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Feds push New National Identification Card Program After 'Real ID' Flops

Friday, September 11, 2009

By Larry Greenemeier
Scientific American

Four years ago, President Bush signed a law requiring states to create driver's licenses that meet national standards, store related information in nationally connected databases and foot the bill for most of this nearly $4 billion project. Now, after the 2005 Real ID Act has alienated state governments and privacy advocates alike, the federal government is considering a replacement measure called Pass ID that it hopes will improve national security while being less expensive and less intrusive on privacy.

With half of all US states having passed legislation to reject participation in Real ID and lacking a plan for implementing the program by its December 31 deadline, the Security Industry Association (SIA) and the Document Security Alliance (DSA) held an online briefing Wednesday to explain the differences between Real ID and its proposed successor. SIA is a trade association representing makers of security technology, while DSA was created by government agencies, private industry and academia to identify ways of improving security documents to combat fraud and terrorism.

"Pass ID is an attempt to create a program that states will actually use," Kathy Kraninger, deputy assistant secretary for policy in the Department of Homeland Security's Screening Coordination Office, said during the briefing. "Real ID said, 'You have to do it, but we're not really sure how you're going to do it.'" To date, Congress has appropriated only $150 million to assist states with implementation of Real ID, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL).

The Real ID Act passed in May 2005 tacked onto a bill to fund American troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. It imposed security, authentication and issuance procedures standards for the state driver's licenses and state ID cards so that the Homeland Security Department could use these forms of identification to monitor passengers boarding airline flights and people entering federal buildings as well as nuclear power plants. Critics have said that Real ID essentially creates a national ID card and makes citizens vulnerable to identity theft and privacy invasion....(Remainder.)


Glenn "Total Fucking Moron" Beck Calls Sunstein a "Czar" Ignoring Senate Confirmation


Glenn "Bat Guano Crazy" Beck Wants to Know "Who Divided Us?" Um....YOU ASSHOLE!


Right-Wing Fascist Media Now Claiming Obama's "Indoctrination" of Children Thwarted


Lou "Grand Dragon" Dobbs Attack Southern Poverty Law Center for Calling Him on His Racism


Pat "White People Are #1" Buchanan Parrots Fox BS & Distorts Town Hall Wingnuts


Fox News Continues Ludacris Attacks Over Obama "Czars"


Fox Ass-Weasel, Jenkins, Loves Teabagging & Getting "Liberal Commies" Out of Gov't


Robert Gibbs Tells Fox He Hopes Viewers Pay Attention to Reality, NOT Fox News Lies


The Retarded Baby Jesus Lies to Claim Science Adviser Holdren Wants "Compulsory Abortions"

By Media Matters

On his Fox News show, Sean Hannity forwarded the false conservative talking point -- which gave "Pants on Fire" status -- that White House science and technology adviser John Holdren "advocated compulsory abortion" and "spoke out in defense of compulsory abortion and sterilization." In fact, Holdren never "advocated" for any kind of involuntary birth control; he co-authored an environmental sciences book more than 30 years ago that discusses "compulsory control of family size" including abortion and sterilization as a possible consequence for countries whose expanding birth rates are not curbed by "milder methods."...(Remainder.)


The Obese Oxy-Moron Thinks Insurance Companies Banning Pre-Existing Conditions Just Fine


The Moronic Pig-Man Tells His Braindead Listeners Obama Trying to Overthrow Political System


Has Baucus Misplayed His Hand?

By John Amato
Crooks and Liars

All day I've been hearing how stupid Max Baucus was to release his plan this week which is basically the same bill he leaked back in June. Chuck Todd was wondering why he took so long to produce nothing new. Suddenly the lead Baucus Dogs' bill isn't the be all and end all.

Todd and Andrea Mitchell were saying that Baucus still has a role, but he screwed up by taking so long. He lost his leverage. We'll see, but it was fascinating watching the media turn on the the king of the gang of six.

And now it appears that Liz Fowler has her hand in the Senate Finance bill.
Max Baucus' plan had the name of Liz Fowler, a former WellPoint VP who now works for the Finance Committee, in the metadata. When you have WellPoint personnel instrumental in writing the laws, you get little provisions like this:
Interstate Sale of Insurance. Starting in 2015, states may form “health care choice compacts” to allow for the purchase of non-group health insurance across state lines. Such compacts may exist between two or more states. Once compacts have been formed, insurers would be allowed to sell policies in any state participating in the compact. Insurers selling policies through a compact would only be subject to the laws and regulations of the state where the policy is written or issued.


Fox's Syphilitic Anal-Discharge, Napolitano, Attacks Sunstein


Anger - A Rant (Foul Language Warning!)

By Prophet 451
Democratic Underground

Dear Republicans,

Fuck you. No, I'm not joking. I'm sick of this bullshit.

I'm sick of the way you've corrupted the public discourse. The way you've made it acceptable to hurl any insult you like at public officials. The way you blame us for the current atmosphere of hatred by accusing us of starting it with hating Bush. Like Bush didn't come on the heels of eight years of your tireless efforts to destroy Clinton by any means necessary, like Bush didn't give us good reason to complain. A couple of posters on a website compared Bush to Hitler and you've used it as free license to compare Obama to Hitler 24/7 and I'm sick of your hypocrisy, where it's acceptable to say shit about Obama that you would have had an apopletic fit (and did) if anythign remotely similar had been said about your guys. Keith Olbermann calls Cheney a fascist when he was actually using fascist tactics and you think that gives you the freedom to call Obama a fascist, socialist, Marxist constantly for no reason at all. Fuck you and your bullshit false equivelancy.

I'm sick of the way you've made the populace stupid. Around a fifth of your populace thinks the sun orbits the earth, over half think evolution never happened. Your populace actually believe the media has a liberal bias. Not because it has, you have the most conservative media in the free world, but because you've shouted it so loud and so often that you've brainwashed the public into believing it, like the battered wife who parrots her husband's insults. You've got a whole segment of the populace shouting about socialism and fascism and none of them know what the fucking words mean. You've convinced them that fascism is a left-wing thing. You've got them so turned around that some of them actually believe global warming isn't happening. Fuck you.

I'm sick of the way you try to destroy the whole concept of government. You've tricked the people into believing that government can't do anything right, always being careful to exclude the army because you love your bullets and bombs but you've so destroyed the public's ability to reason that they don't even think of interstate highways, the space program, the national parks program, etc. Government is always great when it's doing what you tell it and inevitibly corrupt when it isn't. Fuck you.

I'm sick of your rewriting of history. You've bleated so loud and long that Reagan was a great president, that the New Deal didn't work, that cutting taxes increases revenues, that you actually have the people believing this bullshit. And these are the same people who will go on to become teachers and fill their student's heads with this self-same bullshit. Reagan was a mediocre president at best who had teh good fortune to be in power when the USSR collapsed under it's own weight and you bastards have turned him into teh Second Coming. You've rewritten history so that everything foul and hateful and wrong can be attributed to a Democrat while everything worthwhile is a Republican's glory. Fuck you.

I'm sick of your dragging the centre ever further to the right. How many whackjob fringe ideas have you dragged into the mainstream? The aforementioned idea that tax cuts increase revenues, the Laffer Curve, the idea that Welfare harms the poor, the idea that there's rampant fraud in Welfare, the idea that whatever is good for corporations is good for the country. And you push these ideas through your corporate media and you do it so long and loud that they become part of the accepted political landscape and because it is easier to tell a lie than to debunk one, we never get away from this rancid shit. Fuck you....(Remainder.)


Conservative Christians Furious that God Loves Gays

By Jim Burroway
Box Turtle Bulletin

A coalition of churches in Dallas/Ft. Worth have gotten together and erected gay-affirming billboards along I-30, the heavily-traveled freeway which connects the two neighboring cities’ downtown:
Rev. Jon Haack, with Promise Metropolitan Community Church, said, “If we go back to the gospel readings, we don’t find anything within those texts that discriminate or exclude against gay and lesbian people. Gay and lesbian, bi-sexual and transgender people are part of God’s creation too.”
That’s not sitting well with conservative Christians in the area. They’re making their displeasure known in hateful emails being sent to the billboards sponsors. The gay affirming churches are up against a very entrenched culture. The only opposing pastor that Dallas’ CBS 11 interviewed responded by comparing LGBT people to adulterers, wife beaters and  murderers:
Pastor Sam Dennis, of Parkway Hills Baptist Church in Plano, says Christians shouldn’t hate gays. He disagrees however with the billboards’ use of scripture to back a pro-gay message. “I’m hard pressed to find that scripture advocates that it’s alright to live in a gay lifestyle. Just like I’m hard pressed to find that scripture advocates that’s it’s alright to live in an adulterous relationship or as a wife abuser or as a murderer.”
How anyone can claim to not hate gays and in the same breath compare them to murderers is beyond me. Do they really hope to lure LGBT people to their way of thinking that way?...(Original.)


White House: Gays Get a Tour; Indians Have a Meeting

By Michael
Petrelis Files

Over at the Washington Blade, veteran reporter Lou Chibbaro wrote yesterday about a special tour of the White House on August 30 for LGBT leaders, which was arranged by openly gay administration official Brian Bond.

From the Blade story:
A White House spokesperson said the LGBT groups were among a wide range of constituency organizations that were invited by the administration to arrange for guests of their choosing to take the tour.

The guests of select LGBT groups visited the East Wing of the White House and saw the same ceremonial and historic rooms in a self-guided tour that the general public sees. Those who attended the tour said there were no Obama administration officials present.

“I’ve heard from a number of guests how pleased they were to be invited and how much they enjoyed the tour,” said Leslie Calman, executive director of the Mautner Project, a Washington-based lesbian health organization. [...]

Among the other LGBT groups invited by the White House to take their members and guests on the tour were the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force, the Human Rights Campaign and Equality Maryland. [...]

“The Office of Public Engagement, through the cooperation of the Visitors Office, has reached out to a broad range of groups, individuals and agency staff to invite them to take a tour of the White House,” said White House spokesperson Shin Inouye.
Well, isn't that special? Another empty and symbolic gesture from the White House for the LGBT community. A tour for lots of friends of Brian Bond and DC-area groups, coming after a cocktail party for our community at the White House with the President and First Lady in June, and the signing by Mr. Obama of a memo giving gays in the federal workforce some changes they should have had long ago. Honestly, I can't recall the substance (?) of the memo, can you?...(Remainder.)


British Finally Apologize to a True Hero

By Timothy Kincaid
Box Turtle

There are not many people who have changed the course of political history or impacted the day to day lives of nearly every person on the planet. Alan Mathison Turing did both.

In 1936, two years out of college, Turing presented the paper, On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem. In this, he proposed that a machine could perform mathematical computations if presented as an algorithm. These Turing Machines (in practice, theoretical) were programmable and could replicate the function of any other machine.

During the Second World War, the German superpower communicated by means of an encryption device call the Enigma. With British and other allied sources unable to decrypt communications, Germany was free to engage in warfare that was immediate and reactive.

England found it essential that these codes be conquered and turned to Turing. Turing and his associates at the Government Code and Cypher School created a series of machines that were about to intercept and decrypt Germany’s military messages, an endeavor that was incalculably valuable. Turing even traveled the the United States to work with U.S. Navy cryptanalysts and to assist with the development of secure speech devices.
It is no exaggeration to say that, without his outstanding contribution, the history of the Second World War could have been very different. He truly was one of those individuals we can point to whose unique contribution helped to turn the tide of war.


Family Values

By Clay Bennett
Chattanooga Times Free Press


Michael Savage's Flagship Station Drops Him

By Zaid Jilani
Think Progress

Earlier today, the conservative blog Patriot Axom noted that far-right radio host Michael Savage has been taken “off the air” from his San Francisco-based flagship station, Talk 910 KNEW. Now, a representative from the station has issued a statement explaining why it will no longer air Savage’s show:
I’m going to answer the very first question many of you have.

“Why did you take Michael Savage off the air?”

Here’s your no-spin direct answer; we have decided to go in a different philosophical and ideological direction, featuring more contemporary content and more local information. The Savage Nation does not fit into that vision.
910 KNEW’s decision is the latest blow to Savage’s efforts to spread hate. Last winter, following a campaign by the Council On American-Islamic Relations and Brave New Films, numerous advertisers ended their relationship with Savage, including Geico, Union Bank of California, and ITT Technical Institute. Savage has in the past advocated killing 100 million Muslims, compared President Jimmy Carter to Hitler, and has said that the U.S. Senate is “more histrionic than ever” because of the addition of female senators....(Original.)


Keith Olbermann Special Comment on Joe "KKK" Wilson's Outburst


Specter Calls for Censure of Wilson

By Garance Franke-Ruta
The Washington Post

Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.) called Thursday for the censure of Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) for shouting "You lie!" at President Obama as the president addressed a joint session of Congress on Wednesday night.

"There ought to be a reprimand or censure of Rep. Joe Wilson to discourage that kind of conduct in the future," he Tweeted.

"Rep. Wilson apologized immediately afterward but I don't think that's adequate," he wrote just moments before....(Original.)


Unbelievable! Tea Party Bus Sponsor's Negligence Killed 23 Seniors In Fire, Blames Federal Government.

By Susie Madrak
Crooks and Liars

This reminds me of that old joke about the guy who killed both his parents and then threw himself on the mercy of the court because he's an orphan...

Lindsay Beyerstein did some great reporting on this. Don't miss the hypocritical Republican punchline!*
One of the featured corporate sponsors of the Tea Party Express had to pay millions of dollars to settle lawsuits for its role in a bus fire that killed 23 elderly nursing home residents fleeing Hurricane Rita in 2005.

The BusBank, a Chicago-based charter company, a "Tour Partner" of the Tea Party Express, a rolling protest sponsored by the Our Country Deserves Better PAC under the supervision of former Republican state legislator Howard Kaloogian, now a PR exec for the GOP-linked firm Russo, Marsh & Rogers.

BusBank is also arranging to ferry Tea Baggers to their 9/12 march on Washington to voice their demands for unfettered capitalism. (Update: Commenter Casual Observer asks if there's a Dick Armey connection here. There is. Dick Armey's FreedomWorks Foundation is the premiere sponsor of the 9/12 march; and Kaloogian's OCDB PAC is a "Gold Co-Sponsor.")

In 2005, a bus carrying seniors fleeing Hurricane Rita burst into flame outside of Dallas, immolating 23 nursing home residents. Investigators later found that the bus was: driven by an undocumented migrant without a valid U.S. driver's license, lacking adequate fire extinguishers, and not registered to operate in Texas. When the bus had mechanical problems before the crash, the driver took it to an unqualified mechanic who failed to notice the critical fault--an unlubricated axle that eventually melted and caught fire....


Obama Heckler, Joe Wilson, a Member of Neo-Confederate SCV, Fought to Keep Dixie Flag in SC

By David Neiwert
Crooks and Liars

Looking into the background of Rep. Joe Wilson, R-South Carolina, after his heckling of President Obama last night, I came across this:
Joe also has been a member of the Columbia World Affairs Council, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Sinclair Lodge 154, Jamil Temple, Woodmen of the World, Sons of Confederate Veterans, ....
This is an organization that, as the SPLC has detailed assiduously, has been taken over in the past decade by radical neo-Confederates who favor secession and defend slavery as a benign institution. Leading the takeover is a radical racist named Kirk Lyons, who's been an important legal figure on the far right for some years.* [More below]

In more recent years, the takeover has led to an outright internal civil war. Andrew Meacham at the St. Petersburg Times detailed the internal rift last year:
Experts say the divisions within the Sons vary between two extremes. On one side are the traditionalists, members who focus on cleaning up Confederate grave sites and conducting Civil War re-enactments.

On the other side are the so-called Lunatics, up to 2,000 members who deride traditionalists as "grannies'' and belong to camps named after notorious Southern figures such as John Wilkes Booth and Jesse James.

John Wilkes Booth members have been known to put pennies in urinals, making sure to leave the Lincoln side face-up. Other Lunatic groups have removed the U.S. flag from their halls and banned the Pledge of Allegiance, says Walter Hilderman, who several years ago created an anti-Lunatic group called Save the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

"The problem is it's supposed to be a patriotic organization," says Hilderman, 59. "You are either that or you let guys in who want to secede."


Deficit Hawks

By John Amato
Crooks and Liars

I always ask teabaggers when I run into them, how any federal deficit has hurt them personally? They can't respond to that. They have no answer except to cry "socialism."

Sure, it's much better to have a surplus like Clinton did, but these same deficit hawks were quite happy when the Bush tax cuts came down and the rich got richer and the economy collapsed. But I ask again: How has deficit spending hurt you?

Long term debt is nothing to sneeze at, but when we're talking about reforming health care for America, who really cares if it's $700 billion for 10 years or $1 trillion or $1.5 trillion? (By the way, I love the way the press never tells America what it would cost per year because then the figure doesn't sound so bad. They make it appear that the cost is $700 or 900 billion a year.)

Go ask a teabagger about costs and see what they say. What will it matter in the long run? We can figure out how to pay for it. Even FDR was hampered by these deficit hawks when he brought the country out of the Great Depression, and now these deficit hawks almost put us back into a Depression because they were so deficit crazy.

The deficit hawk is code for keeping the rich---rich. And then finding ways to keep their money pouring in....(Remainder.)


A Turning Point For Obama

By Dan Froomkin
The Huffington Post

President Obama showed the nation who he is and what he believes in last night.

His speech to a joint session of Congress wasn't the partisan declaration of war that many of his fellow Democrats had been yearning for, but it was nevertheless a bold and confident declaration of basic principles, and a powerful and emotional attempt to recapture the public debate from the unhinged zealots who dominated it during August.

What is now more obvious than ever is that Obama is not a traditional liberal. Yes, he shares a lot of liberal values -- and he expressed that more clearly and passionately last night than perhaps ever before -- but when push comes to shove, he cares more about finding common ground than pretty much anything else. Despite all the calls to issue an ultimatum about the public option -- which seems absolutely critical to achieving fundamental change -- Obama simply will not draw lines in the sand. He still wants to get as many people into the tent as possible.

The speech did mark a turning point, however. The president we saw last night was not the high-minded pushover we'd seen so much of lately. He was inspirational, forceful -- presidential. The ending of his speech was one for the ages:
We did not come to fear the future. We came here to shape it. I still believe we can act even when it's hard. I still believe we can replace acrimony with civility, and gridlock with progress. I still believe we can do great things, and that here and now we will meet history's test. Because that is who we are. That is our calling. That is our character.


Joe Wilson Denounced by Lawmakers on Both Sides of Aisle

By Laurie Kellman
Associated Press via Huffington Post

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama accepted a South Carolina Republican's apology for shouting, "You lie!" during his speech to Congress, and House Democratic leaders showed no interest in sanctions against Rep. Joe Wilson.

Obama said Thursday that Wilson apologized "quickly and without equivocation" and the congressman told reporters the shout-out was "spontaneous."

"We all make mistakes," Obama told reporters, a day after Wilson stunned the president and his colleagues with his outburst.

Infuriated Democrats briefly considered sanctioning the four-term congressman, but decided early Thursday that doing so might distract lawmakers from getting an agreement to overhaul health insurance.

"It's time for us to talk about health care, not Mr. Wilson," said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

Wilson's behavior generated plenty of talk.

He erupted after Obama stated that his health care overhaul would not "insure illegal immigrants."

"You lie!" Wilson shouted from his seat.
Story continues below

The House version of the health care bill explicitly prohibits spending any federal money to help illegal immigrants get health care coverage. The bill's exact language: "Nothing in this subtitle shall allow federal payments for affordability credits on behalf of individuals who are not lawfully in the United States."...(Remainder.)



By Ed Stein
Ed Stein Ink


Fox Nation: “Administration Moves to Downplay 9/11”

Via Media Matters


NPR Lets TX Education Official Attack Obama, While Ignorning Her Wingnut Past

By Media Matters

On NPR's All Things Considered, host Noah Adams, introducing a report on President Obama's September 8 speech to schoolchildren, stated that "some parents and conservatives ... called it a political intrusion into the school day." But NPR did not note that one of the conservatives quoted in the report, Texas State Board of Education member Barbara Cargill, has repeatedly engaged in political intrusions into the Texas school system, seeking -- sometimes successfully -- to change Texas schools' curriculum to fit her conservative ideology....(Remainder.)


Fucktard O'Reilly Has Repeatedly Debunked Accuweather Douche Bastardi on to Advocate Cooling BS


Fucktard O'Reilly Doesn't Like Mandate for Insurance Cos to Cover Mammograms


Festering Anal Cyst Michael "Savage" Weiner Moronically Tries to Link Obama & Manson Family


Dr. Nancy Snyderman Dumbfounded by the Insane Bullshit of Un-American Teabagger

By John Amato
Crooks and Liars

Why is MSNBC even putting people like this on TV? Dr. Nancy was dumbfounded by what this teabagger had to say about Obama's back to school speech and lesson plans in general.
Nancy: Have you changed your mind since hearing the president today?

Teabagger: No I haven't. I thought the speech was OK, we never really had a problem with the content of the speech. It was always about the lesson plans.

Nancy: And what's the problem with the lesson plans, that the idea is to stay in school and do your work and not let adversity keep you down?

Teabagger: Well, actually the lesson plans as they're presented are actually illegal under the protection of People's Rights

Nancy: But what's your problem with the message?

Teabagger: Well like I said, there is no problem with the message it's the lessons plans that encourages students to reveal personal information about themselves by participating in the lessons that the teachers are putting forth for them and that's illegal....

Nancy: But I'm not sure I understand what you're talking about. No one asked for personal information as far as I understand and the lesson plans really went along with the bulk of the speech.

Teabagger: When the teachers ask in a questionnaires or they encourage the students to reveal information about their goals that delves into the psyche of the children and under code 34 of the federal regulations that's illegal.

Nancy: You must be kidding me. Do you not want kids to be talking about what they want to be when they grow up?


Uh Oh...Fox's Blonde Bimbo News Reader, Kelly, Fails & Says Czars Aren't Really "Czars"


Christian Talibanist, Pat Robertson, Attacks Islam Saying "Nonsense" To Say "Religion of Peace"


The Reich-Wing Media's Resurrection of the Rev. Wright Propaganda, Let's Scare the Freepers!

By Media Matters

Conservative media figures have used the controversy over former White House adviser Van Jones' past statements as an excuse to again link President Obama to Rev. Jeremiah Wright, a favorite bogeyman of the conservative media during and after the 2008 presidential campaign. On Fox News, Glenn Beck, Bill O'Reilly, and Charles Krauthammer have all invoked Wright while discussing Jones in order to question Obama's associations, while on his radio show, Rush Limbaugh said, "Van Jones is Jeremiah Wright. ... Van Jones is Obama."...(Remainder.)


Snyderman, Todd, & West Annihilate Joe "Wanna-Be-Whitey" Watkins' Defense of Wingnut Assult on Student Speech


Study Hard!

By John Sherffius
Boulder Daily Camera


Rep. Joe Wilson is an Asshole

By Geoffrey Dunn
The Huffington Post

That the health-care debate in this country has crossed the line far too many times goes without saying. But what Republican congressman Joe Wilson of South Carolina did tonight was shameful and disgusting. He should resign immediately. If he doesn't resign immediately, he should be recalled by his constituents. He has disgraced them and the entire State of South Carolina by his actions.

In the aftermath of Van Jones' resignation this past week, I can only think that he was right: many Republicans are indeed assholes; many Republicans in Congress are assholes; those who jeered tonight and held up signs and disrupted the halls of Congress tonight are assholes. Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh are assholes. There's a pattern here.

That Wilson apologized does nothing to erase the vile and base nature of his outburst--an outburst that shocked, and even frightened, young members of my family who were watching the President's speech. I live in a household where health issues define our lives--I am a cancer survivor and I have a child that lives with a life-threatening disease, not to mention a 94-year-old mother--all under one roof. His outburst invaded the sanctity of our home and violated the daily struggle we endure each day dealing with the dysfunctional health care system in this country....(Remainder.)


Socialist Propaganda

By Dwane Powell
Raleigh News & Observer


Exploiting 9/11, Glenn Beck, Extremists and Corporate-Backed Groups Plan Anti-Obama March

By Lee Fang
Think Progress

This Saturday, right-wing protesters will gather in Washington DC for a march to oppose health reform and President Obama. The event, scheduled intentionally on September 12 to coincide with the anniversary of the day following the September 11 terrorist attacks, was conceived largely by Fox News’ Glenn Beck. However, most of the day-to-day organizing has been orchestrated by a now familiar set of lobbyists and Republican operatives who helped plan anti-Obama “grassroots” tea party events since February. In addition, a set of far-right groups are supporting the event, bringing along their members to join in on the Obama-bashing.

In the past, Beck has said he “hates” the families of the victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks.

Nonetheless, Beck hosted a special program earlier this year announcing his initiative called the “9/12 Project” — an effort to ostensibly recreate the patriotic unity after the September 11 attacks. But far from calls for common ground, Beck explained that the purpose was to demonize his political opponents, declaring that his movement would “surround them.” He has also implored listeners to attend the rally because they “may be the only thing that stands between freedom and slavery.” The 9/12 project website, owned by Beck’s media company Mercury Radio Arts, directs readers to Beck’s radio newsletter....(Remainder.)


Pie in the Sky

What happened when a billionaire pizza mogul tried to build an elite Catholic law school.

By Mariah Blake
Washington Monthly

In the fall of 1998, Steve Safranek, a devout Catholic professor, found himself at a crossroads. For nearly a decade, he had been teaching at the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law, a small Catholic enclave in the heart of the rust belt, and, like many institutions in the region, it was undergoing wrenching change. Enrollment had taken such a tumble that administrators were considering cutting a third of the faculty, and there was growing anxiety among conservative professors, who felt the school was drifting from its traditional Catholic roots. The turmoil only deepened that September when a pro-choice Michigan Supreme Court justice was invited to give the oath at the annual Red Mass, a centuries-old ceremony where Catholic lawyers, judges, and politicians ask God’s blessing and guidance in their daily work. Some faculty and staff turned out with picket signs; others, like Safranek, simply chose not to attend. This touched off a bitter dispute with the administration.

Around this time, Safranek decided he would pray every day for fifty-four days straight to St. Thomas More, the Renaissance lawyer and statesman who coined the word “utopia.” As he recited his Hail Marys, an idea began to percolate: Why not start a new Catholic law school? A few weeks later, Safranek caught word that Tom Monaghan, the eccentric billionaire who founded Domino’s Pizza, had sold his business and was planning to devote his fortune to conservative Catholic causes. So he hashed out a proposal and got four other University of Detroit Mercy professors and an administrator to sign on. To show they were serious, each of them offered to chip in $20,000 and work for free for a year....(Remainder.)


Belgium Shocked by Neo-Fascist Child Carer

By Radio Netherlands

A woman who takes care of children at her home in Belgium has sparked an outcry after her extreme right-wing sympathies were uncovered by media.

A portrait of Adolf Hitler hangs in the living room of her Antwerp home, along with the flag of banned neo-fascist organisation the Flemish Militant Order, VMO.
A journalist from Flemish TV news programme Terzake filmed inside the woman's home with a hidden camera, pretending to be a father looking for after-school care for his daughter.
The care facility is accredited by Child and Family, a national childcare organisation.
The woman told the reporter, "I have nothing to hide. I don't agree with the child care policies of Child and Family. They want the children to decide by themselves when they want to sleep." She explained that she wanted "clear rules."
"My husband is an old-style Nazi. Not pro-German, but very conservative. He is very interested in WWII." The walls of the living room are lined with shelves filled with books on the Nazi occupation of Europe and fascist memorabilia. "Many parents don't understand us," the woman said. "They say, Heil Hitler, yuck!"
She told the reporter that Hitler's ideas were "phenomenal" and said that current trouble with Islamic immigrant families should be handled in the same way that Hitler handled the Jews. "We've got the same problem today. We're being overrun by them."
Children should be taught again to obey their parents, she added. "We should send all children to the Hitler Youth, then they will listen again."...(Remainder.)


Big Food vs. Big Insurance

By Michael Pollan
The New York Times

TO listen to President Obama’s speech on Wednesday night, or to just about anyone else in the health care debate, you would think that the biggest problem with health care in America is the system itself — perverse incentives, inefficiencies, unnecessary tests and procedures, lack of competition, and greed.

No one disputes that the $2.3 trillion we devote to the health care industry is often spent unwisely, but the fact that the United States spends twice as much per person as most European countries on health care can be substantially explained, as a study released last month says, by our being fatter. Even the most efficient health care system that the administration could hope to devise would still confront a rising tide of chronic disease linked to diet.

That’s why our success in bringing health care costs under control ultimately depends on whether Washington can summon the political will to take on and reform a second, even more powerful industry: the food industry.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, three-quarters of health care spending now goes to treat “preventable chronic diseases.” Not all of these diseases are linked to diet — there’s smoking, for instance — but many, if not most, of them are.

We’re spending $147 billion to treat obesity, $116 billion to treat diabetes, and hundreds of billions more to treat cardiovascular disease and the many types of cancer that have been linked to the so-called Western diet. One recent study estimated that 30 percent of the increase in health care spending over the past 20 years could be attributed to the soaring rate of obesity, a condition that now accounts for nearly a tenth of all spending on health care....(Remainder.)


Joe Wilson Said Obama Lied, but He Didn't

By Angie Drobnic Holan

We suspect it's rare that the president gets heckled during a speech to a joint session of Congress, but Rep. Joe Wilson didn't hold back.

"You lie!" shouted the South Carolina Republican. This was in response to President Barack Obama's statements on illegal immigrants.

"There are also those who claim that our reform effort will insure illegal immigrants," Obama said. "This, too, is false – the reforms I’m proposing would not apply to those who are here illegally."

So who's right here? Wilson or Obama?

Incidentally, Wilson apologized for the outbust after the speech, but said he still disagreed with Obama's statement.

We've been monitoring claims about health care reform and illegal immigrants for some time now. Most notably, a chain e-mail claimed that page 50 of the House bill gave free health care to illegal immigrants. That page didn't say that. Rather, it included a generic nondiscrimination clause that said insurers may not discriminate with regard to "personal characteristics extraneous to the provision of high quality health care or related services." So we rated the chain e-mail's claim Pants on Fire.

We read all 1,000-plus pages of the health care bill and were struck by the fact that it is largely silent on health care for illegal immigrants. Keep in mind that experts estimated there were 6.8 million uninsured illegal immigrants in the United States in 2007, out of a total of 11.9 million illegal immigrants. Right now, most states have laws on the books that require hospitals to treat severely ill people who arrive at the hospital, regardless of immigration status, and we didn't see anything that would change those laws, either.

Most illegal immigrants are also now excluded from Medicaid, the government-run health care for the poor. We didn't see anything that would change that....(Remainder.)


Survey Shows Huge Leap in European Support for US Foreign Policy

By Gregor Peter Schmitz

US President Barack Obama has made America much more popular with Europeans, a new study shows. According to the survey, 77 percent of Europeans have a positive view of Obama's handling of international affairs, compared to just 19 percent who supported George W. Bush's foreign policy.

Six months after Barack Obama, European support for the new US president is still high, according to the new Transatlantic Trends survey. The survey, which was published Wednesday, says that 92 percent of Germans have a positive view of Obama's handling of foreign affairs, and that similar figures can be found in Italy (91 percent), the Netherlands (90 percent), Portugal (90 percent) and France (88 percent).

In comparison, last year's survey found that only 19 percent of Europeans had a positive view of then-President George W. Bush's handling of foreign affairs. Likewise, the survey also found that the number of people who believed that the trans-Atlantic partnership had improved since Obama became president doubled in Europe (to 41 percent) and tripled in the US (to 31 percent).

The survey, which is seen as an important yardstick of the trans-Atlantic relationship, is published each year by the Washington-based German Marshall Fund (GMF) and is conducted by the Italian company Compagnia di San Paolo. This year's survey polled more than 13,000 individuals in the United States and 12 European countries, including Turkey.

The results of the survey correspond with the results of similar studies, such as research done by the Pew Research Center, which has reported a rapid improvement in America's reputation in Europe. Moreover, in last year's Transatlantic Trends survey,, a large proportion of Europeans had admitted to hoping that there would be a new beginning in the trans-Atlantic relationship if a Democrat was elected into office....(Remainder.)


A Threat to Fair Elections

By New York Times Op-Ed

The Supreme Court may be about to radically change politics by striking down the longstanding rule that says corporations cannot spend directly on federal elections. If the floodgates open, money from big business could overwhelm the electoral process, as well as the making of laws on issues like tax policy and bank regulation.

The court, which is scheduled to hear arguments on this issue on Wednesday, is rushing to decide a monumental question at breakneck speed and seems willing to throw established precedents and judicial modesty out the window.

Corporations and unions have been prohibited from spending their money on federal campaigns since 1947, and corporate contributions have been barred since 1907. States have barred corporate expenditures since the late 1800s. These laws are very much needed today. In the 2008 election cycle, Fortune 100 companies alone had combined revenues of $13.1 trillion and profits of $605 billion. That dwarfs the $1.5 billion that Federal Election Commission-registered political parties spent during the same election period, or the $1.2 billion spent by federal political action committees.

The Supreme Court has repeatedly upheld the limitations on corporate campaign expenditures. In 1990, in Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce, and again in 2003, in McConnell v. Federal Election Commission, it made clear that Congress was acting within its authority and that the restrictions are consistent with the First Amendment.

In late June, the court directed the parties to address whether Austin and McConnell should be overruled. It gave the parties in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission a month to write legal briefs on a question of extraordinary complexity and importance, and it scheduled arguments during the court’s vacation....(Remainder.)


Andrea Mitchell Stands Up to GOP Senator: Public Option Isn't a Gov't Takeover


Dems to Introduce DOMA Repeal in House

A group of Democrats, including New York Representative Jerry Nadler are reportedly preparing to introduce a repeal to the federal Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA.

By Michelle Garcia

A group of Democrats in Congress, including New York representative Jerry Nadler, are reportedly preparing to introduce a repeal to the law that restricts the federal government from recognizing gay and lesbian marriages or partnerships legally recognized in certain states.

The group is gearing up to notify fellow congressmembers that the bill will introduced, while asking for their support, according to

While House speaker Nancy Pelosi has said she supports repealing the 13-year-old law, the House has a full slate of economic issues to deal with over the next session. President Barack Obama also campaigned on the message that he would approve of repealing DOMA. However, the Department of Justice, under Obama, has issued two briefs pertaining to the law over the summer, defending it in federal court cases....(Original.)



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