We are the Liberal Blog From Hollywood
L.A.'s Premier Post Facility

L.A.'s Premier Post Facility

Photographer in L.A.

Hot Pics & Gossip.

Archive for January 1st, 2012

Sunday Talking Heads: January 1, 2012

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 1st, 2012 5:43 am by HL

Sunday Talking Heads: January 1, 2012
Ahhhh Happy New Year! A good friend wrote “I hope your best day of 2011 is your worst day of 2012…” and I wish this for the lot of you.

Ahhhh Happy New Year! A good friend wrote “I hope your best day of 2011 is your worst day of 2012…” and I wish this for the lot of you.

Here are the listings. Because the Iowa caucuses are January 4th there’s a whole lot of horse racing going on. (Just how much of the billions needed to run for President are given over to the MSM?)

Washington Journal.

ABC’s This Week: Horse Race – Rep. Ron Paul and Rep. Michele Bachmann Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad.  Plus reports from Iowa by Jonathan Karl and Radio Iowa’s O. Kay HendersonRoundtable: Matthew Dowd, Neera Tanden of the Center for American Progress, Washington Examiner chief political correspondent and Fox News contributor Byron York, and former Iowa Republican Party political director Craig Robinson, founder and editor-in-chief of The Iowa Republican.

CBS’ Face the Nation: Horse Race – Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), a Ron Paul supporter, former Sen. Jim Talent, a Mitt Romney supporter, and former Rep. J.C. Watts, a Newt Gingrich supporter. Roundtable: Mike Allen, John Dickerson, Norah O’Donnell, David Yepsen, Director, Paul Simon Public Policy Institute and Former Des Moines Register political reporter.  Plus, New Year’s resolutions from the Republican presidential candidates.

CNN’s State of the Union: Horse Race – Rep. Ron Paul. Then, Rep. Steve King (R-IA). Also,  Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad. Roundtable: Dan Balz of the Washington Post and Neil King of the Wall Street Journal.

Chris Hayes: Nate Silver, Errol Louis, Noah K. Green, Michael B Dougherty, Amanda Marcotte, Corey Robin, Dave Weigel.

Chris Matthews.

Fareed Zakaria – GPS: Predictions, what will happen in 2012? Then, Anne-Marie Slaughter of Princeton University, Ian Bremmer from the Eurasia Group, and Daniel Franklin from the Economist’s “World in 2012″ Edition. Followed by Harvard theoretical physicist Lisa Randall on the God Particle and more.  Finally, deep inside the human mind, with Nobel Prize-winning economist Daniel Kahneman, author of Thinking, Fast and Slow.

Fox News Sunday: Horse Race – Rep. Ron Paul. Gov. Rick Perry. Rep. Michele Bachmann. Roundtable: Bret Baier, Jennifer Jacobs, Gov. Terry Branstad (R-IA), Jeff Zeleny, New York Times.

NBC’s Meet the Press: Horse Race – Rick Santorum, also Chuck Todd and Matt Strawn, Iowa Republican Party chair. Roundtable: Des Moines Register’s Kathie Obradovich, Mike Murphy,’ David Brooks, Mark Halperin, Andrea Mitchell.

Newsmakers: As the final U.S. troops return home from Iraq, Holly Petraeus, General David Petraeus’ wife, discusses on “Newsmakers” the challenges soldiers face when they return from war. Even after David Petraeus retired from the military to head the CIA, Mrs. Petraeus maintains her work for veterans and their families. She discusses the financial issues facing U.S. military service members – active duty and retired – and how the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is attempting to help them.

Q & A: William Beutler, the creator and editor of TheWikipedian.net, a blog designed to explain Wikipedia to the non user. Beutler describes his role as an editor, commentator and consultant for the Wikipedia website. He demonstrates the techniques he uses to create and edit and improve an individual page on Wikipedia…

Religion & Ethics.

60 Minutes: The Majority Leader – Lesley Stahl profiles House Majority Leader Eric Cantor about his life and the recent bipartisan wars in Congress.  The Perfect Score – In his first interview about his criminal fraud, Sam Eshaghoff tells how he was able to take the SAT and ACT college admissions exams for others who paid him up to $2,500 per test. Alone on the Wall – “60 Minutes” cameras capture a feat never documented before: viewers will see Alex Honnold scale a 1,600-foot rock wall using nothing more than his hands and feet. Lara Logan interviews Honnold about his skills and his unique sport where there can be no mistakes.

To the Contrary: Topics: Population Stabilization Special: Environment, Feminism, & Political Correctness.

Univision’s Al Punto: Congressman Xavier Becerra (D-CA), Vice Chair of the House Democratic Caucus and Member of the Committee on Ways And Means; Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairwoman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs; Fabian Nuñez, Noticias Univision Democratic Analyst; Helen Aguirre, Noticias Univision Republican Analyst.

Virtually Speaking: No show this weekend, but others during the week, tune in.

C-SPAN’s Book TV: In Depth with Chris Hedges.

FDL’s Book Salon:  None today.

FDL’s Movie Night Monday: TBA.

Why Is the MN GOP So Messed Up? Sutton Running Buddy Ben Golnik Is Part of the Answer
Lost in all the hubbub of the slow-motion trainwreck that is the Republican Party of Minnesota has been any evidence that anyone in charge is at all interested in getting to the root of its longstanding problems, and not just with money. Instead, the scandals are buried, the whistleblowers attacked, and the people who were in charge when the problems were created are allowed to go on doing what they’d been doing without any major hitches in their giddy-up.

Lost in all the hubbub of the slow-motion trainwreck that is the Republican Party of Minnesota has been any evidence that anyone in charge is at all interested in getting to the root of its longstanding problems, and not just with money. Instead, the scandals are buried, the whistleblowers attacked, and the people who were in charge when the problems were created are allowed to go on doing what they’d been doing without any major hitches in their giddy-up.

Case in point: Way back in 2006, Dwight Tostenson, a staunch Republican and the RPM’s finance director at the time as well as its chief fundraiser, had tried to get then-party-chair Ron Carey to clean up the Minnesota GOP’s stinking messes — messes which included using for Party expenses the money intended for timely depositing into retirement accounts, understating debts (“$100,000 plus”) on reports to the FEC and to Minnesota’s state campaign finance agency, delayed payment of staff expense reports and commissions, and failure to make timely payments to vendors. (Gee, sounds familiar, doesn’t it?)

Tostenson’s reward from the Party’s leadership? Per the memo he wrote them shortly after his “termination” as finance director in February 2007, a hard kick in the teeth:  [cont’d.]

I have been told that over the last few months that RPM legal counsel is working on a response to the issues brought to the Chairman’s attention. However, I was told not to contact Party Counsel regarding these issues. In a meeting with the Chairman and the Executive Director, Ben Golnik on Tuesday, November 28, just two weeks after I sent RPM Counsel the documentation, the Chairman informed me that my compensation package would no longer include commissions for major donors or a net dollar performance bonus structure for 2007. He informed me my total compensation pacakge would be reduced to a $75,000 per year salary with no bonuses or commissions. This is an amount less than I have earned in any year in the last decade. Using 2006 numbers it would be a decrease in compensation of about 40%.

The underlining is in the memo itself, as reproduced on the website of CREW, which used the memo as evidence in its 2007 FEC complaint against the Republican Party of Minnesota. (See also the graphic above.)

Ben Golnik, by the way, is a longtime buddy of Tony Sutton. He’s the guy who helped Sutton found the “Count Them All Properly” 2010 recount slush fund — an oversight-free fund created without the input, wishes, or control of Tom Emmer, the person whose gubernatorial campaign it allegedly was intended to benefit (and did I mention that Golnik is a longtime Emmer foe?) — and is currently an adviser with the campaign of freshman state senator Mike Parry, who is battling the major-league TheoCon creepazoid Allen Quist for the right to lose big to Tim Walz ten months from now. (Yes, folks, that’s the same political campaign another Sutton buddy, Michael Brodkorb, was on until very recently.)

The Golnik name recurs often in Republican politics, and not just in Minnesota. Turns out that Ben has an equally skeevy brother, Jon, who has been trying for the past three years to pry the MA-01 congressional seat away from Nikki Tsongas in Massachusetts. During the Republican primary in 2010, Jon Golnik had to face a resurfaced scandal concerning his marijuana and drunk-driving bust after a 2001 AC/DC concert; the scandal didn’t stop him from winning the primary, but he still lost to Tsongas in the general election. (Personally, I think the real scandal is that anyone still found AC/DC a worthwhile band after Bon Scott died. But I digress.)

So does anyone really think the selection of Pat Shortridge to replace Golnik’s bud Sutton as the new RPM Chair will mean a new blast of fresh, cleansing air through the stale smoke-filled snakepits of the Minnesota GOP? Or is it a means to avoid actually cleaning up messes by working to shove them out of sight? Consider that one of Shortridge’s nicknames is “The Fixer“, and I don’t think that’s meant to signify any skill with power tools, aside, perhaps, from the ones who work for ALEC.

Late Late Night FDL: Bugs and Bogey, Baby
Bugs BunnySlick Hare. This Warner Bros Merrie Melodies cartoon was released on November 1, 1947. It’s New Year’s Eve – Happy New Year!

Bugs BunnySlick Hare.  This Warner Bros Merrie Melodies cartoon was released on November 1, 1947.

Directed by Friz Freleng (as I. Freleng). Produced by Edward Selzer (uncredited). Story by Tedd Pierce and Michael Maltese. Animation by Ken Champin, Gerry Chiniquy, Manuel Perez, and Virgil Ross. Backgrounds by Paul Julian. Layouts by Hawley Pratt. Film Editing and Sound Effects Editing by Treg Brown (uncredited). Voices by Mel Blanc (Bugs Bunny / Waiter / Bartender / Ray Milland), Dave Barry (Humphrey Bogart – uncredited), and Arthur Q. Bryan (Elmer Fudd – uncredited). Original Music by Carl W. Stalling (uncredited). Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling (as Carl Stalling). Orchestration by Milt Franklyn.

It’s New Year’s Eve – Happy New Year!

Whats on your mind?


Krugman: Austerity Still Doesn’t Work

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 1st, 2012 5:42 am by HL

Krugman: Austerity Still Doesn’t Work
Is anyone in the Obama administration listening to Paul Krugman? Maybe, says the Nobel Prize-winning economist, but only at the end of a year in which political insistence on the need to reduce short-term deficits with spending cuts slid the economy and much of the American public further into ruin. —ARK Paul Krugman at The New York Times: In declaring Keynesian economics vindicated I am, of course, at odds with conventional wisdom. In Washington, in particular, the failure of the Obama stimulus package to produce an employment boom is generally seen as having proved that government spending can’t create jobs. But those of us who did the math realized, right from the beginning, that the Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (more than a third of which, by the way, took the relatively ineffective form of tax cuts) was much too small given the depth of the slump. And we also predicted the resulting political backlash. So the real test of Keynesian economics hasn’t come from the half-hearted efforts of the U.S. federal government to boost the economy, which were largely offset by cuts at the state and local levels. It has, instead, come from European nations like Greece and Ireland that had to impose savage fiscal austerity as a condition for receiving emergency loans — and have suffered Depression-level economic slumps, with real G.D.P. in both countries down by double digits. This wasn’t supposed to happen, according to the ideology that dominates much of our political discourse. In March 2011, the Republican staff of Congress’s Joint Economic Committee released a report titled “Spend Less, Owe Less, Grow the Economy.” It ridiculed concerns that cutting spending in a slump would worsen that slump, arguing that spending cuts would improve consumer and business confidence, and that this might well lead to faster, not slower, growth. They should have known better even at the time: the alleged historical examples of “expansionary austerity” they used to make their case had already been thoroughly debunked. And there was also the embarrassing fact that many on the right had prematurely declared Ireland a success story, demonstrating the virtues of spending cuts, in mid-2010, only to see the Irish slump deepen and whatever confidence investors might have felt evaporate. Read more

Is anyone in the Obama administration listening to Paul Krugman? Maybe, says the Nobel Prize-winning economist, but only at the end of a year in which political insistence on the need to reduce short-term deficits with spending cuts slid the economy and much of the American public further into ruin. —ARK

Paul Krugman at The New York Times:

In declaring Keynesian economics vindicated I am, of course, at odds with conventional wisdom. In Washington, in particular, the failure of the Obama stimulus package to produce an employment boom is generally seen as having proved that government spending can’t create jobs. But those of us who did the math realized, right from the beginning, that the Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (more than a third of which, by the way, took the relatively ineffective form of tax cuts) was much too small given the depth of the slump. And we also predicted the resulting political backlash.

So the real test of Keynesian economics hasn’t come from the half-hearted efforts of the U.S. federal government to boost the economy, which were largely offset by cuts at the state and local levels. It has, instead, come from European nations like Greece and Ireland that had to impose savage fiscal austerity as a condition for receiving emergency loans — and have suffered Depression-level economic slumps, with real G.D.P. in both countries down by double digits.

This wasn’t supposed to happen, according to the ideology that dominates much of our political discourse. In March 2011, the Republican staff of Congress’s Joint Economic Committee released a report titled “Spend Less, Owe Less, Grow the Economy.” It ridiculed concerns that cutting spending in a slump would worsen that slump, arguing that spending cuts would improve consumer and business confidence, and that this might well lead to faster, not slower, growth.

They should have known better even at the time: the alleged historical examples of “expansionary austerity” they used to make their case had already been thoroughly debunked. And there was also the embarrassing fact that many on the right had prematurely declared Ireland a success story, demonstrating the virtues of spending cuts, in mid-2010, only to see the Irish slump deepen and whatever confidence investors might have felt evaporate.

Read more

Related Entries



Mitt Romney Riding High After Much-Awaited Iowa Poll

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 1st, 2012 5:41 am by HL

Mitt Romney Riding High After Much-Awaited Iowa Poll
SIOUX CITY, Iowa — Mitt Romney’s first-place showing in Iowa’s most anticipated pre-caucus poll Saturday night made it clear that the former Massachusetts governor is…

Lynn Forester de Rothschild: Society and Business in 2011
As we enter an election year where the theme will be to divide us, it might be worth remembering that some of those being demonized are in many cases part of the solution not the problem.

Arianna Huffington: Sunday Roundup
Happy New Year, HuffPosters! This out-with-the-old, in-with-the-new weekend is my favorite time of the year — and the perfect opportunity for cleaning out our internal hard drives of all the accumulated detritus from 2011, including Anthony Weiner’s photographic skills, Charlie Sheen’s “winning” streak, Rick Perry’s “Oops” moment, Kim Kardashian’s 72-day marriage, 9-9-9, Tebowing, Carmageddon, Newt Gingrich blaming his affairs on his passion for America, the Raptureless May 21, and the president sending an end of the year fundraising email to tens of thousands with the subject line “Hey”… As we leave 2011 behind, let’s drop the faux intimacy, clear our personal hard drives of any hurts, grudges, and disappointments and start the New Year with a clean slate — ready to welcome all the surprises, opportunities, and, yes, challenges, 2012 will bring. Let’s celebrate the spirit of renewal that is the essence of new beginnings — and that the world so desperately needs.

Santorum, Others Join Perry In Struggle To Make Virginia Ballot
WASHINGTON — Several Republican presidential hopefuls are saying the state of Virginia should put their names on its March 6 ballot for the GOP primary…

Marlo Thomas: Remembering 2011: The Mogul and the Protesters
The two most inspiring news stories of 2011 were about a brilliant business mogul and a protest movement that decried big business. How very American.


Civil Rights Groups Press Justice Department To Block Other Voter ID Laws

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 1st, 2012 5:40 am by HL

Civil Rights Groups Press Justice Department To Block Other Voter ID Laws
It wasn’t long after the Justice Department blocked South Carolina’s voter ID law on Friday that Republicans accused the Obama administration of putting their reelection ahead of preventing voter fraud.

Alleged Tea Party HD Scammer Countersues Former Business Partners
A conservative businessman, accused of scamming investors in a Tea Party television venture, is countersuing his former business partners, claiming that they conspired against him and that he “has suffered shame and humiliation” as a result of their suit.

Anti-Gay Groups Struggle, Make Year-End Pleas For Financial Help
This holiday season, give the gift of support to your favorite struggling anti-gay group.


The Republican Party’s Twelve Commandments for 2012

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 1st, 2012 5:38 am by HL

The Republican Party’s Twelve Commandments for 2012


Where’s my friend?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 1st, 2012 5:37 am by HL

Where’s my friend?
My friend is Walid Abu Rass. He is the Finance and Administration Manager for the Health Work Committees (HWC, at www.hwc-pal.org), one of the largest community health service providers in the occupied Palestinian territory. HWC serves over 500,000 patients/beneficiaries per…

The Return of ‘The Right’
I surprise nobody by remarking what a difficult time this is for Israelis and Palestinians. In many ways, the sides are closer than ever to sensing what a modus vivendi?feels like, as the institutions and economy of a Palestinian state…


Crony Capitalism in the Air
After trying to push it through as part of the debt ceiling debacle, then in the super committee, Republicans are now trying to attach spectrum auction provisions to the payroll tax holiday bill. Their bill is about as clear an…


Poisoned Weather: Year 2011 In Photos

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 1st, 2012 5:36 am by HL

Poisoned Weather: Year 2011 In Photos
The headlines of 2011 were driven by global warming disasters and the popular uprising against the powers-that-be who have accumulated profit at the expense of the future of humanity. The United States faced the most billion-dollar climate disasters ever, with 14 distinct disasters costing at least $53 billion to the U.S. economy. Stymied by the […]

The headlines of 2011 were driven by global warming disasters and the popular uprising against the powers-that-be who have accumulated profit at the expense of the future of humanity. The United States faced the most billion-dollar climate disasters ever, with 14 distinct disasters costing at least $53 billion to the U.S. economy. Stymied by the election of the science-denying Tea Party Congress, the Obama administration failed to pass climate pollution or oil and coal safety legislation in response to the disasters of 2010. The administration fought back attacks on investment in renewable energy and stopped the rush to build the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, spurred by mass protests.


A torn American flag stands in the wreckage of a church in Joplin May 24. (Robert Ray/Associated Press)


A monstrous dust storm (Haboob) roared through Phoenix, Arizona in July. (danbryant.com)


Cars are abandoned on Chicago’s Lake Shore Drive during the “Snowpocalypse” in February. (chicagotribune.com)


A before and after shot of Joplin, Missouri after a massive tornado on May 22. (zeitlosimagery)


Hurricane Irene approaches the east coast. (NOAA)


The vast tar sands surface mines of Alberta are among the most destructive industrial projects in human history, having already transformed more than 260 square miles of wetlands and forest into a post-apocalyptic moonscape. (Garth Lenz)


A weed grows out of the dry cracked bed of O.C. Fisher Lake on July 25 in San Angelo, TX. The 5,440 acre lake which was established to provide flood control and serve as a secondary drinking water source for San Angelo and the surrounding communities is now dry following an extended drought in the region. The lake which has a maximum depth of 58 feet is also used for boating, fishing and swimming. The San Angelo area has seen only 2.5 inches of rain this year. The past nine months have been the driest in Texas since record keeping began in 1895, with 75 percent of the state classified as exceptional drought, the worst level. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)


Smoke from the Wallow Wildfire surrounds trees in Eagar, Arizona, June 7, 2011. (Joshua Lott/Reuters)


A man sits in front of a destroyed apartment building following the Joplin, Missouri tornado. (Reuters)


Mihag Gedi Farah, a seven-month-old child, is held by his mother in a field hospital of the International Rescue Committee in the town of Dadaab, Kenya. The baby has since made a full recovery. (AP / Schalk Van Zuydam)


Billy Stinson comforts his daughter Erin Stinson as they sit on the steps where their cottage once stood on August 28 in Nags Head, N.C. The cottage, built in 1903 and destroyed by Hurricane Irene, was one of the first vacation cottages built on Albemarle Sound in Nags Head. (Getty Images / Scott Olson)


A woman hangs onto a street sign in chest deep water along the flooded streets in Rangsit on the outskirts of Bangkok on October 24. (Getty Images / Paula Bronstein)


An aid worker using an iPad captures an image of a dead cow’s decomposing carcass in Wajir near the Kenya-Somalia border on July 23. (Reuters / Barry Malone)


A Buddhist monk walks in a flooded street in central Bangkok October 24, 2011. (Reuters/Damir Sagolj)


Joseph Mwangi, 34, sits in a state of shock after discovering the charred remains of two of his children, at the scene of a fuel explosion in Nairobi, Kenya. A leaking gasoline pipeline in Kenya’s capital exploded, turning part of a slum into an inferno in which scores of people were killed and more than 100 hurt, Sept. 12, 2001. (Ben Curtis/Associated Press)


Thai motorists travel through a flooded street during a heavy monsoon downpour in Bangkok. Dozens of people have died in northern Thailand over the past few weeks in floods that have also affected over a million people, Sept. 3, 2011. (Christophe Archambault/AFP/Getty Images)


A mother comforts her son in Concord, Alabama, near his house which was completely destroyed by a tornado in April. (AP / Jeff Roberts)


Partially-submerged vehicles sit stranded in floodwaters at a roundabout in the Thai ancient capital city of Ayutthaya, north of Bangkok, Oct. 16, 2011. Flood defenses protecting the Thai capital held up on Oct. 16, but the advancing waters that have swamped the inland still threaten to engulf Bangkok in a disaster that has claimed 300 lives. Thailand’s worst floods in decades have inundated huge swathes of the kingdom, swallowing homes and businesses, shutting down industry, and forcing tens of thousands of people to seek refuge in shelters. (Christophe Archambault/AFP/Getty Images)


Somali refugees who recently crossed the border from Somalia into southern Ethiopia cluster between two food tents as they wait to be called to collect food aid at the Kobe refugee camp on July 19. Ethiopian authorities and non-governmental organizations have accommodated almost 25,000 refugees at the camp since it was set up less then three weeks ago. Thousands of Somalis have fled in recent months to neighboring Ethiopia and Kenya in search of food and water, with many dying along the way, as the region suffers what the UN has described as the worst drought in decades. (Roberto Schmidt/AFP/Getty Images)


A Thai boy holds aloft banknotes while he swims in the floodwaters in Nonthaburi province, suburban Bangkok, Oct. 15, 2011. Thailand fought to hold back floodwaters flowing toward Bangkok as a spring tide hindered efforts to protect the city of 12 million people from the kingdom’s worst inundation in decades. (Parnchai Kittiwongsakul/AFP/Getty Images)


After a tornado struck, Faye Hyde sits on a mattress in what was her yard as she comforts her granddaughter Sierra Goldsmith, 2, in Conord Ala. (Jeff Roberts/The Birmingham News/AP)


A butterfly hovers over a flower as smoke rises around the Lee Valley Recreational area in the Apache National Forest during back burn operations as the Wallow Fire continues to burn June 12 in Big Lake, Az. The wild fire crossed the border into New Mexico, destroying over twenty structures, the majority in the resort town of Greer, and threatened thousands more. (Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)


Cars stand submerged in overflow water from the Wolf River on McMiller Road in Memphis, Tenn. May 10, 2011. After weeks of rising to historic levels the Mississippi River reached a crest just shy of the forecast 48 feet at the Memphis gauge. “It’s going to meander around that level for the next 24 to 36 hours,” meteorologist Bill Borghoff said. “We’re going to pretty much hold onto the crest for a while.” (Mike Brown/Associated Press/The Commercial Appeal)


On July 5th a historic dust storm, or haboob, approaches downtown Phoenix, AZ. The wall of dust, which was estimated to be 70 miles long and over a mile high, moved at speeds of 35mph and had gusts up to 60mph. (Mike Olbinski Photography)


A man lifts an elderly woman after she deboarded a passenger bus on a flooded street in Bangkok, Thailand. Thailand’s worst floods in more than half a century continued to creep into Bangkok, Nov. 3, 2011. (Altaf Qadri/Associated Press)


Chinese students make their way across a flooded school compound June 18 walking along a row of chairs, in Wuhan, in central China’s Hubei province. More than one million people in China have been evacuated following downpours that have raised water levels in rivers to critical highs, and triggered floods and landslides. Summer rains have left at least 168 people dead or missing so far, and weather authorities warned that flood-hit areas across the southern half of China would experience a fresh round of heavy rainfall. (AFP/Getty Images)


An owl perches in front of Greenpeace activists who were arrested for raising an inflatable model of a wind turbine in front of Congress in Brasilia. (Ueslei Marcelino/Reuters)


Coffins containing bodies of landslide victims rest on the ground at a cemetery in Nova Friburgo, Brazil on Saturday, Jan. 15, 2011. Nearly 14,000 people are now homeless, 759 are reported to have been killed and another 400 remain missing in Brazil’s worst-ever climate disaster. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)


Ty Shupe, 3, looks over his shoulder at the approaching Wallow fire as his family prepares to evacuate to Phoenix, June 7, 2011. (Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press)


Rescue workers remove a body from a collapsed house after a landslide caused by heavy rainfall in Seoul July 27, 2011. A total of 76 landslides of different severity struck after the most intense rainstorm in Korea in the last century. (Kim Ju-Seong/Yonhap/Reuters)


A village boy sits on the banks of the swelling Daya River, near Pipli village, about 25 kilometers from the eastern Indian city of Bhubaneshwar Sept. 9. The flood situation in Orissa state worsened with the release of more water downstream from Hirakud dam, according to a news agency. A high alert has been sounded in 11 districts of the state. (Biswaranjan Rout/Associated Press)


A resident carries his son while crossing on waist deep floodwaters brought by Typhoon Nesat, locally known as Pedring, that hit the Tanza town of Malabon city, north of Manila Sept. 27. Typhoon Nesat crossed the Philippines main island leaving behind at least 7 dead after it lashed crop-growing provinces and brought the capital to a near standstill as it flooded roads and villages and cut power supplies. (Reuters)


Family members, displaced by floods, use a tarp to escape a monsoon downpour while taking shelter at a make-shift camp for flood victims in the Badin district in Pakistan’s Sindh province Sept. 14. Floods this year have destroyed or damaged 1.2 million houses and flooded 4.5 million acres, according to officials and Western aid groups. More than 300,000 people have been made homeless and about 200 have been killed. (Akhtar Soomro/Reuters)


Vehicles are piled on top of one another on muddy ground after Typhoon Talas caused flash flooding in the town of Nachikatsuura, Wakayama prefecture, in western Japan on Sept. 5. Typhoon Talas cut across western Japan late on September 3, leaving at least 31 people dead and 50 missing after heavy rains and fierce winds. (Jiji Press/AFP/Getty Images)


Flood water covers the roadway Sept. 9 in Bloomsburg, Pa., after remnants from tropical Storm Lee continued to produce heavy rain overnight. (Mel Evans/Associated Press)


Katlyn Wilkins works on securing an American flag in a tree as she deals with the destruction caused by a massive tornado that passed through the town killing at least 139 people on May 29 in Joplin, Mo. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)


A high school student participates in White House protests against the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline on Aug. 24. Hundreds of arrests were made in the largest action of nonviolent civil disobedience against climate change in history. Months later, the Obama administration delayed approval of the pipeline. (Josh Lopez)

Surging Santorum Would Annul All Same-Sex Marriages
Social conservatives are lauding Rick Santorum’s “surge” to third place in the Iowa polls, but his new forthrightness about his positions may backfire. In a recent interview with MSNBC’s Chuck Todd, Santorum explained that not only would he support a federal constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, he supports invalidating all currently legal same-sex unions: SANTORUM: I […]

Social conservatives are lauding Rick Santorum’s “surge” to third place in the Iowa polls, but his new forthrightness about his positions may backfire. In a recent interview with MSNBC’s Chuck Todd, Santorum explained that not only would he support a federal constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, he supports invalidating all currently legal same-sex unions:

SANTORUM: I think marriage has to be one thing for everybody. We can’t have 50 different marriage laws in this country, you have to have one marriage law…

TODD: What would you do with same-sex couples who got married? Would you make them get divorced?

SANTORUM: Well, their marriage would be invalid. I think if the constitution says “marriage is this,” then people whose marriage is not consistent with the constitution… I’d love to think there’s another way of doing it.

Watch it:

He went on to claim that “same-sex couples can contract for everything” except government benefits and compared the loving marriages of many gay and lesbian couples to having a friend or an aunt.


Iowa caucuses: Volunteers for Gingrich, Santorum, Bachmann scramble for votes

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 1st, 2012 5:35 am by HL

Iowa caucuses: Volunteers for Gingrich, Santorum, Bachmann scramble for votes

URBANDALE, Iowa — A worn-out looking Newt Gingrich made a surprise visit to his campaign headquarters here to rally the troops and make a few impromptu phone calls late Saturday afternoon.

Gingrich, looking visibly tired, said he thinks he’s fighting the flu. He made a few quick calls to supporters, posed for pictures with volunteers and then ducked back onto his campaign bus, which was headed to Des Moines for the night.

Read full article >>

Republican candidates may get another shot at Virginia ballot for Super Tuesday

The slate of Republican presidential hopefuls who did not qualify for the Virginia primary might get another shot. Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II plans to file emergency legislation to re-open the process to GOP candidates.

Virginia’s process has come under fire since it was announced last week that only former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and Rep. Ron Paul (Tex.) had qualified for the ballot.

Read full article >>

In Iowa, it’s ‘electability’ versus ‘sincerity’ – plus a dose of Ron Paul antipathy

SIOUX CITY, Iowa – In his 61 years, Greg Moore has never voted in the Iowa caucuses.

That will change next week, he says, because he believes America is in desperate need of a Republican president.

“Just the state that the country’s in right now, I think something’s got to change, you know – and I guess by change, I mean the White House,” said Moore, an engineer from this city on Iowa’s western border.

Read full article >>

Virginia AG to intervene in primary ballot dispute

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R) announced today that he will intervene to ensure that more Republican presidential candidates will appear on the state’s primary ballot.

Thanks to newly stringent enforcement of rules requiring 10,000 valid signatures, only Rep. Ron Paul of Texas and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney made it onto the ballot for the state’s March 6 primary. Former House speaker Newt Gingrich and Texas Gov. Rick Perry both cried foul, with the latter suing in federal court. Gingrich, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum and former Utah governor Jon Huntsman all signed onto that effort on Saturday.

Read full article >>


Stocks End 2011 Largely Where They Began

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 1st, 2012 5:31 am by HL

Stocks End 2011 Largely Where They Began
Neil Irwin, Washington Post
     After all the turbulence of the past year, the solid rallies and breathtaking drops, the U.S. stock market, like any roller coaster, ended back almost precisely where it started.At the end of a quiet trading day Friday, the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index finished the year virtually unchanged (down 0.003 percent, to be exact). That was after rising on the year as much as 8 percent at one point (late April) and losing 13 percent at another (early October). Actual returns for stock investors were positive, however,…

A Tale of Two Ricks
Jonathan Last, Weekly Standard
It was the kind of performance that reminds you why Perry is still dangerous. He was forceful, direct, and fluid. The crowd of 100 interrupted him with applause. Both before and after the speech, he worked the room with smooth professionalism. Perry hasn't won every election he's entered since 1985 by accident.

A Dismal Year That Still Offered Reason to Hope
Mark Salter, RCP
You might think the image was a fitting end to a miserable year. A vast crowd of North Koreans sobbing as the heavens wept snow and the funeral procession of their mass murdering tyrant rolled slowly toward his garish tomb. His well fed, not especially intelligent-looking son, somberly marching alongside his father's hearse and toward his destiny as North Korea's next mass-murdering tyrant. And with that sad spectacle, 2011 comes to a close.It might not seem at first consideration to have been a year worth remembering fondly.It was the year our national government seemed to exist in…

Hugo Chavez Has a New Theory
Walter Russell Mead, The American Interest
Hugo Chavez has a new theory: that the US has developed a secret technology and is using it to give cancer to left wing Latin American rulers that we don’t like.  After all, Fidel Castro, the Hero of Venezuela himself, the president of Paraguay, the current and former presidents of Brazil and now Cristina Kirchner of Argentina have all come down with (quite different) cancers.  Bringing the logical acuity and sure grasp of the laws of probability and of cause and effect that he brings to all his policy making, Chavez, the Times of India reports, has shared his…