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Archive for August 1st, 2011

Wild Boars Invading New York

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 1st, 2011 4:46 am by HL

Wild Boars Invading New York
Wild boar are invading the farms of central New York state, attacking livestock, killing family pets, chasing people and posing “devastating consequences,” officials warn. The feral swine are a non-native species suspected of escaping from game farms, and as many as a couple of hundred are roaming the state, said Paul Curtis, a natural resources professor at Cornell University. A report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture said the swine were successfully breeding in the three counties and producing litters averaging 4 to 6 piglets.

Early Morning Swim

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 1st, 2011 4:44 am by HL

Early Morning Swim
Only two links this morning.

Only two links this morning. First, the Shrill One.

In the long run, however, Democrats won’t be the only losers. What Republicans have just gotten away with calls our whole system of government into question. After all, how can American democracy work if whichever party is most prepared to be ruthless, to threaten the nation’s economic security, gets to dictate policy? And the answer is, maybe it can’t.

And Jane.

If you want to have power, stop slobbering all over abject failure.  And stop dreaming that you’ll ever have any influence at the top by elevating people whose only systemic function is to serve as an opiate for liberals when they’re getting screwed. Good lord, Mitch McConnell ran circles around the Democrats these past few weeks.  Even as you watched him orchestrate the American decline, you had to marvel at his political skill — and acknowledge there was no one on the left who could do that.

How can you hope to challenge the established order when your leaders are nothing more than serial losers?

But it’s a win for “centrism and compromise” Jonathan Alter told me last night on MSNBC.



Tea Party Troubles

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 1st, 2011 4:43 am by HL

Tea Party Troubles

By Nate Beeler, Cagle Cartoons, The Washington Examiner

Mr. Fish's Cartoon

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Stocks Jump On News Of Debt Ceiling Deal

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 1st, 2011 4:42 am by HL

Stocks Jump On News Of Debt Ceiling Deal
SINGAPORE (Kevin Plumberg) – Equities rose while gold and the yen dropped on Monday, with investors cutting safety trades after Washington reached a last…

HuffPost Radio: Both Sides Now: Debt Ceiling Fight “Psychotic”? ID Laws “Jim Crow”?
Arianna & Mary debate whether voter ID laws declare war on fraud or voters, and is the debt ceiling a manufactured crisis? Can O’Reilly complain about “Christian Extremism” after fretting “Muslim Extremism”?

Jon-Christopher Bua: Washington Notebook: Too Close for Comfort
To prevent a default at the eleventh hour Obama may have relinquished the last arrow in his political quiver by agreeing to deep cuts in government spending which some economists believe might jeopardise this fragile recovery.

Judge: Sherrod Defamation Suit Against Breitbart Can Proceed

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 1st, 2011 4:41 am by HL

Judge: Sherrod Defamation Suit Against Breitbart Can Proceed
Federal Judge Richard Leon has tossed out two motions to dismiss former USDA official Shirley Sherrod’s defamation suit against Andrew Breitbart.

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Cruise ships to Gaza: Netanyahu opens the Strip to tourism? Yeah right.

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 1st, 2011 4:39 am by HL

Cruise ships to Gaza: Netanyahu opens the Strip to tourism? Yeah right.
In a historically unprecedented move recently, Israel’s militant neo-con prime minister Bibi Netanyahu claims to have relaxed his iron grip on Gaza and has cordially invited tourists to visit this bombed-out, violently occupied and haunted place. According to Netanyahu, at last there’s been a major breakthrough in the subjugated and occupied Gaza Strip! It has […]

Can Democrats Lose the Battle But Win the War?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 1st, 2011 4:38 am by HL

Can Democrats Lose the Battle But Win the War?
Ezra Klein notes that while the deal hashed out by President Obama and congressional leadership “doesn’t include revenue, doesn’t include stimulus, and lets Republicans pocket a trillion dollars or more in cuts without offering anything to Democrats in return… Democrats will have their turn.”

“On Dec. 31, 2012, three weeks before the end of President Barack Obama’s current term in office, the Bush tax cuts expire… And all Democrats need to do to secure that deal is…nothing. This scenario is the inverse of the current debt-ceiling debate… Next year’s deadline offers Democrats their only chance to negotiate from a superior strategic position. Republicans will still be able to refuse to raise taxes. But if they do, it won’t matter. The only way they can succeed in keeping taxes from rising is if the Obama administration and the Democrats stand shoulder-to-shoulder with them to extend the Bush tax cuts.”

Flashback Quote of the Day
“When you say it would seem they’ll have a significant amount of leverage over the White House, what do you mean?”

— President Obama, at a news conference last December, not seeming to grasp a reporter’s question about the Republican Party’s ability to use the debt ceiling vote as leverage.

Obama Surrenders
Paul Krugman says the deal reached last night to raise the nation’s debt ceiling “is a disaster, and not just for President Obama and his party. It will damage an already depressed economy; it will probably make America’s long-run deficit problem worse, not better; and most important, by demonstrating that raw extortion works and carries no political cost, it will take America a long way down the road to banana-republic status.”

What The UN Vote Means–And Does Not

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 1st, 2011 4:37 am by HL

What The UN Vote Means–And Does Not
My friend Alvaro de Soto, the former Special Ambassador of the United Nations’s Secretary-General to the Middle East peace process, is a legend in the UN, from which he is now retired. Peruvian by birth, an aide to Secretary-General Javier…

The High Price of Nukes
As President Obama and Republicans in Congress go down to the wire in negotiations over a package of budget cuts that would clear the way for raising the debt ceiling, we shouldn’t lose sight of one key source of reductions:…

Scotland Yard to Investigate Murdoch?s NewsCorp for Computer and Email Hacking. Duh!

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 1st, 2011 4:36 am by HL

Scotland Yard to Investigate Murdoch?s NewsCorp for Computer and Email Hacking. Duh!
News of the World executive obtained hacked e-mails Actually, that was a BBC headline — from March! No, it doesn’t refer to Climategate, but you’ll be shocked, shocked to learn that the NY Times is reporting today: Scotland Yard will expand its investigation of The News of the World and its parent company, police officials […]

News of the World executive obtained hacked e-mails

Scotland YardActually, that was a BBC headline — from March!

No, it doesn’t refer to Climategate, but you’ll be shocked, shocked to learn that the NY Times is reporting today:

Scotland Yard will expand its investigation of The News of the World and its parent company, police officials said Saturday, adding a new inquiry into possible instances of computer intrusion to the current accusations of phone hacking and payments to police officers.

The new investigation was opened after an examination of “a number of allegations regarding breach of privacy” received since the Metropolitan Police, also known as Scotland Yard, reopened inquiries in January into possible crimes by newspaper employees, a statement said.

I am one to say “I told you so” — it’s half the reason to have a blog, especially on climate, where the nation’s ongoing inaction all but guarantees that those of us warning of the most dire climatic consequences will be vindicated.

Two weeks ago I wrote, “News Corp and the Hacked Climategate Emails: Time for an Independent Investigation.”  Back then we knew that News Corp in the UK had done phone hacking, and that a News Crop division in this country apparently did computer and e-mail hacking.

Now, as the NY Times reports, Scotland Yard has reason to believe News Corp in the UK was involved in hacking computers and e-mails:

But a former British Army intelligence officer, Ian Hurst, said in a statement that he had been contacted by investigators over allegations that he had made “in regards to my family’s computer being illegally accessed over a sustained period during 2006.” Mr. Hurst had worked in Northern Ireland, running undercover operations. The BBC reported this year that his computer had been hacked and sensitive e-mail had been provided to The News of the World. A spokeswoman for News International refused to comment on the new inquiry.

The investigation opens a new front for News International, the British arm of Rupert Murdoch’s media empire, already shaken by a scandal that has seen the 168-year-old News of the World shuttered on a few days’ notice and the resignations of two of Britain’s top police officers.

Here is the opening of the March BBC story:

A senior News of the World executive obtained e-mails hacked in to by a private detective, Panorama has found.

Then Irish edition editor Alex Marunchak was sent ex-British intelligence officer Ian Hurst’s private e-mails in 2006, it found….

Panorama obtained details of e-mails from Mr Hurst’s computer that were sent to the News of the World’s Dublin office by fax, and identified the man who accessed them by using a Trojan virus contained in an e-mail.

In my earlier post, I wrote it is entirely possible that News Corp wasn’t involved in the hacking of the climate scientists’ e-mails in November 2009.   Indeed, I’d be surprised if they were (though not shocked).

But I wrote that News Corp would be on anybody’s short list for possible suspects in the Climategate hacking.  That’s even more true with this report, particularly when one includes all of the rogue investigators News Corp was apparently tangled up with.

People tell me that they don’t see a motive.  I would generally agree that News of the World doesn’t appear to have an obvious reason for hacking climate scientists emails.  But then when you look at the staggering array of innocent victims of their phone hacking, some of which seems so counterproductive as to defy even the most perverse logic, then I think the answer is:  If they were involved, it was probably through one of their investigative stringers, many of whom appear to have incredibly bad judgment along with dubious ethics.

Anyway, the point is moot now.  The BBC reports:

A new team of officers is to probe allegations of computer hacking, the Metropolitan Police has announced….

A spokesman said there had previously been a “consideration of allegations” of computer hacking rather than an investigation, but now “some aspects of that operation are being moved towards investigation”.

The Met investigation is understood to include an examination of the covert use of “Trojan horse” computer viruses, which allow hackers to take control of third-party computers.

While I would have preferred an independent investigation, Scotland Yard knows that the world will be watching.  So I expect they’ll do a thorough job and track down all leads, whether or not they are part of the team’s charter.

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One day until the debt deadline: The day ahead on the Hill

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 1st, 2011 4:35 am by HL

One day until the debt deadline: The day ahead on the Hill

Monday represents a make-or-break day in the negotiations on raising the country’s debt ceiling. With one day remaining until the deadline to raise the federal borrowing limit or else face default, leaders in both chambers are met with the daunting task of rounding up support among rank-and-file members, some of whom have already expressed skepticism about the agreement.

Here’s a look at what’s on the schedule today (although the day’s events are likely to change as the debt-limit developments warrant):

Read full article >>

Interest groups report major political contributions

Interest groups closely linked to both parties revealed a bevy of financiers who wrote six- and seven-figure checks to back Republican and Democratic candidates in disclosure documents filed over the weekend.

The filings come at the start of a presidential contest that is expected to be awash in spending by monied interest groups — a contrast to the 2008 election cycle, which largely offered a reprieve from interest-group spending backed by wealthy donors.

The big contributions, which largely come from a handful of party stalwarts, show how top donors on both sides of the aisle are willing to invest in campaigns with the Democratic Senate majority in the balance and the presidency at stake in 2012. The reports show a Democratic donor base that appears to be much more engaged after a 2010 midterm election dominated by new Republican groups.

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Congress putting its faith in committee

After weeks, months, of bitter feuding, Congress has finally agreed on who cannot be trusted to solve the country’s complicated fiscal problems: The U.S. Congress. All 535 members. And Congress has a solution — a special committee.

Both Republicans and Democrats have proposed drumming up a committee of 12 legislators — handpicked by both parties — to deal with the most complicated issues involved in a likely debt-ceiling compromise. It will be up to this “super committee” to complete the epic task of cutting more than $1 trillion in spending from the federal budget.

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The debt-ceiling deal: Winners and losers

The debt ceiling fight is over. The White House and congressional leaders have settled on a deal to raise the nation’s debt ceiling, enact immediate spending cuts and, our favorite part, create a super-commission designed to trim the federal budget further by the end of the year.

The political stakes for this fight were massive — and it produced a number of winners and losers. Our take on the best and the worst is below.

Mitch McConnell: The Kentucky Republican was like the Mariano Rivera of the debt deal. He waited until the game was in its final moments, came onto the field and helped close things down (in a good way). McConnell was also a voice of reason and frankness for Republicans, making clear that default would be a huge political loser for the party. In the end, he got a deal the way he wanted one — with him at the center of negotiations.

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College affirmative action back on Supreme Court’s horizon

When the Supreme Court in 2003 narrowly approved the consideration of race in public university admission decisions, it came with loads of restrictions and a sort of expiration date.

“We expect that 25 years from now, the use of racial preferences will no longer be necessary to further the interest approved today,” Justice Sandra Day O’Connor wrote for the majority in Grutter v. Bollinger .

But, of course, O’Connor is now retired from the court, replaced by Samuel A. Alito Jr., a justice far more skeptical of racial remedies. And two recent decisions in lower courts have raised the prospect that the issue will return to the high court far ahead of O’Connor’s timeline.

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