There's an important article today in Ha-aretz about the rising tensions between Israel and the US over the settlement issue. Among other things, it confirms Laura Rozen's reporting from last week. Here's a key passage ...Tensions between the Obama[...]
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...Poverty has forced many people into homes in neighborhoods that are vulnerable to everything[...]
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As ThinkProgress has noted, soon after new broke about the murder of Dr. George Tiller, Salon’s Gabriel Winant and The Atlantic’s Andrew Sullivan quickly pointed out that Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly had demonized Tiller for years with harsh, aggressive rhetoric. On his show last night, O’Reilly briefly said that “Americans should condemn the murder of Dr. George Tiller” before launching into an extended defense of his demonization of Tiller. “No backpedaling here,” said O’Reilly. Watch it:
In his Media Notes column today, Washington Post media reporter Howard Kurtz writes that “O’Reilly is entitled to defend himself,” but adds that he is “surprised that, along with his reminder that Tiller had been called a baby killer, O’Reilly didn’t issue a ringing denunciation of the shooting and anyone who thought it was justified. The occasion, in my view, called for it; he chose a different approach.”
In the House, courtesy of the Office of the Majority Leader:
FLOOR SCHEDULE FOR TUESDAY, JUNE 2, 2009
House Meets At... 2:00 p.m.: Legislative Business
Unlimited "One Minutes" Per Side
Last Vote Predicted... 7:00 p.m.
Votes will be postponed until 6:30 p.m.
Suspensions (17 Bills)
1) H.R. 325 - Avra/Black Wash Reclamation and Riparian Restoration Project (Rep. Grijalva – Natural Resources)
2) H.R. 1120 - Central Texas Water Recycling Act of 2009 (Rep. Edwards (TX) – Natural Resources)
3) H.R. 1393 - Lower Rio Grande Valley Water Resources Conservation and Improvement Act of 2009 (Rep. Hinojosa – Natural Resources)
4) H.R. 1280 - To modify a land grant patent issued by the Secretary of the Interior (Rep. Stupak – Natural Resources)
5) H.R. 689 - To interchange the administrative jurisdiction of certain Federal lands between the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management (Rep. Herger – Natural Resources)
6) H.R. 2330 - Camp Hale Study Act (Rep. Lamborn – Natural Resources)
7) H.R. 2430 - To direct the Secretary of the Interior to continue stocking fish in certain lakes in the North Cascades National Park, Ross Lake National Recreation Area, and Lake Chelan National Recreation Area (Rep. Hastings (WA) – Natural Resources)
8) H.J.Res. 40 - Native American Heritage Day Act of 2009 (Rep. Baca – Natural Resources)
9) H.Res. 421 - Recognizing and commending the Great Smoky Mountains National Park on its 75th year anniversary (Rep. Roe – Natural Resources)
10) H.R. 1044 - Port Chicago Naval Magazine National Memorial Enhancement Act of 2009 (Rep. George Miller – Natural Resources)
11) H.R. 1380 - Josh Miller HEARTS Act (Rep. Sutton – Education and Labor)
12) H.Res. 196 - Congratulating the University of Tennessee women's basketball team (the "Lady Vols") and Head Coach Pat Summitt on her 1000th victory (Rep. Duncan – Education and Labor)
13) H.Res. 232 - Recognizing and commending the Toys for Tots Literacy Program for its contributions in raising awareness of illiteracy, promoting children's literacy, and fighting poverty through the support of literacy (Rep. Graves – Education and Labor)
14) H.R. 1662 - Anthony DeJuan Boatwright Act (Rep. Barrow – Education and Labor)
15) H.Res. 259 - Expressing the gratitude and appreciation of the House of Representatives for the acts of heroism and military achievement by the members of the United States Armed Forces who participated in the June 6, 1944, amphibious landing at Normandy, France, and commending them for leadership and valor in an operation that helped bring an end to World War II (Rep. Boozman – Armed Services)
16) H.Res. 471 - Expressing sympathy to the victims, families, and friends of the tragic act of violence at the combat stress clinic at Camp Liberty, Iraq, on May 11, 2009 (Rep. Kratovil – Armed Services)
17) H.Res. __ - Recognizing the 20th anniversary of the brutal suppression of protesters and citizens in and around Tiananmen Square (Rep. Levin – Foreign Affairs)
In the Senate, courtesy of the Office of the Majority Leader:
Morning Business until 11:00am with senators permitted to speak for up to 10 minutes each, with the time equally divided and controlled between the two Leaders or their designees.
At 11:00am, the Senate will proceed to Executive Session and proceed to an immediate vote on confirmation of the nomination of Regina McCarthy, to be Assistant Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. We expect the vote on confirmation to be a voice vote. Upon disposition of the nomination, the Senate will proceed to a roll call vote on the motion to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed to H.R.1256, FDA Regulation. Therefore, senators should expect the first vote of the day to begin shortly after 11:00am.
Tuesday's still a travel day for most Members, making their way back from their districts for the Memorial Day recess -- which, again, is a "district work period" rather than the "recess" you remember from school. The last week, for most, was packed full of constituent meetings, town halls, parades, travel, etc. And yes, that long list of mostly silly-looking bills above is stuff they take care of while most Members are on planes and trains on their way back to DC, and most will occupy no more than ten minutes of floor time. Votes are postponed until 6:30 this evening, so it's just a skeleton crew handling the "debate" on these matters until everyone gets back.
And just to slip a reminder/lesson in today's installment: the rule that allows them to debate at whatever time they want, but postpone votes until everyone gets back? Clause 8 of Rule XX. If you actually watch on C-SPAN today, every time they finish debating one of these bills, if someone calls for a vote (they don't have to -- they can pass them by voice vote if they want to), the presiding officer will announce that "further proceedings are postponed pursuant to clause 8 of Rule XX." Now you'll (sort of) know what that means.
Light-ish committee schedule today, largely for the same reason (travel). Fully schedule for the day appears below.
Helmet tip to Frodfied.
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Continuing a theme I began a week or so ago, I'm going to look more closely at key House races for 2010. To get started, let's look at all 26 seats featuring Democratic freshmen/women in pickup seats--that is, Dems who beat a Republican incumbent in the general or captured a GOP-held seat by replacing a retired or primary-defeated Republican.
Tomorrow I will look at the first quarter 2009 fundraising totals of these 26 House frosh, but for starters let's plot them all based on their 2008 vote share and the margin by which Barack Obama carried/lost their district last November. (Data again courtesy of POLIDATA dataset compiled on behalf of the National Journal and the Cook Political Report.)
The correlation between vote share and Obama margin is weakly but positively correlated (r = .317), and if we use 54 percent vote share as one cut point and whether Obama or McCain carried the district as, the four quadrants sort out as follows:
Group 1. Though circumstances change and all freshmen face some degree of uncertainty, to limit the discussion, let's set aside the six members in districts in the top right quadrant (NV3, IL11, NM1, NC8, VA11, and NY25) as somewhat safer, though never totally safe of course, than the rest.
Group 2. Likewise, in the bottom left are six Democratic frosh the National Republican Campaign Committee undoubtedly has identified as prime targets: ID1's Walt Minnick, AZ1's Ann Kirkpatrick, MD1's Frank Kratovil, AL2's Bobby Bright, VA5's Tom Perriello, NY29's Eric Massa, and PA3's Kathleen Dahlkemper.
Of greater interest are the off-diagonal quadrants in the top left and bottom right.
Group 3. The quintet who won with 55 percent or more despite Obama losing their district--AZ1's Ann Kirkpatrick, CO4's Besty Markey, FL24's Suzanne Kosmas, NY13's Michael McMahon, and OH16's John Boccieri--have demonstrated that their support exceeds the external force of possible Obama coattails. At 55 percent or higher their own winning margins were thus at least 10 percent, and in some cases a bit higher because of third-party and write-in votes. I suspect the RNCC will have to make judicious, case-by-case decisions here based on several interrelated factors including the freshmen incumbents' voting patterns and fundraising totals, the quality of the Republican challengers recruited, and a variety of intangibles like personal gaffes and the effects of local issues.
Group 4. Finally, there is the cluster of 8 Democrats who won narrowly despite a strong Obama tailwind that may or not be available to them in 2010, and these could be the real wildcards--and, not coincidentally, the places Obama needs to visit in the next two years to flex his downballot electoral muscle. Of these eight--which also include CT4's James Himes, FL8's Alan Grayson, NJ3's John Adler, and VA2's Glenn Nye--those two seats each in Ohio and Michigan could be the bellwethers for the Democrats' 2008 House frosh class: Steve Dreihaus (OH1), Mary Jo Kilroy (OH15), Mark Sauer (MI7) and Gary Peters (MI9).
Why? To cite just one reason, all four are white Democrats who benefit from having at least 9 percent combined black/Hispanic population shares in their districts. Given that non-white voting turnout between 2004 and 2008 increased 19 percent while white turnout increased just 1 percent, if there is any significant drop-off in minority turnout their path to re-election could be tough. But I'll have more to say about the "bellwether-ness" of these four districts in a separate, forthcoming post.
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A little follow up to YD's piece
Don't get me wrong... I'm hangin' with the Prez. I really think he wants to do the right thing. I'm just not so sure that some of the people he's picking to help him DO the right thing are that interested in doing it, that's all.
For eight years I railed about the thieving lying reptiles that GWB appointed to "look out for our interests". Now we have a new administration and a whole new nest of bureaucrats to talk about and we might as well face the fact that four months in, some of the odors emanating from some of those offices hasn't changed a whole lot.
And the fact that some of them are at least pretending to be Democrats this time just makes me more sure than ever that a)Obama better be right and b)if Obama ISN'T right, this country might as well roll over, light a cigarette and try to at least enjoy the afterglow because it is well and truly screwed. Mark Ames on Alternet offers an extremely pertinent question:
My own opinion? No fair peeking at the answer now... was it most likely:
A. Because he's a fricking crook
B. Because he's a fricking crook
C. Because he's a fricking crook
D. All of the above
If you picked D you won... well... nothing... but you did show yourself to be an astute observer how things work in our government where "I'll scratch your back and you give my company 42 million bucks.", is the basis on which you, the OTHER 99% of the population, are bought, traded and sold by the one percenters.
When someone is given the job of overseeing corporations from whom he's gotten... I hate it when the media uses the word "earned" for something like this... eight million dollars just in the previous year, I have no trouble picking D myself.
You could take 90% of the swingin' whatevers in Washington, put them in a room with every swingin' whatever on Wall street and the whole fricking bunch of them combined couldn't raise an ounce of honesty or integrity among them.
It's as if they're dredged up the essences of every crooked robber baron and politician that ever lived, boiled it all together with some bat wings, a lizard tail and the eye of a newt and mainlined it straight into their fricking brains.
The fact that the banks invested in the company just a few months after Summers resigned suggests the appearance of corruption, because it suggests to other firms that if you hire Larry Summers onto your board, large banks will want to invest as a favor to a politically-connected director.
Last month, it was revealed that Summers, whom President Obama appointed to essentially run the economy from his perch in the National Economic Council, earned nearly $8 million in 2008 from Wall Street banks, some of which, like Goldman Sachs and Citigroup, were now receiving tens of billions of taxpayer funds from the same Larry Summers. It turns out now that those two banks have continued paying into Summers-related businesses.
How the hell does a public servant... in a position where he is supposed to be keeping major banks from ripping us off... manage to have "earned" eight fricking million dollars from those same fricking banks???
As usual there's a lot more info at the link(s) if you're interested but the point is that anyone who thinks things are magically going to smell better simply because we trade a black skunk with white stripes for a white skunk with black stripes is seriously delusional and probably a danger to himself.
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With gas prices sure to go up and sales down, General Motors has a deal for you!
Critics had seized on the rugged but fuel-inefficient Hummer as a symbol of excess as GM’s financial troubles grew and gas prices rose. Sales at Hummer, which is known for hulking sport utility vehicles like the H3, have been in a steep slide since gasoline prices rose to record heights last summer. For the first four months of this year, Hummer sales are down 67 percent.
I wonder if the special tax exemption is still in force? Car buyers get a big discount if the vehicle is large enough, at least that used to be the case.
According to this report, Hummers are a major status symbol in Iraq, I have no idea why. But then I never understood why cruising to the mall in a ‘cute’ version of a military vehicle is patriotic.
I don’t think Toyota or Honda will want the brand. Read about the terrors of driving a Hummer through Tokyo in ‘Sports Inutility’.
Maybe they’ll show up in Russia. We’ll see if they are good in snow. And some are sure to be some 16 year old’s first used car. Hope they know how to parallel park and don’t skimp on the upkeep.
Lord Salaten wastes many column inches at Slate trying to put distance between himself and George Tiller's murderer with the tasteful headline:Is it wrong to murder an abortionist?Last night, the "liberal" MSNBC had an all-male panel on Hardball[...]
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McClathchy Newspapers is reporting that the real reason that President Obama changed his mind on releasing the torture photos is that Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki told him that Iraq would erupt in violence and demand the US get out:WASHINGTON -[...]
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