Thursday, December 24, 2009
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Thursday, December 17, 2009
EDIT: I suppose the lack of 'whiskers' prevents it from being a box and whiskers plot, but still.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
This didn’t take long: The GOP is going after not only Chuck Schumer but his protege Kirsten Gillibrand over the now-famous Sunday incident in which Schumer referred to a US Airways flight attendant as a “bitch” when she told him to turn off his cell phone.
Schumer has already apologized. Republican Senate Campaign Communications Director Brian Walsh is now taking Gillibrand to task for failing to condemn her fellow Democratic senator for the presumably sexist remark.
Walsh cites a report in which Gillibrand spokesman Matt Canter downplayed the incident.
“It is the kind of interaction you see on planes all the time,” Canter told Politico. “The senators were on the phone and turned off their phones when they were asked. Sen. Schumer has already said that he should not have used that word and says he regrets it. There is nothing more to add.”
That, Walsh contends, doesn’t cut it. “For a politician who claims to have a ‘family first’ agenda and who claims to fight for women’s rights, Kirsten Gillibrand’s silence is stunning. It appears clear that when push comes to shove, she’s far more worried about offending her political mentor, Chuck Schumer, than standing up for women in the workplace. It’s our hope that those women’s rights organizations that have already endorsed her campaign for the Senate will ask Kirsten Gillibrand why she believes it’s acceptable to call a female flight attendant a ‘bitch.’”
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Like many Arab intelligence services, the GID has a reputation for using brutal interrogation methods, and I'm sure that it didn't get the nickname "the fingernail factory" for nothing. But Kheir's successes in interrogation often came from a different kind of intimidation. Colleagues recall him standing behind a suspect, his voice deep with menace, as he talked of the suspect's family, friends and contacts. That was much scarier than physical violence would have been. He waited for them to break themselves, and it usually worked...
Monday, December 14, 2009
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Saturday, December 12, 2009
"As the years passed after Sept. 11, 2001, without another major attack on American soil and with no sign of hidden terrorist cells, many counterterrorism specialists reached a comforting conclusion: Muslims in the United States were not very vulnerable to radicalization.
American Muslims, the reasoning went, were well assimilated in diverse communities with room for advancement. They showed little of the alienation often on display among their European counterparts, let alone attraction to extremist violence.
But with a rash of recent cases in which Americans have been accused of being drawn into terrorist scheming, the rampage at Fort Hood, Tex., last month and now the alarming account of five young Virginia men who went to Pakistan and are suspected of seeking jihad, the notion that the United States has some immunity against homegrown terrorists is coming under new scrutiny....
'The notion of a difference between Europe and United States remains relevant,' Mr. Leiken said. But the continuing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the American operations like drone strikes in Pakistan, are fueling radicalization at home, he said....
'The longer we’ve been in Iraq and Afghanistan,' he said, 'the more some susceptible young men are coming to believe that it’s their duty to take up arms to defend their fellow Muslims....'
'To me, the most interesting thing about the five guys is that it was their parents that went immediately to the F.B.I.,' she said. 'It was members of the American Muslim community that put a stop to whatever those men may have been planning.' "
Friday, December 11, 2009
"Lately, we have collectively been saying a lot of people are conservatives, the noun, when we should be saying they are conservative, the adjective. Here is a good example:
George W. Bush is not a conservative. He is conservative, but not a conservative. While Christianity has certainly always defined who George Bush is, conservatism has not. Put another way in which I think we can all agree, George W. Bush’s gut instinct is a conservative one, but the fiber of his being is not that of a conservative.
I don’t mean to pick on a President I like, but it was Rush Limbaugh in 2005, who was the first real conservative (noun) to say George W. Bush was not a conservative, but had conservative instincts.
Here is where the trouble comes in — there is no rule to separate between the two. Congressman Kevin Brady sent out a press notice yesterday that said “House conservatives,” not “House Republicans”, would hold a press conference on the debt ceiling. The congressmen involved were Steve Scalise (R-LA), Eric Cantor (R-VA), Kevin Brady (R-TX), Jim Jordan (R-OH), John Shimkus (R-IL), Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), Jack Kingston (R-GA), Mike Conaway (R-TX), John Fleming (R-LA), Eric Paulsen (R-MN), Chris Lee (R-NY), and “other House Conservatives.”
I am sure that each of these men is in some way conservative, some absolutely are conservatives, see e.g. Jeb Hensarling, but they are not all one of us. Several on the list are not by definition conservatives, but are by definition Republicans — it is the party that defines them and conservatism only describes one aspect of their being, some more than others.
I’ve done my best to make some sense of this. I hope you have been able to follow along. It is important we start paying attention to the difference between the noun and the adjective."
Thursday, December 10, 2009
So here’s the plan. On Tuesday, December 15 at 8:45 AM thousands of us will meet in Washington, DC at the fountain in Upper Senate Park. From there we will march to the Senate offices, go inside, and demonstrate our opposition to the government takeover of health care. We call this plan “Government Waiting Rooms”. The intention is to go inside the Senate offices and hallways, and play out the role of patients waiting for treatment in government controlled medical facilities. As the day goes on some of us will pretend to die from our untreated illnesses and collapse on the floor. Many of us plan to stay there until they force us to leave. A backup location for this demonstration will be announced if they block us from entering the offices.
"What do you think President Obama would like to do with the extra bank bailout money -- save it for an emergency, spend it on government programs that might help him politically in 2010 and 2012, or return it to taxpayers?"
You Heard it on Potomac Fever blog First: U.S. Marshals to Serve Subpoenas To White House Party Crashers
We just received a call from the House Homeland Security Committee to serve subpoenas to both Tareq and Michaele Salahi. The Committee itself has authority to serve subpoenas; however, they have elected to delegate the serving power in this case to the U.S. Marshals. Perhaps seeing a Deputy U.S. Marshal show up at their doorstep toting a gun and badge will get the message across. If the Salahi's defy a federal subpoena, guess who's coming to look for them... Looks like I may be needed at the office longer than I anticipated.
All further information is classified.
"DeMint's comments come as party leaders such as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) chairman John Cornyn (R-Texas), and RNC chairman Michael Steele have come under fire from several conservative bloggers and conservative grassroots activists.
They argue that they have not done enough to thwart the Democratic legislative agenda and to back conservative candidates running in primary elections."
"And we talk about 2,074 pages, which seem like a lot, and it would be for a normal bill that you could debate in a limited period of time, which is what we’re being asked to do. But 2,074 pages isn’t nearly enough to cover health care for America. So why is it only 2,074 pages?"
But I loved today's speech and found it very inspiring.
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Committee members approved the resolutions to subpoena Tareq Salahi by a 26-3 vote and Michaele Salahi by a 27-2 vote.
Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) originally requested that the Salahis appear in front of the committee during a hearing last week “on the breakdown in security arrangements” surrounding the Nov. 24 state dinner.
When the now-infamous pair didn’t show, Thompson vowed to send them an invitation that they couldn’t refuse.
Should the Salahis choose to ignore the subpoenas, they could be held in contempt of Congress.
Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), ranking member of the panel, attempted to amend the Salahi resolution to include a subpoena for White House Social Secretary Desiree Rogers, but the committee rejected his amendment. The White House declined to send Rogers to last week’s hearing, citing executive privilege.
Roll Call Staff
Dec. 9, 2009, 4:16 p.m.
"If Democrats can keep that number to a single digit, they will have impressively and significantly limited their exposure. If the number ends up between 10 and 15, Democrats will still have kept their retirements within expectations and would be favored to keep their majority. But if that number balloons past 15, Democratic open seats would present House Republicans with a real opportunity to hit one out of the park."
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c|
|Mike Huckabee Pt. 2|
Worth watching again. Huckabee was on Jon Stewart again tonight, but it was much less interesting.
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Because I know people need help making it through that last stretch of the day...and I think I can get away with it
Oh and, "An NPR spokeswoman told POLITICO that the Obama administration’s attempts to discourage other news outlets from treating Fox as a peer had no impact on any internal discussions at NPR." Not so sure I believe that, but interesting story nontheless.
The American model remains an impressive growth engine, even allowing for the debt-fueled bubble. The U.S. economy grew by 63 percent between 1991 and 2009, compared with 35 percent for France, 22 percent for Germany and 16 percent for Japan over the same period. In 1975, the U.S. accounted for 26.3 percent of world G.D.P. Today, after the rise of the Asian tigers, the U.S. actually accounts for a slightly higher share of world output: 26.7 percent.
The U.S. has its problems, but Americans would be crazy to trade their problems with those of any other large nation.
The videos that have been released appear to have been edited, in some cases substantially, including the insertion of a substitute voiceover for significant portions of Mr. O'Keefe's and Ms. Giles's comments, which makes it difficult to determine the questions to which ACORN employees are responding. A comparison of the publicly available transcripts to the released videos confirms that large portions of the original video have been omitted from the released versions.
Considering LiveAid's success at ending hunger in Africa, I'm awfully glad newspapers are finally applying this model to global warming. There's nothing like the sight of fifty-four newspapers performing a synchronized exercise in smug self-congratulation to induce life-altering change.
I am, of course, in favor of not slow-roasting the planet. But these sort of exercises in mindless collectivism are excruciatingly silly. Unsurprisingly, the op-ed it produced was puerile and unlikely to be read by anyone who does not already agree with its premise. If fifty-four newspapers had wanted to make a serious statement about the environment that their readers were sure to pay attention to, they might have stopped printing and distributing their energy intensive product for a day.
Monday, December 7, 2009
Next on my list: "Unchecked and Unbalanced: How the Discrepancy between Knowledge and Power Caused the Financial Crisis and Threatens Democracy"
Also, for your entertainment: http://www.hulu.com/watch/113206/saturday-night-live-obama-afghanistan-cold-open
...taking on new duties for Hodes is Matt House, 23, who was recently promoted to press secretary. As press secretary, House’s duties primarily involve press releases, media communication and managing Hodes’ Web site and e-communications.
This job represents House’s fourth position with the lawmaker.
While a senior in college in 2007, House interned for Hodes. House had followed Hodes’ first successful run for office in 2006 and said he knew he wanted to intern for the lawmaker after that election.
Fortunately for House, that internship would pay off with a job. House said he jumped at a staff assistant opening in Hodes’ office after graduating from Hamilton College in 2008. After several months, House was promoted to office manager/press assistant, the position he held immediately before becoming press secretary.
House echoes his colleague’s sentiments on how the little things make life on Capitol Hill the most worthwhile. At the 2008 passing of Michelle’s Law — legislation extending health insurance coverage to dependent college students who take a medical leave of absence — the staffer had the opportunity to sit next to the mother of the late Michelle Morse, for whom the law was named.
“Michelle was diagnosed with colon cancer during college, and her doctors advised her to take a leave of absence to battle the disease,” House said in an e-mail. “Michelle had to stay in school in order to keep her insurance coverage and died shortly after graduating. Michelle’s mom worked with Congressman Hodes, and he wrote the bill to prevent insurance companies from forcing families to make the choice Michelle’s had to make. I was sitting with Michelle’s mother in the gallery when it passed the House.”
House is a native of Keene, N.H., one of the largest towns in Hodes’ district.
As a native of the Granite State, House has had his fair share of contact with presidential primary campaigns. In the 2008 cycle, House even got involved: “I did a little bit of work on [Joseph] Biden’s campaign in weeks leading up to the vote.”
But presidential campaigns don’t last forever, so nowadays when the staffer goes back home — as he will do over the holiday season — it will be to visit family and ski.
When in Washington, the staffer finds athletic satisfaction other ways. House said he gets his sports fix by attending “high-quality” Major League Baseball games, such as when the Red Sox come to town to play the Nationals.
The staffer’s other indulgences include Capitals’ games, golfing and cooking. And when House does decide to cook, he said he tends to be “pretty good at it.”
Sunday, December 6, 2009
Good thing we didn't immolate our economy and way of life for this consensus.
Black Panthers defend AG Holder's decision to drop voter intimidation charges against...the Black Panthers
Saturday, December 5, 2009
" 'I'm always behind,' Ben Edwards says, summing up what it's like to be the only doctor within a 45-mile radius, and in that simple statement is his worry about what reform will mean.
What will happen in a place like Post, Texas, where the uninsured are waiting for a system to see a doctor regularly -- and there's only one doctor to see them all?
If all of Post's 3,708 residents had full health coverage, Edwards believes they would flock to his clinic, but his practice is already full with more than 2,000 patients. He has no idea how he would fit in anyone else."
Friday, December 4, 2009
In a recent report, the Congressional Budget Office took into account the impact of the entire stimulus package. According to its calculations, GDP was 1.2% to 3.2% higher in the third quarter than it would have been in the absence of stimulus. (According to the latest Commerce Department data, real GDP grew 2.8% in the third quarter vs. a decrease of 0.7% in the second and a decrease of 6.4% in the first.) The CBO estimates that between 600,000 and 1.6 million additional people were employed as a consequence.
The CBO also looked at the stimulative effect of various parts of the stimulus package. It found that purchases of goods and services by the federal government--such as for public works--had the largest bang for the buck, raising GDP by $2.50 for each $1 spent. Transfer payments had a lesser impact, but were still significantly more stimulative than tax cuts. Moreover, tax cuts of the sort favored by Republicans have the least impact. According to the CBO, tax cuts for low-income individuals raise GDP by as much as $1.70 for every $1 of revenue loss, while those for the rich and for corporations raised GDP by at most 50 cents for every $1 of revenue loss.
Lest one suspect the CBO of bias, private economists have also found that tax cuts are far less stimulative than spending under current economic conditions. Mark Zandi of Moody's ( MCO - news - people ) Economy.com, an advisor to John McCain last year, recently testified before the Joint Economic Committee of Congress that the Republicans' favorite tax proposals--making all the Bush tax cuts permanent and cutting the corporate tax rate--would raise GDP by at most 37 cents for each $1 of revenue loss. By contrast, increased outlays for infrastructure, aid to state and local governments and extended unemployment benefits increase GDP by between $1.41 and $1.57 for every $1 spent.
Indeed, one can argue that the failure of the stimulus to create or save more jobs occurred largely because Obama included too many non-stimulative tax cuts in the stimulus package. These tax cuts, such as the Making Work Pay Credit, accounted for more than 40% of the cost of the $787 billion stimulus package. Based on the CBO analysis, I don't think there is any question that the economy would be much worse off today if Republicans had gotten their wish and 100% of the stimulus had been in the form of tax cuts.
This is of particular interest to me because I am writing my research paper on the Patriot Act and analyzing its durability from its enactment in 2001 to the present. The entire 80-minute discussion was recorded and provided for online webcast below:
But Palin’s father, Chuck Heath, gave a different account [of Palin's college time in Hawaii] to Conroy and Walshe. According to him, the presence of so many Asians and Pacific Islanders made her uncomfortable: “They were a minority type thing and it wasn’t glamorous, so she came home.” In any case, Palin reports that she much preferred her last stop, the University of Idaho, “because it was much like Alaska yet still ‘Outside.’ ”
Back in the summer, I wrote in a column south of the border:Nicely put.If you’re 29, there has been no global warming for your entire adult life. If you’re graduating high school, there has been no global warming since you entered first grade. There has been no global warming this century. None. Admittedly the 21st century is only one century out of the many centuries of planetary existence, but it happens to be the one you’re stuck living in.In response to that, the shrieking pansies of the eco-left had a fit. The general tenor of my mail was summed up by one correspondent: “How can you live with your lies, dumbf–k?” George Soros’s stenographers at Media Matters confidently pronounced it a “false claim.” Well, take it up with Phil Jones. He agrees with me. The only difference is he won’t say so in public.
Which is a bit odd, don’t you think?
How about we do a bunch of easy stuff first with deregulation and money that is already committed, like making it a lot easier to build nuclear power plants and spending that "stimulus" money on a massive upgrade of electrical grid instead of repaving 12 miles of highway in each Congressional district? Maybe some experimental seeding of the Arctic atmosphere with reflective particulates. All cheap, reversible stuff that will give governments some chance to show competence.
When you start with a massive transfer of wealth and an almost gleeful deconstruction of consumer capitalism, you are bound to trigger equally massive resistance, almost no matter how swell your science and how scary your predictions of catastrophe. That is so obvious, one is forced to wonder whether the real point is the massive transfer of wealth and the deconstruction of consumer capitalism.
“I've never had major knee surgery on any part of my body.”
-Winston Bennett(University of Kentucky basketball forward, American Basketball Player)
"Outside of the killings, Washington D.C. has one of the lowest crime rates in the country."
-Mayor Marion Barry, Washington D.C.
“That lowdown scoundrel deserves to be kicked to death by a jackass, and I'm just the one to do it”
- Congressional candidate in Texas
"I love California, I practically grew up in Phoenix"
- Dan Quayle
"We dont necessarily discriminate. We simply exclude certain types of people."
- Colonel Gerald Wellman, ROTC Instructor.
"Half this game is ninety percent mental."
- Philadelphia Phillies manager, Danny Ozark
" Its no exaggeration to say that the undecided could go one way or another"
- George Bush, US President
"If we dont succeed, we run the risk of failure."
- Bill Clinton, President
"Your food stamps will be stopped effective March 1992 because we received notice that you passed away. May God bless you. You may reapply if there is a change in your circumstances."
- Department of Social Services, Greenville, South Carolina
"If somebody has a bad heart, they can plug this jack in at night as they go to bed and it will monitor their heart throughout the night. And the next morning, when they wake up dead, there"ll be a record."
- Mark S. Fowler, FCC Chairman
Scottish dancers and dog breeds are some other featured attractions in the parade, but the star of the show for some is surely Santa Claus's arrival.
The parade begins at Wilkes and S. Saint Asaph streets, follows Saint Asaph Street, turns right on Queen Street, right on Fairfax Street and right on King Street to end at King and Royal streets."
Who is down for this?
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Remember too that when you have a progressive tax system, especially when there are surcharges on people making seven-figure incomes, you also have a system where for any given level of national income, the greater the inequality, the greater the government’s tax revenues. And indeed federal revenues have been rising faster than median wages for decades now, thanks to the rich getting ever richer.
Given the government’s insatiable appetite for cash, it’s only natural that it would prefer to tax plutocrats, spending some of that money on poorer Americans, rather than move to a world where poorer Americans earn more (but still don’t pay that much in taxes), and the plutocrats earn less, depriving the national fisc of untold billions in revenue.
The government’s interests, then, are naturally aligned with those of the plutocrats — and when that happens, the chances of change naturally drop to zero.
(via Balloon Juice.)
Taxes are killing us.: The US at 26.1% pays less tax than any other industrialized country except Japan at 25.8%. Sweden is at 50.2%, the UK at 35.8%, and Spain at 35.5%, for example. BTW each of these three countries had higher growth (average per capita growth 1995 - 2005) than we did. 2.5%, 2.4% and 3.1% resp. compared to our 2.1%. Also Japan's was 1% growth.
Frank Ahrens: But did you know our corporate tax rate is among the highest in the world? That makes a real difference if you're a business and you're thinking about locating in the U.S. or, say, India.
But did you know our corporate tax rate is among the highest in the world?: Dead wrong. Our nominal tax rate of 35% is among the highest, but because of loopholes our real tax rate of 18% is among the lowest real corporate tax rates.
Frank Ahrens: Back atcha.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer will appear at the Center for American Progress Action Fund to discuss the minority party's role in Congress and the current Republican leadership's record of pushing them to be the "Party of No." From creating jobs and addressing the economic crisis, to health reform and climate change, the Republican leadership has put up roadblocks rather than work constructively to find solutions to the challenges facing our country.
The Majority Leader will discuss the history of the "Party of No" strategy, which is based on the assumption that the minority party benefits most when Congress is deadlocked. He will also discuss historical examples of constructive minorities in Congress, to demonstrate that more productive alternatives are possible—alternatives that would enable Congress to better address the needs of the American people at a critical time in our nation’s history.
You've gotta RSVP, the RSVP is on the page I link to.
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
"The Obama Left can tolerate, barely, the appearance of waging war if that’s what it takes to prevent rank-and-file Democrats from revolting. But they have no interest in defeating anti-American Muslims (who, after all, have a point, right?) or in pursuing American interests for their own sake," - Andy McCarthy, NRO.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
"California Dem Jane Harman, likes Obama's overall strategy, but says the reported 34,000 troop build up goes too far -- comparing it to (gulp) LBJ's failed Vietnam escalation: "...There are eerie echoes of Vietnam and the crucial 1965 memo to President Johnson in which National Security Adviser McGeorge Bundy wrote, ‘The situation... is deteriorating, and without new U.S. action defeat appears inevitable. There is still time to turn it around, but not much.’ Bundy turned out to be wrong, and I think a troop build-up as part of an otherwise careful and thoughtful strategy is also wrong.”
"Thousands of long-term investors, including elderly people who lived for decades on withdrawals from their Madoff accounts, do not qualify for S.I.P.C. payments because they withdrew considerably more over time than they originally entrusted to Mr. Madoff, Barry Lax, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, said."
A lot of Madoff's investors are arguing that they should receive an amount reflecting the fictional account balances that Madoff had fabricated. Do these people really deserve to receive money that never actually existed or belonged to them, especially if they withdrew more over time than they originally payed in?
This story reports the results of a few additional poll questions asked by "60 Minutes" and Vanity Fare magazine poll that was published Sunday. I know the one about which president should be added to Mt. Rushmore was posted yesterday, but I would like to add one additional result.
"With all the talk on the news about whether Americans should have the choice of a government-run health insurance plan in any health care reform, only 26 percent of those who responded said they felt confident explaining the "public option" to someone who didn't know about it." I still continue to wonder why there is so much backlash for something that a majority of people do not understand.
Why is this worth the human and financial cost? How is it being financed?
What is victory, and at what point can we say we've won this war?
What non-military actions will we be taking to stabilize Afghanistan?
The money goes to states primarily to set up sex education programs. But the money can also be used for "adult preparation" programs that promote "positive self esteem, relationship dynamics, friendships, dating, romantic involvement, marriage and family interaction.""
I feel like most people are able to do this without $400 million dollars of help but what do I know?
The more I read about this bill, the more I think they should just scrap the whole thing and start over; this bill just does not seem like a good idea.
To their credit, Evan's peeps at CAP handle the situation very well (and courteously), unlike the folks at the Sierra Club and Greenpeace.