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Archive for September 8th, 2011

Late Late Night FDL: Surfin’ Bulldog

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 8th, 2011 4:45 am by HL

Late Late Night FDL: Surfin’ Bulldog
Video of Tillman the Surfing Bulldog plus music by The Beach Boys equals Surfin’ Bulldog.

Video of Tillman the Surfing Bulldog plus music by The Beach Boys equals Surfin’ Bulldog.

What’s on your mind?

Not even fit for a drinking game
Oh the repugnant non-drama of modern political theater.

I’m tired of Lucy and the football, let’s have a new analogy for how tonight’s speech will be perceived:

Oh the drama of a speech to Congress that gets rescheduled to accommodate Republicans only to have many of them not show up. One would think it is a sign, but in a Reaganesque move the President is sure there’s a pony in that big pile somewhere.

There seems to be little hope that Obama is going to accept the reality — or seemingly cares — that the GOP is going to work with him on anything other than moving expenses (and they’ll just pull the rug out on that one on January 19, 2013 too). Not allowing government to do anything but protect gated communities and release the predator drones otherwise is their raison d’être. The purpose of government is to show government cannot do anything — don’t take my word for it, take the word of a longtime Republican operative (the one only a few publications and we liberals have written about).

If you think Paul Ryan and his Ayn Rand-worshipping colleagues aren’t after your Social Security and Medicare, I am here to disabuse you of your naiveté. They will move heaven and earth to force through tax cuts that will so starve the government of revenue that they will be “forced” to make “hard choices” – and that doesn’t mean repealing those very same tax cuts, it means cutting the benefits for which you worked.

And the only Democrats that don’t seem aware of this (emphasis on seem) are the one’s that don’t appear to give a damn.



Does Karl Rove Know Something We Don’t

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 8th, 2011 4:44 am by HL

Does Karl Rove Know Something We Don’t
So far the pundit (for now) has taken on three of the 8 1/2 (Palin has not declared) of his party’s candidates. By Richard Reeves

So far the pundit (for now) has taken on three of the 8 1/2 (Palin has not declared) of his party’s candidates.


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Military Establishment Takes Three Whacks at Robert Gates
Robert Gates, who left his role as defense secretary this summer, has drawn criticism from members of the military establishment for allegedly lacking long-term vision, allowing military leaders to usurp civilian control and inadequately briefing and preparing the president for war. The author of the attack, Bernard I. Finel, is a senior fellow at the American Security Project, a military think tank where he directs research on counterterrorism and defense policy. Articles like his are important because they allow us to see some of what the managers of America’s empire are saying to one another. —ARK Armed Forces Journal: First, a defense secretary needs to manage the department effectively. This is not simply a matter of prevailing in bureaucratic battles, but rather in charting a course for the department that balances ends and means, that ensures that long-term risks are addressed as well as managing short-term challenges. One fundamental element is allocating and managing the defense budget to ensure resources are wisely expended to address the entire portfolio of risks the U.S. military might need to engage. Second, a secretary, as the person most directly responsible for ensuring civilian control of the military, must manage civil-military relations. This involves both ensuring that military expertise is tapped to support civilian decision-making, but also that civilian control of the military remains unchallenged. It is the secretary’s responsibility, in short, to ensure that there is a solid working relationship between the military and civilian policymakers, and also to ensure that civilian control is robust. Third, a secretary must provide sound and balanced advice to the president about military options and operations. This requires not only an ability to be responsive to the needs and desires of the president and his staff but also an ability to interject forcefully to ensure that decisions about the use of force be made with a full appreciation of both the opportunities and limitations inherent in the use of the military instrument. In all three of these core areas, Gates was largely ineffective. Read more

Robert Gates, who left his role as defense secretary this summer, has drawn criticism from members of the military establishment for allegedly lacking long-term vision, allowing military leaders to usurp civilian control and inadequately briefing and preparing the president for war.

The author of the attack, Bernard I. Finel, is a senior fellow at the American Security Project, a military think tank where he directs research on counterterrorism and defense policy. Articles like his are important because they allow us to see some of what the managers of America’s empire are saying to one another. —ARK

Armed Forces Journal:

First, a defense secretary needs to manage the department effectively. This is not simply a matter of prevailing in bureaucratic battles, but rather in charting a course for the department that balances ends and means, that ensures that long-term risks are addressed as well as managing short-term challenges. One fundamental element is allocating and managing the defense budget to ensure resources are wisely expended to address the entire portfolio of risks the U.S. military might need to engage.

Second, a secretary, as the person most directly responsible for ensuring civilian control of the military, must manage civil-military relations. This involves both ensuring that military expertise is tapped to support civilian decision-making, but also that civilian control of the military remains unchallenged. It is the secretary’s responsibility, in short, to ensure that there is a solid working relationship between the military and civilian policymakers, and also to ensure that civilian control is robust.

Third, a secretary must provide sound and balanced advice to the president about military options and operations. This requires not only an ability to be responsive to the needs and desires of the president and his staff but also an ability to interject forcefully to ensure that decisions about the use of force be made with a full appreciation of both the opportunities and limitations inherent in the use of the military instrument.

In all three of these core areas, Gates was largely ineffective.

Read more

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Richard (RJ) Eskow: Debate on a Strange Red Planet

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 8th, 2011 4:43 am by HL

Richard (RJ) Eskow: Debate on a Strange Red Planet
Red’s the designated Republican color, but the shades used for Wednesday’s GOP debate have never been glimpsed in nature. Ranging from scarlet to carnelian to…

Post-9/11 U.S. intelligence reforms take root, problems remain
By Tabassum Zakaria WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. intelligence agencies will forever be scarred by their failure to connect the dots and detect the September 11…

Rick Perry On ‘Ultimate Justice’ In Texas: ‘I’ve Never Struggled With That’
Brian Williams becomes the next reporter to almost, but not quite, hold Rick Perry to account for the execution of Cameron Todd Willingham. During the…


Fox’s Crowley Is “Complete[ly]” Wrong About Balance Of Private, Public Employment Under Obama

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 8th, 2011 4:42 am by HL

Fox’s Crowley Is “Complete[ly]” Wrong About Balance Of Private, Public Employment Under Obama

Fox News contributor Monica Crowley said that “under this administration, you have had a complete overturning of the balance where the private sector has been the vast majority of American workers and American economic life.” In fact, the private sector still employs “the vast majority of American workers” — about five times more than does government.

Crowley: There’s Been “A Complete Overturning Of The Balance” Between Public And Private Sectors

Crowley: “The Public Sector Has Grown To Such A Huge Extent.” From Fox Business’ America’s Nightly Scoreboard:

CROWLEY: We’ve been talking a lot on FBN and elsewhere about the class warfare and how Obama is stoking class warfare — meaning talking about millionaires and billionaires. I think that the real class warfare is something that Jimmy Hoffa just touched on, which is public sector vs. private sector. And under this administration, you have had a complete overturning of the balance where the private sector has been the vast majority of American workers and American economic life. Now, the public sector has grown to such a huge extent. That’s, I think, what he was getting at. [Fox Business, America’s Nightly Scoreboard, 9/6/11]

Reality: Private-Sector Employment Is Still About Five Times Larger Than Government Employment

BLS: In January 2009, Private Sector Employed About 111 Million People. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 110,981,000 private-sector workers in January 2009. [BLS via Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, accessed 9/7/11 through “Download Data in Graph” link] 

BLS: In January 2009, Government Employed About 22.6 Million People. According to the BLS, there were 22,582,000 people working at all levels of government in January 2009. [BLS via Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, accessed 9/7/11 through “Download Data in Graph” link]

BLS: In August 2011, Private Sector Employed About 109.2 Million People. According to the BLS, there were 109,170,000 private-sector workers in August 2011. [BLS via Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, accessed 9/7/11 through “Download Data in Graph” link]

BLS: In August 2011, Government Employed About 22 Million People. According to the BLS, there were 21,962,000 people working at all levels of government in August 2011. [BLS via Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, accessed 9/7/11 through “Download Data in Graph” link]

Graph From St. Louis Fed Shows Private-Sector Employment Is Still About Five Times Larger Than Government Employment. From the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in a graph from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis:

[BLS via Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, accessed 9/7/11

Reality: Government Employment Has Decreased Under Obama

BLS: Governments Have Shed More Than 500,000 Workers Since January 2009. From the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in a graph from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis:

[BLS via Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, accessed 9/6/11]


Fishing Weights From Walmart Tied White Supremacist To MLK Day Bomb

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 8th, 2011 4:41 am by HL

Fishing Weights From Walmart Tied White Supremacist To MLK Day Bomb
Federal authorities tied white supremacist Kevin Harpham to the bomb planted at a Martin Luther King, Jr. Day parade in Washington state after noticing unusually high sales of quarter ounce fishing weights at a Walmart in Colville, Washington.


Allen West Brings ‘Ground Zero Mosque’ Controversy Out Of Hibernation (VIDEO)
A year after the controversy over the so-called “Ground Zero mosque” started fading from the national scene, Rep. Allen West (R-FL) hosted a screening of a film that deems the planned cultural center “another type of Islamic jihad.”


An Early Look at the Electoral Vote Map

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 8th, 2011 4:38 am by HL

An Early Look at the Electoral Vote Map
Larry Sabato takes an early look at the Electoral College math:

“So Republicans are a lock or lead in 24 states for 206 electoral votes, and Democrats have or lead in 19 states for 247 electoral votes. Seven super-swing states with 85 electors will determine which party gets to the 270 Electoral College majority: Colorado (9), Florida (29), Iowa (6), Nevada (6), New Hampshire (4), Ohio (18) and Virginia (13). Prior to Obama’s 2008 victories in each state, several of these toss-ups had generally or firmly leaned Republican for most elections since 1980. Virginia, which hadn’t voted Democratic since 1964, was the biggest surprise, and its Obama majority was larger than that of Ohio, which has frequently been friendly to Democrats in modern times. Massive Hispanic participation turned Colorado and Nevada to Obama, and it helped him in Florida. New Hampshire was the only state lost by Al Gore that switched to John Kerry; its special New England character makes it especially volatile. “

Romney Did Not Invoke Reagan
Smart Politics notes Mitt Romney was the only GOP presidential candidate who did not mention Ronald Reagan during last night’s debate at the Reagan Library.

“Romney’s silence on Reagan — particularly in the library that bears his name — was in stark contrast to former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who mentioned Reagan’s name nine times — more than twice the number of any other candidate. In total, Reagan was name-dropped 24 times by the candidates Wednesday evening.”

Quote of the Day
“The science is not settled on this. The idea that we would put Americans’ economy at jeopardy based on scientific theory that’s not settled yet to me is just nonsense. Just because you have a group of scientists who stood up and said here is the fact. Galileo got outvoted for a spell.”

— Texas Gov. Rick Perry, expressing skepticism on global climate change at last night’s presidential debate.


President Obama Joins the Cult of Economics Deniers

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 8th, 2011 4:37 am by HL

President Obama Joins the Cult of Economics Deniers
A front page story in Sunday’s New York Times gave the country the bad news. President Obama is no longer paying attention to economists and economics in designing economic policy. Instead, he will do what his campaign people tell him…

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Newly-Confirmed Judge?s Nomination Was Almost Killed By A Transcript Error

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 8th, 2011 4:36 am by HL

Newly-Confirmed Judge?s Nomination Was Almost Killed By A Transcript Error
Last night, the Senate finally confirmed Judge Bernice Donald to the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. During her confirmations process, however, three Republican senators questioned whether she should be elevated to the appellate bench after they uncovered a newsletter stating that Donald once suggested that her own experience as a racial […]

Last night, the Senate finally confirmed Judge Bernice Donald to the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. During her confirmations process, however, three Republican senators questioned whether she should be elevated to the appellate bench after they uncovered a newsletter stating that Donald once suggested that her own experience as a racial minority may give her a different perspective on discrimination cases. These senators were forced to call off the hounds, however, after Donald conclusively proved that she never even made the statement in the first place.


Republican presidential debate: We’re live-blogging it every second

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 8th, 2011 4:35 am by HL

Republican presidential debate: We’re live-blogging it every second

Eight Republican candidates will take the stage at the Reagan Library in California tonight for the third debate of the presidential primary season.

But, this one may matter more since its the first that will include Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who has rocketed to the top of the 2012 Republican field after just three weeks in the race.

Read full article >>

Obama calls rival Perry over Texas wildfires

Who says President Obama isn’t playing nice with his Republican rivals?

On Wednesday, Obama gave a ring to Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who also happens to be the leading Republican candidate aiming to take his job at the White House.

Awkward.

Read full article >>

Rick Perry repeats Social Security is ‘Ponzi scheme’ statement

It was all but guaranteed that the Rick Perry and Mitt Romney — that is, the new frontrunner and the old frontrunner — would go after each other in tonight’s Republican debate.

The surprise is how quickly it happened. As moderator Brian Williams quipped, both candidates came prepared.

In the first few minutes of the NBC News/Politico debate at California’s Reagan Library, the Texas governor and former Massachusetts governor attacked each other’s records on jobs and the economy in detail.

Read full article >>

Rick Perry, Mitt Romney square off in Republican presidential debate

SIMI VALLEY, Calif. — Appearing together for the first time on a debate stage, the two leading contenders for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination squared off Wednesday over the question most likely to shape the race: Who is better equipped to restart the country’s economy?

Seizing the spotlight in his national debate debut was Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who has vaulted to a lead in the polls over onetime front-runner Mitt Romney since joining the race three weeks ago.

Although Perry has had relatively little experience in such a setting, he was at ease — and occasionally combative. The Texas governor appeared unflustered and unapologetic as he took fire on his record and on some of the inflammatory statements he has made.

Read full article >>


Why the Stock Markets Are Losing Hope

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 8th, 2011 4:31 am by HL

Why the Stock Markets Are Losing Hope
Charles Gasparino, New York Post
There was once a time when trouble in foreign markets, whether in Asia or as now in Europe, would be good for US stocks.Sure, our markets can get hammered when news like the 1997 Asian currency crisis hits. But we often make a comeback as investors digest the news and come to the conclusion that the best place to bet for future growth is on the companies at the heart of the US economy.

Obama’s Biggest Challenge Thursday
Brian Beutler, Talking Points Memo
Barack Obama will face a daunting challenge Thursday evening when he attempts to focus the government's attention away from consolidating the federal budget, and back on to immediate job creation. Here's a partial list of hurdles: Republicans oppose all new spending, unless it's offset by cuts to key federal programs; they oppose most of the specific spending measures that experts say would create jobs; many Democrats, scared of their own shadows, won't support anything that doesn't have bipartisan support; the public has soured on Keynesian spending policies, and…

Why Aren’t the Keynesian Stimuli Working?
Nick Gillespie, Reason
In The Washington Times, businessman Mike Whalen (who's associated the free-market think tank NCPA) writes up an interesting take on why various federal stimulus program have tanked like the Titanic(while causing few ripples on the way down).His points are worth thinking about.

Perry, Romney Trade Strong Blows at Debate
Zeleny & Nagourney, NYT
SIMI VALLEY, Calif. — The fight for the Republican presidential nomination began narrowing into an intense and ideological battle at a debate here Wednesday night, with Gov. Rick Perry of Texas and Mitt Romney sharply clashing over Social Security, health care and each other’s long-term prospect against President Obama. The latest on President Obama, the new Congress and other news from Washington and around the nation. Join the discussion.The candidates, in the final moment before the debate began. More Photos » A series of…