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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

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What's So Hot About Snowe?

Obama's pointless bipartisanship.

By Howard Fineman

"There she is, the Party of One!" cried Sen. Barbara Mikulski when she saw Sen. Olympia Snowe outside the Senate chamber last week. Mikulski, in a wheel-chair because of a broken ankle, rolled closer to the object of her praise. "She is belle of the ball, because she has got so much on the ball!" Snowe gave an embarrassed nod. Sen. John Kerry hurried by, but stopped himself long enough to bestow upon Snowe a lordly embrace. "O, we love her!" he announced. Sen. Tom Carper testified to her brilliance. "Olympia's terrific, as you know," he said.

On Mount Olympus in Greece there were many gods, but on Mount Olympia in the District of Columbia there is one: Snowe of Maine, daughter of Spartan immigrants (yes, that Sparta). A Republican of the rarest type—a "moderate" willing to truck with Democrats—she is being feted, almost prayed to, by President Barack Obama and his party's leaders as they struggle in the Senate to amass a filibuster-proof 60 votes for "health-care reform." In the halls outside the chamber, every Democrat seems to have just come from, or be on the way to, another "meeting with Olympia"—if, that is, she isn't too busy talking to the president on the phone. Politically secure (she won her last race in 2006 by a 3–1 margin), and possessing the studious air of a graduate student, Snowe has the kind of celebrity that only the Senate could find riveting: her vote is entirely up for grabs. Despite a bit of grandiloquence and a habit of quoting Longfellow (who was, in her defense, a Mainer), she is likable and earnest. She was believable when she told me that she had not sought such a prominent role. "It's not me dictating anything," she said.

But the pursuit of Snowe is pretty close to obsessive, which is not a good thing either for Democrats or for the prospects of health-care reform worthy of the name. First, Snowe's exaggerated prominence is both the result and symbol of Obama's quixotic and ultimately time--wasting pursuit of "bipartisanship." In case the White House hasn't noticed, Republicans in Congress are engaged in what amounts to a sitdown strike. They don't like anything about Obama or his policies; they have no interest in seeing him succeed. Despite the occasional protestation to the contrary, the GOP has no intention of helping him pass any legislation. Snowe may very well end up voting for whatever she and Democrats craft, but that won't make the outcome bipartisan any more than dancing shoes made Tom DeLay Fred Astaire....(Remainder.)


30 Reasons Why Fox News is Not Legit

By Eric Boehlert
Media Matters

"Journalists should be honest, fair and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting information." -- Society of Professional Journalists

Why the Beltway press has invested so much time and energy in recent weeks defending Fox News, with one scribe even claiming that the White House's public critique of the network was "dangerous to press freedom," and why the press refuses to acknowledge what's so obvious about the cable channel's political pursuits, remains baffling.

The facts regarding Fox News' lack of professionalism seem rather obvious (as I detail below 30 different times). And that ought to be plain for Beltway journalists as well. But whether for reasons having to do with external professional, social, or political pressures, many journalists have opted to pretend that Fox News is a serious outlet, that it's just like its cable and network TV news competitors.
They insist that any suggestion that Rupert Murdoch's cable channel isn't legitimate is completely off-base and that the White House is not even allowed to have an opinion on the issue. Indeed, ABC News' Jake Tapper suggested it was not "appropriate" for the administration to tag the channel as illegitimate. (Tapper himself can't tell the difference between the programming that Fox News and ABC News produce.)

The rush to defend Fox News is an odd one, because I don't remember the same type of the circle-the-wagons defense when the previous Republican administration openly waged war on The New York Times and NBC, two news outlets whose standards far outshine the kind of pseudo-reporting Fox News produces on a daily basis. That Beltway media elites have decided to rally around Fox News of all entities remains as puzzling as it is short-sighted....(Remainder.)


Surprise! Michelle Malkin Mocks David Axelrod and His Disabled Daughter

By Eric Boehlert
Media Matters

Obama Derangement Syndrome truly knows no bounds in Malkin's hate-driven world. It's a demented zone where children are always targeted for political attack. Incredibly, Malkin today unveils dripping contempt for White House aide David Axelrod and his epileptic daughter. Why? Because Axelrod had the nerve to appear on 60 Minutes and discuss the disease.
Here's Malkin in full-shriek mode:
So is White House senior adviser/Astroturf master/Big Pharma beneficiary David Axelrod, who appeared on 60 Minutes with Katie Couric this weekend to talk about the epileptic daughter he never sees because he's so busy trying to salvage his boss's government health care takeover plans. The AP dutifully recycled the story -- which itself had been recycled from February's Parade magazine.
Stay classy Michelle....(Original.)


Rise Up and Fight the Swine Flu Conspiracy, Says ‘Gen. Bert’

By Larry Keller
Hatewatch at SPLC

Of all the fantastic musings and mutterings about the H1N1 flu and vaccine, few are more outrageous than the pronouncements of retired Army Maj. Gen. Albert Stubblebine III and his psychiatrist wife, Rima Laibow. They run a nonprofit organization called Natural Solutions Foundation, which warns of the evils of vaccinations, pharmaceutical companies and genetically modified foods.

After President Obama declared a national emergency on Saturday to deal with the rapidly spreading illness, Stubblebine, a onetime intelligence officer, wasted no time e-mailing a dire warning to his members. The president’s declaration, he said, “is perhaps the most ominous domestic event I have ever encountered. We either take this hill, or we die on it.” He went on to state that Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia declared war on their own people. “Has the United States declared war on the American people today? Sadly, tragically, it would appear so. I do not wish to see the American population corralled, controlled and killed.”

H1N1, or swine flu, has never been a serious illness, Stubblebine says. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a different take. The flu is spreading fast in at least 46 states, has caused the hospitalization of about 20,000 Americans and the deaths of more than 1,000 people, the agency says.

Obama’s action gives Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius frightening authority to trample the rights of American patients, Stubblebine maintained. “None of this makes any sense UNLESS the intention is to replicate Hitler’s actions in Germany which used the all too willing medical system as a means to eliminate individuals, segments of the population and anyone who dared to speak out (or whisper) against the regime,” he wrote. Indeed, Stubblebine contends, the swine flu is a genetically engineered virus that is part of a World Health Organization-United Nations-United States scheme to sterilize untold numbers of people....(Remainder.)


President Obama Needs to Deny Olympia Snowe

By Rude One
The Rude Pundit

"Olympia Snowe knows how to suck a dick," Max Baucus must have told President Barack Obama at some point during a meeting in September as Sheldon Whitehouse nodded knowingly. "She'll do down on you like a Hoover set on deep pile."

"And she does not neglect the balls," Kent Conrad probably offered in support of Baucus's assertion.

Ben Nelson must have slowly suggested to the President, "She'll totally blow you. She said so. But, you know, you have to give her what she wants."

Armed with this information about Senator Snowe's prowess at fellatio and the promise of its use on his penis, Obama surely made a decision on how to approach the health care debate: stay committed to the process of reform, but behind the scenes make sure that Snowe gets what she wants. Indeed, whenever it seemed like the path might stray from Snowe's trigger to an actual public option on health insurance, one could assume that Snowe called Obama to say something like, "I just bought knee pads and mint Chapstick," which would more than likely send chills down to Obama's loins in anticipation of the mythical mouth-mounting of Olympia.

Really, and, c'mon, the promise of a blow job is as good a reason as any for the Obama White House's continuing attempts to keep the Maine Republican on the health care reform train in order to please the chimeric beast of bipartisanship. Because if you were the President with insurmountable majorities in both houses of Congress, wouldn't you just say, "Here's what I want"?

Instead, in reaction to rumors that Obama was discouraging any public option approach that is not the Snowe trigger, we get this punk ass statement of shit-that-changes-nothing from the White House. "President Obama made clear that he supports the public option," says Deputy Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer. "That continues to be the President's position."...(Remainder.)


Hitchens: Christianity is a Fraud if it’s Not Literally True

By David Edwards and Daniel Tencer
The Raw Story

If the story of Jesus Christ isn't literally true, then Christianity is a fraud that promotes "a positively wicked doctrine," conservative writer Christopher Hitchens told Fox & Friends Monday morning.
Hitchens, an avowed atheist whose 2007 book God is Not Great attempts to divorce conservatism from religious teachings, discussed the role of religion in American society in the wake of a recent study (PDF) that shows the number of Americans who claim no religious affiliation has roughly doubled in the past two decades, from 8.2 percent in 1990 to 15 percent in 2008.

The study, conducted by Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, predicts that a full one-quarter of Americans will have no religious affiliation by 2028. The study notes that the number of non-believers among younger people is considerably higher than among older people, suggesting that the trend of Americans growing less religious will continue in coming years.

Those people who claim no religious affiliation are "not all atheists by any means," Hitchens told host Gretchen Carlson. "They're just people who don't attend a church, don't have a faith. I think it's fair to call them agnostics. The number of people, like myself, who think religion is false, that it's a delusion and that it's bad for you, is still pretty small."

Hitchens said Americans are increasingly turning against organized religion "because they want to push back against theocracy and the parties of God and the awful challenge they pose to us internationally."...(Remainder.)


Gov. Charlie Crist Says He Has Reduced the Size of State Government

By Janet Zink

With conservative Marco Rubio nipping at his heels in the race for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate seat, Florida Gov. Charlie Crist is trying to pump up his conservative credentials.

And he is hoping to do just that with a new radio advertisement for his campaign. In it, he says, “Here in Florida, I’ve slashed government by 10 percent. That’s $7 billion.” It’s a statement Crist has also made on the campaign trail, and at a Hillsborough County Republican Party fundraiser earlier this month.

It’s true that Florida’s budget has dropped by 10 percent, or about $7 billion, since Crist was elected governor in November 2006. The budget passed by the Legislature and approved by then-Gov. Jeb Bush in May 2006 came in at $73.9 billion. This year’s spending plan tops out at $66.5 billion.

But can Crist, as his radio ad claims, really take credit for the cuts?

In 2007, Crist did veto $459 million from the state budget, setting a state record with his veto pen.

But the Florida Constitution requires that state lawmakers prepare a balanced budget, which is built around revenue generated by sales taxes, corporate taxes, other taxes and fees, and federal appropriations.

And since 2007, that revenue has declined significantly as the nationwide recession has taken hold. State budget documents show that in the 2006-2007 fiscal year, $31.7 billion was available in the general revenue fund. This year, the fund had only $21.9 billion. (In fiscal year 2007, the fund had $28 billion, and in 2008, it had $24.3 billion.)...(Remainder.)


Barack Obama Wrote a Thesis at Columbia in Which He Criticized "Plutocratic Thugs" & Attacks Constitution

By Louis Jacobson

When we last spoke with Matthew Avitabile, a grad student in upstate New York who writes a blog called Jumping in Pools, he had stirred up a hornet's nest with a satirical posting that claimed President Barack Obama wanted soldiers to stop taking an oath to the Constitution and instead pledge their loyalty to the president himself.

That put some conservative bloggers into a tizzy. "Good g*d -- Obama is an egomaniac like we've never seen before. Another Hitler on the rise. This guy is just trashing everything the Consitution stands for," wrote someone named Kitty on the blog Tree of Liberty. The report kept spreading, getting picked up by other bloggers and circulating as a chain e-mail. It earned a Pants on Fire from our Truth-O-Meter.

Avitabile, a 22-year-old State University of New York at Albany grad student and self-described moderate Republican, told us back in February that he was surprised the posting -- which was labeled satire -- could spread so quickly without people verifying the facts. "People wanted to believe this about the president so bad, that he would really go toward a dictatorship so much that they would go with it without checking it," he said.

Now comes another satirical claim from Avitabile's blog that made it all the way to Rush Limbaugh's show before being debunked. It says that Obama criticized "plutocratic thugs" in his thesis at Columbia University:

"Obama was required to write a 'senior seminar' paper in order to graduate from Columbia. The subject of this paper, which totaled 44 pages, was American government. Entitled Aristocracy Reborn, this paper chronicled the long struggle of the working class against, as Obama put it, 'plutocratic thugs with one hand on the money and the other on the government.'...(Remainder.)


Cass Sunstein and Political Rumors on the Internet

The Things People Say

Rumors in an age of unreason.

By Elizabeth Kolbert
New York Magazine

This past June, Representative Mike Castle held a town-hall meeting at a community center in Georgetown, Delaware. Castle, a Republican, is the state’s only House member, and he had invited half a dozen health-care experts to take questions from his constituents. A woman in a red shirt spent most of the meeting with her hand in the air. When Castle called on her, she rose from her seat, clutching a ziplock bag filled with papers and a miniature American flag.

“Congressman Castle,” she began. “I have a birth certificate here from the United States of America saying I’m an American citizen. With a seal on it. Signed by a doctor. With a hospital administrator’s name, my parents, my date of birth, the time, the date. I want to go back to January 20th and I want to know: why are you people ignoring his birth certificate?”

“Yeah!” a man in the audience shouted. The Congressman appeared flummoxed. The health-care experts looked on, impassively.

“He is not an American citizen,” the woman in red went on. “He is a citizen of Kenya.

“I am American,” she continued. “My father fought in World War Two with the greatest generation in the Pacific theatre.” She waved the flag and the ziplock bag in Castle’s direction. “And I don’t want this flag to change. I want my country back!” The community center erupted in applause....(Remainder.)


“Global Cooling” Scam Debunked Yet Again

By David Roberts

You’ve probably heard the conservative argument that the globe is actually cooling, not warming. In fact, if you’re anything like me, you’ve probably heard it 58 gazillion times. You may have even read it in the craptacular new book Superfreakonomics.

Associated Press’s Seth Borenstein decided to test it out, and he came up with a fairly ingenious way to do it: he gave the data to four statisticians, without telling them what it represented, and asked them to look for trends. The result? “The experts found no true temperature declines over time.”

Turns out the only way you can show any kind of downward trend is if you start your trend line in 1998, an unusually warm year thanks to El Nino. Any other year, including 1997 or 1999, and your “cooling” trend disappears.

And just to emphasize the point:
“The last 10 years are the warmest 10-year period of the modern record,” said NOAA climate monitoring chief Deke Arndt. “Even if you analyze the trend during that 10 years, the trend is actually positive, which means warming.”


Clean Energy is an Easy Choice

By Sen. Jeff Merkley
The Huffington Post

The past few months the political debate inside and outside the beltway has largely been centered on health care reform, but I wanted to take a moment and turn the discussion to the big battle looming on the horizon.

Congress is gearing up to take on another critical challenge we're facing: transforming our energy economy and addressing the grave threat of climate change. As a member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, I've been working with my Senate colleagues to craft a bill that will create clean energy jobs, reduce air pollution and liberate our country from depending on dirty coal and foreign oil.

The House passed an energy bill earlier this year and we in the Senate are building on those efforts. The Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act, introduced by Senators Kerry and Boxer, will significantly invest in renewable energy technologies such as wind, solar, and biomass as well as invest in public transportation and energy efficiency. These investments are critical if we want to strengthen America's energy independence, reduce harmful air pollution and create clean energy jobs in local communities.

Specifically, the Kerry-Boxer bill will stimulate even more investment in clean energy by creating a pollution reduction and investment program that would go beyond what the House proposed, to cut pollution 20% by 2020. And the bill will go even further to strengthen national security and reduce oil dependence with a requirement that cities and states plan for cleaner and more efficient transportation infrastructure, like public transit systems. We also create an incentive program for forest and agriculture land-owners to undertake projects that reduce emissions beyond that achieved by the pollution reduction program and offsets under the bill....(Remainder.)


Statisticians Reject Global Cooling

By Seth Borenstein
Associated Press

Washington - Have you heard that the world is now cooling instead of warming? You may have seen some news reports on the Internet or heard about it from a provocative new book. Only one problem: It's not true, according to several independent statisticians who analyzed temperature data for The Associated Press.

The case that the Earth might be cooling partly stems from recent weather. Last year was cooler than previous years. It's been a while since the super-hot years of 1998 and 2005. So is this a longer climate trend or just weather's normal ups and downs?

In a blind test, the AP gave temperature data to four independent statisticians and asked them to look for trends, without telling them what the numbers represented. The experts found no true temperature declines over time.

"If you look at the data and sort of cherry-pick a micro-trend within a bigger trend, that technique is particularly suspect," said John Grego, a professor of statistics at the University of South Carolina....(Remainder.)


Political Meeting a First for LGBT Community

By Jen Marnowski

DENVER - Organizers say it's the first meeting of its kind in the country, a town hall to discuss lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues.

Representative Jared Polis hosted the event Saturday night. The Democrat from Boulder said the goal was to update people on the equality agenda from Washington.

"It's important for people here in Colorado to hear an update about what's going on in Washington," Polis (D-Colo.) said. "I know there are a lot of folks from the LGBT community that have been frustrated with the pace of progress. President Obama promised a lot during the campaign, it's been a little bit slow to deliver that so I'm here to talk about what the legislative process looks like, where the different bills are and hear from people about their priorities about what they'd like to see Washington do."

Polis is the first man to campaign for a first term in Congress being openly gay -- and win.

He's held more than 20 other townhall meetings to talk about healthcare reform....(Original.)


Clusterfox Once Again Promotes "Bigger & Better" KKK Teabagger Express


Whiney Little Bitch, Beck, Calls Jane Hall an "Idiot" for Telling Truth About Fox


Baron of Batshit Previews His Attacks on Republicans Receiving ACORN Endorsements


By Media Matters

In recent days, while discussing the Obama administration's "attacks on biz," Fox News has repeatedly touted the bogus "fact" that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce "represents 3 million businesses." However, as Mother Jones has reported, "most of the businesses aren't direct members of the US Chamber, nor do local chambers have any effective oversight of the national group"; further, the chamber's own spokesman admitted the group's "direct members" are closer to 360,000....(Remainder.)


Gretchen "Make a Jar of Peanut Butter Look Intelligent" Carlson Idiotically Equates Heath Reform to Immigration


Gretchen "Harlequin of Hate" Carlson Claims Obama's Approach to Afghanistan will "Hurt Our Troops"


Neil "What the Fuck Happened to My Head?" Cavuto Allows Guest to Fallaciously Claim 2 Million People at 9:12 KKK Rally


While Defending Clusterfox, Geraldo Rivera Says Dobbs Has "Done More to Slander Latinos than Anyone"


Baron of Batshit: "We Have Raised a Generation of Killers"


Droopy McDumbass, Krauthammer, Claims Obama Delying Afghanistan Decision to Affect Governors Races


Olbermann Awards the Pig-Man WPITW Gold for Obama Fake Thesis Lies


Enemy of Facts & Intellect, Brent Bozell, Tells Lou Dobbs "There's Nothing Inaccurate That [Clusterfox Has] Done"


Dana "Dumber Than the Ass End of a Donkey" Perino Ridiculously Claims WH "Hitting People Across the Head" with a Shovel


Harry Reid Puts Public Option in the Bill with 'Opt Out' Provision for States. Kicks Republicans to the Curb

By John Amato
Crooks and Liars

Harry Reid held a press conference earlier today and said he's including a "public option" in the Senate bill that will have a states "opt out" provision, which means that all the states will have to stay in the bill until 2014 and then have the opportunity to opt out of it.

Frankly I'm shocked that he stood up to the White House on the public option and said no to President Olympia Snowe. Remember when all the Chuck Todds of the pundit class said that the public option was dead and liberals supported it because conservatives didn't? Wrong again.

Obviously, Reid talked to the Democratic senators and feels like he has the votes, or I didn't think he would have said what he did.
Senate Majority Leader Reid confirmed this afternoon he would include a public option in the overhaul bill that allows states to opt out if they choose. Reid said he plans to send an overhaul proposal to CBO today.

He said he is not asking CBO to score a trigger alternative, one supported by Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, but added that the bill will include a version of a co-op.


Reichsminister Rove Takes Credit for Coining "Enemies List" Bullshit


High School Dropout Hannity Filibusters & Obsfuscates When Confronted with MMFA Proof of Prior Comments


Russ Feingold: What Liberals Want is a Single-Payer System

By Heather
Crooks and Liars

From Face the Nation, Russ Feingold has to remind Bob Schieffer that the "public option" is not a "liberal" position on health care reform. It's a compromise. What liberals want is single-payer.
SCHIEFFER: Let’s talk a little bit about health care. Where do you think health care reform stands in the Senate right now? I know you want the public option, the government-run insurance program, like Medicare for older people. The majority leader now seems inclined to include that in the bill that he’s going to bring to the floor. Do you think that has any chance at this point of passage? Because for a while now, people have been saying the votes are just not there in the Senate.

FEINGOLD: Well, I want to give my majority leader, Harry Reid credit for seriously considering putting this public option in there. I think it’s very important. It’s a sign of strong leadership on his part that he has the guts to do that. Because the American people are for some alternative that will create some competition for the abuses of the insurance industry. So I believe that there’s a good chance it will be in the bill that comes before us in the Senate. I think we have some chance of prevailing in the Senate on it and if we don't I think there's a chance it will come through the House. So I’m becoming increasingly optomistic that we will have a health care bill that will not frighten the American people, that they'll be able to see as reasonable -- it's not a complete government take over health care, but will provide an option for those that don’t have health care or are unhappy with their health care to do something else and I'm frankly getting excited that we may have some momentum for something very positive.

SCHIEFFER: As I understand it, the liberals want the, want the public option. The conservatives don’t. Do you think there’s a possibility that this thing may just end up in a log jam, that liberals won’t vote for this plan without the public option and the conserves won’t vote for it if it includes the public option, and so we wind up with nothing instead of something?

FEINGOLD: Well, that could happen, but the truth is, what liberals want is a single-payer system. Medicare for everybody. So the idea of a public option is really a very moderate idea. Within the current context of a continuing private system, it’s a tough one to swallow for many people who want a single-payer system. So this is a very reasonable approach that I would think people who are both conservative and liberal and in the middle would say, let’s try this; let’s see if this can control and bring under some reason of measure that the insurance companies could finally improve their act.

That is exactly what -- what this is. It is not a liberal or left-wing concept at all.

SCHIEFFER: But could you yourself vote for health care reform that did not include the public option, if it came to that?

FEINGOLD: To me, that would be a very serious gap and it would be a very strong reason not to support it. We need a public option. We need something that will cause some control over the abuses that have occurred in the insurance industry....




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