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Archive for November 19th, 2011

Late Late Night FDL: Sam Interviews Spike

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 19th, 2011 5:45 am by HL

Late Late Night FDL: Sam Interviews Spike
Sam The Eagle Interviews Spike Milligan from episode 317 of The Muppet Show.

Sam The Eagle Interviews Spike Milligan from episode 317 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?


Ha Ha, Another Midlife Crisis

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 19th, 2011 5:44 am by HL

Ha Ha, Another Midlife Crisis
By Rayyan Al-Shawaf Howard Jacobson’s novel “No More Mr. Nice Guy” travels well-worn territory: the male midlife crisis in search of laughs.

By Rayyan Al-Shawaf

Howard Jacobson’s novel “No More Mr. Nice Guy” travels well-worn territory: the male midlife crisis in search of laughs.

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GOP Senators Push For Inside Info On Justice Elena Kagan

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 19th, 2011 5:43 am by HL

GOP Senators Push For Inside Info On Justice Elena Kagan
WASHINGTON — Senate Republicans have written a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder asking him to cooperate with their inquiry into whether Justice Elena Kagan…

Cook County Budget Approved: Layoffs, Tax Hikes, Fees Ahead
After an all-day meeting, the Cook County Board early Friday evening approved the county’s 2012 budget by a vote of 16-1. The $2.9 billion spending…

Michael Meyerson: The History Of Religious Bigotry And The American Voter
While selecting whom to vote for based on religion is not unconstitutional, the views of many of our nation’s founders were in fact dominated by religious bigotry.


Throw It All Out: Schweizer’s DOE Claims Rest On Bad Math

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 19th, 2011 5:42 am by HL

Throw It All Out: Schweizer’s DOE Claims Rest On Bad Math

In his new book Throw Them All Out, conservative author and Breitbart editor Peter Schweizer accuses the Department of Energy (DOE) of directing funds “to friends, cronies, and supporters” of President Obama. However, the claim relies on faulty math, and many of the individuals that Schweizer identifies as Obama supporters have also donated to Republicans.

Schweizer Gets His Numbers Wrong

Schweizer Claims 80 Percent Of Section 1705 Loans Went To Companies Run Or Owned By “Obama Financial Backers.” Schweizer states that “In the 1705 government-backed loan program, for example, $16.4 billion of the $20.5 billion in loans granted went to companies either run by or primarily owned by Obama financial backers,” a category that he said included “large donors to the Democratic Party.” [Throw Them All Out, 79-80]

17 Of The 25 Companies That Schweizer Identifies Did Not Receive 1705 Loan Guarantees. Schweizer provides a list of individuals with ties to companies he claims received $16.4 billion through the 1705 loan guarantee program. But a closer look at that list reveals that only 8 of the 25 “politically connected” companies Schweizer lists actually received loan guarantees through the 1705 program. Six others received grants from the Department of Energy, five received conditional commitments but ultimately did not receive a loan guarantee (Schweizer noted that his information was “as of September 15”), two received loans under the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing program, one received a loan guarantee from the Department of Agriculture, and one received a grant from the Treasury Department. When Schweizer states that “$16.4 billion of the $20.5 billion” went to companies with ties to Obama financial backers, it is not clear what the $20.5 billion figure refers to. The total size of the separate programs from which he draws his examples would be much higher. [Department of Energy, accessed 11/17/11]

Schweizer Invents Loan To Wind Farm. One project on the list — the Beech Ridge Energy Wind Farm — does not appear to have received any DOE funds, despite Schweizer’s claim that the company “pulled in another $68 million in taxpayer money.” A search of Google, Nexis, the Department of Energy’s website and Recovery.gov turns up no such loan or grant. Schweizer’s citation goes to a Business Insider article featuring a slideshow of Invenergy CEO Michael Polsky’s house, without mention of the wind project. [Business Insider, 9/27/10]

Schweizer Overstates Size Of Federal Aid To Some Companies. Schweizer claims that Summit Texas Clean Energy received $1.5 billion in federal funds. In reality, DOE will contribute $450 million out of a total project cost of more than $1.7 billion. Schweizer also claims that First Solar received “$4.7 billion in loan guarantees for three solar projects.” In fact, these projects received a total of just over $3 billion. [Texas Clean Energy Project, accessed 11/18/11] [The Hill, 10/25/11]

Many Of Schweizer’s Alleged Obama Cronies Have Supported Republicans

Schweizer Suggests His List Consisted Of Those Who Had Donated “Exclusively To The Democratic Party.” In Throw Them All Out, Schweizer provides a list of what he says are “Obama Bundlers, Large Donors, and Supporters” who are connected to companies that received DOE assistance. He also states:

In the 1705 government-backed loan program, for example, $16.4 billion of the $20.5 billion in loans granted went to companies either run by or primarily owned by Obama financial backers – individuals who were bundlers, members of Obama’s National Finance Committee, or large donors to the Democratic Party. The grant and guaranteed loan recipients were early backers of Obama, before he ran for President, people who continued to give to his campaigns and exclusively to the Democratic Party in the years leading up to 2008. [Throw Them All Out, 79-80, emphasis added, in-text citations removed for clarity]

Schweizer Identifies A Former Bush Bundler As An “Obama Financial Backer.” Schweizer writes that the founder of Madison Dearborn Partners, which owns part of First Wind, “gave heavily to Obama” in 2008. Schweizer repeatedly refers to him as David Canning, but is apparently referring to John Canning, a co-founder of MDP. As Schweizer notes, Canning “had been a bundler for George W. Bush.” But according to Schweizer, “he switched sides in 2008.” In fact, John Canning continues to give primarily to Republicans, although he has donated to both parties. Canning gave $2,300 each to Obama and Mitt Romney during the presidential primaries; he was not a bundler for Obama. Canning has also given to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, the Republican National Committee and the National Republican Congressional Committee. [MDP, accessed 11/18/11] [OpenSecrets, accessed 11/18/11]

Tesla Founder Donated To George W. Bush And Several Republican Candidates. Schweizer highlighted the founder of Tesla Motors as an example of an “Obama financial backer” that received federal funding, saying “Telsa founder Elon Musk was a major DNC contributor and in 2011 donated $35,800 to the Obama Victory Fund.” But Musk has given $785,000 to the National Republican Congressional Committee since 2007. He has also donated to a number of Republican candidates, including David Vitter, Denny Hastert, Kevin McCarthy, Scott Brown, and John Hoeven, and to the Bush-Cheney campaign in 2003. [FEC.gov, accessed 11/18/11] [OpenSecrets, accessed 11/18/11]

Coskata Investor Has Supported Both Parties. Schweizer writes that “billionaire Vinod Khosla was also a big winner in the taxpayer-funded giveaway” and noted his role in the Obama campaign and that he “contributed to Democratic candidates.” But Khosla has also donated to Orrin Hatch, Dick Lugar, John Sununu and the RNC. During the 2008 presidential race, Khosla donated to John McCain as well as Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. [FEC.gov, accessed 11/18/11]

Fisker Investor Never Donated To Obama. Schweizer writes that Fisker investor “John Doerr was one of the biggest winners in the taxpayer sweepstakes” and noted that he has donated “almost $2 million to Democrats.” But while making the case that Doerr is an Obama crony, Schweizer neglected to mention that Doerr has never donated to Obama, according to FEC records. [FEC.gov, accessed 11/18/11]

Summit Power Executive Has Donated To Republicans And Democrats. Schweizer identifies Eric Redman, President of Summit Power, as “a major DNC donor.” Redman has also donated to Republicans Mike Huckabee, Dino Rossi, and Raul Labrador. [FEC.gov, accessed 11/18/11]

First Solar Investor Has Contributed To Several Republicans. Schweizer identifies “billionare investor Paul Tudor Jones” as “another Obama bundler [who] also owns a stake in First Solar.” Jones has also donated to Republicans John Boehner, Rudy Giuliani, Saxby Chambliss, Bob Goodlatte, and Jonathan Golnik. [FEC.gov, accessed 11/18/11]


Presented By:

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 19th, 2011 5:41 am by HL

Presented By:

Obama Threatens Veto Of Defense Bill Over Military Custody For Terror Suspects Mandate
President Barack Obama is threatening to veto the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 over “unnecessary, untested, and legally controversial” restrictions imposed by Congress which would mandate certain terrorism suspects go into military custody.


Life Among the 1 Percent — Global Competition Edition

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 19th, 2011 5:39 am by HL

Life Among the 1 Percent — Global Competition Edition


Who Is Pro-Israel? Who Is Anti-Israel?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 19th, 2011 5:38 am by HL

Who Is Pro-Israel? Who Is Anti-Israel?
As someone who blogs about Israel and Palestine almost daily, I elicit many reactions — from left-wing supporters and hostile right-wing detractors. Naturally the two groups don’t agree on much of anything but sometimes supporters and detractors make the same…


Republican Foreign Policy Debate, Ugh
If nothing else, devoting an entire GOP campaign forum to national security and foreign policy — the CBS News / National Journal organizers called it the “Commander in Chief Debate” — helps accentuate the preparation and seriousness the candidates have…


UNESCO Fiasco: Dancing To Netanyahu’s Tune
It was bound to happen sooner or later. At some point, both the president and Congress would be faced with a clear choice between U.S. national interests and the demands made by Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his powerful…


The LiberalOasis Radio Show: Race To Settle

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 19th, 2011 5:37 am by HL

The LiberalOasis Radio Show: Race To Settle

Why Republicans are giving Newt Gingrich yet another try-out in their quest to decide who to settle for. Where does Occupy go after the eviction. And why the Roberts Supreme Court may give a big win to “ObamaCare.”

You can download the podcast at these links: (iTunes / XML feed / MP3).

Or you can simply listen below.


Who Is Bob Vander Plaats And Why Does It Matter?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 19th, 2011 5:36 am by HL

Who Is Bob Vander Plaats And Why Does It Matter?
Earlier this year, we introduced you to the FAMiLY LEADER, the extreme anti-gay group in Iowa, and its leader, Bob Vander Plaats. Tomorrow, Vander Plaats is hosting a “Thanksgiving Family Forum” for presidential candidates.  If history is any guide, this event promises to be a veritable cornucopia of attacks on gays and women’s health care […]

Earlier this year, we introduced you to the FAMiLY LEADER, the extreme anti-gay group in Iowa, and its leader, Bob Vander Plaats. Tomorrow, Vander Plaats is hosting a “Thanksgiving Family Forum” for presidential candidates.  If history is any guide, this event promises to be a veritable cornucopia of attacks on gays and women’s health care and a celebration of fringe social views.

Here’s a rundown of that history, just to remind you who and what Republicans presidential candidates choose to associate themselves with — something that definitely matters.

Vander Plaats — The Lowlights

  • Vander Plaats said gays are a “public health risk” akin to smoking:
  • Vander Plaats repeatedly suggested President Obama was born in Kenya and praised Donald Trump’s birther investigation:
  • Vander Plaats erupted in laughter at a “faggot” joke, saying “that’s pretty good”:
  • Vander Plaats’ political career has been marked by failure:
    • 2002: ran for the GOP gubernatorial nomination and lost.
    • 2006: ran for the GOP gubernational nomination again, dropped out during the primary, joined the GOP ticket as Jim Nussle’s running mate, and promptly lost again.
    • 2010: ran for the GOP gubernational nomination again and lost, again.

This local TV news report from Des Moines last night outlines most of the recent controversies facing Vander Plaats and his organization — and why his influence is on the wane. Check it out:

Stay tuned to ThinkProgress LGBT and our twitter feeds for live updates on tomorrow’s presidential forum in Iowa.

HBO Is Doing A ?Wolf Hall? Miniseries
Back in June, I put Hilary Mantel’s masterful novel about Thomas Cromwell and Henry VIII, Wolf Hall, on my Introductory Guide to Women-Centered Culture For Guys syllabus. Now, HBO’s making a miniseries out of it. This is great news for a couple of reasons. First, if it’s done right, the adaptation will be a great […]

Back in June, I put Hilary Mantel’s masterful novel about Thomas Cromwell and Henry VIII, Wolf Hall, on my Introductory Guide to Women-Centered Culture For Guys syllabus. Now, HBO’s making a miniseries out of it.

This is great news for a couple of reasons. First, if it’s done right, the adaptation will be a great look at — in addition to the birth of the Church of England — European trade, the consolidation of church properties that led to the founding of Cardinal College at Oxford, and the allegations that Thomas More actively promoted the torture of Protestants during the lead-up to England’s split with the Catholic Church. Wolf Hall is a phenomenal novel about personal investment in politics. Watching Thomas Cromwell escape his father’s vicious abuse through the kindness of Amsterdam’s cloth merchants and the mercenary armies of the continent; Cardinal Wolsey fret over the future of the college he wanted to make a jewel; or the cold home More builds to prop up the edifice of his righteousness, the show builds a complicated definition of the means and costs of being a genuinely world-historical figure.

And for all that it’s big, it’s a strikingly personal novel. We see what it means to be sold off for your chastity, the cost of being an object of obsessive pursuit in a way that makes a mockery of Twilight. It’s a shame that Natalie Dormer already played Anne Boelyn in The Tudors so she can’t take on a more nuanced version of the role here. Cromwell’s relationship with his late wife, and later, with her sister, who is married to another man, are infinitely tender. The loss of his daughter, the disappointment of his son, sting like whips. And it’s a marvelous novel of friendship, whether it’s Cromwell and Wolsey or Cromwell and Imperial diplomat Eustace Chapuys. I don’t really know how a miniseries will capture the Cabinet of Wonders-like effect of the novel, which is one of the most effective evocations of a historic worldview I’ve ever read. But I’m glad it’s not getting reduced to a movie, and that some serious writerly fire-power will be behind it. HBO’s movie team has been wildly on their game lately, so I can’t wait to see what they do with this.


Balanced budget amendment falls short in the House

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 19th, 2011 5:35 am by HL

Balanced budget amendment falls short in the House

The House on Friday fell short of approving a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution, as the Republican majority failed to secure the support of enough Democrats to give the measure the two-thirds necessary for passage.

The measure, which is nearly identical to a balanced budget amendment that passed the House in January 1995, received 261 “yes” votes and 165 “no” votes.

Read full article >>

Obama outpaces GOP rivals — and his own 2008 results — in small donations

Even with low approval ratings and an uncertain path to reelection, President Obama is exceeding expectations in one area: His campaign is doing far better at attracting grass-roots financial support this year than his Republican rivals or his own historic effort in 2008, according to new contribution data.

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Michele Bachmann, gaffe-proof

On Thursday night, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) told Fox News that she hasn’t “had a gaffe or something that I’ve done that has caused me to fall in the polls.”

The idea that Bachmann hasn’t made any gaffes in her roller-coaster campaign for the 2012 presidential nomination is far-fetched at best. But in a sense, Bachmann is right. Her fall had (almost) everything to do with Texas Gov. Rick Perry and (almost) nothing to do with her misstatements.

Read full article >>