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CNN's Ferré Moronically Claims Obama is "Joining Bolivia, Venezuela, & Nicaragua" on Honduras

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

By Media Matters

On the July 6 edition of CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight, correspondent Ines Ferré advanced the conservative claim that President Obama is siding with Latin American leaders in opposing the June 28 ousting of Honduran President Manuel Zelaya. Ferré uncritically reported that Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) "says that in joining Bolivia, Venezuela, and Nicaragua, the U.S. is quote 'serving as an echo chamber ... not helpful to our political, economic, or security interests in the region.' " Earlier in her report, Ferré stated that "one of Zelaya's biggest supporters is Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez." But at no point did she point out that the European Union and United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon have also condemned the ouster.

As Media Matters for America has documented, several media conservatives, including Fox News contributors Charles Krauthammer and Bill Kristol, Wall Street Journal editorial board member Mary Anastasia O'Grady, and Internet gossip Matt Drudge, have advanced the claim that Obama is siding with Chavez and the leadership of Cuba without noting that the European Union has also condemned Zelaya's ouster. The Hill similarly advanced former House Speaker Newt Gingrich's (R-GA) claim that "the obama administration has joined castro and chavez" in opposing Zelaya's removal from office.

On June 28, Obama released the following statement on the situation in Honduras:
I am deeply concerned by reports coming out of Honduras regarding the detention and expulsion of President Mel Zelaya. As the Organization of American States [OAS] did on Friday, I call on all political and social actors in Honduras to respect democratic norms, the rule of law and the tenets of the Inter-American Democratic Charter. Any existing tensions and disputes must be resolved peacefully through dialogue free from any outside interference....


Who Knew that Queen Elizabeth II is a Raving Homophobic Bitch!?

Queen sends 'supportive' letters to leaders of church movement that has angered gay campaigners

The Queen has sent "supportive" letters to the leaders of a controversial church movement that has angered homosexuality campaigners.

By Martin Beckford and Jonathan Wynne-Jones
The Telegraph UK

She told the heads of the traditionalist group, formed in response to the liberal direction of some parts of the Anglican Communion, that she “understood their concerns” about the future of the 80 million-strong global church.

The Queen, who is the Supreme Governor of the Church of England, has also wished them well with today’s launch in London of a new alliance of evangelical and Anglo-Catholic parishes in Britain and Ireland.

One leading evangelical said: “We found the letters very supportive.”

Her intervention will surprise many because the group, called the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans, is feared by some to be a divisive force and one of its senior figures was this weekend accused of being homophobic.

As The Sunday Telegraph disclosed, the Bishop of Rochester, Dr Michael Nazir-Ali, called on homosexuals to repent. He said the Church of England must stick to the Biblical teaching that marriage should only be between a man and a woman.

“We want to hold on to the traditional teaching of the Church. We don’t want to be rolled over by culture and trends in the Church,” said the bishop, one of the most senior religious figures in England.

In response, Peter Tatchell, the veteran gay rights campaigner, said last night: “Homophobia is a social and moral evil, just like racism. Bigotry, even in the guise of religion, has no place in a compassionate, caring society.

“I call on the Bishop to repent his homophobia. His prejudice goes against Christ’s gospel of love and compassion.”...(Remainder.)


President Obama on the 4th of July


David de Rothschild: Saving the World, One Adventure at a Time

By Todd Woody

De Rothschild hopes his catamaran made of plastic bottles will draw attention to the need to develop solutions to increase the recycling and reuse of plastic.
Courtesy Adventure Ecology
San Francisco’s waterfront is but a Disney-fied ghost of its former life as a maritime hub. But amid the chi-chi cafés along The Embarcadero and the tourist trap faux crab shacks on Fisherman’s Wharf, some actual boat building is going on.

Peer through the window of a battered green door at Pier 29 ½ and you’ll see—but not hear—the form of a rather quirky catamaran quietly taking shape. That’s because it’s being built almost entirely of recyclable plastic that has been melted and molded to form hulls and bulkheads. Plastic bottles—the universal symbol of a disposable consumer culture poisoning the planet—form the pontoons and keep the boat afloat.

The Plastiki is the latest project of British environmentalist and polar adventurer David de Rothschild, the 31-year-old scion of the famous banking family. De Rothschild and his crew of five plan to set sail later this year for Sydney on a three-month voyage across the sometimes treacherous Pacific to draw attention to a host of environmental problems, from rising sea levels and coral bleaching to the Eastern Pacific Garbage Patch, a swirling mass of plastic trash twice the size of Texas.

Standing 6-feet-4-inches tall with shoulder-length brown hair and piercing eyes, de Rothschild is a media magnet—a gaggle of reporters and television cameras recently gathered for the opening of the Plastiki Mission Control Center on Pier 45 as throngs of souvenir-hunting tourist passed by a window covered in a curtain of green plastic bottles.

But the pretty-boy messenger has an unconventional message. “For a very long time, plastic has been vilified as one of those materials we say that we have to ban,” says de Rothschild, standing next to Plastiki’s equally telegenic skipper, 29-year-old ocean-racing veteran Jo Royle. “We’re looking at the Plastiki not to vilify the material but to understand it. A big part of this project is to use technology to innovate new plastics, innovate new uses. We have to move from Planet 1.0 to Planet 2.0.”...(Remainder.)


Memo To Rahm: Do You Think We're MotherF#@kin' Stupid?

By Lee Stranahan
The Huffington Post

In the past few days, a disturbing reality has come into razor sharp focus - the White House may be completely willing to go along with the lobbyist funded Senators on selling out real health care reform for America.

If anyone wanted to hold on to the illusion that perhaps President Obama was actually doing a head fake with 'moderate Democrats' in his call suggesting that they shouldn't be attacked for taking huge amounts of health industry money in exchange for creating faux reform legislation that would entrench and benefit the private insurance industry, Rahm Emanual made it clear on Monday that the compromise is a pre-approved condition at the White House.

According to the Wall St. Journal...

It is more important that health-care legislation inject stiff competition among insurance plans than it is for Congress to create a pure government-run option, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel said Monday.

"The goal is to have a means and a mechanism to keep the private insurers honest," he said in an interview. "The goal is non-negotiable; the path is" negotiable.

His comments came as the Senate Finance Committee pushed for a bipartisan deal.

The White House and Congress need to get the message loud and clear that so many of us have waited so long for real health care reform that we're in no mood to watch the compromise that The Public Option already represents crumble in front of us....(Remainder.)


Obama, Medvedev Press Conference

Visit for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy


Brit Hume Claims Public Option Would Increase Health Bill Costs, Doesn't Note CBO Contrary Finding

By Media Matters

On Fox News' Special Report, following the June 15 release of a preliminary Congressional Budget Office (CBO) analysis of an incomplete version of the Senate health committee's health reform bill, both chief political correspondent Carl Cameron and senior political analyst Brit Hume pointed to the analysis to claim that adding a public insurance option would substantially increase the bill's cost, thus endangering its passage. But no one on the program has yet noted that CBO's July 2 score of what the committee's chair referred to as the "complete bill" found that, in the words of CBO director Douglas W. Elmendorf, the public option "did not have a substantial effect on the cost ... projection."

Additionally, in the week following the release of the initial June 15 CBO score, Special Report hosts, analysts, and correspondents repeatedly suggested that the score indicated that the bill cost too much and did not insure enough people, using that in part to ask if, in the words of host Bret Baier, "Obama's goal of overhauling the nation's health care system [is] flat-lining on Capitol Hill." However, during the program's one brief mention of CBO's July 2 score since it was released in part on July 1, Special Report guest host Chris Wallace did not note that the cost estimates came from the CBO, instead attributing them to Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee Chairman Ted Kennedy (D-MA) and Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT), nor did he explain that the new score found greater coverage of uninsured than the prior score -- information that undercuts prior suggestions that health reform is "flat-lining."

Indeed, according to CBO's July 2 score of the HELP bill, under the legislation, 21 million fewer Americans would be uninsured in 2019 than under current law. In a July 1 letter to members of the HELP committee, publicly released the following day, Kennedy and Dodd wrote that the "Congressional Budget Office has carefully reviewed our complete bill, and we are pleased to report that the CBO has scored it at $611.4 billion over 10 years, with the new coverage provisions scored at $597 billion" -- a cost they noted was a "significant reduction from earlier estimates." The preliminary score of the complete bill that the committee released stated that Title I of the bill would increase the deficit by $597 billion over 10 years....(Remainder.)


Boehner Brags About Job Creation; Too Bad Facts Get In The Way

By Nicole Belle
Crooks and Liars

I'm not sure by whom I am more annoyed in this clip: Cryin' John Boehner, Steny "Bipartisanship Trumps All" Hoyer or Fox "Pravda" News. If it's Fox News and it's a Republican politico, I EXPECT lying and partisanship. In that sense, Boehner doesn't disappoint. But then again, I've come to expect rather milquetoast-y appearance from Dems too, and Hoyer fulfills that expectation nicely as well. So therefore, I fall to my default position that FoxNews framing is ridiculously insulting to the intelligence of any sentient being who happens to be watching.

Like the proverbial toddler deprived of a cookie, host Chris Wallace stamps his feet and whines why isn't everything better RIGHT NOW?!?! Just six months into a presidency that inherited the worst economic conditions since the Great Depression and damn it, that watered down stimulus bill--that HAD to include tax cuts demanded by the GOP that does little to nothing to stimulate--isn't giving us immediate gratification and relief? Amazing!

Never mind that Obama had to deal with governors refusing stimulus money to score cheap points with the base and that some states are using the stimulus money to shore up budget shortfalls. Never mind that economists said it would take 12-18 months to see results, the WATBs of Fox/GOP want our results NOW!!!!...(Remainder.)


Blogger Threatened With Palin Lawsuit: Bring it on, Sarah

By Nicole Belle
Crooks and Liars

In a yet another completely tone-deaf move hailed by GOP sycophants as cagey, Sarah Palin complained about the mean ol' bloggers chasing after her and sic'ed her lawyer after them, threatening lawsuits. Palin's lawyer, in point of fact, put out a four page letter (.pdf) outlining the "defamatory" charges against his client that would embarrass a first semester law student.
One of those in Palin's crosshairs is blogger Shannyn Moore. Shannyn has one message for Palin: Bring it on.

On the Fourth of July, when Americans everywhere were celebrating our most sacred national holiday with parades and barbeques, Governor Sarah Palin was busy having me, Shannyn Moore, declared an Enemy of the State.

In a rambling quasi-legal letter, the most powerful person in this state accused me of defaming her for pointing out the fact that there have been rumors, -rumors- of corruption, rumors that have been around for years.

When Sarah Palin gave her three-weeks notice to the people of Alaska, aborting her term as Governor, a lot of people wondered why she quit. Mid-level managers turn-in their notice, not elected public officials. It didn’t make sense. It still doesn’t. People have been trying to guess why she really quit, and everyone in Alaska has been playing the guessing game. They’re rumors. There are a lot of rumors. And with all the corruption we’ve had here in Alaska, of course we wonder what’s really behind her resignation.

Governors don’t just quit. But Governor Palin did.[..]

Sarah Palin is a coward and a bully. What kind of politician attacks an ordinary American on the Fourth of July for speaking her mind? What’s wrong with her? The First Amendment was designed to protect people like me from the likes of people like her. Our American Revolution got rid of kings. And queens, too. Am I jacked-up? You betcha. Sarah Palin, if you have a problem with me, then sue me.


Buchanan and Brzezinski Play the Victim Card for Sarah Palin

By Heather
Video Cafe

Mika and Pat go on a fact free pity party for poor Sarah Palin who was just so wrongfully savaged by the main stream media in their view. Of course neither of them gives any specifics or names any names. Just lots of accusations with nothing behind them. What's really ironic is while talking about how mean everyone supposedly was to her, Brzezinski admits what a horrible candidate she was....(Original.)


Rep. Pete King (R-Crazytown) Does the GOP Outreach Thing, Calls Michael Jackson a 'lowlife,' a 'pervert,' and a 'pedophile'

By David Neiwert

Crooks and Liars

Pete King, the noxious Republican congressman from Long Island, made a video for Friends of Pete King for the Fourth of July commenting on "real heroes" and then launching into an attack on the media for covering Michael Jackson's death so assiduously:
King: Yesterday I marched in two Fourth of July parades in Wantagh and Massapequa Park. Today I was talking a walk through Wantagh, here at the American Legion Hall, the firehouse down the street, the fire memorial a few blocks from here. And it really reminded me of, you know, the great men and women who've sacrificed so much for our country -- people fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan today; cops, firefighters, teachers, none of whom really get much credit. And yet for the last, I don't know how long now, this lowlife Michael Jackson, his name, his face and picture is all over the newspapers, television, radio. It's all we hear about, is Michael Jackson.

And let's knock out the psycho-babble. This guy was a pervert, he was a child molester, ah, he was a pedophile, and to be giving this much coverage to him day in and day out, what does that say about us as a country?

I just think it's too -- we're too politically correct. No one wants to stand up and say we don't need Michael Jackson. He died, he had some talent, fine. But people are dying every day. There are men and women dying in Afghanistan. Let's give them the credit they deserve.

I really think the media has disgraced itself. I think there are too many people in public life who have made fools of themselves by talking about Michael Jackson as if he's some kind of hero.

There's nothing good about this guy. He may have been a a good singer, did some dancing. But the bottom line is would you let your child or grandchild be in the same room with Michael Jackson? What are we glorifying him for?

So anyway, let's take some time out to really look to the people that do make this a great country -- the men and women in the armed forces, police, firefighters, teachers who work in really rough neighborhoods, people who volunteer with dying cancer patients, people who work in AIDS clinics -- they're the ones we should be glorifying. Not some pervert like Michael Jackson.



Glenn Beck is Squawking About the SEIU, ACORN, and Obama Boogeymen Again


Sen. Sanders Calls Fox Out on Their Pushing "Bogus Arguments" Regarding Canadian Health Care System


Ed Rollins Says Sara Palin's Quitting Was a Disaster and Insulting

By John Amato

Crooks and Liars

Ed Rollins, who has run many a Republican campaign, crushed Sarah Palin's decision to quit her job as Alaska's governor on CNN's State of The Union yesterday. He called it a disaster and went as far as saying that he was insulted by it.

I guess she wants to go on the TV and the book tour circuit instead of helping Alaskans who voted her into office. Times are tough right now and she'd rather leave them all behind than try to help them get through this economic meltdown. Rollins didn't pull any punches.
ED ROLLINS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I think yesterday was a disaster, Friday was a disaster for her both in the sense that she was very incoherent in articulating why she was quitting and what she wanted to do with it.

And as I always say, you call press conferences to answer questions, not to basically raise questions. I think the serious thing here is 311 days ago, very few people in America, very few Republicans outside of Alaska knew who this woman was. She had a tremendous first few weeks as a campaigner, but she got super imposed on top of the Republican establishment. It's sort of like taking a helicopter and putting her on top of Mt. Everest, which John McCain was flying it.

Everybody else climbed up that ladder, and all of the sudden she's on top of the mountain. She didn't like it -- or she did like the top of the mountain. What she didn't like was coming back to Earth, flying back to Alaska to her job as governor.

I think the reality here is her biggest mistake is walking away from the job as governor. She would have at least had a record to run on. She is going to have a partial record today that's going to be very incomplete. I found her very insulting to other governors. We have 22 other Republican governors, 19 of whom are basically going to be out of this office after running in two years. Nine are term limited and many others have to run. And she basically said in the last year you run around and do all kinds of things, and I would predict to you every single Republican governor like most Democratic governors are at their desk trying to figure out how to get through the economic crisis. I think she insulted them. I think to a certain extent it showed a naivete and I think she basically left a big, big void in her resume.


Bachmann Joins How to Take Back America Conference

By Kyle
Right Wing Watch

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about the How To Take Back America Conference being held in St. Louis in September. As I wrote then, the event was being hosted by Phyllis Schlafly and Janet Porter and co-hosted by a group including Don Wildmon, Mat Staver, Rick Scarborough, Joseph Farah, and others.

As I wrote at the time:
Just about every insane right-wing conspiracy theory currently in circulation has been embraced by one or more of the organizers of this event, all of whom have actively worked to spread the fear that Obama and the Democrats are out to destroy Christianity and turn America into a socialist hellhole.
The focus of that post was on the fact that Mike Huckabee had been scheduled to deliver the keynote address, which was remarkable considering that just about everyone involved in planning this conference had gone completely off the deep end following President Obama's election.

The idea that Huckabee would gladly associate with this group, though surprising, was at least somewhat understandable considering that many of the organizers were also huge supporters of his presidential campaign and even served on his campaign's Faith and Family Values Coalition.

But Huckabee isn’t going to have the right-wing adulation all to himself as Rep. Michelle Bachmann has now confirmed her appearance at the conference as well:



Sarah Palin, Preparing to Run

By Chris Weigant
The Huffington Post

While it is so easy to slip into double meanings when talking about Sarah Palin (for example, I considered "Waiting For The Other Naughty Monkey Double Dare Red Shoe To Drop" as a title today... ahem), the title I did choose starts out as a literal one. Because I finally got around to reading Palin's most recent interview, in Runner's World magazine. And the article is accompanied by seven photos, not (as one may have expected) of Sarah Palin actually running, but instead of Sarah preparing to run. We'll get into double meanings later, but first, let's examine these preparing-to-run photos.

Most of the photos are just of Palin stretching or doing yoga, in running clothes. One prominently features her son Trig. But it's the last one that really gave me pause. It shows Governor Palin (we can still call her that for another few weeks) in what is close to a classic beauty queen pose (one leg slightly bent at the knee, hand on hip), in a bright red shirt and what I assume are black running shorts. But it's everything around Palin that really makes the photo.

Unlike the other photos, which were shot outdoors near the lakeshore (where she reportedly does her actual running), this one is posed in what appears to be her living room. Prominent behind Palin is a small banner with a star on it, in honor of her son's military service overseas. This is attached to a picture window which shows the lake, and a small part of her seaplane and dock. A pair of fuzzy booties really should have been moved a bit to the side by the photographer, as they appear to be growing out of Palin's hip (this is basic portraiture -- pick a neutral background so things aren't growing out of a subject's head or other parts of the anatomy). And Palin is awkwardly clutching what appears to be a Blackberry-type PDA (although, in my admitted ignorance, it may be some sort of fancy running computer). Clutching this object is what spoils the classic model's pose, and makes her stance look forced, but maybe Palin herself wanted it in the shot. And there's one more thing about that photo that leaps out at you....(Remainder.)


Freepers Mull 2012 GOP Clown Car Prez Candidates

By Pam Spaulding

Right: So who will be riding in the GOP clown car in 2012—whose heads should replace these from the 2008 cycle’s car (Rudy “Popo” Giuliani, Fred “Bobo” Thompson, Mitt “Dodo” Romney, Sam “Coco” Brownback, Mike “Hoho” Huckabee, Ron “RoPo” Paul, and John “Assho” McCain)?

It’s so interesting to see the right squirm about 2012 so early as they watch potential candidates self-immolate (Ensign, Sanford, Palin). They want to believe that the GOP can field a decent candidate, but the prospects are slim. Take this discussion, ”Romney vs Mitch Daniels in 2012?”, where one Freepi posits that Romney will be the nom by default. The discussion is hilarious.
Sanford has committed sepuku on live TV.

Ensign has discovered what goes on in Vegas does not always stay in Vegas.

Palin is retiring from politics.

Haley Barbour is a former lobbyist who runs the poorest state in the Union.

Huckabee is a 5th stringer.

John Thune is running for Vice President and we have no idea whether General Petraeus is a conservative or not.

It looks like the only guy who can stop the Mitt Machine is Daniels.

If you don’t like Daniels, then Romney is the nominee by default in 2012.
Read about some of the insane prospects below the fold.

The Sarah diehards are in there, but no one seems happy that Romney may have a chance at the nom....(Remainder.)


GOP: Political Party or Mental Illness?

By Pat Bagley
Salt Lake Tribune


Teabag Shrivel—Scenes From Across the Land

By Jed Lewison
Daily Kos

Here's some more images from wingnuttia's shriveling teabag movement.

We start with Syracuse, NY, where apparently the big issue is making sure that universal health care never happens. We're guessing that this woman already has health care, but at least she remembered to scribble in the 'r' in universal at the last second.

Down south in the GOP heartland, some Alabamans apparently crossed the border to make their voices heard in Columbus, Georgia:



Actor Kal Penn Starts Work as White House Liaison

By Natasha T. Metzler
Associated Press via Yahoo! News

WASHINGTON – Actor Kal Penn started a new job Monday as a liaison between the White House and Asian communities.

The Indian-American actor is taking a break from Hollywood to work as an associate director in the Office of Public Liaison, with a focus on connecting President Barack Obama with the Asian-American and Pacific Islander communities, as well as arts groups.

Penn had a recurring role on Fox's TV show "House" and starred in several films including "Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle" and its sequel, "Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay"

Penn, who backed Obama during the campaign, said the new job has nothing to do with his life as an actor.

"I expect to be treated just like any other staff member," he told reporters on a conference call.

He is even applying this quest for a fresh start to his identity, saying he will use his given name, Kalpen Modi, instead of his acting moniker while working for the Obama administration.

Penn described the public liaison office as the "front door to the White House." He said his job would be engaging with constituent communities and making sure they feel that they have a seat at the table.

Asked about the differences between the new job and his work in Hollywood, Penn joked that he now wears a suit.

When pressed about preparing for his first day on the job Monday morning, he said, "I brushed my teeth; I did floss, used mouthwash ... took the bus to work, same thing that everybody does."...(Original.)


Rebellion in the Air Force?

By Raymond D. Senter
The New Republic

The Air Force's ruling hierarchy is in open defiance of its Constitutional Commander-in-Chief, and in some ways the situation bears a growing resemblance to the fictional story-line of last year's best-seller Seven Days in May, the account of a nearly successful military coup by an Air Force general in protest against a nuclear arms treaty just concluded with the Russians. Not that I think a "putsch" is in the offing. The more likely prospect is that there will be an attempt to enlist the of the USAF's rank and file to elect a President who is believed to be more tractable to the Air Force's demands--obviously Senator Barry Goldwater, a major general in the Air Force Reserve who has long been its outspoken and uncritical supporter on the Hill.

Ironically, two years ago the new Kennedy Administration had the full endorsement of the USAF. It had named the Air Force to manage all future military space programs, ending the threat to that service's space ambitions from the Army and Navy; it also was responding to urgent requests for additional billions for Minuteman ICBMs and to keep more bombers on airborne and ground alert.

In an amorphous military organization of nearly a million men, it might be difficult to know "what the Air Force thinks" if it were not that the USAF has a voice which always speaks with authority, if unofficially; this is the Air Force Association (AFA). AFA's own voice is a monthly publication, known as Air Force Magazine/Space Digest, financed by advertisements from USAF's aerospace contractors and supplemented once a year by an AFA "Statement of Policy" proposed by the board of directors during the Association's annual convention. This statement is always approved without change by those in attendance.

An Alarmist Statement

The most recent evidence of open defiance of the President by USAF's ruling hierarchy, confirming early storm warnings, was a harsh statement opposing the nuclear test ban treaty issued on September 12 during the recent AFA convention in Washington. This came after top USAF officers had had full opportunity to make known their views in closed Senate subcommittee hearings and while the treaty was up for ratification....(Remainder.)


Sen. Sanders Says Dems Should Unite Against GOP Filibuster Threat


The Latest Palin Ethics Complaint

By David Corn
Mother Jones

In explaining her decision to resign as governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin on Friday said that she was partly motivated to pull out from public office by the flood of ethics complaints filed against her. She said that she has faced fifteen complaints. The Anchorage Daily News puts the count at 18. But whatever it is, her resignation hasn't stopped the flow. On Monday, Zane Henning, a Wasilla resident, filed a new complaint against Palin.

Henning is not a newbie at this. Last November, he filed a complaint accusing Palin of misusing state facilities when she talked to reporters about her 2008  campaign in her state office. In March, the state personnel board dismissed the matter.

Henning's most recent complaint is about an old matter: Palin collecting per diem payments from the state for living in her Wasilla home, rather than in the governor's residence in Juneau. The Washington Post broke this story in September, and Palin's spokespeople insisted she had done no wrong and that her actions had followed state rules. Not until now has it become the subject of an ethics complaint.

From a press release Henning issued:
"I am charging that the Governor has given herself a raise for personal gain by using the per diem process, which is in direct conflict with Section 39.52.120. (a) of the Alaska Executive Ethics Act," Henning said. "The State of Alaska provides housing in the state's capital of Juneau for our Governor, so there should be no extra expense if she desires to stay in her own home. More than a thousand state employees commute from the Mat-Su Valley daily and none of them get to pocket free money."

The reasons why I am filing this complaint are as follows:

* State travel regulations specify per diem can’t be claimed when travel is less than 50 miles from a state employee’s workplace. Palin works out of her Anchorage office in the Atwood Building which is a scant 45-mile commute from her Wasilla home....


HELP Is on the Way

By Paul Krugman
The New York Times

The Congressional Budget Office has looked at the future of American health insurance, and it works.

A few weeks ago there was a furor when the budget office “scored” two incomplete Senate health reform proposals — that is, estimated their costs and likely impacts over the next 10 years. One proposal came in more expensive than expected; the other didn’t cover enough people. Health reform, it seemed, was in trouble.

But last week the budget office scored the full proposed legislation from the Senate committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP). And the news — which got far less play in the media than the downbeat earlier analysis — was very, very good. Yes, we can reform health care.

Let me start by pointing out something serious health economists have known all along: on general principles, universal health insurance should be eminently affordable.

After all, every other advanced country offers universal coverage, while spending much less on health care than we do. For example, the French health care system covers everyone, offers excellent care and costs barely more than half as much per person as our system....(Remainder.)


Not Because You're a "Person of Faith", but Because You're a "Person of Stupid"

By Amanda Marcotte

Thanks to reader abo gato for alerting me to this Express-News story that forced me to hurt myself rolling my eyes.  It’s a story about how Rick Perry is considering appointing a fundamentalist wingnut to head the State School Board, so soon after the forces of good ousted State Board of Education Chairman Don McLeroy because he disagreed with the existence of evolutionary biology, though I’m not sure if he was pro- or anti-the theory of gravity or the round earth theory.  McLeroy and now the new candidate Cynthia Dunbar are objectionable because they reject the idea of basic education, not that you’d know that from the first third of the article.
Critics who engineered the recent ouster of State Board of Education Chairman Don McLeroy, in part because of his strong religious beliefs, could end up with someone even more outspoken in her faith.

Cynthia Dunbar, R-Richardson, who advocated more Christianity in the public square last year with the publication of her book, “One Nation Under God,” is among those that Gov. Rick Perry is considering to lead the State Board of Education, some of her colleagues say.

Speculation that Dunbar, a lawyer, could win a promotion to the leadership spot has triggered gasps from her critics but support from allies.

“It would certainly cause angst among the same members of the pagan left that rejected Don McLeroy because he was a man of faith,” said David Bradley, R-Beaumont, one of the seven socially conservative members on the 15-person board.


Conservatives (Re)acting Badly

By Mike Lux
Open Left

As I have written before, nothing makes me happier in politics than being attacked, because you know by the reaction you are getting that you have hit paydirt with what you are doing. When Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) took the ideas from my book The Progressive Revolution: How the Best in America Came to Be and used them in a floor speech in Congress, and the reaction from far-right-wing Congressman Steve King from Iowa was a bitter, rambling tirade about socialism, I knew we were winning the argument. And yesterday, when my post about the July 4th holiday being the embodiment of the progressive values of equality and democracy, three different conservative bloggers (here, here and here) saw fit to attack. That's a very good sign.

What bothers these conservatives so much is the idea that progressive values are at the heart of the American idea. They love wrapping themselves in the flag, and going on and on about the founding fathers, and really hate the idea that anyone else might lay claim to that history. Their arguments- that the issues were very different then, that classical liberalism has a different definition than modern liberalism, that American revolutionaries must have hated big government because they hated King George, etc.- mask the fact that the fault lines in American history, from 1776 on, have always been about expanding equality and democracy, and that progressive-minded thinkers have always been for that, and conservatives have always been against it.

Conservatives have always argued that tradition should be revered and change should be feared. They have always argued that too much democracy is a dangerous thing. They have always opposed expanding the idea of equality- to blacks and women and the poor, to immigrants and migrant workers, now to GLBT individuals. They have always argued these things, and they still do. And progressives from Jefferson and Paine to those of today have always fought for more democracy, more equality of opportunity, more investment in regular people as opposed to giving everything to the elite and letting them run things....(Remainder.)


War-Criminal Judge Bybee Gets Yelled At

By Dan Abendschein
Pasadena Star-News

PASADENA - Three protesters Monday shouted at a federal judge they accuse of signing off on "torture memos" and were quickly escorted out of court by security officers.

"You authorized the torture of human beings," Dianne Wright of Los Angeles yelled at Richard H. Chambers U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Jay Bybee, a former Bush administration lawyer who worked in the Office of Legal Counsel.

Bybee now serves on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which has a courtroom in Pasadena.

The protestors, two from the Bay Area and one from Los Angeles, waited until the end of a hearing to call Bybee a torturer and demand his impeachment.

Wright, along with Susan Harman of Oakland and Cynthia Papermaster of Berkeley, were immediately escorted out by court security. They were not arrested.

Officials for the federal court system did not return calls seeking comment.

The three are affiliated with Code Pink and the Progressive Democrats of America. But they said the protest was not organized by either group.

Protesters from those groups, including Wright, showed up at the same courthouse last week in a protest against Bybee.

The memos Bybee signed claimed that physical interrogation of prisoners is not torture, unless it results in "serious physical injury, such as organ failure, impairment of bodily function, or even death," or "significant psychological harm of significant duration, e.g., lasting for months or even year."...(Remainder.)



By Matt Davies
The Journal News


Palin to Marry Moose and Other Intellectual Pursuits

By Francesca Biller-Safran
The Huffington Post

Breaking News: Palin's Remarks at Second Press Conference not yet Broadcast

I have to be honest with y'all just why I'm stepping down as Governor. I'm in love with a moose and realized it when I just couldn't blast him to pieces with my new Smith and Wesson. Alaska and my Russian neighbors will just have to understand. You're invited to the wedding.

Even though I am quitting my post as governor, I will never step down, you know, to my commitment as a great communicator and voice for The Republican party, because Golly Gee and Gosh darn it, I was just born with this talking gift, (wink) and I know I am an inspiration to y'all. What can I say? Some folks are just born with it.

Alaska and the millions of supporters who want to see me as President in 2012 will remain in my prayers. I even prey for the buffalo and its family I 'm going to kill tomorrow. I plan to hang his pretty head above my Godly fireplace, because after all, ain't the buffalo just one of God's creatures too? I think he deserves a great place in my home for display.

You know, people can say whatever the darn well they please, you know, about my daughter's ex-boyfriend Levi, who I still think will make my daughter an honest woman someday in the name of the Lord. But one thing you can't doubt is just how hot he is. Did you happen to see the Vanity Fair pictures of him without a shirt on? Someone bring me a fan, it's getting hot over here, or is that just menopause? No it aint that, cause I aint never gonna pause from any man. Oh, Mercy me....(Remainder.)


The Freedom Federation: A Religious Right Re-Branding Effort

By Kyle
Right Wing Watch

Last week, when it was first announced that variety of Religious Right groups were banding together under the moniker of the Freedom Federation, I wrote a post trying to figure out how this new effort was supposedly different from the previous or already existing right-wing coalitions that do promote many of the same issues and include many of the same groups.

Over the last few days, key figures of the member organizations have been granting interviews and explaining a little more about just what is the purpose of this new group.  We recently learned that one of the purposes of the coalition was to try and overcome the divisions within its own ranks in order to present a unified front.

And now we find out that, once this new unified front is in place, we can expect the Federation to weigh in on topics that extend beyond the Right's traditional cultural issues and, more importantly, use it to try and re-brand itself:

In the coming months, the federation will likely issue a position statement on health care reform, and express their opposition to federal funding of abortion and efforts to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act. But participants said the group will address issues beyond those typically championed by Christian conservatives.
"[The federation] will have a biblical bent as its priority," said Bishop Harry Jackson, chairman of the High Impact Leadership Coalition, a network of mostly African-American and Hispanic ministries. "The religious right has really, seemingly, specialized in dealing with a handful of issues and has not engaged in terms of political activism in issues that would be considered social justice issues."

"So the opportunity is for us to be relevant in terms of what's being decided now," he added, pointing to the environment, health care and immigration reform. "All of these issues have a biblical perspective that can unify us."

Jackson said the federation also hopes to change the "very severe image problem" that politically active Christians have in the culture. He said the federation's multiethnic membership will not only help change public perception but also provide more holistic policy recommendations.


Republican Columnist Uses Fake Franken Photo

By Eric Kleefeld
Talking Points Memo

Here's yet another example of how Republicans across the country are becoming just a little unbalanced over the victory of Sen.-elect Al Franken.

Last week, soon after Franken's win became official, Cincinnati Enquirer columnist Peter Bronson put up a blog post that included a curious photo of Franken in an adult diaper, wearing bunny ears and holding a teddy bear. Bronson suggested Republicans use this photo for an ad, with the heading: "Is this who you want making decisions about your health care?"

The thing is, though, the photo is a fake. It was doctored up by the Ohio Republican Party back in 2006, in an attempt to attack Democrat Sherrod Brown for campaigning with Franken in Brown's Senate race, using Franken's face from a 2004 AP file photo of him at his radio show desk. And the Enquirer itself reported this at the time. In an indication of just how successful the attack was, Brown easily won the race.

Funny thing: The title of Bronson's blog is "Bronson is Always Right." I'll also say that I have something in common with Republicans, in that I kind of wish this photo were real -- but probably for a much different reason than they do.

Late Update:: The Enquirer has now replaced the photo, with a pic of Franken in the role of Stuart Smalley. "Note: This picture replaces an earlier one that was photoshopped (Franken in a diaper)," the editorial note says. "We don't knowingly use false pictures."...(Remainder.)


Fox News Contributor Rips into Palin: "The Woman Is Inarticulate, Undereducated"

By Rachel Weiner
The Huffington Post

Even Fox News has started to turn on Sarah Palin. In the midst of a segment about the Alaska Governor's battle against "liberal" attacks, Liz Trotta went off-message.

Frankly, "the woman is inarticulate, undereducated," Trotta said, arguing that for once liberal criticism was "well-deserved."

"I think all the liberal stylists ... really have a case. She just begs for adjectives like flaky and wacky." When pressed, she added, "We're talking about somebody who, right from the get-go, has been a flashy person who gets into a lot of trouble and really has no credentials for any job."




Christian Terrorist & Operation Rescue Founder Launches ‘Defeat Sotomayor’ Roadshow

By Ian Millhiser
Think Progress

Randall Terry, founder of the right-wing Taliban extremist group Operation Rescue, has announced a twelve-city tour intended to convince senators that "[t]o refuse to filibuster [Sotomayor] is to bow in abject obedience to the Angel of Death." The graphic depicted to the right is taken from a flier promoting the event, which claims:
"We must stop permitting this hypocrisy, cowardice, and treachery in our midst. Pro-life voters are calling on pro-life Senators to filibuster Sotomayor.

"A Senator cannot say, 'I want to overturn Roe,' and then vote to confirm a Supreme Court Judge that will uphold Roe. A vote to confirm Sotomayor is a vote to uphold Roe.

"Many senators use pro-life rhetoric to seduce us; they get our money, our volunteer labor, and our votes. But once an election is over, they discard us like an embarrassing mistress. . . . Whether they 'have the votes' to sustain a filibuster or not, they need to fight to stop her, for the sake of the babies who will die under her judicial reign."
Sadly, such rhetoric is relatively tame by Terry's extremist standards. Terry refused to condemn the recent killing of abortion provider Dr. George Tiller, instead calling him a "mass-murderer" who "did not have time to properly prepare his soul to face God." Terry also once went on the radio to pray for a Colorado abortion provider to be executed; two days later, that doctor was found dead....(Original.)


Sarah, You're a Sissy: Alaska Prepares for Its First Bimbo Eruption

By Mike Alvear
The Huffington Post

Sarah Palin, who's only served as Alaska's governor since 2006, resigned today, effective in a couple of weeks. She made the stunning announcement in a press conference where she sounded like cross between a high school basketball coach giving the team a half-time pep talk and Cheech & Chong after a particularly wop-wop-whizzly-do episode with some fine Colombian, north slope weed.

She was so unclear and evasive about the reasons for her resignation that I kept banging my car's dashboard thinking my radio was just giving off a lot of static. It didn't work. No matter how much I pounded on her, I couldn't get a straight answer. See if you can figure it out in this AP post.

Sarah Palin The Quitter. I think she said she quit because the media was too negative and she didn't want to waste millions of tax dollars to fight ethics investigations. But really, it doesn't matter. She quit. She gave up. She betrayed everybody who gave money, made phone calls, and invested all their energies into electing her. This is the legacy that Sarah Palin leaves behind:

When the going gets tough, quit.

Thanks, Sarah Palin for being a role model our daughters can look up to. Thanks for living up to the stereotype that women aren't tough enough to stick it out. Thanks for showing everybody that the best way to shoulder responsibility is to wiggle out of it. That when things aren't to your liking the best thing to do is run. And thank you especially for the reminder that quitting is a gift for the people you quit on....(Remainder.)


Olbermann Give the Bag Full of Mashed Up Jackass Runner Up in WPITW


Man Coulter Thinks Women in NY Are Jealous of Caribou Barbie


As 'Tea Parties' Lose Steam, Fringe Conspiracists Step-Up to the Fore

By David Neiwert
Crooks and Liars

If it wasn't already obvious that the right-wingers who organized the Tax Day Tea Parties vastly overstated their actual significance -- except as a harbinger of the slide towards right-wing populism -- then this past weekend should lay any doubts to rest.

Even before the holiday weekend, it was clear that the planned 2nd edition of the Tea Tantrums Parties was going to be somewhat less than energetic. David Weigel at the Washington Independent observed that a lot of this had to do with mainstream support peeling away:
But the collaboration between the official Republican establishment and the Tea Parties has not lasted into June. The RNC has no plans to get involved with any Tea Parties. A spokesman for Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio), who jaunted around northern California to attend several Tea Parties, said that his holiday plans were private but would probably not include Tea Parties. Gingrich will not attend any of the Tea Parties, although he recorded video messages for events in Birmingham and Nashville “at the request of the respective organizers,” according to spokesman Dan Kotman.

Media coverage has also gotten a little bit more scarce. Coverage on Fox News has largely been limited to interviews with Tea Party organizers on the network’s morning shows. While sources at Fox would not discuss their plans for covering the weekend events, they confirmed that no anchors would be attending and that the attendance and news value of the events looked to be lower than that of the April rallies. Tea Party organizers are counting, instead, on local news coverage and on distributed reporting such as the conservative news site PajamasTV, which hosts an “American Tea Party” show and has asked readers to submit their own videos from their rallies.


Dumb-as-a-Sack-of-Doorknobs, Bill O'Reilly, Continues His Rant Over Sen. Al Franken: "It's a Sad Day"


America is Not a Christian Nation

Religious conservatives argue the Founding Fathers intended the United States to be a Judeo-Christian country. But President Obama is right when he says it isn't.

By Michael Lind

Is America a Christian nation, as many conservatives claim it is? One American doesn't think so. In his press conference on April 6 in Turkey, President Obama explained: "One of the great strengths of the United States is … we have a very large Christian population -- we do not consider ourselves a Christian nation or a Jewish nation or a Muslim nation. We consider ourselves a nation of citizens who are bound by ideals and a set of values."

Predictably, Obama's remarks have enraged conservative talking heads. But Obama's observations have ample precedent in American diplomacy and constitutional thought. The most striking is the Treaty of Tripoli, ratified by the U.S. Senate in 1797. Article 11 states: "As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility [sic], of Mussulmen [Muslims]; and, as the said States never have entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries."

Conservatives who claim that the U.S. is a "Christian nation" sometimes dismiss the Treaty of Tripoli because it was authored by the U.S. diplomat Joel Barlow, an Enlightenment freethinker. Well, then, how about the tenth president, John Tyler, in an 1843 letter: "The United States have adventured upon a great and noble experiment, which is believed to have been hazarded in the absence of all previous precedent -- that of total separation of Church and State. No religious establishment by law exists among us. The conscience is left free from all restraint and each is permitted to worship his Maker after his own judgment. The offices of the Government are open alike to all. No tithes are levied to support an established Hierarchy, nor is the fallible judgment of man set up as the sure and infallible creed of faith. The Mohammedan, if he will to come among us would have the privilege guaranteed to him by the constitution to worship according to the Koran; and the East Indian might erect a shrine to Brahma, if it so pleased him. Such is the spirit of toleration inculcated by our political Institutions."...(Remainder.)


Man Coulter Thinks Palin's Resignation Was a Brilliant Move

By David Neiwert
Crooks and Liars

I suspect Ann Coulter didn't really intend, appearing yesterday on Fox News with Marc Lamont Hill, to open a big wide window for everyone to see in brilliantly illuminated color the deep, sneering contempt in which your average Republican pundit actually holds all of those "hard-working average Americans" they normally profess to represent.

But she did:
Coulter: I think it's brilliant. And I'm baffled by people being baffled by it. Um, I mean, she's a huge, huge star. And meanwhile she's stuck up in Ulan Bator, she can neither respond to her many admirers who want her to come speak down in the Lower 48, and want her, you know, to be raising money for them, starting PACs, and being the voice of conservatism, which she is. She can't do that, or she'll be neglecting the state.

... Look, she's a lame-duck governor, it isn't her fault that she became a huge, huge star, but she is too big for the position now. And people acting like, you know, leaving a governorship is a step down.

Hill: When she was on the campaign, she talked about fighting for the little person, fighting for the state of Alaska. And now all of a sudden to say, she's too big for an elected office. I mean, how can you be too big for an elected office. That's her job. That ostensibly was her calling.

Coulter: Well, she doesn't say that. I'm saying that. Obvious.

Hill: No, no, you are saying that, but you're replicating the very thing that she said shen she said that 'I have a higher calling.' If she says that her calling is higher, it essentially is greater than the thing that she's doing right now, and that borders again on absurd.

Coulter: Than dealing with fishing licenses in Alaska. [ed. note: corrected]

Hill: Tell that to the people of Alaska.


NARTH Publishes Fake "Study" in a Fake "Journal"

By Jim Borroway
Box Turtle Bulletin

Focus On the Hatred Family has issued a breathless article claiming that a “new study” has proven that sexual orientation can be changed:
A new report in this month’s issue of the peer-reviewed Journal of Human Sexuality finds that sexual orientation can be changed — and that psychological care for individuals with unwanted same-sex attractions is generally beneficial and that research has not found significant risk of harm.

The study, conducted by the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH), examined more than 100 years of professional and scientific literature from 600-plus studies and reports from clinicians, researchers and former clients principally published in professional and peer-reviewed journals.
The problem with all that? Well first of all, this isn’t a study at all. It doesn’t consist of an experiment with study participants, methodology,  measurements, analysis or results. Instead, according to this so-called journal — which I have a copy of — NARTH mined nearly 100 years of research on attempts to change sexual orientation. Of course, the vast majority of those studies were done when aversion therapy was commonly practiced, when many people sought therapy because they were convicted of homosexual offenses before Lawrence v. Texas to avoid jail, when few clinicians bothered to do any kind of follow-up, and when the APA still considered homosexuality a mental illness. Much of this paper is an updated regurgitation of several other articles already posted on NARTH’s web site.

Also, the so-called “peer reviewed” journal is not actually a journal. The Journal of Human Sexuality is actually a booklet published by NARTH themselves. In fact, it’s structured more like a book than a journal, with only one article whose title matches the title on the front cover. This journal is billed as “volume 1,” and was, according to its acknowledgment, conceived back when Joseph Nicolosi was still president at NARTH. At this rate, I would expect volume 2 to show up sometime in 2011.

This is very similar to another stunt pulled by George A. Rekers in 1996.  He too created a one-off journal, also called The Journal of Human Sexuality which seems never to have made it to a second volume. It looks like NARTH decided to recycle Rekers old idea....(Remainder.)


NYT's Douthat Bends Over Backwards to Defend Caribou Barbie

By Jamison Foser
Media Matters

New York Times columnist Ross Douthat seems to think that if only Sarah Palin had declined the opportunity to run for Vice President last year, she'd be a widely popular and problem-free governor:
Had she refused John McCain, Palin would still be a popular female governor in a Republican Party starved for future stars. Her scandals would be the stuff of local politics, her daughter's pregnancy a minor story in the Lower 48, her son Trig's parentage a nonissue even for conspiracy theorists. There would still be plenty of time to ease into the national spotlight, to bone up on the issues, and to craft a persona more appealing than the Mrs. Spiro Agnew role the McCain campaign assigned to her.
This is absurdly generous.

It seems quite clear that Sarah Palin's problem isn't that she didn't have time to "bone up on the issues," it's that she has a shocking disregard for the truth. Surely she didn't need to "bone up on" whether she had actually rejected funding for the "Bridge to Nowhere"? That isn't some obscure federal program no governor could be expected to be familiar with; that's her own action. And what Sarah Palin repeatedly said about it was very, very false. That wasn't the result of insufficient time to study, that was a result of insufficient appreciation for the truth, and it extends to many of the other comments that got her in trouble.

Her inability to name a newspaper that she read wasn't a result of a lack of cramming time, either. And by now, it is quite clear that Palin's problem was less that she lacked the time to prepare than that she has a George W. Bush-esque overly simplistic approach to policy.

As for the Mrs. Spiro Agnew role, Ross Douthat appears to be the last person in America who doesn't realize that Palin embraces that role....(Remainder.)


All Dressed Up

By Ed Stein
Ed Stein Ink


Steyne Cites Discredited Carlin Paper to Allege "No Global Warming This Century"

By Media Matters

In a July 6 Washington Times column, Mark Steyn cited a discredited report by EPA research analyst Alan Carlin as purported evidence that "[i]f you're graduating high school, there has been no global warming since you entered first grade. There has been no global warming this century. None." In fact, as Media Matters for America has noted, annual global average temperatures have both risen and fallen over the past 11 years, and while there have been some relatively cooler years during that period -- including a decline in each of the past three years relative to the year before -- climate scientists reject the idea that those temperatures are any indication that global warming is slowing or does not exist. Scientists have identified a long-term warming trend spanning several decades that is independent from the normal climate variability -- which includes relatively short-term changes in climate due to events like El Niño and La Niña -- to which they attribute the recent relatively cooler temperatures.

Steyn referred to Carlin's paper as "a report for the Environmental Protection Racket -- whoops, Environmental Protection Agency -- that the agency attempted to suppress." However, the EPA reportedly said in a statement that Carlin "is not a scientist and was not part of the working group dealing with this issue." Moreover, according to a report, an EPA official said that Carlin acted "on his own," and not at the behest of the EPA. reported:
An EPA official told on Monday that Carlin, who is an economist -- not a scientist -- included "no original research" in his report. The official said that Carlin "has not been muzzled in the agency at all," but stressed that his report was entirely "unsolicited."

"It was something that he did on his own," the official said. "Though he was not qualified, his manager indulged him and allowed him on agency time to draft up ... a set of comments."

As Media Matters noted, in a February 11 Guardian op-ed, Vicky Pope, the head of climate change advice at the U.K. Met Office Hadley Centre, wrote that claims about the pace of global warming based only on developments in the past 10 years or in the 1990s are not valid, "since natural variations always occur on this timescale." She continued, "1998 was a record-breaking warm year as long-term man-made warming combined with a naturally occurring strong El Niño. In contrast, 2008 was slightly cooler than previous years partly because of a La Niña. Despite this, it was still the 10th warmest on record." According to the Met Office, "Over the last ten years, global temperatures have warmed more slowly than the long-term trend. But this does not mean that global warming has slowed down or even stopped. It is entirely consistent with our understanding of natural fluctuations of the climate within a trend of continued long-term warming." This long-term trend can be seen in this graph of annual global average temperatures from the U.K. Met Office Hadley Centre:




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