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Archive for March 31st, 2011

Poll: 32% Approve of Tea Party

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 31st, 2011 4:47 am by HL

Poll: 32% Approve of Tea Party
The approval rating for the 2-year-old Tea Party movement fell to 32 percent in a CNN/Opinion Research corporation poll released Wednesday — the lowest it’s been since CNN first polled on it in January 2010. The biggest drop in the tea party movement’s favorability came among people who make less than $50,000 a year. In October, 30 percent in that income group said they had unfavorable views of the tea party. Now, 45 percent say the same.



Just shutup and be happy you weren’t executed

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 31st, 2011 4:46 am by HL

Just shutup and be happy you weren’t executed
The Roberts’ Court continues to call wild pitches the third-strike on your rights.

Protest over Citizens United but applicable to other decisions as well from takomabibelot at flickr.com

I do believe we’ve found the very model for the difference between Republican and Democratic Supreme Court appointees. The latter on occasion display legal competence and a least a soupçon of basic humanity:

A bitterly divided Supreme Court on Tuesday tossed out a jury verdict won by a New Orleans man who spent 14 years on death row and came within weeks of execution because prosecutors had hidden a blood test and other evidence that would have proven his innocence…

Justice Thomas described the case as a “single incident” in which mistakes were made. He said Thompson did not prove a pattern of similar violations that would justify holding the city’s government liable for the wrongdoing. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Antonin Scalia, Anthony M. Kennedy and Samuel A. Alito Jr. joined to form the majority.

However, Thompson’s lawyers showed that at least four prosecutors knew about the hidden blood test. They also showed evidence of other, similar cases in New Orleans in which key evidence was concealed from defense lawyers.

Prosecutors, like other government officials, have a degree of immunity under long-standing precedent when they are performing their legitimate duties as prosecutors. I’m trying to fathom what legitimate duty a prosecutor has in hiding blood tests to make sure an innocent man goes to jail, let alone gets executed.

But hey, 14 years out of your life and nearly being killed for a crime the prosecutor’s office knows you probably didn’t commit so it hides evidence?

No biggie to five of our callers of balls and strikes, all Republican appointees.

That’s Republican Justice. A license to future prosecutors to commit unfettered persecutions.

Late Late Night FDL: Sitting On Top Of The World
Bob Wills and his Texas PlayboysSitting On Top Of The World.

Bob Wills and his Texas PlayboysSitting On Top Of The World.

What’s on your mind?


White House Faces Congress About Libya

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 31st, 2011 4:45 am by HL

White House Faces Congress About Libya
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and others from the Obama administration finally dropped in on Capitol Hill on Wednesday to tell members of Congress what the deal is with the U.S.’ involvement in the Libyan uprising. Some on the receiving end …

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and others from the Obama administration finally dropped in on Capitol Hill on Wednesday to tell members of Congress what the deal is with the U.S.’ involvement in the Libyan uprising. Some on the receiving end …

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Obama, Meet Obama
Someone should introduce the Barack Obama who addressed the nation Monday on Libya to the Barack Obama who has been dancing around the edge of the budget fight.

By E.J. Dionne, Jr.

Someone should introduce the Barack Obama who addressed the nation Monday on Libya to the Barack Obama who has been dancing around the edge of the budget fight.


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Kent Greenfield: The Walmart Class Action and the Culture of Discrimination

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 31st, 2011 4:44 am by HL

Kent Greenfield: The Walmart Class Action and the Culture of Discrimination
If the questions earlier this week at the Supreme Court hearing about the huge discrimination suit again Walmart are any indication, it looks like hundreds of thousands of women are about to lose.

Richard (RJ) Eskow: By the Time You Read This: Why the Mortgage Crisis Dwarfs Almost Everything
The mortgage crisis in this country doesn’t get much attention in Washington these days, but it’s huge. It’s so huge, in fact, that it dwarfs…

Raymond J. Learsy: Obama Echoes The American Petroleum Institute Mantra
Yes, we need to significantly diminish our consumption of oil imported or otherwise for reasons of global warming, self reliance, security and economic rationality. Important…

Medical Marijuana Industry Rapidly Grows Mainstream
The medical marijuana industry is beginning to show its age….

Examination Reveals How Washington Influence Industry Has Adapted To Tea Party Era
The Tea Party movement is as deeply skeptical of big business as it is of big government. Yet an examination of the Institute for Liberty…


Right-Wing Media Ready To Impeach Obama, Again

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 31st, 2011 4:43 am by HL

Right-Wing Media Ready To Impeach Obama, Again

This month, right-wing media figures are arguing that President Obama should be impeached for actions he has taken with respect to Libya. Undermining the possibility that they really care about the constitutional issues involved, this argument is just the latest in the right-wing media’s neverending quest to see Obama impeached.

Conservative Media Agitate For Obama Impeachment Over Libya Intervention

Wash. Times‘ Kuhner: “Only One Remedy Will Teach [Obama] That He Cannot” “Cavalierly Circumvent” Constitution: “Impeachment.” In his March 24 Washington Times column, Jeffrey Kuhner wrote that “[t]he Libyan war is part of a pattern of Mr. Obama’s unethical and criminal behavior” and that “[i]f Republicans and conservatives are serious about restoring constitutional government, they will demand that Mr. Obama be impeached.” Kuhner continued:

Mr. Obama is a socialist thug. Since entering office, he has engaged in a massive, almost unprecedented power grab. He thinks he is above the law, that he can cavalierly circumvent the limits imposed by the Constitution. Only one remedy will teach him that he cannot do so: impeachment. [The Washington Times, 3/24/11]

WND’s Farah: “Yes, It’s Time To Impeach Obama.” In a March 29 column headlined, “Yes, it’s time to impeach Obama,” WorldNetDaily editor and CEO Joseph Farah — who has repeatedly called for Obama to be impeached — wrote:

Never before in the history of the United States has an occupant of the White House displayed less concern for the Constitution and the rule of law than Barack Obama.

It’s about time somebody said it: It’s time to impeach Obama.

Both Obama and his vice president stated explicitly and emphatically while serving in the U.S. Senate that the president did not have authority to take the nation into armed conflict without the express will of the U.S. Congress or unless the nation was under attack or faced imminent attack.

Sen. Joe Biden said a president who did so should be impeached.

I don’t often agree with Obama and Biden, but they were right then. And it’s time for them to be accountable to the same rule of law they saw so clearly in 2006 and 2007.

[…]

There were plenty of grounds to impeach Obama before Libya, as a WND special report prepared late last year revealed: jeopardizing America’s ability to defend itself; undermining the free-enterprise system; corrupting democratic institutions; transferring massive amounts of power and wealth from American citizens to extremist special-interest groups whose loyalty lies not with the Constitution but with a global socialist movement.

However, misusing the U.S. military forces for some globalist mission without any accountability to the people or the rule of law should represent the last straw for every American — no matter their political ideology.

[…]

It’s not enough for us to hold our collective breath until 2012, hoping America can find qualified, mature, experienced, pro-American, pro-Constitution leadership. Obama is systematically destroying the country and all it stands for.

It’s time to gear up the impeachment machinery. Let the opening argument be made by Obama and Biden themselves. [WorldNetDaily, 3/29/11]

Ace Of Spades: “Obama Never Went To Congress On Libya Because He Never Expected To Have To; Oh, And Impeach Him.” From a March 22 post on Ace of Spades titled, “Obama Never Went To Congress on Libya Because He Never Expected To Have To; Oh, and Impeach Him”:

The President has committed the United States to war and placed Service Members in danger without constitutionally-required authority to do so.

Waging war in violation of the U.S. Constitution sounds like a High Crime to me. So I’d like someone to explain to me why we shouldn’t be talking about impeachment right now. [Ace of Spades HQ, 3/22/11]

Right-Wing Media Saw Obama’s DOMA Decision As Grounds For Impeachment

Vadum: “So Many Reasons To Impeach Obama, Now He Gives Us A New One: DOMA.” In a February 24 post on his Twitter feed, Capital Research Center senior editor Matthew Vadum wrote:

The link Vadum included went to a post by Ben Stein on The American Spectator blog, in which Stein argued that Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder’s decision on the Defense of Marriage Act amounted to “a major constitutional coup.” [Matthew Vadum, Twitter, 2/24/11]

Gingrich Flirts With Notion Of Obama Impeachment Over DOMA, Then Backtracks. In an interview with Newsmax TV, then-Fox News contributor Newt Gingrich asserted that Obama “is breaking his word to the American people over the Defense of Marriage Act. When the host asked, “Is what he’s doing impeachable in your view?” Gingrich replied: “I think that’s something you get to much later. But I think clearly it is a dereliction of duty, clearly it is a violation of his constitutional oath, and clearly it is something which cannot be allowed to stand.” When the host pressed further, “At what point would the House or would you recommend the House consider articles of impeachment for that?” Gingrich replied: “Look, I don’t think these guys set out to cause a constitutional crisis. … I think that they didn’t understand the implication that having a president personally suspend a law is clearly unconstitutional. This is an impossible precedent.” [Newsmax TV interview, 2/25/11]

  • Gingrich later backtracked, reportedly issuing a statement saying that “Congress has every responsibility to demand President Obama live up to his constitutional obligations, but impeachment is clearly not an appropriate action.” [Politico, 2/25/11]

Fox Nation Promotes Gingrich’s Flirtation With Obama Impeachment. With the headline, “Gingrich Warns of Constitutional Crisis if Obama Isn’t Stopped,” Fox Nation promoted Gingrich’s suggestion that Obama’s DOMA decision could be an impeachable offense:

[Fox Nation, 2/26/11]

In Fact, Both Obama And The Justice Department Have Pledged To Continue Enforcing DOMA. In a statement, Holder acknowledged that, although the administration will not provide a legal defense in court of Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, the Obama administration will continue to enforce the law while court challenges to the section continue. Furthermore, a 1994 memorandum issued by the Department of Justice cites numerous Supreme Court decisions establishing the legal basis for the Executive Branch to not enforce a statute it deems unconstitutional. [Equality Matters, 2/24/11]

Fox Contributor Pushed For Obama Impeachment Over Egypt Crisis

Fox Contributor Tammy Bruce Calls For Obama To Be Investigated, Possibly Impeached Over Egypt. In a series of posts on her Twitter feed, Fox News contributor Tammy Bruce called for Obama to be investigated and possibly impeached over the crisis in Egypt:

[Tammy Bruce, Twitter, 2/1/11]

Fox Nation Jumps On Tammy Bruce’s Obama Impeachment Bandwagon. Fox Nation linked to an article on Bruce’s tweets calling for investigations into, and possible impeachment of, Obama over the crisis in Egypt:

[Fox Nation, 2/3/11]

Right-Wing Media Called For Obama’s Impeachment Over Health Care Reform Bill

Kuhner: Passing Health Reform Using So-Called Self-Executing Rule “Would Open Mr. Obama … To Impeachment.” In a Washington Times column headlined, “Impeach the president?” Kuhner argued that passing health care reform using a legislative procedure called a “self-executing rule”– a common and perfectly constitutional procedure — would “replace the rule of law with arbitrary one-party rule. It violates the entire basis of our constitutional government — meeting the threshold of ‘high crimes and misdemeanors.’ ” [The Washington Times, 3/17/10]

Conservative Media Use Phony Sestak Scandal To Push Impeachment Of Obama

Fox News Personalities And Other Conservatives Pushed For Impeachment Over White House Involvement In 2010 Election. Right-wing media figures claimed that the White House offering former Rep. Joe Sestak a position on a presidential panel if he did not enter the Pennsylvania Senate primary constituted a “high crime” and an “impeachable offense.” They made similar assertions with regard to their false claim that the White House offered Andrew Romanoff a job in exchange for dropping out of Colorado’s U.S. Senate election.

  • In fact, numerous legal experts who assessed the Sestak case concluded that no law was broken, and political and legal experts and historians have noted that such offers are commonplace. Likewise, Richard Painter, former White House ethics adviser to President Bush, has called it a “real stretch” to say the White House’s conversations with Romanoff violated the law. [Media Matters, 10/14/10]

Morris Predicts Victorious GOP Will Convene An “Impeachment Panel” Over Sestak, Romanoff Allegations. On the June 3, 2010, edition of Fox News’ On the Record, Fox News political analyst Dick Morris said: “I’ll bet that the Republicans win majorities in both houses in the November elections and convene an impeachment panel” regarding the allegations about the White House’s discussions with Sestak and Romanoff because it “is very clear” those conversations were illegal. [Fox News, On the Record with Greta Van Susteren, 6/3/10]

Hannity: “De Facto Bribe” To Sestak Is “An Impeachable Offense.” On the May 24, 2010, edition of his Fox News show, Sean Hannity asked Morris: “This, at a minimum, we’re talking about a congressman offered a high-ranking job, this is a de facto bribe, no?” Morris replied, “It is,” later adding that the offer might be “a high crime and misdemeanor.” Hannity then asked: “That would be — in other words — an impeachable offense.” Morris replied, “Absolutely.” [Fox News, Hannity, 5/24/10]

Morris: “If That Offer Were Conveyed, I Think That That Would Be, In My Judgment, Grounds For Impeachment — If Obama Knew About It.” On the May 28, 2010, edition of Fox News’ Hannity, Morris said that with regard to Sestak, Bill Clinton “was acting as an agent of Rahm Emanuel. And the statute says ‘you may not offer something of value.’ Well, if it was valuable enough to possibly get him out of the race, it’s valuable enough to qualify under that statute.” He later added, “If that offer were conveyed, I think that that would be, in my judgment, grounds for impeachment … if Obama knew about it.” [Fox News, Hannity, 5/28/10]

Beck: “If This Guy From Pennsylvania Is Telling The Truth, Then Someone Has Just Committed An Impeachable Offense.” On the May 28, 2010, of his radio show, Glenn Beck said of Sestak, “If this guy from Pennsylvania is telling the truth, then someone has just committed an impeachable offense, a felony. There is prison time.” [Premiere Radio Networks, The Glenn Beck Program, 5/28/10]

Limbaugh: “We Have A Potential Impeachable Offense With This Joe Sestak Thing.” On the May 26, 2010, broadcast of his show, Rush Limbaugh said: “We have a potential impeachable offense with this Joe Sestak thing. Was he or was he not offered a federal job in exchange for not running for the Senate in the primary against Arlen Specter?” [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 5/26/10]

Doocy Repeated Morris’s Claim That Sestak Offer Could Be “An Impeachable Offense.” On the May 25, 2010, edition of Fox & Friends, co-hosts Gretchen Carlson and Steve Doocy speculated on the potential legal repercussions of the Sestak offer. Carlson said, “The reporter there says what’s the harm; the harm is this: it could be illegal! It could be illegal to offer somebody a job to drop out of a race.” She went on to say “somebody’s going to get them under oath. Hasn’t Darrell Issa already called for hearings on this?…Somebody’s going to get them under oath and somebody’s going to have to start telling the truth.” Doocy responded: “Dick Morris says that if this really happened, if for instance, he was offered a job to drop out, that is an impeachable offense!” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 5/25/10]

Farah: “Obama’s Stonewalling Over The Allegations Of Sestak, Is The Most Nixonian Reason Of All” For Impeachment. In a June 1, 2010, column headlined, “Impeach the stonewalling Obama,” WorldNetDaily editor and CEO Joseph Farah argued that there are “many reasons to impeach Barack Obama,” but “Obama’s stonewalling over the allegations of Rep. Joe Sestak, D-Pa., is the most Nixonian reason of all.” He added: “Yes, it’s time to start talking about impeachment. Ultimately, that was the only thing that shook the truth out of the trees during Watergate.” [WorldNetDaily, 6/1/10]

Right-Wing Media Suggest Obama Should Be Impeached Over Immigration Issues

Gaffney: Obama “May Well” Have “Engaged In An Impeachable Offense” In Disputed Kyl Conversation If “Something Bad Happens Across That Border.” On the July 13, 2010, edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends, Washington Times columnist Frank Gaffney said that according to Tom Tancredo, “When Senator John Kyl says the President isn’t going to close the border or do steps to close the border until he gets a deal giving amnesty to illegal aliens already here, he’s actually engaged in an impeachable offense.” Gaffney added, “I don’t know about that, but I can tell you this, if something bad happens across that border as a result of these kinds of things not being stopped, that may well be.” The White House had already flatly denied Kyl’s claim that Obama had made such a statement, and Kyl subsequently walked back his allegation. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 7/13/10]

Napolitano: Obama Is “Violating His Oath” And Committing “Impeachable Offense” If He Grants “Amnesty.” On Alex Jones’ show, Fox Business’ Andrew Napolitano played along with Jones’ conspiracy theorizing that Obama is planning on committing “treason” and an “act of sedition against our republic.” Napolitano recited a litany of complaints, saying Obama is “effectively writing laws himself. That is on its face unconstitutional.” [Genesis Communication Networks, The Alex Jones Show, 6/24/10]

Conservative Media: Impeach Obama “Before He Destroys Our Nation!”

Farah: “Obama Should Be Impeached.” In a November 1, 2010, column headlined, “What’s wrong with impeachment?” Farah wrote lamented the fact that “there is ‘not a chance’ Republicans in the House will impeach Obama,” arguing that “[t]his isn’t about ‘process.’ It’s about the Constitution. It’s not just about Obama ‘misusing’ authority. It’s about Obama exceeding his constitutional authority.” Farah added: “The future of our nation is at stake. The survival of our nation is at stake.” He concluded: “Obama must be challenged on every front – even if we don’t win every battle. It’s time to go on offense, buddy. We won’t get a second chance this time. Obama should be impeached.” [WorldNetDaily, 11/1/10]

Savage: “I Think It Is Time To Start Talking About Impeachment.” On the March 10, 2009, edition of his radio show, Michael Savage said: “Well, what I don’t like is that this guy is doing this by executive order, one after the other, and the American people are sitting like a bunch of schmucks watching a dictatorship emerge in front of their eyes.” He continued: “And I think it is time to start talking about impeachment! Somebody’s gotta get this guy under control. He’s out of control.” [Talk Radio Network, The Savage Nation, 3/10/09]

WND: “Impeach And Convict Obama Now, Before He Destroys Our Nation!” In a March 5 WorldNetDaily piece headlined, “Obama: Impeach and convict now!” Larry Klayman wrote: “[F]rom what has already occurred, the offenses of the ‘mullah in chief’ are ‘already’ so compelling as to warrant immediate impeachment and conviction for his high crimes and misdemeanors, before the United States is totally destroyed by him.” After listing several reasons ” of the most impeachable and convictable of President Obama’s offenses,” including “his recent refusal to enforce the Defense of Marriage Act,” Klayman concluded: “These are just a few of the compelling reasons to impeach and convict Obama now, before he destroys our nation!” [WorldNetDaily, 3/5/11]

WND’s Floyd And Mary Beth Brown: “The Groundswell Of Calls For The Impeachment Of Barack Hussein Obama Is Growing.” An October 8, 2009, column by WorldNetDaily columnists Floyd and Mary Beth Brown claimed that “discussion of impeachment is mushrooming amongst conservative activists” and that “[t]he groundswell of calls for the impeachment of Barack Hussein Obama is growing.” The Browns wrote that “his worldview makes Barack Hussein Obama a very dangerous man, and a threat to your personal liberty.” [WorldNetDaily, 10/8/09]

Breitbart: “I Want There To Be An Impeachment” Of Obama. On the November 5, 2009, broadcast of Fox News’ Red Eye, Andrew Breitbart said: “You know what I — where I stand on — I want there to be an impeachment, and I want Andy Levy to go after me at the halftime report for my wanting Obama impeached.” [Fox News, Red Eye, 11/5/09]

Floyd Brown: After Republicans Take Congress, “The Next, Most Important Step For Them Is To Impeach Barack Hussein Obama.” At WND’s “Taking America Back 2010” convention, Floyd Brown said, “Every morning I get down on my knees and I pray that we’re going to have a dramatic change in the makeup of Congress in November.” Brown went on to say, “And, when that comes … the new members of Congress should look look to the Constitution,” which will convince them that “the next, most important step for them is to impeach Barack Hussein Obama, and they have all the grounds to do it.” [WorldNetDaily, “Taking Back 2010” convention, 9/21/10]


Jon Kyl To Muslim Group: Why Doesn’t Your Website Condemn Violent Rhetoric? (VIDEO)

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 31st, 2011 4:41 am by HL

Jon Kyl To Muslim Group: Why Doesn’t Your Website Condemn Violent Rhetoric? (VIDEO)
Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) asked a representative of the group Muslim Advocates on Tuesday why the organization’s website didn’t specifically condemn violent rhetoric.

Judge Denies Scott Bloch’s Motion To Reconsider Guilty Plea In ‘Geeks On Call’ Case
A judge’s decision to reject a request to reconsider former Bush administration official Scott Bloch’s guilty plea because he didn’t know he’d have to spend a minimum of a month behind bars is another indication the former head of the Office of Special Counsel is likely headed to prison. Bloch is due in court at 4 p.m. today.


Was Schumer Just Being “Old School”?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 31st, 2011 4:38 am by HL

Was Schumer Just Being “Old School”?
While most saw Sen. Charles Schumer’s (D-NY) mute button incident as an accidental gaffe by the veteran politician, Jonathan Cohn isn’t so sure.

“I also couldn’t help think back to a classic West Wing episode, when the fictional President Bartlet (played by actor Martin Sheen) was beginning his re-election campaign. After the end of a television interview, Bartlet lets slip that his opponent isn’t too bright–or, as Bartlet puts it, that he has a ‘.22 caliber mind in a .357 magnum world.’ It turns out the television camera was still running. The press ends up reporting the comment, ostensibly embarrassing Bartlet but, of course, reinforcing the idea that his opponent is dumb. Later, press secretary C.J. Cregg (played by Allison Janney) asks Bartlet whether he knew the camera was on, making the comment purposely. When Bartlet smiles and walks away, she says ‘that was old school.'”

Arizona Democrats Waiting for Giffords
Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) “is still in the hospital, but some of her most ardent backers are so enamored of the idea of her running for the Senate that they describe the inevitable campaign commercials: the deep-voiced narrator recounting what happened to her, the images of her wounded, then recovering and speaking into the camera alongside her astronaut husband to call on Arizonans to unite,” the New York Times reports.

“While it might be wishful thinking, Ms. Giffords’s noncampaign is already having a major effect on Arizona politics; other prospective Democratic candidates say they feel compelled not to jump in unless she bows out, allowing Republicans to get a head start organizing their campaigns.”

Said one prospective candidate: “I’m in but only if she’s not. A Democrat running against her would be doomed.”

Ohio Next to Curb Collective Bargaining Rights
Ohio’s Republican-controlled legislature passed legislation that would “curb the collective bargaining rights of about 350,000 state employees, and Gov. John Kasich (R) said he will sign it into law,” according to Reuters.

“Similar measures have spurred protests in Wisconsin, Tennessee, Michigan and other states. Ohio Democrats hope to put the new law on the ballot for a referendum vote in November in an effort to overturn it… While Wisconsin has gained more national attention, Ohio is far more important to unions. It has the sixth largest number of public sector union members among all the 50 U.S. states, twice the number of Wisconsin. With many auto and steel and manufacturing plants, Ohio is also a union bellwether.”

Democrats Trail in Generic Ballot
A new Quinnipiac poll finds Republicans leading Democrats in the generic congressional ballot by three points, 40% to 31%.


Libya Speech — Echoes of the ’90s and ’00s, Guideposts for the ’10s

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 31st, 2011 4:37 am by HL

Libya Speech — Echoes of the ’90s and ’00s, Guideposts for the ’10s
For a sizable segment of the foreign policy community, the genocides and humanitarian crises of the 1990s were a formative experience. In other words, as we debate the response to Libya, many of us can’t helping thinking back to the…


Last Friday: No Way Out
Last Friday, at the initiative of Peace Now, the Israeli left held a unity conference in Tel-Aviv: representatives from various streams, or rivulets, Labor, Meretz, Solidarity, and various civil rights NGOs, came together to hear the usual suspects. How do…

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Christie Defends Muslim Judicial Appointee: ?I Am Proud To Have Nominated Him?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 31st, 2011 4:36 am by HL

Christie Defends Muslim Judicial Appointee: ?I Am Proud To Have Nominated Him?

This week, considerable attention has been paid to presidential hopeful Herman Cain’s statements – first reported by ThinkProgress — that he would not appoint any Muslims to his cabinet if elected because “I get upset when the Muslims in this country, some of them, try to force their Sharia law onto the rest of us.”

Cain’s Islamophobia sadly fits into a pattern of conservative attacks on the Muslim faith. In recent months, Rep. Allen West (R-FL), who has said that “Islam is a totalitarian theocratic political ideology,” is now a star within the Republican Party. Rep. Peter King held controversial hearings depicting mainstream Muslim groups as enablers of terrorism. And in 2007, likely GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney reportedly said he would not appoint any Muslims to his national security team if elected president.

But one prominent Republican is bucking the trend: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. As ThinkProgress noted earlier this year, Christie appointed Sohail Mohammed to serve on the New Jersey Superior Court. Mohammed is an immigration lawyer who defended many Muslims caught up in post-Sept. 11 dragnets. Yesterday, Christie was challenged at a town hall about the appointment, and offered a stirring defense:

“If it is disqualifying for the bench to be an Arab-American in New Jersey who represents innocent people and gets them released, then this isn’t the state I believe it is,” Christie said. “I’ve known this man for 10 years. He’s a good, decent American and New Jerseyan, he’s an outstanding lawyer, and he deserves the opportunity to be on the bench. I am proud to have nominated him.”

When Christie first appointed Mohammed, right-wing reaction was fierce. In a widely linked post, blogger Daniel Greenfield wrote that “New Jersey, the Garden State, has just taken its first step toward becoming the Sharia State,” and criticized Christie for being “willing to stand up to the teacher’s union, but not to the terrorist’s union.” It’s hard to imagine the xenophobic elements on the right will be moved by Christie’s latest rousing defense of his Muslim appointee.

Rand Paul Falsely Claims That Public Workers Don?t Contribute To Their Pension And Health Care Plans

All across the country, right wing legislators are taking aim at Main Street Americans by attacking their collective bargaining rights. These lawmakers are stripping public sector unions of their collective bargaining rights and/or slashing their wages, benefits, and retirement funds.

Yesterday, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) appeared on Fox Business Network to continue this war on labor rights, using his time on the station to attack unions and claim their pay and benefits are too high. At one point during the interview, the senator began attacking “government unions,” saying they are “going to have to” contribute to their pensions and health care plans, just like Paul has to as a senator, and that Kentuckians back home don’t have any sympathy for government union workers because they pay for their retirements:

PAUL: Federal employees have almost double the compensation that private employees have. […] Maybe these government unions are going to have to contribute to their pension, maybe they’re going to have to pay something for their health care, like I’m having to pay, so when I hear regular taxpayers in Kentucky they don’t have a lot of sympathy because they’re paying high insurance premiums and they have to pay for their own retirements.

Watch it:

The problem with Paul’s assault on public employee unions is that it’s based on a false premise. Public workers at all level of government have to contribute to their pension and health care plans. Federal employees contribute to the Federal Employment Retirement System (FERS), which requires them to contribute to the fund at a rate equivalent to one percent of their yearly salary. Meanwhile, their health care, just like Paul’s, is covered by the Federal Employee Health Benefits (FEHB) program, which also requires employees to share the cost with their employer, usually 25 percent of premiums according to the Office of Personnel Management.

State workers like those Paul and his right-wing colleagues have been scolding often have far less generous plans than federal legislators. Lawmakers only contribute “1.3 percent of their salaries” into their defined benefit plan, while “the midpoint for defined-benefit pension contributions from state workers” is actually almost 4 times higher, at 5 percent. In Wisconsin, state employees actually pay the entirety of their pension plans via contributions from their salaries. Health care plans vary by state, but in Wisconsin public employees generally pay 6 percent of their premiums.

Paul is certainly entitled to his own opinion on public employee unions, but to coin an old phrase, he isn’t entitled to his own facts.


Ending Saturday mail could save billions, GAO says

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 31st, 2011 4:35 am by HL

Ending Saturday mail could save billions, GAO says
Postal officials — eager to stave off an estimated $7 billion in losses this year — think they can save about $3 billion annually by stopping weekend mail deliveries.

Libya: Sorting out the facts on the ground


In Libya, CIA is gathering intelligence on rebels
Teams are working to identify the rebels and their capabilities, and Obama has authorized possible broader action.

Don Rhodes, confidant and longtime aide to George H.W. Bush, dies at 73
Don Rhodes, a longtime aide to the president’s family, taught the Bush children to drive.

Senator: Brady laws have saved lives