November 16th, 2009


MSNBC not shy about criticizing Obama

MSNBC Presses Obama on Campaign Promises

If President Obama happened to glance at “The Rachel Maddow Show” last Monday, he might have winced.

Ms. Maddow pretended to celebrate the passage of a health care overhaul bill in the House, calling it “potentially a huge generational win for the Democratic Party” — but then halted the triumphant music and called it an “electoral defeat.”
The Stupak amendment, she said, was “the biggest restriction on abortion rights in a generation.” Then she wondered aloud about the consequences for Democrats “if they don’t get women or anybody who’s pro-choice to ever vote for them again.” She returned to the subject the next four evenings in a row.

This is how it looks to have a television network pressuring President Obama from the left.

While much attention has been paid to the feud between the Fox News Channel and the White House, the Obama administration is now facing criticism of a different sort from Ms. Maddow, Keith Olbermann and other progressive hosts on MSNBC, who are using their nightly news-and-views-casts to measure what she calls “the distance between Obama’s rhetoric and his actions.”

While they may agree with much of what Mr. Obama says, they have pressed him to keep his campaign promises about health care, civil liberties and other issues.

“I don’t think our audience is looking for unequivocal ‘rah-rah,’ ” said Ms. Maddow, who calls herself a liberal but not a Democrat.

The spectacle of Democrats sniping at one another is not new, but having a TV home for it is. MSNBC — sometimes critically called the “home team” for supporters of Mr. Obama — has even hit upon the theme with a promotional tagline, “pushing back on the president,” in commercials for “Hardball,” Chris Matthews’s political hour.

“Our job is not to echo the president’s talking points,” said Phil Griffin, the president of MSNBC. “Our job is to hold whoever’s in power’s feet to the fire.”

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There's nothing here that we don't already know - like, you know, the fact that Fox can suck MSNBC's balls any old time. It's mostly preaching to the choir to be honest - the librul media defending one of its own. But I know that MSNBC and especially Rachel and Keith love is always welcome here :)
  • luno

Bachmann calls Christians to violence.

What did you do this weekend? Mow the lawn for the last time? Maybe do some laundry? Michelle's been quite a bit busier than you, buddy.

I first heard about this at Greg Laden's blog, then hopped over to The Minnesota Independent to get the meat of the story:

A controversial ministry that says it preaches Christian doctrine in public schools held a fundraiser in Bloomington Thursday night, drawing a crowd of about 400. At its “Appeal to Heaven” fundraiser, You Can Run But You Cannot Hide International offered attendees a preview of its new documentary, a greeting by Rep. Michele Bachmann and a fiery sermon by founder Bradlee Dean, who called liberals “criminals” and urged attendees to fight a “war” for the faith against liberals.

The almost exclusively white crowd had assembled at the Sheraton ballroom in Bloomington to raise funds for the ministry and its outreach to public high schools across the Midwest, a practice that some civil liberties groups say violates the Constitution’s principle of separation of church and state.

[The language they're using is the language of hatred and violence. How long before atheists end up beaten and left on the roadside for dead? Bachmann and her ilk thrive on stoking fear and loathing in the shallow minds of the knuckle-draggers. How long before a few get together and decide to go on a killin' spree for gawd?]

Professor, schoolgirl share victim status in grope case

Last April, the Supreme Court reversed a Tokyo High Court decision that found Masahiro Nakura, a professor of medicine at the Self-Defense Forces University, guilty of being a chikan (groper) after he was charged with sexually assaulting a 17-year-old high school girl on the Odakyu train line in 2006. A majority of the judges said they thought the girl's statement was "unreliable."

The media hailed the verdict as a victory for justice and common sense. Veteran journalist Soichiro Tahara brought Nakura on to TV Asahi's "Sunday Project" and extended his sympathies. The system was so infernal, Tahara said, that "even a distinguished professor" had to endure three trials (the original plus two appeals) and the presumed browbeating of police and prosecutors. Tahara's words brought tears to Nakura's eyes — and to the eyes of the show's female announcer as well.

However, not everyone was happy. A recent issue of Kinyobi ran several essays by women writers who think the judges were prejudiced. Nobuko Kamenaga starts off hers by saying that the "iron rule" of a criminal trial is that the benefit of the doubt should favor the suspect, but such a premise assumes that the suspect is the person on trial. Based on the judges' opinions, she concludes that it was the victim who was on trial.

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goddamn batman

Australia apologizes for ruining your childhood a few decades too late.

By ROD McGUIRK and JILL LAWLESS, Associated Press Writers Rod Mcguirk And Jill Lawless, Associated Press Writers – 53 mins ago

CANBERRA, Australia – Prime Minister Kevin Rudd issued a historic apology Monday to thousands of impoverished British children shipped to Australia with the promise of a better life. But his government ruled out paying compensation for the abuse and neglect that many suffered.

The British government has estimated 150,000 British children may have been shipped abroad between 1618 and 1967, most from the late 19th century onward. After 1920, most of the children went to Australia through programs run by the government, religious groups and children's charities.

The programs, which ended 40 years ago, were intended to provide the children with a new start — and the Empire with a supply of sturdy white workers. But many children ended up in institutions where they were physically and sexually abused, or were sent to work as farm laborers.

At a ceremony in the Australian capital of Canberra attended by tearful former child migrants, Rudd apologized for his country's role in the migration and extended condolences to the 7,000 survivors of the program who still live in Australia.

"We are sorry," Rudd said. "Sorry that as children you were taken from your families and placed in institutions where so often you were abused. Sorry for the physical suffering, the emotional starvation and the cold absence of love, of tenderness, of care. Sorry for the tragedy — the absolute tragedy — of childhoods lost."

The apology comes one day after the British government said Prime Minister Gordon Brown would apologize for child migrant programs that sent children as young as 3 to Australia, Canada and other former colonies over three and a half centuries. The first group was sent to the Virginia Colony in 1618.

Rudd also apologized to the "forgotten Australians" — children who suffered in state care during the last century.
According to a 2004 Australian Senate report, more than 500,000 children were placed in foster homes, orphanages and other institutions during the 20th century. Many were emotionally, physically and sexually abused in state care.
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Jellyfish to take over world!

By MICHAEL CASEY, AP Environmental Writer Michael Casey, Ap Environmental Writer – 2 hrs 31 mins ago

KOKONOGI, Japan – A blood-orange blob the size of a small refrigerator emerged from the dark waters, its venomous tentacles trapped in a fishing net. Within minutes, hundreds more were being hauled up, a pulsating mass crowding out the catch of mackerel and sea bass. Collapse )


The Ugly Irony of Sarah Palin's Book Title

Going Rogue. It's cute. It's sassy. It's mavericky. The title of Sarah Palin's memoir is designed to sell books. If it had been titled Everything I Need to Know I Learned Playing Point Guard for the Wasilla High School Girls Basketball Team, it might not have had quite the same zing. Perhaps the title is meant to encapsulate the fierce, independent spirit that many had learned to associate with the woman who came closer to the vice presidency than any Republican woman in history. But there are many back here in Alaska who heard Going Rogue and were horrified, struck by the ugly irony of her book title.

When the Lower 48 was still asking "Sarah who?" the GOP was relying on the talking point, "She's the most popular governor in the nation." And she was. While other governors with approval ratings in the high fifties were feeling pretty pleased with themselves, Sarah Palin was luxuriating in approval ratings that at one point approached a stratospheric 90 percent. Without that number, she would likely never have been the vice-presidential nominee.

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Nancy Pelosi: "This Is Not A Bill About Abortion"

Nancy Pelosi: "This Is Not A Bill About Abortion"

... And yet, here we are. Pelosi was asked if "pro-abortion rights advocates were 'right in saying [the Stupak Amendment] will actually diminish' access to abortions?" Pelosi shot back with 'Yes, they are.'" Well, at least we're kind of pro-truth!

Time magazine summarizes this dynamic beautifully: "In the end, all of the tea-party town halls, Glenn Beck rallies and "death panel" rumors may have less of a hand in bringing down health-care reform than an intraparty Democratic culture war."

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Vogue Really Wants Clinton To Care About Clothes

After a false start during her presidential campaign, Vogue finally got its interview and accompanying Annie Leibovitz shoot with Hillary Clinton. And, praise God, Clinton is no longer denying her femininity, as Anna Wintour accused her of doing last year.

Two years ago, before the Iowa primaries, the Clinton campaign earned Wintour's wrath by abruptly backing out of an interview and accompanying Annie Leibovitz shoot, despite a previously warm relationship dating back to Clinton's 1998 cover during the Lewinsky scandal. By the time Clinton became a candidate, though, a Vogue rep said, "We were told by Ms. Clinton's camp that they were concerned if Clinton appeared in Vogue that she would appear too feminine." Wintour struck back in her editor's letter, writing,

"The notion that a contemporary woman must look mannish in order to be taken seriously as a seeker of power is frankly dismaying...This is America, not Saudi Arabia. It's also 2008: Margaret Thatcher may have looked terrific in a blue power suit, but that was 20 years ago. I do think Americans have moved on from the power-suit mentality, which served as a bridge for a generation of women to reach boardrooms filled with men. Political campaigns that do not recognize this are making a serious misjudgment."

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"Going Rogue" Fact Check: Palin's Book Goes Rogue On Some Facts, AP Says

WASHINGTON — Sarah Palin's new book reprises familiar claims from the 2008 presidential campaign that haven't become any truer over time.

Ignoring substantial parts of her record if not the facts, she depicts herself as a frugal traveler on the taxpayer's dime, a reformer without ties to powerful interests and a politician roguishly indifferent to high ambition.

Palin goes adrift, at times, on more contemporary issues, too. She criticizes President Barack Obama for pushing through a bailout package that actually was achieved by his Republican predecessor George W. Bush – a package she seemed to support at the time.

A look at some of her statements in "Going Rogue," obtained by The Associated Press in advance of its release Tuesday:

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ETA: Btw, Media Matters also has their own "Top 10" past Sarah Palin falsehoods from before the book was published.
  • dwer

Tea Party Bonfire Backdown

On Saturday, the Danville Tea Party in Virginia plans on holding a “Fired Up for Freedom” rally. The group originally boasted that it would be “burning Rep. Tom Perriello and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in effigy in response to the passage of landmark healthcare legislation.” Even after significant media attention and criticism, Tea Party organizer Nigel Coleman vowed on Friday to move forward with their plans. Yesterday, however, Coleman said that those plans are now “up in the air” because the group is afraid of counter-protesters:

But Coleman said Sunday that some members of his group were “uneasy” with the idea of counter-protesters and that people might mistake the TEA Party Patriots for being violent. Coleman compared the event to similar acts of protest in the nation’s history, such as opposition to the Stamp Act of 1765. [...]

“I still would like to do it,” Coleman said, “but it’s still up in the air at this point. We’ve already started stacking firewood and building the effigy …we will have a bonfire. Burning someone in effigy was just gonna be part of it.” [...]

“We were using it as a symbol of how things are similar to that (colonial) period in history,” he said. “Things have gotten out of hand … the more real we get, the more unreal it gets.”

Coleman added that the public reaction to the group’s plans has been “kinda strange.”

Source says "people will think the Tea Partiers are violent? Why-ever would we?

Violent Incident on Fort Hood, TX


(CNN) -- At least seven people are dead and between 12 and 15 wounded in shootings at Fort Hood in Texas on Thursday, senior Pentagon official told CNN.

At least one person is "neutralized" in connection with the incident, and a second is "cornered," retired Army Lt. Gen. Russel Honore told CNN, citing "unofficial, unconfirmed reports" from two sources.

On the Fort Hood Web site, the word "closed" is posted with the statement, "Effective immediately, Fort Hood is closed. Organizations/units are instructed to execute a 100 percent accountability of all personnel."

Fort Hood was asking people on post to stay away from windows, CNN affiliate KXXV said. The incident took place at the sports dome, now known as the soldier readiness area, the station reported.

FBI agents are headed to the scene to assist, said Erik Vasys, spokesman for the FBI office in San Antonio. He had no other details.

The military installation is located near Killeen, Texas. It is the Army's largest installation, Honore said.


My friend is stationed there right now. He says there are 2 gunman, one is still on the lose. 7 are reported dead and 12 are reported wounded. The entire Fort is on lockdown.

Fox News is reporting that there is a third shooter who is at the Ft. Hood PX  It was at a processing center
20 people confirmed injured by the AP.
It has been confirmed there was only 2 shooters.
The shooters used M-16s.

¶ haters to the (far) right
  • schmiss

Wondering what our Republican boyfriend is up to? Of course you are.

Mr. Huntsman Goes to Beijing
Well before the Chinese welcomed Obama, his ambassador was showing them how an American politician works a crowd. And they love it.

Jon Huntsman Jr. had scarcely landed in Beijing as the new U.S. ambassador before he was imperiously summoned for a tongue-lashing. Washington was getting ready to place import duties on Chinese-made tires, and the Commerce Ministry's senior brass wanted him to know they weren't happy about it. "They called me in using language in no uncertain terms," he recalls. "They asked, 'Why would you ever want to deploy an atom bomb in a trade dispute?' " But the 49-year-old ambassador kept his cool. He had sat through plenty of similar histrionics from 2001 to 2004 as deputy U.S. trade representative. "You see every different style and type of theatrics in negotiations," he says. "So you're prepared for anything."

But there were triumphs along with the trials in Huntsman's first day on the job. Later that afternoon, decked out in running shoes, khakis, and a tieless shirt with rolled-up sleeves, he welcomed a crowd of nearly 70 Chinese and foreign reporters in the garden of his new residence, greeting them in excellent Mandarin. He talked in both Chinese and English about changing Sino-U.S. relations and introduced his wife and three of their seven children. Asha, their 3-year-old adopted daughter from India, kept gleefully punching the microphone stand. To top off the event, Huntsman threw open the doors of the residence and invited the unruly gathering inside. "Take a look around and feel at home!" the beaming ambassador said. He even allowed media to interview daughter Gracie Mei, 10, who was adopted by the Huntsmans after being found abandoned in a vegetable market outside Shanghai. "I told her she was raised in America and coming back to China and is a bridge between China and the United States," Huntsman said.

His guests were bowled over. The new ambassador's openness and hospitality presented a stunning contrast to the tightly wrapped style of his predecessor, Clark T. (Sandy) Randt, an old George W. Bush frat brother from Yale who had been Washington's longest-serving ambassador in Beijing. "The picture-perfect event [was] more like a campaign stop," the Beijing-based business magazine Caijing reported on its Web site. In fact that's exactly why Huntsman is in Beijing: to rally Chinese support for the Obama agenda. His skill at drumming up enthusiasm was a big reason that President Obama crossed party lines to choose Huntsman—who not only is a registered Republican but was the national co-chairman for John McCain during the 2008 race—to run one of the most crucial U.S. diplomatic posts in the world. As the phenomenally popular governor of Utah (he was re-elected in November 2008 with 78 percent of the vote), Huntsman showed he knows how to work a crowd. And 1.3 billion people is nothing if not a crowd.

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Ninth Doctor

Chinese censors block Obama's call to free the Web

BEIJING – President Barack Obama prodded China about Internet censorship and free speech, but the message was not widely heard in China where his words were blocked online and shown on only one regional television channel.

China has more than 250 million Internet users and employs some of the world's tightest controls over what they see. The country is often criticized for its so-called "Great Firewall of China" — technology designed to prevent unwanted traffic from entering or leaving a network.

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Good job proving his point, China. On a slightly related note, I hope this means Obama is on our side when it comes to internet control in America. I know a lot of butthurt politicians want to tie a leash on every internet user, but I don't know how that's working out for them...
asoneill - Yahoo Me

Federal task force makes radical change in breast cancer screening guidelines

By Rob Stein
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, November 16, 2009; 4:58 PM

Women in their 40s should stop routinely getting annual mammograms, and older women should cut back to one scheduled exam every other year, an influential federal task force has concluded, challenging the use of one of the most common medical tests.

In its first reevaluation of breast cancer screening since 2002, the federal panel that sets government policy on prevention recommended the radical change, citing evidence that the potential harms of all women getting annual exams beginning at age 40 outweigh the benefits.

"We're not saying women shouldn't get screened. Screening does save lives," said Diana B. Petitti, vice chairman of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, which released the recommendations Monday in a paper being published in Tuesday's Annals of Internal Medicine. "But we are recommending against routine screening. There are important and serious negatives or harms that need to be considered carefully."

The task force's new guidelines -- which also recommend against teaching women to do regular formal self-exams of their breasts and concludes there is insufficient evidence to continue routine mammograms beyond age 74 -- immediately triggered intense debate.

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Christian Bale

(no subject)

Girl, 5, sold into prostitution by her own mother hunted by U.S. police

U.S. police were today hunting for a missing five-year-old girl who was sold for sex by her mother.

Shaniya Davis has been missing for six days after she was last seen being carried into a hotel room by a man.

FBI agents and U.S. Marshalls have joined the nationwide search for the toddler amid fears she had been sold to a paedophile ring.

Police have charged the girl's mother Antoinette Davis with human trafficking and prostitution offences.

An arrest warrant issued for the 25-year-old said she allowed her daughter to be taken 'with the intent that she be held in sexual servitude.'

Davis, who is pregnant, first reported her daughter missing last Tuesday.

Police were suspicious of her story after reviewing a timeline of the events leading up to her disappearance from a trailer park in Fayetteville, North Carolina.

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oldboy box

CNN pays Lou Dobbs to Leave

The New York Post is reporting that Lou Dobbs was paid 8 MILLION dollars to leave CNN before his contract was up in a year and a half. CNN president Jonathan Klein and Dobbs had been at odds with the direction of Dobbs show for some time. CNN's reputation as a non partisan network was taking some severe hits because of Dobbs xenophobic reports on illegal immigration and his giving credence to the so called "Birther" movement by asking President Obama to show his birth certificate on air. To call Lou Dobbs an embarrassment to CNN would be an understatement, I suspected that there was more to the story than the normal happy I QUIT SUDDENLY LOL message Dobbs intimated it was, but, if true, this shows exactly how badly CNN wanted him gone. Latino groups have been outraged and threatening boycotts for quite some time, so maybe CNN got the hint?


SOURCE Portfolio

SOURCE Time - Lou Dobbs gets off CNN's lawn

Followup on the kid That Refused to say the Pledge

10-Year-Old Won't Pledge Allegiance To A Country That Discriminates Against Gays

Original Story From This Post:

Will Phillips isn't like other boys his age.

For one thing, he's smart. Scary smart. A student in the West Fork School District in Washington County, he skipped a grade this year, going directly from the third to the fifth. When his family goes for a drive, discussions are much more apt to be about Teddy Roosevelt and terraforming Mars than they are about Spongebob Squarepants and what's playing on Radio Disney.

It was during one of those drives that the discussion turned to the pledge of allegiance and what it means. Laura Phillips is Will's mother. “Yes, my son is 10,” she said. “But he's probably more aware of the meaning of the pledge than a lot of adults. He's not just doing it rote recitation. We raised him to be aware of what's right, what's wrong, and what's fair.”
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-Most Amazing Kid Ever, ONTDP Needs To Adopt Him
He makes me feel like this

Christian Bale

Plastics Chemicals Feminize Brains Of Little Boys

Chemicals used in plastics feminise the brains of little boys 'so that they avoid rough and tumble games'

Chemicals used in plastics are 'feminising' the brains of baby boys, a disturbing study shows.

Those exposed to high doses in the womb are less likely to play with 'male' toys such as cars. They are also less willing to join 'rough and tumble' games.

The research adds to growing evidence that hormone-disrupting chemicals in thousands of household-products are interfering with the development of children.

Environmental campaigners called the study 'extremely worrying' and called for a crackdown.

The study looked at phthalates, chemicals which can mimic the female sex hormone oestrogen.

Some experts believe they are partly to blame for the increase in genital defects in boys and lower sperm counts in men over recent decades.

But the new research is the first to link hormone-mimicking chemicals to behaviour.

There are fears of further effects as the young children in the study grow up.

Although the plastics industry insists phthalates are safe, the EU has banned many of them from cosmetics, teething rings and children's toys.

But pregnant women are still exposed to phthalates, which are used to soften plastics in household items such as plastic furniture, shoes, PVC flooring and shower curtains.

They can also be transferred to food and drink from plastic packaging. The new study, published in the International Journal of Andrology, was led by Dr Shanna Swan, professor of obstetrics and gynaecology at the University of Rochester in New York State.

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Bree Gun

Gay Teen Decapitated, Dismembered, and Burned

"On November 14 the body of a gay 19 year old was found a few miles away from the town in which he was residing in called Caguas. He was a very well known person in the gay community of Puerto Rico, and very loved. He was found on the site of an isolated road in the city of Cayey, he was partially burned, decapitated, and dismembered, both arms, both legs, and the torso. This has caused a huge reaction from the gay community here, but its a difficult situation. Never in the history of Puerto Rico has a murder been classified as a hate crime. Even though we have to follow federal mandates and laws, many of the laws in which are passed in the USA such as Obama’s new bill, do not always directly get practiced in Puerto Rico.

The police agent that is handling this case said on a public televised statement that 'people who lead this type of lifestyle need to be aware that this will happen'. As If the boy murdered Jorge Steven Lopez was asking to get killed..."

Here's a report on the murder (in Spanish) from Said activist Pedro Julio Serrano: "It is inconceivable that the investigating officer suggests that the victim deserved his fate, like a woman deserves rape for wearing a short skirt. We demand condemnation of this investigator and demand that Superintendente Figueroa Sancha replace him with someone capable of investigating this case without prejudice." (my translation, please suggest a better one if you can).

Source 1 + 2

What the fuck is this shit?

Great Warrior

If Senator Evan Bayh wrote a book, maybe people would pay attention to him

I've written emails to my senators and representives, so that means I'm on their mailing lists. Today Senator Evan Bayh spoke out about the federal deficit and voting against several spending bills this year.

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He doesn't really go into specifics about what can be done to rein in the deficit, but whatever happens will be met with a lot of resistance from those who are unwilling to change or make a difficult decision. For a second in the video I thought he was going to refer to his colleagues as superiors. :(

Source: my gmail and Senator Bayh's website

Senator Bayh thanks you for...uh...your time.

GOP Supports Gun Bill To Allow "Mentally Incapacitated" Vets to Buy Guns! What Could Go Wrong?

Senate Bill Would Allow "Mentally Incapacitated" Vets to Buy Guns

Major Nidal Hasan, accused of killing 13 people at Fort Hood Army base, has been described by former colleagues as "psychotic." As more details emerge about Hasan's troubled state, gun safety advocates are launching fresh attacks on a Senate bill they say would make it easier for mentally unstable veterans to buy firearms.

Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) says his "Veterans 2nd Amendment Protection Act" will protect veterans' gun rights. But the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence calls it a "dangerous" proposal that could allow "over 100,000 mentally incapacitated or incompetent persons" to buy guns—people who would previously have been barred from doing so by the Veterans Administration (VA).

With debate over Fort Hood still raging on cable news, one might think that Burr might try to quietly shelve the measure, whose co-sponsors include Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.). Instead, Burr fired back at the Brady Campaign in an interview with Fox News, accusing its president, Paul Helmke, of using the tragedy to "exploit the senseless murder of American soldiers in the quest to secure personal triumph."
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Tea Party Competes to Win "Most Annoying Caller of The Year" Award. Telemarketers Still Annoying

Making Tea for 2010: Tea Partiers Fight For The Right to Robocall

If you thought the Tea Partiers screaming on your television set over the summer were obnoxious, wait until they're screaming into your phone in 2010 via robocalls
-- that is, if the Federal Election Commission sides with Tea Partiers' bigwig beltway lawyers. Conservative operatives who helped organize the summertime protests want to change the way elections are fought nationwide in perhaps the most irksome way possible -- by strong-arming the FEC to overrule state-level restrictions on political robocalls.

Political nonprofit American Future Fund and its associated PAC, led largely by former GOP staffers and operatives, made news this year primarily for its role in facilitating summertime anti-health care reform town hall protests. But the Fund has also been working largely under the radar to lay the groundwork for 2010 elections by discreetly helping Tea Partiers fight for the right to robocall.

Political robocalls are mostly exempt from federal regulations. Federal law requires only that they identify the party responsible for making the calls along with a phone number or snail mail address where the responsible party can be reached. There are no requirements for an expensive live operator, which is a boon to smaller, scrappier organizations with little money. But states often have stricter regulations that keep robocallers in check. For instance, Minnesota has one of the toughest anti-robocalling laws in the country. It requires that calls playing an automated recording either be accepted by the voter to indicate consent (good luck with that) or be preceded by a live operator who must get verbal consent before playing the recording.

The Fund's PAC is asking the FEC to override portions of the Minnesota law, the loss of which would ease requirements significantly for political robocalls.
The Fund's lawyers are arguing that the Minnesota law unduly expands campaign finance restrictions (normally the domain of the FEC) by requiring political robocalls to incur the expense of a live operator. While the cost of a robocall averages only five to 15 cents, depending on the state, a live operator can cost anywhere from one dollar to more than two dollars.

A favorable FEC ruling would give federal law precedence over not only Minnesota law, but those of all states whose state-level robocalling restrictions are currently stronger than federal regulations.

A legal document filed last year by the Minnesota Democratic-Farm-Labor Party alleged that the Fund violated election law; the document describes the Fund as "a shadowy nonprofit organization" that "purports to be exempt from tax under section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code. But its notion of 'promoting the social welfare' is to send valentines to electorally troubled Republican Senate candidates." Indeed, "shadowy" may be an apt description. When the media began asking the Fund questions last year about who was in charge, the Fund was not forthcoming with answers.

Most observers have speculated that Jill Holtzman Vogel is behind the group, a charge difficult to prove, since 501(c)(4) nonprofits aren't required to disclose information to the public. A reporter at TPM investigated the Fund last year, tracing an address of the organization to the address of Holtzman Vogel's law firm, Holtzman Vogel PLLC. A TPM blogger called the Holtzman Vogel firm and asked if they were behind the Fund, but a representative refused to comment. At the very least, Holtzman Vogel's law firm provides legal representation to the Fund.
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Army Mom To Face Criminal Charges for Being a Mom. Baby Suspected To Be An Accomplice

Army Mom Confined To Base After Skipping Deployment To Care For Baby

Single-mother Alexis Hutchinson refused to deploy to Afghanistan on Nov. 5, she said, because she didn't have anyone to take care of her infant son. Now she's confined to the Georgia base where she is stationed, facing criminal prosecution by the Army.

Hutchinson's civilian lawyer told the Huffington Post that Hutchinson, 21, initially planned for her 10-month-old son to stay with his grandmother in California, but that the plan went awry when the grandmother realized that she didn't have the resources to take care of him. Military police arrested Hutchinson on Nov. 6, when she returned to the base after skipping her deployment.

On Thursday, Hutchinson's lawyer, Rai Sue Sussman, said she was told by an officer that the Army planned to ship her client to Afghanistan on Sunday for a special court-martial and that she could spend a year in jail there. But Sunday came and went, and Hutchinson remains at Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield outside of Savannah, Ga.

"That's only because I took it to the press," said Sussman. The Oakland Tribune jumped on the story on Friday, and others followed.
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