Sunday, November 22, 2009
This movie is a conversation between two groups of Americans facing very different battles but asking a similar question, "Does what I'm doing and who I am mean anything to anyone?" There is a dignity of purpose to the lives of both groups of people, even as there is for this film.
It is the BEST documentary I have ever seen and is a must see for everyone. Definitely worth an hour and a half of your life. Below is the trailer for the movie and you can see the whole movie on PBS through Dec 12 here.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
The Colorado parents in last month's notorious "balloon boy" case will plead guilty to offenses for creating a hoax that their son had flown away in a large balloon.
Richard and Mayumi Heene are to plead Friday morning in Larimer County Court, according to a statement issued by Richard Heene's attorney.
Mayumi Heene is expected to plead guilty to an offense of false reporting to authorities, a misdemeanor of the lowest level, according to the attorney.
Richard Heene is expected to plead guilty to a felony offense of attempting to influence a public servant.
Though the Heenes could receive jail time for the charges, the prosecutor has recommended probation, Richard Heene's attorney said.
California: The Golden State's housing collapse -- and resulting unemployment surge -- has plagued the state's economy. The weakening economy prompted revenue to fall by nearly a sixth between the first quarters of 2008 and 2009. State lawmakers have limited ability to deal with California's massive budget gap due to several voter-imposed restrictions, including requirements that all budgets and tax increases pass the legislature by a two-thirds majority.
Arizona: The state depends heavily on a growing economy to bring in tax revenue, and lawmakers don't have a lot of leeway to address budget deficits thanks to voter-imposed spending constraints. Lawmakers relied on one-time fixes to balance its budget instead of making long-term changes.
Rhode Island: The Ocean State has among the highest unemployment rates in the nation and among the highest foreclosure rates in New England. High tax rates, big budget deficits and a lack of high tech jobs are hurting its chances to pull out of the doldrums. State government has a poor record of managing its finances
Michigan: The state never climbed out of the recession that started in 2001, and matters only became worse during the Great Recession. Two of the Big Three Detroit-based automakers went bankrupt in 2009, sending shockwaves through a state on track to lose a quarter of its jobs this decade. The recession accelerated drops in state revenue, and has left Michigan's government trying to deal with today's problems on a 1960s-sized budget.
Nevada: Nevada is one of the recession's big losers as its gaming-based economy suffered. Year-over-year revenue has fallen for two consecutive years, a record. But changing tax laws is tough because some are written into the state constitution.
Oregon: Oregon's leading industries, such as timber and computer-chip manufacturing, have been hit hard in the recession. Lawmakers have approved more than $1 billion in new taxes to keep it afloat. But voters in January will have the final say on another $733 million in new income taxes.
Florida: For the first time since World War II, Florida's population is shrinking -- bad news for an budget built on new residents flocking to the Sunshine State. Lawmakers raised $2 billion in new revenue this year, but could face a similar shortfall next year.
New Jersey: The Garden State, which has been plagued by years of fiscal mismanagement, spends more than it collects in revenue. The collapse of Wall Street, which supports about one-third of New Jersey's economy, has only made matters worse.
Illinois: Since the last recession earlier this decade, the state piled up huge backlogs of Medicaid bills and borrowed money to pay its pension obligations. The state's current budget still relies heavily on borrowing and paying bills late.
Wisconsin: Wisconsin has a long history of budget shortfalls. It also borrows frequently to cover operating expenses, among other measures. Unemployment is climbing as manufacturing, the state's largest sector, sputters.
Lou Dobbs, the longtime CNN anchor whose anti-immigration views have made him a TV lightning rod, said Wednesday that he is leaving the cable news channel effective immediately.
Sitting before an image of an American flag on his television set, he said “some leaders in media, politics and business have been urging me to go beyond the role here at CNN and to engage in constructive problem solving as well as to contribute positively to the great understanding of the issues of our day.”“I’m considering a number of options and directions,” Mr. Dobbs added.
And the madam who supplied Spitzer's high-priced escorts said she can't imagine a less qualified speaker.
"I am greatly intrigued as to what Mr. Spitzer could contribute to an ethical discussion when, as [governor], he broke numerous laws for which he has yet to be punished," Kristin Davis wrote in a protest letter to Prof. Lawrence Lessig at The Edmond J. Safra Foundation Center for Ethics.
"As attorney general, he went around arresting and making examples out of the same escort agencies he was frequenting."
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
A prominent Columbia architecture professor punched a female university employee in the face at a Harlem bar during a heated argument about race relations, cops said yesterday.
Police busted Lionel McIntyre, 59, for assault yesterday after his bruised victim, Camille Davis, filed charges.
McIntyre and Davis, who works as a production manager in the school's theater department, are both regulars at Toast, a popular university bar on Broadway and 125th Street, sources said.
The professor, who is black, had been engaged in a fiery discussion about "white privilege" with Davis, who is white, and another male regular, who is also white, Friday night at 10:30 when fists started flying, patrons said.
Last night on Countdown, Keith Olbermann did another in a long series of segments castigating former Miss California Carrie Prejean, but he added a little something extra at the end.
He signs off the segment, in which he discusses the sex tape that features Prejean “by herself,” with a two, then three, fingered “Girl Scout” salute. Where to begin?
The joke is likely to delight many of Prejean’s detractors, embittered toward her over her support of California’s Proposition 8. Just as surely, it will offend many others who observe the double standard that Prejean points out in the segment. I find it emblematic of the wrongheadedness of the anti-Prejean narrative.
The Carrie Prejean story began with an honest answer to a divisive question at a beauty pageant. Asked if she believed that same-sex marriage should be legal in all 50 states, she stated her personal belief that marriage should be between a man and a woman, but also said that she was happy to live in a country where people can choose “same-sex marriage or opposite marriage.” As Jake Tapper pointed out, this position hews closely to that of President Obama.
I was always interested in candidate Obama's relationship with the dark(er) political arts and asked him at his first campaign press conference why he'd hired opposition researchers; he responded that they were to check out the candidate himself and to examine high-minded policy questions.
That was not, exactly, the whole truth. Indeed, Obama's campaign had a particularly capable opposition research shop, a source of tips to many reporters, not all of them on policy. And Plouffe, in passing, outs the campaign as the source of a brief item I did in April 2007 off an Edwards campaign expenditure — probably driving as much traffic, chatter and grief as anything that short I've ever written.
"We did much less of this [opposition research] than other campaigns did," Plouffe writes a bit self-servingly, "but there were times we indulged — it was our researchers who found John Edwards's infamous $400 hair cut expenditures."
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Obama’s favorability rating has been in flux, from a low of 48 percent in June 2008 to a peak of 72 percent last March to a slide to 61 percent in a recent Gallup Poll.
That 11-point stumble – some might call it a tumble – seems at odds with the focus of a White House publicity team that is carefully crafting her image and building a decidedly current, wholesome, upbeat brand. But while Obama has broadened the reach of her office, White House observers say that the role and projects she has embraced so far are seen by some as disappointingly traditional.
“If you asked most people, they would say she defines her job as first lady as taking care of her family, and maybe that’s what the White House wants — what she wants,” said first lady historian Betty Boyd Caroli. “A lot of people appreciate that, but some people wanted more, and maybe that’s why the numbers are dipping.”
Yeah...I think she should take a more political role in the admininistration. That should really help her poll numbers.
I still don't see why Michelle's poll numbers would decrease with her husbands. No matter how low Bush's numbers got, Laura always enjoyed high favorable polls.
Obama was not the deciding factor in the Virginia campaign. However, he certainly was MUCH more than a non-factor. Concern about his policies overreaching permeated to a gubernatorial campaign and helped widen the size of McDonnell’s win. It allowed the campaign to focus on issues that hadn’t been working in recent years for Republican candidates. Concern about Obama’s policies on spending, taxes, and jobs allowed McDonnell to thoroughly dominate those issues. The checks and balances message is a key one, but the bigger lesson about Obama’s impact on Virginia is that his policies have put fiscal and economic messages back into play for Republicans.
Friday, November 6, 2009
Thursday, November 5, 2009
Is Levi Johnston getting cold feet about his upcoming Playgirl appearance? We hear that the father of Sarah Palin's grandson has been telling folks at the magazine he is worried about how his manhood may look during the shoot. And to make matters worse, one location for the shoot is a chilly ice rink. But Levi's manager, Tank Johnson, tells Page Six, "We haven't had any discussions of that nature at all," and refused to confirm whether Johnson would go full-frontal during the shoot.
Clarksville police said they arrested a woman on Wednesday morning after she repeatedly made non-emergency calls to the city's 911 system.
Hee Orama, 34, was arrested after police said she recently made frequent calls to 911 complaining about a man lying to her about marrying her.Police said they responded to two calls from Orama and explained that this was not an emergency situation and to stop calling.Orama then called again and was cited by police and told she would be arrested if she kept calling them with non-emergencies.
Police said they also arrested Orama last week for repeatedly calling 911 because she couldn't find her car.
A baby missing for five days was found alive in a box under her 's bed, and authorities said Thursday they plan to charge the sitter, her husband and the child's mother.
Investigators who searched Susan Elizabeth Baker's home near this rural Panhandle town found 7-month-old Shannon Dedrick tucked under a bed surrounded by items meant to hide her, Washington County Sheriff Bobby Haddock said. The baby, who was taken to a hospital but appeared healthy, was placed in .
According to court documents, child welfare officials began looking into allegations Shannon was being abused less than two weeks after she was born.
In August, Susan Baker wrote a letter to Gov. Charlie Crist's office, pleading for help for the baby. She claimed Dedrick shook the baby and that he, Mercer and others smoked cigarettes and drugs in front of her. Baker also claimed Dedrick was not the child's father and said he claimed paternity to get welfare benefits.
Investigators frequently went to the infant's home from August to late September and reported that both parents used marijuana and kept a messy home. But they said Shannon seemed to be cared for and in September, a physician determined that she was healthy and expressed "no concerns regarding the baby."
A legal standoff between Carrie Prejean and Miss California USA officials reportedly ended when a Pageant lawyer played his trump card: a sex tape far more hard-core than the nude pictures which had previously scandalized her – and in which she had the starring role.
After being shown the hardcore home video - in which she apparently engages in a solo sex act - Prejean dropped her million-dollar-plus demands, TMZ.com reports, and bolted from the negotiating table.
The tape has never been released publicly.
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
"From our perspective, we won last night," the California Democrat told reporters during a Wednesday photo op. "We had one race that we were engaged in, it was in northern New York, it was a race where a Republican has held the seat since the Civil War. And we won that seat. So, from our standpoint, no, a candidate was victorious who supports health care reform, and his remarks last night said this was a victory for health care reform and other initiatives for the American people."
But wouldn't you know it, the only races that counted was the two that the Democrats won. Apparently, congressional seats are waaaaay more important than a governorship. Who knew?
The e-mails total 1,300 pages, and we're still reading through the stack of paper. Any other interesting finds will be going up in subsequent posts. But what we've seen so far has been surprising: You'd think that, with blood in the water, the traditional coziness that develops between official flacks and the beat reporters who have to talk to them every day would break down into some kind of last-man-standing slugfest. But in the Spitzer case, the opposite happened. The revelations upended the worlds of both reporter and flack alike, and the uncertainty, long hours, and breakneck pace of the scandal actually seemed to throw them together as they worked toward what seems, if you read the e-mail exchanges, like a common goal of getting the news out and behind them.
This first installment documents the shocking amount of control that Keller's Times allowed Anderson, a former Good Morning America producer and PR veteran of the Clinton White House, to exercise over his paper's coverage. After bringing Anderson's world down around her head by breaking the story, Times reporters previewed portions of their stories with her before publication, asked for her permission before contacting sources, and let her tell them how to characterize its reporting in the paper.
Democrat Bill Owens has captured the special election for a New York congressional seat that became a fight over the identity of the Republican Party.
Owens defeated Conservative Doug Hoffman and Republican Dierdre Scozzafava (skoh-zuh-FAH'-vuh) in the heavily Republican 23rd congressional District in rural northern New York. Scozzafava abruptly withdrew Saturday and supported Owens.
Hoffman has conceded the race.
With 88 percent of the precincts reporting, Owens had 49 percent of the vote to 46 percent for Hoffman. Scozzafava had 6 percent.
The race has been getting national attention, with some calling it a referendum on President Barack Obama and others saying it could help Republicans focus their message to attract more people to the party.
Maine voters repealed a state law Tuesday that would have allowed same-sex couples to wed, dealing the gay rights movement a heartbreaking defeat in New England, the corner of the country most supportive of .
Gay marriage has now lost in every single state — 31 in all — in which it has been put to a popular vote. Gay-rights activists had hoped to buck that trend in Maine — known for its moderate, independent-minded electorate — and mounted an energetic, well-financed campaign.
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
The $787 billion stimulus bill was passed in February and was promised as a job saver and economy booster. Here is where some of the money went:
- $300,000 for a GPS-equipped helicopter to hunt for radioactive rabbit droppings at the Hanford nuclear reservation in Washington state.
- $30 million for a spring training baseball complex for the Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies. (ed: why isn't the MB paying for this?)
- $11 million for Microsoft to built a bridge connecting its two headquarter campuses in Redmond, Wash., which are separated by a highway. (ed: why isn't Microsoft paying for this?)
- $3.4 million for a 13-foot tunnel for turtles and other wildlife attempting to cross U.S. 27 in Lake Jackson, Fla.
- $1.15 million to install a guardrail for a persistently dry lake bed in Guymon, Okla.
- $9.38 million to renovate a century-old train depot in Lancaster County, Pa., that has not been used for three decades.
- $2.5 million in stimulus checks sent to the deceased.
- $6 million for a snow-making facility in Duluth, Minn. (ed: do they not get enough snow in MN?)
- $20,000 for a fish sperm freezer at the Gavins Point National Fish Hatchery in South Dakota.
- $380,000 to spay and neuter pets in Wichita, Kan.
- $1 million to study the health effects of environmentally friendly public housing on 300 people in Chicago.
- $356,000 for Indiana University to study childhood comprehension of foreign accents compared with native speech.
- $983,952 for street beautification in Ann Arbor, Mich., including decorative lighting, trees, benches and bike paths.
- $1 million for Portland, Ore., to replace 100 aging bike lockers and build a garage that would house 250 bicycles.
Do you feel stimulated? I know I do...and for the record, I am still unemployed!
The health care bill headed for a vote in the House this week costs $1.2 trillion or more over a decade, according to numerous Democratic officials and figures contained in an analysis by congressional budget experts, far higher than the $900 billion cited by President Barack Obama as a price tag for his reform plan.
While the Congressional Budget Office has put the cost of expanding coverage in the legislation at roughly $1 trillion, Democrats added billions more on higher spending for public health, a reinsurance program to hold down retiree health costs, payments for preventive services and more.
Many of the additions are designed to improve benefits or ease access to coverage in government programs. The officials who provided overall cost estimates did so on condition of anonymity, saying they were not authorized to discuss them.
has referred repeatedly to the bill's net cost of $894 billion over a decade for coverage.
You know this means this legislation will really end up costing around $4T. Isn't that usually how it works?
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 49% still blame the economic situation on the recession that began under Bush. But 45% now say the nation’s economic problems are caused more by Obama’s policies.
Just a month ago, 55% pointed the finger at Bush, while only 37% said the policies Obama has put in place since taking office were at fault. These findings had remained largely unchanged since May.
Victim In Fatal Car Accident Tragically Not Glenn Beck
Democrats and Republicans are jostling to glean messages from voters in a race for a U.S. House seat in far northern New York, as well as from contests for governor in New Jersey and Virginia. Republicans, increasingly optimistic, say the contests foreshadow trouble for President Barack Obama and the Democratic Party's ambitious agenda heading toward the 2010 congressional elections.
A Republican sweep in Tuesday's key contests would at minimum show that Democrats face much tougher political terrain than they did a year ago. GOP victories would also help the party's fundraising and candidate recruitment for 2010, providing backing for arguments that Republicans have the momentum, and that voters are turning against the Obama agenda.
But it can be difficult to draw broader conclusions from off-year contests, which often turn on local issues.
Thursday, October 29, 2009
See the magic marker drawing on these two guys face? It seems they needed to rob a house and didn't have a mask to use, so they just drew one on their face.
How did the police ever catch these two clever thieves?
Sales of new homes fell last month, and inventories are not growing. With the government tax credit expiring, those new-home sales and construction will likely fall off. The third-quarter growth in that area will almost certainly represent sales shifted from future quarters, which means that the next quarter will get negatively impacted from this growth.
One key indicator continued to move downward significantly, although Reuters only reports it in the final paragraph:
Business investment fell at 2.5 percent pace, with investment nonresidential structures dropping 9 percent, a reflection of ongoing problems in the commercial property market.
In other words, what we had in the third quarter was not long-term growth based on solid investment in business. We had a flurry of federal spending and consumer behavior predicated on highly temporary government interventions, like Cash for Clunkers and the homebuyer tax credit. That may be enough to make the administration look good for the next three months, but only for that long if they don’t stimulate real investment instead of using these gimmicky programs. If we have a double dip recession after these gimmicks end, Barack Obama won’t have George Bush to kick around any longer on the economy. He’ll own it after this.
President Barack Obama says only once since Jan. 20 has White House life annoyed him.
It was the Saturday in May when, trying to be a good husband, he kept a campaign promise to take his wife, Michelle, to New York after the election for one of their "date nights" - dinner and a Broadway play.
Conservative commentators and Republican officials criticized him for doing so.
"People made it into a political issue," Obama told The New York Times Magazine for an article about the Obamas' marriage, appearing in the Nov. 1 issue. The article was posted on the Times' Web site on Wednesday.
"If I weren't president, I would be happy to catch the shuttle with my wife to take her to a Broadway show, as I had promised her during the campaign, and there would be no fuss and no muss and no photographers," he said. "That would please me greatly."
He's just a naive kid who got caught up in a whirlwind. He's a teenager who got his girlfriend pregnant, which is hard enough to deal with. Now, he's estranged from his own child; he is massaged, paid, and goaded by clever people who've seen ways they can use him. But now he's cut off from the access to information that made him useful. And the material he's coming up with has become increasingly desperate-sounding, like the fake confessions of a tortured man. What does the boy have left? Yes, there's his genitalia. He's still got that to reveal. There will be the Playgirl spread, but then what? Is there anyone in his life who loves him, who is available to help him? He's surrounded by false friends who will soon have used up everything he had to give. What resources does he have to draw on as his fame spike plummets? We are talking about a boy who is still only 19 years old. God help him.
The battle over health care reform reached another milestone Thursday as top House Democrats unveiled sweeping legislation that includes a highly controversial public health insurance option.
The nearly 2,000 page bill -- a combination of three different versions passed by House committees -- would cost $894 billion over 10 years and extend insurance coverage to 36 million uncovered Americans, according to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
It guarantees that 96 percent of Americans have coverage, Pelosi said. The figure is based on an analysis by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.
Among other things, the bill would subsidize insurance for poorer Americans and create health insurance exchanges to make it easier for small groups and individuals to purchase coverage. It would also cap annual out-of-pocket expenses and prevent insurance companies from denying coverage for pre-existing conditions.
Pelosi's office said the bill would cut the federal deficit by roughly $30 billion over the next decade. The measure is financed through a combination of a tax surcharge on wealthy Americans and spending constraints in Medicare and Medicaid.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
During his first nine months in office, President Obama has quietly rewarded scores of top Democratic donors with VIP access to the White House, private briefings with administration advisers and invitations to important speeches and town-hall meetings.
High-dollar fundraisers have been promised access to senior White House officials in exchange for pledges to donate $30,400 personally or to bundle $300,000 in contributions ahead of the 2010 midterm elections, according to internal Democratic National Committee documents obtained by The Washington Times.
Presidential aides said there has been no systematic effort to use the White House complex to aid fundraising, though they acknowledge the DNC has paid for some events at the presidential mansion.
Many guests at the White House not only had fundraising connections, but also have personal friendships with the president, Mr. Obama's aides said.
There was another President who did this. His name rhymes with Clinton.
New Yorkers are fleeing the state and city in alarming numbers -- and costing a fortune in lost tax dollars, a new study shows.
More than 1.5 million state residents left for other parts of the United States from 2000 to 2008, according to the report from the Empire Center for New York State Policy. It was the biggest out-of-state migration in the country.
The vast majority of the migrants, 1.1 million, were former residents of New York City -- meaning one out of seven city taxpayers moved out.
"The Empire State is being drained of an invaluable resource -- people," the report said.
What's worse is that the families fleeing New York are being replaced by lower-income newcomers, who consequently pay less in taxes.
Levi Johnston says he's keeping some "huge" things about Sarah Palin from the public.
In Part One of a two-part exclusive interview with "Early Show" co-anchor Maggie Rodriguez, which aired Wednesday, the father of Palin's grandson says, "There are some things that I have that are huge. And I haven't said them because I'm not gonna hurt her that way.
" ... I have things that can, you know -- that would get her in trouble, and could hurt her. Will hurt her. But I'm not gonna go that far. You know, I mean, if I really wanted to hurt her, I could, very easily. But there's -- I'm not gonna do it. I'm not going that far."
He added that he's "sure Sarah's got something ... coming for me," perhaps in her soon-to-be-released memoir, but, "I'm not worried about her saying anything about me. I've really never done anything bad. I don't have anything to hide. So she can go on and say what she wants."
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Former GOP vice presidential candidate reported Tuesday that she has received at least $1.25 million for her hugely anticipated upcoming book "Going Rogue."
A disclosure statement released Tuesday discusses Palin's finances from Jan. 1 to July 27, when she resigned as Alaska governor. Palin says she received $1.25 million from publisherfor the book.
The document only provides a partial picture of the book deal because it doesn't cover the three months she has been out of office. Palin doesn't elaborate on her book compensation, describing the $1.25 million figure only as a "retainer."
It's likely she will be make more money when it's all said and done. "Going Rogue" catapulted to No. 1 on Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.com after HarperCollins announced in late September it had moved up the release date of 1.5 million copies.
What if Bush did it -
A four-hour stop in New Orleans, on his way to a $3 million fundraiser.
Snubbing the Dalai Lama.
Signing off on a secret deal with drug makers.
Freezing out a TV network.
Doing more fundraisers than the last president. More golf, too.
President Barack Obama has done all of those things — and more.
What’s remarkable is what hasn’t happened. These episodes haven’t become metaphors for Obama’s personal and political character — or consuming controversies that sidetracked the rest of his agenda.
It’s a sign that the media’s echo chamber can be a funny thing, prone to the vagaries of news judgment, and an illustration that, in politics, context is everything.
And quickly add, with a hint of jealousy: How does Obama get away with it?
Bush got grief for secret meetings with the oil industry, politicizing the White House and spending too much time on his beloved bike. But it’s not just Republicans who notice. Media observers note that the president often gets kid-glove treatment from the press, fellow Democrats and, particularly, interest groups on the left — Bush’s loudest critics, Obama’s biggest backers.
But others say there’s a larger phenomenon at work — in the story line the media wrote about Obama’s presidency. For Bush, the theme was that of a Big Business Republican who rode the family name to the White House, so stories about secret energy meetings and a certain laziness, intellectual and otherwise, fit neatly into the theme, to be replayed over and over again.
Obama’s story line was more positive from the start: historic newcomer coming to shake up Washington. So the negatives that sprung up around Obama — like a sense that he was more flash than substance — track what negative coverage he’s received, captured in a recent “Saturday Night Live” skit that made fun of his lack of accomplishments in office.
As a candidate, Obama railed against the Hurricane Katrina. He made five campaign trips to the city.for abandoning and then neglecting the people of New Orleans during
But as president, Obama waited almost nine months before visiting the Big Easy, spent less than four hours on the ground there and then jetted to San Francisco for a $3 million Democratic fundraiser.
When the Obama administration moved in recent weeks to isolate and disparage Fox News as a wing of the Republican Party, there were few immediate howls of outrage — even from Fox’s fellow journalists in the media.
Press defenders and First Amendment advocates who jumped on the Bush administration for using military analysts to shape war coverage reacted with a yawn to the White House’s announcement that it had deemed Fox to be not a “legitimate news organization.”
Throughout the Bush administration, liberal critics warned that the hand of Bush political adviserwas spreading politics into all corners of government. Reporters were on alert for any sign that politics was infecting the work of federal agencies. One top appointee got in hot water for allegedly asking agency officials to work to “help our candidates” across the country.
So some Bush aides went nearly apoplectic earlier this month when they spotted Gibbs and Obama’s political guru, David Axelrod, in photos of a Situation Room meeting on Afghanistan policy.
“Oh, the howling and screaming that would have happened if Karl Rove was sitting in on even a deputies-level meeting where strategy was being hammered out. People would have just gone ballistic,” said Peter Feaver, a former White House aide for both Bush and Bill Clinton.
Also, in about nine months, Obama has already attended more than two dozen fundraising events, while Bush did only six in his first year in office, according to a tally by CBS’s Mark Knoller.
Bush and Energy Task Force held with oil and gas companies. When the policy emerged, critics said Cheney was carrying water for the industry.endured years of criticism and lawsuits that stretched all the way to the Supreme Court over secret meetings Cheney’s
Obama pledged to hash out health care reform live on C-SPAN and excoriated Bush for kowtowing to the drug industry. But aides signed off on the drug industry’s agreement to find $80 billion in savings to support reform. However, Obama aides didn’t disclose that the agreement involved the White House promising that current health legislation wouldn’t include further cuts or give the government the right to negotiate over drug prices.
During the campaign, Obama talked tough on China. While candidate Obama pushed Bush to take a hard line, President Obama hasn’t. Hoping to win China’s help on North Korea, Obama skipped a meeting with the Dalai Lama and said little when China undertook a violent crackdown in its largely Muslim Xinjiang region. The White House has pledged to meet with the Dalai Lama later.and
And while candidate Obama warned Bush against a “reckless and cynical initiative [that] would reward a regime in Khartoum that has a record of failing to live up to its commitments,” Sudan, Scott Gration, seemed to lay out a similar incentive-driven approach.’s envoy to “We’ve got to think about giving out cookies,” said Gration. “Kids, countries — they react to gold stars, smiley faces, handshakes, agreements, talk, engagement.”
In his campaign and as president, Bush was mocked for a lack of interest in all things foreign — seven minutes touring the Kremlin, 25 minutes at the Great Wall of China, before declaring, “Let’s go home.”
During a trip to Europe in June, Obama chastised German and French reporters for suggesting that he was snubbing those countries by making only brief stops in each. “There are only 24 hours in the day. And so there’s nothing to any of that speculation beyond us just trying to fit in what we could do on such a short trip,” he told reporters in Germany.
But after taking his wife out for an attention-grabbing date night, Obama promptly jetted back to Washington. Within about 90 minutes of arriving at the White House, the tightly scheduled president was on the move again — headed to Andrews Air Force Base to play nine holes of golf.
Well, he's back...and better:
Republicans and Democrats slammed Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) for calling Linda Robertson, an adviser to Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, a “K Street whore” in a month-old radio interview that circulated on Capitol Hill Monday night.
“There’s no call for that language. No call for it. That’s absurd. If he was standing here now, I’d say that to him,” said Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.)
“He’s out of control,” added Washington Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, who is vice chairwoman of the House Republican Conference.
The remarks are the latest to surface in a string of controversial statements by Grayson, who said on the Alex Jones radio show that he believes Robertson, a former Enron lobbyist, is not qualified to pass judgment on intricate financial matters.
It’s clear that his colleagues’ opinion of him has suffered.
“Is this news to you that this guy’s one fry short of a Happy Meal?” asked Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.)
I wonder what Pelosi thinks of him now.
Well Soledad O'Brien was a contestant too....and she came in 3rd place as well.
CNN should consider banning its anchors from appearing on "Celebrity Jeopardy" after the humiliating defeats of Wolf Blitzer and Soledad O'Brien. Wolf was blitzed last month, coming in last with minus-$4,600, behind comic Andy Richter, a past winner who racked up $68,000 for charity. "Desperate Housewives" star Dana Delany came in second. This month, it was O'Brien's turn against NBA legend Kareem Abdul Jabbar and Michael McKean, of "Spinal Tap," "Laverne & Shirley" and "Saturday Night Live." McKean, a previous winner, ended with $24,800, followed by Abdul Jabbar with $8,800 and O'Brien with $6,200. A CNN insider defended the journalists: "They are reporters, not trivia experts. And the buzzer is complicated. It's not activated until Alex [Trebek] finishes the last syllable of the question. If you hit the button too soon, nothing happens."
What a lame excuse. These guys report facts and figures all day long. And besides...aren't these guys the ones who "analyze" and "explain" the news to us?
Monday, October 26, 2009
A poll released today by the Club for Growth shows Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman surging into the lead in the special election in New York's 23rd congressional district to replace John McHugh, the former congressman who recently became Secretary of the Army.
The poll of 300 likely voters, conducted October 24-25, 2009, shows Conservative Doug Hoffman at 31.3%, Democrat Bill Owens at 27.0%, Republican Dede Scozzafava at 19.7%, and 22% undecided. The poll's margin of error is +/- 5.66%. No information was provided about any of the candidates prior to the ballot question.
In another sign of economic recovery, U.S. companies are planning to hire and invest more in the near future, according to a survey released Monday.
The National Association for Business Economics said the number of employers planning to hire workers over the next six months exceeded the number expecting job cuts for the first time since the recession began in December 2007.
The survey of 78 NABE members also showed more companies increased capital spending during the third quarter of 2009 than cut spending. It was the first time that happened since October 2008.
"NABE's October 2009 Industry Survey provides new evidence that the U.S. recovery is underway," said William Strauss, a senior economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
As he is quick to point out, President Obama is presiding over two wars, a sour economy, and an epic fight to rebuild the nation’s health care system.
Now he has tacked on state and local political races. With an off-year election fast approaching, Obama is stepping up his commitment to Democratic candidates in hopes that an infusion of campaign charisma might pump up turnout.
What the party is finding, though, is that the electricity of 2008 is tough to recapture. Some Democratic candidates running for local office around the country call the phenomenon the “Obama Hangover.’’ It is proving tougher to recruit volunteers and get people to vote.
“It’s like the morning after the party,’’ said Michael McGann, a Democrat running for clerk of courts in the Philadelphia suburbs. “The party was wonderful and exciting. The day after it’s like, ‘Gee, I don’t want to do that again for a while.’ ’’
Obama is trying to inspire voters with the “fired up; ready to go’’ fervor that made last year’s race riveting political theater.
"Overly rosy." The words this morning of HHS Secy Sebelius on projections of H1N1 flu vaccine production so far.Soooo... "hang in there", you'll get it "eventually", "don't give up hope", "the government will take care of you".
10 minutes ago from web
On the network morning shows, Sebelius conceded delays in getting H1N1 vaccine to all who want it - but says they'll get it "eventually."
8 minutes ago from web
Sebelius urges Americans not to be frustrated or discouraged if they can't get H1N1 vaccine, and keep trying. She says the vaccine works.
7 minutes ago from web
Gosh...I can't wait until these guys take over the entire health care system. And for those waiting for the vaccine...hope you don't die while waiting.
In the health care debate, Democrats and their allies have gone after insurance companies as rapacious profiteers making "immoral" and "obscene" returns while "the bodies pile up."
But in pillorying insurers over profits, the critics are on shaky ground. Ledgers tell a different reality.
Health insurance profit margins typically run about 6 percent, give or take a point or two. That's anemic compared with other forms of insurance and a broad array of industries, even some beleaguered ones.
-"I'm very pleased that (Democratic leaders) will be talking, too, about the immoral profits being made by the insurance industry and how those profits have increased in the Bush years." House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., who also welcomed the attention being drawn to insurers' "obscene profits."
-"Keeping the status quo may be what the insurance industry wants. Their premiums have more than doubled in the last decade and their profits have skyrocketed." Maryland Rep. Chris Van Hollen, member of the Democratic leadership.
-"Health insurance companies are willing to let the bodies pile up as long as their profits are safe." A MoveOn.org ad.
Health insurers posted a 2.2 percent profit margin last year, placing them 35th on the Fortune 500 list of top industries. As is typical, other health sectors did much better - drugs and medical products and services were both in the top 10.
The railroads brought in a 12.6 percent profit margin. Leading the list: network and other communications equipment, at 20.4 percent.
HealthSpring, the best performer in the health insurance industry, posted 5.4 percent. That's a less profitable margin than was achieved by the makers of Tupperware, Clorox bleach and Molson and Coors beers.
The star among the health insurance companies did, however, nose out Jack in the Box restaurants, which only achieved a 4 percent margin.
UnitedHealth Group, reporting third quarter results last week, saw fortunes improve. It managed a 5 percent profit margin on an 8 percent growth in revenue.
Van Hollen is right that premiums have more than doubled in a decade, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation study that found a 131 percent increase.
Friday, October 23, 2009
During his captivity, US marines forced Saddam, who was executed in 2006, to repeatedly watch the movie South Park: Bigger, Longer And Uncut, which shows him as gay, as well as the boyfriend of Satan. He was also regularly depicted in a similar manner during the TV series.
The admission comes with the show's 13th season already running in the US. It will celebrate its 12th anniversary later this year.
Recent episodes have seen Barack Obama using his Presidential victory as a way to steal jewels from Washington in an Oceans 11-style heist.
It also recently depicted the United States Treasury as deciding economic measures by cutting the head off a chicken and letting it run on a game show style board, landing on a decision.
Stone, 37, said both he and Parker, 39, were most proud of the signed Saddam photo, given to them by the US Army's 4th Infantry Division.
He said: "We're very proud of our signed Saddam picture and what it means. Its one of our biggest highlights.
"I have it on pretty good information from the marines on detail in Iraq that they showed Saddam the movie.
"Over and over again – which is a pretty funny thought.
"That's really adding insult to injury."
A report released Monday by the Omaha-based public-interest group Aurora indicates that increasing numbers of Americans are being defrauded by schemes that offer financial reward for a lifetime of hard work. "People don't realize that long-term savings and loyalty to one company don't pan out," said Sylvia Girouard, the study's author. Girouard added that steady employment which claims to offer long-term financial gain in the form of a pension plan is nothing more than an elaborate Ponzi scheme.
A White House effort to undermine conservative critics is generating a backlash on Capitol Hill — and not just from Republicans.
“It’s a mistake,” said Rep. Jason Altmire, a moderate Democrat from western Pennsylvania. “I think it’s beneath the White House to get into a tit for tat with news organizations.”
Altmire was talking about the Obama administration’s efforts to undercut Fox News. But he said his remarks applied just the same to White House efforts to marginalize the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a powerful business lobby targeted for its opposition to climate change legislation.
“There’s no reason to gratuitously piss off all those companies,” added another Democrat, Rep. Jim Moran of Virginia. “The Chamber isn’t an opponent.”
White House Communications Director Anita Dunn has defended the push, saying the administration made “a fundamental decision that we needed to be more aggressive in both protecting our position and in delineating our differences with those who were attacking us.”
Congressional Republicans counterattacked Thursday. House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) said the administration was “targeting those who don’t immediately fall in line” with “Chicago-style politics” aimed at “shutting the American people out and demonizing their opponents.”
Boehner’s No. 2, Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) complained that the nation’s problems are growing while the White House “bickers with a cable news network.”
The Obama administration on Thursday tried to make "pay czar" Kenneth Feinberg available for interviews to every member of the White House pool except Fox News. The pool is the five-network rotation that for decades has shared the costs and duties of daily coverage of the presidency.
But the Washington bureau chiefs of the five TV networks consulted and decided that none of their reporters would interview Feinberg unless Fox News was included.
The administration relented, making Feinberg available for all five pool members and Bloomberg TV.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
The number of Americans who believe there is solid evidence that the Earth is warming because of pollution is at its lowest point in three years, according to a survey released Thursday.
The poll of 1,500 adults by the Pew Research Center for the People&the Press found that only 57 percent believe there is strong scientific evidence that the Earth has gotten warmer over the past few decades, and as a result, people are viewing the problem as less serious. That's down from 77 percent in 2006.
"The priority that people give to pollution and environmental concerns and a whole host of other issues is down because of the economy and because of the focus on other things," said Andrew Kohut, the director of the research center, which conducted the poll from Sept. 30 to Oct. 4. "When the focus is on other things, people forget and see these issues as less grave."
In his interview yesterday with NBC News, President Obama made his first public comments on White House attempts to marginalize Fox News.If this is the case, then why does he keep talking about them?
He seems all for it.
"What our advisers simply said is -- is that -- we are going to take media as it comes," Obama told NBC's Savannah Guthrie. "And if media is operating, basically, as a talk radio format, then that's one thing. And if it's operating ... as a news outlet, then that's another.
"But it's not somethin' I'm losing a lot of sleep over."
The number of newly laid-off workers filing claims for jobless benefits rose more than expected last week, as employers remain reluctant to hire even with the economy showing signs of recovery. (ed. when companies are LAYING OFF, it is not a reluctance to hire new workers - they are still letting employees go. And if the economy is "recovering", then why are people still getting laid off?)
Claims had fallen in five out of the previous six weeks and most economists expect that trend to continue, but at a slow pace, as jobs remain scarce.
The Labor Department said Thursday that new jobless claims rose to a seasonally adjusted 531,000 last week, from an upwardly revised 520,000 the previous week. Wall Street economists had expected only a slight increase, according to Thomson Reuters.
Economists closely watch initial claims, which are considered a gauge of layoffs and an indication of companies' willingness to hire new workers.
Police in a Phoenix suburb are looking for a father suspected of running down his daughter because she was becoming too "Westernized" and was not living according to their traditional Iraqi values.
Police say 48-year-old Faleh Hassan Almaleki of Glendale allegedly ran his daughter down Tuesday at an Arizona Department of Economic Security parking lot in Peoria.
The victim, 20-year-old Noor Faleh Almaleki of Surprise, remains hospitalized with life-threatening injuries.