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Archive for March 25th, 2011

Late Late Night FDL: Crying

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 25th, 2011 4:47 am by HL

Late Late Night FDL: Crying
Roy Orbison and k.d. langCrying.

Roy Orbison and k.d. langCrying.

What’s on your mind?

This cannot be good
Things are either going from less bad…to much much worse at the Fukushima plant. I do not like the odds on it not being the latter.

I do not think “cracked” is a word you want to ever see in this context:

Japan’s nuclear regulator said one reactor core at the quake-damaged Fukushima Dai-Ichi power plant may be cracked and leaking radiation.

Not to be too alarmist, because that never happens on blogs…but I do believe a cracked reactor core could lead to one of the worst-case scenarios.

But one of the disadvantages is that the containment structure is a lightbulb-shaped steel shell that’s only about 30 or 40 feet [nine to 12 meters] across—thick steel, but relatively small compared to large, dry containments like TMI [Three Mile Island]. And it doesn’t provide as much of an extra layer of defense from reactor accidents as containments like TMI [do]. So there is a great deal of concern that if the core does melt, the containment will not be able to survive. And if the containment doesn’t survive, we have a worst-case situation.”

And the Japanese nuclear safety agency adds to the concern:

The agency said while the reactor appears to have partially retained its function to contain radiation leaks, there’s a strong possibility that some part of the reactor is now damaged and the containment function is weakening.



Making a Case for NPR

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 25th, 2011 4:46 am by HL

Making a Case for NPR
Granted, the person making the points about NPR’s virtues in this Wall Street Journal Op-Ed piece is Steve Inskeep, who is himself a host of NPR’s “Morning Edition.” But he brings in some data about who’s actually tuning in that might surprise longtime listeners as well as detractors.  —KA Steve Inskeep in The Wall Street Journal: With those values in mind, let’s consider the fundamental question: the accusation of “liberal bias” at NPR, which drives many critics calling to eliminate its federal funding. It’s not my job as a reporter to address the funding question. But I can point out that the recent tempests over “perceived bias” have nothing to do with what NPR puts on the air. The facts show that NPR attracts a politically diverse audience of 33.7 million weekly listeners to its member stations on-air. In surveys by GfK MRI, most listeners consistently identify themselves as “middle of the road” or “conservative.” Millions of conservatives choose NPR, even with powerful conservative alternatives on the radio. Read more

Granted, the person making the points about NPR’s virtues in this Wall Street Journal Op-Ed piece is Steve Inskeep, who is himself a host of NPR’s “Morning Edition.” But he brings in some data about who’s actually tuning in that might surprise longtime listeners as well as detractors.? —KA

Steve Inskeep in The Wall Street Journal:

With those values in mind, let’s consider the fundamental question: the accusation of “liberal bias” at NPR, which drives many critics calling to eliminate its federal funding. It’s not my job as a reporter to address the funding question. But I can point out that the recent tempests over “perceived bias” have nothing to do with what NPR puts on the air.

The facts show that NPR attracts a politically diverse audience of 33.7 million weekly listeners to its member stations on-air. In surveys by GfK MRI, most listeners consistently identify themselves as “middle of the road” or “conservative.” Millions of conservatives choose NPR, even with powerful conservative alternatives on the radio.

Read more

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David Misch: Votes for Zygotes!

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 25th, 2011 4:45 am by HL

David Misch: Votes for Zygotes!
Momentum is growing in several states to classify fetuses as human beings. I assume this is due to a fervent desire to help the natally…

The Disappearing Tweets Of Newt Gingrich
Now that Newt Gingrich understands that his past statements are going to extensively mined for evidence of flipping and flopping, it makes sense that suddenly,…

Lorelei Kelly: Meet the New Soviets: Gingrich, Walker, Breitbart
Like alot of news junkies, my laptop is about to explode because of all the open windows streaming live. From Wisconsin to Libya, Egypt and…


Beck Twists Statement By Obama Adviser To Portray Her As Anti-Israel

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 25th, 2011 4:44 am by HL

Beck Twists Statement By Obama Adviser To Portray Her As Anti-Israel

Glenn Beck played an edited video clip of Obama adviser Samantha Power to suggest she favors a “mammoth protection force” to “protect against Israel.” In fact, Power was asked what would be necessary to stop a move toward genocide by “one party or another” in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; she said it may require investment in a new Palestinian state and a “meaningful military presence.”

Beck Portrays Edited Power Clip As Evidence She Favors “Mammoth Protection Force” Against Israel

Beck: Power Was Asked “What Her Policy Would Be If She Were To Advise The President On Israeli-Palestinian Issues.” From the March 24 edition of Fox News’ Glenn Beck:

BECK: [Power is] currently an adviser to Obama on foreign policy. She wrote a book called The Problem From Hell [sic: A Problem From Hell]. Do we happen to have that book here? Here it is. The Problem From Hell [sic], right here. It’s all about genocide. Obama called her after reading her book on genocide. But it really wasn’t — it really wasn’t Obama. Because then he left to Harvard — she left to Harvard to work for Obama, and she became his foreign policy adviser.

So, she’s in the White House. But it was more than just a book. See, this book is really quite anti-Israel, because they’re being played out right now. Before she was officially advising the president, someone else asked her what her policy would be if she were to advise the president on Israeli-Palestinian issues. Now, listen. Here’s how she responds. Watch.

POWER [P]utting something on the line might mean alienating a domestic constituency of tremendous political and financial import. It may more crucially mean sacrificing — or investing, I think, more than sacrificing — literally billions of dollars not in servicing Israelis’, you know, military, but actually investing in the new state of Palestine, in investing billions of dollars it would probably take also to support I think what will have to be a mammoth protection force — [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 3/24/11]

Beck: Power Said We Need A “Mammoth Protection Force” To “Protect Against Israel.” Immediately after the clip of Power aired, Beck said:

BECK: A mammoth. Let’s remember this. A mammoth — is it three Ms or one? Three. It’s not very often that a bad speller gets the word “mammoth” — mammoth. Do you know how bad this job is for somebody who’s a really lousy speller?

Mammoth protection force. Let’s remember that. So now she’s an adviser. She’s saying that we have to stop investing in Israel and start investing in this new Palestinian state, and it’s a mammoth protection force that they need, one that would protect against Israel. OK? [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 3/24/11]

Beck Website Falsely Asserts That In Clip, Power “Calls For Invasion Of Israel.” A post on GlennBeck.com, headlined “From TV: Obama advisor calls for invasion of Israel,” highlighted a longer clip of Power’s statement:

[GlennBeck.com, 3/24/11]

In Fact, Power Said “Meaningful Military Presence” May Be Needed To Stop A Move Toward Genocide By “One Party Or Another”

Question To Power: “Without Asking You To Address The Palestine-Israel Problem,” What Would Need To Be Done If “One Party Or Another” Were “Moving Toward Genocide?” From an undated 2002 edition of Conversations With History, a program produced by the University of California-Berkeley Institute of International Studies:

HARRY KREISLER (host): Let me give you a thought experiment here, without asking you to address the Palestine-Israel problem: Let’s say you were an adviser to the president of the United States. How would, in response to current events, would you advise him to put a structure in place to monitor that situation, at least one party or another be looking like they might be moving toward genocide? [Conversations With History, UC-Berkeley Institute of International Studies via YouTube, accessed 3/24/11]

Power Responded By Saying Investment In A New Palestinian State And A “Meaningful Military Presence” May Be Needed. Power’s response (with the section Beck excerpted in bold):

POWER: Well, I don’t think that in any of the cases, a shortage of information is the problem, and I actually think in the Palestine-Israeli situation, there’s an abundance of information, and what we don’t need is some kind of early warning mechanism there. What we need is a willingness to actually put something on the line in sort of helping the situation. And putting something on the line might mean alienating a domestic constituency of tremendous political and financial import. It may more crucially mean sacrificing — or investing, I think, more than sacrificing — literally billions of dollars not in servicing Israelis’, you know, military but actually in investing in the new state of Palestine, in investing billions of dollars it would probably take also to support I think what will have to be a mammoth protection force, not of the old, you know, Srebrenica kind or the Rwanda kind, but a meaningful military presence, because it seems to me at this stage — and this is true of actual genocides as well and not just, you know, major human rights abuses, which we’re seeing there. But — is that you have to go in as if you’re serious, you have to put something on the line. And unfortunately, imposition of a solution on unwilling parties is dreadful. I mean, it’s a terrible thing to do; it’s fundamentally undemocratic. But sadly, you know — we don’t just have a democracy here either. We have a liberal democracy. There are certain sets of principles that guide, you know, our policy, or that are meant to, anyway. And there, it’s essential that some set of principles becomes the benchmark, rather than a deference to people who are fundamentally politically destined to destroy the lives of their own people, and by that I mean what Tom Friedman has called “Sharafat.” I mean, I do think in that sense, there’s — that both political leaders have been dreadfully irresponsible, and unfortunately, it does require external intervention which, very much like the Rwanda scenario — that thought experiment, of “if we had intervened early” — any intervention is going to come under fierce criticism, but we have to think about lesser evils, especially when the human stakes are just becoming ever more pronounced. [Conversations With History, UC-Berkeley Institute of International Studies via YouTube, accessed 3/24/11]


Allen Stanford Drops Suit Against Feds For Allegedly Violating Constitutional Rights

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 25th, 2011 4:43 am by HL

Allen Stanford Drops Suit Against Feds For Allegedly Violating Constitutional Rights
Alleged ponzi-schemer Allen Stanford has dropped a lawsuit seeking $7.2 billion from federal law enforcement because he says they violated his constitutional rights, but indicated that he could refile once the criminal case against him concludes….

Arizona Revives ‘Birther’ Bill
Arizona’s ‘birther’ bill is back. Legislators passed a bill out of committee Tuesday that would make presidential candidates provide copies of their birth certificates in order to qualify for the ballot….



The Tattlesnake — Wordy-Gurdy Name Quiz

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 25th, 2011 4:40 am by HL

The Tattlesnake — Wordy-Gurdy Name Quiz
Just for fun, grab a pencil and paper and try to find the three-word name combinations of prominent people in politics, history and the arts from each clue. Example: Clue: Hit the road, Congressman Name: Ray Charles Rangel 1. Clue: Piano Man Sun-Tanned 2. Clue: Shrugged the Aqua Buddha Senator 3. Clue: Blond-Haired De-Angler 4. Clue: Offbeat Comedian Astroturfer 5. […]


U.N. Reported Only a Fraction of Civilian Deaths from U.S. Raids in Afghanistan

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 25th, 2011 4:39 am by HL

U.N. Reported Only a Fraction of Civilian Deaths from U.S. Raids in Afghanistan
If the same law used in counting victims of Taliban assassinations were applied to those targeted in night raids, the victims would have to be considered civilian casualties.


As the Global Economy Trembles, Our Nation’s Capital Fiddles

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 25th, 2011 4:38 am by HL

As the Global Economy Trembles, Our Nation’s Capital Fiddles
Why isn’t Washington responding? The world’s third largest economy suffers a giant earthquake, tsunami, and radiation dangers. A civil war in Libya and tumult in the Middle East cause crude-oil prices to climb. Poor harvests around the world make food…


Jon Stewart: The ONLY Major Media Figure Not Intimidated By The Lobby
For several years now Jon Stewart, host of The Daily Show has shown himself to be the only major media figure to fearlessly challenge the official “line” on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Repeatedly, he has slammed the occupation and has even…


Richard Clarke Says U.S. Chamber May Have Committed A Felony With Hacking Plot

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 25th, 2011 4:37 am by HL

Richard Clarke Says U.S. Chamber May Have Committed A Felony With Hacking Plot
Earlier this month, Richard Clarke, who served for both Democratic and Republican Presidents, including a stint as the cyber security czar for the Bush administration, denounced the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for plotting with a group of military contractors to hack into progressive groups. Clarke was in DC speaking at a cyber security conference hosted […]

Earlier this month, Richard Clarke, who served for both Democratic and Republican Presidents, including a stint as the cyber security czar for the Bush administration, denounced the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for plotting with a group of military contractors to hack into progressive groups. Clarke was in DC speaking at a cyber security conference hosted by Symantec. Although Clarke focused his remarks about the growing threat of global cyber terrorism, ThinkProgress spoke to the longtime public servant about the ChamberLeaks story we originally broke.

According to documents first reported by ThinkProgress, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s attorneys began working with three military contractors — Berico, HB Gary, and Palantir — to come up with a proposal to discredit groups like ThinkProgress, the SEIU, StopTheChamber.com, MoveOn.org, and others. The tactics proposed included spying on families, using malware computer viruses to steal private information, using fake documents to embarrass liberals, and creating fake identities to infiltrate their targets.

Clarke denounced the scandal in no uncertain terms. Noting accurately that the Chamber “took foreign money in the last election,” a story also uncovered by ThinkProgress, Clarke said the Chamber’s attorneys had conspired to commit a “felony”:

FANG: Hi. You talked a lot about classifying and recognizing cyber security threats, but you mostly focused on foreign threats. I’m curious about a story that broke last month, that the US Chamber of Commerce, the world’s largest trade association, based here in DC, had contracted or attempted to contract military defense firms like HB Gary Federal, Palantir, and Berico, to develop proposals to use the same type of cyber warfare tactics normally reserved for Jihadi websites against left-wing activists, trade — labor unions, and left of center think tanks here in America. What do you think about that type of threat from a lobbyist or a corporation targeting political enemies, or perceived enemies here in the US?

CLARKE: I think it’s a violation of 10USC. I think it’s a felony, and I think they should go to jail. You call them a large trade association, I call them a large political action group that took foreign money in the last election. But be that as it may, if you in the United States, if any American citizen anywhere in the world, because this is an extraterritorial law, so don’t think you can go to Bermuda and do it, if any American citizen anywhere in the world engages in unauthorized penetration, or identity theft, accessing a number through identity theft purposes, that’s a felony and if the Chamber of Commerce wants to try that, that’s fine with me because the FBI will be on their doorstep in a matter of hours.

Listen here:

Clarke, the author of a new book called Cyber War, was right to point out the plot by the Chamber’s attorneys to hack into progressive groups constitutes a felony. There are a number of federal and state statutes that prohibit the theft of private computer information.

Recently, Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) formally requested documents from the NSA and Defense Department relating to contracts with two of the firms involved in this scandal, Berico and HB Gary. Nineteen other lawmakers have called for a wider investigation.

ThinkFast: March 24, 2011
The progressive advocacy group Color of Change is mounting a campaign to urge the Huffington Post to stop giving a forum to “notorious liar and race-baiter Andrew Breitbart.” HuffPo responded by claiming that Breitbart’s “first post on our site drew over 1,635 comments,” thereby “validat[ing] the premise and the decision to publish his blog post.” […]

The progressive advocacy group Color of Change is mounting a campaign to urge the Huffington Post to stop giving a forum to “notorious liar and race-baiter Andrew Breitbart.” HuffPo responded by claiming that Breitbart’s “first post on our site drew over 1,635 comments,” thereby “validat[ing] the premise and the decision to publish his blog post.” Color of Change notes that HuffPost is validating “someone who has repeatedly sought to harm” black leaders and institutions.

Speaking at Vanderbilt University Tuesday, President Obama’s former Council of Economic Advisers Chair Christina Romer slammed the administration for “not doing enough” about unemployment. Deeming the 8.9% unemployment rate “an absolute crisis,” Romer — a proponent of “more aggressive government action” — said we have tools “we can use, and I think it’s shameful that we’re not using them.”

In a two-page letter to President Obama yesterday, Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said House members “are troubled that U.S. military resources were committed to war without clearly defining” the mission in Libya. While stating his respect for Obama’s authority, he demanded to know why the U.S. committed to “enforcing a U.N. resolution that is inconsistent with our stated policy goals and national interests.”

This weekend, Republican presidential hopeful Haley Barbour said he wasn’t involved in his lobbying firm’s efforts on behalf of the Mexican government to help promote a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants. But the Los Angeles Times reports today that Barbour’s assertion is “contradicted by the firm’s own federal filings, which describe him as a leader of the team assigned to the account.”

The “House Oversight and Government Reform Committee has scheduled an April 5 hearing to examine postal workers’ pay and benefits.” “The Postal Service must show Congress and the American people that it can pay its own way, because the numbers do not seem to add up,” said committee chairman Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA).

House Republicans voted to ban congressional earmarks last year, calling them the embodiment of everything wrong with Washington, but a new report shows Republicans left nearly half of that pork barrel spending in place. The Congressional Research Service report found $4.8 billion earmark spending left intact, most of it for defense-related spending.

In “one of the Obama administration’s most significant revisions to rules governing the investigation of terror suspects,” new rules allow the government to hold domestic-terror suspects longer than others without giving them a Miranda warning.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed an “aggressive” response to a bus bombing that killed one woman and injured dozens more, which came after Israeli strikes that killed numerous Palestinian civilians. Yesterday, Israeli jets struck a power plant in Gaza city, plunging much of the area into darkness.

And finally: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said that she’s not interested in another term at State or any other prestigious political office, and yesterday she told People just how modest she wants to go. Her next dream job? “Closet cleaner.” “I’ve been on the highest tightrope of American and global politics,” she told the magazine. “I want to do other things.”

For breaking news and updates throughout the day, follow ThinkProgress on Facebook and Twitter.


Patriotism conquers true love

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 25th, 2011 4:35 am by HL

Patriotism conquers true love
Al Kamen’s In the Loop column reveals how politicians’ patriotism can conquer true love.

Pressure building on Obama to clarify mission in Libya
President Obama’s move to join other nations in intervening militarily in Libya appears to have generated confusion — both as to the scope of the mission and to its ultimate end.

Poll suggests Venezuelans split between pro- and anti-Chavez camps; one-third undecided
CARACAS, Venezuela — A poll suggests Venezuelans with a preference are split between President Hugo Chavez and the opposition, although a sizable one third are undecided about whom they would vote for if elections were held soon.