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Archive for August 17th, 2011

Call Me Captain Renault

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 17th, 2011 4:46 am by HL

Call Me Captain Renault
Hard to believe that Rupert Murdoch would lie shamelessly…yet again.

I for one, am again very, very, disappointed — one might say “Shocked” at the behavior of Rupert Murdoch and the fruit of his loins.

It turns out that the very man at the heart of the hacking scandal, Clive Goodman, contrary to the testimony of Rupert and James Murdoch (and Rebekah Brooks) stated in his resignation letter of four years ago that phone hacking was long the talk of the editors.

But that’s not all, Rupert and James hung their lawyers out to dry before Parliament last month, saying they had reviewed their operation to make sure it was behaving properly and given them a clean bill of health.

Uh, not quite, you aussie douchebag, not quite:

the parliamentary panel released a letter from Harbottle & Lewis, a law firm hired by the Murdochs, which they have repeatedly cited as having given the News of the World a “clean bill of health” in reviewing a cache of e-mails in 2007. The law firm’s letter contradicts that assertion and says that its own investigation had been limited strictly to advising the company in its employment dispute with Mr. Goodman.

And hey, nice redacting too.

Not that anybody of any wealth and power is going to go to jail…that sort of thing is so many Leona Helmsleys ago.

Tea Party Congress

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 17th, 2011 4:45 am by HL

Tea Party Congress

By Bill Day, Cagle Cartoons

Mr. Fish's Cartoon

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Arianna Huffington: Why America Is Deeply in Need of a Good Hedgehog

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 17th, 2011 4:44 am by HL

Arianna Huffington: Why America Is Deeply in Need of a Good Hedgehog
What the country needs right now is a good hedgehog. Back in 1953, British philosopher Isaiah Berlin famously laid out two opposing styles of leadership — hedgehogs and foxes — taking his cue from a line in an ancient Greek poem by Archilochus: “The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing.” According to Berlin, the fox will “pursue many ends, often unrelated and even contradictory, connected, if at all, only in some de facto way.” In contrast, the hedgehog offers an “unchanging, all embracing… unitary inner vision.” Right now, with the country in crisis mode, the American people sense that our problems can’t be solved by foxy spinning, triangulating, slicing and dicing, and tinkering at the edges. They are longing for a hedgehog at the helm — even a fanatical, delusional hedgehog like those currently leading the Republican Party.

D.R. Burgess: Be Careful What You Wish For
Democrats are cheering Michele Bachmann on with the vindictive glee of a crowd watching an opposing player streaking down the field to score an own goal. I am not so sanguine.

Tobacco Companies Sue Federal Government Over Graphic Cigarette Warning Labels
COLUMBIA, S.C. — Four of the five largest U.S. tobacco companies sued the federal government Tuesday over new graphic cigarette labels that include the sewn-up…

Right-Wing Media Attack Secret Service For Commissioning New Cost-Effective Buses

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 17th, 2011 4:43 am by HL

Right-Wing Media Attack Secret Service For Commissioning New Cost-Effective Buses

Right-wing media attacked President Obama for traveling on buses that reportedly cost $1.1 million each on his bus tour through the Midwest. But Secret Service officials have said the buses will pay for themselves over time and have also said there has been “demonstrated need for [the buses] for some time”; additionally, the buses will be available to the eventual Republican nominee during the 2012 election, as well as future presidents.

Right-Wing Media Seize On Cost Of Buses To Attack Trip As A “Waste [Of] Your Tax Dollars”

Hannity: Obama “Doesn’t Have To Waste Your Tax Dollars And Travel Around In A $1.1 Million Luxury Liner” To Talk To “Actual Americans.” On the August 15 edition of Fox News’ Hannity, host Sean Hannity said:

HANNITY: And today, President Barack Obama embarked on a three-day bus tour in the Midwest that the White House says will allow him to escape the Beltway bubble and hear from actual Americans. But let’s be honest, he doesn’t have to waste your tax dollars and travel around in a $1.1 million luxury liner to find out what is on the minds of these so-called commoners. Because the American people, well, they are speaking loud and clear about the president’s performance. According to a brand new Gallup poll, only 39 percent of those surveyed say the anointed one is doing a good job, while a 54 percent majority say they disapprove. And both of those numbers are the worst of the Obama presidency. [Fox News, Hannity, 8/15/11]

Bolling Attacks Security Costs Of Bus Trip: “Any Idea How Much This Might Cost The Taxpayer?” On the August 15 edition of Fox Business’ Follow the Money, host Eric Bolling discussed the president’s bus tour with guest and former Republican National Committee spokesman Doug Heye. From the broadcast:

BOLLING: Joining me now is Doug Heye, former communications director for the Republican National Committee. Thanks, Doug, for joining us. Obama looked a little out of place on a bus — doesn’t he look more comfortable lounging back on the comfort of his 747 jumbo corporate Air Force jet One?


BOLLING: But let’s talk about that bus tour a little bit. Taxpayer-funded, sir?

HEYE: Well, unfortunately — unfortunately, it is paid for by the taxpayers. Even though this is clearly a campaign trip, they have decided this is somehow a listening tour, not campaign bracketing, which is what they’re actually engaging in. And if you go back to the 2004 campaign, President Bush did something similar. The key difference is, the Bush campaign paid for it.

BOLLING: Right. Any idea how much this might cost the taxpayer? By the way, he flew there on Air Force One, he flew there with the Secret Service, the entourage — we’re talking — look, I’m a money guy, a numbers guy, I’m guessing it’s going to be in the millions.

HEYE: Absolutely. We know the buses alone, forget the fuel, forget the logistics that go with such a bus tour — but the bus alone costs, I think it’s two buses, more than a million dollars. And this is our money. We’re trying to be frugal stewards in this new Washington era, with House Republicans actually cutting spending for the first time. And the president’s wasting this money. He’s going to raise, apparently, a billion dollars, which is a lot of money for a campaign. Seems that they could pay for this campaign junket. [Fox Business, Follow the Money, 8/15/11]

Drudge Hypes Cost Of Tour: “Armored Buses Cost $2.2 Million.” On August 15, the Drudge Report posted a series of links about Obama’s bus tour beneath a picture of one of the armored buses, including a link to an April 21 Politico post about their then-projected “$2.2 million” cost:

Drudge bus tour

[Drudge Report Archives, 8/15/11]

But Secret Service Predicts Buses Will “Pay For [Themselves] Over A Projected 10-Year Lifespan” …

AFP: “The Service … Reason[ed] That The Initial Total Outlay Of 2.2 Million Dollars For Two Buses Would Soon Pay For Itself Over A Projected 10-Year Lifespan.” An August 15 Agence France-Presse (AFP) article stated:

The US leader swept onto the campaign trail Monday with a sleek and even sinister looking set of wheels with blacked out windows worth $1.1 million.

The shiny, black armored bus, bristling with secret communications technology, with flashing police-style red and blue lights on the front and the back, made its debut on Obama’s three-day tour of Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois.

The vehicle was commissioned by the Secret Service, which has always hired buses for election campaigns and retrofitted them to provide suitable protection for presidents and rival party nominees.

But the Service decided to commission its own vehicles, reasoning that the initial total outlay of 2.2 million dollars for two buses would soon pay for itself over a projected 10-year lifespan. [Agence France-Presse, 8/15/11, via Google News]

TPM: “Cost Of Installing Equipment, Removing Equipment And Repairing The Damage To [Previously Leased Vehicles]” For Trips “Factored Into The Secret Service’s Decision.” From an April 21 Talking Points Memo (TPM) article:

In the past, the Secret Service has enhanced the security features of buses leased by presidential campaigns, and they say having their own secure buses that can be used during campaign trips just makes more sense.


The cost of installing equipment, removing equipment and repairing the damage to the leased vehicles also factored into the Secret Service’s decision to purchase their own buses. [Talking Points Memo, 4/21/11]

Former Secret Service Director: “It Was Extremely Expensive To Lease One Of These Buses And Then Put In Proper Armoring, Proper Communications Equipment.” From the August 15 edition of NPR’s All Things Considered:

In the past, [presidential, vice presidential, and presidential candidate bus] tours were a big headache for the service. The process started with a commercial tour bus and a renovation process that put the old TV show Pimp My Ride to shame.

“It was extremely expensive to lease one of these buses and then put in proper armoring, proper communications equipment,” says former Secret Service Director Ralph Basham, who’s now with Command Consulting Group. “And then at the end of the contract you had to restore these buses back to their original state.” [NPR, 8/15/11]

… Secret Service Officials Say “We’re Overdue For Having This Type Of Protective Asset” …

Secret Service Spokesman Ed Donovan: “The Reality Is That We’re Overdue For Having This Type Of Protective Asset In Our Fleet.” From the April 21 TPM article:

“We’ve never been fully comfortable with the security provided by a bus we lease and then try to retro-fit,” Secret Service spokesman Jim Mackin told TPM.

“This would be just like other vehicles we’re adding to our fleet,” Mackin said. “We’d use them for the campaign, but they’re not for campaign purposes. They would be part of our fleet — just like our limos, just like our follow-ups, just like our emergency vehicles.”


“The reality is that we’re overdue for having this type of protective asset in our fleet,” Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan told TPM. [Talking Points Memo, 4/21/11]

Donovan: “Designing Our Own Vehicle Really Gave Us A Level Of Security Which We Don’t Get When We Lease A Bus.” The TPM article further stated:

[Donovan said,] “We’ve had protectees in buses since at least 1980, Ronald Reagan, Gov. Reagan, was in a bus during the campaign. It’s overdue because designing our own vehicle really gave us a level of security which we don’t get when we lease a bus.”

In the past, the Secret Service has enhanced the security features of buses leased by presidential campaigns, and they say having their own secure buses that can be used during campaign trips just makes more sense.

“If we have a candidate who has leased a bus and we’re going to be protecting that candidate, we’re going to look to enhance the security of that vehicle,” Donovan said. “This is just the next step, and as I said, something that we’re overdue for.” [Talking Points Memo, 4/21/11]

Donovan: “We Have Demonstrated The Need For These Buses Going Back To 1980.” The August 15 AFP article stated: ” ‘We have demonstrated the need for these buses going back to 1980,’ said Ed Donovan, a Secret Service spokesman, recalling the days when future president Ronald Reagan stormed the country by bus.” [AFP, 8/15/11, via Google News]

… And The Buses Will Be Available To Eventual GOP 2012 Nominee, Future Presidents

AFP: “Each Of The New Buses Will Be Available To Obama And The Eventual Republican Presidential Nominee.” According to the AFP article, “Each of the new buses will be available to Obama and the eventual Republican presidential nominee if required through the duration of the 2012 election season.” [Agence France-Presse, 8/15/11, via Google News]

TPM: “The Secret Service Says … [The Buses Will] Be A Security Asset For Future Presidents As Well.” From the April 21 TPM article:

As the Secret Service prepares for the 2012 campaign, they’re purchasing two new buses, at least one of which will be used by President Barack Obama as he travels around the country, TPM has learned. The Secret Service says that while the armored vehicles will be used by Obama during the 2012 presidential campaign, they’ll be a security asset for future presidents as well.


One of the buses will be available for use by the Republican presidential candidate as well. And they wouldn’t only be used on the campaign trail — the Secret Service said the multipurpose vehicles be useful whenever a protectee travels into rural areas. [Talking Points Memo, 4/21/11]

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Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 17th, 2011 4:42 am by HL

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Issa Disputes NYT Report Alleging Ties Between Business Interests And Congressional Record
The office of Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) is striking back at an extensive piece in the New York Times on the close ties between his congressional priorities and his business interests.

Prosser Raised Big Money For Spring Recount
Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice David Prosser was able to raise very large amounts of money during the recount that followed his very close re-election victory this past spring, the Wisconsin State Journal reports. And what’s more, one of his key lawyers from that contest has pending business before the court.

BART PD vs Anonymous in S. F.

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 17th, 2011 4:39 am by HL

BART PD vs Anonymous in S. F.
When the BART Police Department faced a demonstration by folks from Anonymous, the World’s Laziest Journalist was among the throng of writers and photographers recording the event for posterity.

Note to Readers

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 17th, 2011 4:38 am by HL

Note to Readers
Thanks for your patience over the last week and a half as Political Wire has had a somewhat erratic schedule. I’ve been on the most amazing trip through Greece and Turkey which has included a boat ride up the Bosphorus (with Europe on the left bank and Asia on the right), visiting the underground cities of Cappadocia where Christians hid from the Romans nearly two thousand years ago, seeing the amazingly intact ruins of the ancient Roman city of Ephesus and swimming in the Aegean Sea.

Today we travel home, so please bear with me for a few more hours. Many thanks for spending part of your day here.


Anarchy In The UK… But Could It Hit The US?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 17th, 2011 4:37 am by HL

Anarchy In The UK… But Could It Hit The US?
Only a few weeks back, British columnists were jestingly describing the UK Parliament’s uproarious reaction to “Murdoch-gate” as “British Spring.” Newspaper articles were filled with playful puns on Arabic names, along with a mirthful contrast between the scale of the…

Slouching Toward a Double Dip, For No Good Reason
Imagine your house is burning. You call the fire department but your call isn’t answered because every fire fighter in town is debating whether there will be enough water to fight fires over the next ten years, even though water…

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Lady Gaga Goes Middle American—In Android Wear and Drag

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 17th, 2011 4:36 am by HL

Lady Gaga Goes Middle American—In Android Wear and Drag
The video for “You and I” is far from Lady Gaga’s most original, and it’s interesting that she made the video with the so-called “Country Road” version of the song. This being Gaga, she’s in drag as her male alter-ego Jo Calderone (which I’d actually like to see more of), people are keeping mermaids out […]

The video for “You and I” is far from Lady Gaga’s most original, and it’s interesting that she made the video with the so-called “Country Road” version of the song. This being Gaga, she’s in drag as her male alter-ego Jo Calderone (which I’d actually like to see more of), people are keeping mermaids out in the barn, and androids are meandering down the backroads:

I actually kind of dig that last bit of it. In a weird—but good—way, it reminds me of the car chase scene that introduced us to what a punk James T. Kirk was as a kid in J.J. Abrams 2009 Star Trek movie:

I think we often assume that the future’s going to look totally different than it is today, when actually a lot of it might look the same, but with tweaks. We’ll still have corn fields, it’ll just be robot cops who police them—and android hitchhikers who meander down them.

Or it could just be a riff on Lady Gaga’s collaboration with Farmville:

Either way, she seems pretty determined to conquer the heartland.

Featured Advertiser

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 17th, 2011 4:35 am by HL

Featured Advertiser

Obama offers measures to help rural economies

PEOSTA, IOWA — On the second day of his Midwestern economic tour, President Obama bussed through idyllic landscapes in rural Iowa, armed with several measures that he said would boost the economy here.

But, the administration soon added, none will require more federal funding that Congress must approve.

Such is the dilemma facing Obama as he sets the stage for a battle in Washington this fall over efforts to tame the debt and boost the economy.

Read full article >>

Democratic incumbents win Wisconsin recalls

Two Wisconsin Democratic state senators survived recall elections Tuesday night, leaving Republicans with a narrow 17 to 16 majority in the upper chamber.

State Sen. Bob Wirch (D) defeated corporate attorney Jonathan Steitz (R) in the 22nd district. State Sen. Jim Holperin (D) defeated tea party activist Kim Simac (R) in the 12th.

Gov. Scott Walker (R) won both seats in the 2010 election, but the Republican-leaning 12th district was more seriously contested. Simac’s campaign was hobbled by some of her past statements and gaffes on the trail.

Read full article >>

Cuccinelli might challenge Warner for Senate seat in 2014

RICHMOND — Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II (R) said he might run for the U.S. Senate in 2014, possibly setting up a race against one of Virginia’s most popular politicians, Democrat Mark R. Warner.

Cuccinelli, who garnered national attention for suing the federal government over the new health-care law, had said he would run for reelection or governor in 2013. But in an interview with The Washington Post, he said for the first time that he could instead run for the Senate.

In the interview, he accused Warner — a former governor who has expressed frustrations with the workings of the Senate — of failing to lead and challenge authority.

Read full article >>