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Archive for June 21st, 2011

Endless Summer

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 21st, 2011 4:50 am by HL

Endless Summer
More information on the rapid decline of the arctic…for most of us to ignore.

Ostrich does its impression of American politicians by Lorentey at flickr.com

It’s the first day of Summer so good to know the latest bad news as Republicans try to out strip-mine each other on climate change and Democrats shrug their shoulders while our environment continues to fall apart.

Surface temperatures in the Arctic since 2005 have been higher than for any five-year period since record keeping began in 1880, according to a new report from the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program, an international group within the Arctic Council that monitors the Arctic environment and provides advice on Arctic environmental protection…Temperatures in the Arctic permafrost have risen by up to 3.5 degrees in the past two to three decades

There’s a lot of methane in permafrost which is released as it the temperature rises, which only makes climate change accelerate.

Meanwhile,

If the current actions contributing to a multifaceted degradation of the world’s oceans aren’t curbed, a mass extinction unlike anything human history has ever seen is coming, an expert panel of scientists warns in an alarming new report.

So awesome, I’m waiting for John McCain to blame immigrants.

Late, Late Night FDL: The Boys Are Back in Town
Thin Lizzy – ‘The Boys Are Back In Town’ The Boys are back… on the road! Thin Lizzy, Alice Cooper, and Def Leppard just kicked off the Mirrorball: Live and More tour in Ireland.

Thin Lizzy – ‘The Boys Are Back In Town’

The Boys are back… on the road! Thin Lizzy, Alice Cooper, and Def Leppard just kicked off the Mirrorball: Live and More tour in Ireland. Interestingly, I think the three new tracks on Def Leppard’s new album are Walmart quality indeed…! As it’s being sold exclusively at Walmart…

Undefeated is the best of the trio, but it’s a feeble attempt at recapturing the ‘Pour some Sugar’ enthusiasm… It’s All About Believin’ is pretty pedestrian… But, ‘Kings Of The World’ is an atrocious attempt at emulating Queen…! One commenter summed it up best… “Good grief, can we get some old school Def Leppard, and NOT old school? Queen?”

What’s on your mind tonite…?

How the Mayors Debated and Passed an Antiwar Resolution
The U.S. Conference of Mayors has just done something it hasn’t done since Vietnam, passing a resolution that supports efforts to speed up the ending of our current wars and calls on the President and Congress to “bring these war dollars home to meet vital human needs.

The U.S. Conference of Mayors has just done something it hasn’t done since Vietnam, passing a resolution that supports efforts to speed up the ending of our current wars and calls on the President and Congress to “bring these war dollars home to meet vital human needs.”

Here’s a page that organized this: http://www.wardollarshome.org

Activist groups are already taking the opportunity to ask Congress and the President to finally listen to what has, after all, been majority public opinion for a long time.

The President is about to announce whether he will violate his commitment to a significant withdrawal from Afghanistan in July. The House of Representatives is passing amendments blocking funding for the Libya War, and 10 congress members have sued the president in court to end it. Iraq, we are told, may soon “request” a continued occupation into next year. A CIA war in Yemen is ramping up, along with that in Pakistan. Congress will soon vote on $530 billion for the Department of “Defense” and another $119 billion for the wars. Meanwhile, Robert Gates just told the New York Times these are wars of choice. The American people and the U.S. Conference of Mayors seem to want a different choice made.

Here’s the resolution’s key language. There are two “resolved clauses.” The first reads:


Obama Expected to Announce Afghanistan Decision Wednesday

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 21st, 2011 4:49 am by HL

Obama Expected to Announce Afghanistan Decision Wednesday
Set your TiVos: The White House announced Monday that the president will deliver an Afghanistan speech Wednesday. Obama’s advisers have been debating how many of the more than 100,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan to bring home, with the military’s top brass pushing to keep most there indefinitely. The president is expected to share his big decision—which, rumor has it, he may not have made yet—during that speech.  —PZS Los Angeles Times: The president is expected to announce his decision on the level of troop withdrawals, though it was unclear whether a final determination had been made. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said at his daily briefing Monday that the president was “reviewing all of the options” and “is still in the process of finalizing” the size and scope of any proposed drawdown. The venue for Obama’s Wednesday speech was not disclosed. On Thursday, the president will visit Ft. Drum in New York, which is home to the 10th Mountain Division that has been heavily involved in the fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq. Carney would not say whether the visit was tied to his announcement. Read more

Set your TiVos: The White House announced Monday that the president will deliver an Afghanistan speech Wednesday. Obama’s advisers have been debating how many of the more than 100,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan to bring home, with the military’s top brass pushing to keep most there indefinitely.

The president is expected to share his big decision—which, rumor has it, he may not have made yet—during that speech.? —PZS

Los Angeles Times:

The president is expected to announce his decision on the level of troop withdrawals, though it was unclear whether a final determination had been made. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said at his daily briefing Monday that the president was “reviewing all of the options” and “is still in the process of finalizing” the size and scope of any proposed drawdown.

The venue for Obama’s Wednesday speech was not disclosed. On Thursday, the president will visit Ft. Drum in New York, which is home to the 10th Mountain Division that has been heavily involved in the fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq. Carney would not say whether the visit was tied to his announcement.

Read more

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This Hero Didn’t Stand a Chance
Tim DeChristopher faces up to 10 years in prison for standing in the way of the corporate and governmental destruction of the ecosystem.

By Chris Hedges

Tim DeChristopher faces up to 10 years in prison for standing in the way of the corporate and governmental destruction of the ecosystem.


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Obama Expected To Announce Afghanistan Troop Reduction

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 21st, 2011 4:48 am by HL

Obama Expected To Announce Afghanistan Troop Reduction
President Obama plans to announce a troop reduction in Afghanistan that Pentagon and other administration officials say is expected to bring home about 10,000 personnel…

Obama: Israel-United States Bond Is ‘Unbreakable’
WASHINGTON â?? Seeking to reassure Jewish donors amid questions over his support for Israel, President Barack Obama pledged Monday that his administration would “devote all…

Hawaii High Court Makes Controversial Ruling Regarding Man Who Punched Stepson
HONOLULU — A divided Hawaii Supreme Court has ruled that a man convicted of punching his stepson should have been allowed to raise parental discipline…

Afghanistan Troop Withdrawal Paired With Changes To Obama’s War Team
WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama’s long-awaited decision on how many troops to bring home from Afghanistan this summer is overshadowing an impending change of arguably…

Tavis Smiley: My Conversation With Dr. Henry Kissinger
I spoke at length with former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger about a number of critical issues facing China, including the intersection of environmental and economic forces.


Fox Hosts Official From Extremist-Linked Pro-Gun Group To Distort Link Between “Carry Laws” And Crime

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 21st, 2011 4:47 am by HL

Fox Hosts Official From Extremist-Linked Pro-Gun Group To Distort Link Between “Carry Laws” And Crime

Fox & Friends hosted John Velleco, director of federal affairs for Gun Owners of America (GOA), to argue in favor of concealed weapons laws by dubiously claiming that “crime goes down” when “a state tries to relax concealed carry laws.” But according to PolitiFact, crime data shows no “straight-line correlation between states with ‘right to carry’ laws and crime rates”; moreover, GOA’s executive director has been tied to militia groups, white supremacists, and has a history of extremist rhetoric.

Velleco Claims “Crime Goes Down” When “A State Tries To Relax Concealed Carry Laws”

Velleco: Concealed Weapon Carry Laws Makes “Crime [Go] Down.” On the June 20 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends, Velleco claimed: “Every time a state tries to relax concealed carry laws, we hear the Chicken Littles of the world saying that blood is going to flow in the streets, and it just doesn’t happen. In fact, crime doesn’t go up, crime goes down, because criminals don’t know who is carrying a firearm to defend themselves.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 6/20/11]

In Fact, Experts Argue There Is No Link Between Right-To-Carry Laws And Decrease In Crime

PolitiFact Called Claim That Right-To-Carry Laws Reduce Violent Crime “False.” In a February 16 post, PolitiFact evaluated the claim that “violent crime in jurisdictions that recognize the Right to Carry is lower than in areas that prevent it.” PolitiFact determined that the claim was “false.” From PolitiFact:

We found the the [sic] states without “right to carry” were spread out across the list, not bunched together at the top. The District of Columbia, which has strict gun control laws, ranked highest for violent crime. The other states ranked as follows: Delaware, No. 5; Maryland, No. 10; Illinois, No. 13; California, No. 17; Massachusetts, No. 18; New York, No. 24; New Jersey, No. 30; Hawaii, No. 36; Wisconsin, No. 39, and Rhode Island, No. 42.

We also couldn’t help noticing that some states with laws that favor gun ownership placed at different points along the list. The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence rates state gun laws, so we looked at the 14 states that had the weakest gun laws. Here, we also saw a wide variation in where the states ranked in terms of violent crime: Alaska, No. 6; Louisiana, No. 7; New Mexico, No. 8; Arkansas, No. 11; Oklahoma, No. 12; Missouri, No. 15; Arizona, No. 21; West Virginia, No. 32; Kentucky, No. 38; Montana, No. 41; Idaho, No. 44; Utah, No. 47; North Dakota, No. 48, and South Dakota, No. 49.

So using the 2009 data, we don’t see any evidence that state gun laws correlate with violent crime rates one way or the other, at least not “across the board” as LaPierre suggested in his speech.

[…]

We do not find that current crime statistics support this point. Some academics have said trends over time show that “right to carry” laws lower crime rates, but that argument is contested. There’s certainly not straight-line correlation between states with “right to carry” laws and crime rates. LaPierre made it sound like the data clearly supported his view. They don’t. We rate his statement False. [PolitiFact, 2/16/11]

John Donohue: Empirical Evidence Refutes Claim That Right-To-Carry Laws Would Reduce Crime. In a New York Times post, Stanford Law professor John Donohue wrote: “[W]hile some early studies by John Lott and others suggested that state policies providing greater freedom to carry guns would reduce crime, empirical evidence refutes this view. Wise gun policy and individual consumer choice to carry weapons involves weighing competing probabilities.” [New York Times, 1/11/11]

Donohue’s 2002 Study Concludes: “No Longer Can Any Plausible Case Be Made On Statistical Grounds That Shall-Issue Laws Are Likely To Reduce Crime For All Or Even Most States.” In a 2002 study titled, “Shooting Down the More Guns, Less Crime Hypothesis,” Donohue and Yale Law professor Ian Ayres concluded, “No longer can any plausible case be made on statistical grounds that shall-issue laws are likely to reduce crime for all or even most states.” Further, Donohue and Ayres stated:

While we do not want to overstate the strength of the conclusions that can be drawn from the extremely variable results emerging from the statistical analysis, if anything, there is stronger evidence for the conclusion that these laws increase crime than there is for the conclusion that they decrease it. [Donohue and Ayres, “Shooting Down the More Guns, Less Crime Hypothesis,” 10/02]

NRC Committee: “Not Possible To Determine … Causal Link Between The Passage Of Right-To-Carry Laws And Crime Rates.” In 2004, a National Research Council (NRC) committee released a report on right-to-carry laws and their effects on crime. The committee concluded that “it is not possible to determine that there is a causal link between the passage of right-to-carry laws and crime rates.” From the committee’s conclusion:  

The literature on right-to-carry laws summarized in this chapter has obtained conflicting estimates of their effects on crime. Estimation results have proven to be very sensitive to the precise specification used and time period examined. The initial model specification, when extended to new data, does not show evidence that passage of right-to-carry laws reduces crime. The estimated effects are highly sensitive to seemingly minor changes in the model specification and control variables. No link between right-to-carry laws and changes in crime is apparent in the raw data, even in the initial sample; it is only once numerous covariates are included that the negative results in the early data emerge. While the trend models show a reduction in the crime growth rate following the adoption of right-to-carry laws, these trend reductions occur long after law adoption, casting serious doubt on the proposition that the trend models estimated in the literature reflect effects of the law change. Finally, some of the point estimates are imprecise. Thus, the committee concludes that with the current evidence it is not possible to determine that there is a causal link between the passage of right-to-carry laws and crime rates. [Firearms and Violence, Committee on Law and Justice, National Research Council, 2004]

2010 Study Concurs With NRC Committee’s Conclusion But Added That Panel Data Suggests “RTC Laws Likely Increase The Rate Of Aggravated Assault.” In a June 2010 study re-examining the NRC committee’s analysis on the effects that right-to-carry laws on crime rates, Donohue and professors Abhay Aneja and Alex Zhang stated that “we agree with the [NRC] committee’s cautious final judgment on the effects of RTC laws,” but that “[i]f one had to make judgments based on panel data models of the type used in the NRC report, one would have to conclude that RTC laws likely increase the rate of aggravated assault.” From the conclusion:

Finally, despite our belief that the NRC’s analysis was imperfect in certain ways, we agree with the committee’s cautious final judgment on the effects of RTC laws: “with the current evidence it is not possible to determine that there is a causal link between the passage of right-to-carry laws and crime rates. Our results here further underscore the sensitivity of guns-crime estimates to modeling decisions.If one had to make judgments based on panel data models of the type used in the NRC report, one would have to conclude that RTC laws likely increase the rate of aggravated assault. Further research will be needed to see if this conclusion survives as more data and better methodologies are employed to estimate the impact of RTC laws on crime. [“The Impact of Right-to-Carry Laws and the NRC Report: Lessons for the Empirical Evaluation of Law and Policy,” 6/29/10]

Study Finds “Weak Evidence That RTC Laws Increase Or Decrease The Number Of Public Mass Shootings.” A November 2002 study by criminologists Grant Duwe, Tomislav Kovandzic, and Carlisle Moody analyzing 25 right-to-carry laws found “virtually no suport for the hypothesis that the laws increase or reduce the number of mass public shootings.” [“The Impact of Right-To-Carry Concealed Firearm Laws on Mass Public Shootings,” 11/02]

Criminologist Citing 2002 Study: “[T]he Effects Of RTC Laws Are Negligible, Neither Encouraging Nor Discouraging Mass Murder.” In a January 12 post on The Boston Globe‘s Crime & Punishment blog, James Alan Fox, professor of Criminology, Law, and Public Policy at Northeastern University, cited the 2002 study by Duwe, Kovandzic, and Moody and wrote:

[T]he effectiveness of concealed-carry laws in deterring mass murder is an empirical question, one that has been examined thoroughly by criminologists Grant Duwe, Tomislav Kovandzic, and Carlisle Moody. Using fairly sophisticated analytic techniques, they assessed the extent to which enactment of various RTC laws in 25 states across the country were associated with any change in the incidence of public mass shootings in the years from 1977 through 1999. Based on their estimates, the effects of RTC laws are negligible, neither encouraging nor discouraging mass murder. [Boston Globe‘s Crime & Punishment blog, 1/12/11]

Daniel Webster: “Permissive Right-To-Carry Laws Could Make It Harder For Police … To Deter Gun Violence.” In a New York Times post, Daniel Webster, co-director at the Center for Gun Policy and Research at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, wrote:

[L]aws prohibiting gun-carrying are an important tool for police to use to suppress the practice in so-called hot spots for shootings. Police units focused on deterring illegal gun-carrying have been the most consistently effective approach to reducing gun violence. Permissive right-to-carry laws could make it harder for police to use this law to deter gun violence. [The New York Times, 1/11/11]

Webster: “Permissive Right-To-Carry Laws” May Actually Increase Crime. In his New York Times post, Webster also wrote:

When mass shootings occur, many think that, if only one of the citizens at the site had access to a firearm, they could have taken the gunman out and saved lives. That’s an odd argument to make in a state where probably more people carry guns than in any other state.

While you can find an example to prove this point, it begs the question of whether it’s sound public policy to allow anyone who is not prohibited by our weak gun laws to carry firearms anywhere they choose. It is not clear that permissive right-to-carry laws haven’t increased violence. There have been numerous studies of these laws, many of which have substantial flaws. The best study was done by Ian Ayres and John Donohue, law professors at Yale and Stanford, respectively, and disaggregates the effects for each state and type of crime.

The estimates from their best models show right-to-carry laws associated with increases in 7 of 9 crimes studied, with the largest effect (+9 percent) being the crime many researchers would have hypothesized would increase — aggravated assaults. [The New York Times, 1/11/11]

GOA’s Executive Director Was Allegedly Tied To “Professional Racists,” Militias

GOA’s Executive Director Was Reportedly Fired From Buchanan’s ’96 Campaign For Ties To “Professional Racists.” According to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), GOA’s executive director, Larry Pratt, “hit the headlines in a big way when his associations with [white supremacist minister Pete] Peters and other professional racists were revealed, convincing arch-conservative Pat Buchanan to eject him as a national co-chair of Buchanan’s 1996 presidential campaign.” [SPLC, Summer 2001]

Pratt Was A Contributing Editor To Anti-Semitic Group’s Periodical. The SPLC further reported that “[t]he same year, it emerged that Pratt was a contributing editor to a periodical of the anti-Semitic United Sovereigns of America, and that his GOA had donated money to a white supremacist attorney’s group.” [SPLC, Summer 2001]

Pratt Reportedly “Advocated” For “Militias In The United States.” From the SPLC:

In 1990, Pratt wrote a book, Armed People Victorious, based on his study of “citizen defense patrols” used in Guatemala and the Philippines against Communist rebels — patrols that came to be known as death squads for their murderous brutality.

Picturing these groups in rosy terms, Pratt advocated similar militias in the United States — an idea that finally caught on when he was invited for a meeting of 160 extremists, including many famous white supremacists, in 1992.

It was at that meeting, hosted in Colorado by white supremacist minister Pete Peters, that the contours of the militia movement were laid out. [SPLC, Summer 2001]

GOA’s Pratt: “All The Gun Laws That Are On The Books Are Bad Laws “

Pratt: “All The Gun Laws That Are On The Books Are Bad Laws.” From an interview with John Birch Society president John McManus:

McMANUS: Are there any bad laws currently on the books that you’re worrying about?

PRATT: Well, all the gun laws that are on the books are bad laws. [The John Birch Society, Self Defense with GOA Larry Pratt, uploaded 5/7/08]

Pratt: Laws Prohibiting Gun Ownership By The Dangerously Mentally Ill Are “Dictatorial,” Like “Nazi Germany.” On the September 24, 2009, edition of MSNBC’s The Ed Show, Pratt told host Ed Schultz that legislation denying firearms to the dangerously mentally ill was “a dictatorial power” which “they use[d] … in Nazi Germany.” From MSNBC’s The Ed Show:

SCHULTZ: I do believe psychiatrists and psychologists should have the power to deny — you know, you shouldn’t own a firearm. I mean, I do believe that.

PRATT: You know, that’s a dictatorial power —

SCHULTZ: No, it’s not.

PRATT: They used that in Nazi Germany. They used that in [the] Soviet Union. They use it in Cuba. That doesn’t have any place in America. [MSNBC, The Ed Show, 9/24/09 via Political Correction]

Velleco Suggested That Gun Owners Should Be Able To Carry Guns At Presidential Events. From the August 19, 2009, edition of MSNBC’s Hardball:

CHRIS MATTHEWS (host): Suppose the president has a town hall meeting with 10,000 people at some high school gym or college field house. Should everybody in the place be allowed to have a gun? Everybody in the place that the president’s speaking.

VELLECO: If it’s legal to carry guns in that location, absolutely.

MATTHEWS: So, it’s fine with you?

VELLECO: Fine with — yeah. [MSNBC’s Hardball, 8/19/09 via Crooks and Liars]

GOA Has Opposed Background Checks And Even The Act Of Showing Identification. At the April 19, 2010, Open Carry March, Pratt told the audience that people “[s]houldn’t have to have any ID to buy a gun anywhere. That’s something we’re going to be taking care of.” [Open Carry March, 4/19/10 via Political Correction]


Inside Turn Right USA, The Group Behind The Most Offensive Political Ad Ever

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 21st, 2011 4:46 am by HL

Inside Turn Right USA, The Group Behind The Most Offensive Political Ad Ever
The treasurer of a new “super PAC” which released what has been called the most offensive political advertisement in history is considering disassociating himself with Turn Right USA because he “just can’t approve” of an ad with a pole-dancer in booty shorts.

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Lawsuit: Man In Crash Was Drunk, Speeding And Having Sex
There’s reckless driving and then there’s…


A TV Twist of Fate: Beck’s Out, Olbermann’s Back In

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 21st, 2011 4:42 am by HL

A TV Twist of Fate: Beck’s Out, Olbermann’s Back In


Huntsman’s Path to the GOP Nomination

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 21st, 2011 4:41 am by HL

Huntsman’s Path to the GOP Nomination
With Jon Huntsman officially entering the presidential race today, John Avlon looks at how he might win.

“There’s no question it’s a long shot. But it is also true that even in the heady opening weeks of the Obama administration, Huntsman was regarded as the Republican that Barack & Co. least wanted to run against in 2012. That’s why they came up with the bright idea of bringing Huntsman into the fold as China ambassador. It didn’t stick.”

“Huntsman is the latest embodiment of the classic Catch-22 of partisan politics — the candidate most likely to win a general election has the hardest time winning the nomination. The qualities that make them so competitive in the fall alienate the base.”

Associated Press: “Unusual political resume and sometimes centrist views makes Huntsman both a long shot to emerge with the GOP presidential nomination and a candidate to be feared … should he break out of the pack.”

Feinstein’s Support Drops in California
A new Field Poll in California finds Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s (D-CA) popularity has plunged by double digits from her previous re-election ratings: 43% say they’ll vote for her, but 39% want someone else.

Said pollster Mark DiCamillio: “With Feinstein, we’ve never seen these kinds of numbers before, where it’s so close. I was more surprised in March, but to see it replicated — this was a large sample — I just think it’s a very different economic and political backdrop we’re going to have in 2012 than we’ve seen in any previous election year for Feinstein.”

Quote of the Day
“I got asked a direct question, and I should’ve answered it directly, and I’ve been doing that since, and I’ll do it now, and rest assured — we won’t let that opportunity pass again.”

— Tim Pawlenty, in an interview on Fox News, noting he won’t miss another chance to criticize Mitt Romney’s on health care.


Political art at its worst

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 21st, 2011 4:40 am by HL

Political art at its worst
For anyone closely following the Palestinian-Israeli issue, nothing is more insulting than the world’s political players peddling another peace initiative, crusading as the ultimate formula to extract the conflict from its current abyss. The most recent episode of such political…

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Administration Fails Pledge To Return Solar To White House Roof By Spring

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 21st, 2011 4:39 am by HL

Administration Fails Pledge To Return Solar To White House Roof By Spring
Last fall, thousands of youth climate activists called on President Barack Obama to restore solar to the White House, removed twenty years ago by Ronald Reagan. In October, Secretary of Energy Steven Chu announced that “by the end of this spring, there will be solar panels and a solar hot water heater on the roof […]

Last fall, thousands of youth climate activists called on President Barack Obama to restore solar to the White House, removed twenty years ago by Ronald Reagan. In October, Secretary of Energy Steven Chu announced that “by the end of this spring, there will be solar panels and a solar hot water heater on the roof of the White House.” Today, with less than 24 hours before the summer solstice, Ramamoorthy Ramesh announced that the date of White House solar installation won’t even be publicly decided until September at the earliest, based on the timeline for the DOE’s Rooftop Solar Challenge:

The Energy Department remains on the path to complete the White House solar demonstration project, in keeping with our commitment, and we look forward to sharing more information — including additional details on the timing of this project — after the competitive procurement process is completed.

The Rooftop Solar Challenge, part of the Department of Energy Sunshot Initiative to accelerate the deployment of solar technologies, is designed to encourage local and regional governments to improve market conditions for rooftop solar installations. The Sunshot Initiative program was only announced in April of this year, and the final date for submissions to the rooftop challenge is August 31. There is no date established for when the “competitive procurement process” is to be completed.

Although the work being done by Ramesh, one of the nation’s top solar-power scientists, as the head of the Sunshot Initiative, is crucial, tying the White House demonstration solar installations to this program is a transparent excuse for a broken pledge.

The threat of our polluted climate and the urgency of rebuilding our economy with clean technology should be the Obama administration’s paramount concern. Their deferral of a commitment made to our nation’s youth in the midst of this crisis is a grave disappointment.


Weiner to officially resign Tuesday

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 21st, 2011 4:38 am by HL

Weiner to officially resign Tuesday

Anthony Weiner may have announced his resignation last week, but he’s technically not a former member of Congress – yet.

The New York Democrat, who last Thursday announced his plans to step down amid pressure from senior Democrats and a nearly three-week-long media firestorm over lewd photos he sent online to at least six women across the country, will formally resign Tuesday, according to a letter he sent Monday to New York Secretary of State Cesar Perales, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

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House earmarks morph into ‘programmatic requests’

Cutting the $553 billion base Defense Department budget is made that much harder when House members continue their long-standing habit of slipping into it “little” multimillion-dollar items that once were called earmarks.

In the House version fiscal 2012 Defense Authorization Bill they became en banc amendments approved without public discussion in committee (Armed Services) and on the House floor, and financed from a $650 million Mission Force Enhancement Transfer Fund, which was created by reducing other programs.

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NY Senate stalls on gay marriage vote as hundreds of demonstrators rally in Albany

ALBANY, N.Y. — Old-time, backroom politics faced down hundreds of chanting protesters from each side of the highly charged gay marriage debate in New York on Monday as the issue stalled again over whether religious groups could be protected from discrimination charges under a same-sex marriage law.

And Albany’s notoriously entrenched politics won, for now.

After a three-hour conference behind closed doors, while groups from each side waited in a stifling hot hallway, Senate Republicans emerged without comment. A vote within the conference to even move the bill to the floor for final legislative approval was pushed to at least Tuesday as private negotiations continue between Republican Senate leader Dean Skelos and Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who made same-sex marriage a major initiative.

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Obama’s negation of ‘hostilities’ in Libya draws criticism

The White House has officially declared that what’s happening in Libya is not “hostilities.”

But at the Pentagon, officials have decided it’s unsafe enough there to give troops extra pay for serving in “imminent danger.”

The Defense Department decided in April to pay an extra $225 a month in “imminent danger pay” to service members who fly planes over Libya or serve on ships within 110 nautical miles of its shores.

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