February 24th, 2009

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Barack Obama plays Gotcha! with reluctant governors

Barack Obama plays Gotcha! with reluctant governors

February 22, 12:27 PM
by Rob Shirk, South St. Paul Examiner

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, ARRA, has been devised by the most brilliant economic minds in America. They also are playing the game of Gotcha!

Hidden in President Barack Obama's massive economic stimulus plan is a little noticed provision aimed at keeping Republican governors like Minnesota's Gov. Tim Pawlenty from standing in the way of the $787 billion spending package.

Occupying only three paragraphs, the new law clears the way for an end-run around recalcitrant governors by requiring governors to accept the federal stimulus funds within 45 days. If the money is not accepted within that time frame, it is passed to the state legislature for certification and release to the state.

It is very striking that the package looks to be targeted in very specific ways to handcuff people like Governor Pawlenty -- Larry Jacobs, director of the Center for the Study of Politics and Governance at the University of Minnesota

Our own Gov.Tim Pawlenty, native of South St. Paul, along with South Carolina's Mark Sanford, Louisiana's Bobby Jindal, Mississippi's Haley Barbour and Alaska's Sarah Palin are all wringing their hands with the spending in the stimulus. Some have even threatened inaction. They want to play Gotcha! on their own terms. Minnesota state legislators, however, know what's coming.

There was some concern that he [Pawlenty] might drag his heels.We are just trying to ensure that our state maximizes our opportunities in case the governor wouldn't act or chose to act in a limited way -- Minnesota state Sen. Tarryl L. Clark, DFL-St. Cloud

If a governor does not accept the funding then it goes to the legislature, which can pass it by concurrent resolution. It's a game that has far reaching implications. The stimulus can only work if everyone works it together and Barack Obama's team knew that some Republican governors might provide an impasse to a law they already knew would be watered down with compromise. Gotcha!

To get more analysis of what's happening with the governors, please go to Karen Harper, Birmingham's Progressive Politics Examiner.

Erin Haust is our Minneapolis Conservative Examiner and here is her analysis of the issue, as well.
mariahbreakdown

Jehmu Greene to Naacp/Al Sharpton/etc: Make a big deal about something that matters...

A political cartoon is misinterpreted and African American organizations and their talking heads immediately see an opportunity to make noise. Meanwhile, a famous black woman is beat down by her equally famous black boyfriend and commentary in the black community centers around, "What did she do to cause it?" Why are some African Americans so cowardly when it comes to addressing black-on-black violence? There is no end to the activists' displays of outrage when racism is perceived. Yet, the silence is deafening, drowned out only by the hypocrisy and ignorance when the perpetrator is black.

 

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fleur de lis

Your Share of Stimulus Tax Breaks

by Jeanne Sahadi
Monday, February 23, 2009
provided by CNN Money

A study of the recovery plan shows most households will qualify for a tax break. Boost for some could be worth several hundred to several thousand dollars.


Roughly 97% of American households could see tax savings as a result of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, according to a new analysis by a nonpartisan research group. The Tax Policy Center crunched the numbers and concluded that the average savings would be $1,179. But how much a household actually gets depends on income, marital status and whether a filer has children. The savings range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand. [....]

The Treasury Department has told employers to reduce the amount of taxes withheld from paychecks by April 1. Treasury estimates that a typical family will begin taking home about $65 more per month, according to Obama. "Never before in our history has a tax cut taken effect faster or gone to so many hardworking Americans," Obama said in his weekly video and radio address. [....]

When You'll See Savings The first tax credit filers will enjoy is the Making Work Pay credit, which will show up in increments in people's paychecks starting in April. In some instances, such as with the first time home buyer's tax credit, the money can be claimed on one's 2008 tax return if the home purchase occurs between Jan. 1 and before Nov. 30 of this year. But in many cases, a household won't see some of their stimulus savings until they file their 2009 returns, which they can't do until 2010.

Rest of Article Here

1. As illustrated by this Congressional Budget Office table from this CBO letter, the consensus among economists on the return on investment of $1.00 spent on high-income tax cuts ranges from 10¢ to 50¢, whereas the return on investment for low-to-middle-income tax cuts ranges from 50¢ to $1.70 (0% to 1700% more stimulative).

2. The table on the left indicates only percent of income tax, not payroll tax. An income of $14,000 (minimum wage) pays $1,536 ($465 in income tax, $1,071 in payroll tax). An income of $19,000 pays $2,484 ($1,030 in income tax, $1,454 in payroll tax). And you don't need me to tell you that an average tax savings of $476 is not, as the table on the left suggests, 95% of either $1,536 or $2,484. It's far too easy for people in power to mislead with numbers.
team science

Disturbing news @ The Onion

Sasha Obama Keeps Seeing Creepy Bush Twins While Riding Tricycle Through White House

WASHINGTON—A little more than a month after the first family's move to the White House, reports of strange happenings have continued to surface, with Sasha Obama confirming Tuesday that she had once again been visited by the eerie specter of the Bush twins.

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Sasha, who was playing in the East Wing of the executive mansion so as not to disturb her busy father, reported seeing the former first twins while riding her Big Wheel tricycle down the Cross Hall corridor. The frightening apparitions, the 7-year-old said, emerged out of thin air and were dressed in identical outfits consisting of spaghetti strap tank tops and denim skirts.

"At approximately 4:36 p.m., we received a detailed account from Sasha Obama about a series of manifestations in the White House," press secretary Robert Gibbs announced. "However, a thorough search conducted by security officials has thus far uncovered nothing."

Added Gibbs, "Whatever grotesque and haunting images the president's youngest daughter thought she saw must have been a figment of her imagination."

Enlarge Image White House

This 209-year-old mansion is said to be haunted by the spirits of administrations past.

According to White House security documents, Sasha told Secret Service agents that the ghostly twins spoke to her in unison and repeatedly beckoned her by chanting the phrases "come play with us," "come play with us, forever," and "Daddy's making fajitas."

White House officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, also detailed a disturbing vision experienced by Sasha, who at several points during her encounter suddenly saw the twin girls lying motionless in a pool of spilled strawberry margaritas.

"She said they kept whispering 'we want to party' over and over again," said one Secret Service agent, who comforted Sasha following the incident. "God, it's so horrifying."

With her father often tied up with work for hours on end, this is not the first time Sasha has reported seeing malevolent spirits while exploring the 132-room mansion. Earlier this week, the 7-year-old was startled to find an angry, silver-haired woman named Barbara in the Map Room, and on Monday, the first daughter saw what appeared to be former attorney general John Ashcroft lying naked and unconscious in a bathroom tub.

As disturbing as her encounters have been, Sasha claimed that the sounds of incessant typing emanating from the Oval Office in recent days are what worry her the most.

While some White House staffers believe the visions to be nothing more than a child's plea for attention, others are less skeptical, claiming that the building's last resident committed horrible atrocities.

"There's just something about this place—maybe it's the long hours spent isolated in the Oval Office—but it gets into a man's head and eventually becomes too much to bear," White House gardener Emery Canter said. "We don't like to talk about what happened around here with the last occupant. We just want to put those bad memories behind us."

Though the president remains unconvinced by his daughter's wild stories, similar sightings have recently surfaced from other members of the White House staff.

"I had just walked into  the Red Room to clean it, when right in front of me I saw the twins exactly as I remembered them," said Rita Wesson, a maid who has worked at the White House for three administrations. "They were slouched down in their favorite chairs, and they had their feet up all over the antique furniture."

Added Wesson, "At first I wasn't sure it was them, but then Jenna yelled at me to get the fuck out."

President Obama this week issued a statement dismissing allegations that the White House is haunted, and has turned down several of the first lady's requests to move, saying that he finally has the chance to get some work done now.

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Favourite quote:
Earlier this week, the 7-year-old was startled to find an angry, silver-haired woman named Barbara in the Map Room, and on Monday, the first daughter saw what appeared to be former attorney general John Ashcroft lying naked and unconscious in a bathroom tub.
Now THAT would have been to creepy even for Kubrick!
 

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Drink up baby doll

U.S. to Give $900 Million in Gaza Aid, Officials Say

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration intends to provide some $900 million to help rebuild Gaza after the Israeli incursion that ended last month, administration officials said Monday.

In an early sign of how the administration plans to deal with Hamas, the militant Islamist group that controls Gaza, an official said that the aid would not go to Hamas but that it would be funneled through nongovernmental organizations.

By seeking to aid Gazans but not Hamas, the administration is following the lead of the Bush administration, which sent money to Gaza through nongovernmental organizations. In December, it said it would give $85 million to the United Nations agency that provides aid to Palestinian refugees in the West Bank, Gaza, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.

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Sorry for not bolding, but I want people to read the whole thing instead of reading what I think is important.

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Are GOP Governors Who Turn Down Stimulus Money Unpatriotic?

Are GOP Governors Who Turn Down Stimulus Money Unpatriotic?

Mitchell Bard

Writer and Filmmaker
Posted February 23, 2009 | 04:44 PM (EST)

If someone questioned the patriotism of the Republican governors who have said that they will turn down portions of the federal stimulus money intended for their states, I would have a hard time arguing with them.

Hey, if the Republicans can accuse the Democrats of being unpatriotic when they were in the minority, isn't turnabout fair play? But, actually, the Democrats would have far more basis to make their charge than the Republicans ever did. During the second term of the Bush administration, Republicans often questioned the patriotism of Democrats who sought to have a timetable for troop withdrawals included in Iraq-funding legislation. The White House called the party "Defeatocrats" and accused Democrats of advocating "surrender dates." Such charges were quite disgusting, since, clearly, the Democrats in Congress were laying out a vision of what they thought was best for the United States, not trying to do harm to their own country. Providing a competing vision for the nation's best course of action is not unpatriotic, especially given that it was the disastrous policies and execution of the Bush administration in Iraq that cost the U.S. dearly, in lives lost, lives ruined, money wasted, and respect in the world squandered. Advocating a change was a patriotic thing to do.

The same logic does not apply to the Republican governors passing up money from the stimulus package. In doing so, they are affirmatively taking action that is not in the best interests of their constituents, all for political gain. For example, on Meet the Press yesterday, Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana told David Gregory that he would turn down $100 million from the federal government to extend lapsed unemployment benefits for out-of-work Louisiana citizens. Jindal claimed that to accept the money would require the state to raise taxes on businesses to fund the program after it expires in three years. Which is, of course, completely untrue, as Gregory pointed out, quoting the Democratic U.S. Senator from Louisiana, Mary Landrieu. Jindal responded that the word "permanent" was in the legislation, which meant he had to turn down the money.
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Michael Steele Calls Civil Unions For Gays "Crazy"

After weathering a storm of criticism for saying that the Republican Party should reach out to gay voters, RNC chairman Michael Steele said yesterday that the GOP would not budge on LGBT rights, calling even the consideration of civil unions "crazy." From a radio interview with Mike Gallagher:
GALLAGHER: Is this a time when Republicans ought to consider some sort of alternative to redefining marriage and maybe in the road, down the road to civil unions. Do you favor civil unions?
STEELE: No, no no. What would we do that for? What are you, crazy? No. Why would we backslide on a core, founding value of this country? I mean this isn’t something that you just kind of like, “Oh well, today I feel, you know, loosey-goosey on marriage.” […]
GALLAGHER: So no room even for a conversation about civil unions in your mind?
STEELE: What’s the difference?
Think Progress has the audio. You may recall my posting of Log Cabin Republicans president Patrick Sammon's enthusiastic endorsement of Steele when he got the job:
Log Cabin Republicans congratulate Michael Steele on his election as Chairman of the Republican National Committee. "Michael Steele is the right man at the right time to lead the GOP," said Log Cabin President Patrick Sammon. "It's a great day for our Party. Steele is an inclusive leader who will bring a new energy and a new vision to the GOP at a critical time." As RNC Chair, Steele will be the most important person in shaping the Party's future. Steele believes in a big tent GOP. In a media interview during his campaign for RNC Chair, Steele mentioned the importance of reaching out to Log Cabin and other mainstream GOP groups as the Party looks to chart a future course. "Michael Steele understands you win elections by addition, not subtraction," said Sammon. "He understands we must focus on what unites us, not what divides us as Republicans."



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(no subject)

'Gays = Adulterers, Murderers' Says GOP Lawmaker at CO Bill Debate

A gay rights bill that would add domestic partners to the list of dependents eligible for health insurance was given initial backing by the Senate yesterday, but not before some hateful rhetoric could be spewed by one of the state's GOP lawmakers.

Renfroe Sen. Scott Renfroe, R-Greeley talked of God's laws: "Homosexuality is seen as a violation of this natural created law, and it is an offense to God. I'm not saying this (homosexuality) is the only sin that's out there. We have murder. We have all sorts of sin. We have adultery. And we don't make laws making those legal, and we would never think to make murder legal."

The Denver Post reports: "Sponsor Sen. Jennifer Veiga, D-Denver, said it was a 'fair and equitable' step that would help Colorado compete for employees with businesses and other states that offer such coverage. She also said 17 Colorado counties and cities already offer such benefits. Veiga, who is a lesbian, said she respected Renfroe's beliefs but didn't share them. She also said that lawmakers have to do what's best for all people and can't always follow their own moral beliefs. 'God also created me, and the last time I checked I am who I am, people. If that doesn't reconcile with how you view the world, I'm sorry. But I don't always see the world the way others see it as well,' she said. Veiga said the bill is about extending health care only to an estimated 79 people and doesn't address any of the rights, such as tax benefits, available to married couples."

The bill must survive another vote before moving to the House.

Source

Hm, I'd love to see him try to make a non-Biblical argument for why homosexuality is comparable to adultery and murder.  I'd buy tickets, actually.
 

Finally, a Republican who GETS it.

Utah Governor on Gay Rights: 'I've Always Thought We Were Behind'

Politico interviewed Utah Governor Jon Huntsman, Jr. and asked him about his recent statements in support of Equality Utah's recently failed gay rights 'Common Ground Initiative' and same-sex civil unions:

HuntsmanPOLITICO: You’ve changed your position on gay rights. What prompted that?

HUNTSMAN, JR: Well, I’ve always been in favor of greater equality. My first year in office I ran a…reciprocal beneficiary rights piece of legislation. It failed, but my first year in office I wanted to see if we could do more in the name of individual rights. And I’ve always thought that we were a little bit behind in terms of equality for people born under the same constitution.

POLITICO: In December you talked about people 40 and under having a very different view on the environment. Is there a similar generational gap on gay rights?

HUNTSMAN, JR: You hit on the two issues that I think carry more of a generational component than anything else. And I would liken it a bit to the transformation of the Tory Party in the UK…They went two or three election cycles without recognizing the issues that the younger citizens in the UK really felt strongly about. They were a very narrow party of angry people. And they started branching out through, maybe, taking a second look at the issues of the day, much like we’re going to have to do for the Republican Party, to reconnect with the youth, to reconnect with people of color, to reconnect with different geographies that we have lost.

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I'm in love with a Republican.  :/
panda bear

(no subject)

Gibbs: Obama puts new presidential helicopters on hold





President Barack Obama put on hold an order for a fleet of new helicopters that will cost at least $11 billion, his spokesman told CNN Tuesday.

"The president talked to the secretary of defense, and I think as he said yesterday to Sen. (John) McCain, we don't need any new helicopters at the White House," Robert Gibbs said on CNN's "American Morning."

Asked if that meant the order was being put on hold, Gibbs said: "That's exactly what he talked to the secretary about."

McCain, the Arizona Republican who was Obama's rival for the White House in last year's election, questioned the president about the cost of the new helicopter fleet on Monday.

"Your (proposed new) helicopter is now going to cost as much as Air Force One," the presidential airplane, McCain said. "I don't think that there's any more graphic demonstration of how good ideas … have cost taxpayers an enormous amount of money."

The price tag for the proposed new fleet of 28 helicopters has virtually doubled to more than $11 billion over the last six years. Each helicopter in the fleet would reportedly cost around $400 million.

President Bush put in the order for new high-security presidential helicopters in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.

The president's helicopter is known as Marine One when he is flying on it.


Obama suggested Monday he would put the order on hold.

"I've already talked to (Defense Secretary Robert) Gates about a thorough review of the helicopter situation. The helicopter I have now seems perfectly adequate to me," a smiling Obama said to a room of laughing congressional, corporate and community leaders.

"I think it is … an example of the procurement process gone amuck, and we're going to have to fix it," he added.

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Stephen
  • cindel

Schumer To GOP Govs On Stimulus: Take It Or Leave It

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) has a message for Republican governors hemming and hawing over whether to accept the stimulus money Uncle Sam is mailing to each state: Take it or leave it.

Several GOP governors, including Louisiana's Bobby Jindal and South Carolina's Mark Sanford, have cited ideological differences with the stimulus spending and suggested they may take some parts of it and decline the rest. For Schumer, it's all or nothing.

"No one would dispute that these governors should be given the choice as to whether to accept the funds or not. But it should not be multiple choice," Schumer writes in a letter to Office of Management and Budget Director Peter Orszag.

Schumer argues that the stimulus plan is a comprehensive approach, and rejecting portions of the package of it would undermine it. "To protect the integrity of the recovery program, I urge the administration to issue implementation guidance clarifying that while any Governor may exercise his or her discretion to accept or reject the federal funds provided in the stimulus, no Governor should have the authority to arbitrarily adopt a select subset of the overall package," writes Schumer.

Schumer also argues that cherry picking the stimulus is unconstitutional. "To allow such picking and choosing would, in effect, empower the governors with a line-item veto authority that President Obama himself did not possess at the time he signed the legislation," he writes.

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Drink up baby doll

Officials: US troops to leave Iraq by August 2010




WASHINGTON – The United States plans to withdraw most of its troops from Iraq by August 2010, 19 months after President Barack Obama's inauguration, according to administration officials. The withdrawal plan would fulfill one of Obama's central campaign pledges, albeit a little more slowly than he promised. He said he would withdraw troops within 16 months, roughly one brigade a month from the time of his inauguration.
The officials said they expect Obama to make the announcement this week. They spoke on condition of anonymity because the plan has not been made public.
The U.S. military will leave behind a residual force, between 30,000 and 50,000 troops, to continue advising and training Iraqi security forces, the two officials said. Also staying beyond the 19 months will be intelligence and surveillance specialists and their equipment, including unmanned aircraft, they said.

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Murasaki Shikibu
  • homasse

"If this is going to be bipartisanship, the country's screwed"

Analysis: Clinton's mockery of Obama proves true

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- During the most contentious stretch of the Democratic presidential primary campaign last winter, then-candidate Hillary Clinton mocked Barack Obama for his pledge to transcend Washington's entrenched partisanship.

"The sky will open. The lights will come down. Celestial choirs will be singing and everyone will know we should do the right thing and the world will be perfect!" Clinton bellowed.

Obama dismissed Clinton's sarcasm as overly cynical and further evidence she was a creature of Washington. But as President Obama prepares to make his first major address to Congress, Clinton's comments are borne out.

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copshows|  &#39;Sup

Biden/Clooney do White House photo-op; remain handsome doing so.

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009 at 9:55 am

Bringing relief to the battered region of Darfur is a top priority for the administration, the President and Vice President assured the actor and activist George Clooney last night.

In separate meetings with President Obama and Vice President Biden, Clooney told them what he saw on his recent trip to Eastern Chad.

"We saw an awful lot of fear," Clooney told Larry King last night of his visit to the region. "There was [also] a tremendous amount of hope."

After six years of fighting, it’s estimated that 300,000 people have been killed and more than 2.7 million displaced in the Darfur region of Sudan.

Learn more about the joint United Nations-African Union mission there.



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George is clearly dazzled.
&#39; jules
  • schmiss

No amount of "Back in the Saddle" videos will make up for this burn.

GOP governor: Congressional leadership 'inconsequential'

~dazzling~ The Republican governor of Utah on Monday said his party is blighted by leaders in Congress whose lack of new ideas renders them so "inconsequential" that he doesn't even bother to talk to them.

"I don't even know the congressional leadership," Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. told editors and reporters at The Washington Times, shrugging off questions about top congressional Republicans, including House Minority Leader John A. Boehner of Ohio and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. "I have not met them. I don't listen or read whatever it is they say because it is inconsequential - completely."

In a separate interview at The Times, House Republican Conference Chairman Mike Pence, one of the party's chief message makers, said that Republican lawmakers have improved their standing with voters by attacking waste in the economic stimulus package even if rank-and-file Republicans can't agree to forgo earmarks - the pork-barrel spending projects despised by the electorate. Mr. Pence said such a move would benefit Americans and his party.

The back-and-forth underscored the leadership debate within their party. Mr. Huntsman called on national Republican leaders to show that they have alternatives and solutions, and Mr. Pence argued that congressional Republicans aren't as incompetent as they might appear.

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OK, I'm totally riding the Huntsman love train. He has so much promise! Can we adopt him? I promise to walk him and feed him and indoctrinate him with our America-hating socialist propaganda three times a day. *_*

First Chores? You Bet

CONSIDER the perils of parenting in the White House.

There is a movie theater, a bowling alley, a horseshoe pit, a swimming pool, five full-time chefs and dozens of household staff members ready to dish up ice cream at all hours. There are trips to foreign lands, dinners with kings and celebrities, swarming paparazzi and blaring motorcades, all with the potential to transform sweet little children into bossy, self-important ones. (Or lonely, dysfunctional ones.)

What are presidential parents to do?

 

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pen

only 6 years


 

Six-year ordeal 'medieval torture': British Gitmo prisoner



Binyam Mohamed, who spent four years behind bars at Guantanamo Bay without being charged, has been freed and faces no further action, British police say.

Mr Mohamed, 30, was the first Guantanamo prisoner to be transferred out of the controversial "War on Terror" prison complex under US President Barack Obama.

"He's now been released; full stop, that's the end of it," a spokesman for Britain's Metropolitan Police said.

His lawyer, Clive Stafford Smith, also confirmed he had been freed.

The Ethiopian-born former British resident claimed he was the victim of a dark nightmare of "medieval torture" wreaked on him with British collusion.

He arrived back in Britain at RAF Northolt airbase in north-west London soon after 1300 GMT on Monday (0000 AEDT Tuesday). He was detained by police officers under anti-terror laws but not arrested.

After being questioned for nearly five hours, he was released at 1746 GMT (0446 AEDT Tuesday), police said.

Mr Mohamed was in custody since 2002. He was arrested in Pakistan before being taken to Morocco and Afghanistan, and then on to Guantanamo Bay.

He was suspected of attending an al-Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan and plotting to build a "dirty" bomb. But he was never charged.

His US military lawyer, Lieutenant Colonel Yvonne Bradley, said: "Mr Mohamed has not done anything that warranted any investigation."

Looking underweight, stooped and hiding behind a white baseball cap, Mr Mohamed shuffled off the chartered jet clutching what looked like a large collection of documents.

Mr Stafford Smith told reporters at the airbase Mr Mohamed was reunited with his sister, who he had not seen for seven years.

"It was a tearful reunion," Mr Stafford Smith said, describing his appearance as "incredibly skinny" and "very emaciated".

"He just wants to go to a place we've got for him tonight where he can be by himself with his sister and hopefully begin to put his life together again."

 

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- with AFP

Source - Paola Totaro is The Age's Europe Correspondent.

fleur de lis

President's Fiscal Responsibility Summit With Members of Congress



On The Presidential Helicopter In response to Sen. McCain's thinly-veiled jab concerning the cost of a new Presidential helicopter, Obama responded, "By the way, I've already talked to Gates about a thorough review of the helicopter situation. The helicopter I have now seems perfectly adequate to me. Of course, I've never had a helicopter before so— so maybe I've been deprived and I didn't know it. But I think it is an example of the procurement process gone amuck. And we're gonna have to fix it."

On Corporate Tax Loopholes "Just a quick thought on taxes, Charlie [Rep. Rangel], my instinct is that you're absolutely right that the individual tax rate is always the hardest thing. There's some philosophical differences between the parties on this and I understand that. On the corporate side, I, at least, have always maintained that if we try and think in the same ways we thought in 1986 and if you closed loopholes, you could actually lower rates. [Rep. Rangel: "No question about it."] And that's an area where there should be the potential for some bipartisan agreement."

On Disincentivizing Early Retirement "That's the kind of stuff that's not sexy, but over time, ends up making enormous progress." Retirement Disincentives = Not So Sexy :(

On Bipartisanship In response to Rep. Barton's comment, "I think the House Republicans have shown that when we're not included in the decision-making, we're disinclined to sign off on the solution," Obama responded, "On the one hand, the majority has to be inclusive. On the other hand, the minority has to be constructive. [....] What you should see is the majority saying, 'What are your ideas?' The minority's got to, then, come up with those ideas and not just want to blow the thing up." When Sen. Carper urged Obama to continue to reach out to both sides of the aisle, Obama responded, "Well, I will certainly do that, Tom, because I'm just a glutton for punishment. I'm going to keep on talking to Eric Cantor. Some day, sooner or later, he's going to say, 'Boy, Obama had a good idea.'"

On The Rationale for the Recovery Act "I just want to be very clear about this, I said it to the governors this morning, and I've said it to my staff in the past, we chose to move forward on a recovery package because there was a strong sense among the vast majority of economists that if we did not try to fill a $1 trillion hole in demand because of the drastic pulling back of businesses and consumers, that the recession would get worse, unemployment would increase, and as a consequence, tax revenues would go down and the long-term deficit and debt projections would be even higher. That was the basis for the decision."

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wow.... wow

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Pigs were used by George Orwell to satirise Stalin's Soviet state in Animal Farm - but guinea pigs are just as controversial in modern Russia.

13-year-old girl has felt the wrath of the Kremlin for having the audacity to ask the Russian president for a new pet. Nastya Ivliyeva wrote to Dmitry Medvedev's website asking for a guinea pig to go with her existing one.

As soon as local officials found out about the request they went to the girl's school where she was called to the headmaster's office and ticked off so badly that she burst into tears.

They then summoned Nastya's parents to condemn them for bringing up a brazen child who would waste the president's time on such trifling matters. Nastya was even forced to write a letter retracting her request.

But attitudes shifted when her parents complained to the president about the officials' behaviour and a newspaper publicised the plight of the girl from Kalitvensky in southern Russia.

The next day, officials called again - but this time to hand over two guinea pigs and a cage.

The episode marked a 'complete failure by the authorities to understand real people and their problems', said youth committee leader Sergei Chyuev.

Last year, Siberian girl Dasha Varfolomeeva, nine, used a TV show to ask leader Vladimir Putin for a dress and a trip to Moscow. She got both.

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waiting
  • bispo

Hot off the Presses: Michelle Obama Goes Sleeveless, Again

25obamablog2
Nancy Reagan wore spangled ballgowns. Barbara Bush had fake pearls. Michelle Obama wears her bare arms.

It is February and Washington is freezing, but in appearance after appearance, the first lady’s displays her long, muscular arms. She is sleeveless on the cover of the new Vogue, she was sleeveless when she discussed menus on Sunday in the White House kitchen, and last night she was sleeveless again, in the House chamber for her husband’s first address to Congress. (All of the other women in the room seemed to be wearing long sleeves; a few even wore turtlenecks). If she keeps going at this rate, Mrs. Obama may do to dresses with sleeves what President John F. Kennedy did to men’s hats.

“Oh my god,” Cindi Leive, the editor of Glamour magazine, exclaimed while watching the address, she said via email. “The First Lady has bare arms in Congress, in February, at night!”
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source: NYTIMES
biggie aretha
  • bispo

Old, Discredited Bill Kristol Responds: Not a War President

KristolThug
What can we learn from the few sentences President Obama devoted to foreign policy in his speech to Congress tonight?

The main lesson is how very few the sentences were. Yes, this was a speech focused on the economy. But it was also Obama’s first address to Congress, and his first to the nation since his inauguration. Obama did acknowledge in passing that for seven years we have been “a nation at war.” But that fact was barely reflected in his text. The treatment of foreign policy was perfunctory at best.

Obama did say he’s “carefully reviewing our policies in both wars.” “War” is just one area in which the president conducts and reviews public policy, apparently no more urgent than energy, health care or education--indeed, perhaps less so. You’d never know from the one-sentence discussion of Afghanistan that just last week the president had ordered an additional 17,000 troops there. Obama doesn’t seem to think his responsibility as commander in chief is in any way special. He certainly felt no responsibility even to begin to educate the public about this theater to which he’s committing additional American soldiers.

Instead, both the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were treated as sideshows to “a new era of engagement” that Obama claims has begun. The only particular place mentioned by Obama, in addition to Iraq and Afghanistan/Pakistan, was Israel: “To seek progress toward a secure and lasting peace between Israel and her neighbors, we have appointed an envoy to sustain our effort.” The Israeli-Arab dispute and its envoy merits a mention. Yet Iran and its nuclear program does not?

This was not the speech of a man who even contemplates the possibility of using force within the next year to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. This was not the speech of a man who thinks America needs to be reminded about the dangers out there in the world, because Americans might have to be summoned to deal with them. This was not the speech of a man who thinks of himself as a war president.

But he is.
source: WaPo
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  • schmiss

Oh, I don't vote Republican or Democrat. Choosing is a sin, so I just write in the Lord's name.

Fox Panel’s Verdict On Jindal’s Speech: ‘Childish,’ ‘Amateurish,’ ‘Not Exactly Terrific’


(pic stolen from FDL)

Lousiana Gov. Bobby Jindal’s (R) response to President Obama’s speech tonight received a universal thumbs down from the Fox News panelists, who are traditionally conservatives’ most gentle critics:
BRIT HUME: “The speech read a lot better than it sounded. This was not Bobby Jindal’s greatest oratorical moment.”

NINA EASTON: “The delivery was not exactly terrific.”

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: “Jindal didn’t have a chance. He follows Obama, who in making speeches, is in a league of his own. He’s in a Reagan-esque league. … [Jindal] tried the best he could.”

JUAN WILLIAMS: “It came off as amateurish, and even the tempo in which he spoke was sing-songy. He was telling stories that seemed very simplistic and almost childish.”

ThinkProgress has compiled some lowlights of Jindal’s speech, along with the reactions of the Fox panel. Watch it:
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Also:

Matthews, Maddow and Olbermann React to Jindal Response Speech
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A video posted by Andrew Sullivan for those who aren't familiar with 30 Rock, compare and contrast with Gov. Jindal
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But at least he's blowing up Twitter and Google: