Saturday, February 28, 2009

Headlines - Saturday

We're number one, we're number one! Utah leads nation in online porn purchases! 

A study of the online porn purchases nationwide by Harvard Business School uncovered something surprising (or maybe not). Residents of right-wing religious areas purchase more porn than those in liberal areas:

States where a majority of residents agreed with the statement "I have old-fashioned values about family and marriage," bought 3.6 more subscriptions per thousand people than states where a majority disagreed.

Those states that do consume the most porn tend to be more conservative and religious than states with lower levels of consumption, the study finds.

"Some of the people who are most outraged turn out to be consumers of the very things they claimed to be outraged by," [Benjamin Edelman of Harvard Business School] says.

For example, the study found that porn purchases in churchgoing areas declined dramatically on Sundays. And guess which religion appears to be the most porn-obsessed? Yup, Mormons:

The biggest consumer, Utah, averaged 5.47 adult content subscriptions per 1000 home broadband users; Montana bought the least with 1.92 per 1000. "The differences here are not so stark," Edelman says.

Number 10 on the list was West Virginia at 2.94 subscriptions per 1000, while number 41, Michigan, averaged 2.32.

Eight of the top 10 pornography consuming states gave their electoral votes to John McCain in last year's presidential election – Florida and Hawaii were the exceptions. While six out of the lowest 10 favoured Barack Obama.

Wait, there's more:

Residents of 27 states that passed laws banning gay marriages boasted 11% more porn subscribers than states that don't explicitly restrict gay marriage.

To get a better handle on other associations between social attitudes and pornography consumption, Edelman melded his data with a previous study on public attitudes toward religion.

States where a majority of residents agreed with the statement "I have old-fashioned values about family and marriage," bought 3.6 more subscriptions per thousand people than states where a majority disagreed. A similar difference emerged for the statement "AIDS might be God's punishment for immoral sexual behavior."

The study was based on analysis of the ZIP codes of customers of a large online porn emporium.

### 
 
Congratulations, America! It was too big to fail, but now that it has, you're about to become a 36 percent stakeholder in yet another useless bank. [ CNN Money]
 
###
 
Oh, how very racist of you to find this racist!
 
Brave watermelon mayor will resign
 
The free speech martyr Dean Grose, a man condemned for finding watermelons the most naturally hilarious garden item of all, will have to resign his mayoralty. Grose rose to national prominence as just the latest of Southern California idiots to circulate some bit of "ha ha, because he's black!" piece of trash and then claim they had no idea they were exploiting racial stereotypes. As of Monday, Grose will resign his position and go to work on a watermelon farm in Hell as part of the president's new spending package. [AP]
 
###
 
 
###
 
funny pictures of cats with captions
 
 
###
 
Cue the wingnut head explosions - h/t Dick
 
President Obama delivered to Congress yesterday a $3.6 trillion spending plan that would finance vast new investments in health care, energy independence and education by raising taxes on the oil and gas industry, hedge fund managers, multinational corporations and nearly 3 million of the nation's top earners. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/02/26/AR2009022600783.html?wprss=rss_politics
 
###
 
23/6:
 
 

So first Bobby Jindal gave the Republican response to President Obama's speech on Tuesday and sounded EXACTLY like Kenneth the page from "30 Rock". Then Jack McBrayer (aka Kenneth Parcell aka Kenneth the Page) responded to the comparison on a test show for "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon." And now an enterprising t-shirt salesman has created the site "Bobby Kenneth 2012" that serves as the first official platform for a complete 2012 GOP ticket.

Among other things, the site offers a volcano-monitoring game that doesn't work, because as we all know now, volcano monitoring is stupid. And t-shirts with "30 Rock" slogans like "we want to go there" with a picture of the White House. Check it out.

###
 
### 

Judd Gregg, who cut and run from a cabinet position because his "conservative principles" wouldn't allow him to support the president's economic policies, personally took home hundreds of thousands of dollars from earmarks.

 
President Barack Obama's former nominee to become commerce secretary, REPUBLICAN Sen. Judd Gregg, steered taxpayer money to his home state's redevelopment of a former Air Force base even as he and his brother engaged in real estate deals there, an Associated Press investigation found.

Gregg, R-N.H., personally has invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in Cyrus Gregg's office projects at the Pease International Tradeport, a Portsmouth business park built at the defunct Pease Air Force Base, once home to nuclear bombers.
Judd Gregg has collected at least $240,017 to $651,801 from his investments there, Senate records show, while helping arrange at least $66 million in federal aid for the former base.
 
###
 
 
 
###
 
funny pictures of cats with captions
 
###
 
Rarely do we get such naked admissions out of the supposed "thinkers" of the right, but the Doughy Pantload steps right up to the plate and lets fly about his thoughts on Obama's recovery efforts:
I Don't Want To Pay For It

That is, by far, my driving attitude in all of this. I just don't want to pay for it. It's not that I don't want government to do nice things for deserving people [....] It's that I think most of Obama's ideas will not work, will be a waste of money and will hurt the economy. And, flatly, I don't want to pay for it. [....] I will look for every means within the boundaries of the law to minimize what I pay in taxes and I make no apologies for that whatsoever.

Ideas on how to do that are welcome.

Five year olds who've been told to eat their vegetables have come up with better reasoning than this. And seriously, to end with "Ideas on how to do that are welcome"? Comedy gold! Take a good firm stand and then admit you've no idea how to accomplish it! Perfect right-wing reasoning!

So here's the obligatory "shoe's on the other foot" comparison: as the country ratcheted up its rhetoric and preparations for war in Iraq and over a million people filled the Washington Mall, how many demonstrators thought the final, bottom line for their opposition was "I don't want to pay for it"? I thought so.

### 

 
### 

It seems like every news story involving global warming involves the phrase "faster than previously expected," and this latest bleak update on the accelerating loss of Antarctic ice is no exception.  Too lazy to read the article?  Here is the bleak bit:

A 2007 IPCC report predicted a sea level rise of 7 to 23 inches (18 to 58 centimeters) by the end of the century, which could flood low-lying areas and force millions to flee. The group said an additional 3.9 to 7.8 inches (10 to 20 centimeters) rise was possible if the recent, surprising melting of polar ice sheets continues.

Summerhayes said the rise could be much higher.

"If the west Antarctica sheet collapses, then we're looking at a sea level rise of between 1 meter and 1.5 meters (3 feet, 4 inches to nearly 5 feet)," Summerhayes said.

 
###
 
AIG
 
### 
 
A fossil footprint left by a human ancestor about 1.5 million years ago in Kenya
 
What a fantastic discovery. Footprints found on a sandy plain in eastern Africa have been hailed by scientists as the earliest evidence of modern upright walking. The footprints, dated to between 1.51m and 1.53m years ago, were discovered in sedimentary rock at Ileret, Kenya, researchers report in today's edition of the journal Science.

###
 
 
###
 
5 years, 9 months, and 26 days after Commander Codpiece gave his famous "Mission accomplished" speech, President Obama gave one at Camp Lejeune in which he announced that the U.S. "combat mission in Iraq will end" by August 31, 2010 - but 50,000 troops will remain.
 
###
 
James Dobson's Focus on the Family spent $600,000 to defeat marriage equality in California, recently laying off approximately 150 staffers. Now Dobson is stepping down as chairman. Maybe he'll focus on wiping out those internet porn subscriptions that conservative christians are so fond of.
 
###

The Louisville Courier-Journal has another bombshell about Sen. Jim Bunning, the embattled Republican who is increasingly going rogue in an effort to hold onto his seat:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/02/27/jim-bunning-threatens-to_n_170665.html

 

 

Headlines - Saturday

We're number one, we're number one! Utah leads nation in online porn purchases! 

A study of the online porn purchases nationwide by Harvard Business School uncovered something surprising (or maybe not). Residents of right-wing religious areas purchase more porn than those in liberal areas:

States where a majority of residents agreed with the statement "I have old-fashioned values about family and marriage," bought 3.6 more subscriptions per thousand people than states where a majority disagreed.

Those states that do consume the most porn tend to be more conservative and religious than states with lower levels of consumption, the study finds.

"Some of the people who are most outraged turn out to be consumers of the very things they claimed to be outraged by," [Benjamin Edelman of Harvard Business School] says.

For example, the study found that porn purchases in churchgoing areas declined dramatically on Sundays. And guess which religion appears to be the most porn-obsessed? Yup, Mormons:

The biggest consumer, Utah, averaged 5.47 adult content subscriptions per 1000 home broadband users; Montana bought the least with 1.92 per 1000. "The differences here are not so stark," Edelman says.

Number 10 on the list was West Virginia at 2.94 subscriptions per 1000, while number 41, Michigan, averaged 2.32.

Eight of the top 10 pornography consuming states gave their electoral votes to John McCain in last year's presidential election – Florida and Hawaii were the exceptions. While six out of the lowest 10 favoured Barack Obama.

Wait, there's more:

Residents of 27 states that passed laws banning gay marriages boasted 11% more porn subscribers than states that don't explicitly restrict gay marriage.

To get a better handle on other associations between social attitudes and pornography consumption, Edelman melded his data with a previous study on public attitudes toward religion.

States where a majority of residents agreed with the statement "I have old-fashioned values about family and marriage," bought 3.6 more subscriptions per thousand people than states where a majority disagreed. A similar difference emerged for the statement "AIDS might be God's punishment for immoral sexual behavior."

The study was based on analysis of the ZIP codes of customers of a large online porn emporium.

### 
 
Congratulations, America! It was too big to fail, but now that it has, you're about to become a 36 percent stakeholder in yet another useless bank. [CNN Money]
 
###
 
Oh, how very racist of you to find this racist!
 
Brave watermelon mayor will resign
 
The free speech martyr Dean Grose, a man condemned for finding watermelons the most naturally hilarious garden item of all, will have to resign his mayoralty. Grose rose to national prominence as just the latest of Southern California idiots to circulate some bit of "ha ha, because he's black!" piece of trash and then claim they had no idea they were exploiting racial stereotypes. As of Monday, Grose will resign his position and go to work on a watermelon farm in Hell as part of the president's new spending package. [AP]
 
###
 
 
###
 
funny pictures of cats with captions
 
 
###
 
Cue the wingnut head explosions - h/t Dick
 
President Obama delivered to Congress yesterday a $3.6 trillion spending plan that would finance vast new investments in health care, energy independence and education by raising taxes on the oil and gas industry, hedge fund managers, multinational corporations and nearly 3 million of the nation's top earners. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/02/26/AR2009022600783.html?wprss=rss_politics
 
###
 
23/6:
 
 

So first Bobby Jindal gave the Republican response to President Obama's speech on Tuesday and sounded EXACTLY like Kenneth the page from "30 Rock". Then Jack McBrayer (aka Kenneth Parcell aka Kenneth the Page) responded to the comparison on a test show for "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon." And now an enterprising t-shirt salesman has created the site "Bobby Kenneth 2012" that serves as the first official platform for a complete 2012 GOP ticket.

Among other things, the site offers a volcano-monitoring game that doesn't work, because as we all know now, volcano monitoring is stupid. And t-shirts with "30 Rock" slogans like "we want to go there" with a picture of the White House. Check it out.

###
 
### 

Judd Gregg, who cut and run from a cabinet position because his "conservative principles" wouldn't allow him to support the president's economic policies, personally took home hundreds of thousands of dollars from earmarks.

 
President Barack Obama's former nominee to become commerce secretary, REPUBLICAN Sen. Judd Gregg, steered taxpayer money to his home state's redevelopment of a former Air Force base even as he and his brother engaged in real estate deals there, an Associated Press investigation found.

Gregg, R-N.H., personally has invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in Cyrus Gregg's office projects at the Pease International Tradeport, a Portsmouth business park built at the defunct Pease Air Force Base, once home to nuclear bombers.
Judd Gregg has collected at least $240,017 to $651,801 from his investments there, Senate records show, while helping arrange at least $66 million in federal aid for the former base.
 
###
 
 
 
###
 
funny pictures of cats with captions
 
###
 
Rarely do we get such naked admissions out of the supposed "thinkers" of the right, but the Doughy Pantload steps right up to the plate and lets fly about his thoughts on Obama's recovery efforts:
I Don't Want To Pay For It

That is, by far, my driving attitude in all of this. I just don't want to pay for it. It's not that I don't want government to do nice things for deserving people [....] It's that I think most of Obama's ideas will not work, will be a waste of money and will hurt the economy. And, flatly, I don't want to pay for it. [....] I will look for every means within the boundaries of the law to minimize what I pay in taxes and I make no apologies for that whatsoever.

Ideas on how to do that are welcome.

Five year olds who've been told to eat their vegetables have come up with better reasoning than this. And seriously, to end with "Ideas on how to do that are welcome"? Comedy gold! Take a good firm stand and then admit you've no idea how to accomplish it! Perfect right-wing reasoning!

So here's the obligatory "shoe's on the other foot" comparison: as the country ratcheted up its rhetoric and preparations for war in Iraq and over a million people filled the Washington Mall, how many demonstrators thought the final, bottom line for their opposition was "I don't want to pay for it"? I thought so.

### 

 
### 

It seems like every news story involving global warming involves the phrase "faster than previously expected," and this latest bleak update on the accelerating loss of Antarctic ice is no exception.  Too lazy to read the article?  Here is the bleak bit:

A 2007 IPCC report predicted a sea level rise of 7 to 23 inches (18 to 58 centimeters) by the end of the century, which could flood low-lying areas and force millions to flee. The group said an additional 3.9 to 7.8 inches (10 to 20 centimeters) rise was possible if the recent, surprising melting of polar ice sheets continues.

Summerhayes said the rise could be much higher.

"If the west Antarctica sheet collapses, then we're looking at a sea level rise of between 1 meter and 1.5 meters (3 feet, 4 inches to nearly 5 feet)," Summerhayes said.

 
###
 
AIG
 
### 
 
A fossil footprint left by a human ancestor about 1.5 million years ago in Kenya
 
What a fantastic discovery. Footprints found on a sandy plain in eastern Africa have been hailed by scientists as the earliest evidence of modern upright walking. The footprints, dated to between 1.51m and 1.53m years ago, were discovered in sedimentary rock at Ileret, Kenya, researchers report in today's edition of the journal Science.

###
 
 
###
 
5 years, 9 months, and 26 days after Commander Codpiece gave his famous "Mission accomplished" speech, President Obama gave one at Camp Lejeune in which he announced that the U.S. "combat mission in Iraq will end" by August 31, 2010 - but 50,000 troops will remain.
 
###
 
James Dobson's Focus on the Family spent $600,000 to defeat marriage equality in California, recently laying off approximately 150 staffers. Now Dobson is stepping down as chairman. Maybe he'll focus on wiping out those internet porn subscriptions that conservative christians are so fond of.
 
###

The Louisville Courier-Journal has another bombshell about Sen. Jim Bunning, the embattled Republican who is increasingly going rogue in an effort to hold onto his seat: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/02/27/jim-bunning-threatens-to_n_170665.html

 

 



  
 
 
 

Friday, February 27, 2009

Headlines - Friday

 
The wags over at The Politico grabbed a video camera and headed over to the CPAC convention to ask some young Repbulicans "Who's the coolest person in the GOP right now?"
 
The response? Well, Bobby Jindal would've had 3 votes, but one guy was reconsidering after his speech the other night. Ron Paul and Sarah Palin each got 2 mentions, followed by one each for Rush, Hannity, Mittens, and...Dana Rohrabacher? Oh, and then there's guy who looks like he's a 35 year old staffer but says he's really only 18. And he goes with Chuck Norris, resulting in some of the same old "Chuck Norris is so....etc." lines that you've already heard.
 
Yep, really cutting edge stuff, especially since the only two really "new" faces on the list have established themselves as walking punch lines.

Former UN Ambassador John Bolton (who the Senate would not confirm and got the position thru a recess appointment) was there, and suggested that Obama might learn a needed lesson if Chicago were destroyed by a nuclear bomb.

"The fact is on foreign policy I don't think President Obama thinks it's a priority. He said during the campaign he thought Iran was a tiny threat. Tiny, tiny depending on how many nuclear weapons they are ultimately able to deliver on target. Its, uh, its tiny compared to the Soviet Union, but is the loss of one American city" – here Bolton shrugged his shoulders impishly – "pick one at random – Chicago – is that a tiny threat?"
 
 
Also at the conference was Cliff Kincaid (ironically, the head of Accuracy in Media) who, while introducing Rep. Mike Pence, once again raised questions about whether Barack Obama is really a natural born U.S. citizen and called him a communist. Rep. Pence did not correct him, and the crowd cheered.
 
###
 
Joe the Plumber, the face of American Populism and Rebellion Against Big Gubbmint, strode confidently into the DC Borders the other day to hold forth for the masses:
About 11 people wandered into the rows of seats set up hopefully in the basement of a downtown Border's bookstore to hear Joe speak. Joe addressed them from behind a lectern and with a microphone, but that seemed unnecessarily formal.[....]

Wurzelbacher was scheduled to speak and sign books for three hours, but the Joe Show was over in 55 minutes. Total copies of "Joe the Plumber" sold: five.

 
###
 
I think Utah's Chris Buttars may have met his match with these two 
 
 
"What I'm hoping is that, yes, that person may have AIDS, have it seriously as a baby and when they grow up but the mother will begin to feel guilt as a result of that."

There are no words to describe a man who would seek to punish a child with a disease such as AIDS in order to teach the mother some sort of moral lesson. Never mind the fact that one can get HIV through means other than their own actions, ie blood transfusions.
 
....
 
On the floor of the Colorado state senate on Monday, REPUBLICAN Sen. Scott Renfroe equated "homosexuality as a sin with murder" during a debate on a bill that would allow same-sex partners of state employees to be covered by health care benefits.
 
 
###
 
Last year alone over 6,000 Mexicans have been gunned down by the murderous Sinaloa Drug Cartel. And the guns almost all come from one place: the U.S.A. - Drug gangs seek out guns in the United States because the gun-control laws are far tougher in Mexico.
 
 
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###
 
While the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has been ridiculed for inefficiencies, waste, and absurd restrictions, it has taken a bold effort to close one of the greatest remaining threats to the homeland: muleskinners. Under a new anti-terror law, TSA has determined that mule skinners (who actually do not skin mules but drive them) must have criminal background checks.

TSA's reach now extends to the seasonal workers who dress in colonial garb at a historical park called the Hugh Moore Historical Park in Easton, Pa. who must acquire biometric Transportation Worker Identification Credentials (TWIC). The park as one boat pulled by two mules moving two miles an hour. http://jonathanturley.org/2009/02/26/the-mule-menace-tsa-moves-against-possible-mule-skinner-mujahideen/#more-8527

###

Here's a picture of REPUBLICAN mayor Dean Grose, who sent the email that shows the White House lawn planted with watermelons, with the headline, "No Easter egg hunt this year":

He probably got the idea from Diane Fedele, the president of Chaffey Community REPUBLICAN Women Federated in inland Riverside County, who sent an email blast that contained a graphic showing "Obama Bucks," which depicted Barack Obama's face on a food stamps certificate, along with a bucket of fried chicken, ribs, Kool-Aid and a slice of watermelon.

###

Peter King & Flag

In the wake of finding out that a detainee has suffered multiple attacks upon his genitals with a scalpel, and that incidents of detainee abuse have INCREASED since December, Long Island REPUBLICAN Congressman Peter King has found a new scandal [spew alert].

Detainees at Guantanamo are treated far better than most American prisoners in the US jails and prisons I've inspected over the years. The unfounded accusations that are so regularly and cavalierly made about Guantanamo are a slander against the brave men and women of our armed forces, who perform their duties at that facility so professionally and under such duress.

If there's any scandal at Guantanamo, it is that the detainees are treated too well.

Keep reading: http://firedoglake.com/2009/02/26/guantanamo-has-peter-king-lost-his-mind-or-just-his-humanity/#more-37560

###

The Toll in Iraq

1.6 Million Deployed, 4,232 Killed,
30,981 Wounded, 180,633 Disability Claims, 2,095 Compensated.

The 30,981 wounded figure is those that the DoD officially recognizes as being wounded "in combat". The actual figure is more than four times that total. If you lose your arm because you were driving a supply truck and an IED went off next to the truck, you are not listed as being wounded "in combat" because you are not a combat soldier and nobody was shooting at you (being blown up, apparently, does not count as being shot at). Similarly, if you were in the loo at your base and a mortar shell falls near you and blows off all three of your legs, you aren't counted as "wounded in combat" because you weren't "in combat" -- you were in the loo. The DoD has been using all sorts of stratagems of that sort to deny veterans the compensation and medical care they deserve for serving in a war zone. It's important to know that, when you look at the difference between wounded, disability claims, and compensated in the numbers above. It is a disgrace and should be front-page news in every newspaper in America, yet for some reason, is not...

###

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Ginsburg just penned an opinion regarding gun control which convinced all but two of her Republican appointed colleagues to agree with her that people who abuse their spouses lose the right to own firearms. 

Only Scalia and Chief Justice Roberts dissented. I guess they don't mind if wife beaters can buy guns with which to threaten and/or murder their battered spouses and children. Way to show those family values, guys. 

###

Bobby Jindal may have railed against stimulus pork in his speech about miserly mice to voracious volcanoes, but in fiscal year 2008, his last hurrah as a U.S. congressman representing Louisiana before taking over the governor's mansion, Jindal scored big in the pork contest. He, sometimes in concert with other lawmakers, ended up bringing home $97,913,200 in bacon. That put him at the number 14 spot in Taxpayers for Common Sense's annual tally of the most successful appropriators in the House. There was only one other lawmaker that's ahead of him that wasn't on the appropriations committee. 

Hypocrisy seems to be the name of the game among the so-called rising stars in the Republican Party. From Sarah Palin's family values/unwed pregnant teenager dichotomy and her own lies about the "bridge to nowhere" and ethics scandals to Bobby Jindal's love of earmarks for his own state, these prospective 2012 candidates are only arguably good at talking the talk, but they sure as hell don't walk the walk.

###

It still needs to go to the House, but by a vote of 61-37, the Senate passed a bill providing full voting representation for the nation's capital in the House of Representatives, nearly ensuring that the measure will become law this time around. The measure, if it became law, would increase the size of the House of Representatives to 437 from 435, adding not only a seat from the District of Columbia but also one from Utah.

###

The US defense department has lifted a ban on news organisations showing pictures of the coffins of soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

###

The Senate to investigate the CIA

We can't allow the CIA to hold the country hostage. We just can't. Too many horrors in the last eight years to let it go, and Panetta better make it clear to his employees. 

###

The Obama administration has notified Congress that "Chas Freeman has been appointed chairman of the National Intelligence Council. The right wing, outraged over his views on the Middle East conflict and opposition to the Iraq war, had tried to stop the appointment of Freeman.

###

Today, the Obama administration plans to rescind the controversial "conscience rule," which "allows healthcare workers to deny abortion counseling or other family planning services if doing so would violate their moral beliefs."

###

To congressional Republicans, one of the most objectionable parts of an early version of the House's economic recovery package was funding for family planning services. Conservatives cried that spending "hundreds of millions on contraceptives" wouldn't stimulate the economy. (Even though it would.) President Obama agreed to drop the provision from the recovery package. However, he has reinserted it into his FY 2010 budget. On p. 127, there is a provision to "[e]xpand availability of family planning services under Medicaid," which is estimated to save the government $190 million over 10 years. Here are statements from Planned Parenthood and NFPRHA.

###

Republican Kay Bailey Hutchison: 

HUTCHISON: I think we get revenue the way we've done it in the past that has been so successful in the past and that is tax cuts…Every major tax cut we've had in history has created more revenue.

Krugman? 

"[E]verything you've heard about how revenues have boomed since the Bush tax cuts is wrong," economist Paul Krugman wrote, noting that government revenues climbed steadily through the Clinton administration, then plunged dramatically following the 2001 Bush tax cuts. And falling revenues during tax-cutting Republican administrations means growing debt:

debt-graph21.gif

Hutchison must be looking at a different "history" than everybody else.

###

Willard Romney's "family jewels" stolen from Utah home: http://wonkette.com/406611/breaking-romney-family-jewels-stolen

###

The spy shop that brought you the Bush administration's warrantless wiretapping program wants to expand its power under President Barack Obama, the nation's top intelligence chief told Congress Wednesday, in a little-noticed intelligence grab.
http://rawstory.com/news/2008/NSA_expands_power_Eavesdropping_agency_may_0227.html

###

The Obama Justice Department continues to stand behind a Bush era law meant to prevent lawsuits against telecommunications companies accused of illegally sharing private customer information with intelligence agencies.

In a brief filed late Wednesday obtained by Raw Story, the Department of Justice provided its views to Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker, after the San Francisco federal judge questioned the constitutionality of the wide-sweeping law and whether it gives the U.S. Attorney General too much power in deciding whether a company is immune from lawsuits after it has shared information with federal agents.
http://rawstory.com/news/2008/Obama_DOJ_backs_up_Bush_wiretapping_0226.html

###

Senator Brownback and the talking embryos

Sen. Sam Brownback, Catholicism concern troll, judging and then asking not to be judged for it.

Not certain it works that way, Sam.

If you fundraise for Jesus based on several big, fat lies, just how many levels of blasphemy and deadly sin have you committed?

Holy roller, my ass.

CREW has filed an ethics complaint against Brownback for allowing a staffer to mock-up faux Senate letterhead for the fundraising missive for a Catholic charity group. Mind you, fundraising against a bill that doesn't even exist.

Hmmmm. . . bearing false witness and stabbing Senate colleagues in the back by questioning their faith, all for petty fundraising and political gain? And, incidentally, who died and made him Pope?

Boy, that Senate chumminess is just oozing out all over, isn't it Senator?

Here's hoping Democrats remember that the next time someone on the GOP end of things says something about bi-partisanship. Especially those targeted in the letter.

 

 

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Headlines - Thursday

 

We all have to tighten our belts. And, to start, John Boehner has to cut back on the bronzer. John Boehner is from Cincinnati. He works in Washington, D.C. It's February. Why the hell is he this color?! Are you playing the part of the loyal opposition, or Othello?- Bill Maher

 
 
###
 
The Doughy Pantload frets for his party's future
 
Last night, President Obama said we must improve our high school dropout rate, because:
It's not just quitting on yourself, it's quitting on your country – and this country needs and values the talents of every American.
Why, that just set Jonah Goldberg's ears to a-pricklin' as he teased out the nuance here:
What to make of that? On the one hand, it shows one of Obama's great strengths and innovations as a liberal that he can invoke patriotism in a way that doesn't seem affected. On the other hand, why is it okay to question the patriotism of high school drop-outs when it's just about the worst thing in the world to question the patriotism of people in other circumstances?
Clearly, such goals worry Jonah. For is you take away future high school dropouts, where will future Republicans come from? After all, that seemed to be the target audience for Bobby Jindal's big breakout response last night--well, actually an audience of high school dropouts might've been a bit more sophisticated than Jindal's target audience
 
###
 
[motivator3990464.jpg]
 
 
GM has posted a $9.6 billion fourth-quarter loss - $30.9 billion for 2008:  http://rawstory.com/news/2008/GM_hemorrhages_2.6_billion_in_cash_0226.html
 
Meanwhile...
 
New jobless claims rose more than expected last week and the number of laid-off Americans continuing to receive unemployment benefits topped 5.1 million, fresh evidence the recession is increasingly forcing employers to shed jobs.

The Labor Department said Thursday that first-time requests for unemployment benefits jumped to 667,000 from the previous week's figure of 631,000. Analysts had expected a slight drop in claims.

The 667,000 new claims are the most since October 1982, though the labor force has grown by about half since then.
http://rawstory.com/news/2008/New_jobless_claims_highest_in_27_0226.html
 
###
 
Asked for a "final thought" on the president's speech last night, conservative columnist George WIll chose to focus on the fact that Obama was able to wrap his arms around another man, in friendship. "I don't know when men started to hug each other, but hug they do, and look at that," he said.

Yeah, look at that...

Bush-mccain-hug-72 
 
###
 
Jesus' General
 
Playing God



I understand that pilonidal cysts are a big problem, and they've kept many a young patriot from serving his country, but couldn't we have tested treatments on tomatoes or something? Was there really a need for scientists to tamper with God's creation and create such a hideous beast as the Rushkey pictured above.

Wait, I think I see the image of the Virgin Mary in there...No, it's just Joe the Plumber.

###
 
So-called liberal media skews Obama approval ratings - downward
 
Here's the headline from CNN: 68% Give Obama Speech a Thumbs-Up

Hmmm…so if 68 percent liked it, then I guess 32 percent didn't, right? Wrong. Actually, almost everyone liked it.

Sixty-eight percent of speech-watchers questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey had a very positive reaction, with 24 percent indicating that they had a somewhat positive response and 8 percent indicating that they had a negative reaction.

Hold on, 68 percent were very positive, while another 24 percent were somewhat positive? So 92 percent were positive? But the headline says only 68 percent gave the speech a "thumbs-up."

In fact, only 8 percent gave it a thumbs-down. But wait, there's more.

Eighty-five percent of those polled said the president's speech made them more optimistic about the direction the country is headed in over the next few years, with 11 percent indicating that the speech made them more pessimistic.

Eighty-two percent of speech-watchers say they support the economic plan Obama outlined in his prime-time address, with 17 percent opposing the proposal.

Yes, 85 percent said the speech made them feel more optimistic and 82 percent say they support it. And yet, we were told that only 68 percent give it a "thumbs-up."

If that was the liberal media, I guess we can expect this headline from FOX:

Just Over Half of Americans Like Obama Plan

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If you miss the 90's and stories about Clenis, you're going to love the Obama years

Newsmax alerts us to the fact that Michelle Obama is accepting fashion freebies:  http://www.newsmax.com/kessler/michelle_obama_fashion/2009/02/23/184613.html 

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REPUBLICAN mayor sends hilarious not-racist White House 'n watermelon joke

The mayor of a tiny Republican hamlet in Southern California's Orange County — just across the 605 from Long Beach — thought it was super funny to send around a picture of the White House surrounded by a watermelon garden, because gosh, the watermelon is simply a very funny thing, in almost any setting. Watermelons! The very word is fun, and certainly not racist. There was also a caption on the funny picture, of watermelons surrounding the White House: "No Easter Egg Hunt this year." Ha ha, because Muslims don't celebrate Easter, right? MORE

Grose said he didn't mean to offend anyone, and was unaware of the racial stereotype that black people like watermelons.

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Researchers solve mystery of deep-sea fish with tubular eyes and transparent head: http://www.mbari.org/news/news_releases/2009/barreleye/barreleye.html
 
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Krugman on Jindal: The intellectual incoherence is stunning. Basically, the political philosophy of the GOP right now seems to consist of snickering at stuff that they think sounds funny. The party of ideas has become the party of Beavis and Butthead.
 
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Already missing the adulation of his fans, Dubya decides to don his preznental superhero dive-bomber action jacket and wow the little folks down at the corner store.

[C]ustomers arriving for an organic gardening class — and even store employees — were surprised Saturday when the [former Boy King] showed up to, um, shop. According to the store, Bush walked in around 11 a.m. wearing his presidentin' outfit: a bomber jacket with the presidential seal on the left breast and his name on the right. Accompanied by a small Secret Service detail, Bush signed autographs and posed for photos.

 
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That Bush-Cheney legacy is going to be a mean one for years. And there's likely to de a drip-drip-drip disclosure of all the damage done. For instance, on Tuesday there was news that the Bush administration screwed nursing homes residents. Bloomberg reports:

The Bush administration shut off a source of information last fall about abuse and neglect in long- term care facilities that people suing nursing homes consider crucial to their cases.

The change that affects the $144 billion nursing-home industry occurred with no public notice or attention, perhaps because of the array of last-minute rules that President George W. Bush's appointees rushed out before leaving Washington last month.

"This is pretty stunning," said Mark Kosieradzki, a plaintiff attorney in Plymouth, Minnesota. "Nobody was told. It was just done."

The rule designates state inspectors and Medicare and Medicaid contractors as federal employees, a group usually shielded from providing evidence for either side in private litigation.

The restrictions affect about 16,000 nursing facilities in the U.S. and 3 million residents. The practical effect is to force litigants to go to greater lengths, including seeking court orders, to get inspection reports or depositions for cases they are pursuing or defending.

Wonder who asked for this rule change? Could it have been…the nursing home industry? This was truly a harsh move, making it harder for abused nursing home residents to gather information on the institutions in which they live. Big hat tip to Bloomberg for a fine piece of investigative reporting that uncovered a telling example of the Bush administration's compassionate conservatism.

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A lawyer for Guantanamo detainees says that inmate abuse has increased since December because guards are trying to administer their share of beatings before Obama shuts the whole nasty operation down. [Reuters]
 
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Always-wrong columnist maintains perfect record
 
World's greatest political mind... oh excuse me, neocon hack Bill Kristol thinks Obama didn't mention "war" enough during his address to congress, or even try all that hard to scare the bejeebus out of America by mentioning the possibility of another 9/11.

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Oy.

Your morality is 0% in line with that of the bible.

Damn you heathen! Your book learnin' has done warped your mind. You shall not be invited next time I sacrifice a goat.

Do You Have Biblical Morals?

 
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Joe the Plumber/journalist/digital tv educator/economist/tax evader to attend this year's Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) to address young conservatives as a panelist: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/02/25/cpac-agenda-joe-the-plumb_n_170017.html 
 
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John Boehner explains that while America is a "center-right country," voters often "don't see us as the center-right party. I think we have to be more effective in how we communicate our principles". See, it's not the policies – it's never the policies – it's just that they're not communicated well enough.

"We have a tougher job than our friends across the aisle. They've been offering Americans a free lunch for the last 80 years, rather successfully. Those of us that believe in a smaller, more accountable government, we have a tougher time making our principles relevant to the American people."

Yes, the Democrats have been offering a free lunch and the Republicans have been offering a shit sandwich.

And not even a free shit sandwich.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Headlines - Wednesday

Cool story - This is "Faith" - h/t Gary:
 
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According to the Washington Times, Jon Huntsman, the
Republican governor of Utah, says "his party is blighted by
leaders in Congress whose lack of new ideas renders them
so 'inconsequential' that he doesn't even bother to talk
to them." If there's a new way to say Hooray! it's time
 
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NYT/CBS poll: 63% believe Republicans voted no on stimulus bill for political reasons.
 
6 in 10 Republicans said Mr. Obama had been trying to work with Republicans.
 
Only 3 in 10 Americans said Republicans were doing the same.
 
79% said Republicans should now be working in a bipartisan manner rather than holding fast with their policies.
 
56 percent of those surveyed said Mr. Obama's priority should be following the policies he proposed during the campaign last year, rather than working with Republicans.  
 
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In a week's time, Republicans, self proclaimed "compassionate conservatives", have managed to slam our first black president, a Jewish female Justice and a chimpanzee. I wonder what their message is?
 
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United States aid for the Gaza Strip's reconstruction will likely top $900 million, an official said, as U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton prepared to make her first Mideast trip as America's top diplomat.
 
If we stopped supplying Israel with weapons and cash to destroy Gaza, it wouldn't cost so much to rebuild it. 
 
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NASA Satellite Fails to Reach Orbit, Still Succeeds in
Stimulating the Economy to the Tune of $278 Million
 
 
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Amanda alerts us to segregated proms. 
 
I wonder what else will be making a comeback?
 
 
 
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President Obama late this afternoon nominated Harvard professor Ashton B. Carter, a leading authority on arms control, to take on a surprising new role, according to top administration officials - as the Pentagon's chief weapons buyer.

The choice of Carter to run the office that oversees hundreds of billions of dollars for new weapons and research - and the focus of intense lobbying by defense firms, retired generals, and members of Congress - has been rumored for weeks. And word of his pending nomination has already sparked concern within the defense industry and some of the Pentagon bureaucracy.
http://www.boston.com/news/politics/politicalintelligen...
 
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Bush's Loose Nukes
 
Cooling towers at nuclear plant
 
George W. Bush has no plans to retire any time soon. A post at Think Progress reminds us that Bush plans to make "ridiculous" amounts of money on the speaking circuit. While he'd probably be more valuable as a frank and honest witness to his own incompetence, criminality, and hubris, this is George W. Bush we're talking about here. Bush doesn't plan any truth-telling tours, putting all his mistakes on display so we can all learn from them. Former president Bush plans to be exactly like then-president Bush -- three gallons of smart in a fifty gallon drum, with BS making up the difference.

What people will spend the big money to hear will be Baron George Von Munchausen spinning tall tales of his own greatness. That is, if his bio at his agency - Washington Speakers Bureau - is any indication:
 
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Senior U.S. District Judge Warren W. Eginton (left) has imposed an unprecedented criminal fine against from former Pfizer Vice President Alan Hesketh, 61. Hesketh previously was sentenced to 78 months for possession of roughly 2000 pictures of child pornography. He will now have to pay $200,000 to a woman who was in some of those pictures being abused, even though Hesketh did not take the picture or participate in the photographed abuse. Story here.
 
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Lt. Scott Easterling (who joined the Army at age 40 after working for KBR)has entered a novel fight while serving in Iraq: he is suing President Barack Obama. Easterling is calling the President an "impostor" and challenging his right to issue commands while his birth status is in question. It is one of a series of lawsuit challenging the right of the President to serve on the basis of his birth status. It appears that he could be joined by Senator Richard Shelby in the litigation. Shelby has refused to accept Obama citizenship until he sees a birth certificate.
 
"As an active-duty officer in the United States Army, I have grave concerns about the constitutional eligibility of Barack Hussein Obama to hold the office of president of the United States," wrote Scott Easterling in a "to-whom-it-may-concern" letter.
 
An imposter? That's gold, Jerry! Gold!
 
 
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Learning from Chris Buttar's stellar example, an anti-gay group in West Virginia has released an online ad that depicts gays as snipers by showing a dual-gender couple and their children in the crosshairs of rifle scope.

Wayne Besen of Truth Wins Out (TWO), has called on the hate group, which calls itself the "Family Policy Council," to remove the ad:

"This kind of overheated rhetoric creates a climate where hate crimes can occur. We demand that The Family Policy Council of West Virginia apologize and take down this violent ad. This video is reckless, wrongheaded and irresponsible."

TWO also notes that FBI hate crime statistics indicate that crimes based on sexual orientation ranked third (16 percent), below religion (19 percent) and race (52 percent).

More from TWO:

According to the Associated Press, "about a minute into the video, the crosshairs of a rifle scope appear over the image of a family blowing bubbles." The narrator warns that "same-sex marriage is a closer reality in West Virginia than you may think," and that activists are "working tirelessly to define marriage away from God's design."

The AP also reports that The Family Policy Council of West Virginia, has yet to register as a charity with state officials, though it's reported raising enough to trigger that requirement.

"The Family Policy Council is not above the law," said Besen. "The state of West Virginia has an obligation to immediately investigate and ensure they are following the rules."

According to TWO, the hate group's website was developed with the assistance of CampaignSecrets.org, a company that describes itself as "focused exclusively on electing Republicans to local office."

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We didn't need any, but now there's even more proof about the liberal media myth. It won't do any good, but tell your Republican friends if you have any:

A study of campaign coverage released by Indiana University has found that ABC, CBS, and NBC favored Republicans in each of the presidential elections from 1992 through 2004. The study, which is the "first major research project analyzing the relatively unexplored territory of visual coverage in presidential elections.", found that production decisions such as editing techniques, camera angles, and shot lengths were more favorable to Republicans. The study also looked at "who is given the last say in a piece", finding that GOP candidates were favored in terms of having the last say in all but the 2004 election.  http://newsinfo.iu.edu/news/page/normal/9993.html

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Northern Trust Bank, which received $1.6 billion in bailout assistance, hosted hundreds of employees and clients at expensive hotels in Beverly Hills and threw Hollywood parties that featured performances by Chicago and Sheryl Crow. The bank recently laid off almost 450 workers.
http://www.boston.com/news/politics/politicalintelligence/2009/02/kerry_targets_e.html

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Check out Wonkette's flashy graphic of Obama: http://wonkette.com/406540/late-show-liveblogging-baracks-big-night

Bobby Jindal, the male version of Sarah Palin, in his Republican response to Obama's address:

Today in Washington, some are promising that government will rescue us from the economic storms raging all around us.

Those of us who lived through Hurricane Katrina, we have our doubts.

Let's think for a moment. Who was it who abandoned New Orleans again?


Uh, that would be the Republican president who ignored Katrina, the Republican presidential candidate who ate an oversized birthday cake in California while citizens of New Orleans drowned, and the Republican Congress who refused to investigate what went wrong. Your point would be what exactly, Mr. Jindal? That voters shouldn't trust Republicans to protect them in time of need? Republicans expect the American people to vote against their own self-interest. And while that may work in the south, and among the numb masses of the religious right, the rest of America (dare someone call it "real America"?) has had quite enough, thank you.

Listen closely for Chris Matthews - "Here's Governor Jindal - Oh God": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6_M4CuF2Ykw&eurl=http://www.dependablerenegade.com/

Do Republicans ever put the country before their party? The New York Times published this editorial today.

Imagine yourself jobless and struggling to feed your family while the governor of your state threatens to reject tens of millions of dollars in federal aid earmarked for the unemployed. That is precisely what is happening in poverty-ridden states like Louisiana and Mississippi where Republican governors are threatening to turn away federal aid rather than expand access to unemployment insurance programs in ways that many other states did a long time ago.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The U.S. banking system right now is a collection of zombies, insolvent empty shells that are not performing the most basic functions of a bank. As a response, there is a call on the part of some to just let them go bankrupt and collapse the way any other bankrupt company would be dissolved in Chapter 13. http://blog.badtux.net/2009/02/attack-of-zombies.html

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CA: $50 an Ounce Tax on Pot
That seems a little excessive... 
Link

A California legislator today proposed making the state the first to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. The legislation would allow people 21 and older to grow, buy, sell and possess pot. It would be sold, regulated and taxed similar to alcohol. The state would collect $50 an ounce from sellers, and growers, too, would be taxed. Estimates are that the cash-strapped state could reap more than $1 billion a year.

"We could in fact have the political will to do something, and certainly in the meantime this is a public policy call," Rep. Ammiano said. "I think the outcome would be very healthy for California and California's economy." The bill (AB 390) would ban use near schools and prohibit growing cannabis in public view. Also illegal, as now: DWS — driving while stoned.

A Republican colleague isn't inhaling, according to The Sacramento Bee

"I don't think we're particularly well served in our society to further accommodate or even encourage something that's going to be unproductive and damaging to the individual, especially not for the reason of generating revenue," said Assemblyman Roger Niello of Fair Oaks.  

But you're OK with hard liquor - which kills thousands of people every year?

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Rich, patriotic Americans that kept their cash in a Swiss bank to avoid paying taxes sue to keep their names private: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/25/business/worldbusiness/25ubs.html

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"What Republicans wanted was a bill to strengthen the economy. What the Democrats passed was a bill to stimulate government. We are committed to helping these courageous Republicans defend their position and fend off political attacks." Mitt Romney in his magic underpants Link  

Reminder: Romney's such a loser, the GOP preferred John McCain to him.

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Oops! Somebody's bad!

State searches Verona plant for missing toxic mixture - can't seem to find around 2 1/2 GALLONS of thallium reported missing from an industrial diamond powders factory in the small town of Verona, about 10 miles northeast of Pittsburgh.

And this: RALEIGH - Federal authorities are hunting the mastermind behind a "horrific case" in which bacteria-laden syringes shipped from an Angier plant sickened at least a hundred people and killed five. http://www.newsobserver.com/news/health_science/story/1416688.html

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Glenn Greenwald goes to great lengths this morning to demonstrate that the American people do not crave bipartisanship.
 
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Michael Steele is now channeling Austin Powers:

Yesterday on Fox News, RNC Chairman Michael Steele said he was open to withholding RNC funds from Sens. Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Arlen Specter (R-PA) because they voted for Obama's economic recovery package. "I'm always open to everything baby," he told host Neil Cavuto.

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Rupert Murdoch and the non-apology


Reuters

Rupert Murdoch apologized today over the dead monkey cartoon. It was not sincere.

First off, the text of his apology:

As the Chairman of the New York Post, I am ultimately responsible for what is printed in its pages. The buck stops with me.

Last week, we made a mistake. We ran a cartoon that offended many people. Today I want to personally apologize to any reader who felt offended, and even insulted.

Over the past couple of days, I have spoken to a number of people and I now better understand the hurt this cartoon has caused. At the same time, I have had conversations with Post editors about the situation and I can assure you - without a doubt - that the only intent of that cartoon was to mock a badly written piece of legislation. It was not meant to be racist, but unfortunately, it was interpreted by many as such.

We all hold the readers of the New York Post in high regard and I promise you that we will seek to be more attuned to the sensitivities of our community.

While a statement accepting responsibility is a good start, no where in there do I detect any regret.

Secondly, instead of saying that he is sorry that he printed a vicious and racist comic, he says that it is unfortunate that it was interpreted as such by many.

Lastly, Murdoch does not say that it will not happen again, he only says that they will be attuned to the sensitivities of their community. I posit that they were sensitive to the community, but they just didn't care. They had a political axe to grind. They got the reaction they were aiming for.

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Another soldier killed in Iraq yesterday - 4,251 total: 660 in Afghanistan.

Officials say that the Obama Administration intends to have most troops out of Iraq by August 2010, replacing the president's 16 month timetable from the campaign with a 19 month one.

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Obama takes a jab at Bush policies: 'A surplus became an excuse to transfer wealth to the wealthy' http://thinkprogress.org/2009/02/24/obama-bush-deficit/ 

Fun fact: Obama was interrupted 65 times for applause and received 37 standing ovations.
 
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Yesterday, Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) called on Sen. Roland Burris (D-IL) to resign his Senate seat. Despite his own refusal to resign after admitting to being a former patron of the "DC Madam", Vitter dismissed the notion that his demands of Burris are hypocritical. "I honestly don't know anybody who would compare these situations. They are dramatically different," Vitter said. The Hill reports:

Vitter said that Burris "clearly, at a minimum, misled the Illinois Legislature and the voters of the Illinois" by giving incomplete answers about his contacts with and fundraising efforts for former Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D-Ill.) as Blagojevich was considering appointing Burris to the state's Senate seat.

"Obviously there are even more serious charges of perjury, but I guess that will sort itself out in terms of legal proceedings," Vitter said.

After Vitter admitted his links with the DC Madam in 2007, right-wing pundit Sean Hannity said, "I think Senator Vitter should probably live by the line that he put out for Bill Clinton back in the Monica Lewinsky scandal." Vitter adamantly refused to resign. Now, it seems, the old Vitter is back and demanding that public officials be held to account.

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Willy Pete and the paper of record

Ah, there it is. They tried to hide it, but today's New York Times does mention Amnesty International's report that the white phosphorus which Israel used to burn Palestinians last month was supplied by the United States. And when I say the NYT "mentions" it, what I mean is that they stuck it ten paragraphs into a story on page A7 entitled "Netanyahu Rebuffed Again in Efforts to Form Coalition," and then said only:

In a separate development, Amnesty International issued a report on Monday accusing Israel and Hamas of misusing foreign-supplied weapons to "attack civilians" during the recent 22-day Gaza war.

Amnesty called on the United Nations to impose a comprehensive arms embargo on both parties, and it urged the Obama administration to suspend American military aid to Israel.

Sort of kinda neglects to mention little details like what sort of weapons we're talking about and which foreigners supplied them (there are plates with serial numbers and "manufactured in the United States" on the shells).

The
WaPo mentions the Amnesty report in paragraph 9 of an AP story about Olmert firing his own negotiator. Here's what it says: "Also Monday, a statement by the human rights group Amnesty International called on the United States to stop supplying Israel with arms that the group said were used in the killing of civilians in Gaza." The words "white phosphorus" appear nowhere (and the LAT seems to skip the story altogether). We do get Israel's response that the report is "unbalanced" (in fact, it does also condemn Hamas attacks on civilians and castigates its foreign suppliers, calling, as the NYT said, for an arms embargo on both sides) and ignores "the basic fact that Hamas is a terror organization".

Compare this with the
Guardian and the London Times, which seem to take chemical warfare (and American complicity) rather more seriously than the American press.