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Shocker for Conservatives: Obama May Not Hate the Constitution

Sunday, October 25, 2009

By Alex Koppelman

On Friday, it seemed for a moment -- at least to Rush Limbaugh's listeners -- that the right had finally found the smoking gun to prove that President Obama secretly hates the U.S., its founders and even the Constitution.

Limbaugh read his radio audience an excerpt from what he said was Obama's senior thesis, which he wrote while at Columbia University. After more than a year shrouded in secrecy by the Obama campaign and a compliant media, the thesis had finally emerged, and it was even worse than some had feared.

The excerpt read by Limbaugh:
[T]he Constitution allows for many things, but what it does not allow is the most revealing. The so-called Founders did not allow for economic freedom. While political freedom is supposedly a cornerstone of the document, the distribution of wealth is not even mentioned. While many believed that the new Constitution gave them liberty, it instead fitted them with the shackles of hypocrisy.
Limbaugh was, naturally, up in arms about this, calling the college-aged Obama a "little boy," and saying, "he still shares those same feelings."

Only not so much. As a bit of basic research would have shown Limbaugh, Obama didn't technically write a thesis at Columbia -- at the time, Columbia didn't really have senior theses -- though he did write a thesis-length paper. But it was on Soviet nuclear disarmament, not the Constitution....(Remainder.)


NASA & NOAA: Global September Temperatures Nearly Broke All-Time Record

By WeatherDem
Square States

In the past week or so, NASA released data and NOAA released a report confirming climate activists' fears: 2009 is going to challenge global temperature records.  There are a number of reasons this is especially troubling to me, which I'll get to below.

First, the news is this.  Two independent scientific agencies confirm that September 2009 had the 2nd highest surface temperatures on record.  Dating back to 1880, the only warmer September occurred in 2005.  From NOAA: the combined global land and ocean surface temperature was 1.12 degrees F above the 20th century average of 59.0 degrees F.  NASA's measurement, probably the best in the world, indicated a 1.17F anomaly, very much in line with NOAA's calculation.

These readings follow an additional announcement from NOAA that global sea surface temperatures broke the record for warmest in August.  The June-July-August averaged temperatures were also the warmest ever recorded.

So let's get the most obvious result out of the way.  Contrary to climate change denyers, global warming hasn't slowed down, stopped or reversed.  To the contrary, it's as strong as it has been all decade, and looking like it could start setting records again soon.  That's pretty bad news.

The first reason this news is troubling is the continuation of the current solar minimum, the longest in nearly a century.  Despite a 2-year time-period of constant low solar irradiance, Earth's surface temperatures continue to rise.  That's exactly the opposite of what the denyers said was going to happen, so they're left with manufacturing nonsensical trends and explanations.

So what's causing the most recent temperature recordings?  Well, in addition to the increasing warming that our species is driving, other temporary strong signals are coming through.  In this case, it's an El Niño, the second troubling news.  It's troubling because so far, this El Niño is weaker than it was forecasted to be late this summer.  That by itself isn't too surprising - accurately forecasting El Niño intensity is notoriously difficult.  But if the El Niño were stronger, the recorded warming would likely be even higher.  What remains to be seen over the winter is whether the El Niño strengthens like models are indicating it will.  It is expected to reach peak strength around December/January....(Remainder.)


Criticizing Fox News isn't "Nixonian." But Fox News is.

Pundits are making false comparisons between Obama and Nixon. They have no idea what they're talking about

By Joe Conason

With outraged Washington journalists and Republican politicians crying "Nixonian!" over the public scuffle between the Obama White House and the Fox News Channel, what began as a mundane spat is turning into a cosmic jest. Somewhere, Nixon himself is enjoying a mordant laugh to hear this shrill defense of his old servant Roger Ailes, the television wizard whose deceptive campaigning ushered him into the presidency more than 40 years ago -- and who then became the living symbol of everything negative and nasty in American politics during the two decades that followed.

To understand what is going on today, it is essential to remember that where Ailes came from, "Nixonian" was not an insult but a badge of honor -- and seething hatred and even persecution of the press, rather than mere criticism, was a way of life.

Whatever the merits or defects of the strategy pursued by Obama's communications office in pushing back against Fox News, the furious backlash inside the Beltway is badly overwrought. Mainstream defenders of the conservative cable channel suddenly seem to be afflicted with a strange amnesia, causing them to forget not just the numerous episodes of partisan distortion that have permanently pocked its reputation, but the dirty war against the press and the First Amendment that was waged by the Nixon gang in the late '60s and early '70s. That lost memory does a disservice to journalism and history....(Remainder.)


U.N. Official Defends Murder of LGBTs and the Religious Right Defends HIM

By BlackTsunami
Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters

Religious right groups would like to have you to believe that lgbts despise them because we have a nefarious agenda for America and that they are the last line of defense against it.

Religious right groups will like to have you to believe that lgbts despise them because we want to silence Christianity.

Neither assumption is true.

Lgbts despise religious right groups because they exploit the fears and egos of people of faith while instigating negative action against the lgbt community.

I personally despise them for that and for the reason that they are totally duplicitous.

For proof of this, look no further than the Liberty Counsel's Matt Barber and One News Now:
Homosexual activists who have been trying to gain recognition from the United Nations are still upset over comments by General Assembly President Ali Abdussalam Treki.

When asked by a journalist for his position on a U.N. declaration about homosexuality, the Libyan diplomat stated: "As a Muslim, I do not agree with it. My opinion is not in favor of this matter at all. I believe it is not acceptable for most of the world, and it is totally unacceptable for our tradition and religion." His comments brought swift response from the international homosexual movement.


Day by Day, Law by Law, Mind by Changing Mind

By Brian Bond
White House Office of Public Engagement
"These ideals, when voiced by generations of citizens, are what made it possible for me to stand here today. These ideals are what made it possible for the people in this room to live freely and openly when for most of history that would have been inconceivable. That is the promise of America. That is the promise we are called to fulfill. And day by day, law by law, mind by changing mind, that is the promise we are fulfilling."
President Obama, HRC National Dinner, October 10, 2009
I came to work in the White House because I thought I'd be able to change people's lives in real and tangible ways here.  I believed that President Barack Obama would not only be the type of leader who would bring about real change, but also that he would put in place a team of committed public servants across the federal government -- smart and gifted leaders, straight and gay, women and men, as diverse as America -- who would work tirelessly to improve the lives of all Americans, including the LGBT community.  And I haven’t been disappointed.

I know many don’t think things are changing fast enough.  The President shares your urgency.  This month, speaking at the HRC National Dinner, he said "while progress may be taking longer than you’d like as a result of all that we face... do not doubt the direction we are heading and the destination we will reach."

While our long-term focus is on major legislative goals like repealing Don't Ask Don't Tell and DOMA, passing an employment non-discrimination act, and providing domestic partner benefits for federal employees, we are also working daily to find ways  to make life a little better and a little fairer for LGBT Americans.
We saw this very clearly this week:  HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan announced a series of proposals to ensure that HUD’s core housing programs are open to all, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity; he also commissioned the first-ever national study of discrimination against members of the LGBT community in the rental and sale of housing....(Remainder.)


Anti-Semite Joins Fray Against Kevin Jennings

By John Aravosis

To our friends in the media, remember, don't ever quote anti-Semite Bill Donohue as a legitimate voice for anything unless you're going to quote his bigotry as well.

Bill Donohue believes that anal-sex loving Jews control Hollywood. He said the following on December 9, 2004 on MSNBC about Jews:
Hollywood is controlled by secular Jews who hate Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular. It's not a secret, OK? And I'm not afraid to say it. That's why they hate this movie. It's about Jesus Christ, and it's about truth. It's about the messiah. Hollywood likes anal sex.
Bill Donohue refers to gays as "queers":
I don't know what about -- the queer-bashing is all about. I'm pretty good about picking out who queers are and I didn't see any in the movie. I'm usually pretty good at that.


Tucker Carlson and the Right's Perpetual Self-Victimhood

By Glenn Greenwald

The number one rule of American politics:  the greatest, most insatiable need of the standard conservative is to turn themselves into oppressed little victims.  In The Daily Beast today, Tucker Carlson devotes his entire column to complaining that Obama is "bullying" Fox News, absurdly claiming that the White House and liberals are trying "to use government power to muzzle opinions they don't agree with."  Needless to say, Carlson doesn't say a word about the endless -- and far worse -- attacks by the Bush White House on a whole array of media outlets, ones that went far beyond mere criticisms.

But far more delusional is Carlson's central complaint:  that "the press decide[d] to go along with all of this" -- meaning Obama's criticisms of Fox.  He echoes the typical, woe-is-us conservative whine:  "Why is the press corps giving the White House a pass for behavior it would never have tolerated from other administrations?"   He righteously condemns what he calls "the press corps' shameful silence" on the Obama/Fox conflict and alleges that "hardly anyone in the press says a word" about this matter.

Is Tucker Carlson lying or just completely ignorant of the subject matter on which he's opining?  The press has been anything but "silent" about this.  It's been a virtual consensus from establishment pundits and journalists of every type that the Obama White House is doing something terribly wrong by criticizing Fox.  And as usual for the vapid, group-think, script-repeating, mindless wind-up dolls who compose the Beltway press corps, they even have their own endlessly repeated platitudes for condemning Obama's criticisms of Fox:  it's Nixonesque.  Enemies List.  Also as usual, they are echoing the theme propounded by Karl Rove on Fox:  "We heard this before from Richard Nixon.  And we have this White House prone to that kind of attitude. . . . This is the White House engaging in its own version of the media Enemies List."...(Remainder.)


Leaderless: Senate Pushes For Public Option Without Obama's Support

By Ryan Grim and Sam Stein
The Huffington Post

President Barack Obama is actively discouraging Senate Democrats in their effort to include a public insurance option with a state opt-out clause as part of health care reform. In its place, say multiple Democratic sources, Obama has indicated a preference for an alternative policy, favored by the insurance industry, which would see a public plan "triggered" into effect in the future by a failure of the industry to meet certain benchmarks.

The administration retreat runs counter to the letter and the spirit of Obama's presidential campaign. The man who ran on the "Audacity of Hope" has now taken a more conservative stand than Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), leaving progressives with a mix of confusion and outrage. Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill have battled conservatives in their own party in an effort to get the 60 votes needed to overcome a filibuster. Now tantalizingly close, they are calling for Obama to step up.

"The leadership understands that pushing for a public option is a somewhat risky strategy, but we may be within striking distance. A signal from the president could be enough to put us over the top," said one Senate Democratic leadership aide. Such pleading is exceedingly rare on Capitol Hill and comes only after Senate leaders exhausted every effort to encourage Obama to engage.

"Everybody knows we're close enough that these guys could be rolled. They just don't want to do it because it makes the politics harder," said a senior Democratic source, saying that Obama is worried about the political fate of Blue Dogs and conservative Senate Democrats if the bill isn't seen as bipartisan. "These last couple folks, they could get them if Obama leaned on them."...(Remainder.)


Land Triples Down

By Steve Benen
Washington Monthly

Following up on a story I've been following, Richard Land, head of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, doesn't seem to recognize the wisdom of quitting when behind.

Land initially raised a few eyebrows when he condemned health care reform in unusually offensive terms. "What they are attempting to do in healthcare, particularly in treating the elderly, is not something like what the Nazis did. It is precisely what the Nazis did," Land said. In the same remarks, Land compared Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel to Josef Mengele.

Asked to defend his comments, he refused to walk them back. Specifically on likening Emanuel to Nazis, Land insisted "the analogy is apt and I stand by it."

After the Anti-Defamation League expressed some concerns, Land didn't apologize for the substance of his remarks, but he at least showed some regret: "It was never my intention to equate the Obama administration's healthcare reform proposals with anything related to the Holocaust.... Given the pain and suffering of so many Jewish and other victims of the Nazi regime, I will certainly seek to exercise far more care in my use of language in future discussions of the issues at stake in the healthcare debate."

So, problem solved, right? Wrong. Reader J.C. flagged this story in which Land completed the 360-degree turn.
One week after apologizing for comparing Democratic leaders to the Nazis, [Land] has reneged on his promise to stop using such comparisons.... Land "still believes there are connections to be made between some underlying philosophies held by the Germans and others in the first half of the 20th century, and certain elements under discussion in the health care reform debate today." Land argued that the philosophies of some of those pushing health-care reform "bear a lethal similarity in their attitudes toward the elderly and the terminally ill and could ultimately lead to the kinds of things the Nazis did." Land also attacked those who were attempting "to remove the Third Reich as a subject of discussion when it comes to the healthcare debate."


Hannity’s Bigoted Pal On Fox News Again

By Ellen
News Hounds

Why is Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson back on Fox News? He has a long history of making bigoted statements against African Americans, including this whopper on Hannity & Colmes about a racially charged primary in Tennessee in August, 2008: “Most blacks, not all but most in Tennessee, especially in the Memphis, Tennessee area, are still living in the 50’s and 60’s. They are so racist that they don’t even realize that white Americans have moved on. And so whenever there’s a campaign like this... they always use racism in order to intimidate white America.” Last February, Peterson said, “I think we all agree that Barack Obama was elected mostly By black racists and white guilty people.” Sean Hannity is always suggesting that President Obama’s “radical associations” prove he’s a radical. So what does that say about Hannity that he keeps having Peterson back? Oh, and by the way, Peterson goes on Glenn Beck, too. With video.

In an excellent article about Peterson in The Nation, Max Blumenthal wrote that Peterson, “is merely playing the role of front man for a murky, well-funded network of white nationalist activists and right-wing Beltway operatives. By deploying Peterson... into the media, this coterie of conservatives have been able to apply a bold veneer of blackness over the brand of bigotry they find increasingly inconvenient to espouse on their own. Peterson has no professional or political accomplishments to speak of, beyond directing a small inner-city aid ministry and hosting a radio show syndicated on a handful of AM stations across the country. To his sponsors, though, that's irrelevant; it is his immunity from charges of racism that matters.”

Considering Sean Hannity’s record of rushing to the defense of every white person accused of racism in recent memory and considering his former coziness with white supremacist Hal Turner, one can’t help but conclude that Blumenthal’s analysis is right on the money with regard to Peterson and Hannity. Given Glenn Beck's disturbing record on race, Blumenthal's assessment seems applicable again. Could the same not be said of Fox News?...(Remainder.)


Undoing Reagan

By Charles Lemos

In the late 1970s and early 1980s my mother never earned more $50,000 per year. And yet she sent me to private schools and then onto Stanford. Apart from a $500 per quarter Pell Grant, she paid for all of it. Beyond providing me with an education, she took us on annual European vacations and on annual Christmas vacations which rotated between Florida, the Caribbean and Colombia. She bought a home in Westchester County, New York and a vacation home in Rhode Island.

I was curious tonight and looked up my old high school's current tuition. It is now running $36,900 per year. That's 30 times more than when I was there. Stanford tuition now runs $12,460 per quarter or more than tuition, room & board, books combined ran for a full academic year when I attended. Four years of Stanford now runs more than $200,000.

To replicate my mother's feat, I would now need an income of $500,000. How is this progress?
What prompted all this is that I have been focusing more and more on the topic of income inequality. I was shocked and dismayed to learn that 74 percent at the nation's top 146 colleges and universities now come from families in the top quintile of income. And just three percent come from the bottom quintile. At the state-funded University of Virginia, just eight percent of the student body comes from the bottom half of income distribution. In short, the Sonia Sotomayors and Michelle Robinsons are increasingly a rara avis in the nation's top schools....(Remainder.)


What's Coming Out of Your Tap?

By John Sherffius
Boulder Daily Camera


George Will Drinks the Michele Bachmann Koolaid

By lloydletta
Dump Bachmann

George Will's recent column on Michele Bachmann repeats a cute story about how Bachmann was drafted to run for state senate on the spot in her jeans and sweatshirt, but unfortunately, it's just that--a story. Or, as Gary Laidig, the Republican that Bachmann opposed at the convention says, it's "absolute bullshit."

Will should research his subject before writing such a glowing column about her. He clearly does not know the full story on this charlatan.

From Will's column:
Looking toward 2012, she is not drawn merely to Sarah Palin or other darlings of social conservatives. She certainly is one of those, but she knows that economic hardship and government elephantiasis now trump other issues.
John Hinderaker from Powerline echoes this sentiment about Michele Bachmann:
Michele, like us, is a former liberal who saw the light. Democrats try to typecast her as a social conservative, but her overarching theme has always been freedom. A former tax litigator, she is as shrewd a critic of the Left's would-be takeover of the economy as we have in the conservative movement.


Hannity Stupidity

By Jed Lewison
Daily Kos

Every once in a while, it's worth taking a step back and reminding ourselves that Sean Hannity isn't just a Republican partisan hack, he's also a dumb partisan hack. A very, very dumb hack.

Case in point: on Wednesday night, he attacked the ABC News/Washington Post poll that showed 57% support for the public option.

Hannity's argument? Roll the tape:


With the exception of Fox News, the other networks, they’re receiving gold stars on their White House report cards, and the latest case in point is the Washington Post/ABC News poll that shows that 57% of Americans support a government health care takeover and only 40% oppose it.

Now a closer look at that poll explains why. Now get this: They polled 13% more Democrats than Republicans. Now that explains a few things.
Let's leave aside the fact that Hannity inaccurately claimed this was a poll on a "government takeover" of health care. It was a poll on the public option.

With that out of the way, Hannity's core complaint is that the poll is biased because it had more Democrats in it than Republicans. Apparently the fact that there are more Democrats than Republicans is completely lost on him....(Remainder.)


Obama v. Military-Industrial Complex

By Melvin A. Goodman
Consortium News

Editor’s Note: Thirty years since Ronald Reagan demanded a major expansion of the U.S. military and 20 years after the Cold War ended, the United States maintains a vast array of military bases and arms contractors costing hundreds of billions of dollars a year.

President Barack Obama has made a few tentative steps toward reining in what President Eisenhower dubbed the military-industrial complex, but he faces powerful interests that are determined to protect the status quo, as former CIA analyst Melvin A. Goodman notes in this guest essay:

The national security policy inherited by President Barack Obama has been increasingly militarized over the past two decades despite the collapse of the Berlin Wall, the demise of the Warsaw Pact, the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the end of the cold war.

The president has addressed the problem incrementally, reducing growth in spending in his first defense budget, establishing a timeline for withdrawal of American military forces in Iraq, returning to arms control negotiations with Russia and supporting international diplomacy in dealing with such problems as Iran's nuclear program.

At the same time, however, President Obama has appointed too many retired general officers to sensitive national security positions; provided too much support for new weapons, surveillance, and reconnaissance systems; and continued support for Georgian and Ukrainian membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

The outcome of the current high-level debate over adding troops to support a misbegotten counterinsurgency strategy in Afghanistan will provide an indication of the president's willingness to demilitarize the national security arena and to restructure civil-military relations that have tilted heavily in the direction of the Pentagon.

President Obama's predecessors since 1981 contributed to the militarization of U.S. national security policy....(Remainder.)


Neo-cons, Keepers of the Flame - - Really?

By Ann Davidow
Buzz Flash

Every once in a while I force myself to watch at least a portion of a right-wing, self-congratulatory event just to see what goes on in that rarified atmosphere. It isn’t really so much an educational endeavor as it is a reminder that a lot of scary people continue to market the same old rhetorical wares. And no matter how ill-conceived their efforts have proven to be, many in their camp still regard them as heroes and support the premise that America is safer due to their efforts despite the mess left in their wake.

The wonder is that the neo-con triumph over common sense and intellectual integrity is so thoroughly ingrained in the psyche of supporters that appeals to rational debate literally fall on deaf ears. There wasn’t a single mea culpa for obvious missteps among the who’s who of conservative bigwigs at a recent “Keeper of the Flame” awards dinner held under the auspices of the Center for Security Policy. Former Vice President Cheney, at his unpatriotic best, asserted that President Obama has placed the country at risk by not following in the muddy footprints of his predecessors and for “dithering” and “waffling” about Afghanistan. For Cheney and his cohort their familiar approach is always to induce fear in the collective public mind while clinging to a messianic vision of themselves.

The parade of ‘dignitaries’ at the festivities was a stunning array of the administration’s walking wounded. Why my goodness there was Douglas Feith, purveyor of questionable intelligence who, former head of US Central Command, General Tommy Franks called “the dumbest fucking guy on the planet.”  Also recognized was David Addington, a lawyer who was ever so ready to back up assertions that torture wasn’t really torture, that the Geneva Conventions no longer applied and that, in any case, executive power was not to be challenged. Addington’s testimony before Congress regarding torture a few years back was a treat for anyone who gets a kick out of watching someone try to justify bending logic to the breaking point....(Remainder.)


Idiot of the Week: Bill Donohue (Again)

By VJack
Atheist Revolution

Another Saturday means another Idiot of the Week post. And despite several good options this week, I simply have no choice but to come back to a personal favorite...Bill Donohue.

I'll be the first to admit that I have a particularly strong dislike for Bill Donohue and his Catholic League. It is probably because he has appointed himself the defender of that which is utterly indefensible. This is a man who routinely levels accusations of bigotry against those who are only trying to protect innocent children from the clutches of pedophile priests. So yeah, I guess it is safe to say that Donohue really rubs me the wrong way.

So what did Donohue do this week to get on my radar? A new episode of The Simpsons aired last Sunday which contained a great line making fun of a certain absurd ritual propagated by a certain church.
What kind of civilized people eat the body and blood of their savior?
If you saw the episode, like I did, you'll know that it was quite funny in context. And yet, it prompted our idiot extraordinaire to complain.
What kind of uncivilized people work at Fox? Last year, when they poked some gentle fun at the Apostle’s Creed on the Halloween episode, we said nothing. That’s because it didn’t cross the line. This year is different: mocking the heart of any religion always crosses the line, and mocking the Eucharist does it for Catholics. They know this at Fox, which is precisely why they did it.
As PZ Myers (Pharyngula) pointed out, "Silly superstitions will always be a magnet for mockery." This is precisely what Donohue cannot seem to realize. When you believe something stupid and insist on sharing your belief with everyone, mockery is going to be the natural response. Dressing it up in religious garb changes nothing....(Original.)


Why Journalists Shouldn't Be Defending Fox News

By Dan Froomkin
The Huffington Post

The Obama administration's recent characterization of Fox News is a long overdue acknowledgment of the obvious: Fox News is not a legitimate news organization -- indeed, after many years of serving as the research and messaging wing of the Republican Party, it has now gone beyond even that, to become the electronic evangelist of an ultra-partisan and non-reality-based world view.

Historically speaking, White House criticism of the media has often been unseemly and defensive, with the president's ire generally provoked by journalists who excel at their work -- by asking cheeky questions, exposing important things that the president would prefer be kept secret, holding the powerful accountable and playing host to a vibrant and informed exchange of a wide range of political opinions.

But in this case, the critique is something else entirely. The litmus test is that the Obama White House is not upset at news gatherers for doing their job. What Obama and his aides are correctly pointing out is that the people working at Fox News are doing another job altogether.

The White House "attack" on Fox is being derided as bad politics, as ineffective and as a distraction from more important issues -- all of which may be true. But doesn't it kind of matter that, when it comes to the substance of what Anita Dunn, David Axelrod and Rahm Emanuel, and now even Obama himself have said, they're exactly right?

Obama on Wednesday told NBC's Savannah Guthrie: "I think that what our advisers have simply said is, is that we are going to take media as it comes. And if media is operating basically as a talk radio format, then that's one thing. And if it's operating as a news outlet, then that's another. "...(Remainder.)


Vaccines Cause Dirty Diapers

By Matt Bors
Idiot Box


Politico is Wrong, House Bill Will Include Public Option

By John Aravosis

Lots of gamesmanship going on, in these final days (weeks) of the health care reform debate. I wrote last night about how Hill and administration sources seemed to be undercutting the public option in favor of Olympia Snowe's absurd "trigger" without a trigger. Then today we read from Mike Allen at the Politico that Pelosi doesn't have the votes and now will have to likely settle for Snowe's "trigger."

Wrong, Mor-ton.

I just spoke to my own senior Hill sources, who, let's just say, are seriously in a position to know. And they tell me that the House bill "will have the public option," period. Votes are still being counted, so don't believe Politico when they report breathlessly that the public option is dead. It looks like a public option foe is putting out disinformation.

In addition, Pelosi's spokesman Nadeam Elshami says:
Speculation that a final decision has been made about the public option are not accurate. We continue to work with all the members of the caucus to build consensus.


Obama Declares Swine Flu a National Emergency

Obama: national emergency for swine flu; help for hospitals to speed treatment for infected

By Philip Elliot
Associated Press via ABC News

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama declared the swine flu outbreak a national emergency, giving his health chief the power to let hospitals move emergency rooms offsite to speed treatment and protect noninfected patients.

The declaration, signed Friday night and announced Saturday, comes with the disease more prevalent than ever in the country and production delays undercutting the government's initial, optimistic estimates that as many as 120 million doses of the vaccine could be available by mid-October.

Health authorities say more than 1,000 people in the United States, including almost 100 children, have died from the strain of flu known as H1N1, and 46 states have widespread flu activity. So far only 11 million doses have gone out to health departments, doctor's offices and other providers, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials.

Administration officials said the declaration was a pre-emptive move designed to make decisions easier when they need to be made. Officials said the move was not in response to any single development.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius now has authority to bypass federal rules when opening alternative care sites, such as offsite hospital centers at schools or community centers if hospitals seek permission.

Some hospitals have opened drive-thrus and drive-up tent clinics to screen and treat swine flu patients. The idea is to keep infectious people out of regular emergency rooms and away from other sick patients....(Remainder.)


While Americans Suffer, The GOP Continues to Stall On Additional Unemployment Benefits

By Susie Madrak
Crooks and Liars

While new unemployment claims rise again and Americans are losing their homes because they can't find work - work that doesn't exist, Republicans obstruct the passage of extended unemployment benefits by adding "poison pill" amendments aimed at ACORN and at providing yet another tax cut.

We won't forget. And we won't let you forget.
NEW YORK ( -- The number of first-time filers for unemployment insurance rose last week, snapping two weeks of significant declines, according to a government report issued Thursday.

There were 531,000 initial jobless claims filed in the week ended Oct. 17, up 11,000 from an upwardly revised 520,000 the previous week, the Labor Department said in a weekly report. The week included the Columbus Day holiday.

A consensus estimate of economists surveyed by expected 515,000 new claims.

"[The initial claims figure] is somewhat surprising," wrote Jim Baird analyst at Plante Moran Financial Advisors, in a research note. "Excess slack in the system and employers' hesitance to ramp up hiring appear likely to weigh on the labor markets for some time."

[...] The government said 5,923,000 people filed continuing claims in the week ended Oct. 10, the most recent data available. That was down 98,000 from the preceding week's ongoing claims, and would -- if not revised -- mark the first time since late March that continuing claims were below 6 million.

But the slide in continuing claims may signal that more filers are falling off those rolls and into extended benefits.

Continuing claims reflect people filing each week after their initial claim until the end of their standard benefits, which usually last 26 weeks. The figures do not include those who have moved to state or federal extensions, nor people who have exhausted their benefits.


Olbermann Destroys Pathetic Asshat Tucker Carlson in WPITW


Joe Conason Calls Out Douche-Nozzle Pat Buchanan Over Clusterfox Dust Up with WH

By Heather
Crooks and Liars

Good for Joe Conason for pointing out that Pat Buchanan of all people has no business complaining about the Obama administration daring to point out that Fox News is an arm of the Republican Party after all of the things the Nixon administration did that Buchanan himself was involved in. Chris Matthews sure wasn't going to do it.

Media Matters has a nice run down of why this latest meme by the right calling the Obama administration "Nixonian" is utterly ridiculous.

Conason wrote about many of the points he attempted to make to Buchanan during this segment in his column at Salon this week--

With outraged Washington journalists and Republican politicians crying "Nixonian!" over the public scuffle between the Obama White House and the Fox News Channel, what began as a mundane spat is turning into a cosmic jest. Somewhere, Nixon himself is enjoying a mordant laugh to hear this shrill defense of his old servant Roger Ailes, the television wizard whose deceptive campaigning ushered him into the presidency more than 40 years ago -- and who then became the living symbol of everything negative and nasty in American politics during the two decades that followed.

To understand what is going on today, it is essential to remember that where Ailes came from, "Nixonian" was not an insult but a badge of honor -- and seething hatred and even persecution of the press, rather than mere criticism, was a way of life.

Whatever the merits or defects of the strategy pursued by Obama's communications office in pushing back against Fox News, the furious backlash inside the Beltway is badly overwrought. Mainstream defenders of the conservative cable channel suddenly seem to be afflicted with a strange amnesia, causing them to forget not just the numerous episodes of partisan distortion that have permanently pocked its reputation, but the dirty war against the press and the First Amendment that was waged by the Nixon gang in the late '60s and early '70s. That lost memory does a disservice to journalism and history.

Continue reading...


Another 'Scoop' From the Right! Wingnuts Quote Satire Piece As Obama 'Thesis'

By Susie Madrak
Crooks and Liars

Steve Benen found a good one. Looks like the wingnuts are so eager to find "proof" for their theories about Obama, they don't even bother to check the source. Can't say I'm surprised!
Right-wing pundit Michael Ledeen published an item this week on Barack Obama's "college thesis," which Obama allegedly wrote as a student at Columbia 25 years ago. Leeden cited some website, which ran a piece in August.
The paper was called "Aristocracy Reborn," and in the first ten pages (which were all that reporter Joe Klein -- who wrote about it for Time -- was permitted to see), the young Obama wrote:

"... the Constitution allows for many things, but what it does not allow is the most revealing. The so-called Founders did not allow for economic freedom. While political freedom is supposedly a cornerstone of the document, the distribution of wealth is not even mentioned. While many believed that the new Constitution gave them liberty, it instead fitted them with the shackles of hypocrisy."

That's quite an indictment, even for an Ivy League undergraduate.... Maybe instead of fuming about words that Rush Limbaugh never uttered, the paladins of the free press might ask the president about words that he did write.
Yesterday, Rush Limbaugh picked up on Leeden's report, blasting Obama for the alleged paper.

The first sign of trouble was when Joe Klein noted that he's never seen or written about Obama's college thesis, and has "no idea where this report comes from."

The second sign of trouble was when one stopped to notice that Obama didn't write a senior thesis (though he did write a thesis-length paper on Soviet nuclear disarmament).

The third sign of trouble was when one clicked on the link that Leeden provided as support and found the word "satire."



Pathetic Right-Wing Cum-Dump, Ann Coulter, Claims Presidential Assassinations Were Committed by "Left Wing Loons"

By Heather
Crooks and Liars

Oh look! Annie's trying to sell another book—and spouting her typical outrageous crap which is frankly growing quite tiresome. I'd like to know why Joy Behar thinks Coulter should be given another national format besides ClusterFox to spread her bile.

Behar asks Ann Coulter why there are so many more threats against President Obama to the point that it’s “straining the Secret Service” and of course Coulter is completely dismissive of the idea that what Behar cited is even true.
Coulter: I do not—I don’t know what the evidence is. I would be shocked if there were more threats against Obama.

Behar: I’m telling you—what is this another “I don’t believe the polls”? I’m telling you…

Coulter: It’s not a poll. I think they may be more aggressive about investigating it. But…

Behar: No, no, no—he’s getting more threats.

Coulter: A…As I have not only witnessed in my own life but described in guilty, every Presidential assassination or attempted Presidential assassination was committed by some sort of left wing loon, communist, anarchist, communitarians—yes they were—or they had no politics at all.

Behar: But the home grown terrorists are also another group that we have to worry about here.

Coulter: OK, but they’re all liberals, so if Obama gets assassinated….


Sally Quinn Sniffs at that Gauche Alan Grayson Fellow, and White House's 'War on Fox', in Classic Village Style

By David Neiwert
Crooks and Liars

Sally Quinn went on The O'Reilly Factor to announce that she and all the other Villagers are just all a-flutter over the Obama White House's puzzling decision to stand up to its an organization that clearly declared war on his administration from its outset, i.e., Fox News.

But first she had to stop and sniff disdainfully in the direction of Alan Grayson for his gauche style of political rhetoric:
O'Reilly: Do you know this guy? He sounds like a loon.

Quinn: I don't know him. But guess what? Here we are talking about him. And I think that's what this is all about -- he's obviously getting the attention she desperately needs.

O'Reilly: OK, there could be something to be said for that. He represents the Orlando area. But he's certainly kind of unhinged. When you hear rhetoric like that -- you know, the Dick Cheney shooting the guy in the face, and this and that -- doesn't it sound a little immature?

Quinn: Well, I think that it's worse than immature. I mean, what he said was so completely over the top that it sounds like -- it reminded me a little bit of Blagojevich, you know. I mean --

O'Reilly: No, that's good. That's a good -- yeah. Kinda unhinged.

Quinn: Yeah, unhinged. It made no sense. So I don't think you can take it seriously. And I also think that if he -- I can't imagine the Democrats feeling good about this. Or the White House feeling good.

O'Reilly: Or his constituents.

Quinn: But you don't want this guy on your team.


Irony Alert: Limbaugh Spreads Fabricated Quotes. Or, Paging Newsbusters

By Eric Boehlert
Media Matters

Will Newsbusters' Tim Graham demand Limbaugh apologize??

As Simon Maloy detailed yesterday, Limbaugh spent a portion of show hyping a clearly fabricated story about non-existent college thesis that Obama wrote in college. This was the right-wing money quote form the bogus thesis:
 "The so-called Founders did not allow for economic freedom. While political freedom is supposedly a cornerstone of the document, the distribution of wealth is not even mentioned. While many believed that the new Constitution gave them liberty, it instead fitted them with the shackles of hypocrisy."
As CF noted, the entire right-wing blog story was a made-up hoax. (Shocking, I know.)

But here's the best part. It was just a week ago that Limbaugh and Dittohead Nation threw itself a pity party because, during Limbaugh's failed NFL bid, a couple of racist quotes were attributed to the talker; quotes that he denied ever making. He was going to sue!

At the time I noted the deep irony:
Hmm, suddenly, Limbaugh doesn't like being on the other end of misinformation? Suddenly he's demanding folks back up and source all their information, in a way that he almost never does?


Propagandaministerium Claims Obama is Criticizing Fox for "Tough Questions" NOT for Being Mouth-Piece for Right-Wing Lunatic Fringe

By Media Matters

Several right-wing media figures have claimed that the Obama administration is criticizing Fox News because the network asks "tough questions" and is "reporting the truth." This assertion is undermined by Fox News' extensive history of advancing falsehoods, repeatedly passing off GOP materials as news, doctoring quotes, and frequently engaging in outrageous attacks on President Obama, such as Glenn Beck's claim that he is a "racist" with a "deep-seated hatred for white people, or the white culture -- I don't know what it is."...(Remainder.)



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