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Archive for February 25th, 2011

Paralyzed Man Given Helper Monkey

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 25th, 2011 5:43 am by HL

Paralyzed Man Given Helper Monkey
“As long as he had a ball and bat in his hand he was a happy kid,” Ellen Rogers says of her son Ned Sullivan. Five years ago, he was a college senior when he had a seizure behind the wheel and crashed, becoming paralyzed from the neck down. A group called Helping Hands Helper Monkeys provides people like Sullivan with monkeys to help with everyday tasks. “She’s a wingman,” he said.



Bernie Kerik, the gift that, like a FoxNews’ tool, keeps on giving

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 25th, 2011 5:42 am by HL

Bernie Kerik, the gift that, like a FoxNews’ tool, keeps on giving
FoxNews and big settlement checks, it’s the price of power and wankery I guess.

pic via monkey_bob99x at flickr.com

What is it with FoxNews’ employees? I ask rhetorically.

After the publishing powerhouse Judith Regan was fired by HarperCollins in 2006, she claimed that a senior executive at its parent company, News Corporation, had encouraged her to lie to federal investigators two years before.

The investigators had been vetting Bernard B. Kerik, the former New York City police commissioner who had been nominated to become homeland security secretary and who had had an affair with Ms. Regan…

The goal … was to keep the affair quiet and protect the then-nascent presidential aspirations of former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani…

Who was this person?

Why it was none other than Roger Ailes!

What is more, the documents say that Ms. Regan taped the telephone call from Mr. Ailes in which Mr. Ailes discusses her relationship with Mr. Kerik.

It is unclear whether the existence of the tape played a role in News Corporation’s decision to move quickly to settle Ms. Regan’s lawsuit, paying her $10.75 million in a confidential settlement reached two months after she filed it in 2007.

Well time for the Howard Kurtzs of the world to quietly shuffle this story off the stage.

So paying out more than $10 million on hush money? No wonder Ailes and Bill O’Reilly get along so well. Lawsuit comes in, large settlement check goes out.

And speaking of Republican underhandedness.


Down with Democracy, Let’s Have a King

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 25th, 2011 5:41 am by HL

Down with Democracy, Let’s Have a King
With a 10 percent rate of unemployment among his subjects and fear of the unrest that this could unleash, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia decreed an increase in aid to the unemployed, an increase in the salaries of government employees, an increase in aid to students, an increase in funds for schools, an improvement in health care, aid to people who get married, aid to people who buy homes, and investments in infrastructure. Here we turn against each other. There they unite against their King instead. Enough democracy already, let’s have a King we can depose instead. New York Times: Even before King Abdullah landed in Riyadh, the capital, the Saudi government announced that it would pour billions of dollars into a fund to help its citizens marry, buy homes and start their own businesses, the government announced. Reuters said the package was estimated at $37 billion. King Hamad had already tried his own payout — offering $2,650 to every Bahraini family in the days before large protests broke out more than a week ago — but the economic concession was not enough to stem the tide of opposition from the country’s Shiite majority. Sunnis, the majority in Saudi Arabia, also form the ruling class in Bahrain, where Sunnis are a minority. Read more

With a 10 percent rate of unemployment among his subjects and fear of the unrest that this could unleash, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia decreed an increase in aid to the unemployed, an increase in the salaries of government employees, an increase in aid to students, an increase in funds for schools, an improvement in health care, aid to people who get married, aid to people who buy homes, and investments in infrastructure.

Here we turn against each other. There they unite against their King instead. Enough democracy already, let’s have a King we can depose instead.

New York Times:

Even before King Abdullah landed in Riyadh, the capital, the Saudi government announced that it would pour billions of dollars into a fund to help its citizens marry, buy homes and start their own businesses, the government announced. Reuters said the package was estimated at $37 billion.

King Hamad had already tried his own payout — offering $2,650 to every Bahraini family in the days before large protests broke out more than a week ago — but the economic concession was not enough to stem the tide of opposition from the country’s Shiite majority. Sunnis, the majority in Saudi Arabia, also form the ruling class in Bahrain, where Sunnis are a minority.

Read more

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SHOCK: Congressman Asked, ‘Who Is Going To Shoot Obama?’

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 25th, 2011 5:40 am by HL

SHOCK: Congressman Asked, ‘Who Is Going To Shoot Obama?’
The Athens Banner-Herald in Georgia reports that a shocking question was asked at a town hall event held by Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.) on Tuesday….

U.S. Pulling Back In ‘Vital’ Afghan Valley
KABUL, Afghanistan — After years of fighting for control of a prominent valley in the rugged mountains of eastern Afghanistan, the United States military has…

G.W. Schulz: Big Apple Bonanza: $24M in Homeland Grants for NYPD Overtime
New York City plans to use an eye-popping $24.3 million this year for paying overtime to its police department — money that’s generally set aside to prepare for disasters.

Maryland Senate Passes Bill Allowing Gay Marriage Rights
ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Same-sex couples in Maryland would have the same full marriage rights as heterosexuals under a bill that cleared the Senate Thursday. If…


Limbaugh Falsely Claims Wisconsin’s Union-Busting Proposal Will Help Resolve State’s Budget Deficit

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 25th, 2011 5:40 am by HL

Limbaugh Falsely Claims Wisconsin’s Union-Busting Proposal Will Help Resolve State’s Budget Deficit

Rush Limbaugh claimed that Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s proposed union-busting bill is designed to “save union jobs” from a budget crisis that would necessitate layoffs. In reality, the parts of the bill restricting collective bargaining would not affect Wisconsin’s budget shortfall.

Limbaugh Denies Walker’s Bill Is Anti-Union, Falsely Calls It “Budget Reform”

Limbaugh: “This Is Not Anti-Union Legislation, This Is Budget Reform.” From the February 23 edition of The Rush Limbaugh Show:

LIMBAUGH: In reality, Governor Walker is trying to save union jobs here. And if his reforms fail, there will have to be layoffs, possibly as soon as Friday. It’s like gravity. It’s not a suggestion, it’s the law. “The governor says the bill is needed to help solve the state’s looming budget deficit, but Democrats see it as an all-out assault on unions, their staunchest campaign ally.” And by “staunchest campaign ally,” they mean their paymaster and their de facto bosses.

So, note the headline of the story here: “Wisconsin Democrats filibuster to delay anti-union bill.” The stenographer here is Todd Richmond of the Associated Press. Mr. Richmond, this is not anti-union legislation, this is budget reform. But you just couldn’t see fit to put that in your headline, could you? You couldn’t mention that in the story. Budget reform is what this is. That’s what this governor is charged with. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 2/23/11]

National Journal: Walker’s Proposed Anti-Union Measures “Wouldn’t Save Any Money This Year.” From a February 23 National Journal article:

The state’s entire budget shortfall for this year — the reason that Walker has said he must push through immediate cuts — would be covered by the governor’s relatively uncontroversial proposal to restructure the state’s debt.

By contrast, the proposals that have kicked up a firestorm, especially his call to curtail the collective-bargaining rights of the state’s public-employees, wouldn’t save any money this year.

“What we’re asking for is modest, at least to those of us outside of government,” Walker said in a televised address Tuesday night.

In January, the Wisconsin Legislative Fiscal Bureau reported that the state would face a $137 million shortfall before the end of the fiscal year on June 30. The governor’s budget repair bill proposes a debt restructuring that would save the state $165 million in the near term, more than covering the shortfall.

The legislation would also borrow money from a federal welfare program to cover further state shortfalls, and it includes a provision that would allow the sale of the state’s public utilities without a bidding process or public oversight.

While public unions have agreed to almost $30 million in pay cuts this year if they can keep their bargaining rights, Walker and other Republicans argue that restrictions on union bargaining are necessary to maintain the cuts over time. [National Journal, 2/23/11]

Limbaugh Falsely Claims Walker Campaigned On Collective Bargaining Cut

Limbaugh: “It’s What He Campaigned On.” From the February 23 edition of Limbaugh’s radio show:

LIMBAUGH: So, note the headline of the story here: “Wisconsin Democrats filibuster to delay anti-union bill.” The stenographer here is Todd Richmond of the Associated Press. Mr. Richmond, this is not anti-union legislation, this is budget reform. But you just couldn’t see fit to put that in your headline, could you? You couldn’t mention that in the story. Budget reform is what this is. That’s what this governor is charged with. It’s what he campaigned on, it’s what his job is. Why leave it out? Everything the Democrats do is called reform. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 2/23/11]

PolitiFact: Walker Did Not Campaign On Budget Repair Plan. On February 22, PolitiFact Wisconsin gave a “false” rating to Walker’s claim that he campaigned on his budget proposals, including curtailing collective bargaining:

In the turbulent wake of his controversial plan to sharply curtail collective bargaining rights, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has faced criticism that he gave no warning of such a dramatic plan during the long 2010 governor’s race.

Walker has forcefully challenged that contention, most bluntly at a Feb. 21, 2011 news conference. A reporter asked if the move to limit union power was payback for pro-union moves made by Democrats in the past.

“It’s not a tit for tat,” Walker responded. “The simple matter is I campaigned on this all throughout the election. Anybody who says they are shocked on this has been asleep for the past two years.”

[…]

Let’s sum up our research.

Walker contends he clearly “campaigned on” his union bargaining plan.

But Walker, who offered many specific proposals during the campaign, did not go public with even the bare-bones of his multi-faceted plans to sharply curb collective bargaining rights. He could not point to any statements where he did. We could find none either.

While Walker often talked about employees paying more for pensions and health care, in his budget-repair bill he connected it to collective bargaining changes that were far different from his campaign rhetoric in terms of how far his plan goes and the way it would be accomplished.

We rate his statement False. [PolitiFact Wisconsin, 2/22/11]


Arizona May Designate Colt Revolver As Its Official State Gun

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 25th, 2011 5:39 am by HL

Arizona May Designate Colt Revolver As Its Official State Gun
Not so fast Utah — Arizona is now giving chase in the race to be the first state with an official gun. A bill to make the Colt revolver the state’s official firearm passed out of the Arizona State Senate appropriations committee Wednesday by a vote of 9-4.

ADL: Beck Comparing Reform Judaism To ‘Radicalized Islam’ Is ‘Bigoted Ignorance’
Abe Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League has responded to Glenn Beck’s comment on Tuesday which likened Reform Judaism to “radicalized Islam.” Foxman said in a statement Wednesday that Beck’s comments demonstrate his “bigoted ignorance.”…



The Most Divided Congress

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 25th, 2011 5:37 am by HL

The Most Divided Congress
The 2010 National Journal congressional vote ratings show that Congress was more polarized last year than in any other year since the ratings began. Overlap between the parties is disappearing.

“For only the second time since 1982, when NJ began calculating the ratings in their current form, every Senate Democrat compiled a voting record more liberal than every Senate Republican — and every Senate Republican compiled a voting record more conservative than every Senate Democrat. Even Nebraska’s Ben Nelson, the most conservative Democrat in the rankings, produced an overall voting record slightly to the left of the most moderate Republicans last year: Ohio’s George Voinovich and Maine’s Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe. The Senate had been that divided only once before, in 1999.”

“But the overall level of congressional polarization last year was the highest the index has recorded, because the House was much more divided in 2010 than it was in 1999… Just five House Republicans in 2010 generated vote ratings more liberal than the most conservative House Democrat, Gene Taylor of Mississippi.”

Romney Defends Health Care Plan
Mike Huckabee’s sustained attacks on Mitt Romney’s health care plan developed while governor of Massachusetts finally prompted a response, the Boston Globe reports.

Said a spokesman: “Mitt Romney is proud of what he accomplished for Massachusetts in getting everyone covered. What’s important now is to return to the states the power to determine their own healthcare solutions by repealing Obamacare. A one-size-fits-all plan for the entire nation just doesn’t work.”


8 Authoritarian Tactics Right-Wingers Have Used to Sabotage the Wisconsin Uprising

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 25th, 2011 5:36 am by HL

8 Authoritarian Tactics Right-Wingers Have Used to Sabotage the Wisconsin Uprising
How Gov. Walker, Republican lawmakers, Tea Party groups, Fox News and conservative pundits have gone after Wisconsin’s public workers and their supporters.

UK Judge Rules Assange Can Be Extradited; Could Eventually Face US Death Penalty
Lawyers for Assange immediately said they would appeal against the decision, which they fear could eventually result in Assange facing imprisonment in the US.

Queer Injustice: The Widespread Sexual Abuse LGBT People Face in Prison
While sexual violence is part of the daily prison experience for many inmates, LGBT people are disproportionately targeted by staff and prisoners.

‘The Social Network’ Nails Harvard’s (and America’s) Diseased Obsession with Elitism
The protagonist’s angry fixation with elite social clubs exists in American life–as class resentment channeled into a perverse identification with the privileged.


Future Schlock

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 25th, 2011 5:35 am by HL

Future Schlock
Is President Obama stupid, or does he think you are stupid? That’s what we have to ask when listening to the president and his minions promote his farkakte budget principles. In this case, the devil is not in the details,…

Washington Wrecks the Economy: More Evidence
We now have even more evidence that inept policies from Washington are causing enormous suffering across the country. It is not quite the line that the right-wingers are pushing. The new evidence is that the stimulus worked and was in…


Short takes of today’s opinion columns in the Post

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 25th, 2011 5:34 am by HL

Short takes of today’s opinion columns in the Post
This is a digest of the Post’s opinion columns for today. For full versions, check out the Opinion section on the mobile site: