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Most Arctic Sea Ice 'Gone in Decade'

Friday, October 16, 2009

By Agence France-Presse
The Raw Story

LONDON — The Arctic ice cap will disappear completely in summer months within 20 to 30 years, a polar research team said as they presented findings from an expedition led by adventurer Pen Hadow.

It is likely to be largely ice-free during the warmer months within a decade, the experts added.

Veteran polar explorer Hadow and two other Britons went out on the Arctic ice cap for 73 days during the northern spring, taking more than 6,000 measurements and observations of the sea ice.

The raw data they collected from March to May has been analysed, producing some stark predictions about the state of the ice cap.

"The summer ice cover will completely vanish in 20 to 30 years but in less than that it will have considerably retreated," said Professor Peter Wadhams, head of the polar ocean physics group at Britain's prestigious Cambridge University.

"In about 10 years, the Arctic ice will be considered as open sea."

Starting off from northern Canada, Hadow, Martin Hartley and Ann Daniels skied over the ice cap to measure the thickness of the remaining ice, assessing its density and the depth of overlying snow, as well as taking weather and sea temperature readings....(Remainder.)


Powell Waned of ‘Terror-Industrial Complex’ in 2007 Interview

By David Edwards
The Raw Story

When MSNBC's Keith Olbermann welcomed three former members of Monty Python to Countdown on Wednesday, his biggest surprise was a question from Terry Gilliam, "How come that Colin Powell interview about the terror-industrial complex didn't become a bigger story?"

Olbermann was taken aback by the question, but by the next day he had uncovered Powell's September 12, 2007 interview with GQ Magazine. Powell's apology in that interview for his use of faulty intelligence prior to the Iraq War grabbed the headlines at the time, but he also delivered a far less-noticed warning against what Olbermann now calls "an entire aspect of the nexus of politics and terror."

"What is the greatest threat facing us now?" Powell asked. "People will say it's terrorism. But are there any terrorists in the world who can change the American way of life or our political system? No. ... The only thing that can really destroy us is us. We shouldn't do it to ourselves, and we shouldn't use fear for political purposes—scaring people to death so they will vote for you, or scaring people to death so that we create a terror-industrial complex."

When Powell delivered a speech at the University of Oklahoma a short time later, campus reporters asked what he had meant by his remarks, and he replied, "We're spending an enormous amount of money on homeland security, and I think we should spend whatever it takes. But I think we have to be careful that we don't get so caught up in trying to throw money at the terrorist and counter-terrorist problem that we're essentially creating an industry that will only exist as long as you keep the terrorist threat pumped up. ... Let's make sure that we are spending money on the right things and not spending money just to spend money."...(Remainder.)


A Hatchet Job So Bad It's Good

By Paul Krugman
The New York Times

In the past, the insurance industry’s power has been a major barrier to health-care reform. Most notably, the industry paid for the infamous “Harry and Louise” ads that helped kill the Clinton plan. But times have changed.

Last weekend, the lobbying organization America’s Health Insurance Plans, or AHIP, released a report attacking the reform plan just passed by the Senate Finance Committee. Some news organizations gave the report prominent, uncritical coverage. But health-care experts quickly, and correctly, dismissed it as a hatchet job. And the end result of AHIP’s blunder may be a better bill than we would otherwise have had.

For 2009, it turns out, is not 1993. Once again, Republicans have tried to kill reform with smears and scare stories. But all they seem to have killed with their cries of “socialism” and warnings about “death panels” is their own credibility. Some form of health-care reform is highly likely to pass.

So it’s a different game than it was 16 years ago. And it’s a game that the insurance industry apparently doesn’t know how to play.

The motivation for the AHIP report seems to have been the decision by the Finance Committee to weaken the penalties for individuals who don’t sign up for insurance, even as it retains regulations requiring that insurers offer the same policies to everyone, regardless of medical history. The industry worries that some people will game the system, remaining uninsured as long as they’re healthy, then signing up when they get sick....(Remainder.)


North Carolina Church to Burn ‘Satan's Books,’ Including Works of Mother Teresa

By Kathleen Miller
The Raw Story

A Baptist Church near Asheville, N.C., is hosting a "Halloween book burning" to purge the area of "Satan's" works, which include all non-King James versions of the Bible, popular books by many religious authors and even country music.

The website for the Amazing Grace Baptist Church in Canton, N.C., says there are "scriptural bases" for the book burning. The site quotes Acts 19:18-20: "And many that believed, came and confessed and shewed their deeds. Many of them also which used curious arts, brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver. So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed."

Church leaders deem Good News for Modern Man, the Evidence Bible, the New International Version Bible, the Green Bible and the Message Bible, as well as at least seven other versions of the Bible as "Satan's Bibles," according to the website. Attendees will also set fire to "Satan's popular books" such as the work of "heretics" including the Pope, Mother Teresa, Billy Graham and Rick Warren.

"I believe the King James version is God's preserved, inspired, inerrant and infallible word of God," Pastor Marc Grizzard told a local news station of his 14-member parish.

Grizzard's parish website explains that the Bible is the "final authority concerning all matters of faith and practice," for Amazing Grace Baptist Church. In the Parish doctrinal statement, Grizzard expounds that "the Scriptures shall be interpreted according to their normal grammatical-historical meaning, and all issues of interpretation and meaning shall be determined by the preacher."...(Remainder.)


Does the United States Require a Strategy?

By Gary Hart
The Huffington Post

As a nation that has largely valued laissez faire in its markets and independence for individual citizens, the United States has generally resisted strategic approaches to domestic matters or grand strategies for its role in the world.  Strategy suggests planning, and planning is something centralized governments do.

The price paid for go-it-alone individualism is dependence on reaction.  We are stalwart, dedicated, and resolute in reaction to adversity, especially attacks by foreign forces.  We are miserable at anticipation and preparation.  The latter requires centralized authority, something Americans instinctively resist.

So, we prefer to wait until something bad happens -- Pearl Harbor, economic depression, or 9/11 -- and then we unite in response.  That is all well and good, except a heavy price in blood and treasure is almost always paid.

There is the alternative of preparing for the future.  For example, it was possible to see a new economic wave called information technology by the early and mid-1970s.  We could have trained young people and retrained industrial workers for the new jobs this wave would create.  But we did not.  Some smart people predicted the Wall Street collapse in 2008.  Regulatory steps to prevent it were not taken.  And, of course, sufficient evidence of a terrorist attack, including evidence involving airplanes and tall buildings, existed in the early 21st century.  No serious steps were taken to prevent it....(Remainder.)


Tea-Party Activists Complicate Republican Comeback Strategy

By Naftali Bendavid
The Wall Street Journal

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. -- The rise of conservative "tea party" activists around the country has created a dilemma for Republicans. They are breathing life into the party's quest to regain power. But they're also waging war on some candidates hand-picked by GOP leaders as the most likely to win.

In upstate New York, Dede Scozzafava, 49 years old, is the choice of local party leaders to defend a Republican seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, an abortion-rights candidate who could appeal to independents. Doug Hoffman, 59, is a local accountant backed by tea-party activists who has jumped into the race declaring himself the real conservative.

Mr. Hoffman has siphoned so much support from Ms. Scozzafava that their Democratic rival has vaulted into the lead, according to a poll released Thursday. The election is Nov. 3.

"I am not your run-of-the-mill politician, and maybe that's why the Republican bosses didn't like me," Mr. Hoffman told a recent health-care forum sponsored by the Upstate New York Tea Party. In an interview, Ms. Scozzafava acknowledged her discomfort at the event. "I knew it wasn't going to be an easy audience for me," she said.

Republicans are poised to pick up a number of seats in next year's congressional elections, pollsters estimate, on the back of a deep recession, public unease about the growth of government and the size of the nation's deficit. Anti-Obama activism manifested in rallies and town-hall meetings has galvanized conservatives, injecting enthusiasm into the Republican base....(Remainder.)


The First Lady on Keeping America Healthy and Strong

By The White House

First Lady Michelle Obama visited the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) this week to thank HHS employees for their dedication to public health and discuss the issue of childhood obesity, a subject about which she feels passionately.


Glenn Beck Cries Thinking About "What Life Used To Be Like"


Who's in Charge: Fox News or Congressional Republicans?

By Alex Blaze
The Bilerico Project

I've posted quite a few times about Kevin Jennings, the gay man who was appointed to the Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools on the back of his life's work to make schools safer for LGBT students. Homophobes, naturally, don't like that, and they want to get Obama to fire another one of his appointees, so they've accused him of being pro-statutory rape and pro-pedophilia.

Sean Hannity, in particular, has been riled up on this nonsense more than other conservative commentators. He's been demanding Obama to fire Kevin Jennings based on all sorts of false accusations, and, so far, the White House has stood by Jennings.

Well, Congressional Republicans are now calling for Obama to fire Jennings. I seriously thought this hissy fit was put to rest when the trumped up accusations were proved false, but obviously even I didn't understand the depths to which Republicans would sink to score a cheap political point and to get a faggot fired.

And that's what this is about, of course: the fact that a gay man is sharing sentences with children. Just like putting "black man" and "political power" together causes wingnut brains to explode, "gay man" and "children" is just too much for them as well.

Here's a bit from the resolution 53 Republicans have introduced:
Fifty-three House Republicans have written President Barack Obama asking him to remove "safe schools czar" Kevin Jennings from that position.

The lawmakers accused Jennings of "pushing a pro-homosexual agenda" and said that Jennings's past writings exhibit a record that makes him unfit for the position.

"We respectfully request that you remove Kevin Jennings, the Assistant Deputy Secretary for the Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools, from your administration," the Republicans wrote. "It is clear that Mr. Jennings lacks the appropriate qualifications and ethical standards to serve in this capacity."


Interracial Couple Denied Marriage License in Louisana

By Mary Foster
Associated Press via Yahoo! News

NEW ORLEANS – A white Louisiana justice of the peace said he refused to issue a marriage license to an interracial couple out of concern for any children the couple might have.

Keith Bardwell, justice of the peace in Tangipahoa Parish, says it is his experience that most interracial marriages do not last long.

"I'm not a racist. I just don't believe in mixing the races that way," Bardwell told the Associated Press on Thursday. "I have piles and piles of black friends. They come to my home, I marry them, they use my bathroom. I treat them just like everyone else."

Bardwell said he asks everyone who calls about marriage if they are a mixed race couple. If they are, he does not marry them, he said.

Bardwell said he has discussed the topic with blacks and whites, along with witnessing some interracial marriages. He came to the conclusion that most of black society does not readily accept offspring of such relationships, and neither does white society, he said.

"There is a problem with both groups accepting a child from such a marriage," Bardwell said. "I think those children suffer and I won't help put them through it."

If he did an interracial marriage for one couple, he must do the same for all, he said.

"I try to treat everyone equally," he said....(Remainder.)


Bloomberg Changes Tune on What GOP Marriage Votes He Can Find

By Duncan Osborne
Gay City News

Less than a month after defending his support for Republican state senators, saying he could get their votes for gay marriage, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said conservatives in that body will not support what the mayor termed “our number one priority” at a recent campaign event with gay supporters. “Those will not be the Republican votes that I will get, but they will be there for other things that are important to the city,” Bloomberg said in an hour-long interview with Gay City News and its sister papers, The Villager, Downtown Express, and Chelsea Now.

In a September 17 interview with Gay City News, Bloomberg described himself as “the main funder” of the State Senate Republicans, and said he could sway even Brooklyn’s Martin Golden and Frank Padavan from Queens, two conservatives who staunchly oppose gay marriage.

During the October 9 interview with the newspapers, Bloomberg said of Padavan, “On this issue, he’s not gettable.”

While the State Assembly has twice passed a marriage equality bill since gay advocates lost a 2006 court fight before New York’s highest court, the State Senate, which was controlled by Republicans until the 2008 elections, has never held a vote. The Democrats now have a 32-30 majority in the State Senate.

In the past two election cycles, Bloomberg has given nearly $2.4 million to the Republican State Senate caucus and the state Independence Party, which funded Padavan. Two other gay marriage opponents who received some of that cash were defeated.

Bloomberg’s shifting views extended to the possibility of a vote in the State Senate this year. During the September 17 interview, the mayor said the chances for a 2009 vote were “zero, zero,” only to say at the October 1 campaign event, “I actually think in my heart of hearts that this is going to get done.”...(Remainder.)


Rachel Maddow DESTROYES "Americans for Prosperity" President

Part 1

Part 2


Senator Udall Wants Pentagon to Provide Repeal Plan on DADT in 30 Days

By John Aravosis

President Obama has been claiming (incorrectly) for a while now that his hands are tied on Don't Ask Don't Tell until Congress takes action. Congress is now taking action and asking the White House for their help. The White House now has 30 days to make good on their promises. Otherwise, come November 14th or so, we're going to have another brouhaha in the gay community over why the President went to the HRC dinner and made a promise on DADT that he didn't intend to keep. Hopefully, the President will provide Senator Udall with the information he is requesting, so we can all move ahead on implementing the President's promise to get DADT repealed.

US Senator Udall writes to Obama about Don't Ask Don't Tell



In New Orleans, Obama Fires Back at Critics

By Reuters
The New York Times

NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) - President Barack Obama fired back on Thursday at critics who say he has few accomplishments of note in his nine months in office and declared he was just getting started.

In recent weeks, Obama has faced criticism both from liberals who want him to do more to advance causes such as gay rights, and conservatives who accuse him of taking too long to decide whether to send more U.S. troops to Afghanistan.

A comedy skit on NBC's "Saturday Night Live" programme a couple of weeks ago drew attention to the issue. An actor playing the president said, "When you look at my record, it's very clear what I've done so far, and that is: Nothing. Nada. Almost one year, and nothing to show for it."

The criticism was magnified after Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize a week ago when even some commentators sympathetic to the president said it seemed premature.

Obama, making his first trip as president to see efforts to recover from Hurricane Katrina in 2005, opened a town-hall meeting by saying his work had led to some improvement in the U.S. economy and brought an overhaul of the U.S. healthcare system within reach this year....(Remainder.)


Chicago Area High School Teachers Reprimanded for Anti-Gay Comment in Class

By Chicago Tribune



Buchanan Plays Defense for Limbaugh — More Bigotry Ensues

By Brian Frederick
Media Matters

Unsurprisingly, Pat Buchanan took to Hardball to defend Rush Limbaugh in the wake of Limbaugh's abrupt firing -- as Limbaugh put it this afternoon -- from his ownership bid for the St. Louis Rams. Buchanan predictably failed to grasp that Limbaugh was not entitled to be an owner of an NFL team and it was his own partners who ran him off. Instead, Buchanan claimed that Limbaugh was the victim of "blacklisting" "just like they used to do out in Hollywood to communists."

But where he really showed his true colors was when he made this statement about Limbaugh's previous firing from ESPN:
He was wrong about McNabb.  McNabb had a great season that year.  So he made a wrong statement.
So according to Buchanan, Limbaugh was fired because his analysis of McNabb was faulty because McNabb actually had a great season that year...

Here's what Limbaugh said of McNabb on Sunday NFL Countdown in September 2003:
Sorry to say this, I don't think he's been that good from the get-go ... I think what we've had here is a little social concern in the NFL. The media has been very desirous that a black quarterback do well. There is a little hope invested in McNabb, and he got a lot of credit for the performance of this team that he didn't deserve. The defense carried this team.


Queerness and the American Media: Comedy and Tragedy

By Rude One
The Rude Pundit

One of the more bitter, awful ironies of the last week is that there appears to be more news coverage of the gay-bashing beating of Jack Price in Queens, New York, than of the gay rights march on Washington, DC. One supposes that the DC event wasn't quite the cross-dressing, nipple-ring-licking festival of flamboyancy that usually prompts media reports on GLBT protests. But the brutality of the assault on Jack Price in the middle of a street by two walking puddles of dog vomit? That shit's on video, man, and it can be replayed endlessly. (Of course, the coverage is still not much, comparatively, since it isn't even mentioned on Drudge.)

Let's layer the irony here, too. Remember a couple of weeks ago when Derrion Albert, the black honor student in Chicago, was beaten to death by ganged-up pigfuckers and it was caught on video? Remember the outcry over it, the reflection on the horror of youth violence, the quick reaction of the White House, which sent Attorney General Eric Holder and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to Chi-town to say it was a "wake-up call"? Yeah, that was cool. If you were to hold your breath for White House reaction and action to the Price attack, your eyes would be bursting out of your head from the effort.

And you remember when that white kid was beaten by a couple of black kids on a school bus in St. Louis and it was caught on video? Remember how the usual suspects of right wing fucktardery jumped on the story as a way of gleefully demonstrating that black people were gettin' uppity in the wake of Barack Obama's election? Remember how they apologized profusely when it came out that the beating wasn't racially motivated in any way and was a stupid argument over a bus seat? Oh, wait. That last part didn't happen at all. Why ruin a good racist point with the facts? Do you think any of them will blame anti-gay rhetoric from the right for Jack Price's pain? Again, it's best just to keep breathing. So far, in conservative nutzoidville, there's been more outrage over Rush Limbaugh not being able to buy the St. Louis Rams....(Remainder.)


Comandante Generale Fucktard Interviews Criminal Giles; Highlighting Her Defense Fund


Michael Steele Dreams of a "Rodney King Moment" for Health Care


Leader of the Christo-Taliban Fascist Zombie Bridage, Robertson, Has Rape Fantasies Involving Food


Serial Smearer Corsi's Explanation for Mortgage Bubble Loaded With Falsehoods Aimed at Dems

By Media Matters

Appearing on Hannity to promote his latest book, America for Sale, author Jerome Corsi purported to explain the causes of the mortgage bubble by advancing a litany of falsehoods and misinformation: repeating the myth that the Community Reinvestment Act was responsible for the bubble; claiming that President Obama was tied to the housing bubble through conservative bogeyman ACORN; and falsely suggesting that Obama lowered interest rates to "zero or close to zero." Corsi has previously written falsehood-laden books about Obama and Sen. John Kerry, has claimed that Obama posted online a "false, fake birth certificate," and has a history of controversial comments about Islam, Catholicism, progressives, and other matters....(Remainder.)


Chuck Schumer: The Public Option is Now in Harry Reid's Hands

By Heather
Crooks and Liars

Chuck Schumer talks to Rachel's fill in Alison Stewart about what the next steps are as negotiations continue on what's in the final version of the health care bill. As Schumer explains, what happens next is in Harry Reid's hands.
Stewart: You called the bill you voted on today “Not ideal but a good bill”. Despite your best efforts the public option was not part of it. Why not?

Schumer: Well, we didn’t have the votes obviously but we are making good progress once again. We never thought we’d win in the Finance Committee but thirty Democrats have signed a letter saying the public option must be in the combined bill. There are many others who are supportive. The four of us in the leadership didn’t sign the letter because they were to the leadership. We’re for it as well and I am very optimistic that we’re going go get a strong public option.

The House is standing firm on public option and I think all of those when they saw the vote in the Finance Committee who thought “Oh it’s over” hadn’t really read the situation correctly.

Stewart: Well, how do you get it done? How does it end up in the final bill?

Schumer: Well, first Leader Reid has the option of putting it in the final bill. If he puts it in the final bill, in the combined bill then you would need sixty votes to remove it and there clearly are not sixty votes against the public option. If… and so we’re urging him to do that and he’s seriously considering it.

Once it passes the Senate if that were to happen, it’s in the House Bill, it’s in the Senate bill and it would have to be in the final product. So it’s very important to see if a public option is in the bill that Leader Reid puts together. He hasn’t yet made up his mind, but many of us who believe in the public option are urging him to do so and so far we’re getting, we’re getting heard.


And Now for More Republican Irony & Hypocrisy...John Boehner

By James Hipps
Gay Agenda

According to a post on
Last week, House Republican Leader John Boehner objected to House passage of a bill that would expand hate crime laws and make it a federal crime to assault people on the basis of their sexual orientation.

“All violent crimes should be prosecuted vigorously, no matter what the circumstance,” he said. “The Democrats’ ‘thought crimes’ legislation, however, places a higher value on some lives than others. Republicans believe that all lives are created equal, and should be defended with equal vigilance.”
Please note the part in highlighted italics.  Isn’t that ‘rich’ (pun intended).  A Republican accusing democrats on placing a higher value on some lives than others…yet who opposes providing health care for the less fortunate?  Is it the Democrats?  And…Republicans believe that all lives are created equal?  WHAT???  Are you kidding me with this?  It’s an overwhelming majority of Republicans that don’t support equality for LGBT Americans.  It is the Republicans who don’t want me, you or any other member of the LGBT community to be able to marry the one we love, which would be equality.  Of course I realize, straight, white, Christian Republicans believe they are above many others around the world, including people of various colors, ethnicities or religions, so in their minds, marriage inequality isn’t discrimination simply on the basis that LGBT people are not as good, therefore we’re not equal, nor should be treated as such.  However, the quote does read, “Republicans believe that ALL lives are created equal.”

Oh…those Republicans.  Will their words ever come back to haunt them?  Hopefully, in the near future....(Original.)


Daisy Chain of Cheneys

By Maureen Dowd
The New York Times

WASHINGTON -  I imagine that if you called the new consulting firm of Cheney, Cheney & Cheney and got put on hold, you’d hear the “Ghostbusters” theme:
“If there’s someone weak,
if you’ve sprung a leak,
if the world looks bleak,
if you hide and seek,
who ya gonna call?
It’s hard to believe that the Bush dynasty, which limped away in disgrace after smashing our economy and the globe, has spawned another political dynasty.

But Jason Horowitz reported in The Washington Post that Mary Cheney, the younger daughter of the former vice president, is starting a consulting firm modeled on Kissinger Associates.

Since it involves the Cheneys, it’s shrouded in unnecessary secrecy. But Mary’s friends say her plan is to make it Cheney cubed, bringing in her dad and big sister, Liz, when those two finish cleaning out the Augean stables of Dick Cheney’s legacy for his memoir.

Horowitz wrote that Mary, who is expecting her second child with her partner, Heather Poe, next month, may be hanging the shingle for the “gruff clan who speak in dour unison when bashing the current president, second-guessing the previous commander in chief and chiding wayward G.O.P. leaders.”...(Remainder.)


Bush Admin Covered Up Global Warming Finding, then Deliberately Kept from Dems

By The Associated Press
The Raw Story

An e-mail message buried by the Bush administration because of its conclusions on global warming surfaced Tuesday, nearly two years after it was first sent to the White House and never opened.

The Bush administration, and then EPA administrator Stephen Johnson, refused to release the document when it was written in 2007, and labeled it "deliberative, do not distribute" to Democratic lawmakers. The White House instead allowed three senators to review it in July 2008, when excerpts were released.

The e-mail and the 28-page document attached to it, released Tuesday by the Environmental Protection Agency, show that back in December of 2007 the agency concluded that six gases linked to global warming pose dangers to public welfare, and wanted to take steps to regulate their release from automobiles and the burning of gasoline.

The document specifically cites global warming's effects on air quality, agriculture, forestry, water resources and coastal areas as endangering public welfare.

That finding was rejected by the Bush White House, which strongly opposed using the Clean Air Act to address climate change and stalled on producing a so-called "endangerment finding" that had been ordered by the Supreme Court in 2007....(Remainder.)


GOP Senator Faces Wrath of Right-Wing Activists

By Joe Byrne
The Raw Story

With today's passing of a Senate health-care overhaul bill dampening right-wing morale, Republican activists are keeping up their spirits in hard times by focusing on the problems within their own party. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) was ready to give a rallying speech to supporters in Greenville, South Carolina yesterday; instead, the senator faced heckling from a contingent of far-right protesters who believe he is too moderate for his own good.

Graham is known for having voted to confirm Sonia Sotomayor's nomination back in July, against the recommendation of his own party. More recently, Graham has been 'testing out lines' in the GOP concerning global warming, presenting a willingness to compromise on clean energy legislation, according to Darren Samuelsohn of the New York Times. Decisions to cooperate and compromise across party lines have made Sen. Lindsey Graham into a target of the far-right 'Teabaggers.'

A truck outside Monday's rally had a toilet meant for 'RINOs'(Republican in Name Only). During the rally, protesters shouted things like "Ron Paul," "Sotomayor," and "You are a country-club Republican." When Graham listed off a few battleground states, activists responded with, "Move there!"

Graham wasn't completely without support; cheering and clapping came from some in the audience. Others questioned his loyalty to the party and even his Christianity. One detractor told him that he had "signed a pact with the devil" by working with the Democrats....(Remainder.)


Robert Gibbs: Many Fox news Stories Not True

By Tommy Christopher

At today’s White House press briefing, I wanted to give Press Secretary Robert Gibbs a chance to respond to criticism that the administration is attacking Fox News with plastic army men.  Or something.

Gibbs resisted the bait at first, instead opting to rehearse his next career day lecture, but zeroed in a little on followup:
TC: How would you respond to criticism that the White House’s current posture toward Fox News constitutes some kind of bullying, or chilling of speech?

Robert Gibbs: (long pause) We…get questions throughout the day, seven days a week, about policies here at the White House, questions you guys want answered, and our goal is to make sure that you have the facts, that you do your job.  That’s what we do for everybody.

TC: Well, specifically, the comments by Anita Dunn about Fox not being a real news network…

Robert Gibbs: I have watched many stories on that network that I have found not to be true.  I think everybody in this room has been likely on the other end of a phone conversation with me when I’ve had issues with your stories.  I don’t think that’s news.
For the record, I’ve never been on the other end of one of those phone calls.  Here at Mediaite, we’re self-correcting.

I’m not sure what to make of Gibbs’ answer.  He flatly states that many of the stories on Fox aren’t true, but then he tries to give the rest of us a bite of the sandwich, too.  Not quite an olive branch, and not quite an escalation....(Remainder.)


GOP Congressman: Snowe Voted to “Turn American into France”

By David Weigel
The Colorado Independent

Rep. John Culberson (R-Texas) brings the heat on Twitter, offering one of what will be many friendly fire attacks on Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine).


No, Really. Does Anyone Actually Understand the Health Care Debate?

By Rude One
The Rude Pundit

The horse's head of a report delivered by the American Health Insurance Providers to the beds of sleeping senators is quite a document, not just because of what it threatens, but because of what it admits. The deeply-fucked numbers that have been getting the most publicity are interesting in that they are based on some fantasy worst-case scenario where only bad shit happens with health care reform and that are pretty much the polar opposite of the CBO report. It's sort of like if you're taken to the a movie you're not interested in seeing and instead of just thinking that you might not have a good time, you enter the auditorium believing that you'll get beaten to death by popcorn-fisted floor monsters.

However, there's a few figures a little further in the AHIP report that are just fascinating. For instance, you read: "Premiums in the large group market for family coverage will increase from average of about $13,900 in 2010 to approximately $23,500 in 2019 in the absence of reform and $26,200 if these reforms become law." And you might, at first, think, "Well, certainly that's not good. For with reform, the premium would be $2700 higher." Of course, that's ignoring that AHIP is fucking admitting that insurance companies are gonna jack up premiums nearly 60% in 9 years in almost every market - non-group, small group, or large group. In other words, left to their own devices, the nation's health insurers admit they're gonna ass rape us. They just wanna make sure we understand that if reform passes, they'll also fuck our faces with their filthy dicks.

AHIP is pissed off because they find the Baucus bill's individual mandate that everyone needs to buy health insurance doesn't penalize people as much or quickly enough, and, in fact, could be low enough so that it's cheaper for people to just pay the penalty instead of buying insurance that, as previously mentioned, is gonna be 60% more expensive in a few years. See, the insurers' thought they were assured by negotiators in the White House and Senate that millions of more people would be buying their policies, whether with their own or the government's (our) money, which would mean...oh, fucking hell. That's not even getting to the indexing of fines or the tax on Cadillac plans. Confused? Seems like a clusterfuck of such epic proportions that there's no fucking way you are going to understand any of this? No shit. The Rude Pundit just wrote that, and it seems like it's not only opposed to common sense, but it's where common sense goes to vomit and die....(Remainder.)


Festering Mass of Stupid, Beck, Says ACORN & SEIU Part of "Six Degrees" Between Obama & Gov't Run Health Care


The Pig-Man Attacks Obama for Tax Cut Proposal


Reichsführer Beck Attacks White House for Being "Real Revolutionaries"...Huh?


Glenn Beck Has a Theory on Brotosauruses, and It Is His, and What It Is Too

By David Neiwert
Crooks and Liars

Watching Glenn Beck descend into yet another of his bizarre chalkboard rants earlier this week, it occurred to me I had heard a similar theory once: Miss Anne Elk's Theory on Brontosauruses.

The Wikipedia entry observes:
The skit coined the concept of "Elk Theories" to describe scientific observations that are not theories but merely minimal accounts.
I've also heard the term "Elk Theories" used to describe hypotheses that mean nothing and prove nothing.

Which, you know, is what Beck's bizarre "six degrees" guilt-by-association "theory" comes down to. One can play this game with anyone. It wouldn't take six degrees to connect Glenn Beck to Adolf Hitler or Osama bin Laden or Timoth McVeigh, if he wants to play that game. But it wouldn't prove anything, would it?

Except, of course, that Glenn Beck is becoming so detached from reality that his programs are now unintentional comedy skits. And no, Glenn, we're not laughing with you. We're laughing at you.

Enjoy the mashup.

For the Python fans who find it sacrilegious to run the "Miss Anne Elk" skit alongside Glenn Beck, here's the original version from Monty Python's Flying Circus, Episode 31 (1972)....(Remainder.)


Swirling Mass of Insanity, Beck Claim "Sex Degrees" of Separation Between Obama & Mao


Reichsführer Beck Compares Fox to Jews During Holocaust


Reichsführer Beck Thinks "All Americans" Owe Some Kind of Debt to Raging Coward Limbaugh


Reichsführer Beck Claims Dems Have Been Plotting for 40 Years on How to "Destroy America"


Utter Moron Beck, Lists Things WH is "Upset With," Forgetting to Mention His Obama's a Racist Remark


Reichsführer Beck Idiotically Claims Make-Believe "Corruption" of Obama Admin is a Big Story


In a Cacophony of Made-Up Bullshit, Jerome Corsi Pushes Lies that Obama Helped ACORN "Extort" Banks


Job Creation

By Ed Stein
Ed Stein Ink


Harry Reid is the Worst Leader EVER! Lieberman Doesn't Support Baucus Bill

By John Amato
Crooks and Liars

Harry Reid's leadership has been about as bad as it gets. He complained that we needed 60 votes to pass anything and now that we have it, he still is complaining. We're not fighting the Republicans who have no power, but the Conservadems who are blocking real reform.

Markos writes:
Bill Frist never had 60 votes. Bill Frist never cared. Republicans ran the Senate as if they owned the place, even when enjoying razor-thin majorities.

Yet when Democrats took the chamber, the first thing Harry Reid did was complain that he couldn't do anything because he didn't have 60 votes.

Then voters delivered 59 votes. And Harry Reid whined that he
still couldn't do anything. In fact, nothing would ever get accomplished unless they had 60, and to do that, they had to bring turncoat Joe Lieberman back into the fold, even though he had spent the previous year making common cause with John McCain and Sarah Palin, even speaking at the Republican National Convention in Minnesota. You see, we were told, Joe Lieberman is with us on everything except the war! So we need him for 60, and when we have 60, everyone will get ponies! And if Lieberman strays, why, Evan Bayh said Senate Democrats could punish him!
We're told that Lieberman needs to still be part of the action because he's with us on everything except the war. Now we have to include health care on his list of shit he's against us on. What next?...(Remainder.)


Mary Landrieu: I Think When People Hear 'Public Option' They Hear 'Free Health Care'

By Heather
Crooks and Liars

This has to be one of the more infuriating things to come out of one of these Conserva-Dems mouths in a long time. Do you think you could be a little more insulting to the American public Sen. Landrieu? Of course both David Shuster and Tamryn Hall waited until after Landrieu got off the air to question whether what she was saying was complete B.S. or not. That's not included in the above clip but here's my beef with the two of them. While they still had her there, they should have asked her how lining the pockets of insurance industry CEO's and their stock holders is doing anything to help small business or the general public that isn't fortunate enough to have her health care plan paid for by our tax dollars.

And nobody thinks that having a public option is going to be "free". Landrieu apparently pulled that talking point out of the land called her butt, since that's the first time I've heard someone use it. That or some health insurance lobbyist fed it to her and we're going to hear more of the same from Landrieu and the rest of her fellow Corporate-crats as this debate goes on.
Hall: I want to talk about the public option. You just heard Gov. Dean and he said “What’s the point in having a sixty vote majority in the Senate if you can’t get the public option passed?” “That is health care reform, not insurance reform and that is what the American people want.” Where do you stand? I know that you’ve been under a lot of pressure about your opinions on public option, but where do you stand now after we saw new numbers come out and it passed in the Senate Finance Committee yesterday, without the public option in that committee?

Landrieu: Well first of all Gov. Dean has been a wonderful leader and he is a great guy and a wonderful American, seriously. I just don’t agree with him on his statement that unless you have a public option you can’t have real reform. And I don’t agree that if you’re not for a public option you’re for insurance companies, you know, scamming tax payers…um…or consumers. I’m not for either. I wish it was as simple, but it’s not.


AFL-CIO's Richard Trumka: Real Health Care Reform of Bust

By Heather
Crooks and Liars

The AFL-CIO's Richard Trumka talks to Alison Stewart about their new ad on health care reform. Trumka was asked if the rumors were true that Raum Emanuel put pressure the union not to run the ad. He said they were not true and that is not the way the Obama administration operates.

From the AFL-CIO Blog-Real Health Care Reform or Bust:
The health care reform legislation approved yesterday by the Senate Finance Committee is “deeply flawed.” In full-page ads in the Washington Post, Politico and other dailies, union leaders say that comprehensive health care reform that brings down costs, improves quality and guarantees coverage for all “is closer than ever.”

But we aren’t there yet. The Senate Finance Committee bill is deeply flawed.

Not only does the Finance Committee’s bill tax workers’ health care benefits, it does not include a public health insurance option. This summer, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee (HELP) approved health care reform legislation that includes a public option and does not tax workers’ health care benefits. Senate negotiators are now trying to merge the two bills into a finished product for a vote by the full Senate.


Colorado GOP Strategery: Frazier Runs at Perlmutter to Defeat Markey

By John Tomasic

The Colorado Independent

The surprise news that Republican Aurora City Councilman Ryan Frazier is planning to drop out of the race to unseat U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet in order to challenge popular Colorado U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter in the solidly Democratic 7th District has had observer-bloggers scratching their heads. But suddenly we have a theory that compels.

The GOP isn’t likely to win anything but a nod in the 7th, but maybe by moving good-soldier Frazier into the void there, where Perlmutter has remained unchallenged, GOP strategists will force the Democratic Party to divert resources that are now funneling toward the shaky 4th District, where Democratic moderate freshman Rep. Betsy Markey presides over former deep-red Musgrave territory. Like Jared Polis, who represents the safely Democratic 2nd District, Perlmutter has reportedly felt secure enough to be donating to Markey’s campaign. This is a state of affairs the GOP must work to change.

The lead entry at Colorado Pols performs the head scratching:
[I]n a crowded Republican primary for Senate, the odds are better that Frazier could emerge as the GOP nominee than they are that Frazier could win a head-to-head battle against a popular and well-funded two-term incumbent Perlmutter. Frazier pushed all his chips on the table when he announced he was running for the U.S. Senate, and pulling them back now to run for congress doesn’t improve his odds at being elected — it only reduces the size of the pot.

It would have made a lot more sense for Frazier to run against Perlmutter from the beginning, rather than attempting a U.S. Senate bid. But since he’s already chosen the Senate, he might as well stay on that path. Frazier probably can’t win the GOP nomination for Senate, but he also can’t likely win the congressional seat in CD-7. So he might as well stick with the one that has the bigger payoff.


Leader of the Christo-Fascist Zombie Brigade, Robertson, Says NYT is "Left Wing" & "Controlled by Homosexuals"


Fox Noise Takes Off With Nonsense Industry-Funded "Study" of Baucus Bill

By Media Matters

Fox News has seized upon a study conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) for America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), which concluded that under the Senate Finance Committee health care reform bill, "by 2019 the cost of single coverage is expected to increase by $1,500 more than it would under the current system and the cost of family coverage is expected to increase by $4,000 more than it would under the current system," in some cases reporting the study's conclusions as fact. However, health care experts have noted that, in the words of health care economist Len Nichols, "Aside from the obvious conflict of interest associated with a report funded by the very industry it analyzes, PWC's basic analytic assumptions -- by their own admission -- are at variance with the bill and the opinions of most analysts."...(Remainder.)


The Oxy-Moron Says He 'Spawned' Glenn Beck...Yeah, Right Out of His Ass

By David Edwards and Daniel Tencer
The Raw Story

'I owe my country to Rush Limbaugh,' Beck responds

In a televised interview, radio host Rush Limbaugh took credit for the success of conservative voices in the media, telling NBC's Jamie Gangel that Fox News' Glenn Beck owes his recent success to him.

"Glenn Beck -- do you worry about the new guy on the block?" Gangel asked.

"No," Limbaugh responded. "Nineteen eighty-eight -- I'm the only national conservative voice. Now look at conservative media. Look what I have spawned. Glenn Beck to me is right on, daddy-o. Glenn Beck is a result of my success."

Gangel played a game of "word association" with Limbaugh. On President Obama, Limbaugh said: "Disaster." Jimmy Carter: "An utter disgrace and embarrassment." Hillary Clinton: "Nurse Ratched." Sarah Palin: "Misunderstood and underestimated." George W. Bush: "The most decent, down-to-earth real man you could hope to meet."

Limbaugh also told Gangel that he would continue with his bid to buy the St. Louis Rams, despite a torrent of opposition from NFL players and progressive activists.

On his radio show Tuesday morning, Beck responded to Limbaugh's claim he "spawned" the Fox News host....(Remainder.)


Ed Schultz Slams Antisemitic Beck for Comparing Fox to Jews During Holocaust Comment


President Obama: A Critical Milestone

Via The White House

After many months of debate and deliberation, dozens of hearings, the dissemination and debunking of hundreds of myths and falsehoods, and testimonials from thousands and thousands of ordinary Americans asking for change, reform took yet another step forward.  With the emergence of a reform bill from the final committee in Congress with jurisdiction over the the issue, this issue that has seemed utterly intractable for most of a century is now closer to a resolution than it has ever been.

The President took a few minutes this afternoon to express his approval:
THE PRESIDENT: Good afternoon. Today we reached a critical milestone in our effort to reform our health care system. After many months of thoughtful deliberation, the fifth and final committee responsible for health care reform has passed a proposal that has both Democratic and Republican support. This effort was made possible by the tireless efforts of Chairman Max Baucus and the other members of the Senate Finance Committee. It's a product of vigorous debate and difficult negotiations.

After the consideration of hundreds of amendments, it includes ideas from both Democrats and Republicans, which is why it enjoys the support of people from both parties. And I want to particularly thank Senator Olympia Snowe for both the political courage and the seriousness of purpose that she's demonstrated throughout this process.

Now, this bill is not perfect and we have a lot of difficult work ahead of us. There are still significant details and disagreements to be worked out over the next several weeks as the five separate bills from the Senate and the House are merged into one proposal. But I do believe the work of the Senate Finance Committee has brought us significantly closer to achieving the core objectives I laid out early in September.

Most importantly, this bill goes a long way towards offering security to those who have insurance, and affordable options for those who don't. It reins in some of the worst practices of the insurance industry, like the denial of coverage due to preexisting conditions. It also sets up an insurance exchange that will make coverage affordable for those who don't currently have it. And as the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has certified, it will slow the growth of health care costs in the long term and it will not add a penny to our deficit.

The committee's progress over the past several weeks is the culmination of work by all five committees and numerous members of Congress over the better part of this year. We've reached out to stakeholders across the spectrum -- doctors and nurses, businesses and workers, hospitals and even drug companies. And we've considered a wide variety of ideas and proposals in an effort to find common ground.

As a result of these efforts, we are now closer than ever before to passing health reform. But we're not there yet. Now is not the time to pat ourselves on the back. Now is not the time to offer ourselves congratulations. Now is the time to dig in and work even harder to get this done. And in this final phase, I hope that we will continue to engage each other with the spirit of civility and seriousness that has brought us this far and that this subject deserves.

I commend the Chairman and the committee's members for their achievement and the example that they've set, and I look forward to continue to work with Congress in the weeks ahead. We are going to get this done.

Thank you very much, everybody.


Fox Wonders Why White House Sees Them as Reflexively Anti-Obama. Then Its Pundits Bitch About His Nobel Prize.

By David Neiwert
Crooks and Liars

Everyone (except Shep Smith) at Fox News, including various reporters, spent the day yesterday whining about how mean the White House was being to them, telling everyone that they're a propaganda arm of the Republican Party. Guess the truth hurts. (More on that in a bit.)

It's funny they should say that. Because that same day, every single one of Fox's prime-time "opinion show" anchors devoted time and energy to running down President Obama -- and the Nobel committee -- for his just-announced Peace Prize.

Sean Hannity was so worked up, he devoted two whole segments to the subject, featuring the gnome who lives under the bridge Dick Morris and Mark Steyn. (You'll love Hannity's definition of "peace.") Bernie Goldberg ran through their comparable records of non-accomplishment and announced that he would win the prize next year. But the real corker, of course, came from Glenn Beck, who was able to figure out just what Obama's Nobel Peace Prize really meant:
It may be more revealing on how Europe and the rest of the world views Obama. He [Obama] is dismantling the United States one piece at a time.
And doing so, evidently, at the behest of his European masters. (But wait! I thought he was born in Kenya!)...(Remainder.)


5 Minutes

By Clay Bennett
Chattanooga Times Free Press


A GOP Agitator Not Named Palin

By Monica Davey
The New York Times
Photo:  Tom Olmscheid (AP)

BUFFALO, Minn. — Representative Michele Bachmann will appear in the 2010 calendar of “Great American Conservative Women” (she will be November). Her likeness has been transformed into an action figure. And, so far in 2009, she has been interviewed on a national cable news show every nine days, on average, an analysis by Smart Politics, a nonpartisan blog affiliated with the University of Minnesota shows.

Not bad for someone less than three years on the job.

Here in Ms. Bachmann’s district, and in much of the country, that outsized celebrity has boiled down to this: They adore her or they loathe her.

As the health care overhaul moves closer to a full debate in Congress, Ms. Bachmann is under attack from the Democratic National Committee for spreading “reckless lies” about the overhaul, one of a handful of Republicans singled out as part of the committee’s “Call ’Em Out” campaign. Back home, two Democrats already say they are seeking Ms. Bachmann’s seat in next year’s election, and are raising a lot of money to do so.

“People are struggling to stay in their homes, and she’s off trying to be on Fox News,” said one of those Democrats, Tarryl L. Clark, a state senator.

Some of Ms. Bachmann’s fellow Republicans, meanwhile, are drawing glowing comparisons between her and Sarah Palin, the former Alaska governor and Republican candidate for vice president. Sean Hannity, the conservative talk show host, has introduced Ms. Bachmann as “the second-most-hated Republican woman in the country, second to Governor Palin, which is a good position.”...(Remainder.)


Bill Shields Most Banks From Review

By Stephen Labaton
The New York Times

WASHINGTON — Bowing to political pressure from community bankers, the House Financial Services Committee approved an exemption on Thursday for more than 98 percent of the nation’s banks from oversight by a new agency created to protect consumers from abusive or deceptive credit cards, mortgages and other loans.

The carve-out in legislation overhauling the regulatory system would prevent the new consumer financial protection agency from conducting annual examinations of the lending practices at more than 8,000 of the nation’s 8,200 banks, leaving only the largest banks and other lenders subject to the agency’s examiners.

Earlier in the day, the committee completed its work on a different contentious provision of the legislation when, on a nearly straight party-line vote of 43 to 26, it approved tougher regulations over the derivatives market. That provision, too, contained exemptions for many businesses.

The exemption for the banks was endorsed by the chairman, Representative Barney Frank of Massachusetts, who saw it as necessary to win support for the overall bill from the committee’s moderate and conservative Democrats. Their support is particularly important because the Republicans are unified against the legislation.

The committee approved the exemption for all but the largest banks in an amendment offered by two of those Democrats, Representative Brad Miller of North Carolina and Representative Dennis Moore of Kansas....(Remainder.)


Turning Goldman Anger into Government Action

By Dylan Ratigan
The Huffington Post

In a world where real competition, modern technology and lack of special government standing means most American businesses have no choice but to adapt and innovate -- Wall Streets wimps only apparent skill is rigging the game.

In fact, on Wall Street there have always been only two basic ways to make money. The first and most difficult: Be a great investor -- to the best investors go the profits, rewarding those who are best at picking winning businesses for America and punishing those who fail through the loss of their money. The second, and seemingly preferred method, exploit those who know less than you -- and take their money, even if you have to change the laws to do so.

Now, this second business was much easier to pull off prior to the internet and 24-hour exchanges etc. as technology is the enemy of any business that makes its living overcharging customers who don't know better or are given no other choice.

So bankers, facing an onslaught of web-driven transparency and reduced profitability during the last decade along with an increasingly educated customer-base became anxious to change the laws in 2000 and are even more anxious to protect those changes now.

While things like stock and bond trading became a very low margin business because of modern information -- the legalization in 2000 of a secretive market for crooked insurance with no transparency or accountability has been an absolute boon....(Remainder.)



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