay on track to democracy. Democracy is the cure in Iraq.”


Republican Monetary Policy Myths

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 12th, 2011 5:31 am by HL

Republican Monetary Policy Myths
Paul Krugman, New York Times
There was a time when Republicans used to refer to themselves, proudly, as “the party of Lincoln.” But you don’t hear that line much these days. Why?The main answer, presumably, lies in the G.O.P.’s decision, long ago, to seek votes from Southerners angered by the end of legal segregation. With the old Confederacy now the heart of the Republican base, boasting about the party’s Civil War-era legacy is no longer advisable.

GOPers Face Fork in Road to White House
Matt Bai, New York Times
If you just can't get enough of C-Span's daytime programming and are inclined to watch all of the speechifying at the annual gathering of conservative activists here this week, then keep in mind that these potential Republican presidential candidates face a choice in the earliest months of this nascent campaign.They can either tell the rebellious, angry base of their party exactly what it craves to hear, or they can tell the base what they think it needs to hear in order to win. Down one path lies affection and applause.

Republicans Line Up to Run for Lee Seat

Mubarak Resigns; Hands Power to Military
Whitlock & Lodono, Wash Post
President Hosni Mubarak resigned Friday and handed power to the Egyptian military, setting off wild celebrations among protesters across the country who had demanded his ouster for the last 18 days.When the announcement by Vice President Omar Suleiman was broadcast in Cairo's Tahrir Square — the protest epicenter –pandemonium broke out, as huge throngs of demonstrators realized they had toppled the autocratic ruler of the most populous Arab nation through a largely peaceful revolution.