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Sotomayor Ads Hammer GOP Using Limbaugh "Bigot" Remark

Monday, July 13, 2009

By Ryan Grim
The Huffington Post


A progressive Latino organization is set to begin airing ads on Spanish-language radio attacking members of Congress over the nomination of Judge Sonia Stomayor. In order to stay out of Presente Action's doghouse, a member needs to denounce statements Rush Limbaugh has made calling the Supreme Court nominee a "bigot and a racist."

Reps. Adam Putnam and John Mica, both Florida Republicans, are the first two targets. Neither, according to the group, has denounced Limbaugh, despite requests to do so. Putnam is retiring in 2010 to run for statewide office.

The Putnam ad begins in Spanish, saying, "Sonia Sotomayor esta apunto de ser la primera latina y la primera puertorriqueña a servir en la Corte Suprema de los Estados Unidos. Es un momento de orgullo para nuestra comunidad. Sin embargo, los lideres republicanos insisten en atacarla."

That is: "Sonia Sotomayor is set to be the first Latina, and the first Puerto Rican, to serve on the US Supreme Court. It is a proud moment for our community. Yet Republican leaders insist on attacking her:"

It then switches back to English to quote Limbaugh saying, "She doesn't have any intellectual depth. She's got a -- she's an angry woman, she's a bigot. She's a racist."

Back in Spanish, it tells listeners, "Eso fue el lider Republicano, Rush Limbaugh diciendo que la Juez Sotomayor es racista y prejuiciada. Esto es un insulto a todos los Latinos y Americanos. Le preguntamos al congresista Republicano Adam Putnam si denunciaría las palabras de Limbaugh. El se negó a responder. Pongamos alto al odio. Llame hoy al congresista Adam Putnam al 863-534-3530 y pidale que condene este language."...(Remainder.)



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Empty-Headed Trollop & Fox Spokesmodel, Megan Kelly, Asks if Sotomayor's Temper Will Flare Up

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Fox Noise Tergiversates About Judge Sotomayor & Obama Quotes in a Pathetic Hit Piece

By Media Matters

During Fox News' July 12 special, Fox News Reporting: Judging Sotomayor, co-host Bret Baier aired a cropped clip of Judge Sonia Sotomayor's 2005 statement that "the Court of Appeals is where policy is made" to claim that she "apparently confess[ed]" to "legislating from the bench." In fact, the context of Sotomayor's comments makes clear she was simply explaining the difference between district and appeals courts after being asked to contrast the experiences in clerkships at the two levels. Moreover, Sotomayor's comments are in line with federal appellate courts' "policy making" role, as described by the Oxford Companion to the Supreme Court of the United States (2005) and explained by numerous legal experts.

Indeed, University of Texas-Austin law professor Frank B. Cross has written that "[t]he circuit courts play by far the greatest legal policymaking role in the United States judicial system." According to Jonathan Adler, a professor at Case Western Reserve University School of Law, Sotomayor's 2005 remark "seems to be nothing more than an observation that, as a practical matter, many policy disputes are resolved in the federal courts of appeals. This is an indisputably true observation." Adler has been honored by the Federalist Society, advised the Cato Supreme Court Review, and strongly supported the nominations of Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito. Other legal experts have similarly stated that Sotomayor's comment is not controversial, as The Huffington Post and PolitiFact.com have noted.

Baier also aired a cropped clip of President Obama's May 1 statement that he views "empathy" as "an essential ingredient for arriving at just decisions and outcomes" before airing video of The National Journal's Stuart Taylor asserting that "[t]he empathy line of argument may suggest to some, well, not really; we'll do better justice to the poor than to the rich. And so, that's why it's troublesome, I think." Baier later stated, "[T]hat is the issue. Would a Justice Sotomayor, in the name of empathy, see fit to place her thumb on the scales of justice from time to time?" But Baier ignored the statement Obama made immediately following the one he aired, in which Obama said: "I will seek somebody who is dedicated to the rule of law, who honors our constitutional traditions, who respects the integrity of the judicial process and the appropriate limits of the judicial role."...(Remainder.)

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Asinine & Imbecilic Anti-Choice Protester Interrupts Sotomayor Hearing—"What About the Unborn?"

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Offense-Defense Nonsense

On nuclear issues, conservatives are still stuck in the cold war. Why?

By Peter Scoblic
The New Republic


Nestled in the Joint Understanding that Barack Obama and Dmitri Medvedev issued last week was a line that outraged some conservatives. It notes that the nuclear arms-reduction treaty to be signed later this year will contain a provision on "the interrelationship of strategic offensive and strategic defensive arms," by which they meant the link between nuclear weapons and missile defenses. As Charles Krauthammer wrote:
Obama's hunger for a diplomatic success, such as it is, allowed the Russians to exact a price: linkage between offensive and defensive nuclear weapons. This is important for Russia because of the huge American technological advantage in defensive weaponry. We can reliably shoot down an intercontinental ballistic missile. They cannot. And since defensive weaponry will be the decisive strategic factor of the 21st century, Russia has striven mightily for a quarter-century to halt its development.
I'm not sure what's weirder about this line of reasoning: the implication that we remain in some kind of cold war-style arms race with Russia, or the notion that, if we were, we could win. Despite strained relations over Georgia and other issues, I think it's clear that the cold war is over--indeed, this has been one of the primary conservative arguments against pursuing further arms control agreements over the past 20 years. Given, however, that the Obama administration is not only shrinking the U.S. nuclear arsenal, but also is hoping to negotiate or ratify a variety of other accords to reduce the salience of nuclear weapons in international politics, it's worth dissecting the flaws in Krauthammer's argument.

The linkage between offense and defense in nuclear arms is hardly a concession ginned up by the Obama administration to appease the Russians. In fact, the linkage isn't a policy decision at all. It's an inescapable function of the incredibly destructive nature of nuclear weapons themselves--a conclusion that Robert McNamara, among others, came to nearly half a century ago.

During the cold war, there was a relatively stable nuclear balance between the United States and the Soviet Union because, even if one side launched a first strike, the other had the ability to destroy the aggressor in retaliation. That was the situation known as mutual assured destruction, or MAD....(Remainder.)

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Dr. Regina Benjamin, Obama's Pick for Surgeon General

By Lauran Neergaard
Associated Press via The Huffington Post


President Barack Obama turned to the Deep South for the next surgeon general, a rural Alabama family physician who made headlines with fierce determination to rebuild her nonprofit medical clinic in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

An administration official said Obama will announce the nomination of Dr. Regina Benjamin later Monday. The official spoke on condition of anonymity so as not to upstage the official announcement.

The surgeon general is the people's health advocate, a bully pulpit position that can be tremendously effective with a forceful personality.

Benjamin has that reputation.

A decade ago, the New York Times called her "angel in a white coat," a country doctor who made house calls along the impoverished Gulf Coast, paid whatever her patients could scrounge.

From those early days she has emerged as a national leader in the call to improve health disparities, pushed by the need in her own fishing community of Bayou La Batre, Ala., and its diverse patient mix _ where immigrants from Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos make up a growing part of the population.

Her nonprofit clinic was rebuilt by volunteers after being destroyed by Katrina, only to burn down months later. Benjamin later told of her patients' desperation that she rebuild again, recalling one woman who handed her an envelope with a $7 donation to help....(Remainder.)

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Fox's Scott Lies About Bush's "Job Gains" & Suggests Media Unfairly Saying "This is Bush's Economy"

By Media Matters

On the July 11 edition of Fox News' Fox News Watch, host Jon Scott misleadingly asserted that "there were month after month after month of job gains in the Bush administration. And yet, you know, these days, this is the Bush economy as portrayed in the media." However, over the final year of George W. Bush's presidency, the economy lost more than 4 million jobs, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In addition, the unemployment rate rose from 4.9 percent in January 2008 to 7.6 percent in January 2009, and the employment-population ratio dropped from 62.9 percent in January 2008 to 60.5 percent in January 2009.

Media Matters for America has previously documented other media figures misrepresenting employment numbers under the Bush administration or suggesting that President Obama is to blame for job losses that occurred under Bush or within weeks of Obama taking office.

From the July 11 edition of Fox News' Fox News Watch:
SCOTT: What about what the vice president said there, though. When he says -- when he says, gosh, we just didn't understand how bad this economy was. They had promised to keep unemployment under what, eight, 8.5 percent.

OFF-CAMERA VOICE: Yeah.

JAMES PINKERTON (Fox News contributor): They said it would peak at eight -- eight.

SCOTT: Peak at eight. OK, so why aren't they taking more heat in the media and the press?

ANDREA TANTAROS (Fox News political contributor): Well, because the media, I mean, they're scripting media questions, they're cozy with the media. We know this. I mean, what's the saying? Facts are stubborn things, though. They actually have to report that the numbers and the jobs just aren't being created. When it comes to Joe Biden, I mean, Republicans don't need to run against -- put up a message against Obama, his own vice president is doing a great job....
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Über Fucktard, Michael Medved, Falsely Claims that Chelsea Clinton Was Left Alone

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Epic Dumbass, Chris Wallace, Thinks that Darth Cheney is "Just the Dems Whipping Boy" Not a Criminal

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The Primary Weapon

That's a nice Senate seat you've got there, Unspecified Moderate Democrat. Shame if anything happened to it.

By Jonathan Chait
The New Republic


Getty Images
A few weeks ago, Senator Dianne Feinstein announced that she and other Senate Democrats harbored reservations about President Obama's plans to overhaul the health care system. This came atop previous comments to the effect that she didn't believe in sweeping reform ("I am a bit of an incrementalist"), that the cost of reform might be prohibitive (a concern she failed to raise when voting for the Bush tax cuts in 2001).

The reaction from the left was swift and, by the standards of such things, furious. Which is to say, not very furious. Union president Gerald McEntee complained in a press release, "Senator Feinstein's comments today take the discussion of health care reform in the wrong direction." The wrong direction! Take that, Feinstein! And if finding herself on the business end of a polite but disappointed press release didn't put the fear of God in California's senior Senator, the liberal group Health Care for America Now piled on with a petition stating, "[W]e need a senator who is championing, not naysaying, the need for reform. We're hoping Sen. Feinstein becomes a 'champion' for the people of California and stand [sic] up for President Obama's health reform."

Somehow this display of left-wing muscle failed to intimidate Feinstein, who has continued to express her skepticism about the main reform plans. She now taunts her pro-reform critics, "It doesn't move me one whit. They are spending a lot of money on something that is not productive."

Feinstein's clearly right--the liberal efforts to sway her aren't productive. I have a suggestion for something that would be productive: run a primary challenge against her.

Before I lay out my reasons, let me introduce my proposal by way of comparison with another senator. Meet Charles Grassley, Republican from Iowa. Knowing only his circumstances, you'd think Grassley, who faces reelection next year, would be trying to ingratiate himself with the popular president who won his state by nearly ten points. Instead, he is issuing confrontational boasts ("I take pride with being an obstructionist") and sending out bizarrely hostile, syntactically terrifying Twitter messages ("When you are a 'hammer' u think evrything is NAIL I'm no NAIL.")...(Remainder.)

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Fox News Smears Jungle Gyms

By Brian
News Hounds


On yesterday’s (7/11/09) Bulls & Bears, the first topic was jungle gyms, farmers markets, street lights and walking paths being inserted into the health care plan in order to stimulate heathier living. But host Brenda Buttner, in another belying of Fox’s “we report, you decide” mantra, immediately set the tone by describing those items as "pork," and adding about "our lawmakers," “Someone here says THEY'RE full of it.” With video.

Guest Tobin Smith said, "The problem with this whole idea of prevention and investing - by the way it's always an investment, it's not an expense – is that… if there's not a financial incentive and disincentive to use this... the healthiest people are the ones who are going to use these preventive things and it doesn't help them at all ‘cause they’re already healthy. It's absolutely the wrong way."

Sarah Flowers said, "Here's the financial impact. Kids who exercise for an hour a day…"

Tobin Smith cut her off, shouting, "We're not talking about kids. Kids don't consume health care."

Sarah "$137 million is wasted every year because of obesity-related illnesses."

Tobin Smith said, "It's $137 billion easily."

Flowers continued, “With asthma attacks that could be prevented if they lived healthier lifestyles. It's a small part of a big bill."

Pat Dorsey said, "We are the fattest nation in the world and that's a fact. Thirty three percent of Americans are clinically obese and obese people do consume more health care in terms of diabetes, in terms of heart related costs… If (kids) become obese and grow up, then they do consume a lot of health care… An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."...(Remainder.)



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As Space Station Nears Completion, it Faces End of Mission



Plan to 'De-Orbit' in 2016 is Criticized


By Joel Achenbach
The Washington Post


A number of times in recent weeks a bright, unblinking light has appeared in the night sky of the nation's capital: a spaceship. Longer than a football field, weighing 654,000 pounds, the spaceship moved swiftly across the heavens and vanished.

Fortunately, it was one of ours.

The international space station is by far the largest spacecraft ever built by earthlings. Circling the Earth every 90 minutes, it often passes over North America and is visible from the ground when night has fallen but the station, up high, is still bathed in sunlight.

After more than a decade of construction, it is nearing completion and finally has a full crew of six astronauts. The last components should be installed by the end of next year.

And then?

"In the first quarter of 2016, we'll prep and de-orbit the spacecraft," says NASA's space station program manager, Michael T. Suffredini.

That's a polite way of saying that NASA will make the space station fall back into the atmosphere, where it will turn into a fireball and then crash into the Pacific Ocean. It'll be a controlled reentry, to ensure that it doesn't take out a major city. But it'll be destroyed as surely as a Lego palace obliterated by the sweeping arm of a suddenly bored kid.

This, at least, is NASA's plan, pending a change in policy. There's no long-term funding on the books for international space station operations beyond 2015....(Remainder.)

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A Lot of RepubliCONS Owe Pelosi an Apology

By desmoinesdem
MyDD


In May a chorus of Republicans inside and outside Congress made hay out of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's claim that the Central Intelligence Agency had not revealed its waterboarding policy during a 2002 briefing. Many demanded an investigation into the allegations. Minority leader John Boehner said of Pelosi,
"She made this claim and it's her responsibility to either put forward evidence that they did in fact lie to her, which would be a crime, or she needs to retract her statements and apologize."
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich was among the Republican talking heads who demanded Pelosi's resignation. According to Gingrich, Pelosi's assertion was "stunning" and "dishonest."

Representative Steve "10 Worst" King (IA-05) accused Pelosi of "actively undermining our national security" and called for suspending the speaker's security clearance:
Speaker Pelosi has accused the CIA of committing a federal crime - lying to Congress. The CIA and other American defense and intelligence agencies cannot trust Nancy Pelosi with our national secrets, let alone our national security, until this matter is resolved. If true, there has been a serious violation of federal law. If false, American national security requires a new Speaker of the House. The severity of Speaker Pelosi's accusations leaves no middle ground, and her security clearance should be suspended pending investigation.
Now we have learned that:
The Central Intelligence Agency withheld information about a secret counterterrorism program from Congress for eight years on direct orders from former Vice President Dick Cheney, the agency's director, Leon E. Panetta, has told the Senate and House intelligence committees, two people with direct knowledge of the matter said Saturday. [...]

Mr. Panetta, who ended the program when he first learned of its existence from subordinates on June 23, briefed the two intelligence committees about it in separate closed sessions the next day.

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Why Democrats Have No Time to Waste

By Nate Silver
FiveThirtyEight


The Wall Street Journal's has had its monthly economic forecasting panel attempt to predict what the unemployment rate will look like through the end of 2010. And the results are something that should make the Administration -- and Democrats in Congress -- a little nervous. The average forecast for the unemployment rate next December -- a year-and-a-half from now -- is 9.5 percent. That's no better than where unemployment is today. And only one economist out of 51 ventured a forecast below 7.6, which is what the unemployment rate was when Obama took office in January.

It's not that the Journal's forecasters are all that bearish overall. In fact the panel, which has a notoriously bullish track record, expects to see GDP turn positive quite soon: 70 percent expect the recession to end by the fall, and 90 percent by the end of the year.

The unemployment rate, however, has long been a lagging indicator, especially following recent recessions. Suppose that the recession ends in August. Perhaps six months from then -- in February or March -- the economy will actually have started to create jobs. But the employment picture will have gotten worse in the meantime; it will be creating jobs from a peak of, say, 9.9 percent if the administration is lucky, or say, 11.2 percent if it isn't. It will take some time to get the number back down to the 9.5 percent that it's at presently, much less to fall below the 7.6 percent number that would represent an overall gain of jobs during Obama's tenure.

The question is: how playable a hand would the Administration have at that point? They'll probably get some boost when (if?) the recession is declared over. But maybe not much of one. The Persian Gulf Recession officially ended in March 1991; George H.W. Bush was still suffering from the consequences of it 18 months later....(Remainder.)

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Young RepubliCONS: Racism, Hate, Psychotic Paranoia and Intimidation; Just Like the Old Republicans!

By Mark Karlin
Buzz Flash


Sarah Palin and Audra Shay span the United States from North (Alaska) to South (Louisiana), but they share the emotional molten core of the last Alamo stand of the white GOP: "we'll fight to keep the government white."

Audra Shay, nearly 40, just won the Presidency of the Young Republicans over a real young Republican, a woman in her 20s. Shay became infamous last week for the discovery of her racist rants and Michele Bachmann-Glenn Beck style proclamations of a nation near an Obama Armageddon meltdown.

Yet, through bullying and procedural foul play, Shay managed to eke out a win in this year's convention in Indianapolis to prove that the younger Republicans are just like the older ones: racist, bitter, white and hateful.

Frank Rich writes in his June 12th column about Sarah Palin:
Most important, she stands for a genuine movement: a dwindling white nonurban America that is aflame with grievances and awash in self-pity as the country hurtles into the 21st century and leaves it behind....The real wave she’s riding is a loud, resonant surge of resentment and victimization that’s larger than issues like abortion and gay civil rights.That resentment is in part about race, of course....She puts a happy, sexy face on ugly emotions, and she can solidify her followers’ hold on a G.O.P. that has no leaders with the guts or alternative vision to stand up to them or to her.
Audra Shay, who is just a few years younger than Palin, is proof that the future of the Republican Party is its past: Racism, Hate, Psychotic Paranoia and Intimidation. And we might add an abundance of mediocrity.

Think of the San Andreas fault. The corporate wing of the Republican Party aside, the populist wing is primarily "white firsters" -- whether of the Baptist/Evangelical variety or just plain Neo Confederates (someone like Audra Shay appears to be the combo-deal).

The dust up a couple of months back between whether Limbaugh or the RNC/Republicans in Congress led the Republican Party was a battle between the populist "white firsters" and the the Oligarchy/corporate branch of the GOP....(Remainder.)

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The Glorious Third

By Hendrik Hertzberg
The New Yorker
Sara, Sara,
Whatever made you want to change your mind?
Sara, Sara,
So easy to look at, so hard to define.
Bob Dylan, “Sara.”
Sarah Palin spells her Christian name a letter longer than the singer spells his muse’s, but her whims are likewise elusive and her motives similarly mysterious. Ever since the 2008 Republican nominee for Vice-President of the United States suddenly announced that she would resign the governorship of Alaska at the end of July, nearly sixteen months before the expiration of what was supposed to be her first term, a single question has been on every lip: What on earth was that all about?

No one knows. Speculation, some of it fact-based, abounds. She is sick of politics. Or she’s just sick of Alaska politics and wants to do her politicking in the Lower 48. Or she wants to run for senator next year. Or she wants to help other Republicans running for senator or governor in other states, with a view to collecting Presidential I.O.U.s. Or she needs time to coach the ghostwriter and promote the product of a cash-rich book project she recently signed a contract for. Or she thinks the Alaska legislature is getting stroppy (e.g., it might override her refusal to accept millions in federal stimulus funds) and figures it’s better to let her lieutenant governor take the fall. Or she wants to fish more. Or there’s an asteroid-size scandal hurtling her way, and she wants to be outside the blast area when it detonates. Or there’s no big scandal, just a lot of little ones that aren’t even true but nonetheless require the services of lawyers too pricey to retain on a government salary. Or she’s bored. Or (though she is one of the few political job-quitters in memory not to have given this as a reason, as well as one of the few who could say it plausibly) she wants to spend time with her family....(Remainder.)

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Boiling the Frog

By Paul Krugman
The New York Times


Is America on its way to becoming a boiled frog?

I’m referring, of course, to the proverbial frog that, placed in a pot of cold water that is gradually heated, never realizes the danger it’s in and is boiled alive. Real frogs will, in fact, jump out of the pot — but never mind. The hypothetical boiled frog is a useful metaphor for a very real problem: the difficulty of responding to disasters that creep up on you a bit at a time.

And creeping disasters are what we mostly face these days.

I started thinking about boiled frogs recently as I watched the depressing state of debate over both economic and environmental policy. These are both areas in which there is a substantial lag before policy actions have their full effect — a year or more in the case of the economy, decades in the case of the planet — yet in which it’s very hard to get people to do what it takes to head off a catastrophe foretold.

And right now, both the economic and the environmental frogs are sitting still while the water gets hotter.

Start with economics: last winter the economy was in acute crisis, with a replay of the Great Depression seeming all too possible. And there was a fairly strong policy response in the form of the Obama stimulus plan, even if that plan wasn’t as strong as some of us thought it should have been....(Remainder.)

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Ikea is as Bad as Wal-Mart

Everyone loves a bargain, but a new book illuminates the dangers of cheap stuff

By Stephanie Zacharek
Salon.com


AP Photo/Ric Francis - A shopper strolls pass the $10 toys on display at a Wal-Mart Supercenter in Rosemead, Calif., in 2008.
July 12, 2009 | My mother still owns, and uses, the same vacuum cleaner she bought early in her marriage, just after World War II. She still lives in the house my father -- not a carpenter by trade, but an electrician -- built in the early 1950s with the help of his brothers, a small but sturdy Cape Cod-style dwelling with hardwood floors and solid wood doors that close with a hearty, satisfying clunk (as opposed to the echoey click of hollow-core doors). Today the idea of anything -- a household appliance, a piece of furniture, a house -- being built to last is almost laughable. When your vacuum cleaner stops sucking, you most likely haul it out to the curb and trek to Target or a big-box home-goods store to replace it. Even if you could readily find someone to repair it, the trouble and the cost would be prohibitive. If you need a bookcase, there's always IKEA: Sure, you'd prefer to buy a sturdily built hardwood version that doesn't buckle under the weight of actual books, but who has extra dough to spend on stuff like that? The IKEA bookcase is good enough, for now if not forever.

That cycle of consumption seems harmless enough, particularly since we live in a country where there are plenty of cheap goods to go around. But in her lively and terrifying book "Cheap: The High Cost of Discount Culture," Ellen Ruppel Shell pulls back the shimmery, seductive curtain of low-priced goods to reveal their insidious hidden costs. Those all-you-can-eat Red Lobster shrimps may very well have come from massive shrimp-farming spreads in Thailand, where they've been plumped up with antibiotics and possibly tended by maltreated migrant workers from Burma, Cambodia and Vietnam. The made-in-China toy train you bought your kid a few Christmases ago may have been sprayed with lead paint -- and the spraying itself may have been done by a child laborer, without the benefit of a protective mask.

"Cheap" is hardly a finger-waggling book. This isn't a screed designed to make us feel guilty for unknowingly benefiting from the hardships of workers in other parts of the world. And Shell -- who writes regularly for the Atlantic -- isn't talking about the shallowness of consumerism here; she makes it clear that she, like most of us, enjoys the hunt for a good deal. "Cheap" really is about us, meaning not just Americans, but citizens of the world, and about what we stand to lose in a global economic environment that threatens the very nature of meaningful work, work we can take pride in and build a career on -- or even at which we can just make a living....(Remainder.)

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Reality Has a Well Known Liberal Bias

By Steve Benen
Washington Monthly


If you haven't seen it, the Pew Research Center's report on scientists and politics really is fascinating. There's plenty to chew on, but the political views of scientists themselves were of particular interest.

Pew surveyed more than 2,500 scientists, conducted in collaboration with the American Association for the Advancement of Science, which offered a pretty strong sample size. The survey found that more than half (55%) of the scientists identified themselves as Democrats, and nearly as many (52%) call themselves liberal. What's more, "Many of the scientists surveyed mentioned in their open-ended comments that they were optimistic about the Obama administration's likely impact on science."

Only 9% of the scientists, meanwhile, consider themselves conservative, while fewer still (6%) identified themselves as Republicans. It's just speculation, but the party's hostility towards the basics of modern biology, global warming, and evidence-based reasoning may have something to do with this. Call it a hunch.

Kevin Drum argued the results can serve multiple agendas: "Democrats now have quantitative backup for their sneers about Republicans being anti-science. Likewise, Republicans now have quantitative backup for their sneers about scientists just being a bunch of liberal shills who aren't to be trusted on questions like climate change and evolution. We all win!"

Elsewhere in the same poll, I was pleased to see that Americans in general have favorable opinions of professional scientists. In fact, "only members of the military and teachers are more likely to be viewed as contributing a lot to society's well-being."...(Remainder.)

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Let Them Eat Tax Cuts!

By Ellen
News Hounds


On yesterday’s (7/11/09) Forbes on Fox, much of the mostly-conservative panel argued with a straight face that poor people would be better off with more corporate tax cuts instead of food stamps. Out of seven people, only panelists Quentin Hardy and Evelyn Rusli saw the mean-spirited ridiculousness of the suggestion. With video.

Host David Asman offered a suggestion (clearly not his own) that “dishing out more foods stamps and welfare” is a stimulus for the economy. Guest Neil Weinberg agreed. “Absolutely,” Weinberg said. Emphasizing that he was not saying he agreed or disagreed with a stimulus he said, “If the point is to stimulate the economy, you want to get the money out the door. And these are spoon-ready programs. 97% of this money that you send out in food stamps gets spent that month.” In passing, he noted, “We have over 30 million people who are relying on this.” But it seemed as though the reason he mentioned that was not because of the need but because it showed how much of an injection the economy would get. He quickly added, “For every dollar you send out, about 1.4 dollars gets spent so you create jobs along the way.”

Asman broke in to say, “I thought we all agreed in the 90’s… that welfare is a drag, not only on the economy but on the individuals who take it.”

In fact, the Wall Street Journal agrees with Weinberg. It reported that part of the stimulus includes an increase in food-stamp funds.
Money from the program -- officially known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program -- percolates quickly through the economy. The U.S. Department of Agriculture calculates that for every $5 of food-stamp spending, there is $9.20 of total economic activity, as grocers and farmers pay their employees and suppliers, who in turn shop and pay their bills.

While other stimulus money has been slow to circulate, the food-stamp boost is almost immediate, with 80% of the benefits being redeemed within two weeks of receipt and 97% within a month, the USDA says.
The article goes on to discuss how merchants have come to rely on food-stamp money.

“Everybody knows this is a failed policy,” guest Mike Ozanian, Forbes’ national editor, said. I guess he doesn’t read the Wall Street Journal. He claimed that the only things food stamps do are increase the national debt and “taking money from one person and handing it another person.” In other words, it’s a waste of money, let people go hungry!...(Remainder.)



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iQuit

By R.J. Matson
The New York Observer



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