Jonathan Chait, who just a couple days ago was doubting the existence of a grand bargain on the deficit, today comes out with his hair on fire about the grand bargain on the deficit being negotiated in the Senate. Chait goes on to say that this deal[...]
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In the wake of the brutal and devastating sexual assault committed against CBS News international correspondent Lara Logan by an Egyptian mob, many in the right-wing media have used the attack to fuel their anti-Muslim agenda.
Schlussel: It "Warms My Heart" That Logan Got "A Taste Of Just How 'Peaceful' Muslims And Islam Really Are." In a February 15 post on her website, conservative radio host Debbie Schlussel criticized Logan, stating that "Islam Fan Lara Logan Gets a Taste of Islam." In a February 16 update to the post, she stated that the assault on Logan "warms my heart." From the post:
I did say that it warms my heart when reporters who openly deny that Islam is violent and constantly promote it get the same kinds of threats of violence I get every day from Muslims. Because now they know how it feels. They aren't so dismissive of the threats when those threats are directed at them, instead of at us little people. And yet they still won't admit that THIS. IS. ISLAM. Lara Logan was among the chief cheerleaders of this "revolution" by animals. Now she knows what Islamic revolution is really all about.
So sad, too bad, Lara. No one told her to go there. She knew the risks. And she should have known what Islam is all about. Now she knows. Or so we'd hope. But in the case of the media vis-a-vis Islam, that's a hope that's generally unanswered. [Media Matters, 2/16/11; Debbie Schlussel, 2/15/11]
Hoft Blames Logan For Her Sexual Assault, Because Her "Liberal Belief System Almost Got Her Killed." In a February 16 Gateway Pundit post, Jim Hoft stated: "Lara Logan is lucky she's alive. Her liberal belief system almost got her killed on Friday." When confronted by Media Matters, Hoft refused to retract the smear, stating of the "far left": "[Y]our twisted agenda has caused such havoc and pain around the world." [Media Matters, 2/16/11]
Malkin: "This Is Business As Usual For Many Parts Of The Middle East." During a February 16 interview with Fox News' Sean Hannity, right-wing blogger Michelle Malkin said of the attacks on Logan: "It's monstrous, and as many women in particular will tell you, this is business as usual for many parts of the Middle East." [Fox News' Hannity, 2/16/11]
Beck Cites Sexual Assault Against Logan As Evidence That He Was Right About Egypt. During the February 16 edition of his Fox News program, Glenn Beck stated: "This was the only program -- we were mocked and ridiculed. I said, 'Don't pay attention to this scene. Don't do it. This is the beginning, this is not the end.'" He added, "While everyone was saying, 'Oh listen, this is great!' in this crowd, we found out today, that an American woman was being sexually assaulted." [Fox News' Glenn Beck, 2/16/11]
For nearly a decade, I have gone to Las Vegas to meet up with a group of friends who share my interest in poker. Every year, we have our picture taken at Binion's Horseshoe Casino, the birthplace of the World Series of Poker.
Looking back over past pictures, I can see how . . . → Read More: My Friends Laughed At Me… But Now I’m Up Double-Digits
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Responding to Wisconsin state workers' protests against Gov. Scott Walker's (R) proposed legislation that would strip state workers of their collective bargaining rights, right-wing media have characterized the protests as "riots" and "uprisings" and attacked the protesters as "thugs" who could "get violent."
WI Public Workers Rally Against Proposal ThatWould Strip Most Of Collective Bargaining Rights. The Wisconsin State Journal reported onFebruary 17:
With a key committee vote out of the way, Republican leaders planto soon pass a bill that would effectively strip collective bargaining rightsfrom most public workers in Wisconsin,suggesting only modest changes to the proposal introduced by Gov. Scott Walker.
Key GOP lawmakers offered minor adjustments Wednesday night to thelegislation, crafted during hours of closed-door meetings throughout the day,but those tweaks don't affect Walker'scollective bargaining overhaul -- a sweeping plan that brought thousands ofprotesters to the state Capitol for three consecutive days of demonstrations.
Walker and Republicans said they would not alter their plansdespite the thousands of protesters who continue to flood the state Capitol.The crowd only got louder Wednesday as some pounded drums, others playedbagpipes, and many chanted, "Kill the bill" and, "Recall Walker now!"
Some protesters never left. Hundreds came with sleeping bags orblankets and spent Tuesday night in the Capitol rotunda while hoping to speakat a hearing about the bill. Public testimony stretched from 10 a.m. on Tuesdayto about 3 a.m. Wednesday and beyond, with Democratic lawmakers listening topeople through the morning. [Wisconsin State Journal, 2/17/11]
Beck Characterizes Union Protests As "Riots" And"Uprisings." On the February 16 edition of his radio show, Glenn Beckstated of union protests: "You are about to see this president start embracingthe uprisings in this country. You are going to see him embrace the teachersunions and all of the unions that are marching on the streets." Beck later characterizedthe protests as "riots in the streets." [Premiere Radio Networks' The Glenn Beck Program, 2/16/11]
Beck Cites WI Protests To Claim That "Evil [Is]Spreading Around The Globe." On the February 16 edition of his FoxNews show, Beck stated that protests in Madison,WI, as well as in the Middle East and Mexico are partof "evil spreading around the globe." [Fox News' Glenn Beck, 2/16/11]
Malkin: Protesters "Stormed" Capitol ForDemonstration; Teachers Used Students As "Kiddie Human Shields." In a February 16post about protests in Wisconsin,Michelle Malkin wrote that the SEIU "and its allies stormed in for a sleepoverprotest" at the state Capitol building. She later wrote of teachers staging aprotest: "Kiddie human shields become kiddie sacrificial lambs." In a laterpost, Malkin called the protesters "union thugs." [MichelleMalkin.com, 2/16/11, 2/16/11]
Malkin On Fox: Protesters Engaging In "Thuggery."On February 17, Malkin took her attacks on the union protesters toFox & Friends, stating, "Ifthis brave Republican governor can stand up to the immense amount of power andthuggery, essentially, by these unions, it bodes very well for other states."[Fox News' Fox & Friends,2/17/11]
FBN's Byrnes: Protests Could "Borderline ... GetViolent." On the February 16 edition of Fox Business' Varney & Co., Tracy Byrnes stated thatprotests in Wisconsin are "actually, borderline gonna get violent, it soundslike." Byrnes later stated, "I for one hope they lose. I hope they lose. I hopethey stick their ground and the unionslose in the end." [Fox Business' Varney& Co., 2/16/11]
Obenshain: Wisconsin Teacher Protests Are"Reminiscent Of Greece." On the February16 edition of Fox News' Hannity,Republican strategist Kate Obenshain stated: "We see something that's going on,say, in Wisconsin, where they have the rallies for the teachers, where teachersare yanking kids out of the classrooms and calling in sick -- totally lying -which is reminiscent of Greece and England." [Fox News' Hannity, 2/16/11]
RedState: "Leftist Union Bosses Also Know TheyMay Be Losing Their Grip On Taxpayers' Throats And They Are Desperate ToKeep It There." A February 17 post on RedState discussedthe union protests in Wisconsin, as well asothers in Ohio and Indiana, and stated: "As labor activistsstrategize for 'class war,' Leftist union bosses also know they may be losingtheir grip on taxpayers' throats and they are desperate to keep it there.They're not going to let go easily either." [RedState.com, 2/17/11]
Why Isn't Wall Street in Jail?Matt Taibbi asks this interesting question in the current issue of Rolling Stone, and answers...Financial crooks brought down the world's economy - but the feds are doing more to protect them than to prosecute them.And after[...]
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I don't usually do a links roundup, but it's a busy morning, so ...
"Americans love lists," Sen. Joe Lieberman told reporters yesterday as he and other members of Congress gathered at a news conference to discuss the Government Accountability Office's "High Risk" list -- a group of programs that are susceptible to waste, fraud and abuse.
That list, Lieberman noted, isn't one you want to be on if you're a federal worker. It chronicles 30 government programs, many of which have been on the list for a long time, that are at high rist for waste and will help provide a "roadmap" for Congressional oversight in the coming months.
"It's a critically important list," Lieberman said of the report. "And it's extra important in this session as we are faced with this enormous challenge of dealing with our fiscal imbalance, the annual deficit of more than a trillion dollars and that accumulative national debt of over 14 trillion or about 14 trillion now."
Two programs that were removed from the list -- the Census and the Defense Department's personal security clearance program -- because of "sufficient progress in addressing past vulnerabilities," said a GAO press release.
But Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said the Census should have stayed on the list, even though the next Census doesn't start for another nine years.
"Were I compiling this list I would put the 2020 Census on the list right now," Collins said. "Given the amount of money that was wasted -- the hundreds of millions of dollars that was wasted on failed IT projects -- I think it's absolutely essential that we take a close look at the plans for the 2020 Census to try to avoid some of the waste that occurred."
House Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA), who is holding hearings on government waste this morning, said that he was disappointed by how many government programs were on the list.
"Today as we look at this list, I think all of us... have to be committed that it be more than just the change doesn't seem to be working but in fact vigorous oversight and assistance on plans for change in each of the agencies listed here today -- even if they've recently changed their name, even if they're quote 'new and improved,' we have an obligation to ensure we receive plans you can believe in, that have times and accomplishments we can check on a quarterly basis," Issa said.
The only program added to the list was the Interior Department's management of oil and natural gas resources. The 177-page GAO report notes that GAO has made recommendations to the Interior Department on managing oil and gas resources, but said that, as of December 2010, many recommendations remain unimplemented.
"The high-risk list released [Wednesday] by the Government Accountability Office reflects and underscores the importance of the aggressive and comprehensive regulatory reform efforts currently underway in the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) and makes abundantly clear the critical need for resources to effectively implement those reforms," BOEMRE spokesman Melissa Schwartz told TPM in a statement.
The security firm that guards the Kabul embassy and got caught up in a scandal that "introduced the world to vodka butt-shots" is still on the job and doesn't appear to have plans to leave Afghanistan anytime soon, Mother Jones reports.
ArmorGroup North America (AGNA) created a scandal back in 2009 when a government oversight group send a letter that painted a picture of a "Lord of the Flies environment" that included "hazing and wild partying depicted in a series of graphic photographs showing members of the Kabul embassy security force drunk, half-naked, and engaged in an array of NSFW behavior," the magazine reports.
The State Department said back in December 2009 that it would no longer employ ArmorGroup Afghanistan.
State Department spokesman Mark Toner said that the five-year, $189 million contract with ArmorGroup would not be renewed when it expired in the summer of 2010.
But that's not quite how it worked out, Daniel Schulman of Mother Jones writes:
In late September, the agency selected the Tennessee-based firm EOD Technology to take over the contract. But December 30 came and went with no changing of the guards. And AGNA apparently believed it was staying put, at least for a while. In mid-January, the company posted a job ad on Careerbuilder noting that it was "recruiting Protective Security Specialists to provide security to the U.S. Embassy in, Kabul, Afghanistan."
A spokeswoman for AGNA, Susan Pitcher, confirmed that the firm is still protecting the embassy, but declined to comment further, citing a State Department policy about contractors speaking to reporters. EODT also declined to comment. But a Diplomatic Security spokesman told Mother Jones that the transition has been delayed. Now, he said, the handover won't happen until May. "In order to provide EODT with adequate time to make an orderly transition, it has been given 120 days from the end of AGNA's contract," the spokesman said.
South Dakota House shelves a bill that, despite the protestations of the author, seemed to classify the killing of abortion providers as justifiable homicide. [...]
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This is a very positive change in attitude from the past with the Catholic church. It's a serious problem that needs to be addressed and not swept aside, again. CNN:
The Catholic Church in Philadelphia will investigate as many as 37 priests identified in a grand jury report as remaining in "active ministry with credible allegations of child sexual abuse," Cardinal Justin Rigali, archbishop of Philadelphia, said Wednesday.Cardinal Rigali has since suspended three more priests. Rigali was one of the few (perhaps the only) US cardinals to attend a mass by shamed cardinal Bernard Law following the death of Pope John Paul II. Law was forced to resign following the child rape scandal in Boston that resulted in a prison sentences for local priests.
"Sexual abuse of children is a crime. It is always wrong and gravely evil," Rigali said in a news release. "The grand jury report makes clear that for as much as the archdiocese has done to address child sexual abuse, there is still much to do."
He also announced that three priests were placed on administrative leave pending a review.