March 25th, 2009


IDF: 600 Hamas men, 309 civilians died in Gaza offensive

IDF: 600 Hamas men, 309 civilians died in Gaza offensive

More than 600 of the Palestinians killed during Operation Cast Lead in Gaza have been identified as militants, while another 309 were innocent civilians, according to an updated list of Palestinian losses issued by the Israel Defense Forces.

The list, prepared by the IDF's Coordination and Liaison Authority for the Gaza Strip, is significantly different from the one the Palestinians use.

The Israeli document lists 1,370 fatalities, whereas different Palestinian lists range from 1,324 to 1,434. The IDF claims to have identified 1,249 of those on its list.

According to the IDF, more than 600 of the dead have been identified as members of a militant organization. This includes the police officers who were killed in an attack on their academy's graduation parade on December 27, the first day of the operation.
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tribe: brady
  • zuisa

Obama: Red River flooding is wakeup call to fight global warming

President Obama used the flooding in the Red River Valley to insist that society needs to take global warming seriously.

In a White House interview with a handful of reporters, including Janell Cole of the Forum of Fargo, the president said the current flooding cannot necessarily be blamed on global warming, but he said it should be a signal to act.

"If you look at the flooding that's going on right now in North Dakota and you say to yourself, 'If you see an increase of 2 degrees, what does that do, in terms of the situation there?' " the president told the reporters. "That indicates the degree to which we have to take this seriously."

Obama began by saying that "the science around climate change is real; it is potentially devastating."

To hear Obama's comments, visit

Cue a lot of commenters whining about how the river has always flooded, so global warming isn't causing it. Seems to me that they didn't actually read the article. It is scary though - this is somewhere as far from a coast as you can get, where they usually focus the effects of water rising - but it would also be just awful to low-lying river areas.

But basically I wanted an excuse to say that if I ever see another sandbag after this ordeal, it will be too soon. FLOODS SUCK.
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After yesterday's Presidential press conference, this shouldn't surprise anyone ...

Actual Expert Too Boring For TV

SECAUCUS, NJ—Dr. Gary Canton, a professor of applied nuclear physics and energy-development technologies at MIT and a leading expert in American nuclear-power applications, was rejected by MSNBC producers for being "too boring for TV" Monday.

"We could deal with Dr. Canton being so short," said Cal Salters, a segment producer at MSNBC. "And we could've made him up so he didn't look like he spends all day in front of a computer. We even considered cutting away to stock footage so our audience didn't have to look at him for too long. But when it turned out that listening to him is about as interesting as picking the lint off his lapels—well, there was nothing we could do about that."

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  • bispo

Conservocrats: Building Bridges on The Hill

By Evan Bayh, Tom Carper and Blanche Lincoln

Last week, the three of us announced the formation of a moderate Democratic working group in the U.S. Senate.

Even though the White House and Senate leadership praised the group's formation, some commentators reacted by reporting signs of a rift and a power struggle within the Democratic Party. Others accused the 16 members of our group of trying to obstruct the president's agenda.

We understand the Beltway impulse to emphasize conflict and the blogosphere's concern that Democrats stick together. But as the group's founders, we feel compelled to set the record straight.

We formed our working group because we recognize both the difficulty and the urgency of accomplishing a huge and ambitious agenda. We must act quickly and decisively to repair our financial markets and start to turn the economy around. In addition, we believe that President Obama is correct when he says that we cannot afford to wait any longer to fix health care and transition to a clean-energy economy.

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Former DEA head debates an entire panel on Marijuana Reform...lousily

Asa Hutchinson: "If your motivation is to bring revenue to the Government..legalise, regulate. But if your motivation is to reduce the usage, to save teenage lives, to reduce dependence, to strenghten our culture, then the cost is worth it and the revenue should not be a motivation."

It's statements like that which make me confident California has never been closer to full-legalisation.
MISC - moustache

Stick Your Damn Hand In It: 20th Birthday of the Exxon Valdez Lie

"Gail, Please! Stick your hand in it!"

The petite Eskimo-Chugach woman gave me that you-dumb-ass-white-boy look.


She stuck it in, under the gravel of the beach at Sleepy Bay, her village's fishing ground. Gail's hand came up dripping with black, sickening goo. It could make you vomit. Oil from the Exxon Valdez.

It was already two years after the spill and Exxon had crowed that Mother Nature had happily cleaned up their stinking oil mess for them. It was a lie. But the media wouldn't question the bald-faced bullshit. And who the hell was going to investigate Exxon's claim way out in some godforsaken Native village in the Prince William Sound?

So I convinced the Natives to fly the lazy-ass reporters out to Sleepy Bay on rented float planes to see the oil that Exxon said wasn't there.

The reporters looked, but didn't see it, because it was three inches under their feet, under the shingle rock of the icy beach. Gail pulled out her hand and now the whole place smelled like a gas station. The network crews wanted to puke. And now, with their eyes open, they saw the oil, the vile feces-colored smear across the glaciated ridge faces, the poisonous "bathtub ring" that ran for miles and miles at the high tide level.

And it's still there. Less for sure. But twenty years later. IT'S STILL THERE, GODDAMNIT. And I want YOU, dear reader, to stick your hand in it. I want YOU, President Obama, to stick your hand in it before you blithely fulfill your Palin-esque campaign promise for a little more offshore drilling.

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Top Constitutional Scholar Says Yes

Do the Secret Bush Memos Amount to Treason?

In early March, more shocking details emerged about George W. Bush legal counsel John Yoo's memos outlining the destruction of the republic.

The memos lay the legal groundwork for the president to send the military to wage war against U.S. citizens; take them from their homes to Navy brigs without trial and keep them forever; close down the First Amendment; and invade whatever country he chooses without regard to any treaty or objection by Congress.

It was as if Milton's Satan had a law degree and was establishing within the borders of the United States the architecture of hell.

I thought this was -- and is -- certainly one of the biggest stories of our lifetime, making the petty burglary of Watergate -- which scandalized the nation -- seem like playground antics. It is newsworthy too with the groundswell of support for prosecutions of Bush/Cheney crimes and recent actions such as Canadian attorneys mobilizing to arrest Bush if he visits their country.

The memos are a confession. The memos could not be clearer: This was the legal groundwork of an attempted coup. I expected massive front page headlines from the revelation that these memos exited. Almost nothing. I was shocked.

As a non-lawyer, was I completely off base in my reading of what this meant, I wondered? Was I hallucinating?

Astonished, I sought a reality check -- and a formal legal read -- from one of the nation's top constitutional scholars (and most steadfast patriots), Michael Ratner of the Center for Constitutional Rights, which has been at the forefront of defending the detainees and our own liberties.

Here is our conversation:

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EU Presidency: Obama Plans A Way To Hell

I deleted my last entry because its a repost.


Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek, whose country currently holds the EU presidency, told the European Parliament that President Barack Obama's massive stimulus package and banking bailout "will undermine the stability of the global financial market."

A day after his government collapsed because of a parliamentary vote of no-confidence, Topolanek took the EU presidency on a collision course with Washington over how to deal with the global economic recession.

Most European leaders favor tighter financial regulation, while the U.S. has been pushing for larger economic stimulus plans.

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International criticism of Obama, how refreshing!


Debbie Wasserman Schultz: Political Girl-Crush

Lawmaker and mother of three reveals breast cancer fight

She didn't cry on "Good Morning America." She didn't cry when she talked to the local press. But Monday, surrounded by a sisterhood of other breast cancer survivors, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz stood looking so vulnerable and human -- so unlike a typical member of Congress -- at a lectern in a small Capitol dining room, and broke down repeatedly.

How could she not? She was telling a roomful of reporters and other strangers about having her breasts and ovaries removed. It's a remarkable story that hardly anyone in Washington knew about until a few days ago.



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Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., a rising star in her party, was there to announce legislation for a national campaign to educate the public, particularly young women and their doctors, about the need for a much earlier approach to breast cancer detection. The accepted standard of mammograms at age 40, advocacy groups say, creates a false sense of security for younger women. Other cancer survivors, some in their 30s, came to the Hill to ring the alarm and to applaud Wasserman Schultz for going public.

Now 42, the mother of three said she discovered a lump in December 2007 while doing a self-examination, and has since undergone seven major surgeries. She kept the illness private while campaigning for reelection and stumping nationwide for presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, then Barack Obama. She didn't want the illness to "define" her, Wasserman Schultz said. Most of her staff didn't know about her condition, according to a spokesman.

Wasserman Schultz said that after learning she was at greater risk for the cancer to spread because of her Ashkenazi Jewish descent, she elected to have a double mastectomy, as well as the removal of her ovaries.

Her legislation, which seeks $9 million annually, is the EARLY (Education and Awareness Requires Learning Young) Act.

"The EARLY Act will encourage young women to be their own voice -- to speak up for themselves and know when they need to go to their doctor," Wasserman Schultz read from her statement. "The EARLY Act will teach both young women and medical professionals alike about risk factors, warning signs of breast cancer and predictive tools such as genetic testing that can help women make informed decisions about their health."

The legislation would direct the Department of Health and Human Services to begin educational campaigns in high schools and universities, focusing particularly on ethnic minorities such as young African American and Jewish women, who are at higher genetic risk.

After Wasserman Schultz's scripted remarks gave way to tears, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., hugged her fellow lawmaker at the lectern. Although she campaigned frequently last year with Wasserman Schultz, Klobuchar said, she had no idea the Floridian was "fighting for her life." "I can't even begin to say how proud I am of Debbie."

Klobuchar said she heard the news from Wasserman Schultz last Wednesday, when Wasserman Schultz asked her to be Senate co-sponsor of the legislation. Rahm Emanuel, President Obama's chief of staff, called the congresswoman Sunday after she released the news to two South Florida papers. And Clinton, now secretary of state, phoned at 1:45 p.m. Monday to offer support -- 15 minutes before the news conference began.

One of Wasserman Schultz's housemates in Washington, Rep. Melissa Bean, D-Ill., was among the few who were privy to the secret. Bean also wept openly as she spoke.

So for an hour or so, at least, it was OK to cry publicly on the Hill. Legislative staffers did it. There were misty eyes among the breast-health advocates from the Tigerlily Foundation, Susan G. Komen for the Cure and the Young Survival Coalition, among others, who marshaled forces to pass out literature and tell their stories.

Afterward, off to the side of the room, Wasserman Schultz gathered herself. She greeted advocates and a few reporters. Her eyes were dry; she had put her political armor back on, and there was an important message to convey: "I'm healthy," she said, "and I'm through it."




Holy crap. I already adored DWS. She's smart as hell, seems truly devoted to her consitituents, and best of all refuses to bullshit. I loved when she didn't tiptoe over the matter and called out Sarah Palin as being totally unqualified for Veep and Bobby Jindal's hypocricy at happily taking federal money for Katrina relief and then turning down badly needed stim finding. But this? I am in complete awe of her strength. I can't believe she kept something this huge and terrifying private for so long. This sort of thing is my ultimate nightmare, if it happened to me, I'd be sitting in a corner chewing my hair or something and she not only managed to campaign her ass off for her party, but is now working to help prevent other women from facing the same horrible experience? While working with Amy Klobuchar, my other political girl-crush? It's too much awesome, really it is...their awesomeness combined is going to create an awesome overload in Congress--which as a political branch is only used to blowhards and spineless idiots.

Wishing her lots of luck, coninued good health, and many, many more years of service.

...I'm so impressed by her, I'm even willing to postpone my rant about how disgusting it is that women in politics are so conditioned not to ever show weakness that she felt she had to apologize for crying.
  • preeho

oh, silly america, y u gotta ignore the future-teller

Democratic North Dakota Senator Byron Dorgan Saw Into The Future, It Was Dark, We Didn't Listen

This is from the NYTimes from November, 1999. The article is titled, "Congress Passes Wide-Ranging Bill Easing Bank Laws" about the repeal of Glass-Steagall a Depression-Era law to separate bankers and brokers:
"'I think we will look back in 10 years' time and say we should not have done this but we did because we forgot the lessons of the past, and that that which is true in the 1930's is true in 2010,'' said Senator Byron L. Dorgan, Democrat of North Dakota. "'I wasn't around during the 1930's or the debate over Glass-Steagall. But I was here in the early 1980's when it was decided to allow the expansion of savings and loans. We have now decided in the name of modernization to forget the lessons of the past, of safety and of soundness.'"

Read the whole article. Go ahead. We're in the fetal position hoping the pills kick in sooner rather than later.


This just kind of blew my mind this morning and I wanted to share because... well you know. Aye dios.
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Redheads do it best.

Jindal Defends Those Who Want Obama to Fail

WASHINGTON (CNN) - It's OK for Republicans to want President Obama to fail if they think he's jeopardizing the country, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal told members of his political party Tuesday night.

Jindal described the premise of the question -- "Do you want the president to fail?" -- as the "latest gotcha game" being perpetrated by Democrats against Republicans.

"Make no mistake: Anything other than an immediate and compliant, 'Why no sir, I don't want the president to fail,' is treated as some sort of act of treason, civil disobedience or political obstructionism," Jindal said at a political fundraiser attended by 1,200 people. "This is political correctness run amok."

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For those of you wishing Jindal was on TV...looks like we didn't miss much. Stay classy, Bobby Jindal!

Ed Henry was doing his job ya'll

Behind the scenes: Ed Henry’s take on exchange with Obama

The most amazing part of the exchange to me is that I didn’t go into the East Room intending to ask President Obama about AIG.

After frantic preparation for the prime-time newser with several colleagues, especially lead CNN White House producer Tim McCaughan, I had several provocative questions in my pocket. But none of them had much to do with the financial crisis because I assumed several of my colleagues would exhaust the topic of AIG before my turn came up.

At the first presser in February, I was about the 10th reporter the president called on. The economy had been chewed over so I went with a “sidebar” question about whether Obama, given his push for transparency, would overturn the policy at Dover Air Force Base preventing media coverage of coffins returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.

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Le Pen: Nazi gas chambers were "a detail of history"

The veteran French far-right leader, Jean-Marie Le Pen, has repeated his much-criticised claim that the Nazi gas chambers were "a detail of history".

"I merely said that the gas chambers were a detail of the history of the world war, which is an obvious fact," Mr Le Pen told the European Parliament.

His remark drew boos and whistles from MEPs. He was fined 1.2m francs ($290,000) for the same claim in 1987.

The Nazis murdered at least six million Jews in death camps in World War II.

Hundreds of thousands of others were also killed there, including Roma gypsies and disabled people.

Mr Le Pen, the 80-year-old National Front (FN) leader, repeated his claim as MEPs moved to prevent him from chairing the inaugural session of the new parliament, set for 14 July.

Earlier, the head of the Socialist group, German MEP Martin Schulz, said he was "concerned that a Holocaust denier could preside over the inaugural session" on 14 July.

The French news agency AFP says some of the leading groups in the parliament have now agreed to bar Mr Le Pen from chairing the session. As the oldest MEP - the "doyen" - he is in line to do so after June's European elections.

The rules say the doyen chairs the session until a new parliament president is elected. But the Socialists and Greens proposed a rule change to block Mr Le Pen.

He espouses staunchly nationalist policies and is running for re-election.

The Greens co-president, Daniel Cohn-Bendit, said "we would like to see the youngest deputy open the session, not because of Le Pen, but because it's a sign of the future".

Mr Le Pen described their manoeuvre as "idiotic". "It's just like them to do this. They'll probably also adopt a resolution to stop the Earth rotating," he said.

A rule change would require the agreement of all the political groups' leaders in the parliament.

But there was some dissent. Liberal ALDE leader Graham Watson - speaking before Mr Le Pen repeated his gas chambers statement - said: "There is no reason to treat Mr Le Pen differently from others, even if we hate his politics".


Police: U.S. teens were hit men for Mexican cartel

Police: U.S. teens were hit men for Mexican cartel

Rosalio Reta sits at a table inside a Laredo Police Department interrogation room. A detective, sitting across the table, asks him how it all started.

Reta, in Spanish street slang, describes his initiation as an assassin, at the age of 13, for the Mexican Gulf Cartel, one of the country's two major drug gangs.

"I thought I was Superman. I loved doing it, killing that first person,"
Reta says on the videotape obtained by CNN. "They tried to take the gun away, but it was like taking candy from kid."

Rosalio Reta and his friend, Gabriel Cardona, were members of a three-person cell of American teenagers working as cartel hit men in the United States, according to prosecutors. The third was arrested by Mexican authorities and stabbed to death in prison there three days later.

In interviews with CNN, Laredo police detectives and prosecutors told how Cardona and Reta were recruited by the cartel to be assassins after they began hitting the cantinas and clubs just across the border.
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3M Boss held hostage by workers in France

Striking French workers for US manufacturer 3M were holding their boss hostage today at a plant south of Paris as anger over layoffs and cutbacks mounted around the country.

A few dozen strikers took turns standing guard outside factory offices where the director of 3M's French operations, Luc Rousselet, has been holed up since yesterday. The workers did not threaten any violence and the atmosphere was calm at the factory on the outskirts of Pithiviers.

A few police officers stood outside the facility, while workers inside exchanged jokes and worries about their future amid heaps of empty plastic coffee cups and boxes of cookies.

Talks among 3M workers and management were suspended overnight, but were to resume later Wednesday mediated by a local labor official. Workers want better severance packages for those being laid off and better conditions for those keeping their jobs.

Meanwhile, workers from a French plant owned by German tire maker Continental AG marched through Paris and burned tires Wednesday near the president's Elysee palace to protest against their factory's planned closure.

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  • bispo

Geithner Answers His Critics: Putting Toxic Assets on Uncle Sam's Balance Sheet Would be Riskier

During his appearance today at the Council on Foreign Relations, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner was asked the question on many progressives' minds: Why does the Obama administration's bank rescue plan seem to rely on "socializ[ing] risk but keep[ing] profits private?"

But Geithner seemed to sidestep the question at least in part by offering a explanation for why he decided against setting up a "bad bank" -- not directly addressing the option of nationalizaton or receivership. The full exchange is posted after the jump.

Q: [T]he real question, I think, is whether there are mechanisms that would allow, if taxpayers are going to take the risk, for them to enjoy all, not some, of the profits rather than a system in which you're trying to revive the markets on the taxpayers' back.

GEITHNER: Understand your concern. But let me just be clear about this. To solve financial crises, governments have to be willing to take risk, because the definition of financial crises is the markets are not willing take risks that looks -- otherwise would be economic.

The central fact is that governments have to be prepared to take risks the markets can't take, for a temporary period of time, in order to get a firmer foundation for repair.

Of course, you want to do that in ways that doesn't have the government assuming all the losses in the system. And what makes these things hard to solve is because the world ultimately will want us to take more risk than we think is prudent for the taxpayer.

And the programs ... we're designing or pursuing are very cognizant of the risk you [described]. And again, just think about the alternatives that most people advocate in this kind of context.

The dominant alternatives people are proposing would have the government come in and purchase these assets on their own, hold them on the government's balance sheet, take all the risk in that choice.

And you know, this is a system that's much, much more complicated than what we went through in the '90s and what other major economies went through over the last couple decades.

And because of the basic complexity of these products, scale of these institutions, that, in our judgment, would pose much, much greater risk to the government that taxpayers are assuming greater share of losses than is necessary or prudent, and taking risks they cannot effectively manage.


(no subject)

Granholm not apologizing for Palin joke

Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm made the joke at a Washington dinner on Saturday.

Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm made the joke at a Washington dinner on Saturday.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm said she won't apologize to Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin for her crack at last weekend's Gridiron Dinner that the former Republican vice presidential candidate "really set back the cause of hot governors."

At the exclusive Washington dinner on Saturday, which was packed with top elected officials, Granholm also used the quip to needle Pennsylvania's governor. "You know where I'm coming from, Ed Rendell," she said.

A Michigan reporter asked Granholm if she planned to apologize to Palin, according to a Tuesday report in the Detroit News.

"No," Granholm said. "It was all in good fun."

Despite positive reviews for her comedy routine, Granholm said the she was a bit out of her element in the role.

"I'm not a stand-up. It was a bit of a stretch for me," she said.

Granholm played the role of Palin in Joe Biden's vice presidential debate prep sessions last year.

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"Blagojevich Fills In As Radio Host, Slams New Governor, Takes Calls, Interviews D.L. Hughley".

Former Gov. Rod Blagojevich is hosting a Chicago radio show and he didn't waste any time before blasting Gov. Pat Quinn's proposal to increase the income tax.

Blagojevich says it's the "worse thing" Illinois could do, and he says it would hurt small business. He took comment from callers who seemed to agree.

Quinn has said the state needs to raise the income tax to fix an $11.5 billion deficit.

Blagojevich is filling in for two hours on WLS radio in Chicago, from 7 to 9 a.m. He seemed to stumble over his title as "former governor" when he introduced himself at the start of the show but eventually started to sound more confident.

Blagojevich opened the show by playing Elvis' "A Little Less Conversation" then saying:

"Good morning, this is former governor Rod Blagojevich. How are you? This is a time for more conversation and a little less action.

"It seemed like it was just yesterday that I was the governor of the 5th largest state in America. And now I'm here filling in the seat of Don Wade -- you can say I've achieved higher office."

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I just posted this to publicly note how much the picture looks like he's wearing some kind of....special helmet.

(no subject)

Maryland, About Your State Song....


Maryland is considering removing Civil War expressions like "Northern scum" from their state song.
Maryland lawmakers are thinking maybe it's time to find a way to scrub "Northern scum" — and a few other sensitive pre-Civil War phrases — from the official state song. "Maryland, My Maryland," set to the traditional seasonal tune of "O, Tannenbaum," was written in 1861 and adopted as the state song in 1939. But now some lawmakers are pushing for a change to the warlike language in what was originally a poem that doubled as a call to arms. Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller wants a new commission to examine the song and consider changing some stanzas to reflect the state's diversity and remove offensive phrases. "I love history, but there comes a time when you have to adjust," Miller, a Democrat, told senators Tuesday. A Maryland House of Delegates committee voted down a bill to change the song because members were reluctant to tinker with history.
I believe Florida still has Stephen Foster's Swanee River as their state song. You know, that classic about where "de white folks stay" and the "darkeys" contentedly sing in the fields.



Israeli army rabbis criticized for stance on Gaza assault

Reporting from Jerusalem — The winter assault on the Gaza Strip was officially portrayed in Israel as an attempt to quell rocket fire by militants of Hamas. But some soldiers say they also were lectured about a more ambitious aim: to banish non-Jews from the biblical land of Israel.

"This rabbi comes to us and says the fight is between the children of light and the children of darkness," a reserve sergeant said, recalling a training camp encounter. "His message was clear: 'This is a war against an entire people, not against specific terrorists.' The whole thing was turned into something very religious and messianic."

As armies elsewhere use chaplains, the Israeli military inducts rabbis to serve religious soldiers. Their traditional tasks include ensuring that kitchens are kosher and religious services are available.

But soldiers now going public with allegations of misconduct in Gaza portray the military rabbinate as a corps of self-appointed holy warriors whose sermons and writings demonized Palestinians.

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  • bispo

Rice sides with Bush, rebuffs Cheney: ‘We owe’ Obama ‘our loyalty and our silence.’

Earlier this month, former Vice President Dick Cheney attacked President Obama, saying his policies “raise the risk” of another terror attack in the U.S. However, last week, former President Bush rebuked his former VP. “I love my country a lot more than I love politics…I’m not going to spend my time criticizing him,” he said. “He deserves my silence.” Last night during her appearance on the Tonight Show, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice sided with Bush:

RICE: My view is, we got to do our way. We did our best. We did some things well, some things not so well. Now they get their chance. And I agree with the president; we owe them our loyalty and our silence while they do it. […] These are quality people. I know them. They love the country and they won’t make the same decisions, perhaps, that we did. But I believe they’ll do what they think is best for the country.

Watch it:

President Obama hit back at Cheney on 60 Minutes last Sunday and The Hill reported this week that congressional Republicans are urging him “to go back to his undisclosed location and leave them alone to rebuild the Republican Party without his input.”

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Obama's "teleprompter gaffe"? A MYTH, you say?

The truth about Barack Obama's Irish teleprompter "gaffe"

Dozens of readers emailed me to ask why I hadn't include the teleprompter mix-up at last week's St Patrick Day event in my top 10 gaffes by Barack Obama and Joe Biden when the president supposedly thanked himself for hosting the event because the wrong speech was loaded onto the machine.

Well, it seemed a bit fishy to me and there was no video. And upon further investigation - Obamaphobes and dittoheads brace yourselves for a big disappointment - I can confirm that there was no gaffe by the president.

This is what happened.

Mr Obama hosted an evening reception for the visiting Irish premier Brian Cowen and other Emerald Isle and Irish-American dignitaries in the State Dining Room of the White House. First up, Vice President Joe Biden. Then, President Obama. So far, so unremarkable. Read a transcript of their comments here.

Then it got a bit murky and open to misinterpretation because Cowen's speech was not transcribed by the White House or Federal News Service and the event was covered by a "print only" pool - meaning there were no media cameras present.

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I believe, Ladies and Gentlemen, that this clarification would appear to complete the Anti-Obama Reactionary Dittohead False Rumours™ trifecta:
  1. Michelle Obama's "Whitey Tape"
  2. "The Fundamentals of the Economy Are Strong: Joe Biden Remix"
  3. "TOTUS" (Teleprompter of the United States).

All of a sudden, I'd like to treat Rush Limbaugh to lunch.
  • bispo

Obama and the Blair Succession

There was the pretence that all government spending is "investment" and there was some familiar-sounding talk of "bubble and bust" but most of all Barack Obama's press conference was designed to send the message that, look, "I'm a pretty straight kind of guy". As we know, that's what Tony Blair said once upon a time and as we also know the public, more or less, believed him. So no wonder something in Obama's demeanour seemed so oddly familiar to British viewers. There are differences - there always are when comparing British and American politics - but Obama has essentially spent recent days imploring the public to ignore the details and embrace the bigger picture. This too was an essential element of Blairism. Dont sweat the small stuff, feel the ambition. And, above all, trust us.

In fact the similarities between Blair and Obama don't end there. Each has perplexed, even confounded, his opponents who've had difficulty deciding just how to attack them. Is he an extremist or a moderate and a sell-out? Like Blair, Obama is opposed by some on the right who think tht he's a dangerous socialist intent upon destroying everything that is sweet and profitable about the American. Remember the "New Labour, New Danger" campaign and the "Demon Eyes" poster of Blair? Well there's a lot of stuff like that swilling around on the American right.

It didn't work in Britain and, in this instance, I'm as yet unpersuaded it will triumph in America either. Equally, while the left of the Labour party always distrusted Blair (a distrust he was able to leverage to good effect) so some on the Democratic left have their own suspicions about Obama (not least over health policy and tade) even if, in other areas, he's shown himself to be a pretty orthodox liberal.

Not that he cares for such labels - another trait he shares with Blair. In fact both men resist labels both because fitting into a given ideological pigeon-hole makes it easier for your emies to attack you but also because each doesn't think think of himself in traditional left-right terms. The right thing to do is the thing that works. It is a pragmatic, even managierlalist approach to government that dislikes ideological language even as it pursues goals that are often actually strikingly ideological.

But that's not how they see themselves. That is, while its true that Obama is a liberal (in the American sense and standard of the term) and an ambitious one to boot, he's also operating in a different era. Put it this way, you woudn't have had so many Goldman Sachs alumni in many senior positions during the Carter or Johnson administrations. Obama is no devotee of Milton Friedman but he is a University of Chicago Democrat which, in this instance, might put him on the right wing of the British labour party: the market is a good and necessary thing but there are limits to what it can be expected to achieve. There are limits to what government can do too, but government's role is to step in where the market fails and to create the conditions or set the rules by which our society operates, guaranteeing everyone a fair shake and a decent chance. Something like that anyway.

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Black People vs Obama

There once was a girl named Tawana who, having missed her curfew and fearing punishment from a violent step-dad, apparently rolled around in dirt and feces and alleged that she’d been beaten and raped. The Reverend All Sharpton, whom many then and now believe to be an opportunist, rushed to the girl’s defense, widening the schism between blacks sympathetic to the girl’s claims and whites who assumed, from the beginning, that the girl was lying. It was a perfect storm of seeming exploitation as the child seemed to exploit both her race and gender in an effort to avoid punishment and, finding herself in a national spotlight, either didn’t know how to un-ring that bell or possibly liked the attention.

Tawana exploited Reverend Al and Reverend Jesse Jackson, both of whom had built careers in occasionally extreme, fast-food gerrymandering of Dr. King’s civil rights campaign. The cynic saw Tawana exploiting exploiters who’d built careers exploiting political and social injustice. There is a sunnier and more heroic perspective on Reverends Jackson and Sharpton that posits them as political activists with purer motives. I suspect the truth lies somewhere in between, with the needle pointing slightly toward altruism. Without drinking the Kool-Aide, I suspect both Jackson and Sharpton are both men of integrity who passionately believe in the cause of social justice for all of us. I think they both got played in the Tawana thing, an occupational hazard for what they do. While tarnishing Reverend Jackson’s reputation somewhat, the Tawana Brawley case catapulted Reverend Al into the national spotlight, and his own amazing intellect and rhetorical powers did the rest, creating one of the most articulate and persuasive defenders of human dignity on the world stage today.

Public attention is an intoxicant. Once drunk with it, it is difficult to retire again from the spotlight. Since the dawn of time, I’d imagine, there have been men and women willing to exploit some advantage of gender or ethnicity to curry political favor or make a buck. Witness former Georgia Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, whose insufferable, ego-driven mania was defended and even cheered by her largely black constituency even as McKinney devolved, before our eyes, into chronic narcissism. Her public appearances made her seem unreasonable and, ultimately, irrational as McKinney became, increasingly, an Oprah off the farm whom the media treated with relative kid gloves because of her race, gender and the wellspring of support she enjoyed within the black community.

[Support] McKinney cashed in when her irrationality and self-absorption jumped the shark on March 29, 2006, when McKinney was stopped by a Capitol Police officer as she attempted to stroll around the long lines waiting for the magnetometer at the U.S. Capitol Building. McKinney had left her ID in her office, and the officer did not recognize her—a notion that seemed to astound McKinney, who was her own biggest fan. When the officer refused to allow her to pass, McKinney rolled her eyes and attempted to storm past him, at which point the officer grabbed her arm—an action McKinney later described as an assault. McKinney then, as she described, “defended” herself, slapping the officer, who then should have placed the Congresswoman under arrest. For what I can only assume are reasons of politics and race, the officer did not arrest McKinney, but the matter was referred to the District Attorney and Congressional ethics committee, with McKinney facing possible criminal charges if she did not apologize for assaulting the officer.

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It's a long article, but its an interesting read.
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Holbrooke Emerges as Power Center at State

A year ago, when Barack Obama clinched the Democratic presidential nomination, it looked as if Hillary Rodham Clinton wasn’t the only one whose ambitions were dashed. Richard Holbrooke, the longtime diplomat who was likely to be secretary of state if Al Gore or Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) had won the presidency, had few ties to the Obama campaign and had thrown his lot in with Clinton. Younger progressive foreign policy experts who bridled at Holbrooke’s support for the Iraq war were generally pleased.

Today, with Clinton as President Obama’s secretary of state, Holbrooke has emerged as one of the most powerful forces in the administration’s foreign policy team. He will have a hand in crafting policy on many of the administration’s immediate geopolitical priorities, from Afghanistan-Pakistan to Iran. As the special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, and co-chairman of the team planning the administration’s soon-to-be-announced shift in strategy for the Afghanistan war, Holbrooke is present at the creation of what may become the administration’s defining foreign policy venture. Back at the State Department in Washington, a rearrangement of the South and Central Asia bureau has occurred to accommodate his new portfolio. “Holbrooke has taken over the Afghanistan-Pakistan part of the bureau,” said Amb. Ronald Neumann, the U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan from 2005 to 2007, in line with the far-reaching mandate given to him by Obama and Clinton when his envoyship was announced in January.
It’s not just Afghanistan and Pakistan. Earlier this month, Clinton publicly invited Iran to an international conference on stability in Afghanistan, a move first hinted at in February, when The Wall Street Journal reported that Holbrooke would test Iranian willingness to help Afghanistan confront its opium problem. If the Iranians attend the United Nations-sponsored conference, scheduled for March 31 at The Hague, which Holbrooke will attend, it would place Holbrooke at the center of the administration’s much-anticipated outreach to a country that hasn’t had formal diplomatic relations with the United States in 30 years.
Additionally, on Wednesday, Christopher Hill, a Holbrooke ally from their days in the 1990s working on the Balkans crisis, went before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for his nomination hearing to become ambassador to Iraq. Rumors have circulated around Washington that Hill, who has no experience in the Middle East, got the nomination in part because of Holbrooke’s esteem, although some administration officials have downplayed that explanation. Still, while he hasn’t gotten as large a workload as he might like — the Indians successfully lobbied to get the administration to leave India relations out of what became Holbrooke’s portfolio — Holbrooke has established an arc of influence over much of the Obama administration’s most pressing foreign-policy ventures.
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source: Attackerman

Jake G -  Moving beauty

"Is Anybody Listening?" Teen Video Gains National Attention And A Presidential Visit

Let's talk about the power of community in helping forward our impossible dreams.

This is a story about a group of teens that feared their futures were already being foreclosed. What they did about it put them on the national news and resulted in a personal visit from President Obama on his recent trip to southern California.

This story cuts to the chase of what millions of American families are going through today.
It illustrates the ability of human beings to come together in difficult times, dig deep within themselves to find what's real, and lend a hand to someone, even if their own is nearly empty.

This story will both break your heart and make it sing. And it asks a very elementary question: "Is anybody listening?" Some background:

Michael Steinman teaches Advanced Placement Language Arts at Village Academy High School in Pomona, CA. During a class discussion of The Great Gatsby, the conversation turned towards the American dream and how it's changing.

Steinman wondered how his students' lives were going, so he asked them to write anonymous essays about the impact of the current economic crisis on their families. Their responses "were riveting", he said.

They poured out stories of parents losing jobs, homes being foreclosed, the possibility of becoming homeless and having little to eat. They expressed concern about their futures and voiced fear that they wouldn't be able to go to college because their parents needed them at home to work and help provide income for the family.

After reading their stories, Steinman encouraged his students to make a video expressing their concerns. He promised if they did, he'd help them get it to the president. Their video is called, Is Anybody Listening?

They uploaded the video to You Tube and incubated their dream. Five months later, President Obama sent a message that said yes, he heard them, he was listening, America was listening, and his administration would not rest until their parents' jobs and their homes were secure.

This is an important story, one we need pay attention to, because it pulls back the curtain on our current economic crisis and allows us not only to see, but to feel, the impact of the crisis on our young people. We adults imagine teenagers today to be oblivious of what's going on around them. We think they're like generations of teens who came before, self-centered, focused on how they look, who's hot, who's not. Well, not so with this group of teenagers. The playing field has been leveled. They're all down. And they know it. But they're not down to stay. And they know that too.

Correspondent John Larson, with PBS affiliate station KCET, in Pomona, CA. reports this story, broadcast on the Nightly Newshour with Jim Lehrer on March 19, 2009. Below is a video of the broadcast.


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California considers ban on big screen TVs

March 23rd, 2009, 3:00 am
In their continuing quest to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, state regulators have uncovered a new villain in the war on global warming: your big screen TV

Couch potatoes, beware.

The California Energy Commission is considering a proposal that would ban California retailers from selling all but the most energy-efficient televisions. Critics say the news standards could take 25 percent of televisions off the market — most of them 40 inches or larger.
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Want to weigh in? Email the Energy Commission with your comments at

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Steny Hoyer Goes Big and Straight at GOP

Steny Hoyer (D-MD), the number two Democrat in the House has put out a fairly suggestive flyer hammering Republicans in both bodies for their sudden and hypocritical aversion to passing controversial legislation via budget reconciliation. It reads in part:

The budget reconciliation process has been used most years since it was first used in 1980, including in recent years when Republicans controlled Congress and considered the following legislation:
  • 2005 - Legislation That Reduced Spending on Medicaid and Raised Premiums on Upper-Income Medicare Beneficiaries

  • 2003 - President Bush's 2003 Tax Cuts

  • 2001 - President Bush's Signature $1.35 Trillion Tax Cut

  • 2000 - $292 Billion "Marriage Penalty" Tax Cut (VETOED)

  • 1997 - Balanced Budget Act

  • 1996 - Legislation to Enact Welfare Reform

  • 1995 - "Contract With America" Agenda

And then it names names. Specifically, it calls out such influential Republicans as John Boehner, Judd Gregg, and Charles Grassley, who as recently as three years ago were singing the praises of the reconciliation process as a way to circumvent Democratic filibuster efforts. But now, in an unsurprising twist, they strongly oppose it. Just last week, in a somewhat melodramatic episode, Gregg compared the maneuver to "running over the minority, putting them in cement and throwing them in the Chicago River."

This all occurs against the backdrop of a brewing controversy over the possibility that Democrats will try to pass several aspects of Obama's agenda via reconciliation. And whether they genuinely intend to go that route, or are trying to pressure Republicans into crossing the aisle on issues like climate change and health reform, Hoyer's move is more fuel for the fire.

The whole flyer can be seen here.

&#39; raw like sushi

The horror, the horror.

Mika Brzezinski, "Morning Joe" Respond To "View" Vibrator Challenge

As you probably know, the panels from The View and Morning Joe have been sparring back and forth on the subject of vibrators, the necessity thereof, Mika Brzezinski's embarrassment, Joe Scarborough's pioneering battles over the rights of self-pleasure, and ... let's just say "economic stimulus." This is America's Next Top Sex Toy Battle, for which we at the Huffington Post have been proud to play the fluffer. In the latest part of this eloquent and elevated morning conversation -- which aired this morning on your Morning Joe -- Willie Geist praises The View, Scarborough deems Barbara Walters "legendary," and Brzezinski slowly rolls up a sheaf of paper into a suggestive shape. Other than that, I am presenting this video without comment.

Okay. One comment: at some point Mike Barnicle starts making vibrator noises, and that's maybe an image you'll have a hard time banishing from your mind's eye. Perhaps we have escalated this too far? Anyway, be warned. Be very warned.

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Arabic Facebook launches

Facebook recently launched an Arabic version of its popular social networking site in a bid to expand its presence among the 250 million Arabic-speaking people of the world. Facebook enlisted the help of 850 Arabic speakers in the site’s design, asking them to discuss and vote on the best translations.

Facebook is already wildly successful across the Middle East, even without a design in most Arabs' native language. According to Alexa, it is the most popular site in Lebanon, with 300,000 users, and the third most popular site in Egypt, with 900,000 users. It has long been possible to write in Arabic script on Facebook, but users have needed to be proficient in another language to navigate the site’s links and sidebars.

In the Middle East, where political expression is largely dominated by the state, the expansion of Facebook to Arabic-only speakers is a potentially big deal. Last year, Facebook’s largely censorship-free environment helped Egyptian activists organize anti-regime protests. This has caused some Arab regimes to crack down on the social networking site. Egyptian authorities arrested and roughed up the creator of a Facebook group that promoted last year’s protest, while Syria has previously blocked all access to the site.

Early reviews of Facebook’s Arabic version have been mixed, with some users complaining that the translations are unwieldy or inaccurate. Without previously existing Arabic words for Facebook terms such as a “wall” or ‘E-mail Friend Finder,” this was perhaps inevitable. But the criticism from bilingual users familiar with the English-language Facebook misses the point. This experiment will sink or swim based on the site’s ability to tap into the market of Arabic-only speakers, and to act as a  conduit for expression and organization beyond the reach of the state.

bristol; hrmph.

NYC to Recognize Lesbian Parents

(New York City) Legally married lesbian couples will now have both names on the birth certificates of their children.

The city Board of Health voted Tuesday to make the change.

Last May Gov. Paterson issued an executive order recognizing the marriages of New York gay and lesbian couples who had gone outside the state to wed. The order directed state agencies to revise their policies.

The issuing of birth certificates is up to individual counties. It is believed the decision in New York City is the first of its kind in the state.

The Board of Health decision, however, does not affect male couples where one partner has adopted a child or where one partner already is a parent. In those cases, the other partner must go through the adoptive process.

Same-sex marriage is illegal in New York State.

In 2006, the New York Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court, ruled that same-sex couples do not have a constitutional right to marry. It said that the issue, however, could be taken up by the legislature.

Legislation that would allow same-sex couples to marry in New York State passed the Assembly in 2007 but the then-GOP controlled Senate refused to take up the bill.

The measure is expected to be reintroduced in the Assembly this year.

Gov. David Paterson (D) has said if a marriage equality bill came to his desk he would sign it.

The bill, however, is unlikely to be advanced in the Senate. State Senate Majority Leader Malcolm A. Smith (D) has said he does not have the votes.


I mean, definitely yay! But idg why men have to go through a different process. Can anyone enlighten me?

Americans say too early to judge Obama performance

Americans are furious at Wall Street bonuses and wearied by job losses, but many seem ready to give President Barack Obama more time to deal with the nation's economic crisis.

After his second prime-time news conference to defend the decisions he's made since taking office two months ago, Obama appears to enjoy the confidence -- or at least the patience -- of ordinary Americans anxious about the economy.

"I think he's done a pretty good job so far, and I didn't vote for him," said Jack Sizer, a Connecticut physician and management consultant, as he read the morning paper in a Cincinnati coffee shop.


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biggie aretha
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New York Times Deal Book: Dr. Doom Finds Promise in Obama’s Toxic-Asset Plan

From the New York Times Deal Book:

Dr. Doom Finds Promise in Obama’s Toxic-Asset Plan

March 24, 2009, 6:23 pm

“Nouriel Roubini, a/k/a “Dr. Doom,” is giving the Obama administration’s new plan to buy toxic assets the thumbs up”

That may be surprising given how critical Mr. Roubini, the bearish economics professor at New York University, has been in the past regarding various government plans to fix the economy. But Mr. Roubini seems to have seen something he liked for a change.

“My take is generally positive, with a couple of caveats,” Mr. Roubini told DealBook about the new plan. He said he liked that the government was finally stepping up to clear the toxic assets off the bank’s balance sheet and that private capital would come in to make a market for it.

“Having five people bid on a toxic asset, rather than a clueless government, will ensure that the government doesn’t overpay,” Mr. Roubini said in a telephone interview. “People say, ‘the government is putting in 95 cents on the dollar, so why not put 100,’ to do it all by itself. It’s because private-sector participants have the incentive to get the best price.”

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&#39; jules

When I crack that whip, everybody gonna trip, just like a circus

Cantor skips Obama’s press conference to attend a Britney Spears concert.

In recent weeks, congressional Republicans have been critical of President Obama for doing anything that isn’t directly focusing on the economic crisis — such as going on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno or filling out his NCAA bracket. House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA) even called Obama’s decision to overturn the ban on embryonic stem cell research a “distraction.”

However, Wonkette reports that instead of watching Obama’s prime-time press conference last night, Cantor decided to pursue his own distraction — the Britney Spears concert. A statement from Cantor’s office:
After attending the NRCC dinner, Eric, like President Obama has been known to do, enjoyed a night at the Verizon center. It was a bipartisan night, as Eric was joined by Senator Landrieu and other Democrats.
Cantor’s office quickly backtracked, saying that it could not “verify with 100 percent certainty” that Landrieu was there. ThinkProgress spoke with a staffer in Landrieu’s office, who said that the senator was indeed not at the concert.

Landrieu's office told Huffington Post's Ryan Grim that "numerous witnesses can place the Senator at Matchbox during that time."


Eric Cantor is one of my BLOOD-SWORN ENEMIES, but honestly, this is kinda awesome. If I wasn't about to go to work I would make some "Circus" macros in his honor.
Shirley Animated

Colorado legislature passes Birth Control Protection Act

the Colorado state legislature passed a birth control protection bill this week in a primarily party-line vote. The bill, entitled the Birth Control Protection Act, legally defines 'contraceptive' and 'contraception' as "a medically acceptable drug, device, or procedure used to prevent pregnancy," but does not apply to mifepristone. Governor Bill Ritter is expected to sign the bill.

According to the Colorado Independent, the bill was crafted to prevent future legal challenges similar to the Amendment 48 campaign in the last election cycle.

Amendment 48 was a personhood initiative that declared a fertilized egg to be a person who enjoys all constitutional rights "relating to inalienable rights, equality of justice, and due process of law". Personhood initiatives not only put a woman's right to an abortion in danger but also threaten oral and emergency contraception, IUDs, and in vitro fertilization clinics.


Huzzah! This is the bill I lobbied for last month, and I attended the committee hearing where it was introduced. I am extremely pleased! No more Amendment 48 fuckery in my state!

The curse on the DADA position has been lifted... hopefully.

Locke Confirmed as Commerce Secretary


The third try is, evidently, the charm for President Obama’s appointments to lead the Commerce Department. The Senate has just voted to confirm former Gov. Gary Locke of Washington to the post.

Mr. Obama’s first two nominees withdrew: Gov. Bill Richardson because of a pay-for-play investigation in his home state of New Mexico, and Senator Judd Gregg, a New Hampshire Republican, over philosophical differences and a dispute about control of the Census Bureau.

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Image found here (scroll down) for an ad he did for the Seattle Art Museum.
Skins - Let&#39;s ignore the lesbian thing


Image and video hosting by TinyPic

(CNN) -- Social and economic gaps between whites and blacks persist in the United States despite an atmosphere that led to the election of President Obama, an Urban League report said.

Blacks remain twice as likely to be unemployed, three times more likely to live in poverty and more than six times as likely to be imprisoned compared with whites, according to the group's annual State of Black America report issued Wednesday.

The report urges Obama to tackle the critical challenges of the times, including unemployment, home foreclosures, education and an overhaul of health care.

"As the Obama administration ushers in a new era of hope, change, and to some extent, unity for this nation, many are asking whether racial barriers have now been erased in America," the report said. "Are discrimination, division and inequality antiquated relics of the past? For a quick answer to that question, one has but to review some of the sobering statistics."

The Urban League's equality index shows the status of blacks at 71 percent that of whites. It said that economics "remains the area with the greatest degree of inequality," with social justice, health and education following.

"The analysis shows that while important gains were made, both for blacks and whites, in each of these areas during the 1990s expansion, there was actually a loss of ground in median household income, poverty and home ownership during the 2001-2007 expansion, known as the jobless recovery," the report's executive summary said.

The report contains essays touching on a variety of themes and issues.

One, from Gwendolyn Grant of the Urban League of Greater Kansas City, warns that the "historic" election of Obama, the nation's first black president, "may cause us to fall prey to a false sense of accomplishment and self-satisfaction, and that apathy and complacency may set in." [We aren't THAT dumb, lady.]

"We must use this moment to reinvigorate the movement and re-engage the nation in a struggle to finish the job of equality, liberty and justice for all. So as we move past this historic moment, let us not repeat the history of our greatest popular movements and allow injustice to prevail, simply because a black family lives in the White House."

Grant proposes that a movement to foster equality for blacks in all realms of American life should be "fashioned" after ideas promulgated by the Obama campaign. Those ideas include blending personal responsibility and "principled ideas" with pragmatism, and building grass-roots movements crossing racial, ethnic, generational, gender and regional lines.

"We must use this moment to reinvigorate the movement and re-engage the nation in a struggle to finish the job of equality, liberty and justice for all ," she said.

The report lists policy recommendations in the areas of home ownership, jobs, health and education. Here is a sampling:

* Increasing funding for underskilled workers' job training programs.

* Steering workforce investment dollars to construction industry jobs.

* Funding infrastructure development for public building construction and renovations of schools, community centers, libraries, recreation centers and parks.

* Creating a temporary public service employee program.

* Passing a home buyers' bill of rights that would protect and educate consumers and provide home-buying help.

* Restoring a small business loan program and continuing tax credit funding.

* Implementing "a comprehensive and universal health insurance system for all Americans."

* Developing "a comprehensive health infrastructure for the delivery of health education, prevention and intervention initiatives" for blacks.

* Studying health care in the criminal justice system as it relates to black inmates.

* Examining economic, sociological and environmental contributors to "chronic health conditions."

* Funding No Child Left Behind Act in full.

* Guaranteeing access to high-quality early education for 3- and 4-year-olds.

Black sauce

I love how CNN acts as though this is surprising.

It's Guy Love!

HBO working on movie about Bill Clinton starring Dennis Quaid, Julianne Moore

Dennis Quaid is lined up to play former U.S. president Bill Clinton with Julianne Moore as Hillary Clinton for a movie, "The Special Relationship," that HBO is working on. The special relationship is between Clinton and former British prime minister Tony Blair.
Michael Sheen is set to play Blair. It would be the third movie for which Sheen has portrayed the British politician, along with "The Queen" and "The Deal." Sheen was also in "Frost/Nixon," written by Peter Morgan. Morgan will also write "The Special Relationship."

Spokeswoman Tobe Becker says HBO hasn't fully given the green light to the film, but is also working out a co-production deal with the BBC.


IMdB Page

lol best. watermark. ever. Am I right? Yeah, I'm right.

Vermont Governor Jim Douglas said today he will veto a same-sex marriage bill if it comes to his des

"He made the public announcement this afternoon. The Vt. Senate gave its final stamp of approval Tuesday to a bill that would allow same-sex couples to marry in Vermont. Passage came on a voice vote with no debate, one day after the Senate gave the bill preliminary approval on a 26-4 roll call vote. Now the issue moves to the House, where the Judiciary Committee has scheduled a week's worth of testimony on the issue. It is expected to pass. Governor Douglas has said that he opposes the bill, and this afternoon he announced he plans to veto it. He said he made the announcement to stop speculation and to focus attention on economy."


Douglas has said he's opposed to same-sex marriage legislation but had until today refused to say what he'd do if they bill reached his desk. Lawmakers had expressed confidence that Douglas would let the bill become law without his signature or veto.

According to Vermont's Legislative website, "If he vetoes the bill it is returned together with the veto message to the Clerk of the House or Secretary of the Senate. Then that house must consider it and if it is passed by a two-thirds vote of each house, then it goes to the Secretary of States office and becomes a permanent part of the statutes. If either house fails to get a two-thirds vote the bill is dead."


Grrr and JUST as it's about to pass he pulls this shit, claiming the 'economy' should be the priority. I DO NOT like this man.
Mr. T the Patriot

Labor Agency Is Failing Workers, Report Says

Published: March 24, 2009

The federal agency charged with enforcing minimum wage, overtime and many other labor laws is failing in that role, leaving millions of workers vulnerable, Congressional auditors have found.

In a report scheduled to be released Wednesday, the Government Accountability Office found that the agency, the Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division, had mishandled 9 of the 10 cases brought by a team of undercover agents posing as aggrieved workers.

In one case, the division failed to investigate a complaint that under-age children in Modesto, Calif., were working during school hours at a meatpacking plant with dangerous machinery, the G.A.O., the nonpartisan auditing arm of Congress, found.
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Steele Open To Running For President, Claims Limbaugh Blow-Up Was Planned


Emerging from his self-imposed cone of silence, RNC Chairman Michael Steele gave an interview Wednesday in which he said he would consider a run for president and claimed to have strategically planned his recent confrontation with radio talk host Rush Limbaugh.

Speaking to CNN's Don Lemon, Steele said he "would think about" running for the White House but only if "that is where God wants me to be at that time."

"I would have to have a very long conversation with the wife and kids," he said, "because this business is not a fun thing. Our politics today does not incite or inspire someone to make that sacrifice, because the way our politics is played out today, in all honesty, is very ugly."

That statement, while curious considering Steele's early, rocky tenure at the RNC, was not the only newsworthy proclamation made. Later, he was asked to look back at his tiff with Limbaugh, in which he claimed that the bombastic radio personality was "incendiary" and "ugly" only to backtrack on his words.

It looked embarrassing for the Maryland Republican at the time. But Steele contended that it was all a part of a grand "strategic" plan.

"I'm very introspective about things. I'm a cause-and-effect kind of guy. So if I do something, there's a reason for it... It may look like a mistake, a gaffe. There is a rationale, there is a logic behind it," he said. "I want to see what the landscape looks like. I want to see who yells the loudest. I want to know who says they're with me but really isn't."

"It helps me understand my position on the chess board. It helps me understand, where, you know, the enemy camp is and where those who are inside the tent are," Steele added. "It's all strategic." 

I'm not the only one who thinks Steele would be laughed off of the stage if he runs for President, am I?

Legislators want to accept stimulus funds; Palin may or may not take money...

Legislators want to accept stimulus funds
STIMULUS: Leaders say they want most of the federal dollars.

Top Alaska legislators said Tuesday they're likely to accept at least most of the federal economic stimulus money that Gov. Sarah Palin did not.

"I think at the end of the day we will end up taking most of the funds," said Anchorage Republican Rep. Mike Hawker, who is leading the House effort on the stimulus as co-chairman of the finance committee.

Senate Majority Leader Johnny Ellis agreed. "I would be surprised if we give up much or any of the federal money," the Anchorage Democrat said.

Palin announced last week she was not accepting $288 million of the $930.7 million that the state is due in the federal stimulus. Palin aides have said in the days since that the governor did not reject any money, leading some state legislators to charge the governor with backpedaling as a result of furor over the announcement.

The biggest chunk of money at issue is about $170 million for education. School district officials are mad, and Anchorage Democratic Rep. Harry Crawford said he doesn't expect legislators to withhold the money.

"I don't see anybody getting in front of that train,"
he said.
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2 small eruptions occur at Alaska volcano; "Volcano Monitoring" still wasteful pork...

2 small eruptions occur at Alaska volcano

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – Alaska's Mount Redoubt erupted at least twice Wednesday as officials from a pipeline company assessed conditions at a nearby oil storage facility to determine whether to remove its contents.

The Cook Inlet Pipeline Co., which is partly owned by Chevron Corp., was planning to look at whether a pumping system could be used to offload 6.2 million gallons of oil stored in two tanks, if Chevron decided to remove it.

Pipeline contractor Lana Johnson said Chevron has made no decision and that an airplane runway next to the facility was covered with debris and was unusable until cleared.

"Right now, nothing can happen, because you can't bring any equipment in, because the runway is closed," Johnson said.

The small eruptions Wednesday were picked up by seismic monitors, which showed that a 10-minute blast occurred after 5 a.m. at the volcano about 100 miles southwest of Anchorage. That eruption emitted an ash plume about 15,000 feet high that drifted to sparsely populated areas to the north and northwest, the same direction as earlier explosions since Mount Redoubt began erupting Sunday night.

A second eruption about five hours later did not emit an ash cloud detected by radar, which meant ash did not rise above 12,000 feet.

Geologists said volcano-caused mud flows and flooding would remain a hazard in the Drift River valley, where the Cook Inlet oil facility is located. Johnson said a Tuesday assessment found no damage to the oil tanks or a cement dike around the farms but that the terminal building was flooded. The facility had evacuated all 11 people from the site Monday.

The terminal, which was built in the 1960s by Unocal, stores oil produced from Chevron-owned oil platforms in Cook Inlet. Chevron is redirecting oil that would have been bound for Drift River to two other facilities.

The company is working on a contingency plan for when those storage facilities reach capacity, expected to be in 10 days, spokeswoman Roxanne Sinz said.

(no subject)

Why Is Everyone So Worried About Being Tracy Flick?

Madeleine Kunin, the first female governor of Vermont, blogs about her surprise at the way young women today are internalizing stereotypes about women in power and politics.

She was guest-lecturing for a women's studies class, in which there were 16 women and 2 men. When she asked if they thought they'd get involved in politics, she was in for a surprise.

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I don't exactly get how the girl was stereotyping her own behavior though.  She was simply pointing out how she thought OTHERS would react.  And she's right.

(no subject)

Gay student stripped of VU student senate seat

VALPARAISO -- Tia Kolasa was voted by her college peers in February to serve on the student senate at Valparaiso University.

Kolasa, an openly gay student, sought the vacant minority-designated seat so she could represent the gay community on campus.

But a few weeks into her new role in late February, Kolasa, was removed from the senate.


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ad | tobias

Hillary approval rating: 71%

Source: Poll: Clinton has high job approval

(CNN) -- As Hillary Clinton flies to Mexico for a high-level summit, a new national poll indicates seven in 10 Americans are happy with the job she's doing as secretary of state.

Seventy-one percent of people questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey released Wednesday said they approve of how Clinton is handling her job as America's top diplomat. Fewer than one in four disapprove.

"Nine in 10 Democrats approve of Clinton -- that's no surprise," said Keating Holland, CNN's polling director. "But by a 50 percent to 43 percent margin, Republicans also think she is doing a good job at the State Department. That's an interesting result for a polarizing figure like Clinton."Collapse )