Fabulous comeback by CNN's Rick Sanchez to GOP Senator Jim Demint (R-SC):
CNN'S RICK SANCHEZ: [Specter] seems to be saying that Republicans are making it very difficult for other Republicans to win because, and he said this on several times, you tell me what you think of it: You're shrinking the electorate to an extreme to a point where a regular Republican can't win. What do you make of that argument?Yes they do.
SENATOR JIM DEMINT (R-SC): That's quite the opposite. We're seeing across the country right now that the biggest tent of all is the tent of freedom. And what we need to do as Republicans is convince Americans that freedom can work in all areas of their life for every American, whether it's education or health care, or creating jobs...
SANCHEZ: What, what the hell does that mean, freedom? The biggest tent is freedom? Freedom?! I mean you gotta do better than that.
Last month, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) announced the creation of the House GOP American Energy Solutions Group, meant to "work on crafting Republican solutions to lower energy prices for American families and small businesses." Helping lead the way toward finding those solutions? Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), who yesterday announced her appointment to the group:
?My colleagues and I on the Energy Solutions Working Group are dedicated to an ?all of the above? approach that will increase the supply of clean, affordable, American-made energy today and encourage investment for newer, more efficient energy technologies for the future. I will also continue my fight against energy tax increases as proposed in the Democrat?s energy proposal for Minnesotan families and small business,? said Bachmann.
If Boehner and the House GOP were truly interested in promoting real solutions to America's energy and environmental crises, Bachmann should be their last pick for the group. After all, she has made a name for herself by constantly repeating the most nonsensical, misleading, radical untruths about energy and the environment:
"[T]here isn?t even one study that can be produced that shows carbon dioxide is a harmful gas. There isn?t one such study because carbon dioxide is not a harmful gas, it is a harmless gas. Carbon dioxide is natural. It is not harmful. It is part of Earth?s life cycle." [4/22/09]
"And the science indicates that human activity is not the cause of all this global warming. And that in fact, nature is the cause, with solar flares, etc." [3/22/09]
"I want people in Minnesota armed and dangerous on this issue of the energy tax because we need to fight back. Thomas Jefferson told us, having a revolution every now and then is a good thing." [3/22/09]
"I came away with the idea that [the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge] is the most perfect place on the planet to drill." [8/13/08]
"[Pelosi] is committed to her global warming fanaticism to the point where she has said that she's just trying to save the planet. ... We all know that someone did that over 2,000 years ago, they saved the planet -- we didn't need Nancy Pelosi to do that." [8/12/08]
"The big thing we are working on now is the global warming hoax. It?s all voodoo, nonsense, hokum, a hoax." [3/15/08]
"I don't think it has been established as a fact that global warming is the issue of the day. One thing we need to do is look at the science." [10/10/06]
Bachmann is hardly the only member of Boehner's "solutions" group who is untethered to reality. Rep John Shimkus (R-IL) declared that capping CO2 would be "taking away plant food from the atmosphere," and called such caps "the largest assault on democracy and freedom in this country that I've ever experienced." Rep. Mike Pence (R-IA) called cap and trade "an economic declaration of war on the Midwest."
One thing that comes up in the book and seems to last to this day that I think needs further thought - and I'm wondering if Michael and others have thought about - is the way in which the Public Affairs Office at the Pentagon has had so much control over the Guantanamo story.
Now, here is a story about the uniformed military being opposed by the civilian Pentagon leadership. But all inquiries have to go through the Pentagon Public Affairs Office, and if you contact the uniformed military directly - they say they cannot respond until they clear with Washington. This makes for an absolute control that, along with military protocols about obedience and following the chain of command, successfully keeps the real story hidden. So, while following the rules may have worked to some better effect in these early days, it has also led us down the wrong path time and time again in the detention effort. The PAO office is but one example.
Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania has decided to become a Democrat.
This strikes me as being bad news for the Republican Party more than it is good news for the Democrats. Back in January, I described a process which I labeled the Republican Death Spiral:
Thus the Republicans [...] are in something of a death spiral. The more conservative [...] their message becomes, the more they alienate non-base Republicans. But the more they alienate non-base Republicans, the fewer of them are left to worry about appeasing. Thus, their message becomes continually more appealing to the base -- but more conservative, partisan, and strident to the rest of us. And the process loops back upon itself.This defection, coming at a time when historically low numbers of Americans are identifying themselves as Republican, would seem to be a manifestation of said Death Spiral. These problems, indeed, were particularly acute in Pennsylvania, where many of the state's more moderate Republicans had re-registered as Democrats to vote in the state's extremely contentious primary between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Thus, given an extremely conservative Republican electorate, Specter appeared to be an underdog against his extremely conservative primary challenger, Pat Toomey, and switched parties in order to increase his odds of survival.
Pop quiz! What Democratic Senator did all of the following...Flipped his vote on the Employee Free[...]
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Political earthquake in Washington as prominent Republican switches party.
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He'll likely be a Lieberdem, but still, a 60th seat would be quite the 100-day present for Barack Obama.
Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter will switch his party affiliation from Republican to Democrat, according to sources informed on the decision.
Specter's decision would give Democrats a 60 seat filibuster proof majority in the Senate assuming Democrat Al Franken is eventually sworn in as the next Senator from Minnesota. (Former Sen. Norm Coleman is appealing Franken's victory in the state Supreme Court.)
Question: does this mean Specter will go back to a pro-labor stance on EFCA, having abandoned it in vain hopes of staving off a GOP primary challenge?
Update: Assuming this comes to pass... This was likely going to be a targeted race in a very expensive state. The DSCC will have to defend, sure, but Toomey isn't electable statewide, and it should be an easy hold. That's a lot of extra money Democrats will have to target other Republican seats.
Also, this makes the GOP Senate caucus that much more conservative, and could perhaps put pressure on the Maine Republicans to consider following suit, especially Olympia Snowe who may not want to remain a forgotten member of a deep and long-lasting Southern-based minority.
Update II: It's official. His statement is below the fold. Interestingly, he remains a foe of EFCA, which means that labor is free to fund and help a real Democrat in the Democratic primary. Bizarre choice. Had he decided to back EFCA, as he has always done so in the past, he'd have labor's full support. Now, he gives the opposition an opening to take him out in the Democratic primary.
Update III: Club for Growth is speechless.
Earlier this month, the UK charity Women's Aid released a domestic violence PSA starring Keira Knightley. The ad, intended to be shown in theaters and on television, features Knightley leaving a film set and coming home to an abusive partner. She walks[...]
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A BUZZFLASH NEWS ANALYSIS
by Christine Bowman
Dawn Johnsen remains in limbo as President Obama's nominee to serve as Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) in the Justice Department. Senator Arlen Specter's decision today to switch to the Democratic column may remove one obstacle for her, since as ranking minority member on the Judiciary Committee, he had said Monday that a filibuster of Johnsen's nomination was "under consideration" and indicated that he had not yet made up his mind on her nomination even after meeting privately with Johnsen, as CQ Politics reported.
The OLC was the source of the recently released "torture memos" that green-lighted waterboarding under the Bush Administration. The office's role is to clarify points of law for the President. For much of the Bush Administration as well as currently, that critical office has been led only by an acting head.
On a conference call with reporters Monday, former OLC chiefs and others who know Johnsen, have worked with her, and who support her nomination pointed out that acting chiefs would tend to be more subject to political pressure and potentially less able to tell a president where the legal boundaries are. They described the vital function of the OLC chief as being able to say no to the president when no needs to be said.
Dear Public Education Supporter:
As I'm sure you remember, a hearing on both bills was held last week. Supporters for the voucher/tax credit bill turned out in droves, as expected. Some of their testimony can be seen here as posted by the pro-voucher group SCRG. Though they speak loudly, they do NOT speak for the majority of South Carolinians and it is imperative that we remind our elected officials of that fact.
Please call the Senators listed below (even if you are not in their district) and urge them, once again, to do what's right for all of South Carolina's children: vote AGAINST S 520 and in FAVOR of S 607!
Wes Hayes- Business: 803.324.2400; 803.212.6410 Home: 803.328.8532
John Matthews- Business: 803.212-6056 Home: 803.829.2383
John Courson- Business: 803.799.5533; 803.212.6250 Home: 803.256.7853
Harvey Peeler- Business: 864.489.9994; 803.212.6430 Home: 864.489.3766
Luke Rankin- Business: 843.248.2405; 803.212.6132 Home: 843.626-6269
Phil Leventis- Business: 803.773.0884; 803.212.6000 Home: 803.469.2047
Gerald Malloy- Business: 843.339.3000; 803.212.6148 Home: 843.332.5533
Mike Fair- Business: 864.246.4257; 803.212.6420 Home: 864.246.4257
Larry Grooms- Business: 803.212-6400
Tom Davis- Business: 843.252.8583; 803.212.6008
Joel Lourie- Business: 803.779.0939; 803.212.6116 Home: 803.787.5802
Carrie Rachel Dean