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Archive for March 18th, 2011

Late Late Night FDL: Drunken Lullabies

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 18th, 2011 4:46 am by HL

Late Late Night FDL: Drunken Lullabies
Flogging MollyDrunken Lullabies.

Flogging MollyDrunken Lullabies.

What’s on your mind?

‘Background Briefing’: Rising Oil Prices Explained

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 18th, 2011 4:45 am by HL

‘Background Briefing’: Rising Oil Prices Explained
University of Maryland professor Michael Greenberger, former director of the Division of Trading and Markets at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, explains the rising cost of oil. His answer—not international turmoil, not Japanese disaster.

University of Maryland professor Michael Greenberger, former director of the Division of Trading and Markets at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, explains the rising cost of oil. His answer—not international turmoil, not Japanese disaster.

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Raymond J. Learsy: Governor Palin Viewing the Abyss and the National Endowment for the Arts and Humanities

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 18th, 2011 4:44 am by HL

Raymond J. Learsy: Governor Palin Viewing the Abyss and the National Endowment for the Arts and Humanities
To question whether the government should fund these institutions is a legitimate issue. But to refer to the NEA and NEH as ‘frivolous’ institutions becomes a reflection on her wisdom and character.

VOTE: House Votes to Defund NPR, Are You Outraged?
On Thursday the House voted to defund NPR with a vote of 228-192. It is unlikely the measure will be supported in the Democratic-controlled Senate….

Kenneth C. Davis: A Sweet Assault on Slavery
Some 70 years before the Civil War began on April 12, 1861, people had looked to maple sugar both as a political and economic weapon against slavery. The idea was simple: replace cane sugar, produced by slave labor, with maple sugar.

Beck Rehashes Old Myths To Falsely Portray Obama As Hostile To Second Amendment

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 18th, 2011 4:43 am by HL

Beck Rehashes Old Myths To Falsely Portray Obama As Hostile To Second Amendment

While painting President Obama as hostile to the Second Amendment, Glenn Beck repeated old falsehoods about Obama’s record on gun issues. In reality, Obama has expressed support for the individual right to bear arms, and he has loosened gun restrictions as president.

Beck: Obama Tries To Pay “Lip Service” To Second Amendment, But “His Actions” Are “A Whole Different Story”

Beck: “Obama Tries To Play The Lip Service Here To The Second Amendment But His Actions And The People He Surrounds Himself — Oh, That’s A Whole Different Story, Isn’t It? From Beck’s March 16 Fox News show:

BECK: Wayne [LaPierre, National Rifle Association CEO] asks a pretty good question, doesn’t he? Why should I sit down with a group of people who have tried to destroy the Second Amendment? Why?

Obama tries to play the lip service here to the Second Amendment, but his actions and the people he surrounds himself — oh, that’s a whole different story, isn’t it? Let’s just go through his — “Barack Obama, this is your life on guns.” [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 3/16/11]

Beck Repeats Falsehoods And Distortions About Obama’s Record On Guns

Beck: Obama Said He Is Consistently Opposed To Concealed Carry. From Glenn Beck:

BECK: This is from 2004. Quote, “I’m consistently on record and will continue to be on record as opposing concealed carry.” Hot damn. Really? Are you for open carry? ‘Cause I am. I’ve always wanted to have, you know, one, like, on my hip and maybe some spurs. [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 3/16/11]

Obama Made Statement After Voting To Loosen Concealed Carry Laws. From an April 2004 article in the Chicago Tribune:

Perhaps Obama’s biggest departure from his liberal roots was his vote in the state Senate last month on the concealed-carry law. He was the only Chicago Democrat to approve allowing retired police officers to carry concealed weapons.

Obama’s critics say he was courting the Fraternal Order of Police for the union’s endorsement in his Senate race.

Obama explained the motivation for his vote:

“I didn’t find that [vote] surprising. I mean, I am consistently on record and will continue to be on record as opposing concealed carry,” Obama said. “This was a narrow exception in an exceptional circumstance where a retired police officer might find himself vulnerable as a consequence of the work he had previously done–and had been trained extensively in the proper use of firearms.” [Chicago Tribune, 4/27/04]

Beck: Obama Was “For The Criminal Prosecution Of … Those Who Use Guns In Their Own Self-Defense.” From Glenn Beck:

BECK: As a state senator in 2004, Obama voted to uphold local gun banning laws. He was also for the criminal prosecution — I love this one — for those who use guns in their own self-defense. Wow. [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 3/16/11]

FactCheck.org Rated Similar Claim “False”; Obama Voted Against Creating Loophole In Local Gun Laws. From FactCheck.org

NRA Claim: “Ban use of Firearms for Home Self-Defense”

False: Obama is proposing no such ban.

This falsehood from the “10 point plan” flier is repeated in a TV spot in which a man identified as Kurt Rusch, an Iraq war veteran says, “Obama opposes my right to own a gun for self-defense.”

The NRA bases this overheated claim on a vote Obama cast on March 24, 2004, in the Illinois state Senate. He was one of 20 who opposed SB 2165. That bill, which passed 38 – 20 and became law, did not make it a crime to use firearms for self-defense, however. Rather, it created a loophole for persons caught violating local gun registration laws.

It states that in any Illinois municipality where a gun ban is in effect, it shall be an “affirmative defense” if the person accused of violating the ban can show that the weapon was used “in an act of self-defense or defense of another … when on his or her land or in his or her abode or fixed place of business.”

Letting the owner of a banned firearm escape a municipality’s penalty is one thing, but it’s another thing entirely to make it a crime to use any firearm — registered or not — in self-defense. The bill came about after Hale DeMar, of Wilmette, Ill., shot a burglar who had invaded his home. At the time, Wilmette had an ordinance that prohibited owning handguns. [FactCheck.org, 9/22/08]

Beck: Obama Voted To Ban Nearly All Rifle Ammunition. From Glenn Beck:

BECK: As a senator in 2005, Obama voted to ban nearly all rifle ammunition, mostly used for hunting and sports shooting. [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 3/16/11]

FactCheck.org Rated Claim False, Noting That Amendment Obama Voted For “Applied Only To Handgun Ammunition ‘Capable Of Penetrating Body Armor.’ “ From FactCheck.org

NRA Claim: “Ban Rifle Ammunition Commonly Used for Hunting and Sport Shooting”

False: Obama is not proposing to ban hunting ammunition. And he did not, as claimed in an NRA TV spot featuring a Virginia hunter named Karl Rusch, vote to “ban virtually all deer hunting ammunition.” What Obama voted for was a measure to ban “armor-piercing” ammunition, which the measure’s sponsor has said repeatedly would not cover hunting ammunition.

This claim is based on Obama’s vote on S. 397 in the U.S. Senate. Obama was one of 31 senators who voted in favor of S. Amdt. 1615 to S. 397 which sought to “expand the definition of armor piercing ammunition.”

The amendment applied only to handgun ammunition “capable of penetrating body armor” and to rifle ammunition that is “designed or marketed as having armor piercing capability,” however. [FactCheck.org, 9/22/08]

Beck: “Obama Has Supported 500 Percent Increases In Taxes On Guns And Ammo.” From Glenn Beck:

BECK: Obama has supported 500 percent increases in taxes on guns and ammo. [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 3/16/11]

FactCheck.org Found No Basis To Claim That Obama Wants To Increase Gun And Ammunition Taxes By 500 Percent. From FactCheck.org:

We’ve received a number of queries since the beginning of the year from readers wanting to know if President Obama is planning to raise the federal tax on firearms ammunition by 500 percent. Since it is now 11 percent of the sales price, such an increase would amount to adding 55 percent to that rate, putting it at 66 percent of the sales price. Claims of such tax increases have been repeated frequently on Web sites promoting gun rights and circulated by numerous chain e-mails. But there is no indication that the president is pursuing this.

During the 2008 presidential campaign, the National Rifle Association claimed that Obama would “increase federal taxes on guns and ammunition by 500 percent” as a part of what it called “Obama’s 10-Point Plan to ‘Change’ the Second Amendment.” That was a mailer distributed to the organization’s members as part of an advertising campaign, which we said at the time “distorts Obama’s position on gun control beyond recognition.” Regarding the ammo tax claim, we said then that Obama hadn’t pressed for any such tax as a U.S. senator and was not proposing one as a presidential candidate.

Now we can report that Obama has proposed no such tax since becoming president. And we find no evidence that he or his administration has any plans to do so. Though it is often repeated and widely believed by gun owners, this tax claim is a myth. [FactCheck.org, 6/23/09]

Obama Has Loosened Gun Restrictions As President

The Hill: Obama Signed Legislation Allowing “Guns In National Parks And On Amtrak Trains.” From a January 2010 article in The Hill:

Obama signed legislation this year that would allow guns in national parks and on Amtrak trains.

The two gun measures were attached as amendments to larger pieces of legislation — a bill cracking down on credit card companies and a transportation appropriations bill, respectively — that the president generally supported.

A spokesman for the White House did not directly respond to the Brady Campaign’s criticism in an e-mail. He said Obama supports and respects the Second Amendment, and defended the administration, saying it had taken “common-sense steps” to keep streets safe and stem the flow of illegal guns. [The Hill, 1/19/10]

Recent Obama Statement Affirms “Individual Right To Bear Arms”

Obama: “I Believe That The Second Amendment Guarantees An Individual Right To Bear Arms.” From a March 13 letter from President Obama to the Arizona Daily Star:

Now, like the majority of Americans, I believe that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to bear arms. And the courts have settled that as the law of the land. In this country, we have a strong tradition of gun ownership that’s handed from generation to generation. Hunting and shooting are part of our national heritage. And, in fact, my administration has not curtailed the rights of gun owners – it has expanded them, including allowing people to carry their guns in national parks and wildlife refuges. [Arizona Daily Star, 3/13/11]

Obama: “Gun-Safety Advocates Need To Accept” The Fact That “Almost All Gun Owners In America Are Highly Responsible.” From the letter:

The fact is, almost all gun owners in America are highly responsible. They’re our friends and neighbors. They buy their guns legally and use them safely, whether for hunting or target shooting, collection or protection. And that’s something that gun-safety advocates need to accept. Likewise, advocates for gun owners should accept the awful reality that gun violence affects Americans everywhere, whether on the streets of Chicago or at a supermarket in Tucson. [Arizona Daily Star, 3/13/11]

Darrell Issa To Investigate ATF’s Controversial Gunrunner Project

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 18th, 2011 4:42 am by HL

Darrell Issa To Investigate ATF’s Controversial Gunrunner Project
Darrell Issa (R-CA) lobbed criticism at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Wednesday night and revealed he is investigating allegations that the agency intentionally let more than 1,700 guns be illegally trafficked to Mexico. Issa, who is…

FBI/DHS Document Confirms That MLK Day Bomb Was Viable
A FBI and DHS Joint Intelligence Bulletin obtained by publicintelligence.net confirms that the bomb placed along a MLK Day parade route in Spokane, Wash., earlier this year was a viable, radio-controlled improvised explosive device.

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Corporations Are Lying to Us About the Dangers of Japan’s Nuclear Meltdown

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 18th, 2011 4:39 am by HL

Corporations Are Lying to Us About the Dangers of Japan’s Nuclear Meltdown
It’s summed up in the emphasized third sentence – if nuclear power plant owners followed every safety precaution, they couldn’t make any money. Neocon Republicans love to spread fear by doting on lurid tales of the destruction that could be wrought by a ‘dirty-bomb’ nuclear device in the hands of a terrorist – so far, […]

Barbour’s Son Doesn’t Want Him to Run

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 18th, 2011 4:38 am by HL

Barbour’s Son Doesn’t Want Him to Run
Sterling Barbour, son of Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R), lashed into Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol over his recent criticism of his father in a personal email obtained by the AP.

Said the younger Barbour: “I am a private person and don’t want him to run. I’d prefer not to listen to people like you talk bad about any member of my family. But this decision is bigger than me. If he runs, I will be his biggest supporter… Despite your best efforts, if he decides to run, he will likely win the nomination.”

Hackers Target Politicians
“The hackers who are now being investigated by the FBI for allegedly pilfering nude photos and videos of 50 Hollywood celebrities have also been targeting sports stars and D.C.’s most powerful,” TMZ reports.

No-Fly Zone Over Libya Could Backfire & Undermine Protests in Middle East

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 18th, 2011 4:37 am by HL

No-Fly Zone Over Libya Could Backfire & Undermine Protests in Middle East
I recorded a few minutes of comments outlining my concerns over the Libya No-Fly Zone debate. In short, a no-fly zone is a high cost, low return strategy that doesn’t necessarily create a military tipping point in favor of the…

Safety On The Cheap
Can we please agree that in the real world corporations exist for one purpose, and one purpose only — to make as much money as possible, which means cutting costs as much as possible?…

Rep. Peter DeFazio: People Will Die From GOP Cuts To NOAA, Disaster Response Programs

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 18th, 2011 4:36 am by HL

Rep. Peter DeFazio: People Will Die From GOP Cuts To NOAA, Disaster Response Programs

In an interview yesterday with ThinkProgress, Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) said that “people will die” from Republican cuts to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s tsunami tracking system and other disaster response agencies. DeFazio represents Oregon’s 4th district, where the tsunami devastated a local harbor and swept more than four people out to sea. DeFazio told ThinkProgress that furloughs at NOAA and other cuts to “our defense” against natural disasters were “crazy stuff” that would weaken the federal government’s already outdated disaster response system:

If you cut on detection of tidal waves, volcanic eruptions, severe weather events, weather buoys, satellite observation and weather patterns, those sorts of things, people will die. People will die from tornadoes in the Northwest, hurricanes or volcanic eruption or earthquakes. They are also cutting on preparedness funds that go down to the local organization down to the cities and counties, down to the first responders who need equipment.

Watch it:

The three-week continuing resolution, passed Tuesday by the House, includes cuts to NOAA, FEMA, the US Geological Service. NOAA employees have said the cuts will damage their “ability to upgrade tsunami models and will put considerable stress on watchstanders ability to react.” Yet Republican lawmakers have defended the cuts: House Majority Leader Eric Cantor has said there is simply no money to fund the programs and Rep. Scott King (R-IA) warned yesterday that “we often over-react to natural disasters.”

Kevin Donohoe

Former Corporate Lobbyist Gov. Barbour Endorses Huge Corporate Tax Cuts

Potential Republican 2012 presidential candidate Gov. Haley Barbour (MS) has been rolling out his economic vision this week, with his stated desire to “change the damaging policies that pose an even greater threat to our economic future.” One of the cornerstones of his economic plan is a huge cut in the corporate tax rate:

There is a global battle for capital, and right now, American companies are sitting on more than $1 trillion locked overseas because of our mistaken tax code. We need to unlock that capital so it can be invested in new plants, new equipment and new jobs here in America, not overseas. While we’re at it, let’s finally cut our corporate income tax rate as nearly every one of our competitors has done over the last decade.

Barbour envisions cutting the current corporate income tax, which stands at 35 percent, in half. “We need to cut the corporate income tax in half like the rest of the world,” he said.

Already, corporate tax revenue in the U.S. is at one of its lowest points in history, and the U.S. raises less in corporate tax revenue than many of its main trading partners. And the reason for this is simple: there are myriad loopholes, credits, and outright giveaways in the tax code that allow many corporations to pay little or no corporate income tax. Major corporations such as Boeing, Bank of America, and General Electric have paid literally nothing into the Treasury in recent years.

The Congressional Budget Office has found that a cut in the corporate tax rate is an ineffective job creation measure, saying that such a move “does not create an incentive for [corporations] to spend more on labor” and “is not a particularly cost-effective method of stimulating business spending.” But Barbour may have another motivation for gifting a tax break to the corporate world.

After all, Barbour spent years as a D.C. lobbyist, during which time he represented some of the largest multinational corporations. Barbour’s clients have included Microsoft, Bellsouth, Lockheed Martin, Nestle, United Health Group, “and a bevy of energy, pharmaceutical and tobacco companies.”

As governor of Mississippi, Barbour currently presides over a state with a 10.1 percent unemployment rate. He also has a history of implementing regressive tax hikes, while Mississippi has been mired at the bottom of national rankings when it comes to education, quality of life, and business climate. But as the Wonk Room demonstrated in this report yesterday, Barbour is hardly alone amongst conservative governors in believing that corporations need lower taxes while the working class should pay more.

Cross-posted at The Wonk Room.

House votes to defund National Public Radio

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 18th, 2011 4:35 am by HL

House votes to defund National Public Radio
After a contentious debate and over procedural objections from Democrats, the House on Thursday voted 228 to192 to prevent federal funds from going to National Public Radio, the latest move by the Republican majority to target the public broadcaster.

White House dyes fountain green for St. Patrick’s Day

The misappropriation of the tea party label (and the headaches it’s causing)
Too many Republicans were defined as “tea party candidates” in 2010 who didn’t fit the bill. And many of them are now finding that label to be a double-edged sword.