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Archive for October 15th, 2011

DC Gives Transgenders Job Training

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 15th, 2011 4:44 am by HL

DC Gives Transgenders Job Training
A new D.C. program that teaches job-seeking skills to transgender people and pays some of their salaries for up to six months was fast-tracked by Mayor Vincent Gray. The program is run through Project Empowerment, a city-funded $11 million-a-year program that helps hard-to-employ citizens such as ex-convicts and ex-addicts find work. In the 10 year history of Project Empowerment, only four transgender individuals had enrolled before a class was formed specifically for them, director Charles Jones said. These are people “who feel like they cannot be a part of” society, he said.



Late Late Night FDL: Sally Was A Good Old Girl

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 15th, 2011 4:43 am by HL

Late Late Night FDL: Sally Was A Good Old Girl
Roy ClarkSally Was A Good Old Girl, from episode 303 of The Muppet Show.

Roy ClarkSally Was A Good Old Girl, from episode 303 of The Muppet Show.

Grab your popcorn, put your feet up on the coffee table, and try to keep the spitballs off the screen please. This is Late Late Night FireDogLake, where off topic is the topic … so dive in. What’s on your mind?


Nude in Black and White

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 15th, 2011 4:42 am by HL

Nude in Black and White
I thought about Susan Dey and blisters and being a hippie last Thursday when I found myself driving around outside the Air and Space Museum looking for a place to park. I was in D.C. for the purpose of lending my body and rancor to the Occupy Wall Street protesters gathering in Freedom Plaza for their first day of rabble-rousing.

I thought about Susan Dey and blisters and being a hippie last Thursday when I found myself driving around outside the Air and Space Museum looking for a place to park. I was in D.C. for the purpose of lending my body and rancor to the Occupy Wall Street protesters gathering in Freedom Plaza for their first day of rabble-rousing.

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Taibbi’s List: Five Demands for OWS
Much has been made—including a lot of noise—about the Occupy Wall Street movement’s supposed lack of a cohesive message or handy list of bullet points to rally around, which even New York Times editors noted is somewhat beside the point. Regardless, Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi has come up with five action items for OWS, which … (more)

Much has been made—including a lot of noise—about the Occupy Wall Street movement’s supposed lack of a cohesive message or handy list of bullet points to rally around, which even New York Times editors noted is somewhat beside the point. Regardless, Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi has come up with five action items for OWS, which … (more)

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Kirsten Moore: It’s (Not) the Economy, Stupid

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 15th, 2011 4:41 am by HL

Kirsten Moore: It’s (Not) the Economy, Stupid
Americans want Congress to create jobs and fire up the economy, so yesterday the House of Representatives passed new restrictions on abortion — restrictions that will affect millions. Can we connect these dots?!

WATCH: Herman Cain On Whether His ‘999’ Plan Came From ‘SimCity’
WASHINGTON — On Friday, Herman Cain responded to The Huffington Post’s analysis of the similarities between his “999” economic plan and the default tax rate…

Peter Van Buren: Obama to Create Thousands of Jobs: In Iraq
The U.S. is prepared to spend up to five billion dollars to create more jobs for police officers, paying $100-$150k a year. One catch: the jobs are for Iraqis, in Iraq. No Americans need apply.


Right-Wing Media React To Alleged Assassination Plot: “Bomb Iran Now”

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 15th, 2011 4:40 am by HL

Right-Wing Media React To Alleged Assassination Plot: “Bomb Iran Now”

Following the Justice Department’s announcement that an alleged plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the United States has been foiled, right-wing media called for the bombing of Iran. Indeed, conservative media figures have repeatedly endorsed military action against Iran and other countries.

DOJ Announces Alleged Assassination Plot By Two Iranian Nationals

DOJ: “Two Men Charged in Alleged Plot to Assassinate Saudi Arabian Ambassador To The United States.” On October 11, the Justice Department announced details of the alleged assassination attempt, charging two Iranian nationals in connection with the plot. From DOJ’s press release:

Two individuals have been charged in New York for their alleged participation in a plot directed by elements of the Iranian government to murder the Saudi Ambassador to the United States with explosives while the Ambassador was in the United States.

The charges were announced by Attorney General Eric Holder; FBI Director Robert S. Mueller; Lisa Monaco, Assistant Attorney General for National Security; and Preet Bharara, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.

A criminal complaint filed today in the Southern District of New York charges Manssor Arbabsiar, a 56-year-old naturalized U.S. citizen holding both Iranian and U.S. passports, and Gholam Shakuri, an Iran-based member of Iran’s Qods Force, which is a special operations unit of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) that is said to sponsor and promote terrorist activities abroad.

Both defendants are charged with conspiracy to murder a foreign official; conspiracy to engage in foreign travel and use of interstate and foreign commerce facilities in the commission of murder-for-hire; conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction (explosives); and conspiracy to commit an act of international terrorism transcending national boundaries. Arbabsiar is further charged with an additional count of foreign travel and use of interstate and foreign commerce facilities in the commission of murder-for-hire.

Shakuri remains at large. Arbabsiar was arrested on Sept. 29, 2011, at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport and will make his initial appearance today before in federal court in Manhattan. He faces a maximum potential sentence of life in prison if convicted of all the charges. [Department of Justice, 10/11/11]

Right-Wing Media Call For Bombing Iran Over Alleged Plot

Newsmax’s Kessler: “The U.S. Should Bomb Their Nuclear Facilities.” Reacting to the Justice Department’s announcement, Newsmax chief Washington correspondent Ronald Kessler reportedly said that “the plot should be answered with a U.S attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities.” From a Newsmax article headlined, “Kessler: Bomb Iran Now for Washington Terror Plot”:

Ignoring the magnitude of the plot by treating it as a criminal conspiracy — rather than an act of aggression by a rogue nation — would be appeasement on a par with America’s acts at the beginning of World War II, said Kessler, an intelligence expert and best-selling author of books on the CIA and FBI.

“This plot shows how foolhardy it is to continue to allow Iran to develop a nuclear weapon without taking it out,” said Kessler. “The U.S. should bomb their nuclear facilities before Iran gets a nuclear weapon which could be in the next year or two.”

Kessler described the plot to attack sites in our nation’s capital as “an act of war,” adding, “It’s the first overt sign of what everyone has feared, that Iran is a totally out-of-control government, an enemy and a threat.

“To just ignore it and be in denial, as the U.S. government has been, is risking our lives.” [Newsmax, 10/11/11]

Fox’s Gutfeld: Foiled Iran Terror Plot Is “Great” For GOP Candidates Because “Everybody’s For Bombing Iran.” On Fox News’ The Five, co-host Greg Gutfeld said:

GUTFELD: This is also great for the Republican candidates, because you could be — sound very hawkish on Iran and there’s no blowback. You could say bomb Iran, everybody’s for it. [Fox News, The Five, 10/12/11]

Fox’s Dan Gillerman: “All Options, Including A Military Option Are On The Table.” On Fox News’ America Live, former Israeli ambassador and Fox News contributor Dan Gillerman said:

GILLERMAN: I think what this means is that they are not taking sanctions seriously, they’re not taking all this talk seriously, and they should be made to realize that the international community will not stand for a nuclear Iran and will not stand for Iran becoming a rogue nation, which harbors, perpetrates, and finances, and plots terror all over the world, and that all options including a military option are on the table to stop Iran. [Fox News, America Live, 10/12/11]

Fox’s McFarland: Iran’s Behavior “Lends Credibility To The Idea That The Military Option Should Not Be Off The Table.” On America Live, Fox’s national security analyst KT McFarland said:

MEGYN KELLY (host): I want to pick up on your point then that if this is, or can be considered, an act of war, what is that mean? Is that a decision that our government will make, whether to use that terminology, and if they do, does that not raise the stakes?

McFARLAND: It raises the stakes enormously. What are things that we might do other than sanctions? I mean, we can scold them, but that’s not very effective. We could put a blockade around Iran. You know, it’s certainly — if Iran continues with its nuclear weapons program and sort of thumbs its nose at the world, it lends credibility to the idea that the military option should not be off the table, for example. [Fox News, America Live, 10/11/11]

Charles Krauthammer: “Even If We Are Not Going To Do An Attack … Why Did We Take It Off The Table?” Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer criticized the Obama administration for the “usual rubbish about sanctions and isolation” and for taking an attack on Iran “off the table,” saying:

KRAUTHAMMER: [W]hat did we hear within moments of the announcement? As we heard earlier in the show, a statement that this was not an issue for a Pentagon response, this was not going to be a tripwire for a military action, but we’ll hear the usual rubbish about sanctions and isolation which mean nothing.

Even if we are not going to do an attack, say an attack on an al Quds camp, why did we announce it within hours, why did we take it off the table? Why do the Iranians always have to know that on this, on nuclear issues, on attacks on Americans in Afghanistan and Iraq, they are always can act with impunity? [Fox News, Special Report with Bret Baier, 10/11/11]

Conservative Media Repeatedly Call For Attacking Iran And Other Countries

Hannity On Iran: “We’d Need Every Bunker Buster Bomb We’ve Got, But I Would Use Them.” On his Fox News show, Sean Hannity advocated pre-emptive strikes against “every darn military site” in Iran. From the show:

HANNITY: I would support Israel as soon as possible, physically, militarily, and I’d knock out every darn military site they have. You’re asking what I would do? I would not let the world risk a madman, like Ahmadinejad, have nuclear weapons with multiple threats to wipe Israel off the map. I would take out those nuclear sites.

[…]

HANNITY: The Iranians, very smartly … have spread it all throughout the country. We’d need every bunker buster bomb we’ve got, but i would use them — every one of them. [Fox News, Hannity, 7/12/10]

Hannity Suggested That “The Only Way To Stop” Iran Is To Attack The Country. During an interview with Middle East expert Walid Phares and Raphael Shore, the producer of Iranium, a documentary about Iran’s nuclear program, Hannity suggested that striking Iran was the “only way to stop them.” From the February 18 edition of Hannity:

HANNITY: Do we have to take their facilities out? Is that the only way to stop them?

SHORE: I think we’ve seen from recent events in Egypt and what’s starting to happen now in Iran is that there is another way. Military option has to be considered, there’s no question, but we see that revolution is possible. We see that regime change is possible, the people can rise up.

HANNITY: So from the democracy movement within and try and bring them down from within first, if that fails, you have no choice. You’ve got to strike. Pretty fair?

SHORE: It certainly has to be taken very seriously.

PHARES: It is fair. It is fair.

HANNITY: Well, I agree with you. The question is will the United States stand with Israel? Because I think Israel is the first target and the United States is the second one, and the West — the entire West. [Fox News, Hannity, 2/18/11]

Krauthammer Advocated A Series Of “Air Attacks” To Get The Iranians’ Attention. On The O’Reilly Factor, Krauthammer discussed military options to get Iran’s attention, saying, “You could do a lot of damage.” From the broadcast:

KRAUTHAMMER: Even if you’re a believer in sanctions, the idea that sanctions or negotiations are gonna do anything in the absence of a credible stick, a credible threat is nonsense. And this administration has sort of, almost, ostentatiously stayed away from any discussion of a military attack. I mean, the implication is they’re not even considering it.

[…]

BILL O’REILLY (host): Now say you were president — President Charles Krauthammer. We have a big military expenditure in Iraq and a big military expenditure in Afghanistan. We simply don’t have the forces to invade on the ground. That would be horrible anyway. So what would you do? What kind of a military Plan B would be realistic enough to get the Iranians’ attention?

KRAUTHAMMER: Well, the one that would be obvious would be an air attack. But it wouldn’t be a one shot, one-day deal. It would be a series of attacks like a two-week campaign that the kind that we had in a much easier situation, of course, in Serbia. But if you unleash the U.S. Air Force with our carriers, you unleash our Cruise missiles, and you unleash our capacities from the bases nearby, you could do a lot of damage. And you return, as we did in Iraq, as we attacked in the early days of Iraq, we can do a lot of damage. [Fox News, The O’Reilly Factor, 4/20/10]

Bill Kristol: “I Think We Have To Have A Credible Threat Of Force And The Preparation To Use Force Against Iran.” On Fox News Sunday, Fox News contributor Kristol advocated “a credible threat of force and the preparation to use force against Iran”:

KRISTOL: I think that we are just feckless here in the sense that we’re not being serious about the Iranian nuclear program. And we’re not being serious —

CHRIS WALLACE (host): What does being serious mean in your terms?

KRISTOL: Well, what’d be serious would be if the president of the United States and the secretary of the United States said that all options are on the table. And —

WALLACE: Well, that doesn’t mean anything. They have — and they do say that.

KRISTOL: Well, Mrs. Clinton notice didn’t say it in her most recent speech about this. And Obama keeps talking about how he wants to give diplomacy his chance for all this to — I mean, I think we have to have a credible threat of force and the preparation to use force against Iran. It’d be much better if we used force against — to delay the Iranian nuclear program than if Israel did, and there’s no evidence that the U.S. government is being at all serious about the use of force there. [Fox Broadcasting Co., Fox News Sunday, 4/4/10]

Instapundit On North Korea: “If They Start Anything, I Say Nuke ‘Em. And Not With Just A Few Bombs. … And It Would Be A Useful Lesson For Iran, Too.” In a post on Instapundit, blogger Glenn Reynolds referred to an attack by North Korean on a South Korean island and wrote:

If they start anything, I say nuke ’em. And not with just a few bombs. They’ve caused enough trouble — and it would be a useful lesson for Iran, too. We can’t afford another Korean war, but hey, we’re already dismantling warheads. … [Instapundit, 11/23/10]

Big Peace: “Now Would Be The Right Time To Contemplate And Carry Out Limited Military Strikes On The Infrastructure Of The North Korean Government.” In a post on Andrew Breitbart’s Big Peace about North Korea’s attack on a South Korean island, blogger Peter Schweizer wrote that “we need to take this opportunity to punish the North Korean government for what they have done.” From the post:

So how should we respond? Both ignoring their actions and giving them the aid they seek gives them what they want and rewards their behavior. Having lost strategic surprise, we need to take this opportunity to punish the North Korean government for what they have done. Now would be the right time to contemplate and carry out limited military strikes on the infrastructure of the North Korean government. Or more specifically, to strike at the heart of their nuclear capabilities. Doing nothing will only encourage more of the same behavior. And giving them aid in response to this temper tantrum will embolden them further. [Big Peace, 11/23/10]

Michael Savage Pushed For Dropping “A Neutron Bomb On The Entire Tribal Region Of Pakistan.” On his syndicated radio show, Michael Savage criticized President Obama’s reported comments (Savage misattributed them to a Defense Department official) that the United States can “absorb a terrorist attack” and that the country “absorbed [9-11] and we are stronger,” saying:

SAVAGE: Now, I was furious when I read that because he shouldn’t be telling me that. He should be telling the enemy that if he so much as set off a firecracker, we’ll emolliate your nation, you bastard. Don’t even dare tread on me. You set off a firecracker in America, we’ll burn your house down. I never saw anything like this. Am I alone in this?

[…]

SAVAGE: I think that they should go after the terrorist in his homeland. I think we should attack them first. I think we should emolliate [sic] the entire tribal region of Pakistan. I think we should unleash a neutron bomb on the tribal region of Pakistan, after giving them 24 hours’ notice that we’re going to emolliate [sic] the entire tribal area, we want the women and children out. And let all the brave terrorists stay there behind and then just drop one. I’m sick of this. [Talk Radio Network, The Savage Nation, 10/12/10]


Bail Posted For Ex-Joe Arpaio Employees Charged With Smuggling Heroin

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 15th, 2011 4:39 am by HL

Bail Posted For Ex-Joe Arpaio Employees Charged With Smuggling Heroin
Two former employees in the Maricopa County Sheriff’s office have posted bail after being charged with conspiring to smuggle heroin and launder money. Three in total are facing charges….


Obama Administration Dispatches DOJ Official To Alabama To Discuss Impact Of Immigration Law
Justice Department official Thomas Perez will travel to Alabama this week to call attention to the impact that Alabama’s strict immigration law will have on schoolchildren in the state.

Amish Mob Broke Into Homes And Cut Off Hair And Beards
Five Amish men in Ohio were arrested this week for allegedly breaking into the homes of other Amish men and cutting off their hair and beards….


Reading the Tea Leaves on Wall Street

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 15th, 2011 4:37 am by HL

Reading the Tea Leaves on Wall Street
For a group initially dismissed as fair-weather warriors, the September 17 “occupiers” of Wall Street are now set to spend a sixth soggy night in the Financial District’s Zuccotti Park. And while this particular action is riddled with flaws –…


That Iran Plot Movie
A few weeks after the 9/11 attacks, I attended a big holiday dinner with family and friends. Naturally much of the conversation revolved around the terrorist attacks and the rage and sorrow we all felt. There was also considerable discussion…

Interregnum II
When I was just starting my new book, Outlaw Blues two years ago, I wrote piece here on my continuing obsession: The Interregnum. It is one of those periods that come along perhaps once a century, where “the old is…


Amtrak Ridership Hits Record High, As GOP Proposes Cutting Its Funding By 60 Percent

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 15th, 2011 4:36 am by HL

Amtrak Ridership Hits Record High, As GOP Proposes Cutting Its Funding By 60 Percent
Amtrak officials announced yesterday that “Amtrak trains carried more than 30 million passengers in the past 12 months, the most in one year since the passenger railroad was created four decades ago.” Ridership is up 5 percent over a year ago, and ticket revenue is up 8 percent. “Amtrak is fulfilling its national mission and […]

Amtrak officials announced yesterday that “Amtrak trains carried more than 30 million passengers in the past 12 months, the most in one year since the passenger railroad was created four decades ago.” Ridership is up 5 percent over a year ago, and ticket revenue is up 8 percent.

“Amtrak is fulfilling its national mission and is part of the solution to meet America’s growing transportation and energy needs,” said Joseph Boardman, Amtrak’s CEO. However, Republicans in Congress are ready to take Amtrak out at the knees:

A House appropriations subcommittee passed a bill [in September] that provides Amtrak with $227 million for operations in 2012, down from $563 million in each of the past two years. Amtrak also would get $899 million for capital expenditures, down $25 million.

In addition to this 60 percent cut, the bill “would prohibit using Amtrak’s federal funding to operate state-supported train service.” Earlier this year, House Transportation Committee Chairman John Mica (R-FL) “proposed soliciting bids from other railroads for the right to service the 456-mile Northeast Corridor, which is the heart of Amtrak’s operations.”

“Americans are returning to the rails in record numbers, yet Republicans are pulling out all of the stops in their rush to auction off Amtrak’s assets to the highest bidder on Wall Street,” said Rep. Nick Rahall (D-WV). The National Association of Railroad Passengers has warned that the GOP’s cuts “would be tantamount to shutting down the entire Amtrak network, because the remaining routes could not cover the system’s overhead costs.”

Why The CLASS Demise Is Not A Sign Of Health Reform?s Failure
Today’s news that HHS will not administer CLASS — the Affordable Care Act’s long term care program — is already being touted by conservatives as emblematic of the law’s failure. The first “gimmick” in a long line of “budgetary tricks” that will ultimately sink reform. But it is nothing of the sort. Kathleen Sebelius’ decision […]

Today’s news that HHS will not administer CLASS — the Affordable Care Act’s long term care program — is already being touted by conservatives as emblematic of the law’s failure. The first “gimmick” in a long line of “budgetary tricks” that will ultimately sink reform. But it is nothing of the sort.

Kathleen Sebelius’ decision to end the program is yet another example of the success of one of the law’s safety clutches (this one was actually introduced by former Republican Sen. Judd Gregg). The ACA prohibits the Secretary from instituting CLASS unless the program can sustain itself without tax payer funding for 75 years. Sebelius and her team concluded that it the program wouldn’t attract healthier applicants and as a result pay out more than it would take in. That it was suspended at this point is a better example of the administration’s fiscal restrain and economic stewardship than its failure.

And by the way, critics are misunderstanding what this announcement really means. The administration’s conclusion that a voluntary program results in an unsustainable death spiral is actually and indictment of those who want to repeal the individual mandate and a point of vindication for advocates who argue that the mandate is necessary to maintain the ACA’s coverage expansions and affordability.


Poll watcher: Almost half say Iran is “enemy,” and more of today’s top polls

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 15th, 2011 4:35 am by HL

Poll watcher: Almost half say Iran is “enemy,” and more of today’s top polls

President Obama’s hard stance against Iran meets an American public with extraordinarily low opinions of the Persian nation; top GOP candidates trail a “generic Republican” against Obama; Republicans are most enthusiastic about backing Herman Cain in a general election despite his less competitive standing against Obama; and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s presidential flirtations may be paying dividends at home.

Read full article >>

Who had the worst week in Washington? BlackBerrys.

Hell, the French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre said, is other people.

Washingtonians learned that the hard way this past week when — horror of horrors — their beloved BlackBerrys stopped working.

The problem — or so our overlords at Research in Motion, BlackBerry’s parent company, told us — began in Europe (no surprise there) and spread to Africa, the Middle East, India and, finally and most important, Washington.

Read full article >>

Gingrich’s claim that ‘Washington bureaucrats’ ruled on the prostate cancer screening

 “I was just swapping emails today with Andy von Eschenbach, who was the head of the National Cancer Institute, the head of the Food and Drug Administration. …He wrote me to point out that the most recent U.S. government intervention on whether or not to have prostate testing is basically going to kill people. So if you ask me, do I want some Washington bureaucrat to create a class action decision which affects every American’s last two years of life, not ever. I think it is a disaster. I think, candidly, Governor Palin got attacked unfairly for describing what would, in fact, be death panels. And what von Eschenbach will tell you if you call him is: The decision to suggest that we not test men for — with PSA will mean that a number of people who are susceptible to a very rapid prostate cancer will die unnecessarily. And there was not a single urologist — not a single specialist — on the board that looked at it.”

Read full article >>

Obama plans to turn anti-Wall Street anger on Mitt Romney, Republicans

President Obama and his team have decided to turn public anger at Wall Street into a central tenet of their reelection strategy.

The move comes as the Occupy Wall Street protests gain momentum across the country and as polls show deep public distrust of the nation’s major financial institutions.

And it sets up what strategists see as a potent line of attack against Republican front-runner Mitt Romney, a former investment executive whom Obama aides plan to portray as a wealthy Wall Street sympathizer.

Read full article >>


The Banks Falter

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 15th, 2011 4:31 am by HL

The Banks Falter

Without Independents Obama Has No Chance
Jay Cost, Weekly Standard
Over the last 50 years, we have seen a remarkable transformation of the American electorate. The percentage of people identifying as Democrats has been cut nearly in half "“ from 51 percent in 1961 to 30 percent in 2011. Republicans have seen some gains from this, but the biggest jump has been in the number of people who identify with neither party, which according to the most recent Gallup poll is 46 percent.It is this group of independents that has more or less determined elections over the last 30 years. Democratic strategists and their friends in the media trumpeted…

The GOP’s Rabbit-Hole Economics
Paul Krugman, New York Times
Reading the transcript of Tuesday’s Republican debate on the economy is, for anyone who has actually been following economic events these past few years, like falling down a rabbit hole. Suddenly, you find yourself in a fantasy world where nothing looks or behaves the way it does in real life.And since economic policy has to deal with the world we live in, not the fantasy world of the G.O.P.’s imagination, the prospect that one of these people may well be our next president is, frankly, terrifying.

Why the Left Fears Surging Cain
Andrea Tantaros, New York Daily News
Though he's been a GOP candidate for President for months, it wasn't until he won the Florida straw poll last month and performed adeptly at the Fox News/Google debate in Orlando that Herman Cain caught the eye of millions and started surging in most polls. And just this week, an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll showed him leading the GOP pack.One can see why. He espouses a Reagan-esque likeability, he isn't stiff or staid and his story of personal success through hard work and determination is enormously inspiring. Growing up in the segregated South, he worked tirelessly to…