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Little for Liberals in Confirmation Hearings

Sunday, July 19, 2009

(By Melina Mara - The Washington Post)

As Sotomayor and White House Avoid Ideology, Some on Left See Wasted Chance

By Amy Goldstein and Paul Kane
The Washington Post

Early on the third day of last week's confirmation hearings, one of the Senate Judiciary Committee's leading liberals leaned forward in his leather chair toward Sonia Sotomayor to explain his hopes for the next member of the nation's highest court.

"I want a justice," said  Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin (D-Md.), a veteran politician taking part in his first Supreme Court confirmation, "who will continue to move the court forward in protecting . . . important civil rights. I want a justice who will fight for people like Lawrence King who, at the age of 15, was shot in a school because he was openly gay. I want a justice who will fight for women like a 28-year-old Californian who was gang-raped by four people because she was a lesbian. And I want a justice who will fight for people like James Byrd, who was beaten and dragged by a truck for two miles because he was black."

So, Cardin asked the nominee: Don't courts have to take such factors as race into account?

Sotomayor paused. "Well," she replied, "it depends on the context of the case that you're looking at."

The hearings were a moment of history that liberals had awaited for 15 years: an opportunity for a Democratic president's Supreme Court nominee to inject into the public dialogue fresh ideas about the Constitution and the law, beginning to recalibrate a court that has gravitated to the right....(Remainder.)


Hate Crimes Bill Passes Senate, Heads to President's Desk -- Glenn Beck Freaks Out!

By David Neiwert
Crooks and Liars

There was a little bit of history made yesterday, though hardly anyone noticed: the Senate passed a hate-crimes bill.

This is historic because it marks the first time both houses have agreed to a federal law dealing with these kinds of crimes. Dating back to the failures of Congress to ever enact anti-lynching legislation, the Senate made history by forwarding the bill to the president, where he is expected to sign ... or is he?
WASHINGTON — People attacked because of their sexual orientation or gender would receive federal protections under a Senate-approved measure that significantly expands the reach of hate crimes law.

The Senate bill also would make it easier for federal prosecutors to step in when state or local authorities are unable or unwilling to pursue hate crimes.

"The Senate made a strong statement this evening that hate crimes have no place in America," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said after the chamber voted Thursday to attach the legislation as an amendment to a $680 billion defense spending bill expected to be completed next week.

The House in April approved a similar bill and President Barack Obama has urged Congress to send him hate crimes legislation, presenting the best scenario for the measure to become law since Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., first introduced it more than a decade ago.

Republicans will have the opportunity to propose several more changes to the hate crimes bill on Monday, but that will not change its status as part of the must-pass defense bill.
However, Obama is threatening to veto the bill if it comes attached with funding for F-22s that John McCain and Co. have stuck onto it. Eventually it's expected to return to his desk if that happens, but there's always the chance for Republican mischief in the interim....(Remainder.)


President's Community College Initiative Promising

By Tom Vander Ark
The Huffington Post

This week President Obama called for the creation of the American Graduation Initiative, a $12 billion effort to encourage degree completion especially Associate degrees and certificates. America has slipped in high school and college completion rates to the middle of the OECD pack. David Brooks explained why we need to do better and endorsed the President's this proposal. He's right, it could help.

I'm a fan of community colleges. Dual enrollment at one up the street saved my daughter 1.5 years of college tuition. They are the great American open access system. They are cheap, close by, and instruction is often surprisingly good--frequently better than lower division courses at a state university.

But we should use a big investment like the one the President proposed to make some big improvements:

1. Common placement exam: most community colleges operate independently, pick their own exam and cut scores. Placement exams are the big hidden gateway in American education--young people fail the test, get sent to remedial courses to learn what they should learned have in high school, and drop out. High school exit exams should be community college entrance exams--pass one exam and you can graduate and start earning college credit.

2. Dual enrollment: as the President suggested, an expansion of dual enrollment programs would allow high school students to get a jump start on college. If the common placement exams were online, high school students could take the exam anytime and start earning college credit as soon as they were ready. To fully take advantage of this opportunity for everyone to save money (states and families), states will need a 'money follows the student' system (this is not very popular with schools that don't want to compete for kids)....(Remainder.)


Alleged Nazi Guard Faces 29,700 Murder Charges...and Has One Unique American Defender

By Nicole Belle
Crooks and Liars

Belfast Times:
German prosecutors have formally charged a suspected Nazi death camp guard with 27,900 counts of being an accessory to murder.

Eighty-nine-year-old John Demjanjuk was extradited from the US in May.[..]

Demjanjuk says he was a Red Army soldier who spent the war as a Nazi prisoner and never hurt anyone.
Demjanjuk had originally been deported to Israel in 1986, accused by Holocaust survivors of being "Ivan the Terrible", a particularly brutal guard at the Treblinka camp. His conviction was overturned based on evidence that suggested reasonable doubt that he was not that guard. In April of this year, he was deported to Germany to face charges of being an accessory to the murder for being a guard at another death camp.

But there's one American that thinks that Demjanjuk got a raw deal: none other than MSNBC's resident racist (and now alleged Nazi apologist) Patrick J. Buchanan. (link goes to VDare)
John Demanjuk And The True Haters

On Good Friday, John Demjanjuk, 89 and gravely ill, was ordered deported to Germany to stand trial as an accessory to the murder of 29,000 Jews—at Sobibor camp in Poland.

Sound familiar? It should. It is a re-enactment of the 1986 extradition of John Demjanjuk to Israel to be tried for the murder of 870,000 Jews—at Treblinka camp in Poland.

How many men in the history of this country have been so relentlessly pursued and remorselessly persecuted?


The Day They Arrested President Roosevelt

By Robert Naiman

What a dark day for American democracy it was - February 5, 1937, the day they arrested President Roosevelt.

The pretext for this assault on democracy was President Roosevelt's proposal of the Judiciary Reorganization Bill of 1937, which would have allowed President Roosevelt to appoint more members to the Supreme Court, which had blocked New Deal measures President Roosevelt had introduced to try to bring America out of the Great Depression. Supporters of the New Deal were particularly galled by the Supreme Court's decision the previous year throwing out New York's minimum wage law.

But some of President Roosevelt's opponents in Congress (including many conservative Democrats), the Supreme Court, and the military claimed the proposed bill was an assault on the Constitution - even though the Constitution doesn't say how many Supreme Court justices there should be, and Congress had changed the number of Supreme Court Justices many times in the past - and that Roosevelt's move was a dangerous power grab. So dangerous, in fact, that Roosevelt's proposal could not even be considered in Congress. Roosevelt's opponents claimed that he had violated the Constitution by even suggesting the idea, and had to be removed from office immediately; that Roosevelt and his supporters were such a threat to the established order that due process had to be dispensed with -- if Roosevelt were put in prison, maybe there would be riots.

Therefore, on the morning of February 5, soldiers under the command of General Smedley Butler arrested President Roosevelt and deported him to Canada, still in his pajamas.

With President Roosevelt out of the way, the Supreme Court overturned Washington State's minimum wage law on March 9. On April 12, the Supreme Court threw out the National Labor Relations Act -- which sought to guarantee the rights of workers to organize into "unions" so they could bargain collectively for higher wages and better working conditions. Finally, on May 24, the Supreme Court overturned the law establishing Roosevelt's proposed "Social Security" system - a public pension scheme to guarantee some income to less privileged workers and their dependents in retirement and to the disabled. The New Deal was crushed....(Remainder.)


Sarah Palin!

By Tom Tomorrow
Credo Mobile


An American History Lesson for Pat Buchanan

By Kenneth C. Davis
The Huffington Post

I did not hear right wing talking head Pat Buchanan's remarks on African American history the other day on MSNBC. According to an account on the Huffington Post, Buchanan and host Rachel Maddow had a hot exchange during which Buchanan said:
"White men were 100% of the people that wrote the Constitution, 100% of the people that signed the Declaration of Independence, 100% of the people who died at Gettysburg and Vicksburg, probably close to 100% of the people who died at Normandy. This has been a country built basically by white folks, who were 90% of the nation in 1960 when I was growing up and the other 10% were African-Americans who had been discriminated against."
The video of the exchange:

I can't begin to dismiss all of the inaccuracies and flawed logic contained in this statement. But it is an appropriate day tell you that on July 18, 1863 nearly 100% of the Union soldiers who died while storming Fort Wagner in South Carolina were black. These were the men of the famed 54th Massachusetts Regiment who fought and died in the tragic battle that was made famous in the film Glory. Pat Buchanan's words are an offense to their honor and sacrifice. (Yes, Mr. Buchanan, there have been other movies about the Civil War besides Gone With the Wind.)

If you haven't seen the film Glory, it recounts the true story of the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, one of the first officially organized and recognized all-black fighting units in the Civil War. The regiment was organized in March 1863 after the Emancipation Proclamation was officially announced by President Lincoln. The men were commanded by white officers, including Colonel Robert Gould Shaw, whose parents were abolitionists....(Remainder.)

Kenneth C. Davis is the author of "Don't Know Much"


Batcrap Crazy Jim DeMint's Discourse: Government is Fascist, Says He Will 'Break' Obama & Cause the Senate 'Pain'

By Lee Fang
Think Progress

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) is ratcheting up his anti-Obama rhetoric. On a call with right-wing activists yesterday afternoon, he proudly proclaimed that he aims to “break” the President by defeating health reform. He also said recently that he prefers to cause “pain” to his fellow legislators rather than working on reform. And while promoting his new book on the G. Gordon Liddy show yesterday, DeMint agreed with Gordon — who ironically has a history of expressing sympathetic views to Nazis — that Obama has created a government like that under Hitler:
LIDDY: But there’s something else that I remember because I’m a lot older than you are and it’s called national socialism and that’s where the government allows private people to continue to own industrial capacity and what have you but tells them what they may — must do with it. You know, you will make Messerschmidts, etc. That was national socialism. That seems to me the way we’re going.

You’re right we’ve got national socialism, national paternalism and our form of socialism seems more benign than the classical form that we noted in Europe.
Listen here:



Now-Defunct GOP Online Sales Game Traded in Nazi Propaganda, Too

By David Neiwert
Crooks and Liars

John Aravosis at AmericaBlog had a great post the other day exposing an online sales scheme hatched at the Republican National Committee's website whereby you could search for goods on an "Obama Card" and come up with all kinds of goodies.

So Aravosis did searches for such words as "Jew," "Latino," "Bondage," "Escort" and "Anal" and got some very interesting responses. Many of them are hilarious, actually.

But the one that caught my attention most was the search for "Jew," which you can see above. Among its responses, as Aravosis notes, is "The Jews and Their Lies."

But in the second spot for this search is the video Jud Süß. This was the vicious anti-Semitic film created by the Nazis and used as propaganda to advance the Holocaust as it was occurring in Germany.

The other stuff is incredibly hypocritical, but this material is downright disturbing. Whoever was responsible for compiling the material for these searches had deeply questionable tastes.

No wonder the RNC promptly discarded the whole thing....(Original.)


Scare-Ya Palin Outdoes Herself

By David Michael Green

Watching Sarah Palin in action is always an exercise in astonishment, but I don't think anything she's done to date could top the speech she gave announcing her resignation as governor of Alaska.

I watched her with my jaw dropped, left nearly speechless not only by what she said but by how she said it. And, most especially, by the insanely frightening notion that tens of millions of Americans not only don't see her as some sort of Tina Fey character built for howling laughs, but in fact an object of adoration.

Hey, Jesus, do we really need so overt a reminder that the once mighty empire is now in complete free fall? Wasn't eight years of Kid Caligula enough?

I don't even know what to do or think or make of her style of public speaking, and I'm not even sure I understand why I don't. Is it that she so unambiguously violates all the rules of our already embarrassing political praxis by presenting herself as so transparently false, so unashamedly faking her way through national issues of which she is totally ignorant?

Chance the Gardener literally - literally! - had more credibility than Sarah Palin, somehow. Is it because he was completely authentic in his ignorance, and she so completely disingenuous?

Is it the singy-songy, Golly-gosh Gomer!, candy-coated old-fashioned homespun goody-goodness of her TV persona that freaks me out, a character so one-dimensional it could make porn stars seem like Oscar-winning thespians by comparison?

Is it the mangled English so grating to the ear that even George W. Bush can't bear to listen to it?...(Remainder.)

Read more... Plays Big Brother With Famous E-Books

By David Pogue
The New York Times

This morning, hundreds of Amazon Kindle owners awoke to discover that books by a certain famous author had mysteriously disappeared from their e-book readers. These were books that they had bought and paid for—thought they owned.

But no, apparently the publisher changed its mind about offering an electronic edition, and apparently Amazon, whose business lives and dies by publisher happiness, caved. It electronically deleted all books by this author from people’s Kindles and credited their accounts for the price.

This is ugly for all kinds of reasons. Amazon says that this sort of thing is “rare,” but that it can happen at all is unsettling; we’ve been taught to believe that e-books are, you know, just like books, only better. Already, we’ve learned that they’re not really like books, in that once we’re finished reading them, we can’t resell or even donate them. But now we learn that all sales may not even be final.

As one of my readers noted, it’s like Barnes & Noble sneaking into our homes in the middle of the night, taking some books that we’ve been reading off our nightstands, and leaving us a check on the coffee table.

You want to know the best part? The juicy, plump, dripping irony?

The author who was the victim of this Big Brotherish plot was none other than George Orwell. And the books were “1984” and “Animal Farm.”



Republicans: Some Centrist Dems Want Health Care Coalition with GOP

Ok, time to neuter and spay the Blue Dogs.

By David Edwards and Daniel Tencer
The Raw Story

Some centrist members of the Democratic party on Capitol Hill are talking with Republican Congresspeople about building a coalition to oppose the Obama administration’s health care reforms and form an alternative approach on their own, says a House Republican.

Rep. Charles Boustany (R-LA) told Fox News Saturday that “there’s an interesting development occurring behind the scenes right now, whereby some of the moderate Democrats — the so-called Blue Dog Democrats — and business-friendly new Democrats are actually starting to have conversations with us to build a coalition from the center outward to actually come up with substantive and well-founded health care reform.”

Added the Louisiana Republican: “We think if we can build enough public opinion on this, we can force the issue.”

In a report on Boustany’s comment, the Hill points out that various House committees have thrown the health care reform issue into high gear this week, passing various “marked up” versions of a health reform bill that would provide a “government-run” health program for at least those individuals who are not covered by their employer and cannot afford a private plan.

But if Republicans were to form a coalition with centrist Democrats, the power center of the health care struggle would shift from the House Democratic leadership and the White House to the new Democratic-GOP coalition, potentially scuttling plans for a government-run health option....(Remainder.)


Jim Robinson, Founder of Free Republic, America-Hating Traitor

HOLY EFFIN' SHIT!  These zombie Freepers are truly frightening.

By high bitrate
Daily Kos

Determined to continue on the same reckless posting course set by his previous Call to Arms, Jim (or more likely the posters for whom his account serves as a handy sockpuppet, namely JohnBoy or nutjob fluffer Gary Dunn/Syncro) has expanded further.

The nitwit list of a guy who gets government healthcare and government disability has been posted, and as expected, he drowns in The Stupid - all to keep anybody else from getting what he gets, he would override the wishes of the majority of Americans.

It would be a joke, except for the fact that too many of these losers have gone out and perpetrated violence before.

If we could get millions of Americans to march on Washington, what would we do?

Therefore, We the People of America choose to exercise our right to throw off and alter the abusive government by peacefully recalling and removing from office the President of the United States, the Vice President of the United States and all U.S. Senators and U.S. Representatives effective immediately.

An interim provisional Chief Executive and congressional representatives will be established as follows:

The Secretary of State shall immediately assume the office of interim Chief Executive. The Chief Executive shall appoint and the interim Senate shall confirm an interim Vice President.

An immediate election shall be held within each state legislature to appoint two interim senators to represent each sovereign state.

A special election shall be held by all states within 30 days to elect interim members of the House of Representatives.

Elections for regular government offices shall be conducted in November, 2010 as previously scheduled, except that elections will be held for all elective offices, including President, Vice President and all U.S. Representatives. U.S. Senators will be elected per class schedule by the various state legislatures....



What Recession?

By Ed Stein
Ed Stein Ink


Doctors' Group Backs Single-Payer Amendment to House Health Care Bill

You know that this type of support & backing would never come out of the AMA.

16,000 physicians urge passage of substitute ‘Medicare for all’ motion

By Physicians for a National Health Program
Via Common Dreams

WASHINGTON - July 17 - Calling the health reform bill released by House Democrats a “proven failure,” an organization of 16,000 doctors called today for the passage of an amendment to the bill that would essentially overturn it and implement a single-payer, Medicare-for-all system.

The single-payer amendment to H.R. 3200, the House tri-committee bill unveiled two days ago by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), is scheduled to be offered by Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) next Monday at the Energy and Commerce Committee, although it could be introduced as early as tomorrow.

Weiner is a co-sponsor of another House bill, the U.S. National Health Care Act, H.R. 676, sponsored by Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.). Conyers’ bill, which has 85 co-sponsors, would create a single-payer system. Weiner’s amendment to H.R. 3200 would basically substitute the provisions of H.R. 676 for its present content.

Dr. Quentin Young, national coordinator of Physicians for a National Health Program, characterized the incremental reform bill offered by House Democrats this week as a “proven failure,” noting that state-based reforms of this type — Massachusetts being the latest example — have repeatedly foundered.

“The House proposal mimics the imploding Massachusetts reform,” Young said. “The state is dumping 30,000 legal residents off insurance, and the largest safety-net hospital is suing the state for decimating the hospital’s budget to shore up the reform. Meanwhile, 1 in 6 Massachusetts residents are unable to pay their medical bills, and 18 percent of residents with insurance skipped care last year because they couldn’t afford it. The Massachusetts model is no solution.”

Young greeted Weiner’s amendment, noting that it complements the efforts of other single-payer advocates who have lobbied, testified before Congress or otherwise pushed to ensure that national health insurance is “on the table” in the health reform debate....(Remainder.)


Windfalls for Bankers, Resentments for the Rest

So if Goldman's had such amazingly wonderful profits, should the gov't demand full repayment of any and all TARP funds...with interest?  The Obama Admin really must start regulating these "banks" more.  I'm no where near an expert on finance and the economy, in fact neophyte would be an overstatement, but this seems pretty straight forward to me.

Lee Jin-Man/Associated Press

By David Segal
The New  York Times

There was a time in this country when a company reporting a few billion in earnings could count its money while basking in polite, reverent applause.

That time ended Tuesday.

It was the morning that Goldman Sachs reported net income of $3.44 billion, a number that surprised even analysts who follow investment banking. JPMorgan Chase came two days later with news that it had earned $2.7 billion in the second quarter, even more than it earned in the same period last year, before the economy had a cardiac infarction.

Then on Friday, Citigroup and Bank of America — two of the great basket cases of the meltdown — reported outstanding numbers, too.

All of these companies were beneficiaries of gargantuan government bailouts, in assorted forms and varied sums, but if they assumed they’d hear bravos for prompt paybacks and quick turnarounds, they were in for a shock. At a time when so many people are struggling with foreclosures and are either unemployed or worried about losing a job, these earnings were bound to stir up some basic questions of fairness.

And along with those questions, a rebirth, perhaps, of a type of anger that hasn’t been widespread for a while: good old class resentment....(Remainder.)


Retired Retards General, Lieutenant Colonel Join Reservist's Obama Suit

Are you freakin' kiddin' me with this?  What the hell is wrong with these people?  Seriously.  These "people" bring stupid to a whole new level.  Oh, and we must remember, the judge has already dismissed this case.

By Lily Gordon
Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

A EPICALLY STUPID! controversial suit brought by a U.S. Army reservist has been joined by a retired Army two-star general and an active reserve Air Force lieutenant colonel.

Maj. Stefan Frederick Cook filed the suit July 8 in federal court here asking for conscientious objector status and a preliminary injunction based upon his belief that President Barack Obama is not a natural-born citizen of the United States and is therefore ineligible to serve as president of the United States and commander-in-chief of the U.S. Armed Forces.

However, before the issue got to court, Cook’s orders to deploy to Afghanistan were revoked. Lt. Col. Maria Quon, a public affairs officer with the U.S. Army Human Resources Command-St. Louis, said Tuesday that Cook was no longer expected to report Wednesday to MacDill Air Force Base in Florida for mobilization to active duty. Cook, who claims he is now the victim of retaliation due to his suit, received his mobilization orders to report for active duty at MacDill on Wednesday. From there, he was to go to Fort Benning on Saturday for deployment to Afghanistan.

Cook is an Individual Mobilization Augmentee. This means he’s a reserve soldier assigned to an active component unit consisting of active duty soldiers instead of a reserve unit, which is composed entirely of reserve soldiers. He is assigned to the U.S. Army Element of U.S. Southern Command.

Last week, Cook filed a request in federal court seeking a temporary restraining order and status as a conscientious objector represented by California attorney Orly Taitz....(Remainder.)


2010: A New Space Odyssey Beckons

AWESOME!  Space exploration one of the best ways to stimulate the economy, scientific discovery, and the overall advancement of human knowledge.  I think that this is brilliant!

The world is on the verge of new manned exploration of the solar system – and, this time, environmentalists are backing it

By David Randall, Victoria Richards and Andrew Johnson
The Independent

This weekend, 40 years after man first landed on the Moon, more human beings than ever before are orbiting on a single spacecraft. In 1969, three men squeezed into Apollo 11's command module, a craft little bigger than a Mini.

Yesterday, the International Space Station, now as large as a four-storey house, yet speeding at 17,239mph, took on board the crew of the shuttle Endeavour: 12 men, one woman – seven Americans, two Russians, two Canadians, one Japanese and a Belgian. During a two-man space-walk, the crew added a four-ton porch – an outdoor shelf for experiments – to the station.

It is yet another small step in space exploration. But next month, a far bigger one could be taken. A panel of specialists will advise President Barack Obama on whether the US should embark on an ambitious 21st-century space programme that could see Americans return to the Moon, and eventually venture further to near-Earth asteroids and Mars. It is an issue that rouses not just space enthusiasts but those who think the world should have other, greener priorities....(Remainder.)


Exxon Faces $1 Billion Fine for Sabotaging Texas Oil Wells

Isn't really time that the US Gov't, once again, used the Sherman Anti-Trust Act to break up these oil monopolies?  Or better yet, nationalize every oil corporation in the US.  Since they're so vital to "national security" shouldn't they national corporations?

By Daniel Tencer
The Raw Story

ExxonMobil’s sabotage of some 100 Texas oil wells in the past 17 years — going so far as to plug up some wells with explosives — means the world’s largest oil company could be liable for penalties of up to $1 billion, the Texas General Land Office says.

Jerry Patterson, commissioner of the state’s land office, released a report earlier this week asking the Texas Railroad Commission — which regulates the state’s oil industry — to investigate “ExxonMobil’s intentional sabotage of oil wells in Refugio County as well as the company’s fraudulent reports covering up the damage.”

“Exxon committed irrefutable, intentional and flagrant violations of state rules regulating the oilfield,” Patterson said in a statement (PDF).

The allegations stem from a lease the company signed with a Texas family, the O’Connors, back in the 1950s to exploit oil fields on the family’s land. When the relationship “went sour,” Patterson states, the energy giant had the oil wells plugged up in such a way that no one else could use them.

Patterson says the company’s reports on the sealing of the oil wells was “fraudulent.”

“When the relationship turned sour in the 1990s, Exxon-Mobil terminated the lease and plugged the wells,” states Patterson’s report. “As per state rules, Exxon filed paperwork with the Railroad Commission outlining its well-plugging procedures and filed sworn affidavits as to the final condition of the wells. The O’Connor family soon learned those reports to the Railroad Commission were fraudulent....(Remainder.)


They Got Some 'Splainin' to Do

By Frank Rich
The New York Times

AS political theater, the Sonia Sotomayor hearings tanked faster than the 2008 Fred Thompson presidential campaign. They boasted no drama to rival the Clarence-Anita slapdown, the Bork hissy fits or the tearful exodus of Samuel Alito’s wife. There was rarely a moment to match even the high point of the Senate’s previous grilling of Sotomayor — in 1997, when she was elevated to the Second Circuit. It was then that Senator John Ashcroft of Missouri previewed the brand of white male legal wisdom that would soon become his hallmark at the Bush Justice Department. “Do you believe there’s a constitutional right to homosexual conduct by prisoners?” he asked. (She aced it: “No, sir.”)

Yet the Sotomayor show was still rich in historical significance. Someday we may regard it as we do those final, frozen tableaus of Pompeii. It offered a vivid snapshot of what Washington looked like when clueless ancien-régime conservatives were feebly clinging to their last levers of power, blissfully oblivious to the new America that was crashing down on their heads and reducing their antics to a sideshow as ridiculous as it was obsolescent.

The hearings were pure “Alice in Wonderland.” Reality was turned upside down. Southern senators who relate every question to race, ethnicity and gender just assumed that their unreconstructed obsessions are America’s and that the country would find them riveting. Instead the country yawned. The Sotomayor questioners also assumed a Hispanic woman, simply for being a Hispanic woman, could be portrayed as The Other and patronized like a greenhorn unfamiliar with How We Do Things Around Here. The senators seemed to have no idea they were describing themselves when they tried to caricature Sotomayor as an overemotional, biased ideologue....(Remainder.)


Fox Chyron Declares "Minimum Wage Hike" to be "Terrible for all Workers!"

By Media Matters


NY Times Ignores House Health Bill's Exemption Protecting Small Business

By Media Matters

In a "news analysis" that ran on the front page of The New York Times' July 18 edition, reporters Robert Pear and David M. Herszenhorn reported that House Democrats' health care reform bill levels "a payroll tax -- as much as 8 percent of wages -- on employers who do not provide health insurance to workers." However, despite subsequently citing lawmakers' stated concerns about the impact of the bill's tax provisions on small businesses, Pear and Herszenhorn did not explain that the 8 percent payroll tax would only apply to "employer[s] with an annual payroll of more than $400,000," as they themselves noted in a July 14 article. Nor did they note that companies with annual payrolls of less than $250,000 would pay no penalty for failing to provide health insurance for their employees.

As Media Matters for America has noted, the House Democrats' bill, the America's Affordable Health Choices Act, would establish a 2 percent payroll penalty for employers with combined payroll between $250,000 to $300,000 that don't offer health insurance to employees; a 4 percent penalty for employers with $300,000 to $350,000 in payroll; a 6 percent penalty for employers with $350,000 to $400,000 in payroll; and an 8 percent penalty for companies with annual payrolls exceeding $400,000. Additionally, the bill establishes tax credits for small-business employers that do provide health care.

From Pear and Herszenhorn's July 18 New York Times article, titled, "Democrats Grow Wary as Health Bill Advances":
On Capitol Hill, the picture is more complex. Representative Jared Polis, a freshman Democrat from Colorado who voted against the bill approved Friday in the Education and Labor Committee, said he worried that the new taxes "could cost jobs in a recession."...



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