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Archive for July 6th, 2011

The Worst, gets worse

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 6th, 2011 4:52 am by HL

The Worst, gets worse
The revelations of Rupert Murdoch’s media depravity come fast and furious…but only for consumption in another country. Here, potential six and seven figure paychecks must be protected.

Apparently in Britain those newspapers that don’t have Murdochian “Page 3 Girls” have the temerity to practice journalism. In addition to hacking the phones of celebrities for years, now extended to missing children, the Murdoch owned News of the World (NOTW) went even further.

* It is suspected that NOTW hacked into the phones of many of the victims of the July 7, 2005 terrorist bombings of the London subway that killed 52 people.

* It is suspected that several families of missing or murdered children over the last several years had their phones hacked by NOTW.

* NOTW placed a police investigator under surveillance as the latter was investigating the murder of a private eye linked to NOTW. Which doesn’t sound at all ominous or the plot of a bad Hollywood thriller (based on a Bill O’Reilly novel).

* The Cameron government, rife with high level officials who worked for Murdoch, is on the verge of approving NewsCorp’s multi-billion dollar takeover of yet another major television network (must be using on all that money Rupert made on Myspace) — the groundswell of opposition is rising, or maybe just  for once being listened to. NOTW is losing advertising revenue from major companies.

* The Guardian’s Steve Bell perfectly summarizes Murdoch and his “British Roger Ailes“, Rebekah Brooks’ claim it is “inconceivable” she knew of all this phone hacking.

Meanwhile, in this country, the matter is still just a blip as the media dictates our outrages at other things — I mean Nancy Grace had built a gibbet for a hanging and everything!

Nobody watches big media’s back in this country better than big media. A policy that has kept Howard Kurtz pay well into the six figures for many a year.



Nominate Our Next Truthdigger of the Week

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 6th, 2011 4:51 am by HL

Nominate Our Next Truthdigger of the Week
Who made your week by speaking truth to power, blowing the whistle or standing up to injustice? Truthdigger of the Week is a feature in which we recognize a person or group that made a difference. See past winners here. Nominate this week’s winner here.

Who made your week by speaking truth to power, blowing the whistle or standing up to injustice?

Truthdigger of the Week is a feature in which we recognize a person or group that made a difference.

See past winners here. Nominate this week’s winner here.



Schismatic Bishop Faces Trial Over Holocaust Denial

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 6th, 2011 4:49 am by HL

Schismatic Bishop Faces Trial Over Holocaust Denial
By Niels Sorrells Religion News Service BERLIN (RNS) The case of an outspoken schismatic bishop headed back to court on Monday (July 4), with lawyers…

Joel Cohen: DSK and the Rest of Those on the Criminal Docket
The case appears to be over. Dominique Strauss-Kahn will return to France a free man and be acclaimed for his triumph over the egregious elements of so-called U.S. legal justice.

Former Pawlenty Colleagues, Mentors Don’t Recognize The Man Running For President
WASHINGTON â?? Those who have known Tim Pawlenty for a long time are stumped by a simple question: What happened to him? It’s not just…

Jonathan Miller: Anti-Semitism in KY Politics: Where’s the Outrage?
Forgy’s notion of an international conspiracy, joining Jewish financiers and entertainment moguls, is the modern blood libel: the pernicious fantasy spun by anti-Semites to demean, dehumanize and scapegoat the Jewish people.

Somali Citizen Brought To New York To Face Terrorism Charges
WASHINGTON — A Somali citizen captured in April was interrogated aboard a U.S. warship for two months and is now in New York to face…


Right-Wing Media Return To Using “Bogus” Math To Attack Stimulus

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 6th, 2011 4:48 am by HL

Right-Wing Media Return To Using “Bogus” Math To Attack Stimulus

The right-wing media are promoting a claim made by a Weekly Standard writer that the stimulus has “cost $278,000 per job.” However, simply dividing the amount of money spent by the number of jobs created is, according to an Associated Press fact check, “highly misleading,” and economist and Nobel laureate Paul Krugman has called this math “bogus.”

Right-Wing Media Repeat Weekly Standard‘s Misleading Claim

The Weekly Standard: ” ‘Stimulus’ Has Cost $278,000 Per Job.” From a July 3 Weekly Standard blog post by Jeffrey H. Anderson, headlined “Obama’s Economists: ‘Stimulus’ Has Cost $278,000 per Job”:

When the Obama administration releases a report on the Friday before a long weekend, it’s clearly not trying to draw attention to the report’s contents. Sure enough, the “Seventh Quarterly Report” on the economic impact of the “stimulus,” released on Friday, July 1, provides further evidence that President Obama’s economic “stimulus” did very little, if anything, to stimulate the economy, and a whole lot to stimulate the debt.

The report was written by the White House’s Council of Economic Advisors, a group of three economists who were all handpicked by Obama, and it chronicles the alleged success of the “stimulus” in adding or saving jobs. The council reports that, using “mainstream estimates of economic multipliers for the effects of fiscal stimulus” (which it describes as a “natural way to estimate the effects of” the legislation), the “stimulus” has added or saved just under 2.4 million jobs — whether private or public — at a cost (to date) of $666 billion. That’s a cost to taxpayers of $278,000 per job. [The Weekly Standard, 7/3/11]

Fox & Friends: Each Of The Jobs Created By Stimulus “Cost An Average Of $278,000 Per Job.” From the July 5 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends:

STEVE DOOCY (co-host): According to the White House Council of Economic Advisers — they’ve come out with their seventh quarterly report. And what it says is that the stimulus — remember, it was going to save us from big unemployment — 

DANA PERINO (guest co-host): Save or create 3 million jobs. 

DOOCY: Yeah. It was going to do that. It didn’t do that. And of the jobs it did save or create, each of those jobs cost an average of $278,000 per job. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 7/5/11]

MichelleMalkin.com Highlights The Weekly Standard‘s Claim. From a July 3 post by Doug Powers on MichelleMalkin.com:

As Jeffrey Anderson at the Weekly Standard pointed out, the White House releasing a fiscal report on the Friday before a long holiday weekend can only mean one thing: There’s not much good news in it for the White House, and, ergo, taxpayers.

Such is the case with the White House Council of Economic Advisors’ seventh quarterly report on the impact of the “stimulus”:

The council reports that, using “mainstream estimates of economic multipliers for the effects of fiscal stimulus” (which it describes as a “natural way to estimate the effects of” the legislation), the “stimulus” has added or saved just under 2.4 million jobs — whether private or public — at a cost (to date) of $666 billion. That’s a cost to taxpayers of $278,000 per job. [MichelleMalkin.com, 7/3/11]

Hoft: “The Obama White House Admitted This Week That The Bogus Stimulus Cost $278,000 Per Job.” In a July 3 post on his blog Gateway Pundit, Jim Hoft quoted The Weekly Standard‘s claim and wrote, “The Obama White House admitted this week that the bogus stimulus cost $278,000 per job.” [TheGatewayPundit.com, 7/3/11]

Right-Wing Media Made Similar Misleading Attacks On Stimulus In 2009

In 2009, Right-Wing Figures Used The Same Math To Claim That Each Job Created By The Stimulus Would Cost At Least $217,000. Media Matters rebutted these claims HEREHERE, and HERE.

“Highly Misleading” Math Does Not Convey Full Impact Of Stimulus

AP: “[M]ath Is Satisfyingly Simple But Highly Misleading.” In 2009, the Associated Press published a “fact check” reviewing similar claims being made at the time:

Beware the math. Some Republican lawmakers critical of President Barack Obama’s stimulus package are using grade-school arithmetic to size up costs and consequences of all that spending. The math is satisfyingly simple but highly misleading.

It goes like this: Divide the stimulus money spent so far by the estimated number of jobs saved or created. That produces a rather frightening figure on how much money taxpayers are spending for each job.

[…]

The reality is more complex.

First, the naysayers’ calculations ignore the value of the work produced.

Any cost-per-job figure pays not just for the worker, but for material, supplies and that worker’s output — a portion of a road paved, patients treated in a health clinic, goods shipped from a factory floor, railroad tracks laid.

Second, critics are counting the total cost of contracts that will fuel work for months or years and dividing that by the number of jobs produced only to date.

A construction project, for one, may only require a few engineers to get going, with the work force to swell as ground is broken and building accelerates.

Hundreds of such projects have been on the books, in which the full value of the contracts is already counted in the spending totals, but few or no jobs have been reported yet because the work is only getting started.

To flip the equation politically, it’s as if the 10-year cost of George W. Bush’s big tax cuts were compared with the benefits to the economy that only accrued during the first year.

Third, the package approved by Congress is aimed at more than direct job creation, although employment was certainly central to its promotion and purpose.

Its features include money for research, training, plant equipment, extended unemployment benefits, credit assistance for businesses and more — spending meant to pay off over time but impossible to judge in a short-term job formula.

Nor do the estimates made Friday include indirect employment already created by the package — difficult if not impossible to measure. [AP, 11/2/09, via Nexis]

Krugman Called Claim That Stimulus Would Cost $275,000 Per Job “Bogus.” Paul Krugman, a Nobel Prize-winning economist, responded to similar claims in his New York Times column in 2009:

First, there’s the bogus talking point that the Obama plan will cost $275,000 per job created. Why is it bogus? Because it involves taking the cost of a plan that will extend over several years, creating millions of jobs each year, and dividing it by the jobs created in just one of those years.

It’s as if an opponent of the school lunch program were to take an estimate of the cost of that program over the next five years, then divide it by the number of lunches provided in just one of those years, and assert that the program was hugely wasteful, because it cost $13 per lunch. (The actual cost of a free school lunch, by the way, is $2.57.)

The true cost per job of the Obama plan will probably be closer to $100,000 than $275,000 — and the net cost will be as little as $60,000 once you take into account the fact that a stronger economy means higher tax receipts. [The New York Times, 1/25/09]


Bloomberg Flip-Flops On Perp Walks As DSK Case Falls Apart

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 6th, 2011 4:47 am by HL

Bloomberg Flip-Flops On Perp Walks As DSK Case Falls Apart
As the case against former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn appears to be falling apart, so is something else really important: Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s support for perp walks.


Court Blocks Kansas Abortion Rules — But State Planning New Set
A federal court blocked the state of Kansas from enacting new temporary regulations for abortion clinics that could have shut down two of the three clinics in the state — but state officials say they are devising an identical set of permanent regulations.



Zorro in Libya?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 6th, 2011 4:43 am by HL

Zorro in Libya?
Purportedly one of the advantages of the computer era is that citizens with blogs will provide backup for the news media staffs that are stretched to the breaking point by cost cutting layoffs. There is danger in letting that bit of reassuring nonsense go unchallenged because if the backup capabilities of the citizen journalist […]


Still Waiting on Bachmann’s Numbers

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 6th, 2011 4:42 am by HL

Still Waiting on Bachmann’s Numbers
The Washington Post notes the only major GOP presidential candidate who has not reported second quarter fundraising totals is Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN). Her campaign says she will not announce her fundraising totals until July 15, the day the reporting is due at the Federal Election Commission.

Time for a Third Party?
John Avlon: “The two parties are deeply polarized, but the American people are not. That’s why we’re witnessing a market breakdown in our politics. A rising tide of voters might describe themselves as fiscally conservative but socially liberal, but because of the disproportionate influence of special interests like the religious right and public-sector unions, the two parties cannot meet this market demand. They are polarized and paralyzed — incapable of reasoning together to solve long-term problems, absent a crisis.”

“Impractical extreme voices dominate the debate. And unless they show a new capacity to self-correct, it just might take a third party to remind Republicans and Democrats that they are Americans first — and that hyperpartisanship is the opposite of patriotism.”

Disorder in the House
“The rapid-fire succession of floor votes in the House this year has triggered lawmaker confusion and mistakes,” according to The Hill, as Republican leaders attempt to balance a schedule with more recesses with the need to complete the business of the House.

“The new House GOP majority has adopted a much different schedule from what Democrats embraced during the last Congress. By and large, the House recesses once every three weeks, allowing members to spend more time with their families and constituents. That change has attracted praise from members, but it also puts pressure on leaders to cram as many votes as they can into the schedule… With as many as 30 amendments in a series, legislators have found themselves confused as they insert their member voting card into the electronic reader.”


Why Revolutions and Raptures Can’t be Digitized

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 6th, 2011 4:40 am by HL

Why Revolutions and Raptures Can’t be Digitized
Asked recently to compare Harvard and Yale undergraduates, I quipped that a Harvard student studying the German sociologist Max Weber will ask, “What were his main points, and how will they help me when I’m Secretary of State or founder…

AARP Tells Members They Won’t Fight Social Security Benefit Cuts
The front page of today’s Wall Street Journal features an article [Key Seniors Association Pivots on Benefit Cut] reporting that AARP “is dropping its longstanding opposition to cutting Social Security benefits.”? The piece is based on a conversation with AARP…


Greece, Economists, And The Value Of The Euro
Is the euro bad for Greece? “I’ve never seen Europe in such dire straits,” Roger Cohen writes in yesterday’s Times. “Greece is full of the aganaktismenoi, or the outraged, who resent the sharp cuts and sales of state industries made…



?Misfits? And The Problem Of Assigning Powers

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 6th, 2011 4:39 am by HL

?Misfits? And The Problem Of Assigning Powers
We’ve talked before about the problem of giving people superpowers that actually bring out interesting things about their personalities, rather than magnifying already obvious things about them. In that vein, I’m curious what people think of Misfits, the British show about young offenders assigned to do community service who end up with superpowers during a […]

'Misfits' has failings, including Alisha's powers, but it's a step towards more interesting storytelling.

We’ve talked before about the problem of giving people superpowers that actually bring out interesting things about their personalities, rather than magnifying already obvious things about them. In that vein, I’m curious what people think of Misfits, the British show about young offenders assigned to do community service who end up with superpowers during a lightening strike.

There’s something inherently interesting about empowering people who not only don’t have very much power in society, but who aren’t necessarily very nice people. And there’s something sort of tragic and uncomfortable about some of the ways powers get designated. A decent probation worker gets turned into a murderous zombie. Kelly, who can be unthinkingly aggressive, ends up having to hear everyone’s thoughts. Curtis’ powers are only activated when he feels intense regret, a more direct than usual actualization of the idea that powers are a blessing and a curse. On the other hand, there’s something punitive and uncomfortable about giving Alisha, who behaves somewhat provocatively, a power that essentially involves her getting sexually harassed all of the time.

Still, I think there’s something useful in the show’s assumption that you might not be able to use your powers to do good if you need them simply to get by, or to manage the things that you don’t like about yourself or that make it more difficult for you to assimilate in society. Regressing into a Jack Russell terrier genuinely doesn’t help you do anything in the outside world, but it might be a way of coping with the fact that you’re homeless. There is something sort of contrived about the fact that our five main main characters end up with what Nathan calls “something good, something from the A List,” rather than “those bullshit powers.” It would be funnier and more interesting to have five people bound together by a terrible secret with a range of skills of dubious usability. But I do think whatever its failures, the way Misfits doles out powers is a step in more interesting direction (if not necessarily a more progressive one). The American optimism that superpowers would both be useful and mostly used for good is really genuinely unrealistic. Or as Nathan puts it: “”You lot? Superheroes? But in what kind of fucked up world would that be allowed to happen?…That kind of thing only happens in America. This will fade away.”

Over 19,000
That’s how many United States servicemembers were raped or sexually assaulted in 2010. By comparison, just under 1,000 servicemembers were killed in Iraq and Afghanistan during the same time period.

That’s how many United States servicemembers were raped or sexually assaulted in 2010. By comparison, just under 1,000 servicemembers were killed in Iraq and Afghanistan during the same time period.


Connecticut 1st state to require paid sick time

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 6th, 2011 4:38 am by HL

Connecticut 1st state to require paid sick time

HARTFORD, Conn. — Connecticut has become the first state to require companies to provide employees with paid sick leave with legislation signed into law by Gov. Dan Malloy (D), who announced his action Tuesday.

The measure requires businesses in the service industry with 50 or more employees to allow workers to accrue one hour of sick time for every 40 hours worked. Backers estimate that between 200,000 and 300,000 workers will benefit. Opponents said the law will make Connecticut less competitive.

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Weapons prove Iranian role in Iraq, U.S. says

BAGHDAD — Iranian-backed militias in Iraq are using more sophisticated weapons than in the past to target U.S. troops and military installations in Iraq, according to senior U.S. officials.

James F. Jeffrey, the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, said Tuesday that fresh forensic testing on weapons used in the latest deadly attacks in the country bolsters assertions by U.S. officials that Iran is supporting Iraqi insurgents with new weapons and training.

“We’re not talking about a smoking pistol. There is no doubt this is Iranian,” Jeffrey said in an interview.

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Bill Clinton weighs in on the GOP field

Former president Bill Clinton hasn’t been shy about discussing the 2012 presidential field recently, and he has some surprisingly positive things to say about the GOP contenders.

He praised Rep. Michele Bachmann’s (R-Minn.) ability to connect with voters on ABC’s “Good Morning America” last week, saying he wasn’t surprised the dark horse candidate had become a serious contender. “I’ve been watching her speak. She comes across as a real person,” Clinton said.

Clinton also said Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) is running a better campaign now than he did in 2008. “Romney comes across as more relaxed, more convicted about what he did do, less willing to just be forced into apologizing for it.”

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