Say Goodbye to Hollywood
I was watching a few old movies this past week and got inspired, since I cannot remember the last time I actually went to a movie theatre.
Some of my favorites - what did I leave out? (qualified as American films 1930-1970)
It turns out, Reid secured a $61 million earmark for a gun range in Clark County, Nevada.
NRA members were recently treated to a three-page spread in the American Rifleman about a visit to Nevada by Wayne LaPierre and Chris Cox to "thank" Reid for the earmark. The article even includes a cliché picture of Reid cutting a ribbon with a gigantic pair of scissors. (Every good porker has his own giant pair of gold earmark scissors.) More here.
Here is a video of the event from Reid's youtube site.
At 3:25, you can hear LaPierre touting Reid's record on guns saying, "I also want to thank you, Senator, for your support every day for the Second Amendment and for the rights of American gun owners."
The American Rifleman article also commends Reid's Second Amendment record noting, "His dedication to this project is just one of the ways Sen. Reid has demonstrated his support for gun owners and the Second Amendment."
Reid has not supported the Second Amendment "every day." Or ever.
Reid has a lifetime rating of "F" from Gun Owners of America (who Ron Paul once called "the only no-compromise gun lobby in Washington"). GOA is actively supporting the 100% pro-gun Republican nominee, Sharron Angle, in her campaign to unseat Harry Reid.
Is waterboarding torture? If you picked up a major U.S. newspaper before 2004, the answer would likely be yes, according to a new Harvard University study.
But in the post-9/11 world, when the practice of immobilizing and virtually drowning detainees became a politically charged issue, that straightforward definition grew murky. The study, conducted by the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, examined coverage in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today, and found a noticeable shift in language concerning waterboarding.
"From the early 1930s until the modern story broke in 2004, the newspapers that covered waterboarding almost uniformly called the practice torture or implied it was torture," the study noted. But the study found that things changed in the years when "war on terror" became part of the American lexicon.
The New York Times defined waterboarding as torture, or effectively implied that it was, 81.5 percent of the time in articles until 2004, the study found. But during 2002-2008 — when the George W. Bush White House made a concerted effort to normalize harsh interrogation methods for use on terror detainees — the Times "called waterboarding torture or implied it was torture in just 2 of 143 articles." That’s 1.4 percent of the time.
The study also noted a disparity in how newspapers defined waterboarding when the United States employed the practice versus its use by other nations — in the latter instance, newspapers more readily called the practice torture.
But it is not an opinion that waterboarding is torture; it is a fact, recognized by everyone on the planet as such - and by the NYT in its news pages as such - for centuries. What we have here is an admission that the NYT did change its own established position to accommodate the Cheneyite right.
So their journalism is dictated by whatever any government says. In any dispute, their view is not: what is true? But: how can we preserve our access to the political right and not lose pro-torture readers? If you want a locus classicus for why the legacy media has collapsed, look no further.
This is not editing. It is surrender. It is not journalism; it is acquiescence to propaganda. It strikes me as much more egregious a failing than, say, the Jayson Blair scandal. Because it reaches to the very top, was a conscious decision and reveals the empty moral center in the most important newspaper in the country.
When historians look back and try to understand how the US came to be a country that legitimizes torture, the New York Times will be seen to have played an important role in euphemizing it, enabling it, and entrenching it. The evidence shows conclusively that there is not a shred of argument behind the dramatic shift in 2002 - just plain cowardice.
In my view, the people who made that decision should resign. They have revealed that they are nothing but straws in the wind - in a time when moral clarity and courage were most needed.
[Yesterday], Google [began] covering a cost that gay and lesbian employees must pay when their partners receive domestic partner health benefits, largely to compensate them for an extra tax that heterosexual married couples do not pay. The increase [is] retroactive to the beginning of the year.
Google is not the first company to make up for the extra tax. At least a few large employers already do. But benefits experts say Google's move could inspire its Silicon Valley competitors to follow suit, because they compete for the same talent.
Under federal law, employer-provided health benefits for domestic partners are counted as taxable income, if the partner is not considered a dependent. The tax owed is based on the value of the partner's coverage paid by the employer.
On average, employees with domestic partners will pay about $1,069 more a year in taxes than a married employee with the same coverage, according to a 2007 report by M. V. Lee Badgett, director of the Williams Institute, a research group that studies sexual orientation policy issues.
So Google is essentially going to cover those costs, putting same-sex couples on an even footing with heterosexual employees whose spouses and families receive health benefits.
In one of the most explosive, racist and vile outbursts by a celebrity ever caught on tape, Mel Gibson told the mother of his love child that the way she was dressed would get her "raped by a pack of n***ers," RadarOnline.com has learned exclusively.
It's a shocking and blockbuster development in the couple's bitter legal battle, and Mel's disgusting words are on audio tape. His racist, misogynist statement is one of the secrets lurking in his war with his former girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva.
RadarOnline.com has heard the tape, which also includes Mel telling Oksana he will burn down her home.
Labels: Worst Human Being in the World
Once again, the Congress is going to go on a break without having extended long term jobless benefits, as the Senate failed to get 60 votes last night on another plan from Democrats.
By my count, this is the third time that Senators will have gone on a vacation without an agreement on extending those jobless benefits - the first time was Easter, the second just before Memorial Day, and now before the July 4th break.
As I look out at the political landscape now, I find plenty of slogans on the Republican side, but not very many ideas.
Indeed, if you raise specific ideas and solutions, as I've tried to do on health care with [Oregon Democratic Sen.] Ron Wyden, you are attacked with the same vigor as we've seen in American politics all the way back to slavery and polygamy; you are attacked as being a wimp, insufficiently pure, and unreliable.
When Andrew Breitbart offers $100,000 for a private email list-serv archive, essentially all bets are off. Every blogger or writer who has ever offered an opinion is now on warning: your opponents will not just argue against you, they will do all they can to ransack your private life, cull your email in-tray, and use whatever material they have to unleash the moronic hounds of today's right-wing base.
Yes, the Economist was right. This is not about transparency, or hypocrisy. It's about power. And when you are Andrew Breitbart, power is all that matters. There is not a whit of thoughtfulness about this, not an iota of pretense that it might actually advance the conversation about how to deal with, say, a world still perilously close to a second Great Depression, a government that is bankrupt, two wars that have been or are being lost, an energy crisis that is also threatening our planet's ecosystem, and a media increasingly incapable of holding the powerful accountable.
Meanwhile, the GOP leaders, having done all they can to destroy a presidency by obstructing everything and anything he might do or have done to address the crippling problems bequeathed him by his predecessor, are now also waging a scorched earth battle to prevent the working poor from having any real access to affordable health insurance.
This is what the right now is: no solutions, just anger, paranoia, insecurity and partisan hatred.
Boehner criticized the financial regulatory overhaul compromise reached last week between House and Senate negotiators as an overreaction to the financial crisis that triggered the recession. The bill would tighten restrictions on lending, create a consumer protection agency with broad oversight power and give the government an orderly way to dissolve the largest financial institutions if they run out of money.
"This is killing an ant with a nuclear weapon," Boehner said. What's most needed is more transparency and better enforcement by regulators, he said.
Labels: John Boehner
MANDERS: Is there any reason at all for an abortion?
ANGLE: Not in my book.
MANDERS: So, in other words, rape and incest would not be something?
ANGLE: You know, I'm a Christian, and I believe that God has a plan and a purpose for each one of our lives and that he can intercede in all kinds of situations and we need to have a little faith in many things.
The truth is that she is being more consistent than most allegedly "pro-life" people. If you genuinely think that abortion is murder then you can't justify "killing" the blastocyst or fetus just because of the way it was conceived.
On the other hand, Angle seems to see conception by rape and incest as something God purposefully directed and so the results of which are something the birthing vessel must embrace. That's a very disturbing point of view no matter where you come out on the issue.
[The FinReg] Conference reconvened due to the protests from centrists Republicans in the Senate who didn't like the idea of taxing the big banks and hedge funds. Instead, taxpayers will pay for the regulation, since any TARP money unspent was supposed to go towards paying down the deficit.
The documents also indicate that regulators [Timmy!] ignored recommendations from their own advisers to force the banks to accept losses on their A.I.G. deals and instead paid the banks in full for the contracts. That decision, say critics of the A.I.G. bailout, has cost taxpayers billions of extra dollars in payments to the banks.
Aren't we supposed to be about the United States and making sure that our economy can be the greatest in the world. If you look at the G20, what they're trying to do is bind together the world’s economies. Look how that played out in the European Union when they bound all of those nations economies together and one of the smallest economies, Greece, when they got into trouble, that one little nation is bringing down the entire EU. Well, President Obama is trying to bind the United States into a global economy where all of our nations come together in a global economy. I don't want the United States to be in a global economy where, where our economic future is bound to that of Zimbabwe. I can't, we can't necessarily trust the decisions that are being made financially in other countries.
Washington • Republican leaders have not ruled out filibustering to block Elena Kagan from ascending to the Supreme Court, a last-ditch effort that could throw the Senate into turmoil in an already tempestuous year.
“We’re hoping that a filibuster is not necessary, but I think the examination did not go well today,” Sen. Jeff Sessions, the ranking Judiciary Committee Republican, told The Salt Lake Tribune midway through Kagan’s second day of confirmation hearings.
From your slimy racist anti-Semitic mouth to God's ear, Senator.
By filibustering a perfectly innocuous nominee to the Supreme Court, one who has demonstrated time and again during the hearings the patience to put up with the moronic and mind-numbing idiocies demonstrated by conservatives, and then presenting a formidable case for her arguments, Kagan has shown she can clearly work with moral and intellectual turpitudes like Clarence Thomas and Antonin "Never Met A Bribe I Didn't Like" Scalia.
Of course, a filibuster won't happen, to be sure. There are not 41 Senators on the Red side of the aisle who would dare oppose a nominee to the Supreme Court ahead of a Congressional election in which many will be asked why they chose to block that perfectly nice lady from New York when the voted to let Sotomayor be seated. Even Orrin Hatch, who believe it or not is actually a voice of reason these days, thinks it's unlikely.
One exchange did annoy me, however. When Sessions called Kagan out on the recruiting ban Harvard University had in place with respect to the military (far more of which has been made than reality calls for, I should add), he mentioned that her actions prevented a prime "recruiting season".
Now, I'm confused: since when is Harvard Law School fertile ground for any military recruitment, if in fact it is part of the "Eastern liberal elite" that conservatives harp about like it was a thorn in their feeble paws?
I would have called Sessions on that, and glared mightily at him, daring him to reconcile his stupidity.
But I digress. It looks like Kagan will be confirmed and soon.
We contracted with Research 2000 to conduct polling and to provide us with the results of their surveys. Based on the report of the statisticians, it's clear that we did not get what we paid for. We were defrauded by Research 2000, and while we don't know if some or all of the data was fabricated or manipulated beyond recognition, we know we can't trust it. Meanwhile, Research 2000 has refused to offer any explanation.
While the investigation didn't look at all of Research 2000 polling conducted for us, fact is I no longer have any confidence in any of it, and neither should anyone else. I ask that all poll tracking sites remove any Research 2000 polls commissioned by us from their databases. I hereby renounce any post we've written based exclusively on Research 2000 polling.
The Supreme Court ruled Monday that cities and states must abide by the 2nd Amendment, strengthening the rights of gun owners and opening courthouse doors nationwide for gun rights advocates to argue that restrictions on firearms are unconstitutional.
In a 5-4 decision, the justices said the right to have a handgun for self-defense is "fundamental from an American perspective [and] applies equally to the federal government and the states."
The US Supreme Court declined Monday to hear an appeal by the Vatican in a landmark case that opens the way for priests in the United States to stand trial for pedophilia.
Allowing a federal appeals court ruling to stand, the decision means Vatican officials including theoretically Pope Benedict XVI could face questioning under oath related to a litany of child sex abuse cases.
The Supreme Court effectively confirmed the decision of an appellate court to lift the Vatican's immunity in the case of an alleged pedophile priest in the northwestern state of Oregon.
A public law school did not violate the First Amendment by withdrawing recognition from a Christian student group that excluded gay students, the Supreme Court ruled on Monday in a 5-to-4 decision.
The case, involving a clash between religious freedom and antidiscrimination principles, divided along familiar ideological lines, with the court's four more liberal members and Justice Anthony M. Kennedy in the majority.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, writing for the majority, said it was constitutionally permissible for public institutions of higher education to require recognized student groups to accept all students who wished to participate in them.
The Second Amendment provides Americans a fundamental right to bear arms that cannot be violated by state and local governments, the Supreme Court ruled Monday in a long-sought victory for gun rights advocates.
The 5 to 4 decision does not strike down any gun-control laws, nor does it elaborate on what kind of laws would offend the Constitution. One justice predicted that an "avalanche" of lawsuits would be filed across the country asking federal judges to define the boundaries of gun ownership and government regulation.
But Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., who wrote the opinion for the court's dominant conservatives, said: "It is clear that the Framers... counted the right to keep and bear arms among those fundamental rights necessary to our system of ordered liberty."
And that's still relevant 200 years later, despite the fact that the Framers, as ingenuous as they were, did not envision a country of 300 million+ people where almost everyone is literate and almost every adult can vote. Nor did they imagine handguns, which didn't fucking exist.
My first thought on reading this is that desperate unemployed people can't get jobs or help from the local government but their right to be armed is honored! That makes for a really happy society in which to live.
My second thought was the one I always have when reading about the Second Amendment, which is to try to stretch my poor brain to make the leap from "well-regulated militia" to Bob-can-have-a-rifle-in-his-pants.
Mr. Byrd's perspective on the world changed over the years. A former member of the Ku Klux Klan, he filibustered against the 1964 Civil Rights Act only to come to back civil rights measures and Mr. Obama. A supporter of the Vietnam War, he became a fierce critic, decades later, of the war in Iraq. In 1964, the Americans for Democratic Action, the liberal lobbying group, found that his views and the group's aligned only 16 percent of the time. In 2005, he got an A.D.A. rating of 95.