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Archive for March 6th, 2011

Late Late Night FDL: Quiet Please

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

Late Late Night FDL: Quiet Please
Tom and JerryQuiet Please. This Academy Award winning Metro-Goldwyn-Meyer cartoon was released on December 22, 1945.

Tom and JerryQuiet Please.  This Academy Award winning Metro-Goldwyn-Meyer cartoon was released on December 22, 1945.

Directed by Joseph Barbera and William Hanna.  Produced by Fred Quimby.  Animation by Ed Barge, Kenneth Muse, Ray Patterson, and Irven Spence.  Voices by Billy Bletcher (Spike – uncredited) and William Hanna (Tom – uncredited). Original Music by Scott Bradley.

Grab your popcorn, put your feet up on the seatback in front of ya, and aim your spitballs at the ushers please. This is Late Late Night FireDogLake, where off topic is the topic … so dive in. What’s on your mind?

Sunday Talking Heads: March 6, 2011
Marcy will be Virtually Speaking with Eve Gittelson and ABC has an incredible exclusive! John McCain. And to answer Tweety: No. Yes.

Marcy will be Virtually Speaking with Eve Gittelson and ABC has an unbelievable exclusive, John McCain!  And to answer Tweety: No. Yes.

In case you missed it, Scarecrow’s Sunday Talk Shows: Making America Dumber One Week at a Time is worth the read.

Washington Journal.

ABC’s This Week: Exclusive! Sen. John McCain (R-AZ). Roundtable:  Daily Beast and Newsweek Ed-in-Chief Tina Brown, Egyptian writer and activist Dr. Nawal El Saadawi, Zainab Salbi of Women to Women International, and Susan Tahmadebi of the International Civil Society Action Network for Women’s Rights, Peace and Security. Topic: How women are transforming the Muslim world.  Then, the latest jobs numbers with ABC News anchors Diane Sawyer, David Muir and Sharyn Alfonsi. Plus, Mort Zuckerman, Reuters’ Chrystia Freeland, United Steelworkers President Leo Gerard.

CBS’ Face The Nation: Senate Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Sen. John Kerry (D-MA), Tom Friedman.

Chris Matthews: Is America Still Number One? Will Establishment Republican Hopefuls For 2012 Pander To The Far Right?

CNN’s State of the Union: Libya. Stephen Hadley, the former U.S. National Security Adviser, and Dr. Ali Errishi, the former Libyan Immigration Minister. Then, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and  Bill Richardson on the personal and professional challenges of running for US President. Finally, Rep. Peter King (R-NY), and Rep. Keith Ellison (DFL-MN) on King’s planned hearings on the radicalization of Muslims.

Fareed Zakrai – GPS.

Fox News Sunday: Margie Phelps, Attorney, Westboro Baptist Church on the recent ruling from the Supreme Court on the Westboro protests at military funerals. Then the budget with Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), Majority Whip and Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), Chair, House Republican Conference. Roundtable: Chris Stirewalt, Nina Easton, Kevin Madden, Juan Williams. Power PlayerCarol Rasco, President and CEO, “Reading Is Fundamental.”

NBC’s Meet The Press: White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley. Then, Republican response from the head of the Tea Party caucus in the House, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN). Roundtable:  Eugene Robinson, David Brooks.

Newsmakers: Appropriations Committee Chair Rep. Harold Rogers (R-KY) joins Newsmakers to discuss the debate over current federal spending. He discusses the expected budget battles following the recent passage of a bill to temporarily fund the government until March 18.

Q & A: Sally Jenkins, sports columnist for The Washington Post. Besides following local and national sports coverage, she also writes about issues where sports and public policy intersect…

Religion & Ethics.

60 Minutes: Hard Times Generation – For some children, socializing and learning in school are being cruelly complicated by homelessness, as Scott Pelley reports from Florida, where school buses now stop at budget motels for children who’ve lost their homes. Hitchens – Steve Kroft profiles Vanity Fair columnist, author and public intellectual Christopher Hitchens, for whom nothing is off-limits when making his wry and often outrageous observations, including the cancer he is suffering from. Spy on the Ice – Bob Simon reports on the latest “spy-cam” techniques used by wildlife filmmakers to show animals – in this case, polar bears – up-close and in a way audiences have never seen them before.

To The Contrary: Topics: 1- Where do American women stand globally? 2- College scholarships specifically for white men; 3- Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) on the Equal Rights Amendment. Panelists: Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC); Independent Women’s Forum’s Sabrina Schaeffer; Center for American Progress’ Erica Williams; and one more TBA.

Univison’s Al Punto: Dan Restrepo, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Western Hemisphere Affairs; Sen. Luz Robles (D-UT); Francisco Abundis, Director of Public Opinion, Social Science and Marketing Research Enterprise, Parametría; Manlio Fabio Beltrones, Mexico Senator (PRI) and Presidential Hopeful; and Roy Germano, Filmmaker “The Other Side of Immigration.”

Virtually Speaking: Marcy Wheeler and Eve Gittelson discuss the news of the week including the mess that is our health care financing system, and how it effects ordinary Americans who don’t enjoy Congressional health coverage.

C-SPAN’s Book TV: In Depth this month features Pauline Maier, a Fulbright scholar and holds a Ph.D. from Harvard University. A popular scholar of the American Revolution, the preceding era and post-revolutionary America.

FDL Book Salon: Outrageous Fortunes: The Twelve Surprising Trends That Will Reshape the Global Economy. “A Harvard-trained economist’s startling predictions reveal critical challenges in the decades ahead, helping individuals, businesses, and governments to make smarter decisions.” Chat with author Daniel Altman, hosted by Dan Rosenheck. 5pm ET.

FDL Movie Night Monday: Director Julian Starks discusses his film Journey to Sundance with host Lisa Derrick and you. “Against the backdrop of the Sundance Film Festival and the yearly pilgrimage of producers, directors, industry ‘suits’ and Hollywood wannabes, these filmmakers and their cameras journey for the answers. They trek to the festival each January for five years, and in their search of the original question, each of them is forced to face the issues — and demons — that plague any indie film.”  8pm ET.

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes

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

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes
Ever since the winter of 1972 when I first saw a 1966 black-and-white photograph of 92-year-old Dr. John Irving Bentley, the Neil Armstrong of spontaneous human combustion, I wanted to be famous.

Ever since the winter of 1972 when I first saw a 1966 black-and-white photograph of 92-year-old Dr. John Irving Bentley, the Neil Armstrong of spontaneous human combustion, I wanted to be famous.

Wisconsin GOP Flag

By Kap, Cagle Cartoons, Spain

Mr. Fish's Cartoon

Todd Stroger Applies For Unemployment Benefits

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

Todd Stroger Applies For Unemployment Benefits
Like thousands of Illinoisans who have lost their jobs, former Cook County Board President Todd Stroger has applied for unemployment benefits.But newly minted Board President…

Paul Stoller: Politics in a Culture of Ignorance
Palin, Bachmann and Huckabee unflaggingly demonstrate wholesale ignorance of American history and world affairs. Is there no political price to pay for incompetence?

Arianna Huffington: Sunday Roundup
This week saw the ongoing implosion of a once-likable figure who gave a crazy interview, refused to apologize, and made it worse the more he kept talking. I’m referring, of course, to Mike Huckabee (sorry, Charlie) — who, in an interview with a birther radio host, repeatedly claimed that Obama’s worldview, particularly “his view of the Brits,” was shaped by “having grown up in Kenya.” When it was pointed out that Obama never even visited Kenya until 1987, Huckabee claimed he’d misspoken and meant to say Indonesia — even though it was a Dutch, not a British, colony. This pandering to the worst elements of the Obama-hating fringe is especially disappointing because Huckabee has previously dared to speak eloquently against immigrant bashing and in favor of poverty fighting. Now he’d rather channel his inner Dan Quayle and criticize unwed-but-pregnant Natalie Portman. Maybe he misspoke and meant to slam Bristol Palin.

Lea Lane: Huckabee’s Moment
Politicians lose favor for many reasons. Sometimes it’s a buildup of things so overwhelming that even the under-informed get it: Sarah Palin’s increasing perception as…

Tackled Wisconsin Representative Says His Capitol Key Card Is Disabled

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

Tackled Wisconsin Representative Says His Capitol Key Card Is Disabled
Wisconsin’s Capitol building has “always been open to state legislators, to come and go as they please,” state Representative Nick Milroy (D), the lawmaker who was tackled by Wisconsin Capitol Police on Thursday night, told TPM in an interview on Friday. But this week, he says, has been different. All tackling aside, Milroy’s Capitol key card was disabled on Monday, and he doesn’t know when it will work again — leaving him unable to access the building freely, as he used to do.

Anti-Muslim Protestor Throws Crosses At Feet Of Man Praying By White House (VIDEO)
A group of anti-Sharia protestors who planned to counter-protest the planned pro-Sharia rally by the radical provocateur Anjem Choudary in front of the White House on Thursday found themselves without an opponent to debate.

Tackled Wisconsin Representative Decries ‘Armed-Palace Environment’ At Capitol
Wisconsin state Representative Nick Milroy (D), the lawmaker who was tackled last night while trying to enter the Capitol building in Madison, said in a statement today that both he and the law enforcement officers involved in the incident had acted aggressively, but that “no harm was done.” He did, however, have some harsh words for what he calls the “armed-palace environment created by Gov. Walker.”

Gram Damns the GOP!

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 6th, 2011 5:37 am by HL

Gram Damns the GOP!

Presented By:

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 6th, 2011 5:36 am by HL

Presented By:

Whose ‘Solidarity’?
“Solidarity forever, Solidarity forever, Solidarity fore-e-ver, for the union makes us strong.” —- Neoliberals find the word “solidarity” distasteful. I’m not fond of it myself. Doesn’t solidarity collapse easily into groupthink? Shouldn’t being free mean thinking independently? Before you answer…

PsyOps, Afghanistan, and Al Franken
With all the controversy stirred by Michael Hastings’ Rolling Stone article about the role of Army psychological operations units in hosting congressmembers (i.e. trying to manipulate them) I noticed Sen. Al Franken among the “targets.” This prompts me to recount…

REPORT: Five Things Unions Have Done For All Americans

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 6th, 2011 5:34 am by HL

REPORT: Five Things Unions Have Done For All Americans

title= Over the past few weeks, right-wing legislators have unleashed a torrent of radical legislation upon the American electorate designed to gut collective bargaining rights and attack the middle class. As these conservatives have launched their assault, a Main Street Movement consisting of ordinary Americans fed up with living in such an unequal country has fought back.

Conservatives have sought to malign this movement by claiming that it is simply defending the parochial interests of labor unions, who they claim are imposing huge costs on taxpayers with little benefit. Yet the truth is that America’s public and private unions have been one of the major forces in building a robust and vibrant middle class and have fought over the past century to improve the lives of all Americans in a variety of ways. ThinkProgress has assembled just five of the many things that Americans can thank the nation’s unions for giving us all:

1. Unions Gave Us The Weekend: Even the ultra-conservative Mises Institute notes that the relatively labor-free 1870, the average workweek for most Americans was 61 hours — almost double what most Americans work now. Yet in the late nineteenth century and the twentieth century, labor unions engaged in massive strikes in order to demand shorter workweeks so that Americans could be home with their loved ones instead of constantly toiling for their employers with no leisure time. By 1937, these labor actions created enough political momentum to pass the Fair Labor Standards Act, which helped create a federal framework for a shorter workweek that included room for leisure time.

2. Unions Gave Us Fair Wages And Relative Income Equality: As ThinkProgress reported earlier in the week, the relative decline of unions over the past 35 years has mirrored a decline in the middle class’s share of national income. It is also true that at the time when most Americans belonged to a union — a period of time between the 1940′s and 1950′s — income inequality in the U.S. was at its lowest point in the history of the country.

3. Unions Helped End Child Labor: “Union organizing and child labor reform were often intertwined” in U.S. history, with organization’s like the “National Consumers’ League” and the National Child Labor Committee” working together in the early 20th century to ban child labor. The very first American Federation of Labor (AFL) national convention passed “a resolution calling on states to ban children under 14 from all gainful employment” in 1881, and soon after states across the country adopted similar recommendations, leading up to the 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act which regulated child labor on the federal level for the first time.

4. Unions Won Widespread Employer-Based Health Coverage: “The rise of unions in the 1930′s and 1940′s led to the first great expansion of health care” for all Americans, as labor unions banded workers together to negotiate for health coverage plans from employers. In 1942, “the US set up a National War Labor Board. It had the power to set a cap on all wage increases. But it let employers circumvent the cap by offering “fringe benefits” – notably, health insurance.” By 1950, “half of all companies with fewer than 250 workers and two-thirds of all companies with more than 250 workers offered health insurance of one kind or another.”

5. Unions Spearheaded The Fight For The Family And Medical Leave Act: Labor unions like the AFL-CIO federation led the fight for this 1993 law, which “requires state agencies and private employers with more than 50 employees to provide up to 12 weeks of job-protected unpaid leave annually for workers to care for a newborn, newly adopted child, seriously ill family member or for the worker’s own illness.”

In 2007, Australia’s Manic Studios produced a short film titled, “What Have Unions Ever Done For Us?” which satirically portrays a handful of employers asking that question and realizing that unions have actually done a lot for the average person in their country. Although the film deal’s with Australia’s unions and not the United States, many of the rights mentioned by the mock executives — like workers’ compensation and expanded health care — are exactly the same. Watch it:

Conservative Conference Warns Of Hidden Islamic Danger In ?Race To The Top? Funding

A new memo that has been making the rounds in conservative circles is a dire warning about an onslaught of Islamic “Gulen schools,” a growing international network of charter schools begun in Turkey that offer “a blend of religious faith and largely Western curriculum.”

At the Educational Policy Conference, a large gathering of social conservatives in St. Louis in January, prominent neoconservative and anti-Muslim conspiracy theorist Frank Gaffney, and former Colorado State Board of Education member Peggy Littleton sounded the alarm on the “creeping threat” of Gulen schools hidden in President Obama’s landmark education initiative, the Race to the Top program, which encourages innovation in education, including charter schools. Littleton, who currently serves as an El Paso County Commissioner, told conference-goers that “the only reason [Obama is] pushing more charter schools” through Race to the Top is “because of these Gulen schools.”

ThinkProgress caught up with Littleton after her speech. She told us that the Obama administration “intentionally had already thought through how they could have a proliferation and a sneaking creep, if you will, of Gulen schools by embedding their acceptance and even promotion of charter schools under this new wonderful thing of Race to the Top.” She warned that these schools were teaching our children to “hate Americans.” Watch it:

Not to be outdone, Gaffney told the audience that, along with the federal government and CPAC, Gulen schools were “another example of this Muslim Brotherhood kind of operation, stealth jihad.” Completing Fox News host Glenn Beck’s “worldwide Muslim caliphate theory,” Gaffney also declared that Fethullah Gulen, the namesake of Gulen schools, “is a fellow who I think envisions himself being the next Caliph.” He finished by calling Gulen schools “an insidious, seditious program” and called on conference-goers to spread the word to friends and elected officials. Watch it:

Full transcript, after the jump

First video:

LITTLETON: If you’ve done any research on Gulen schools, you need to get on the Internet and do some. Because I believe – and this is just my own personal opinion without any factual data to back it up – one of the only reasons the Obama administration is willing to stand in the face of teacher’s unions, who supported his campaign with large numbers by the way. The only reason he’s pushing more charter schools, even in the face of teachers unions, is by making states adopt charter school rules that are open and who are applying for Race to the Top funds, I think that he’s doing that because of these Gulen schools. The Gulen schools are the Muslim schools in our country. I’m showing you how many of them are already operating, you can see there’s 107 of them. Twelve of them are opening in 2010, nine are pending, 22 were declined. There are over 150 schools in the United States that are already out there that are telling the kids of the United States of America, “hate Americans and the whole rest of the…” and you’ll hear more about that tomorrow, I’m excited you’re going to get to see that.

KEYES: Do you think the administration anticipated the rise in Gulen schools as a result of Race to the Top education money?

LITTLETON: I don’t think they tied it to the money in any way, shape or form. But I do think they intentionally – and again, this is my own opinion – but I think they probably intentionally had already thought through how they could have a proliferation and a sneaking creep, if you will, of Gulen schools by embedding their acceptance and even promotion of charter schools under this new wonderful thing of Race to the Top and “let’s fund the schools this way.” Even though there’s not really the direct funding source, I think it was the intention to promote charter schools.

KEYES: Couched in very flowery language.

LITTLETON: Absolutely.

KEYES: Why do you suppose they want to do that?

LITTLETON: Well, there’s going to be speculation, by everyone that’s out there. You yourself I’m sure have done the research, you’ve seen and heard some of the things our own president has said about the Muslims. You’ve heard that he thinks we ought to be friendly to some of their causes, that we should be tolerant in promoting some of the Muslims that are scientists and technology people. I think we need to go back and research what our president has said and by his own words and admissions, I think you can probably make the connection.

Second video:

GAFFNEY: As to this question about a Turk by the name of Gulen, this is one of those little-known stories that I’m thrilled that you’ve mentioned because it is another example of this Muslim Brotherhood kind of operation, stealth jihad. This is a fellow who I think envisions himself being the next Caliph. He is enormously influential in his native Turkey, where he has helped instigate, essentially, an Islamist takeover of the country with a wholesale repudiation and replacement of Ataturk’s secular form of government with one that is through-and-through Islamist. And that’s now increasingly making common cause with Iran, with Syria, with Hezbollah, with Hamas, which is very clearly hostile to Israel, which Turkey was until recently strategic partners with. In short, it is headed in a very dangerous direction indeed, Turkey is. This guy, Gulen, has been extending his influence by building large numbers of these schools all over the world. And the really extraordinary thing is he’s doing so from a safe haven in Rick Santorum’s great state of Pennsylvania. For a time his operation was considered a terrorist group, until inexplicably the Clinton administration decided it wasn’t anymore. And so he is churning out an insidious, seditious program from within the territory of the United States. And I would venture there isn’t one member of Congress today who has ever heard of his name, let alone understands what he is up to. We’re anxious to try to spread this word, and to those of you who are in contact with one of your five folks you are reaching out to happens to be your elected representative at the federal level or for that matter the state level, we can help educate and equip with this kind of information, we’re anxious to do it.

When it comes to hatching conspiracy theories, conservatives and Islamophobia are a match made in heaven. In the wake of Egypt’s peaceful democratic revolution, Fox News host Glenn Beck warned his viewers that former President Mubarak’s ouster portended an impending worldwide Muslim caliphate, a prediction that earned Beck the ire of even the likes of Bill Kristol. Leading neoconservative Frank Gaffney is also a regular propagator of fanciful theories of Islam, from Muslim Brotherhood infiltration of the Conservative Political Action Conference to Muslim Brotherhood infiltration of the United States government.

Robert Gates: Not Mincing Words

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 6th, 2011 5:31 am by HL

Robert Gates: Not Mincing Words
Fred Kaplan, Slate
And so it seems, Robert Gates really will be leaving the Pentagon soon.He's been going around to the military academies—West Point last week, the Air Force Academy today, Annapolis sometime soon—bidding farewell to the cadets, pointedly noting at the start of each speech that it will be his “final” address to them as secretary of defense. But Gates is not indulging in valedictory bromides.

College the Easy Way
Bob Herbert, New York Times
The cost of college has skyrocketed and a four-year degree has become an ever more essential cornerstone to a middle-class standard of living. But what are America’s kids actually learning in college?For an awful lot of students, the answer appears to be not much.A provocative new book, “Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses,” makes a strong case that for a large portion of the nation’s seemingly successful undergraduates the years in college barely improve their skills in critical thinking, complex reasoning and writing.

Gaddafi Disconnects Libya From the Internet
Jacob Aron, NewScientist
Libya has become the latest nation to disconnect from the internet, as the Gaddafi regime attempts to suppress protesters by cutting off the flow of information. James Cowie of internet access monitoring firm Renesys reports that servers in Libya became in accessible shortly after 4.35 pm yesterday, and Google's Transparency Report confirms that Libyan requests to its servers have flatlined.

Jobless Rate Falls, Recovery Still Muted
Reddy & Murray, Wall St. Journal
Brisk hiring in February pushed the U.S. unemployment rate below 9% for the first time in nearly two years—a development that reflects a broadening recovery but also underscores how much ground the economy has yet to regain.Employers rebounded from a harsh winter to add 192,000 jobs to nonfarm payrolls in February as the unemployment rate fell one notch to 8.9%, the lowest level since April 2009, the Labor Department reported Friday.

The NY Times’ White House Beat Sweetener
Jack Shafer, Slate
There's a new team running the White House for President Obama, and with a new team comes the inevitable: a story by a reporter who hopes to sweeten the beat, and hence win future access, with a piece of undeserved flattery.Today's (March 4) steaming tureen of molasses comes to you courtesy of the New York Times with a piece so syrupy that even the Web headline butters up its subjects: “Less Drama in White House After Staff Changes.”