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Archive for April 3rd, 2011

Sunday Talking Heads: April 3, 2011

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on April 3rd, 2011 4:45 am by HL

Sunday Talking Heads: April 3, 2011
Libya’s on the top of everyone’s list again this week. 60 Minutes features foreclosure fraud, I wonder where their sympathies lie. Glenn Greenwald and Daniel Ellsberg are Virtually Speaking tonight, 7pm ET. Siun hosts FDL Book Salon about the Goldstone Report. Beyond Borders is the Movie Night Monday feature.

Libya’s on the top of everyone’s list again this week.  60 Minutes features foreclosure fraud, I wonder where their sympathies lie.

Glenn Greenwald and Daniel Ellsberg are Virtually Speaking tonight, 7pm ET. Siun hosts FDL Book Salon about the Goldstone Report. Beyond Borders is the Movie Night Monday feature.

Our friends watertiger and Scarecrow earn the hat tip for the flashmob video.

Washington Journal.

ABC’s This Week: Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL). Then, President Obama’s former National Security Adviser Gen. Jim Jones(Ret.). Roundtable: George Will, Paul Krugman, Torie Clark, David Ignatius.

CBS’ Face The Nation: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC).

Chris Matthews.

CNN’s State of the Union: President Obama’s former National Security Adviser Gen. Jim Jones (Ret.). Then, Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) and Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA). Roundtable: Donna Brazile and Bill Bennett.

Fareed Zakaria – GPS: Zbigniew Brzezinski, weighs in on the turmoil in the Middle East and America’s response.  Roundtable: Bernard-Henri Lévy, French Envoy to the Libyan resistance; Richard Haass, President of the Council on Foreign Relations; Robert Baer, a former CIA officer and author of See No Evil: The True Story of a Ground Soldier in the CIA’s War on Terrorism; Robert Worth, Middle East correspondent for the New York Times.  Then Noman Benotman, “a Libyan who says he was there during the planning of 9/11 but now works on counterterrorism talks about what al Qaeda could be up to in his homeland.” Plus, “are robots now conquering Afghanistan?”

Fox News Sunday: Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), Chair, Budget Committee. Then Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL)Roundtable: Brit Hume, Mara Liasson, Bill Kristol, Juan Williams. Power Player of the Week: Chris Dodd, Chair & CEO, Motion Picture Association of America.

NBC’s Meet The Press: Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), Assistant Majority Leader.  Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI), Chair, Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. Roundtable: President, National Urban League Marc Morial, Mike Murphy, E.J. Dionne, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Daniel Yergin, Chair, IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates.

Newsmakers: With the latest short-term Continuing Resolution about to expire on Friday, April 8, Rep. Norm Dicks (D-WA), ranking member of the Appropriations Cmte., said that allowing a government shutdown would be irresponsible of lawmakers and the “worst possible outcome” of the months of negotiations…

Q & A: Stephen Goldsmith, Deputy Mayor of New York City. He is currently on leave as a professor at the J.F.K. School of Government at Harvard.

Religion $ Ethics.

60 Minutes: The Next Housing Shock – As more and more Americans face mortgage foreclosure, banks’ crucial ownership documents for the properties are often unclear and are sometimes even bogus – a condition that’s causing lawsuits and hampering an already weak housing market.   (double segment)  Gospel for Teens – Lesley Stahl spends a year following the inspirational leader of a gospel music program for teenagers in Harlem and her students as they learn to sing this original American art form and build the confidence and character it inspires.

To The Contrary: Topics: 1- ‘Maternity tourism’ reignites the birthright citizenship debate; 2- Walmart vs. women workers; 3- Education Reform Expert Michelle Rhee wants to end teacher tenure. Panelists: Political Science Professor Lara Brown; The Heritage Foundation’s Jennifer Marshall; Global Summit of Women President Irene Natividad; and FOX News Political Analyst Angela McGlowan.

Univision’s Al Punto: Maria Corina Machado, Venezuelan Opposition Congresswoman; Keiko Fujimori, Peruvian Presidential Candidate “Fuerza 2011”; Hilda Solis, Secretary of Labor; Casto Ocando, Investigative Journalist; Diana Castillo and Karen Maldonado, Student Participants of “Es El Momento” Town Hall.

Virtually Speaking: Glenn Greenwald and Daniel Ellsberg talk about “WikiLeaks, Bradley Manning, and the future of civil liberties in the US.” 7pm ET.

C-SPAN’s Book TV: This month’s In-Depth features Ishmael Reed.

FDL Book Salon: The Goldstone Report.  “For the first time, a U.N. report accused the Palestinian side of grave breaches of international law, but it was the mission’s emphasis on Israeli atrocities—in particular its conclusion that Israel had engaged in a ‘deliberately disproportionate attack designed to punish, humiliate, and terrorize a civilian population’—that made it a political bombshell.”  Discussion with author Adam Horowitz, hosted by Siun, 5pm ET.

FDL Movie Night Monday: Beyond Borders, The Debate Over Human Migration. “Beyond Borders moves past the headlines and takes an in-depth look at the hot-button issues of legal and illegal immigration. Beyond Borders explores the psychological forces driving the immigration controversy from both sides of the debate.”  Come meet with writer/director/editor Brian Ging and Lisa Derrick, 8pm ET.



U.N. Staffers Killed in Afghan Protest

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on April 3rd, 2011 4:44 am by HL

U.N. Staffers Killed in Afghan Protest
The threatened, and now fulfilled, Quran-burning gesture by Florida pastor Terry Jones (pictured) sparked fatal consequences in Afghanistan on Friday, when protesters in the northern city of Mazir-e-Sharif stormed a United Nations compound and killed at least 20 employees, according to The Christian Science Monitor. The Christian Science Monitor: Today’s violence came after two or three hours of protests over the Florida Quran burning, which was broadcast online. Demonstrators started throwing stones at the UN compound then attempted to climb its walls and attacked guards. In addition to as many as 20 UN workers being killed, at least four protestors died. The UN’s chief of mission in the city was injured but survived the attack. Afghanistan saw several protests when Mr. Jones previously planned to burn the Koran on the anniversary of 9/11 last year. The controversial pastor of Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Fla., decided not to go through with it at the time, largely due to a phone call from top Afghanistan commander US Gen. David Petraeus, who warned that the defamation of the Quran would likely cost the lives of US service men and women in Afghanistan. Read more

The threatened, and now fulfilled, Quran-burning gesture by Florida pastor Terry Jones (pictured) sparked fatal consequences in Afghanistan on Friday, when protesters in the northern city of Mazir-e-Sharif stormed a United Nations compound and killed at least 20 employees, according to The Christian Science Monitor.

The Christian Science Monitor:

Today’s violence came after two or three hours of protests over the Florida Quran burning, which was broadcast online. Demonstrators started throwing stones at the UN compound then attempted to climb its walls and attacked guards. In addition to as many as 20 UN workers being killed, at least four protestors died. The UN’s chief of mission in the city was injured but survived the attack.

Afghanistan saw several protests when Mr. Jones previously planned to burn the Koran on the anniversary of 9/11 last year. The controversial pastor of Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Fla., decided not to go through with it at the time, largely due to a phone call from top Afghanistan commander US Gen. David Petraeus, who warned that the defamation of the Quran would likely cost the lives of US service men and women in Afghanistan.

Read more


800 Dead in Ivory Coast Fighting
Continuing violence in the Ivory Coast has left at least 800 dead as fighters supporting the internationally recognized president Alassane Ouattara clashed with loyalists defending the incumbent Laurent Gbagbo, who refuses to leave office. —JCL The Guardian: The full horror of the violence sweeping Ivory Coast has emerged as the battle for Abidjan raged and thousands of civilians faced critical shortages. Forces loyal to President Laurent Gbagbo defied expectations by mounting stubborn resistance in the economic capital for a third day, raising fears of protracted urban warfare and soaring casualties. The heavy weapons fire and fighting left thousands of people barricaded inside their homes and in increasingly urgent need of food, water and medical treatment. Looting is rife amid a sense of lawlessness and anarchy. Deepening the fear in the capital, it was reported that at least 800 people were massacred in intercommunal violence in the western town of Duékoué, which fell to rebels last week. This was despite the presence of hundreds of UN peacekeepers there. Read more

Continuing violence in the Ivory Coast has left at least 800 dead as fighters supporting the internationally recognized president Alassane Ouattara clashed with loyalists defending the incumbent Laurent Gbagbo, who refuses to leave office. —JCL

The Guardian:

The full horror of the violence sweeping Ivory Coast has emerged as the battle for Abidjan raged and thousands of civilians faced critical shortages.

Forces loyal to President Laurent Gbagbo defied expectations by mounting stubborn resistance in the economic capital for a third day, raising fears of protracted urban warfare and soaring casualties. The heavy weapons fire and fighting left thousands of people barricaded inside their homes and in increasingly urgent need of food, water and medical treatment. Looting is rife amid a sense of lawlessness and anarchy.

Deepening the fear in the capital, it was reported that at least 800 people were massacred in intercommunal violence in the western town of Duékoué, which fell to rebels last week. This was despite the presence of hundreds of UN peacekeepers there.

Read more



Obama Urges Lawmakers To Reach Budget Agreement To Avert Government Shutdown

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on April 3rd, 2011 4:43 am by HL

Obama Urges Lawmakers To Reach Budget Agreement To Avert Government Shutdown
WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama pressed the House and Senate leaders Saturday to agree to a budget in time to avert what he says would…

Is Obama About To Make Washington’s Worst-Kept Secret Official?
WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama is about to make one of Washington’s worst kept secrets official: He wants a second term. Democratic officials familiar with…

Mitt Romney 2012 Strategy Runs Through New Hampshire, Nevada
LAS VEGAS — In his first presidential run in 2008, Mitt Romney sought back-to-back victories in Iowa and New Hampshire to propel him to the…


Fox Doesn’t Need To Understand Retiree Health Program To Call It A Union “Payoff”

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on April 3rd, 2011 4:42 am by HL

Fox Doesn’t Need To Understand Retiree Health Program To Call It A Union “Payoff”

Commenting on a program created by the Affordable Care Act, Fox News’ Clayton Morris falsely suggested that only states and unions received funds from the program, and Mike Huckabee called it a “political payoff” to unions. In fact, businesses are also benefitting from the program, which temporarily helps employers provide health benefits for retirees who do not yet qualify for Medicare.

Fox Falsely Suggests Early Retiree Reinsurance Program Doesn’t Benefit For-Profit Employers

Clayton Morris: “The Federal Government Has Been Reimbursing States And Unions.” During the April 2 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends Saturday, on-screen text mentioned that the Early Retiree Reinsurance Program (ERRP) provides funds to “states, unions & companies” but co-host Clayton Morris said only that the program “has been reimbursing states and unions to the tune of $1.8 billion”:

MORRIS: It seems every month we learn more and more what’s in this health care law and this morning we’re learning that the federal government has been reimbursing states and unions to the tune of $1.8 billion that we’ve already paid out. Is this anything other than a bailout? [Fox News, Fox & Friends Saturday, 4/2/11]

Mike Huckabee Said The Program Provides “Just Under $2 Billion Of Taxpayer Money To Prop Up Unions So They’ll Be Politically Strong.” From the April 2 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends Saturday:

HUCKABEE: This is not a bailout. This is a payoff. Let’s get blunt, this is political favoritism. Why the unions? Why not small business owners? Why not some guy running a dry cleaners store in a small community somewhere in Kansas? Because the unions are the backbone of the Democratic party’s political muscle. And so what they’re looking for is help us, prop us up. And just under $2 billion of taxpayer money to prop up unions so they’ll be politically strong is as blatant and overt a political payoff as I’ve seen in long time.

DAVE BRIGGS (co-host): It’s the Early Retirement Reinsurance Program. The United Auto Workers got a ton of money, by far the biggest recipient. [Fox News, Fox & Friends Saturday, 4/2/11]

In Fact, Private Companies Received Assistance From The Program

ERRP Designed To Encourage Health Plan Sponsors To Continue Offering Health Benefits For Early Retirees. From a March 31 report on ERRP, which was created by the Affordable Care Act:

People in the early retiree age group (i.e., ages 55 to 64) often face difficulties obtaining insurance in the individual market because of age or chronic conditions that make coverage unaffordable or inaccessible. The availability of group health insurance coverage for America’s retirees age 55 to 64 has declined significantly over the past 20 years, as the percentage of large firms providing workers with retirement health coverage has dropped from 66 percent to 28 percent. The ERRP was designed to stabilize this market by providing financial assistance to health plan sponsors that make coverage available to millions of early retirees and their families — including for-profit companies, schools and educational institutions, unions, State and local governments, religious organizations and other non-profit plan sponsors. The ERRP assists both early retirees, and any active workers covered under the same plan, by reimbursing participating plan sponsors that offer such benefits for a portion of the costs of providing health coverage to retirees age 55 to 64 and their families. ERRP subsidizes 80 percent of the actual cost of certain health expenses paid by the plan or by an early retiree or his/her enrolled spouse, surviving spouse, or dependent between a cost threshold ($15,000) and cost limit ($90,000). Costs reimbursed by ERRP include medical, surgical, hospital, behavioral health, prescription drug, and other benefits similar to those covered by Medicare. [AT&T Inc. (T), were among recipients of a government program that paid $1.8 billion toward elderly retirees’ health-care costs, a report shows.

[…]

The list includes Citigroup Inc. (C), which received $1.8 million; JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM), at $2.9 million; International Business Machines Corp. (IBM), at $13 million; Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), at $2.5 million; General Electric Co. (GE), at $37 million; Intel Corp. (INTC), at $950,000; and Procter & Gamble Co. (PG), at $6.6 million.

Larsen said yesterday the government didn’t limit which employers were eligible to apply for the fund.

“This program helps all companies to continue the retiree coverage they’re offering today,” he said. [Bloomberg, 4/1/11]

ERRP Recipients Must Provide Insurance To Early Retirees, And Very Few Small Businesses Do

Huckabee: “Why The Unions? Why Not Small Business Owners?” During the Fox & Friends Saturday segment, Huckabee stated of ERRP: “Let’s get blunt, this is political favoritism. Why the unions? Why not small business owners? Why not some guy running a dry cleaners store in a small community somewhere in Kansas?” [Fox News, Fox & Friends Saturday, 4/2/11]

Only Employers Who Have Group Health Plans With Early Retiree Benefits Qualified For Assistance. From to a Healthcare.gov report on the Early Retiree Reinsurance Program:

Eligibility Requirements

Employers and unions that maintain, either directly or through an insurer, an employment-based group health plan that provides health benefits to early retirees or the spouses, surviving spouses, and dependents of early retirees may participate in the ERRP. Sponsoring employers and unions that are accepted into the program can receive reinsurance reimbursement for a portion of the medical claims for health benefits, as specified by the Secretary, for early retirees age 55 and older who are not eligible for Medicare, and their spouses, surviving spouses, and dependents. [Healthcare.gov, 3/2/11, emphasis added]

Very Few Small Businesses Offer Retiree Health Benefits. The Kaiser Family Foundation’s 2010 survey of employer health benefits shows that only 3 percent of small firms with health plans provide retiree benefits:

Retiree health benefits are an important consideration for older workers making decisions about their retirement. Health benefits for retirees also provide an important supplement to Medicare for retirees age 65 or older. Among firms offering health benefits to their workers, large firms (200 or more workers) are much more likely than small firms (3-199 workers) to offer retiree health benefits. After falling dramatically in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the percentage of large firms (200 or more workers) offering retiree health benefits has remained relatively constant.

Twenty-eight percent of large firms (200 or more workers) that offer health benefits to their employees offer retiree coverage in 2010, similar to 30% in 2009, but down from 34% in 2005 and 66% in 1988 (Exhibit 11.1).1

Offering retiree health benefits varies considerably by firm characteristics.

  • Large firms are much more likely to offer retiree health benefits than small firms–28% vs. 3%.
  • Among large firms that offer health benefits, state and local governments are more likely (87%) than large firms in other industries to offer retiree health benefits. [Kaiser Family Foundation, 9/2/10, emphasis added]

Health Affairs: “The Proportion Of Employers Offering Retiree Plans Has Been Dropping For More Than 20 Years.” From a November 2010 policy brief on early retiree insurance:

The proportion of employers offering retiree plans has been dropping for more than 20 years. Many of those who still offer coverage have curtailed benefits, tightened eligibility rules, or eliminated future coverage for newly hired workers. Most employers have increased the share of premiums that retirees pay. One-fifth of the largest employers give early retirees the right to buy coverage through the employer’s plan, but make no contribution toward the cost. Among employers who are still paying part of the premium, more than half have adopted a “premium cap”–a fixed dollar limit on the amount the employer will contribute toward coverage. Once the cap has been reached, all future increases in the cost of coverage are borne entirely by the participants. [Healthaffairs.org, 11/23/10]


Immigration Officials End Hold On Deporting Bi-National Same-Sex Couples

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on April 3rd, 2011 4:41 am by HL

Immigration Officials End Hold On Deporting Bi-National Same-Sex Couples
The U.S. Citizen and Immigration Service has ended its hold on deporting foreign-born partners in same-sex marriages who would otherwise be eligible for a green card, citing “guidance” they had received over how to handle cases that might be affected by the Department of Justice’s decision to no longer defend the Defense of Marriage Act.

Presented By:

Arizona Approves Nation’s First Ban On Gender, Race Based Abortions
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) signed on Tuesday a bill to criminalize abortions based on the race or sex of a fetus, making the state the first in the nation to do so. The bill, H.B. 2443, makes it a…


Clowns Without Pity No. 1: Newt Gingrich

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on April 3rd, 2011 4:38 am by HL

Clowns Without Pity No. 1: Newt Gingrich


Next, Mr. President, A Peace Plan

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on April 3rd, 2011 4:37 am by HL

Next, Mr. President, A Peace Plan
According to people who should know, President Obama has been discretely meeting Middle East hands and political consultants over the past couple of months to explore the possibility of presenting a peace plan for Israel and Palestine, much like the…


Culture Shock
I had a strange experience of culture shock in the last two weeks. During the University Spring Break, I journeyed down to a tiny group of islands of the coast of Venezuela called Los Rocques. There are no cars, no…

Person Of The Book
Munther M. Fahmi, better known as Munzer to every visitor to the American Colony Hotel’s bookshop, is a Jerusalem institution. You don’t just go to his shop to buy; you go to talk about writing, writers and, of course, Middle…


Rep. Graves Calls GOP?s Billions In Oil Subsidies ?Market Manipulation;? Forgets That He Voted To Extend Them

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on April 3rd, 2011 4:36 am by HL

Rep. Graves Calls GOP?s Billions In Oil Subsidies ?Market Manipulation;? Forgets That He Voted To Extend Them

Editor’s note: We spoke to Rep. Tom Graves (R-GA), not Rep. Sam Graves (R-MO). The name has been corrected.

In February and again in March, Republicans in the House of Representatives, on a largely party-line roll call, voted to extend tens of billions in taxpayer subsidies to big oil companies. At the sparsely attended “Continuing Revolution” Tea Party rally on Thursday calling for more budget cuts, we talked to a number of attendees about their thoughts on Republicans giving so much taxpayer money away to already ultra-profitable oil companies. Rep. Tom Graves (R-GA) was among the many lawmakers to vote twice to extend over $50 billion in taxpayer subsidies to the oil companies:

– House Vote 153 on H.J.Res.44: Graves voted to extend billions in oil subsidies.

– House Vote 109 on H.R.1: Graves voted to extend billions in oil subsidies.

However, when we caught up with Graves yesterday, he said he had no idea that the vote had taken place. He didn’t seem to remember voting for them. In fact, after pressing the congressman, Graves called the idea of giving oil companies taxpayer subsidies “a manipulation of the market place”:

FANG: Four billion dollars in oil subsidies that the Congress just passed to extend for the next ten years maybe forty billion for the next ten years to oil companies. Do you agree with that type of subsidy given the state our budget and deficit?

GRAVES: Uh, when was that passed? I’m not aware of what you’re speaking.

FANG: It was in the continuing resolution debate. I think the Democrats raised a point of order to vote on it and it passed.

GRAVES: Hm. Yeah as far as subsidies, I mean I believe in the free market system all together, the capitalism system one hundred percent. Let the markets determine who is going to succeed throughout the market place.

KEYES: Do you think those subsidies are an aberration of the free market?

GRAVES: I mean they definitely influence the market place. Its somewhat of a manipulation of the market place if products aren’t willing, aren’t able to succeed on their own because of consumer demand and likeness of that product then why should government get in there and manipulate it?

Watch it:

Republicans have convinced the media and the Tea Party movement that they are concerned about the deficit. Even as the GOP has voted in lockstep to balloon the deficit with billions in tax giveaways to millionaires and billionaires, they have used concerns about the deficit to justify cutting food stamps, Pell grants, the Weather Service, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and other consumer and middle class protections. The billions in oil subsidies Graves voted to protect — then forgot about — is part of the same ideology of soaking the poor to help the rich.

Despite Earlier Claims, Steve King Admits That None Of His Constituents Died After Reintroduction Of Estate Tax

As Congress was mired in a debate about whether to extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy last fall, Rep. Steve King (R-IA) trained his focus on one provision in particular: the estate tax. Because of the Bush tax cuts, the estate tax was pared down during the last decade and eventually phased out in 2010, allowing the wealthiest 0.25% of Americans to pass on their estates tax-free.

With the estate tax was set to return in 2011, King warned that some American multimillionaires would commit suicide rather than have a portion of their estates taxed after they died. King detailed this “threat” in an op-ed:

Some Americans, who want only to provide for their families after their deaths, are actively planning their own death by Dec 31st because living into the New Year will leave their children with no alternative but to sell the farm or business to pay the Death Tax. Other Americans will be gathered around hospital beds with the awful and diabolical decision whether to plug in or unplug a loved one. Even worse, some will decide to remove a loved one from life support at the loved one’s request, only to watch them breathe their last on the first stroke after midnight.

The Sioux City Journal notes that King held an August town hall in which he relayed personal knowledge of an acquaintance who had booked a one-way trip to Switzerland in December 2010 and was planning to arrange a physician-assisted suicide “in order that his estate can pass to his children without tax.”

Yesterday, ThinkProgress spoke with King at the Continuing Revolution tea party rally in Washington, DC about the estate tax, which to King’s displeasure was reestablished this year in the tax compromise (though at a lower rate and higher exemption than in 2009 and before). King conceded that suicides as a result of the estate tax renewal was something that “didn’t happen.” Still, the Iowa Republican remains worried that if the Bush tax cuts aren’t renewed in two years and a slightly higher number of millionaires are subjected to the estate tax, families might have to again decide whether to unplug a loved one on December 31, 2012:

KEYES: I know in the fall you were leading the charge against the reinstatement of the estate tax, saying that you’d spoken with constituents in your district who potentially had to make a heartbreaking decision on whether or not to have to pull the plug on December 31st if this estate tax were to come back in place. Did that end up happening with any of your constituents?

KING: They changed the law. Because the extension of the brackets included a change to the death tax, then no, it didn’t happen. That was one thing that was avoided. […]

KEYES: Are you worried this could happen again in two years?

KING: Oh yes, absolutely. […]

KEYES: Do you think families are worried though that they might have to make that heartbreaking decision again in two years?

KING: Yes. They’re worried about that and they’re worried about what happens to these estates if the tax goes up.

Watch it:


Heinrich to run for Senate in New Mexico

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on April 3rd, 2011 4:35 am by HL

Heinrich to run for Senate in New Mexico
Rep. Martin Heinrich announced Saturday that he would run for New Mexico’s U.S. Senate seat, giving Democrats a top-tier recruit in what is expected to be a competitive open seat race.

On Libya, former ally takes on Obama
Barack Obama left the Senate after two years there for a presidential run, making few close friends in the chamber because of his short tenure. But before he left, Obama cultivated an unlikely bond with a Republican senator 29 years his senior: Richard G. Lugar.

Obama reelection campaign expected to tap big-money donors
Facing an energized Republican Party and deep-pocketed conservative groups, President Obama is kicking off his 2012 reelection campaign with a concerted push for help from wealthy donors and liberal groups unbound by spending limits.

Frequently asked questions about a government shutdown
How long do they have to settle this?

Faith in 2012
With no clear frontrunner for 2012, Republicans candidates have been tasked with unraveling a political Gordian Knot: winning both social conservatives in Iowa and fiscal conservatives in New Hampshire. Social concerns, however, especially the role of Islam and secularism, now seem to have displaced fiscal concerns.


Reconsidering My Report on Israel

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on April 3rd, 2011 4:31 am by HL

Reconsidering My Report on Israel
Richard Goldstone, Washington Post

When Inflation Comes, Blame Big Government

Butler Rekindles Hoosier Pride
Carson Cunningham, RealClearSports
Every now and again a sports team comes along that captures the essence of a people. It sounds cliché and the card gets overplayed, but on rare occasions it really does happen. And it’s happening now for the people of Indiana in the form of the 2010 national runner-up and the now somehow-Final-Four-bound Butler Bulldogs, led by their young and collected coach Brad Stevens, from Indianapolis. It’s impossible to quantify when it happens and it’s hard to express exactly how it happens, but we — the people of Indiana — can feel it,…

Will the GOP’s War on Labor Backfire?
Michael Winship, Salon
There's a joke making the rounds and it goes like this: Big Business, a Tea Partier and Organized Labor are sitting around a table. A dozen cookies arrive on a plate. Big Business takes 11 of them and says to the Tea Partier, “Pssst! That union guy is trying to steal your cookie!”Radical Islam and global terrorism may have replaced World Communism and the Cold War as the threats lurking under every bed and behind each closet door, but organized labor is the conservative bugbear that keeps on giving, no matter which international conspiracy is busily undermining the republic….