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Archive for May 9th, 2011

Still dancing to their crazy tune

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 9th, 2011 4:42 am by HL

Still dancing to their crazy tune
Time to credit Robert Taft and Calvin Coolidge for winning the 20th century…and beyond.

Until just recently, and maybe again someday soon, the majority of Republicans believed that the President was not born in the United States. Having been temporarily shamed forced into moving on to other topics, they have, like always turned their dementia on a dime.

In the best-case torturist scenario, Obama did little more than follow the Bush/Cheney mastermind plan. Ridiculous? A Washington Post/Pew Research poll found that 81 percent of Republicans believe that Bush deserves “some credit” for nabbing bin Laden, while only 61 percent say that Obama does

Thus, though this notion, like all these past delusions is, well delusional, it shall be believed nonetheless, and discussed as if a viable and important topic of conversation. Thus, yesterday, on the Sunday chat shows, there were few members of the Obama Administration or Democrats invited — it was almost as if Bush was still President — especially on Dancin’ Dave.

If modern America’s media existed in its current fashion at this time in 1945, FoxNews would be driving a narrative that people forget about the recently departed FDR and give full credit for defeating Hitler where it belonged, with Herbert Hoover.

Late, Late Night FDL: Happy Mother’s Day
Percy Sledge – When A Man Loves A Woman Helen Reddy – ‘I Am Woman’ And to close out my homage… Bob Marley -”No Woman No Cry” Happy Mother’s Day…! *g*  

Percy Sledge – When A Man Loves A Woman

Helen Reddy – ‘I Am Woman’

And to close out my homage…

Bob Marley -”No Woman No Cry”

Happy Mother’s Day…! *g*

Dispatches From Egypt: Bin Laden News Lands With a Thud

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 9th, 2011 4:41 am by HL

Dispatches From Egypt: Bin Laden News Lands With a Thud
OK, shock-and-awe reporting from Cairo: Why am I reacting more than anyone around me? By Lauren Unger-Geoffroy

OK, shock-and-awe reporting from Cairo: Why am I reacting more than anyone around me?

Related Entries

Robert Kuttner: The Jobs Numbers and the President’s Job

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 9th, 2011 4:40 am by HL

Robert Kuttner: The Jobs Numbers and the President’s Job
Despite the president’s enhanced stature on national security issues and his success in showing up his critics, the 2012 election will be mainly about the economy. But Obama is giving more attention to deficit reduction than to job creation. Though his version of fiscal austerity is kinder and gentler than that of the Republicans, cutting the deficit while the recovery is still fragile could slow growth and blur political responsibility. The trouble is that we elect presidents state by state, and it will be hard for an incumbent to win if the economy in the key swing states remains deeply depressed.

Hearing Set In Sarah Palin Stalker Case
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A court magistrate is set to consider a request by former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to extend a restraining order against a…

Obama On Taking Out Bin Laden: ‘Justice Was Done’
“Justice was done,” President Barack Obama said in an interview with Steve Kroft on CBS’s “60 Minutes.” Regarding the Osama bin Laden mission, Obama said,…

Naqeeb Memon Doesn’t Want You To Panic

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 9th, 2011 4:39 am by HL

Naqeeb Memon Doesn’t Want You To Panic
After President Obama announced Sunday night that Osama bin Laden had been killed, hundreds of New Yorkers gathered in spontaneous celebration at Ground Zero. Among them was Naqeeb Memon, who wore a shirt that said “I’m A Muslim — Don’t…

Texas Legislature Passes Bill Mandating Pre-Abortion Sonograms
The Texas legislature passed a bill on Thursday requiring doctors to conduct a sonogram before performing an abortion, and to describe to the woman seeking an abortion what the sonogram shows before moving ahead with the procedur

Right-Wing Sock Puppets Pretending to Be Liberals Assault Progressive Websites

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 9th, 2011 4:37 am by HL

Right-Wing Sock Puppets Pretending to Be Liberals Assault Progressive Websites
Ignorant, peevish, narrow-minded, misinformed, livid, intolerant, they are an army of everything that’s wrong with America, denizens of a weird trickster God who speaks to them with words they don’t completely understand, or tints their natural interior wrath with righteous anger conferred by snake-oil preachers or haughty cable charlatans either crass or crazed, or just […]

Obama Gets Bounce in Virginia

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 9th, 2011 4:36 am by HL

Obama Gets Bounce in Virginia
Most national polls have shown President Obama receiving a nice bounce in the aftermath of Osama bin Laden’s death, but a new Washington Post poll is the first to show the impact of the operation in a state widely viewed as a bellwether for Obama’s chances for reelection.

In Virginia, Obama stretched his margins over five GOP candidates tested. In a hypothetical matchup against Mitt Romney, for example, interviews before the bin Laden announcement showed voters splitting 48% for the president and 46% for Romney. Afterward, Obama edged ahead, 51% to 44%.

“Against former Alaska governor Sarah Palin and businessman Donald Trump, twin 19-point Obama advantages swelled to 31 points in interviews conducted in the three days after bin Laden’s death.”

SNL Parodies the Republican Debate
Tina Fey returned to play Sarah Palin on Saturday Night Live for the “GOP 2012 Undeclared Candidates Debate.”

The Republican Plan With Lipstick

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 9th, 2011 4:35 am by HL

The Republican Plan With Lipstick
Republicans figure that if they can’t sell the pig, they’ll just put lipstick on it and find some suckers who will think it’s something else. That’s the proposal emerging in the Senate from Republican Bob Corker of Tennessee and also…

Fatah vs. Hamas: An Analogy
I wrote in my last post: “Fatah now represents the power and prestige of the Palestinian middle class, the dictatorship of its bourgeoisie: growing businesses and banks, women’s emancipation, universities, infrastructure and construction projects, regional networks of intellectual capital, a…

Florida Cuts Unemployment Benefits To Pay For Corporate Tax Cut

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 9th, 2011 4:34 am by HL

Florida Cuts Unemployment Benefits To Pay For Corporate Tax Cut

In the last few months, conservatives in several states have moved to limit unemployment benefits, even with the national unemployment rate at 9 percent and more than 40 percent of the unemployed having been out of work for six months or more. Conservative lawmakers in Utah falsely claimed that cutting jobless benefits would be “motivation for people to get back to work,” while Michigan gutted its unemployment insurance system despite having one of the highest unemployment rates in the nation.

Florida Republicans this weekend also succeeded in reducing their state’s unemployment benefits, sending a bill to Gov. Rick Scott (R-FL) for his signature:

A bill that would establish some of the deepest and most far-reaching cuts in unemployment benefits in the nation is heading for the desk of Gov. Rick Scott…The legislation would cut maximum state benefits to 23 weeks from 26 when the jobless rate is 10.5 percent or higher. If lower, the maximum would decline on a sliding scale until bottoming at 12 weeks if the jobless rate was 5 percent or less.

As the National Employment Law Project pointed out, with this bill, Florida will “go further than any other state in dismantling its unemployment insurance system.” The Republican sponsor of the bill, state Sen. Nancy Detert (R), relied on the same false assumption as the lawmakers in Utah, saying that cutting benefits “encourages people to get back into the job market.” Research by the San Francisco Federal Reserve has found that workers who qualify for unemployment benefits stay unemployed just 1.6 weeks longer than those who do not qualify for such benefits.

Even before this legislation, Florida’s benefits were amongst the stingiest in the nation. Once it becomes law, Floridians will not receive the national standard of 26 weeks of unemployment benefits unless the state’s unemployment rate, currently at 11.1 percent, tops 12 percent. As the Miami Herald pointed out, the bill also makes it “easier for companies to keep former workers from collecting benefits.”

Adding insult to injury, the money saved from cutting unemployment benefits will be used to reduce business taxes in a state where the corporate tax rate is already exceedingly low. Scott had been looking to cut corporate taxes even further, but was rebuffed by the legislature.

Cross-posted on The Wonk Room.

Cheney Defends Torture, Says Administration ?Not Up To The Task? In Libya

This morning in an interview on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace, former Vice President Dick Cheney stridently defended Bush era torture programs, calling harsh interrogation tactics “the most important steps we took that kept us safe for 7 years.” He also advocated reinstating waterboarding, telling Wallace that enhanced interrogation “worked, and provided absolutely vital pieces of information.”

Cheney resurrected an old GOP talking point in insisting that waterboarding was not torture, despite testimony of people like CIA Director Leon Panetta to the contrary. “It was a good program, it was a legal program, it was not torture,” Cheney maintained. Watch it:

Many former Bush administration officials have falsely credited torture tactics with leading to the raid on Osama bin Laden, but Cheney went further by insisting that torture was the key policy that has kept the country safe for a decade after the September 11th attacks.

Cheney also echoed former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) and chastised Obama for “prosecuting” the intelligence officers who tortured detainees. “These men deserve to be decorated, they don’t deserve to be prosecuted,” he told Wallace, calling it “an outrage that we would go after the people who deserve the credit for keeping us safe for seven and a half years.” While the Obama administration in fact decided long ago not to prosecute any CIA agents involved in torture, Cheney nevertheless suggested Obama has been so relentless in going after those responsible that “these guys…have to look over their shoulder.”

Finally, Cheney had tough words for the Obama administration when it came to Libya. He smirked when Wallace mentioned the policy described as “leading from behind,” and admonished Obama for turning over operational control of the mission to NATO. He further tried to suggest weakness on the president’s part by telling Wallace, “the policy of the administration has been to hope for Gadaffi’s departure but not be prepared to do enough to make sure it happens.” Most gallingly, one week after Obama took decisive action to eliminate the world’s most notorious terrorist, Cheney said “it’s not clear to me that this administration is up to the task” of taking out Gadaffi.

Lawmakers look at phone tracking

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 9th, 2011 4:34 am by HL

Lawmakers look at phone tracking

Tech companies such as Apple and Google are hoping the tracks of millions of mobile device users will lead to billions of dollars in revenue.

But where they see dollar signs, lawmakers see red flags.

The revelation last month that Apple’s iPhones collected location data and stored it for up to a year — even when location software was supposedly turned off — has prompted renewed scrutiny of the nexus between location and privacy.

Read full article >>

Mexicans protest drug war with silent march

MEXICO CITY — People are marching over the high mountain into the capital behind a sign that reads “Stop the War!” The war they are talking about is tearing Mexico apart.

At the front of the March for Peace is the chain-smoking, left-leaning, well-to-do, mystical Catholic poet Javier Sicilia, steering a movement of ordinary Mexicans who believe President Felipe Calderon’s military-led, U.S.-backed war against organized crime is failing.

The marchers, who walk in silence, left Thursday from the old colonial city of Cuernavaca, where Sicilia’s 24-year-old son was among seven people seized by gunmen in March and later found dead, their mouths taped shut and their bodies stuffed into a compact car.

Read full article >>

A former CIA officer recalls the almost decade-long search for Osama bin Laden

He turns on the TV for news about Osama bin Laden at 7 a.m. and keeps it playing until long after midnight, because this is a relationship that has always bordered on obsession. Michael Hurley sits in his Falls Church condominium and watches images repeat across the flat screen just as they have repeated inside his head for almost a decade.

Here is bin Laden standing inside a tent with an assault rifle at his side. Here is a map of the Middle East, detailing some of the very places Hurley went searching for him. Here are blurry images of the CIA classified files he helped create. Here is a former co-worker being interviewed as an expert on counterterrorism.

Read full article >>

Troops get training on end of ‘don’t ask’

CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. — Marine Maj. Daniel Bartos was looking for a volunteer. Standing in a windowless classroom with slides running behind him, he was explaining to about 40 Marines what will happen after the ban on gays in the military ends. He presented a hypothetical scenario for someone to tackle.

Cpl. Brooke Cardona, 22, shot her hand in the air, then stood to answer.

What would she do, Bartos asked, if she saw two male Marines in a mall food court “kind of petting each other, putting their arms around each other, kissing each other?”

Read full article >>

‘Jerusalem’ or ‘Israel?’ Supreme Court case raises trove of constitutional questions

Young Menachem Binyamin Zivotofsky, an 8-year-old American born in Jerusalem, likes to brag to his older siblings that he is the only one of them born in Israel.

He and his parents would like the U.S. government to agree.

But the Zivotofskys’ request to change Menachem’s passport to say his birthplace is “Israel” rather than simply “Jerusalem” has met firm resistance from the State Department.

Read full article >>

Spending Does Not Make Us Great

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 9th, 2011 4:30 am by HL

Spending Does Not Make Us Great
Fred Lucas, The American Spectator
President Barack Obama has yet to adopt a slogan for his 2012 reelection bid, but he does seem to be warming up to a theme, or at least a formula: Spending equals greatness.That's not to say the president does not realize spending restraint is necessary to avoid a fiscal crisis. Rather — at least based on a reemerging theme — Obama seems to think American greatness is directly tied to government spending.

The Waterboarding Trail to Bin Laden
Michael Mukasey, Wall St. Journal
Osama bin Laden was killed by Americans, based on intelligence developed by Americans. That should bring great satisfaction to our citizens and elicit praise for our intelligence community. Seized along with bin Laden's corpse was a trove of documents and electronic devices that should yield intelligence that could help us capture or kill other terrorists and further degrade the capabilities of those who remain at large.

CIA: From Distress to Success
Ken Dilanian, Los Angeles Times
The first CIA officers who rushed to Afghanistan to find Osama bin Laden after the terrorist attacks of 2001 had to buy field gear at an REI camping goods store in Virginia. Some flew in on rickety, former Soviet helicopters. A few rode horses.What a difference a decade makes.Thanks to U.S. intelligence, the Navy SEALs who killed Bin Laden last Monday swept into Pakistan on nearly silent, secret stealth helicopters.

Critics Don’t Realize What Keeps Us Safe
Michael Goodwin, New York Post
Years ago, when my young son and I visited a dude ranch in Montana, a local rancher told us he butch ered his cows for meat. My son, Scott, who was only 7, was horrified. “You kill your own cows and eat them?” he asked with urban disgust.The rancher answered with country logic, saying something like, “Well, how is that different from you eating cows that other people butcher?”