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New GOP "Racist" Headache

Monday, July 06, 2009

After "Barack the Magic Negro" and other GOP racial gaffes, a top Young Republican official—who hopes to be elected chairman Saturday—laughs at a racial slur about President Obama. The Daily Beast's John Avlon on a choice facing GOP brass: Lose the radical fringe, or never email, use social media or send out holiday CDs again.

By John Avlon
The Daily Beast

Note to Republicans: Racist “humor,” the Internet, and political ambitions don’t mix. Audra Shay, vice chairman of the Young Republicans and the leading candidate to be elected its chairman on Saturday, is now the latest in a growing list of GOP officials learning this lesson the hard way, based on pictures of a now-deleted Facebook page obtained by The Daily Beast.

On Wednesday, Shay—a 38-year-old Army veteran, mother, and event planner from Louisiana who has been endorsed by her governor, Bobby Jindal—was holding court on her Facebook page, initiating a political conversation by posting that “WalMart just signed a death warrant” by “endorsing Obama’s healthcare plan.” At 1:52, a friend named listed as Eric S. Piker, but whose personal page says his actual name is Eric Pike, wrote “It’s the government making us commies… can’t even smoke in my damn car… whats next they going to issue toilet paper once a month… tell us how to wipe our asses…”

Two minutes later, Piker posted again saying “Obama Bin Lauden [sic] is the new terrorist… Muslim is on there side [sic]… need to take this country back from all of these mad coons… and illegals.”

Eight minutes after that, at 2:02, Shay weighed in on Piker’s comments: “You tell em Eric! lol.”...(Remaidner.)


Oh, That Liberal Media Elite: Drummed Palin Right Out of Office

By Julie
News Hounds

Friday (7/3/09) on Your World, hosted by Stuart Varney, the breaking news was, of course, Sarah Palin's resignation as Alaska's Governor. According to Varney & Co., Palin didn't really quit – the “elite” media forced her out. And this isn't political suicide at all – it's a strategic plan to quit governing with a year and a half left in her term to, I don't know, stage a comeback? Leave it to some of the Fox Newsies to help Sarah Palin launch her 2012 candidacy for President (and for the record, I can barely write “Sarah Palin” and “President” in the same sentence without gagging) while avoiding mention of Palin's responsibility in her own demise.

Varney played a portion of Palin's resignation speech. You can view the entire speech text and video here. With Baby Trig (I presume) gurgling in the background (are there no lengths to which she won't go to gain sympathy?!?), Palin rambled (“ . . . and I'm taking my fight for what's right for Alaska in a new direction”) and ranted (“ . . . superficial, wasteful political blood sport”) and whined (“ . . . [her kids have] recently seen their baby brother Trig mocked and ridiculed by some pretty mean-spirited adults recently . . . .”) and basically made little sense, except at the end she – friggin' finally – quit. (She did, though, talk about her family being supportive of her resignation, and she said, “ . . . and someday I'll talk about the details of that . . . .” Unfortunately, that sounds like we'll be hearing from her again. Damn.)

A portion of Palin's speech that Varney didn't show had her saying this: “Life is too short to compromise time and resources... It may be tempting and more comfortable to just keep your head down, plod along, and appease those who demand: 'Sit down and shut up,' but that's the worthless, easy path; that's a quitter's way out. And a problem in our country today is apathy. It would be apathetic to just hunker down and "go with the flow.'” Why did nobody on Fox News note that QUITTING is the quitter's way out? What's that saying? Winners never quit and quitters never win?

Among other guests, Varney brought out Fox News host and former Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee. Varney and Huckabee brilliantly ran the Fox News playbook for protecting Republicans in peril. Play One: It's all the fault of the liberal media elite.

Began Varney, “Now you heard the Sarah Palin announcement. Would you say that she was run out of politics, run out of the governorship of Alaska? Did she get fed up with this and left because she didn't like it any more, or is she taking a political gamble – free herself of Alaska politics, free herself of the harsh intrusion into her life, so she can get on and campaign in the lower 48 . . . .”

Step Two: Not only is the liberal media to blame, the Republican at issue is a saint and a total victim and wouldn't harm a fly....(Remainder.)


Make the Ask—Obama and Gay Rights

By The Editors
The New Republic

This magazine has made no secret of its high regard for Barack Obama. Which makes it all the more distressing for us to observe the approach that his administration is taking on gay rights. During the campaign, Obama said all the right things (well, almost all--like most national politicians, he wouldn't endorse same-sex marriage). He invoked the importance of winning "equality" and "dignity" and "respect" for gays and lesbians. Now he is president. And one of the perks of being president is that you get to lead. But, when it comes to gay issues, leading does not seem to interest this White House.

There was, during the first few months of the administration, an understandable reluctance among liberals to believe that gay rights were being systematically sidelined--and a genuine willingness to be patient on the issue. Yes, the prominence of Rick Warren at the inauguration was irksome. But Obama had to reach out to religious conservatives somehow, to show them that he intended to be the president of Red America, too. And, yes, Obama seemed to evince little initial interest in fulfilling either of his principal campaign pledges to the gay community: finally permitting gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military and repealing the noxious Defense of Marriage of Act signed by Bill Clinton back in 1996. But let's be realistic: He had two wars to fight, an economy to mend, and an environment to save. And no one expected gay rights to be his top priority. Give him time, the thinking went.

But then hints began to trickle out that this optimism might be misplaced. First, there were the comments of Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, who told Fox News in March that repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell "has really not progressed very far at this point in the administration"--then added, "The president and I feel like we've got a lot on our plates right now and let's push that one down the road a little bit." Two months later came the revelation that the Justice Department had submitted a rather energetic brief in federal court backing the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act--the very same act Obama had pledged to repeal. Assailed by liberals, the administration protested that it was merely standard practice for the government to submit briefs in defense of existing law. That was true, as far as it went. But defending existing law, while the norm, is not a requirement; and administrations have declined to do so in the past over far less significant matters....(Remainder.)


What the Cowardly Honduras Coup Lost Today

By Al Giordano
The Field at NarcoSphere

Sometimes the drama is of such high volume that the ways it changes the narrative go unnoticed in the exact moments that it happens.

But here are some of the very significant realities that shifted today:

President Manuel Zelaya Showed True Courage: One of the open questions prior to today was whether, threatened with 18 felony charges, including treason, and 20 years in prison (not to mention likely torture and seizure of his considerable properties and business interests), the legitimate president of Honduras would fail to show up for today’s showdown at 2,000 feet over Tegucigalpa.

It would have been easy enough to turn the recommendations by Canada and Costa Rica at last night’s Organization of American States (OAS) meeting in Washington into a diplomatic pretext to delay his attempted return. He could have followed in the extra-light footsteps of Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas, Al Gore, or Andrés Manuel López Obrador, when the moment of truth arrived against an illegitimate regime. The consequence of such cowardice would have been causing his own people in Honduras to lose faith in him. Having guts (or huevos, male or female) in Latin America, as in most parts of the world, is a Sina Qua Non for a political leader. Zelaya showed them today. He emerges from today stronger, with more popular support than before, and bigger than life before the international public and media. He passed an important test today, and thus passed into the history books.

Illegitimate “President” of Honduras Roberto Micheletti Became a National and International Laughing Stock: One cannot overstate the extent to which Micheletti lost grip and traction today in his quest to remain in power. After a week of threatening the criminal charges against Zelaya (in effect, gambling that Zelaya would chicken out), he won the most Pyrrhic of battles today when he ordered soldiers and vehicles out on the runway of Toncontin International Airport to keep his “most wanted criminal” from landing. If his coup regime’s charges were so iron-clad, why not just let Zelaya land and drag him off to jail? He proved all of his schtick a lie, today....(Remainder.)


Like A Grizzly With Cubs, If By "Grizzly" You Mean "Quitter", and by "Cubs" You Mean "Kids You Can't Be Bothered With"

By Hilzoy
Washington Monthly

Sarah Palin, January 22, 2009:
"When I took my oath of office to serve as your Governor, remember, I swore to steadfastly and doggedly guard the interests of this great state like a grizzly with cubs, as a mother naturally guards her own. Alaska, as a statewide family, we've got to fight for each other, not against and not let external, sensationalized distractions draw us off course."
Sarah Palin, July 3, 2009:
"Productive, fulfilled people determine where to put their efforts, choosing to wisely utilize precious time... to BUILD UP.

And there is such a need to BUILD up and FIGHT for our state and our country. I choose to FIGHT for it! (...)

But I won’t do it from the Governor’s desk."
The Juneau Empire:
"Palin veiled her announcement as something much more noble, but the fact is that she's quitting less than three years into her tenure. And, given her meteoric rise to national political stardom last fall, Alaskans are shocked and appalled by her decision to quit midstream.

We say good for her, however, because it's been nearly a year since the first-term governor has acted like she actually wanted the job."
On reflection, what bothers me most about Sarah Palin resigning is how fundamentally unserious it is. Being a governor is a real job with real responsibilities. It gives you a tremendous opportunity to affect your state, for better or for worse. In some ways, you can do more as a lame duck than at other times: you don't have to worry about re-election, fundraising, and so forth, so you can spend all your time trying to make your state government more effective.

Often it's clear what a governor ought to focus on: crises happen, issues reach a point where they have to be dealt with. At other times, a governor gets to be more proactive: giving some troubled agency the attention it doesn't normally get and trying to really turn it around, trying to put programs on solid foundations before their problems become urgent, making government work better and more efficiently for all your citizens....(Remainder.)


The Dumbest Man in Public Life, Perhaps Ever

By Jesse Taylor

The question of whether or not there is someone dumber than Jonah Goldberg is not really a matter of debate. It’s more a matter of certain fact, buffeted by a gospel of buffoonery so vast and deep that the Marianas Trench is envious.

First, Jonah, playing off of a Mark Steyn post that allows us to indict entire systems based on a single outcome because it could happen to you (which is why capitalism is a failure after my friend’s combination pornography and Baby Bjorn emporium didn’t work out), leads us to this story which has been making the wingnut rounds: a man pulled out his own teeth after not being able to find an NHS dentist in Britain. And he’s a veteran, so it’s basically like each of those teeth was aborted.
Hence I want to be very clear the following story says absolutely nothing of import about British healthcare and in no way detracts from the argument that we should emulate their system.
Unfortunately, Jonah leaves out this part:
A spokesman for NHS East Riding of Yorkshire said Mr Boynton’s case gave an ‘inaccurate scare-mongering picture of dental service provision in East Yorkshire based solely on the claims of one man’

The spokesman said: ‘As well as 34 dental practices, we have seven dental access centres across East Riding of Yorkshire, including Beverley, where Mr Boynton could access a full range of NHS dentist services.

‘So there is absolutely no reason why anyone should have to resort to pulling out their own teeth. NHS East Riding of Yorkshire has invested around £1 million in helping dentists target new patients. At many of our dental practices appointments are being offered to new patients within two weeks.

‘Our local out-of-hours and Accident and Emergency Services would have both been able to give Mr Boynton details of how to access emergency/urgent dental services if he had approached them.’


The Other Shoe

By Monte Wolverton
The Wolvertoon


Sarah Palin, a Dead Parrot and Scrotal Asymmetry

By Glenn W. Smith

What does scrotal asymmetry have to do with Sarah Palin? At first, the answer might seem like a mystery and an enigma wrapped in a conundrum. But the real answer is within our grasp, and it reveals something about the unreality of American politics.

To begin, let's examine just how Sarah Palin became a national celebrity. An impetuous John McCain picked the inexperienced and goofy governor of Alaska as his running mate in 2008. The political media, drunk with its ability to create "truth" in its own private America, finds her pretty. She's given a speech to read before the easiest audience in the world: 2008 Republican national conventioneers, who, staring balefully at John McCain, want an umbrella for their bitter, boring cocktail. Palin is that umbrella. She reads the speech. The crowd roars; the media get tears in their eyes, wowed by their own abilities to cry on cue.

In any culture tethered to the real, the Palin phenomena would not be possible. We would not hire her to babysit our kids, much less to be a heartbeat from the presidency. But we have escaped from the real into a world of celebrity where possible consequences don't matter. It's the show that matters.

This terrible un-tethering is made possible by many things, among them the fact that in the funhouse of language, we often can't tell our right from our left.

This isn't the case everywhere. For instance, in northern Australia there's a small Aboriginal community called Pormpuraaw. The locals are known as Kuuk Thaayorre. They have no words for "left" and "right." Those are the relative terms we use to orient ourselves in space. But, neuroscientist Lera Boroditsky tells us, the Kuuk Thaayorre, like many such groups, use the cardinal directions - north, south, east, west - to define their space upon the real earth. Boroditsky explains:
This is done at all scales, which means you have to say things like ‘There's an ant on your southeast leg" or "Move the cup to the north northwest a little bit." One obvious consequence of speaking such a language is that you have to stay oriented at all times, or else you cannot speak properly. The normal greeting in Kuuk Thaayorre is "Where are you going?" and the answer should be something like " Southsoutheast, in the middle distance." If you don't know which way you're facing, you can't even get past "Hello."
Wasn't it Palin's very problem that she couldn't get past hello? "You have to stay oriented at all times, or else you cannot speak properly." Therein lies her difficulty, and ours as well. Lost in our admittedly powerful abstractions, we, like our very own media, get dizzy. We can make stuff up, but what we make up can kill us. If we don't need to know where on the earth we are anymore, why would we worry when it grows too hot to stand upon it?...(Remainder.)


The Economic States of Recession

By John Sherffius
Boulder Daily Camera


Palin's Lawyer Threatens Bloggers, Media

By Jon Perr
Crooks and Liars

During her now 10 month-long media victimization campaign, Sarah Palin has time and again revealed her fundamental misunderstanding of the First Amendment and Americans' free speech rights. Now as she prepares to exit the Alaska Governor's mansion, her confusion - and thin skin - is again on display.

On the Fourth of July of all days, Palin's lawyer Thomas Van Flein issued a warning that his client would bring defamation claims against bloggers and media alike speculating on rumors of a criminal investigation involving the Governor:
To the extent several websites, most notably liberal Alaska blogger Shannyn Moore, are now claiming as "fact" that Governor Palin resigned because she is "under federal investigation" for embezzlement or other criminal wrongdoing, we will be exploring legal options this week to address such defamation. This is to provide notice to Ms. Moore, and those who re-publish the defamation, such as Huffington Post, MSNBC, the New York Times and The Washington Post, that the Palins will not allow them to propagate defamatory material without answering to this in a court of law. The Alaska Constitution protects the right of free speech, while simultaneously holding those "responsible for the abuse of that right." Alaska Constitution Art. I, Sec. 5. These falsehoods abuse the right to free speech; continuing to publish these falsehoods of criminal activity is reckless, done without any regard for the truth, and is actionable.
As Moore herself noted regarding her reference on MSNBC to the lingering questions surrounding the construction of the Palin home and the Wasilla sports complex (a story first raised last year by the Wayne Barrett in The Village Voice):
"I haven't defamed the governor, I reported on speculation and rumor in Alaska. ... It's not my rumor; it's been out there for 10 months and the First Amendment protects me," Moore said. "Even if I didn't say it's 'rumors and speculation,' I'm still protected -- I would just lose credibility, which I'm not willing to do."...


The Congress Before Time

By R.J. Matson
The New York Observer


Republicans, a Threat to the Republic?

Sarah Palin’s abrupt decision to resign as Alaska’s governor – and her rambling explanation – underscore again how the Republican Party over the past dozen years has put up candidates for top national offices who are unqualified or ill-suited for those sensitive positions.

By Robert Parry
Consortium News

Like Palin, George W. Bush was a charismatic underachiever who hadn’t accomplished much in life and showed little intellectual firepower but was nevertheless presented by the GOP as its candidate for one of the most powerful jobs on earth.

However, unlike Palin who lost her vice presidential bid, Bush took the presidency for two terms – in two dubious elections – with disastrous consequences for the nation.

Then, even amid the wreckage of the Bush administration’s final days, the Republican Party enthusiastically nominated first-term Alaska Gov. Palin to be a heartbeat away from the presidency, which they hoped would be filled by 72-year-old cancer survivor John McCain.

The Republican Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota, was a glimpse into Crazy Town, with a national party gone giddy over the folksy Sarah Palin, who we were told could “field-dress a moose.” The dominant chant of the convention – sometimes led by Palin herself – was “drill, baby, drill.”

On the campaign trail, Palin tossed out the reddest of red meat, accusing Barack Obama of “palling around with terrorists” and whipping angry white crowds into anti-Obama shouts of “kill him” and “traitor.” She seemed oblivious to the demagogic passions that she was unleashing – or she simply didn’t care about the possible consequences....(Remainder.)


Huffington Post Blogger Shannyn Moore in Palin's Cross Hairs

By AKMuckraker
The Huffington Post

There is an old expression which says, "In a crisis, do nothing." Wise words indeed, which means that soon-to-be-ex-governor Sarah Palin no doubt would never heed them. She's sort of adopted another philosophy. It's more like, "In a crisis, fly off the handle, be reactionary and threaten to sue someone for defamation in the hopes of intimidating the entire blogosphere and all national print and televised media into not talking about something." I'm not an oddsmaker, but this strategy seems destined to become a crumpled up tin can on the refuse pile of epic failure.

There's no doubt that the week has been a bad one for the governor. It started with an unflattering Vanity Fair article. This was followed by a CBS piece detailing several leaked emails in which she asked the McCain campaign to lie about Todd Palin's 7-year membership in a secessionist party. McCain strategist Steve Schmidt responded to her request saying that Todd was a member, and it was a secessionist party and he wasn't going to create an issue in the media if it didn't exist already, nor would he lie for her.
"The statement you are suggesting be released would be inaccurate. The inaccuracy would bring greater media attention to this matter and be a distraction. According to your staff there have been no media inquiries into this and you received no questions about it during your interviews. If you are asked about it you should smile and say many Alaskans who love their country join the party because it speaks to a tradition of political independence. Todd loves his country.

We will not put out a statement and inflame this and create a situation where john has to adress this."

Palin's week culminated, of course, in a strange, twitchy, impulsive announcement from her home on the shore of Lake Lucille, that she would be stepping down from office, and resigning. The last time Alaskans were this gobsmacked by the governor was when she said 'yes' to John McCain when he popped the question back in August....(Remainder.)


Church of England Bishop, and Hate-Filled Bigot, Says Gays Should Repent

By Associated Press
Via Google News

LONDON (AP) — A senior Church of England bishop has angered gay-rights campaigners by saying homosexuals should repent.

Archbishop of Rochester Michael Nazir-Ali told the Sunday Telegraph newspaper that the Bible defined marriage as the union of a man and a woman. He said the church welcomed gay people, "but we want them to repent and be changed."

Nazir-Ali is a leading member of the conservative wing of the global Anglican Communion, which is riven by divisions over homosexuality and the ordination of women.

Gay groups condemned the bishop's remarks. Campaigner Peter Tatchell said Nazir-Ali's view "goes against Christ's gospel of love and compassion."

And Derek Munn of gay-rights group Stonewall accused the bishop of promoting inequality and intolerance.

The 77 million-member Anglican Communion has been splintering since 2003, when the Episcopal Church — the Anglican body in the U.S. — consecrated the first openly gay bishop, V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire.

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams has tried to hold the fragile communion together by getting churches to observe a voluntary moratorium on consecrating another openly gay bishop and developing prayers for same-sex unions. But many fear a split is inevitable....(Remainder.)


Will SCOTUS Allow Unlimited Corporate Contributions to Election Campaigns?

By Daniel Tencer
The Raw Story

The most troubling part of the court’s action is the brave new world of politics it could usher in. Auto companies that receive multibillion-dollar bailouts could spend vast sums to re-elect the same officials who hand them the money. If Exxon Mobil or Wal-Mart wants something from a member of Congress, it could threaten to spend as much as it takes to defeat him or her in the next election.

– From an editorial in the
New York Times, July 4, 2009
If this editorial in the Times has it right, American democracy could be in for a rough ride in the coming years.

A largely-overlooked order from the United States Supreme Court last week suggests the nation’s highest court wants to revisit long-standing restrictions on campaign contributions from corporations.

On the last day of its current session, the Supreme Court surprised observers by declining to return a ruling in the case of Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, instead asking lawyers on both sides of the case to return in September for an unusual pre-session hearing on the validity of various electoral laws pertaining to the case.

Citizens United vs. FEC revolves around a political film the conservative activist group Citizens United made about Hillary Clinton in 2008, while the then-senator from New York was running for president. The FEC had charged Citizens United with breaking campaign finance laws by distributing the film during a certain period before the primary elections.

But instead of ruling on the case and the relevant law (the McCain-Fengold law, which set some restrictions on corporate political spending), the court instead asked the lawyers in the case to present briefs on a relevant case from 20 years ago: Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce.

This is important because that was the Supreme Court case that ruled that restrictions on campaign contributions by corporations, unions and other organizations were legal despite their infringement on First Amendment rights....(Remainder.)


Homophobic, and Dumb-as-a-Box-of-Rocks, Archbishop of Sudan Wants Gene Robinson to Resign

By Riazat Butt
The Guardian

There were renewed calls yesterday for the resignation of the Right Reverend Gene Robinson, the openly gay bishop of New Hampshire, and of the clergy those who consecrated him.

The demand came from the Archbishop of Sudan, the Most Reverend Daniel Deng, who last summer shocked Anglicans by issuing a statement condemning the 2003 decision to consecrate Robinson, a non-celibate gay man, and the US bishops responsible for his appointment.

The position was supported by the Episcopal Church of Sudan, which with has four million followers, 300 primary schools and 24 dioceses. It had previously remained neutral on the issue of homosexuality. The unexpected statement was of special concern for the US Episcopal Church, which enjoys close ties to the African country.

On the penultimate day of a meeting between the world's archbishops and senior bishops to address regional and international concerns, Deng was asked whether he had changed his stance on Robinson and the US Episcopal Church.

He replied: "We are asking that within the primates meeting and the situation on the statement remains the same. We have not deviated. What is needed is for churches in the Anglican world to wrestle with these issues so it comes to an end."

His comments could cast a shadow over the candid, yet cordial conversations that have been taking place between primates during the week....(Remainder.)


Bill Kristol Still Has a Hardon For Sarah Palin

By Heather
Crooks and Liars

Well, we've already had Mary Matalin defending Palin's decision to step down as Governor of Alaska. Now, no surprise, it's Bill Kristol's turn. Is it just me, or does anyone else think the man doesn't look like he believes a word that's coming out of his mouth? More than usual I mean.

Even though Kristol admits that the move is "high risk", he defends it as some sort of brilliant strategy where Palin can now go campaign full time and become the Obama administration's chief critic. Good luck with that Bill. As Juan Williams points out, Palin can no longer even say that she's a one term Governor of Alaska.

I thought conservatives didn't like it when someone decided to "cut and run". I guess that's okay if you're the object of their affection and want to cut and run for President.

John Amato:

It's no wonder why William the Bloody is defending Palin's decision to bail out. He's the one who pushed McCain big time to make her his VP.

Jane Mayer explains it all took place on a cruise in her piece: How John McCain came to pick Sarah Palin.
Palin received two memos from Paulette Simpson, the Alaska Federation of Republican Women leader, noting that two prominent conservative magazines—The Weekly Standard, owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, and National Review, founded by William F. Buckley, Jr.—were planning luxury cruises to Alaska in the summer of 2007, which would make stops in Juneau. Writers and editors from these publications had been enlisted to deliver lectures to politically minded vacationers. “The Governor was more than happy to meet these guys,” Joe Balash, a special staff assistant to Palin, recalled.

On June 18, 2007, the first group disembarked in Juneau from the Holland America Line’s M.S. Oosterdam, and went to the governor’s mansion, a white wooden Colonial house with six two-story columns, for lunch. The contingent featured three of The Weekly Standard ’s top writers: William Kristol, the magazine’s Washington-based editor, who is also an Op-Ed columnist for the Times and a regular commentator on “Fox News Sunday”; Fred Barnes, the magazine’s executive editor and the co-host of “The Beltway Boys,” a political talk show on Fox News; and Michael Gerson, the former chief speechwriter for President Bush and a Washington Post columnist.


Powell Says the Big Bag of Mashed-Up Jackass's Comments Show GOP Race Problem


Chris Wallace Allows Boehner to LIE and Claim No Stimulus Contracts Awarded in Ohio

By Media Matters

During the July 5 edition of Fox Broadcasting Co.'s Fox News Sunday, host Chris Wallace let stand House Minority Leader John Boehner's false claim that "[i]n Ohio, the infrastructure dollars that were sent there months ago," as part of the economic recovery package, "there hasn't been a contract let, to my knowledge. And the fact is is that I don't believe it will create jobs." In fact, in a June 15 update on the state's stimulus spending, the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) stated, "Combined with the contracts awarded so far using funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, ODOT has awarded more than $83.9 million in contracts for work on 52 projects -- a combination of interstate, local roadway and bridge modernization projects." The department's statement continued:
As contracts are awarded, construction companies begin to mobilize workers for these jobs. Jobs are also being created and retained by firms that provide materials and equipment used in highway construction, and those jobs supported by consumer expenditures resulting from wages to 'construction oriented' and 'supporting industries' employment.
A June 8 Associated Press article reported: "President Barack Obama's $787 billion economic spending package reached Ohio's roads Monday when construction crews began work on a highway project in Cleveland. The $1.8 million project will widen a ramp from Interstate 490 to Interstate 77, and other stimulus projects are scheduled to begin in weeks."...(Remainder.)


Starbucks: From Fair-Trade Zero to Local Hero?

By Waylon Lewis
The Huffington Post

Starbucks is already Fair-Trade. Now, they say they're going green--and supporting local--by 2010.

If they actually do it, I might have to give up my 15-year buycott of Starbucks. I used to dislike 'em 'cause they put my favorite local cafes outta business in Boston, Cambridge etc. Then I moved back to my hometown of Boulder, and looked with shriveled eyes at idiot college kids and yuppies who hung about their non-local Starbucks, spending money on The Man.

Then, Starbucks not only got on the Fair-trade wagon, but started leading the charge. Hmmm, I said, and turned my Conscious Consumer Alarm off the Starbucks channel.

Then, Starbucks pioneered the 10% recycled content to-go cup (something my favorite-ever local cafe, from which I'm writing this piece, still doesn't do). May not sound like a big deal, but no one else was doing it, and Starbucks' very size--the cause of We the People's resentment for years--suddenly becomes a very (very) good thing when they start using that power eco-responsibly. They also offer a discount (a paltry, but still didn't-have-to-do-it 10 cents) to anyone who uses a reusable cup.

Then, I read that Starbucks not only didn't put local cafes out of business, but that locally-owned cafes actually thrived in towns where Starbucks moved in. Apparently, Starbucks served as a gateway drug (or ambassador) to the masses...they went to Starbucks, developed a fancy for overpriced fancy coffee, then took that fancy next door to their local cafe. Humph, I said, and grudgingly stopped hating Starbucks at all. This was a year or so ago....(Remainder.)


Sen. Schumer: "Make No Mistake...There Will be a Public Option"

By Joe Sudbay

The thing about Senator Chuck Schumer is that he's a political creature. All Senators are to some extent, but Schumer sees all things through a political lens. So, when Schumer supports the public option in legislation to reform health care, it makes political sense. And, Schumer not only supports the public option, today, he guaranteed it:
The healthcare reform bill that emerges from Congress this year will include a government-run public health insurance option, regardless of the bipartisan negotiations seeking a compromise in the Senate, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Sunday.

"Make no mistake about it, the president is for this strongly. There will be a public option in the final bill," Schumer said on CBS News's "Face the Nation."

Schumer made his prediction just days before the Senate returned to the work of getting a bill passed by the first week of August amid significant disagreement between Democrats and Republicans -- and among Democrats themselves -- over controversial issues such as the public option.
We already know the policy reasons for including the public option. Nothing says the public option is good politics more than Schumer's blessing....(Original.)


Alexander Was Like Modern Gay Lovers!

By Celina Jaitly
The Times of India

It’s really amusing to see how people jump to conclusions the moment we utter the sentence, "Oh... he/she is gay!" If it’s a gay man most people think ... "oh, he’s a cross-dressing queen"...or... "the guy must walk like a woman and love to wear blue eyeliner" ...and sometimes people will immediately conclude that "...he is a threat to all masculinity". And if it’s a gay woman, then the first conclusion people jump to is the word "Dyke". Well, I would really like to clear these perceptions because every gay person is different. These are the things you need to know about gay people:

A) All gay men don’t dress/walk/talk or want to be like women

B) All gay women don’t want to dress up like a man with a crew cut and walk around scratching their balls.

C) Some gay people are just trapped emotionally in the wrong body and hence they display/emulate the traits of the opposite sex... which is also a part of some gays’ personalities (transgenders/transsexuals).

D) Transgender is an umbrella term used to describe people whose gender identity (sense of themselves as male or female) or gender expression differs from that usually associated with their birth sex. Many transgenders live part-time or full-time as members of the other gender.

E) Transsexuals are transgender people who live or wish to live full-time as members of the gender opposite to their birth sex. Biological females who wish to live and be recognized as men are called female-to-male (FTM) transsexuals or transsexual men. Biological males who wish to live and be recognized as women are called male-to-female (MTF) transsexuals or transsexual women. Transsexuals usually seek medical interventions, such as hormones and surgery, to make their bodies as congruent as possible with their preferred gender. The process of transitioning from one gender to the other is called sex reassignment or gender reassignment....(Remainder.)


David Broder is Not Making Sense

By Jamison Foser
Media Matters

The Dean of the Washington Press Corps writes:
Many who have heard Republican leaders in Congress proclaim their opposition to almost every piece of Obama's program are saying, "To hell with them." Instead of seeking to enlist Republican support, they urge Obama to tailor everything to the wishes of his Democratic allies.

Yet when it comes to the big initiatives -- energy, health care and the rest -- the risks of such a choice are obvious. When no Republican votes are in play, the price individual Democratic legislators can extract from the White House goes up. We saw plenty of that with the stimulus bill and the energy bill, both of which were weakened substantively by the concessions Obama had to make to get the last Democratic votes.
This simply does not make any sense. Broder thinks that the stimulus and energy bill were weakened substantially by concessions made to get the last Democratic votes, which is why Obama should seak Republican votes.

Huh? Does Broder really think "big initiatives" would be weakened less if Obama were attempting to woo Republican Senators? And if so, is there really anybody at the Washington Post who honestly believes that David Broder's increasingly nonsensical observations deliver greater value to readers than, say, Dan Froomkin's White House Watch?...(Remainder.)


The Washington Times and John Boehner, Joined at the Batcrap Crazy

By Media Matters

A couple weeks ago, the Washington Times sent out a fundraising email on behalf of a right-wing group opposing the Sotomayor nomination. Then, last Thursday, Washington Times email list subscribers received this:

Forget, for a moment, the question of whether the Washington Times should use its email lists in this way. What does it say about the "newspaper" that it is comfortable assuming that it will not alienate its readers by sending out partisan fundraising appeals for the House Republican Leader?...(Original.)



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