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Archive for June 20th, 2011

McCain Rips Repubs for ‘Isolationism’

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 20th, 2011 4:46 am by HL

McCain Rips Repubs for ‘Isolationism’
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), his party’s 2008 presidential nominee, ripped into the current crop of Republican White House contenders, accusing them of breaking party tradition by preaching “isolationism.” After Republican candidates voiced impatience in the previous debate with the status of Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, McCain said, “That is not the Republican Party that has been willing to stand up for freedom for people for all over the world.”



He lives precariously by the Sword…everybody else gets the shaft

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 20th, 2011 4:45 am by HL

He lives precariously by the Sword…everybody else gets the shaft
Clarence Thomas, forever connected to one’s privates.

photo from dulcenea at flickr.com

It is ironic that a quiet and miserable career on the Supreme Court almost derailed twenty years ago by Long Dong Silver will now be quite possibly be saved by another’s junk-shot. But such is the lot of Clarence Thomas.

In the late 1960s Abe Fortas a man of no small accomplishment (as a lawyer Gideon v. Wainright as a justice Epperson v. Arkansas) was forced to resign from the Supreme Court when a millionaire began paying Fortas $20,000 a year for advice. An action which was legal, but shameful enough for him to step down in shame.

Enter Clarence Thomas.

Mr. Crow has done many favors for the justice and his wife, Virginia, helping finance a Savannah library project dedicated to Justice Thomas, presenting him with a Bible that belonged to Frederick Douglass and reportedly providing $500,000 for Ms. Thomas to start a Tea Party-related group…

But, if there’s one thing we’ve learned about Clarence Thomas it is that he is in no way affected with a sense of personal shame…just grievances.

The person who was until just recently leading the call to investigate Thomas’ ethical shortcomings? Anthony Weiner.

Somewhere Hannah Arendt is missing the banality of it all.

Late, Late Night FDL: Midnight in Harlem
Tedeschi Trucks Band – Midnight in Harlem

Tedeschi Trucks Band – Midnight in Harlem

The Tedeschi Trucks Band just released their debut album “Revelator”…!

Happy Father’s Day to all the FDL Dads…!

What’s on your mind tonite…?


Rigging the 2012 Election

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 20th, 2011 4:44 am by HL

Rigging the 2012 Election
An attack on the right to vote is under way across the country through laws designed to make it more difficult to cast a ballot.

By E.J. Dionne, Jr.

An attack on the right to vote is under way across the country through laws designed to make it more difficult to cast a ballot.


Related Entries



Mayor Bloomberg’s Mother Passes Away

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 20th, 2011 4:43 am by HL

Mayor Bloomberg’s Mother Passes Away
MEDFORD, Mass — Charlotte Bloomberg, whose only son grew up to be a billionaire media mogul and then the mayor of New York City, died…

John McCain Blames Illegal Immigrants For Starting Arizona Wildfires
John McCain (R-AZ) says illegal immigrants are to blame for the massive wildfires that have ravaged Arizona. “There is substantial evidence that some of these…

Miles Jaffe: Mistaken on the War Powers Act
I am an enthusiastic supporter of President Obama. Yes, on some issues, health care, the size of the stimulus, I had hoped he would…

Jonathan Miller: Choose Another People! Why KY GOP Figure’s Anti-Semitic Taunts Will Backfire
I’m confident my own neighbors won’t allow our political system to be corrupted by the kind of vile name-calling that was used for so many centuries against my ancestors.


Holder Slams Anti-Civilian Court Politicians For Disparaging Justice System (VIDEO)

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 20th, 2011 4:42 am by HL

Holder Slams Anti-Civilian Court Politicians For Disparaging Justice System (VIDEO)
Attorney General Eric Holder slammed members of Congress who he said are putting the nation at risk when they “disparage the American criminal justice system.”

Feds Drop Pepsi Can Bomb Charges Against AR Man, But Get Him On Gun Charges
If the federal government still thinks Mark Krause planted a bomb made out of a Pepsi can outside of a voting center in Arkansas on the day of a Democratic primary last summer, they evidently don’t have the facts to prove it. But he’ll still be serving up to two years in prison.


Feinstein: Senate Panel Looking Into Allegation That Bush White House Wanted To ‘Get’ Professor
The Senate Intelligence Committee has begun a preliminary investigation into the allegations that the Bush White House asked intelligence officials to gather damaging information on an outspoke critic, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) told The Lookout.


American Health Care Simplified

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 20th, 2011 4:39 am by HL

American Health Care Simplified


Fake Obama Stuns Crowd at GOP Event

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 20th, 2011 4:38 am by HL

Fake Obama Stuns Crowd at GOP Event
A comedian pretending to be President Obama at the Republican Leadership Conference over the weekend launched into a comedy routine that quickly became offensive, the New York Times reports.

The comedian, Reggie Brown, joked that Obama only celebrated half of Black History Month because he is biracial and suggested Obama would look like Fred Sanford of Sanford and Son when he was older. Once Brown began mocking the GOP presidential candidates as well, he was asked to leave the stage.

Tweeted GOP strategist Doug Heye: “Wonder why many minorities have problems with G.O.P.? Our own fault,”

Huntsman Rounds Up Establishment Support
With Jon Huntsman’s formal entry into the GOP presidential race on Tuesday, Mark Halperin reports former White House counsel C. Boyden Gray will head up the former Utah governor’s policy team.

“This is the first, but by no means the last, of eye-catching endorsements Huntsman will get from the GOP Establishment, including many with ties to Ronald Reagan and Bushes 41 and 43. Gray’s endorsement will be a semiotic dog whistle for a lot of big-time bundlers. It doesn’t mean Huntsman will get the nomination, of course, but combined with the Wall Street and corporate America backing he is already in line to receive, it will give him a leg up on becoming the Romney Alternative. And, at this point, becoming the Romney Alternative is the whole ball of wax.”

Income Gap Widens
The Washington Post notes that today’s managerial class is earning roughly four times as much as those in the 1970s, while pay for the remaining 90% of America’s employees remains the same.


Portnoy’s Revenge

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 20th, 2011 4:37 am by HL

Portnoy’s Revenge
Not long after Philip Roth published Portnoy’s Complaint, Jacqueline Susann went on the Johnny Carson show. Susann, we remember, had become famous for her pulp novel Valley of the Dolls, which triangulated, in what seemed an all-American way, ambition, sex…

The Ridiculous American Exceptionalism Debate
So glad to see Roger Cohen’s critique of the emerging 2012 foreign policy debate in this morning’s International Herald Tribune. As Cohen points out, the Republican candidates are all peddling the same caricature: They’re trying to cast Barack Obama as…

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Justices Have Been Forced To Resign For Doing What Clarence Thomas Has Done

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 20th, 2011 4:36 am by HL

Justices Have Been Forced To Resign For Doing What Clarence Thomas Has Done
Justice Clarence Thomas is an ethics problem in a black robe. Just eight months after ThinkProgress broke the story of Thomas’ attendance at a Koch-sponsored political fundraiser, we learn that Thomas doesn’t just do unethical favors for wealthy right-wing donors — they also do expensive favors for him. Leading conservative donor Harlan Crow, whose company […]

Disgraced Former Justice Abe Fortas

Justice Clarence Thomas is an ethics problem in a black robe. Just eight months after ThinkProgress broke the story of Thomas’ attendance at a Koch-sponsored political fundraiser, we learn that Thomas doesn’t just do unethical favors for wealthy right-wing donors — they also do expensive favors for him.

Leading conservative donor Harlan Crow, whose company often litigates in federal court, donated $500,000 to allow Thomas’s wife to start a Tea Party group and he once gave Thomas a $19,000 Bible that belonged to Frederick Douglass. The American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank which frequently files briefs in Thomas’ Court, also gave Thomas a $15,000 gift.

If this sounds familiar, it’s because America has seen this movie before. Indeed, the Thomas scandal is little more than a remake of the forty year-old gifting scandal that brought down Justice Abe Fortas. Like Thomas, Fortas liked to associate with wealthy individuals with potential business before his Court. And like Thomas, Fortas took inappropriate gifts from his wealthy benefactors.

Fortas’ questionable gifts first came out when President Johnson nominated him for a promotion to Chief Justice of the United States in 1968. Fortas had accepted $15,000 to lead seminars at American University — far more than the university normally paid for such services — and the payments were bankrolled by the leaders of frequent corporate litigants including the vice president of Phillip Morris. Fortas survived this revelation, although his nomination for the Chief Justiceship was filibustered into oblivion.

Just a year later, the country learned that Fortas took another highly questionable gift. In 1966, one year after Fortas joined the Court, stock speculator Louis E. Wolfson’s foundation began paying Fortas an annual retainer of $20,000 per year for consulting services. Fortas’ actions were legal, and he eventually returned the money after Wolfson was convicted of securities violations and recused himself from Wolfson’s case, but the damage to Fortas — and the potential harm to the Supreme Court’s reputation — were too great. Fortas resigned in disgrace.

It is difficult to distinguish Fortas’ scandal from Thomas’. Like Fortas, Thomas accepted several very valuable gifts from parties who are frequently interested in the outcome of federal court cases. One of Thomas’ benefactors has even filed briefs in his Court since giving Thomas a $15,000 gift, and Thomas has not recused himself from each of these cases.

Of course, Thomas is also the least likely Justice to actually follow the command of precedent. Thomas embraces a discredited theory of the Constitution which would return America to a time when federal child labor laws were considered unconstitutional. His fellow justices criticize him for showing “utter disregard for our precedent and Congress’ intent.” Even ultra-conservative Justice Antonin Scalia finds Thomas’ approach to the law too extreme — in Scalia’s words “I am a textualist. I am an originalist. I am not a nut.”

But Thomas’ disregard for what has come before him changes nothing about the precedent he faces. If Abe Fortas had to resign his seat, so too should Clarence Thomas.

Real Talk From Karl Eikenberry
Former general and outgoing US Ambassador to Kabul with some real talk for Hamid Karzai: “When Americans, who are serving in your country at great cost — in terms of life and treasure — hear themselves compared with occupiers, told that they are only here to advance their own interest, and likened to the brutal […]

Former general and outgoing US Ambassador to Kabul with some real talk for Hamid Karzai:

“When Americans, who are serving in your country at great cost — in terms of life and treasure — hear themselves compared with occupiers, told that they are only here to advance their own interest, and likened to the brutal enemies of the Afghan people,” the ambassador said, “they are filled with confusion and grow weary of our effort here.”

See Spencer Ackerman for some larger context on Eikenberry.

In policy terms, though, this kind of self-righteous outburst only serves to underscore how dysfunctional the relationship between the US government and the Afghan government is. They don’t like us and we don’t like them. At this point, who’s right and who’s wrong is pretty irrelevant. It’s just time for a divorce.


EPA deal calls for haze-reduction at Western coal plants

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 20th, 2011 4:35 am by HL

EPA deal calls for haze-reduction at Western coal plants

BILLINGS, Mont. — Aging coal-fired power plants across the West could be forced to install costly pollution-control equipment under an agreement between federal regulators and environmentalists aimed at jump-starting a delayed clean-air initiative.

Many utilities already cut emissions sharply over the past decade to meet federal health standards. Next up are even deeper cuts, to improve visibility in 156 national parks and wilderness areas by clearing the air of pollutants that cause haze.

The reductions are required under the Clean Air Act. First announced more than a decade ago, they have yet to be widely enacted.

Read full article >>

U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan counters Karzai’s criticism

KABUL — The U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, in unusually blunt and personal comments Sunday, responded sharply to President Hamid Karzai’s escalating denunciations of American and NATO forces and aid efforts in Afghanistan.

After an upbeat speech about Afghanistan’s future prospects to university students in the Western city of Herat, Ambassador Karl W. Eikenberry added remarks that he said were “spoken from my heart.” He complained bitterly about American forces being “compared to occupiers” and being “told that they are only here to advance their own interests,” suggesting such comments could lead the United States to give up on Afghanistan.

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Michele Bachmann, others raise millions for political campaigns with ‘money blurts’

In the ever-evolving world of campaign fundraising, some politicians have stumbled on yet another way to bring in buckets of cash. Let’s call it the “money blurt.”

Here’s how it works: An up-and-coming politician blurts out something incendiary, provocative or otherwise controversial. The remark bounces around the blogs and talk shows and becomes a sensation.

And in the midst of it all, the politician’s fundraisers are manning the phones and raking in the donations.

Read full article >>

McConnell: Short-term raising of debt ceiling possible if comprehensive deal isn’t reached

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Sunday that if congressional negotiators and the White House don’t work out a comprehensive deficit-reduction plan this summer, Congress could vote to raise the debt ceiling for only a few months – and then return to the issue in the fall.

“The president and the vice president, everybody knows you have to tackle entitlement reform,” McConnell said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” “If we can’t do that, then we’ll probably end up with a very short-term proposal over, you know, a few months, and we’ll be back having the same discussion again in the fall.”

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Alito, Sotomayor give voice to court split

The Supreme Court’s two former prosecutors sit on opposite ends of the court’s long mahogany bench, and they take very different views of the criminal justice system.

Justices Samuel A. Alito Jr. and Sonia Sotomayor have emerged in their relatively short time on the bench as two of the court’s most outspoken members on criminal justice issues. Sometimes they speak in unison, but when they disagree they often represent the court’s ideological divide.

Alito, a former career lawyer at the Justice Department and New Jersey’s U.S. attorney from 1987 to 1990, is wary of petitions from the convicted complaining of defects and worried about lawyers exploiting loopholes to try to free the guilty. “Public safety” is his bottom line and a phrase often repeated in his writing.

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