It's from the March 23, 2009 [Monday] Jim Lehrer News Hour on PBS. Warning: It is kind of wonkish & technical.
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WASHINGTON (AP) — Was "Hillary: The Movie" an anti-Hillary Clinton documentary or a 90-minute attack ad?
The Supreme Court will try to figure it out Tuesday as it hears arguments over whether a political movie and its accompanying advertisements should be regulated the same way as political ads during election seasons.
The court will also issue opinions.
Citizens United, a conservative group, wanted to pay for "Hillary" — a documentary filled with negative criticism of the former New York senator — to be shown on home video-on-demand while she was competing against President Barack Obama for the Democratic presidential nomination. The group also wanted to run ads featuring clips from the movie on television.
But federal judges said the movie was equivalent to a political ad, and if it was shown on television, it would fall under the McCain-Feingold law, the popular name for 2002 revisions to the nation's campaign finance laws.
Campaign regulations require the backers of political ads to be identified and prohibit corporations and unions from paying for ads that run close to elections and single out candidates.
Citizen United appealed, saying that, despite being critical of the now-secretary of state, nothing in the movie actually urged people to vote against Clinton. Citizens United also argues that its ads simply promoted the movie and should be treated as commercial speech, as opposed to advocacy against the former senator.
The ads include clips from the movie, including one in which Dick Morris — a former Bill Clinton adviser who is now a critic of the Clintons — saying she is "the closest thing we have in America to a European socialist."
The Justice Department said a movie does not have to use the word "vote" to be considered a political ad.
The movie was advertised on the Internet, sold on DVD and shown in a few theaters. Campaign regulations do not apply to DVDs, theaters or the Internet.Source
In a recent interview with gay news site 365gay.com, Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) said he hopes the Supreme Court takes up the issue of gay marriage — but not with its current conservative makeup, led by “that homophobe Antonin Scalia.” Not surprisingly, Scalia’s defenders at Fox News decried Frank’s comments, insisting that Scalia doesn’t attack the gay community directly. “Homophobe is a really strong word,” scolded Fox Supreme Court reporter Shannon Bream. Other Fox hosts leaped to Scalia’s defense:
MEGYN KELLY: In defense of Justice Scalia, in that dissent Lawrence v. Texas, he wasn’t necessarily harsh, he just made clear his position…on homosexual sodomy.
BREAM: There was no direct attack by Justice Scalia on the homosexual community, nothing along those lines. It was a very technical legal argument.
Sean Hannity insisted Scalia is “one of the most brilliant jurists of all time. Absolutely!” Watch a compilation:
The truth is that Scalia’s animus toward gay people is clear. During oral arguments for the 2003 case Lawrence v. Texas — in which the Court struck down Texas’ law making gay sex illegal — Scalia suggested that being gay was somehow contagious, and that a teacher could “induce” a student toward homosexuality:
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Rehnquist wonders whether, if these laws are stuck down, states can have laws “preferring non-homosexuals to homosexuals as kindergarten teachers.” Smith replies that there would need to be some showing that gay kindergarten teachers produce harm to children. Scalia offers one: “Only that children might be induced to follow the path to homosexuality.”
The U.S. Border Patrol plans to poison the plant life along a 1.1-mile stretch of the Rio Grande riverbank as soon as Wednesday to get rid of the hiding places used by smugglers, robbers and illegal immigrants.
If successful, the $2.1 million pilot project could later be duplicated along as many as 130 miles of river in the patrol’s Laredo Sector, as well as other parts of the U.S.-Mexico border.
Although Border Patrol and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency officials say the chemical is safe for animals, detractors say the experiment is reminiscent of the Vietnam War-era Agent Orange chemical program and raises questions about long-term effects.
“We don’t believe that is even moral,” said Jay Johnson-Castro Sr., executive director of the Rio Grande International Study Center, located at Laredo Community College, adjacent to the planned test area.
“It is a complicated situation because we have to think about protecting our border,” said Salinas, a retired FBI agent. “But let’s do it in a sensible, reasonable way to make sure humans won’t be harmed, nor the vegetation, nor the animals, nor the environment.”
Given the treatment that gay users of Microsoft's Xbox receive, is it any surprise one of Xbox's own employees says the company is rife with homophobia?
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CBS’s Chip Reid jots the gist of his questions on a legal pad. CNN’s Ed Henry writes them word for word on white paper torn from the notebook he’s using, so there’s no danger of cards dropping to the ground. Fox’s Major Garrett has three word-for-word questions and three “concept questions” in reserve.
ABC's Jake Tapper comes with about a dozen questions, including ones he's gathered from colleagues, bosses, his blog and Twitter.
Like athletes limbering up for the big game, White House reporters have been going through elaborate preparatory rituals as they bone up for tonight’s prime-time news conference with President Obama, the second formal “presser” of his presidency.
The Bush White House liked to spring its news conferences with as little as a few hours’ notice, on the theory that reporters would have less time to dream up stumpers and zingers. But Obama aides confidently announced tonight’s 8 ET session six days in advance.
There are 160 chairs, and somewhere between 12 and 20 correspondents are likely to get questions.
The unspoken contest playing out under the East Room lights: The president wants to deliver a message – in this case, reassurance on the economy and a plug for his budget – and not get tripped up by issues he considers extraneous, or that might overshadow what he wants to say.
Reporters have the opposite incentive: They want to “make news” by getting the president to say something he hasn’t said before, or wasn’t prepared to say – which, by definition, is not his message.
Citing its regulatory role under the Clean Water Act, the EPA said the letters stated that the projects “would likely cause water quality problems in streams below the mines, would cause significant degradation to streams buried by mining activities, and that proposed steps to offset these impacts are inadequate.”
A midnight regulation by the Bush administration attempted to make permanent its policy of permitting coal companies to strip the tops off of Appalachian mountains and bury watersheds with the waste.
source: Think Progress
After about the third time she asked, I would have asked her where in the Constitution it says the desk he is sitting at should be wood. And then asked her to tell me where in the Constitution it says he has to wear clothes.
There are a whole host of things not specifically listed in the Constitution- a wide wide world of government activities- but that doesn’t mean that engaging in those activities is “unconstitutional.” Geithner’s actions do not derive their authority directly from something written into the Constitution several hundred years ago, but from the authority that Congress granted him when they passed the respective bills. In fact, the very reason we have things called “Constitutional Scholars” is because everything isn’t spelled out verbatim in the Constitution.
She added that their open submission show, which opens in May, is the best route to get work onto the gallery walls. 'We'll be keeping an eye out for work coming in this way from now on,' Ms Gale said of the guerilla tactic.
Another painting of An Taoiseach, this time naked on a toilet, was found at the National Gallery. It hung for 20 minutes before it was spotted, removed and handed over to gardaí.
One woman who saw the nude at the Royal Hibernian Gallery offered to buy it.
'It's reasonably well painted. It's not the worst thing I've ever seen,' conceded James O'Halloran of Adam's Fine Art Auctioneers & Valuers. But the Royal Hibernian cannot sell it because it does not own it.
However, if the painter gets in touch with the gallery, they may just have a buyer - and a lot of questions from the gardaí.
Yesterday's Tyra dealt with
racial racist stereotypes. A focus group made up of different ethnicities shared their—at times horrifying—views. One white college student, Christian, is an unconscionable asshole. Tyra put him in his place.
Ralph, a black man, is Christian's roommate at college. He wrote to Tyra to tell her about this guy's behavior, which includes his sweeping negative generalizations about black people (they're all drug-dealing, violent thieves on welfare), constant derogatory remarks and verbal harassment, which includes Christian calling Ralph the N-word.
Props to Tyra, though, because she came back at that guy in the weirdest, most inventive way, when she told him that when she closes her eyes, he "sounds black" to her, because of the tone of his voice. Naturally, he took this as an insult.
First, an English hotel is sued by two patrons who claim they were refused a stay in a double room because they're gay. The owners, Peter and Hazelmary Bull, say their Christian beliefs have them banning any unmarried couple, gay or straight. But what about Scotland's Castle of Mey, home to the deceased Queen Mother, and its tradition of hosting wedding ceremonies? Sorry gays, but Christ has blocked you again!
Because of his title as a Harvard economist, people tend to listen to Jeffrey Miron. And, if the old principle holds true and controversy always creates interest, expect a lot of people to be talking about Miron's latest volley into the mainstream media.
"Prohibition creates violence because it drives the drug market underground," he wrote in an essay published by CNN on Tuesday. "This means buyers and sellers cannot resolve their disputes with lawsuits, arbitration or advertising, so they resort to violence instead.
"Violence was common in the alcohol industry when it was banned during Prohibition, but not before or after."
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source (w/ video of Miron's appearance on CNN's American Morning)
So, for weeks and weeks and weeks, the White House has been inundated with a clarion call from the media: "Why have you not fixed the economy yet? You better explain it soon! Oh My God, look at the Dow Jones! It falls, because of you, and your lack of a solution." So, President Barack Obama went on the Tonight Show, and did an interview with 60 Minutes, and will do another news conference tonight. These appearances will help Obama advance an explanation of his bank bailout program, and offer reporters a chance to publicly question the president. One would think that this would be a good thing. But NO! God, no! Doesn't Obama realize that he's risking over-exposure, with all the explaining and answering questions and being a public figure? How dare he?
That's the recent message that's been advancing through the press. After Obama appeared on a rival network's late night show, CBS's Chris Wragge was given to wonderment: "The Obama blitz, the President's appearing everywhere, but is his media tour taking attention away from his message?" Because clearly, the last thing a "message" needs is a series of sessions that allows it to be clearly elucidated!
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UPDATE: Senator Specter ended speculation on where he would come down on the Employee Free Choice Act by declaring, on the Senate floor, that he would oppose the legislation until the economy improves.
"The problems of a recession make this a particularly bad time to enact Employee's choice legislation," he said. "Employers understandably complain that adding a burden would result in further job losses. If efforts are unsuccessful to give labor sufficient bargaining power through amendments to the [National Labor Relations Act] then I would be willing to reconsider Employees choice legislation when the economy returns to normalcy. I am announcing my decision now because I have consulted with a very large number of interested parties on both sides and I have made up my mind."
Addressing the politics of the situation, he declared: "This announcement should end the rumor mill that I have made some deal for my political advance. I have not traded my vote in the past and I would not do so now."
Labor officials are incredibly distraught and, in some cases incredulous, noting the Specter co-sponsored the bill in 2003 and voted for cloture just last year. But while it is a setback for the legislation's chances, Democrats are not conceding defeat. According to the Huffington Post's Ryan Grim, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid declared after Specter's speech that "He's not the only Republican who has indicated a willingness to consider something being done... He's not the only suspect."
Some big news emerged Tuesday in regards to the debate over the Employee Free Choice Act, with a prominent Republican strategist declaring that Sen. Arlen Specter will vote against cloture on and passage of the bill.
Americans for Tax Reform president Grover Norquist broke the news during a speech at the Capital Research Center Labor Summit, saying that Specter's chief of staff had let it be known that he would oppose the legislation, which would make it easier for unions to organize. Norquist's remarks were subsequently reported on the Twitter account of Larry Farnsworth -- the former Speechwriter and Deputy Press Secretary to Speaker Dennis Hastert -- and seconded by Dave Weigel of the Washington Independent.
If true, it represents a major blow for EFCA supporters. Specter was the one Senate Republican to vote for cloture when the bill came to the floor in 2007. And with 60 votes needed to avoid a filibuster, his defection presents a major parliamentary hurdle for the legislation's passage.
The Pennsylvania Republican is likely to face a major primary challenge from Club For Growth president Pat Toomey in the 2010 election, which may have factored into this apparent decision. Several unions, however, had let it be known that they would have put their political muscle behind the Senator had he voted to support EFCA.
According to an attendee at the CRC Labor Summit, Norquist "was giving a speech at lunch time" when he told the crowd: 'By the way I have breaking news. When I was eating lunch I got a call from Specter's Chief of Staff saying he was voting against cloture.' [The Chief of Staff] had apparently read a prepared statement to Grover over the phone and the Senator's office will apparently be releasing that statement later today."
A call and email to Americans for Tax Reform were not immediately returned.
UPDATE: From Americans for Tax Reform's twitter account:
Sen. Specter has confirmed to Americans for Tax Reform that he will vote against both cloture and passage on the Employee Free Choice ActLabor officials, meanwhile, are nervous about the development, though one cautioned that this could be another example of "Norquist overreaching."
Today, Fox Business Network anchor Dagen McDowell appeared on Fox News to make the case against the tax on AIG bonuses by comparing it to sexual abuse:
You don’t want to think if you get in bed with Uncle Sam he’s going to strip you naked, chain you to the bed, leave you there and then take nasty pictures of you and then put them on the Internet. Because that’s what’s been happening.
“Thank you, Dagen, well stated,” responded Bill Hemmer.source
Insurers offer to stop charging sick people more
By RICARDO ALONSO-ZALDIVAR, Associated Press Writer
Tue Mar 24, 5:56 pm ET
WASHINGTON – The health insurance industry offered Tuesday for the first time to curb its controversial practice of charging higher premiums to people with a history of medical problems.
The offer from America's Health Insurance Plans and the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association is a potentially significant shift in the debate over reforming the nation's health care system to rein in costs and cover an estimated 48 million uninsured people. It was contained in a letter to key senators.
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