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Top Air Pollution Official Finally Confirmed

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Gina McCarthy will head EPA Office of Air and Radiation

By Robin Bravender
Scientific American


The Senate confirmed Gina McCarthy as U.S. EPA's top air official today after her nomination was held up for a month by Wyoming Republican Sen. John Barrasso over concerns about the Obama administration's climate policies.

McCarthy, President Obama's pick to serve as assistant administrator of EPA's Office of Air and Radiation, was approved this morning by a voice vote.

Barrasso released his procedural "hold" on McCarthy late last month, but he voiced his lingering concerns today as the Senate prepared to vote on her nomination.

The Wyoming senator said McCarthy had failed to appropriately respond to questions about how EPA plans to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act. Barrasso said his concerns stemmed from the agency's recent release of its proposed "endangerment" finding, which states that greenhouse gases threaten public health and welfare. The finding is expected to trigger broad industry regulations if finalized.

"I have nothing personal against the nominee; I simply want to have answers to questions" about EPA's climate regulations, Barrasso said on the Senate floor.

Barrasso warned that widespread litigation would aim to force EPA to regulate entities like farms, hospitals and nursing homes, and could hurt businesses and consumers amid the economic downturn. "The economic consequences of this ticking time bomb will be devastating," Barrasso said....(Click for remainder.)

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The Savage Weiner Declares Media Matters to be "Gestapo" for Using FACTS!

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Washington Post Misleads on Obama Administration Plan for GM Ownership

By Media Matters

In a June 2 Washington Post article about former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's (R) criticism of President Obama, reporter Chris Cillizza wrote that "Romney was on 'Fox News Sunday' taking issue with the administration's plan to put General Motors into bankruptcy to restructure the company," and then quoted Romney as saying: "We don't want a president and a head of the [United Auto Workers] running General Motors. ... The American public ought to own that enterprise." However, in quoting Romney's criticism, Cillizza did not note that the Obama administration has said it has "no desire" to own equity in GM "any longer than necessary," or that the administration reportedly plans to sell all of its shares in the company within 12 to 18 months.

In a May 30 document outlining the framework for restructuring GM, the Obama administration stated that one of its "core principles" regarding government ownership in private firms -- which "will apply to the U.S. government's equity stake in GM" -- is that it has "no desire to own equity stakes in companies any longer than necessary, and will seek to dispose of its ownership interests as soon as practicable." The White House also stated, "The government will not interfere with or exert control over day-to-day company operations," will "only vote on core governance issues," and will be "extremely disciplined" in how it exercises its shareholder rights. A "senior administration official" reaffirmed the government's position in a May 31 briefing, saying, "GM will emerge as part of the [Section 363 of the bankruptcy code] process; and then the company will continue, as we said, as a private company operating in the for-profit commercial role and so forth. And the government, as we indicated, is a reluctant -- will be a reluctant shareholder for only as long as is necessary, for as long as -- we will be out as soon as is practicable." The official continued: "During that period of time, we imagine that the taxpayers want us to be looking after their money, and so as we indicated, there will be people here watching over that investment, but as I indicated, in the nature of passive shareholders similar to Fidelity or some other large investment firm that has a large stake in a company."

According to a June 2 Los Angeles Times article, "[White House auto adviser Steve] Rattner said GM would emerge from bankruptcy a private company and become public again in 12 to 18 months. The government expects to sell its shares in a series of transactions over time to maximize the return." The article quoted Rattner as saying, "[W]hile we want to exit as soon as possible, we also want to exit as soon as practicable in terms of being good custodians of the taxpayers' money." Similarly, a June 1 Detroit News article reported that "GM will remain privately held for at least six to 18 months," and that "U.S. Sen. Carl Levin, D-Detroit, said Monday it could be 'a few years' before the government sells its entire stake." The article also reported: "The government will have to sell its shares in chunks, likely in at least three separate transactions, Rattner said. Each sale could take at least six months."...(Click for remainder.)

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Senate to Convene First-Ever Hearing on Gay Immigration Equality

By 365 Gay

(Washington, DC) On Wednesday morning, the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold the first-ever Congressional hearing on obstacles faced by lesbian and gay couples under U.S. immigration law.

Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), chairman of the committee, has scheduled a 10 a.m. hearing on the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA). The bill, sponsored by Leahy in the Senate and Congressman Jerold Nadler (D-NY) in the House, would modify immigration policy to end discrimination against lesbian and gay Americans who want to sponsor their permanent partners for residency in the United States.

Such couples are often separated, or torn apart, because current U.S. law does not allow for the same sponsorship rights for lesbian and gay citizens as for heterosexuals.

“Every day, an estimated 36,000 binational couples, nearly half of whom are raising children, are facing separation, or already living separately, because our country refuses to treat them equally under the law,” said Rachel B. Tiven, executive director of Immigration Equality.  “These loving, committed families are faced with an untenable choice between the person they love and the country they love.  Many are forced to uproot their lives and leave their extended families, jobs and communities behind. It is long past time that Congress fixed our broken immigration system, including this pervasive discrimination against so many families. Senator Leahy’s hearing, coming just as President Obama and Congress prepare to address comprehensive immigration reform, is a step in the right direction.”

Wednesday’s hearing will feature Shirley Tan, a Filipina mother of 12-year-old twins from Pacifica, Calif., who is facing deportation despite having been with her partner for 23 years. Though Tan’s children and partner are American citizens, she cannot be sponsored for residency because her partner is female. Unless Congress takes action to pass UAFA, Tan will be forced to return to the Philippines....(Click for remainder.)

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Sound Familiar?

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How I (and Other "Pro-Life" Leaders) Contributed to Dr. Tiller's Murder

By Frank Schaeffer
The Huffington Post


My late father and I share the blame (with many others) for the murder of Dr. George Tiller the abortion doctor gunned down on Sunday. Until I got out of the religious right (in the mid-1980s) and repented of my former hate-filled rhetoric I was both a leader of the so-called pro-life movement and a part of a Republican Party hate machine masquerading as the moral conscience of America.

In the late 1970s my evangelical pro-life leader father Francis Schaeffer and Dr. C. Everett Koop (who soon become Surgeon General in the Reagan administration) went on the road with me taking the documentary antiabortion film series I produced and directed (Whatever Happened to the Human Race?) to the evangelical public. The series and companion book eventually brought millions of heretofore non-political evangelical Americans into the antiabortion crusade. We personally also got people like Jerry Falwell, Ronald Reagan and countless Republican leaders involved in the "issue."

In the early 80s my father followed up with a book that sold over a million copies called A Christian Manifesto. In certain passages he advocated force if all other methods for rolling back the abortion ruling of Roe v. Wade failed. He compared America and its legalized abortion to Hitler's Germany and said that whatever tactics would have been morally justified in removing Hitler would be justified in trying to stop abortion. I said the same thing in a book I wrote (A Time For Anger) that right wing evangelicals made into a best seller. For instance Dr. James Dobson (of the Focus On the Family radio show) gave away over 100,000 copies.

Like many writers of moral/political/religious theories my father and I would have been shocked that someone took us at our word, walked into a Lutheran Church and pulled the trigger on an abortionist. But even if the murderer never read Dad's or my words we helped create the climate that made this murder likely to happen....(Click for remainder.)

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Loofah O'Reilly Tries to Deflect His Culpability in Tiller's Murder Towards the Left

By John Amato
Crooks and Liars




Bill O'Reilly led off his show by trying to denounce left wingers like all of us for blaming him for Dr. Tiller's death. He says he knew he would be the target because we hate him and FOX. How did you know we would call you out on Dr. Tiller? Maybe because of all your whacked out rants against him? What he said was true and that's that. He read off statistics from the Moonie Times and had on two Kansas law dudes (Khris Kobach, a law professor at Missouri and Brian Russell, teacher at Kansas) to help defend his cause. Usually, Bill has on an opposing--if somewhat ineffectual--view in his panel, but not this time. He couldn't risk his older audience getting hit with any of the truths surrounding BillO's outrageous behavior towards Dr. Tiller. He called him "The Baby Killer," again, the term he said originated with pro-life groups, but it's a name he used frequently against Dr. Tiller.
O'Reilly: When I heard about Tiller's murder, I knew pro-abortion zealots and FOX News haters would attempt to blame us for the crime and that is exactly what happened.
Later, Brian Russell disagreed with President Obama and said this:
Russell: Ideologically-driven killers rarely are influenced by anything other than their ideology. Obama got this wrong a few days ago when said that people become terrorists because they hear what's going on with Gitmo. No, they don't. They become terrorists because of ideology and just like this guy (Tiller's killer) almost certainly and exclusively because of ideology shot Tiller. These people who are saying that this drivel to you are as far off on their side of the issue as this shooter is on his.
Professor Russell thinks that since we point out O'Reilly's vitriol we're as bad as a freaking murderer. I called Russell on the phone and we had a heated exchange. I identified myself as a liberal blogger and he said he had to go in 5 minutes. I'll blog more about this later, but I told him that I was troubled by his last statement. A man who kills somebody does not have the equivalent ideology that I do on the left. That's insane. He tried to say that Bill O'Reilly had no influence on the killer and actually he took it a step further and said that no killer could ever be influenced by what he heard. I brought up the case of Jim David Adkisson and told him that Adkisson purchased Bernard Goldberg's book and listened to Bill O'Reilly and that was proof that these right wingers do influence people. He didn't believe me. I told him that I wanted BillO and his kind to take some responsibility for what they say and he disagreed. He kept saying he was an expert and I kept saying that his expertise didn't make him correct. He wouldn't admit that his last statement was meant as a blanket to cover Bill O'Reilly's vitriolic behavior with a defense and to also smear us by the hoisting on the values of a killer....(Click for remainder.)

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White House Proclamation: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month

THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary

___________________________________________________________
For Immediate Release June 1, 2009

LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL, AND TRANSGENDER PRIDE MONTH, 2009
- - - - - - -
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
A PROCLAMATION

Forty years ago, patrons and supporters of the Stonewall Inn in New York City resisted police harassment that had become all too common for members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community. Out of this resistance, the LGBT rights movement in America was born. During LGBT Pride Month, we commemorate the events of June 1969 and commit to achieving equal justice under law for LGBT Americans.

LGBT Americans have made, and continue to make, great and lasting contributions that continue to strengthen the fabric of American society. There are many well-respected LGBT leaders in all professional fields, including the arts and business communities. LGBT Americans also mobilized the Nation to respond to the domestic HIV/AIDS epidemic and have played a vital role in broadening this country's response to the HIV pandemic.

Due in no small part to the determination and dedication of the LGBT rights movement, more LGBT Americans are living their lives openly today than ever before. I am proud to be the first President to appoint openly LGBT candidates to Senate-confirmed positions in the first 100 days of an Administration. These individuals embody the best qualities we seek in public servants, and across my Administration -- in both the White House and the Federal agencies -- openly LGBT employees are doing their jobs with distinction and professionalism.

The LGBT rights movement has achieved great progress, but there is more work to be done. LGBT youth should feel safe to learn without the fear of harassment, and LGBT families and seniors should be allowed to live their lives with dignity and respect.

My Administration has partnered with the LGBT community to advance a wide range of initiatives. At the international level, I have joined efforts at the United Nations to decriminalize homosexuality around the world. Here at home, I continue to support measures to bring the full spectrum of equal rights to LGBT Americans. These measures include enhancing hate crimes laws, supporting civil unions and Federal rights for LGBT couples, outlawing discrimination in the workplace, ensuring adoption rights, and ending the existing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy in a way that strengthens our Armed Forces and our national security. We must also commit ourselves to fighting the HIV/AIDS epidemic by both reducing the number of HIV infections and providing care and support services to people living with HIV/AIDS across the United States.

These issues affect not only the LGBT community, but also our entire Nation. As long as the promise of equality for all remains unfulfilled, all Americans are affected. If we can work together to advance the principles upon which our Nation was founded, every American will benefit. During LGBT Pride Month, I call upon the LGBT community, the Congress, and the American people to work together to promote equal rights for all, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim June 2009 as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month. I call upon the people of the United States to turn back discrimination and prejudice everywhere it exists.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this first day of June, in the year of our Lord two thousand nine, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-third.

BARACK OBAMA

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Tiller Assassination Suspect Linked to Des Moines "Activist"

By Jason Hancock
The Iowa Independent


The suspect in the fatal shooting of late-term abortion doctor George Tiller in Kansas was an occasional contributor to a Des Moines-based newsletter that believes that killing abortion providers is justifiable homicide.

Des Moines resident and anti-abortion activist Dave Leach publishes the newsletter, called “Prayer & Action News,” which describes itself as “a trumpet call for the Armies of God to assemble.” In an interview with The Washington Post, Leach said not only has he published the writings of alleged gunman Scott Roeder in the past, but he visited him in Kansas several years ago on his way back from speaking with Rachelle “Shelley” Shannon in prison. Shannon was convicted in 1993 of shooting Tiller outside his clinic. She later confessed to setting fires at abortion clinics in Oregon, California, Idaho and Nevada.

In an interview with the Iowa Independent, Leach said calling “killing a killer a crime is too simplistic.”

“Indeed, ‘taking the law into your own hands,’ as the idiom goes, is morally, legally, and spiritually dangerous territory,” he said. “But to say it is never right or legal is ignorance of our own laws. Every state has some version of the Necessity Defense, which says if you break a law to save a life, it’s not a crime. Taking dozens of lives by the cruelest devices, from burning to death in acid, to dismemberment, to Dr. Tiller’s scissors in a baby’s brain, as a single day’s work for any abortionist.”

Leach said when human law conflicts with God’s Laws, “we ought to obey God rather than man.”

He will not “advocate” that anyone go out and kill someone who performs abortions, but his “mind remains open on the question.”...(Click for remainder.)

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Tiller Murder Suspect's Ties to Right-Wing Extremism

By Zachary Roth
Talking Points Memo


So who is Scott Roeder, the suspect in the George Tiller murder?

The 51-year-old resident of Merriam, Kansas has a record as a fanatical anti-abortion activist, who had made at least one other threat against an abortion provider. And he also has had ties to the a violent right-wing extremist group that came to prominence in the 1990s.

Roeder believed in "justifiable homicide" -- that is, that it's OK to kill those who facilitate abortions -- according to another anti-abortion activist, Regina Dinwiddie. Dinwiddie told McClatchy that in 1996, Roeder walked into a Kansas City Planned Parenthood clinic that was being picketed by protesters, and asked to see the doctor, Robert Crist.

Dinwiddie continued:

Robert Crist came out and he stared at him for approximately 45 seconds. Then he (Roeder) said, 'I've seen you now.' Then he turned his back and walked away, and they were scared to death.
In addition, McClatchy reports, someone using the name Scott Roeder has posted anti-Tiller comments on several anti-abortion websites. One comment, posted in 2007, read:
It seems as though what is happening in Kansas could be compared to the 'lawlessness' which is spoken of in the Bible. Tiller is the concentration camp 'Mengele' of our day and needs to be stopped before he and those who protect him bring judgment upon our nation.
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Tancredo, Buchanan Bruised by Racist 'Karate Chop'

Former Rep. Tom Tancredo and Pat Buchanan (Getty Images)

Amid Aide's Guilty Plea in Assault Case, 'Racist' Attacks Backfire on Sotomayor Foes

By David Weigel
The Washington Indpendent


On July 7, 2007, Marcus Epstein had too much to drink and stumbled onto Georgetown’s scenic, shop-lined M Street, walking in no particular direction. At 7:15 p.m., he bumped into a black woman, called her a “nigger,” and struck her in the head with an open hand. An off-duty Secret Service agent was watching. Epstein “jogged away,” according to the agent’s affidavit, and when Epstein was finally chased down, he “continued to flail his arms while being taken into custody.”

After this, say Epstein’s friends, the then-24-year-old conservative activist radically changed his life. He swore off drinking and started attending meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous. He started treating the bipolar depression that had gone undiagnosed until that run-in with the law. In January 2008 Epstein plea bargained to a charge of simple assault, as part of a settlement that included a letter of apology to his victim and a $1,000 donation to the United Negro College Fund. He will be in court again on July 8, but because he met the terms of his settlement, Epstein’s employers expect the ordeal to end then and there. Epstein could not be reached for comment on Monday.

Epstein was, and still is, one of the utility players in the immigration restrictionist fringe of the conservative movement, the executive director of both Pat Buchanan’s American Cause and former Rep. Tom Tancredo’s Team America PAC. Before and after the 2007 incident, Epstein worked (in an unofficial capacity) with former Tancredo on his immigration-focused presidential campaign. He organized policy debates between conservative writers and leaders, including one with Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tex.) that was broadcast on C-SPAN. Epstein built coalitions and hobnobbed at Washington parties without much trouble, despite a record of controversial race- and immigration-focused writings and awareness that something — the details weren’t clear — bad had happened in 2007 that convinced him to go on the wagon.

“In college you have this culture of drinking all the time, and he kicked it cold,” said Kevin DeAnna, a friend of Epstein and the founder of Youth for Western Civilization, a student group founded in 2008 of which Tancredo is the honorary chairman. “It’s unfortunate that he’s getting hit from this now, years after he stopped doing this kind of thing.”...(Click for remainder.)

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*BREAKING* Gallup Says Republicans are White Christian Conservatives, also Water is Wet

Via Wonkette



And the sun is most likely to come out during the day, and dogs are most likely to eat dog food, maybe. [Gallup]

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Blind Justice

By R.J. Matson
The New York Observer



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Evolution of Church-State "Wall"

By Joel Pett
Slate.com



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Olbermann: It's Time to Turn Off Faux News

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Franken Poised to Win. Again.

By Kos
Daily Kos


The Minnesota Supreme Court heard oral arguments today on sore-loser Norm Coleman's efforts to overthrow the will of the voters just because he wants to stay in office. It didn't go well for him, per election lawyer Rick Hasen:
  1. It is always dangerous to guess how a court is going to come out based upon oral argument. But there's good reason here to believe that the state Supreme Court Justices went into this with their minds made up: this case has been expedited pursuant to state law, and they've had two weeks (including three weekends) to think about how to decide this case based upon the briefs. They likely had a draft opinion or set of opinions in front of them. So this oral argument may be more of a tip off than most.

  2. There's no question that Coleman's side got much tougher question than Franken's side, and based upon oral argument I would not be surprised to see a unanimous decision in favor of Franken in a relatively short time frame (within two weeks--maybe sooner). I counted at least three of the five Justices who were much more willing to accept Franken's arguments than Coleman's arguments, and who asked Coleman's side much more difficult questions [...]
Things look so poorly for Coleman, in fact, that the local CBS news affiliate was unable to find a single legal expert who could spin on behalf of the former senator.
Furthermore, I have been unable to find any independent expert who believes Coleman will win in the Minnesota Supreme Court. In fact, I have asked the Coleman camp if they know of any expert and they not given me any names.

The thing about experts is that they can, of course, be wrong. But when they all say the same thing you have to wonder.

(Click for remainder.)

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Abortion Doctor is a Victim of America's Taliban

By Dave Lindorff
After Downing Street


Sunday’s cowardly assassination of abortion doctor George Tiller demonstrates once again that the US is not all that different from Pakistan.

One thing that these two violent societies share is having a group of rabid religious fundamentalists who are each on a jihad against those in their nation with whom they disagree, and who are ready to kill and maim their enemies without mercy or hesitation. The other thing—perhaps the more dangerous thing—that they share is a government apparatus in which certain elements are overtly or surreptitiously supportive of the jihadists, and in which other elements are cowed into silence and inaction.

In Pakistan it is the Taliban and related organizations and groups, which have the tacit support of some elements within Pakistan’s military, police and intelligence services and political parties. These elements encourage, assist and protect Taliban terrorists in their attacks on the larger society.

In the US, it is groups like Operation Rescue and other militant anti-abortion groups and the violent American “jihadists” who are attracted to them, that have terrorized women seeking abortions or abortion counseling, and that have terrorized the doctors and nurses who have bravely tried to provide women with the health care they want and need, including the constitutionally-protected right to an abortion. And it is political officials like Phillip Kline, who was attorney general in Kansas from 2000 to 2006, and who during that time repeatedly harassed and initiated criminal investigations against Tiller and his women’s health clinic in Wichita, who incite these groups to violence.

Randall Terry, a founder of Operation Rescue, even after Tiller’s murder, called the victim, who was slain as he handed out brochures as a volunteer at his church, “a mass murderer” and “an evil man” whose “hands were covered with blood.”

This is the kind of inflammatory rhetoric that leads unbalanced and fanatic individuals to turn to violence, and political charlatans like Terry, every bit as much as Mullah Omar in Afghanistan, know this.

If we want to take the parallel further, we can see President Barack Obama acting like a string of Pakistani leaders who have refused to take a stand against the jihadists in their midst, seeking instead, accommodation. Even after Tiller’s murder—the ninth in a string of murders of abortion doctors across the country (and 17 attempted murders), not to mention uncounted numbers of attacks on abortion clinics—Obama said benignly that “however profound our differences as Americans over difficult issues such as abortion, they cannot be resolved by heinous acts of violence.”...(Click for remainder.)

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The Matter With Kansas

What role did the state's political climate play in the murder of Dr. George Tiller?

By John B. Judis
The New Republic


No one who has written about Kansas politics can be unfamiliar with Dr. George Tiller, who was assassinated Sunday as he was entering the Reformation Lutheran Church in Wichita. Tiller has been the target of the state's right-wing Republicans for two decades. He was also the focus of the fanatical anti-abortion group, Operation Rescue, founded by Randall Terry, which is now headquartered in Wichita. Both the state's Republicans and the leaders of Operation Rescue have some explaining to do in the wake of Tiller's murder.

In the 19th century, Kansas was a hotbed of political extremism--from abolitionist John Brown to temperance crusader Carrie Nation. The Populist Party won control of the state legislature in 1890 and elected the first Populist senator. But for most of the 20th century, its politics was dominated by moderate Republicans like Alf Landon and Bob Dole. That changed in the 1990s--and it had something to do with George Tiller and Operation Rescue.

Tiller has been performing abortions in Wichita since 1973. His clinic is only one of three nationally that offers legal late-term abortions. His clinic was bombed by anti-abortion protestors in 1985. And in 1991, Terry's Operation Rescue staged a Summer of Mercy in Wichita, which attracted protestors who blockaded Tiller's clinic for six weeks. At the summer's end, Pat Robertson urged a crowd of 35,000 at the Wichita State College Stadium to transform the state's politics.

As Thomas Frank describes in What's the Matter With Kansas?, the Summer of Mercy gave rise to a far-right challenge to the state's moderate Republicans. Before long, the more extreme GOPers were taking over party committees and seeing their candidates elected to state offices. But their ascendancy also led to the reemergence, after decades in the wilderness, of a viable Democratic party in Kansas, led by Kathleen Sebelius, who is now the Secretary of the Health and Human Services. Moderate Republicans, tired of far right candidates espousing creationism and committed to banning abortion, began voting for Democrats like Sebelius or Representative Dennis Moore....(Click for remainder.)

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Healthcare Overhaul Seen Boosting U.S. Economy

By Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Overhauling the U.S. healthcare system to contain soaring costs and expand medical coverage to the uninsured would help boost U.S. economic output, lower budget deficits and raise workers' incomes, a White House report said on Tuesday.

A report by the White House Council of Economic Advisers said healthcare spending, which currently accounts for about 18 percent of the country's economic output, could reach 34 percent by 2040 if the current rate of cost growth continues. It said that kind of growth rate was unsustainable.

"Healthcare reform is incredibly important not just for the American people but for the American economy," said White House economic adviser Christina Romer.

"We need to get the growth rate of costs down significantly," she said in a telephone conference.

Most working Americans with health insurance get it through their employers and the study said that rising costs increase insurance premiums and cut into workers' wages. A reform that reins in costs would improve economic efficiency and increase economic output by more than 2 percent in 2020 and by 8 percent in 2030, the report concluded....(Click for remainder.)

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Martin Feldstein Uses WaPo Op-Ed Page for Cap-and-Trade Scare Mongering

By David Roberts
Grist.com


Martin Feldstein is a conservative economist—a long-time advocate of supply-side, trickle-down economic policy and a leading advocate for Social Security privatization—so it’s no great surprise that he has taken to the pages of the Washington Post to characterize the Waxman-Markey climate and energy bill as “All Cost, No Benefit.

Feldstein has one good point: that it’s scandalous how many of the pollution permits are being given away instead of auctioned. And he has one argument so disingenuous I have a hard time believing it is made in good faith: that since a global agreement will be necessary to achieve the necessary reductions in CO2 emissions, we should wait until such an agreement is in place before passing a domestic law. (Since other nations insist that America demonstrate its commitment to climate action before they’ll sign on to a new international accord, Feldstein’s strategy would make an international bill impossible, so advocating for it is tantamount to arguing that the problem isn’t worth solving.)

But I want to focus on another point. Feldstein cites a CBO analysis showing that cap-and-trade (to reduce emissions by 15 percent by 2020) would cost the average American family $1,600. And he says that cost will rise as the cap on carbon declines.

A number of things could be said about the CBO’s work on climate, but the main point here is that Feldstein is using it in a highly deceptive way....(Click for remainder.)

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Sec. of State Clinton: In Recognition of Gay and Lesbian Pride Month 2009

By Hillary Rodham Clinton
United States Secretary of State

Forty years ago this month, the gay rights movement began with the Stonewall riots in New York City, as gays and lesbians demanded an end to the persecution they had long endured. Now, after decades of hard work, the fight has grown into a global movement to achieve a world in which all people live free from violence and fear, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

In honor of Gay and Lesbian Pride Month and on behalf of the State Department, I extend our appreciation to the global LGBT community for its courage and determination during the past 40 years, and I offer our support for the significant work that still lies ahead.

At the State Department and throughout the Administration, we are grateful for our lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees in Washington and around the world. They and their families make many sacrifices to serve our nation. Their contributions are vital to our efforts to establish stability, prosperity and peace worldwide.

Human rights are at the heart of those efforts. Gays and lesbians in many parts of the world live under constant threat of arrest, violence, even torture. The persecution of gays and lesbians is a violation of human rights and an affront to human decency, and it must end. As Secretary of State, I will advance a comprehensive human rights agenda that includes the elimination of violence and discrimination against people based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

Though the road to full equality for LGBT Americans is long, the example set by those fighting for equal rights in the United States gives hope to men and women around the world who yearn for a better future for themselves and their loved ones.

This June, let us recommit ourselves to achieving a world in which all people can live in safety and freedom, no matter who they are or whom they love.

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Pinhead #1, O'Reilly's Campaign Against Murdered Doctor

The Fox News star had compared Tiller to a Nazi, called him a "baby killer," and warned of "Judgment Day"

By Gabriel Winant
Salon.com


When his show airs tomorrow, Bill O'Reilly will most certainly decry the death of Kansas doctor George Tiller, who was killed Sunday while attending church services with his wife. Tiller, O'Reilly will say, was a man who was guilty of barbaric acts, but a civilized society does not resort to lawless murder, even against its worst members. And O'Reilly, we can assume, will genuinely mean this.

But there's no other person who bears as much responsibility for the characterization of Tiller as a savage on the loose, killing babies willy-nilly thanks to the collusion of would-be sophisticated cultural elites, a bought-and-paid-for governor and scofflaw secular journalists. Tiller's name first appeared on "The Factor" on Feb. 25, 2005. Since then, O'Reilly and his guest hosts have brought up the doctor on 28 more episodes, including as recently as April 27 of this year. Almost invariably, Tiller is described as "Tiller the Baby Killer."

Tiller, O'Reilly likes to say, "destroys fetuses for just about any reason right up until the birth date for $5,000." He's guilty of "Nazi stuff," said O'Reilly on June 8, 2005; a moral equivalent to NAMBLA and al-Qaida, he suggested on March 15, 2006. "This is the kind of stuff happened in Mao's China, Hitler's Germany, Stalin's Soviet Union," said O'Reilly on Nov. 9, 2006.

O'Reilly has also frequently linked Tiller to his longtime obsession, child molestation and rape. Because a young teenager who received an abortion from Tiller could, by definition, have been a victim of statutory rape, O'Reilly frequently suggested that the clinic was covering up for child rapists (rather than teenage boyfriends) by refusing to release records on the abortions performed....(Click for remainder.)

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Nazi Comparisons: Scott Lively and His Nazi Beliefs

By Timothy Kincaid
Box Turtle Bulletin


Scott Lively has earned his organization Abiding Truth Ministries an official SPLC Hate Group designation by making extreme (and bizarre) claims about gay people. Perhaps his best known is accusation that gay men were responsible for the atrocities of Hitler’s Nazi regime. It is the subject of his book, The Pink Swastika.

Not finding fertile ground for extremist claims in the United States (and because there are too many Holocaust organizations that refute his smears), Lively finds a more favorable audience overseas. He exports his anti-gay fervor to places where political and religious establishments are welcoming of radical calls for oppression and persecution of gay people.

His latest efforts were in Uganda where, in a conference with Exodus Board Member Don Schmierer and ex-gay Caleb Brundidge, he called for harsher civil punishment of homosexuality and forced reorientation therapy. But his actions in Uganda open him up to ironic observations about who more closely compares to Nazi Germany.

Dr. Warren Throckmorton has noted some such comparisons:
Scott Lively encouraged the Uganda church leaders to view the tiny gay movement in Uganda as related in some way to the same movement that propelled the Nazis to power in Germany. However, if one looks for similarities in rhetoric and policy positions, one can more readily find them by noting how the the goverment in power then in Germany and now in Uganda regarded homosexuality. InThe Pink Swastika, Lively discounts the Nazis’ public rhetoric and policies as a means of distracting attention to the homosexuality in the ranks of Nazi leaders. What could the same rhetoric and public policy objectives mean in Uganda?
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