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Even Glenn Beck is Right Twice a Day

Sunday, September 20, 2009

By Frank Rich
The New York Times
Illustration:  Barry Blitt

IF only it were just about the color of his skin.

With all due respect to Jimmy Carter, the racist component of Obama-hatred has been undeniable since the summer of 2008, when Sarah Palin rallied all-white mobs to the defense of the “real America.” Joe Wilson may or may not be in that camp, but, either way, that’s not the news. As we watched and rewatched the South Carolina congressman’s star turn, what grabbed us was the act itself.

What made the lone, piercing cry of “You lie!” shocking was that it breached a previously secure barrier. It was the first time that the violent rage surging in town-hall meetings all summer blasted into the same room as the president. Wilson’s televised shout was tantamount to yelling “Fire!” in a crowded theater. When he later explained that his behavior was “spontaneous” rather than premeditated, that was even more disturbing. It’s not good for the country that a lawmaker can’t control his anger at Barack Obama. It gives permission to crazy people.

The White House was right not to second Carter’s motion and cue another “national conversation about race.” No matter how many teachable moments we have, some people won’t be taught. (Though how satisfying it would have been for Obama to dismiss Wilson, like the boorish Kanye West, as a “jackass.”) But there is a national conversation we must have right now — the one about what, in addition to race, is driving this anger and what can be done about it. We are kidding ourselves if we think it’s only about bigotry, or health care, or even Obama. The growing minority that feels disenfranchised by Washington can’t be so easily ghettoized and dismissed....(Remainder.)

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Fucktard O'Reilly Thinks Being a Homophobic, Anti-Gay Bully is Just Fine

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The Scourge Persists

By Bob Herbert
The New York Times


Did we really need Jimmy Carter to tell us that racism is one of the driving forces behind the relentless and often scurrilous attacks on President Obama? We didn’t know that? As John McEnroe might say, “You can’t be serious.”

“There is an inherent feeling among many in this country that an African-American should not be president,” said Mr. Carter. I guess he was aiming his remarks at those who contended when Mr. Obama was elected that we had achieved some Pollyannaish postracial society. But it’s hard to imagine, after all the madness and vitriol of the past few months, that anyone still believes that.

For many white Americans, Barack Obama is nothing more than that black guy in the White House, and they want him out of there. (Mr. Carter knows a little something about kowtowing to that crowd. During his presidential campaign in 1976, he blithely let it be known that he had no problem with residents “trying to maintain the ethnic purity of their neighborhoods,” and he tossed around ugly terms like “black intrusion” and “alien groups.” He later apologized.)

More than three decades later we have Sherri Goforth, an aide to a Republican state senator in Tennessee sending out a mass e-mail of a cartoon showing dignified portraits of the first 43 presidents, and then representing the 44th — President Obama — as a spook, a cartoonish pair of white eyes against a black background....(Remainder.)

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Alexander Claims That Cap-and-Trade Will Cost Consumer $1,761 a Year

By Catharine Richert
PolitiFact


It's hard to keep track of all those estimates about how much a cap-and-trade bill would cost American families. So, the latest prediction, coming from Sen. Lamar Alexander and other Republicans, is just adding to the confusion.
 
In a Sept. 16, 2009, press release, the Tennessean said, "American families can’t afford a new $1,761 yearly energy tax."
 
Similar numbers were widely posted on conservative blogs. A story on the Weekly Standard was headlined, "Obama Admin Concedes: Cap and Trade Will Raise Your Taxes by 15%."

Those were new numbers to us, so we decided to look into the claim.
 
But first, a little recap. At its heart, cap-and-trade is a simple concept: To slow climate change, the government would set a cap on carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions. To comply, companies such as electric utilities must either upgrade to cleaner technologies or buy credits — also known as allowances — to continue polluting.
 
The cap-and-trade bill currently making its way through Congress was written by Reps. Henry Waxman and Edward Markey, Democrats from California and Massachusetts, respectively. Their goal is to lower carbon pollution by 17 percent by 2020 and 83 percent by 2050. Under their plan, most pollution permits initially would be given out for free. But eventually, companies would have to buy those permits from the government. It's an issue we've explored several times over....(Remainder.)

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Obama Takes 'Big Political Gamble' on Missile Shield



By Josh Ward

Spiegel
Photo:  Reuters

US President Barack Obama has scrapped his predecessor's plans for a missile defense shield in Eastern Europe. German editorialists hope the move will encourage Russia to back tougher sanctions against Iran. But while some praise the decision as hopeful and brave, others dub it naive and dangerous.

President Barack Obama on Thursday said the United States would shelve controversial plans it had inherited from George W Bush's administration to set up a missile defense shield in the Czech Republic and Poland. Instead, he outlined plans to replace it with a system using smaller radars and sensors and missiles deployed on land or at sea.

News of the decision was greeted with qualified support by leading German politicians. While in Brussels for a special EU summit, Chancellor Angela Merkel said that she saw the decision as "a hopeful signal that the difficulties with Russia might be overcome," adding that she hoped it would lead to stronger collaboration with Russia when it comes to international issues.

The most pressing international issue she was referring to was, of course, Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons. The US is hoping to convince Russia to support possibly stiffer sanctions against Iran.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev hailed the decision as a "responsible move." Russia's top diplomat, Konstantin Kosachev, said: "It is a sign that Obama takes our fears more seriously than his predecessor. … Now we can talk about restoration of the strategic partnership between Russia and the United States." But Kosachev added that Moscow was still opposed to new punitive sanctions against Iran....(Remainder.)

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Rep. Nadler Says 'Defunding' ACORN Bill 'Blatantly Unconstitutional'

By Jason Leopold
The Public Record


Congressman Jerrold Nadler, D-NY, denounced a Republican amendment adopted by the House of Representatives Thursday to deny all federal funds to the advocacy group the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) as blatantly unconstitutional and a threat to unpopular organizations everywhere.

Nadler said the Republican initiative, the Defund ACORN Act, introduced by Rep. Darrell Issa, R-CA, singles out a specific organization by name for exclusion from participating in any federal program, in direct violation of the Constitution’s prohibition against Bills of Attainder. The amendment was attached to a student loan bill.

“Today’s Republican amendment is in blatant violation of the Constitution’s prohibition against Bills of Attainder,” said Nadler, the chairman of the Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties. “Congress must not be in the business of punishing individual organizations or people without trial, and that’s what this amendment does. Whatever one may think of an organization, the Constitution’s clear ban on Bills of Attainder is there for the protection of all of our liberties.”

The Supreme Court, in decisions dating back to the Civil War era, has held that the Constitution prohibits all legislative acts, “no matter what their form, that apply either to named individuals or to easily ascertainable members of a group in such a way as to inflict punishment on them without a judicial trial….”...(Remainder.)

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Carter Sticks to His Guns, Repeats Racism Charge

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Teen Birth Rates Highest in Most "Religious" States

Link may be due to communities frowning on contraception, researchers say.

By Jeanna Bryner
Live Science


U.S. states whose residents have more conservative religious beliefs on average tend to have higher rates of teenagers giving birth, a new study suggests.

The relationship could be due to the fact that communities with such religious beliefs (a literal interpretation of the Bible, for instance) may frown upon contraception, researchers say. If that same culture isn't successfully discouraging teen sex, the pregnancy and birth rates rise.

Mississippi topped the list for conservative religious beliefs and teen birth rates, according to the study results, which will be detailed in a forthcoming issue of the journal Reproductive Health. (See chart below.)
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However, the results don't say anything about cause and effect, though study researcher Joseph Strayhorn of Drexel University College of Medicine and University of Pittsburgh offers a speculation of the most probable explanation: "We conjecture that religious communities in the U.S. are more successful in discouraging the use of contraception among their teenagers than they are in discouraging sexual intercourse itself."...(Remainder.)

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Jon Stewart's Interview with Bill Clinton

Part 1:

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Exclusive - Bill Clinton Extended Interview Pt. 1
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political Humor Healthcare Protests

Part 2:

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Exclusive - Bill Clinton Extended Interview Pt. 2
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political Humor Healthcare Protests

Part 3:

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Exclusive - Bill Clinton Extended Interview Pt. 3
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political Humor Healthcare Protests

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Dylan Ratigan Takes On Crazy Birther Bitch Oily Taint

By Rachel Weiner
The Huffington Post


Chief 'Birther' Orly Taitz appeared on MSNBC Friday morning either to defend her increasingly derided conspiracy theories or, as she seemed to see it, to trumpet a major victory against President Obama. She and host Dylan Ratigan mostly talked past each other.

Asked about a legal complaint about President Obama's citizenship that was thrown out of court recently, Taitz ignored the question and instead began rambling about a judge in California who has agreed to hear one of her challenges. "This is a major victory!" she proclaimed.

After trying and failing to interrupt Taitz several times, Ratigan finally shouted, "Orly, Orly! This is not a monologue, Orly! Now I will let you answer, but you will let me ask you questions or you will not come on this show. OK?" Orly laughed and responded, "OK, that's a real threat." She did not seem moved and, in fact, she used the next available opportunity to begin a new speech.

Asked why she thought one judge was hearing her conspiracy theories when another had dismissed them, and why she was continuing to challenge Obama's birth certificate in the face of so much evidence, Taitz responded, "I mean, how can you lie to your viewers like this? ... Nobody in this country, not one single person, has seen a hospital birth certificate... "...(Remainder.)


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Jimmy Carter is Right

By Eugene Robinson
Truthdig


What I wrote last year about candidate Barack Obama—that to win he had to be seen as “the least-aggrieved black man in America”—may be even more relevant now. To lead this diverse and fractious nation effectively, the president has to negotiate racial issues with delicacy, caution and tact. He has to give even his most vocal critics the benefit of the doubt.

But I don’t. So I can say in plain language that Jimmy Carter was right in essence, but wrong in degree. It seems clear to me that some—but not “an overwhelming portion,” as Carter claimed—of the “intensely demonstrated animosity” toward Obama is indeed “based on the fact that he is a black man.”

Obama disagrees. “The president does not believe that criticism comes based on the color of his skin,” White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Wednesday. Obama is the most garrulous president in many years, but when a reporter asked him about Carter’s remarks, he had not a word to say.

Nor do many other leading Democrats—outside of the Congressional Black Caucus—want to touch this explosive subject. I don’t blame them, at least when viewing their silence as a matter of political strategy. The minute you observe that some of Obama’s critics seem to be motivated by race, the critics howl that they’re all being smeared as racists simply because they disagree with Obama’s policies. This is not true....(Remainder.)

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