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Archive for May 15th, 2011

Chuck E. Cheese Called Gambling Den

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 15th, 2011 4:44 am by HL

Chuck E. Cheese Called Gambling Den
A San Diego mother has filed a lawsuit against the Chuck E. Cheese’s pizza outlets accusing them of operating illegal gambling businesses. Denise Keller, mother of two daughters, aged three and five. According to her suit, she visited a Chuck E. Cheese’s and saw that the traditional games of skill, such as skee-ball and whack-a-mole, were being replaced by machines resembling kiddie slot machines.



Sunday Talking Heads: May 15, 2011

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 15th, 2011 4:43 am by HL

Sunday Talking Heads: May 15, 2011
I wonder if Bob Gates will be wearing his Beatrice hat for his 60 Minutes interview. I see Newt Gingrich gets the full body treatment on his friend David Gregory’s show. FDL Book Salon today presents State Power and Democracy: Before and During the Presidency of George W. Bush. Movie Night Monday features Restrepo in light of co-director Tim Hetherington’s death in Libya. Dahlia Lathwick and Culture of Truth will be Virtually Speaking at 9pm ET. Watching this video, it’s like like seeing music.

I wonder if Bob Gates will be wearing his Beatrice hat for his 60 Minutes interview.  I see Newt Gingrich gets the full body treatment on his friend David Gregory’s show.

FDL Book Salon today presents State Power and Democracy: Before and During the Presidency of George W. Bush. Movie Night Monday features Restrepo in light of co-director Tim Hetherington’s death in Libya.

Dahlia Lathwick and Culture of Truth will be Virtually Speaking at 9pm ET.

Watching this video, it’s like like seeing music.

Washington Journal.

ABC’s This Week: Gov. Nikki Haley (R-SC). Roundtable: George Will, Cokie Roberts, Amy WalterEconomic Roundtable: Paul Krugman, FDIC Chair Sheila Bair, Former Deputy Treasury Secretary Roger Altman, Douglas Holtz-Eakin. Then, Richard Haass of the Council on Foreign Relations, Robert Kagan of the Brookings Institution and Anthony Shadid of The New York Times on the Arab spring.

CBS’ Face The Nation: House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH).

CNN State of the Union: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. House Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan.  Then, Joe Lockhart and Michael Gerson.  Plus, Adm. Dennis Blair (Ret.) and John Negroponte.

Chris Matthews: Which leading GOP candidate has the political chops to conquer his flaw? Is the cost of a college education still worth the price?

Fareed Zakaria – GPS: Anne-Marie Slaughter, Professor of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton University and former Director of Policy Planning for the United States Department of State. Kishore Mahbubani, Dean and Professor in the Practice of Public Policy of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore. Joshua Cooper Ramo, Managing Director of Kissinger Associates and the former World Editor at TIME Magazine.  Then, Condoleezza Rice. Plus, Google’s Executive Chairman, Eric Schmidt. And more.

Fox News Sunday: Fmr. Gov. Mike Huckabee. Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX). Then, Senate whips Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ)Roundtable: Brit Hume, Nina Easton, Kim Strassel, Mort Zuckerman.

NBC’s Meet The Press: Newt Gingrich. Roundtable: EJ Dionne, Mark Halperin, Peggy Noonan, Helene Cooper.

Newsmakers: Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) gives his thoughts on a bill sponsored by his colleague, Sen. Menendez (D-NJ), to repeal tax breaks/subsidies for large oil companies…

Q & A: Richard Miniter, an investigative journalist whose latest book was released this week. It’s about Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and his involvement in the 9/11 attacks on the U.S. The book is titled “Mastermind: The Many Faces of the 9/11 Architect, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed.”…

Religion & Ethics.

60 Minutes: The Soldiers’ SecretarySecretary of Defense Robert Gates in his first interview since the killing of Osama bin Laden. Afghanistan’s Top Spy – The former head of Afghanistan’s intelligence says Pakistan has supported the Taliban for years and in 2007, he says, his information pinpointed Osama bin Laden 12 miles from where American forces killed him last week. Sovereign Citizens – Anti-government American extremists who don’t pay taxes and ignore requirements like social security cards and drivers licenses are on the rise. Called sovereign citizens, some have become violent and the FBI considers them a domestic terror threat.

To The Contrary: Topics: 1- Does the Peace Corps have a blame-the-victim mentality when it comes to rape? 2- More college-educated women wait to have kids; 3- Immigration & the Poverty Rate. Panelists: Tara Setmayer,  Amanda Terkel, Patricia Murphy, Jennifer Marshall.

Univision’s Al Punto: Newt Gingrich; Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL); Felipe Calderon, President of Mexico; Thomas A. Saenz, President and General Counsel of Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund; Frank Alvarez, President and CEO, and Raul Romero, Chairman of the Board, Hispanic Scholarship Fund.

Virtually Speaking: Dahlia Lithwick and Culture of Truth consider the US Supreme Court’s recent decisions and inside stories. Listen live and later on Blog Talk Radio, 9pm ET.

C-SPAN’s Book TV.

FDL Book Salon: State Power and Democracy: Before and During the Presidency of George W. Bush, “the seeds of an American police state can be traced all the way back to the founding of the republic.”  Chat with Andrew Kolin, hosted by Marjorie Cohn, 5pm ET.

FDL Movie Night Monday: Restrepo with guest David Axe (“War is Boring”). Join in to discuss being embedded, Afghanistan, Tim Hetherington’s career, and the movie itself, 8pm ET.



Health Insurers Reaping Record Profits

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 15th, 2011 4:42 am by HL

Health Insurers Reaping Record Profits
The health insurance industry is raking in profits on the backs of consumers who are increasingly forgoing medical care due to economic concerns, though that hasn’t stopped big insurers from drastically raising premiums. The trend is not new: The per-employee cost of PPO coverage for a family of four has doubled since 2002. Meanwhile, about 15 percent of Americans don’t have health insurance at all. As lawmakers, lobbyists and lawyers continue to squabble about health care reform, Americans are suffering and insurers are sucking them dry.  —KDG New York Times: The UnitedHealth Group, one of the largest commercial insurers, told analysts that so far this year, insured hospital stays actually decreased in some instances. In reporting its earnings last week, Cigna, another insurer, talked about the “low level” of medical use. Yet the companies continue to press for higher premiums, even though their reserve coffers are flush with profits and shareholders have been rewarded with new dividends. Many defend proposed double-digit increases in the rates they charge, citing a need for protection against any sudden uptick in demand once people have more money to spend on their health, as well as the rising price of care. Even with a halting economic recovery, doctors and others say many people are still extremely budget-conscious, signaling the possibility of a fundamental change in Americans’ appetite for health care. Read more

The health insurance industry is raking in profits on the backs of consumers who are increasingly forgoing medical care due to economic concerns, though that hasn’t stopped big insurers from drastically raising premiums. The trend is not new: The per-employee cost of PPO coverage for a family of four has doubled since 2002. Meanwhile, about 15 percent of Americans don’t have health insurance at all. As lawmakers, lobbyists and lawyers continue to squabble about health care reform, Americans are suffering and insurers are sucking them dry.? —KDG

New York Times:

The UnitedHealth Group, one of the largest commercial insurers, told analysts that so far this year, insured hospital stays actually decreased in some instances. In reporting its earnings last week, Cigna, another insurer, talked about the “low level” of medical use.

Yet the companies continue to press for higher premiums, even though their reserve coffers are flush with profits and shareholders have been rewarded with new dividends. Many defend proposed double-digit increases in the rates they charge, citing a need for protection against any sudden uptick in demand once people have more money to spend on their health, as well as the rising price of care.

Even with a halting economic recovery, doctors and others say many people are still extremely budget-conscious, signaling the possibility of a fundamental change in Americans’ appetite for health care.

Read more

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With No Health Insurance, Paralyzed Athlete Fights To Survive

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 15th, 2011 4:41 am by HL

With No Health Insurance, Paralyzed Athlete Fights To Survive
ROBBINS, Ill. — Rocky Clark sometimes dreams he’s running track, racing around the oval as he once did, his heart pumping fast and his long…

Azadeh Shahshahani: The DREAM Act: Keeping Our Promise to Our Kids
The DREAM Act, reintroduced in Congress this week, would give talented young immigrants a clear path to citizenship. For many, every day that we don’t pass this legislation is a day marked with uncertainty.

Norm Stamper: Another 9/11? Call 911
The capture of bin Laden argues elegantly against high-priced, nation-building, mission-creeping war, and its inevitable collateral damage, in order to go after individuals who are, at bottom, criminals.


Ex-New Orleans Official Testifies About Strippers, Gambling, Sex On Yacht

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 15th, 2011 4:40 am by HL

Ex-New Orleans Official Testifies About Strippers, Gambling, Sex On Yacht
The former Chief Information Officer of the city of News Orleans testified in federal court on Wednesday that for several years starting in 2002 he directed millions of dollars in taxpayer money to vendor Mark St. Pierre, The Times-Picayune reports. In return, Greg Meffert told the court, St. Pierre provided kickbacks including, eventually, access to a yacht and cash with which to gamble, buy booze and hire strippers. The strippers were also paid “to perform sex acts on Meffert, St. Pierre and others in the city’s technology office,” according to the paper.


Where Are They Now? Monica Goodling Working For Ex-Ashcroft Spokesman
The Washington Post managed to track down Goodling –working under her married name, Monica Krempasky — at a firm called Corallo Media Strategies under Mark Corallo, her former boss in DOJ’s Office of Public Affairs.

Issa Wouldn’t Let Witness Testify In Favor Of Disclosure By Government Contractors
House Oversight Committee Chair Rep. Darrell Issa refused a request from Ranking Member Elijah Cummings to allow the head of an open government organization to testify in support of an executive order which would require government contractors to disclose more information about their political donations.


Election 2012: The GOP’s Undeclared Nut-Cracker Suite of Candidates

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 15th, 2011 4:38 am by HL

Election 2012: The GOP’s Undeclared Nut-Cracker Suite of Candidates


The Battle for the Soul of the GOP

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 15th, 2011 4:37 am by HL

The Battle for the Soul of the GOP
The real battle for the soul of the GOP started today with a speech on Wall Street by Speaker of the House John Boehner. Wall Street and big business fear Tea Partiers won’t allow House Republicans to raise the debt…


Why I’m Not Gloating
Since I’m a red-blooded American boy, I’m glad that we got him, and I’m impressed that President Obama did it with something like a tight spiral on a forward pass. Yet this victory puts me in mind of something my…

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FLASHBACK: As Gingrich Calls Obama A ?Food Stamp President?, He Was One Of Biggest Spenders In Congress

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 15th, 2011 4:36 am by HL

FLASHBACK: As Gingrich Calls Obama A ?Food Stamp President?, He Was One Of Biggest Spenders In Congress

Last night, GOP presidential primary candidate Newt Gingrich appeared at the Georgia Republican Party’s state-wide convention, where he delivered a wide-ranging speech covering a variety of issues related to his presidential run.

At one point during the speech, Gingrich derided progressive economic policies that value public investment and spending to get back to work, saying that “we’re at the crossroads” and that “down one road is a European centralized bureaucratic socialist welfare system” and the other road is a “proud, solid reaffirmation of American exceptionalism.” He then went on to declare Obama to be a “food stamp president”:

GINGRICH: President Obama is the most successful food stamp president in American history. […] I would like to be the most successful paycheck president in American history.

Watch it:

The theme of Gingrich’s economic critique was clear and blunt: Democrats and progressives want to use government to stifle the economy and imagine a future of government dependency for everyone. Gingrich, on the other hand, believes in the free market and capitalism, which are the correct paths.

There’s one glaring problem with Gingrich’s narrative: as Speaker of the House of Representatives in the 1990′s, he himself was one of the most avid big spenders in the entire country, using government cash to enrich his district and lift it up to being one of the wealthiest in the country.

During his tenure in Congress, Gingrich represented large portions of Cobb County, Georgia. Cobb was a mostly-white district and largely suburban — completely different from the crude stereotypes Gingrich and others used to blast the welfare state, which were generally portrayed as minority-heavy urban environments. At the same time Gingrich was working with President Bill Clinton to cut back on spending for programs for the poorest Americans, Gingrich made Cobb one of the most subsidized districts in the entire country.

A 1996 article from New York Magazine notes this:

[Gingrich] represents Cobb County, a prosperous jurisdiction that ranks third among suburban counties in federal dollars returned per resident. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the federal government spent $4.4 billion in Cobb County in 1994, some $10,000 per resident, or nearly twice as much per capita as it spent in New York City.

Linguist and political philosopher Noam Chomsky noted at the time that the two districts that received more federal funds were in Arlington, Virginia, the base of many of the nation’s top defense and tech-sector contractors, and Brevard County, Florida, the home of the Kennedy Space Center.

Filmmaker Michael Moore found it both ironic and unfair that Gingrich was decimating public investment and spending on the social safety net while making his own district one of the most government-subsidized in the entire country. So he grabbed his video camera and headed down to Cobb, where he filmed a segment of his show “TV Nation.” Moore confronted Gingrich about federal spending in his district and the Speaker refused to endorse cutting any of it. Watch it:


So the next time you hear Gingrich deride government spending to improve the lives of Americans, know that he actually does believe in doing so — as long as it’s his own already-wealthy base.


Obama administration is divided over future of U.S.-Pakistan relationship

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 15th, 2011 4:35 am by HL

Obama administration is divided over future of U.S.-Pakistan relationship

Two weeks after the death of Osama bin Laden, the Obama administration remains uncertain and divided over the future of its relationship with Pakistan, according to senior U.S. officials.

The discovery of the al-Qaeda leader in a city near Pakistan’s capital has pushed many in the administration beyond any willingness to tolerate Pakistan’s ambiguous connections with extremist groups. After years of ineffective American warnings, many U.S. officials are concluding that a change in policy is long overdue.

Read full article >>

Same-sex marriage push in NY getting key help from GOP business titans

NEW YORK — A gay rights coalition hoping to legalize same-sex marriage in New York has been getting an infusion of cash from a surprising source: Republican business titans.

The New York Times reported Friday that a small but influential group of GOP money men have provided the bulk of the financing for the advocacy umbrella group New Yorkers United for Marriage.

Big donors to the effort include Paul Singer, the chairman of the Manhattan Institute and a major donor to Republican political campaigns.

Read full article >>

Federal worker pensions emerge as target in debt-reduction talks

The generous pension system enjoyed by millions of federal workers from clerks to senators and judges has emerged as a key target in negotiations between Vice President Biden and congressional leaders looking to restrain the growing national debt.

Republicans have proposed saving more than $120 billion over the next decade by requiring the civilian workforce to contribute more toward retirement — a plan that would effectively impose an immediate 5 percent pay cut on more than 2 million federal employees. President Obama’s bipartisan fiscal commission has also endorsed the idea, calling the federal system “out of line” with the private sector.

Read full article >>

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IMF leader arrested at NYC airport after allegations of sex assault by maid at Manhattan hotel

NEW YORK — The leader of the International Monetary Fund and a possible candidate for president of France was arrested Sunday in the violent sexual assault of a hotel maid after being yanked from an airplane moments before it was to depart for Paris, police said.

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, 62, was arrested on charges of a criminal sex act, attempted rape and unlawful imprisonment and was awaiting arraignment. He had been taken off the Air France flight at John F. Kennedy International Airport on Saturday afternoon by officers from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and was turned over to New York police, said Paul J. Browne, New York Police Department spokesman.

Read full article >>


Is Pawlenty the Dukakis of 2012?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 15th, 2011 4:31 am by HL

Is Pawlenty the Dukakis of 2012?
Jonathan Bernstein, The Plum Line
Why isn’t Tim Pawlenty pulling away from the GOP field?That’s the biggest mystery in GOP nomination politics right now. After all, the current field includes only Pawlenty and Mitt Romney as plausible nominees, and Romney remains highly suspect among many important Republican groups because of his past positions on a wide range of issues — most seriously, in my view, on abortion-related policy. And that’s on top of the concern that his religion will cause problems with some voters.

The Delusional Vocabulary of the ‘Arab Spring’
Andrew McCarthy, NRO
Screaming “With our blood and soul, we will defend you, Islam,” jihadists stormed the Virgin Mary Church in northwest Cairo last weekend. They torched the Coptic Christian house of worship, burned the nearby homes of two Copt families to the ground, attacked a residential complex, killed a dozen people, and wounded more than 200: just another day in this spontaneous democratic uprising by Muslim hearts yearning for freedom.In the delusional vocabulary of the “Arab Spring,” this particular episode is known as a sectarian…

Politicians, Not Immigration System, Are Broken
Greg Kane, Examiner
Wanted: an American president who knows the difference between a rule and a law.Such a president one Barack Hussein Obama is not. Last week, I was giving the president mad props for the way he handled that track-down-find-and-kill-Osama-bin-Laden thing. And he deserved those props.

The Coming Postal Bailout