Friday, January 30, 2009

Dems single out Repubs senators on stimulus plan

Democrats Set Sights on Republican Senators Who Oppose Stimulus Plan

WASHINGTON — Senator Judd Gregg awoke to the bad news on Thursday morning that a coalition of Democratic groups had planned to run television advertisements in his state to pressure him to support President Obama’s economic recovery plan.

Mr. Gregg, a third-term Republican from New Hampshire, is one of five Republican senators who are targets; all face re-election in 2010.

“Those groups don’t impress me,” he said in an interview. “I’m trying to participate constructively, help the new president where I can be helpful and be part of the loyal opposition where I disagree with him.”

On the morning after the House passed an $819 billion package of stimulus spending and tax cuts without a single Republican vote in favor, the action moved to the Senate, where Republicans began mobilizing for a fight. Mindful of the danger of simply opposing a popular new president at a time of national distress, they were intent on coming to the floor with proposals of their own to substantively change the bill, including additional tax cuts and reduced spending.

“We do need a very robust and aggressive stimulus package,” Mr. Gregg said, “but we need one that works and is focused on the problem, which is housing, and that essentially doesn’t end up aggravating the long-term debt of the country” with spending that extends beyond the two-year life of the recovery plan.

The Republican said he had earlier called Mr. Obama’s senior economic adviser, Lawrence H. Summers, and “gave him my thoughts on how this should be reoriented toward real estate.”

With coordinated news conferences, speeches and television appearances, Republican senators said they would push hard to amend the House package that Mr. Obama supports, including with a proposal to allow all creditworthy homeowners to refinance their mortgages at interest rates of 4.5 percent or lower.

Given Democrats’ majority margins in the House and Senate, Mr. Obama is expected to get the stimulus measure he wants. But he also wants some Republican support in keeping with his separate campaign promise to change Washington’s polarized ways. In his latest overture, Mr. Obama invited senators from both parties to the White House to watch the Super Bowl on Sunday, the eve of the Senate debate.

Republicans, for their part, are wary of bucking a president whose election marked a repudiation of his Republican predecessor’s policies. That is especially true of those, like Mr. Gregg, who could face tough races next year. In both parties, some are already raising the question: Might 2010 be like 1934, or 1994?

In 1934, the Democratic Party added to its majorities in the House and Senate after Republicans opposed the New Deal economic program of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. But in 1994, the Democratic Party lost control of Congress after Republicans unanimously opposed President Bill Clinton’s deficit-reduction plan and then campaigned against Democrats for passing it.

Republicans profess to be unconcerned. House Republicans on Thursday headed off to a retreat at The Homestead, a Virginia resort, still celebrating their unanimous stand — despite Mr. Obama’s visit to the Capitol to seek their support — against a package that in their view has too much big-government spending and too few tax cuts. Their unsuccessful substitute was entirely of tax cuts.

In a congratulatory memorandum to his colleagues early Thursday, the House minority leader, Representative John A. Boehner of Ohio wrote: “House Republicans said we would stand up for American taxpayers at this time of economic hardship for our nation. And last night, standing together, that’s exactly what we did.”

Vin Weber, a former Republican congressman who remains a party strategist, said he believed Republican incumbents faced “minimal risk” because a Democratic package would ultimately become law. “If Republicans blocked it, if they had the capacity to actually kill it,” Mr. Weber said, “then that would be a different matter.”

Stuart Rothenberg, a nonpartisan political analyst, agreed. “I think what the House Republicans did was totally right,” Mr. Rothenberg said. “There is no political benefit for them in being politically co-opted by the new president,” given that most come from districts drawn to be packed with conservative Republican voters.

But, as Mr. Rothenberg added, things are different for Republican senators, who represent entire states that generally are more demographically, socially and politically diverse. And while Mr. Obama did not get a majority last November in many House Republican districts, he did win in many Republican senators’ states, including Mr. Gregg’s.

Voters in New Hampshire also ousted Senator John E. Sununu, Mr. Gregg’s former Republican colleague, last November, signaling that Mr. Gregg would be next in Democrats’ sights. The once overwhelmingly Republican state has increasingly trended Democratic. As recently as 2004 its governor, two senators and two House members were Republicans. Now Mr. Gregg is the only Republican left.

Earlier this week, Mr. Gregg broke with most Senate Republicans to support Mr. Obama’s nominee for Treasury secretary, Timothy F. Geithner. And Mr. Obama’s respect for him is such that Mr. Gregg was approached about becoming commerce secretary, the senator’s office confirmed on Thursday.

But Mr. Gregg opposed the Democratic stimulus plan in the Senate Appropriations Committee on Tuesday. The only Republican who voted for it there was Senator Olympia J. Snowe of Maine, a moderate who is also a target of the coming pro-Obama television advertisements.

Mr. Gregg calls himself “a minor player” in the effort of the Senate Republican leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, to propose fixes to the Democrats’ package.

Among the changes, Republicans would double to $15,000 the Democrats’ proposed homebuyer tax credit, add more tax cuts for businesses, provide aid to the states as loans instead of grants and strip out various spending initiatives. The Republicans complained Tuesday that Congressional Democrats had reduced the share of tax cuts in their package to one-third, down from the 40 percent that Mr. Obama initially indicated he supported.

Congressional Democrats, meanwhile, were chafing at the White House talk of accommodating Republicans in the wake of the House Republicans’ unanimous opposition. Although Mr. Obama at one point said he hoped for as many as 80 Senate votes, on Thursday the Democratic majority leader, Harry Reid of Nevada, said Democrats would be satisfied to pass the bill regardless of how many Republicans supported it.

“Passing a bill — however we pass it — is going to put this country on a road to new jobs, and bring some vitality to the economy which is lagging,” Mr. Reid said.

Mr. Obama’s campaign manager, David Plouffe, said both Senate and House Republicans should be worried about appearing as obstructionists. Mr. Plouffe said of Republican opposition, “It’s almost as if the election didn’t happen and that the message wasn’t received: that people in Washington need to cooperate a lot more than they have in the past.”

But Mr. Gregg insists cooperation is a two-way street. “I’d like to see the stimulus done right and I’d like to be able to vote for it,” he said. But politics aside, he added, “If it’s not done right, I won’t.”

Adam Nagourney contributed reporting.

Saul is 4th in Rethugican party chairman race

Michigan's Anuzis is 4th in vote to lead RNC Tie may be broken with 3rd ballot By TODD SPANGLER FREE PRESS WASHINGTON STAFF

WASHINGTON - On the second ballot, current chairman Mike Duncan and former Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele were in a 48-48 tie to be the next head of the Republican National Committee.

Michigan's Saul Anuzis(R-ass clown) -- head of the state GOP -- was still in fourth but picked up two votes from the first ballot. A total of 85 votes is needed to win.

With the third ballot upcoming, expect the logjam to break soon. Duncan lost four votes from the first ballot, which he led, and Steele, an African American who is not a member of the RNC, has touted himself as a change candidate.

Steele picked up two votes from the first ballot.

In third place was South Carolina GOP Chairman Katon Dawson with 29 votes. Ohio's Ken Blackwell was fifth with 19.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Dems to Leadership: cut GOP loose

DEMS to leadership: cut GOP loose by Ryan Grim

Rank-and-file Congressional Democrats had been willing to give Republicans the business tax cuts and other provisions they wanted in the stimulus. That is, up until every single one voted against the bill on the House floor Wednesday.

Now, in both the House and the Senate, angry members are lobbying Democratic leaders to yank those tax breaks back.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was asked Thursday by the Huffington Post why the business tax cuts, whose purpose was to garner Republican support, would be left in the bill if no Republicans supported it regardless.

"That's what my members ask me," said Pelosi. "It wasn't something that was suggested [by Democrats]. It was a heavy lift for our members, but they understood that it has a benefit and were willing to support it."

So far, she said, she has been resistant to removing the cuts from the package. "It's something that we can live with," she said. "I can't answer why they wouldn't vote for this even though their main net-operating-loss carry-back suggestion was part of the tax cuts."

Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC) said that Democratic leadership was still willing to work with the GOP. "I've heard that discussion," he said of the push by Democratic members to take back the business tax cuts and include provisions, such as funds for family planning, that were eliminated due to Republicans objections.

Clyburn said he was still standing behind President Obama's call for a bipartisan approach.

Democrats on the Senate side, who witnessed the Republican shut out in the House, have had similar feelings, said Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.).

Asked if Democratic leadership would revoke the Republican provisions of the bill, Durbin said that "we haven't reached that point, although there are many Democrats who are saying, 'Let me tell you: We included things in this package to bring in Republicans. It didn't work in the House. They didn't get a single Republican vote.'"

For now, said Durbin, Democrats haven't yet pulled out Republican provisions or asked the GOP to leave the table.

"We haven't reached that point," he said. "In fact, Republican senators I've spoken to today said, 'Don't give up on us. We still want to work with you.'"

MCL comment:

The Republicans are going to try to do what they did to Bill Clinton in his first term they're going to stall and they're going to obstruct until the midterms so they can get Republicans elected. Now hopeful this time around Democrats learned their lesson and just get things done with little or no Republican support. Because the Republicans are showing us right now that they don't care about anything but their own political power and doing the bidding of the right wing media elites.

Tool to disarmed a Michigan Republican about the stimulus plan

Going to the Detroit Free press comment section at the end of the article of "Stimulus plan is the first '10 campaign issue" to see what people were saying, as you guess it there were Republicans there spewing out the various talking points their masters Rush and his beady eyed side-kick Sean Hannity told them.. So here's a piece from media matters to take the wind out of their sails and send them back to right wing world with their tails between their legs.

During their coverage and discussion of the economic recovery bill supported by President Obama, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, media figures have advanced several myths and falsehoods relating to the details and effects of the plan. These myths and falsehoods include: the assertion that a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) "study" found that the majority of the money in the bill will not be spent for a year and a half; that provisions in the bill to extend food stamps and unemployment insurance payments are "not stimulus"; that President Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal policies failed to reduce unemployment during the Great Depression; that Japan's fiscal stimulus policy during the "lost decade" of the 1990s failed to help it recover from recession; that the bill would spend at least $217,000 for every job created; that the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) would receive $4.19 billion from the bill; and that former Labor Secretary and Obama adviser Robert Reich proposed white males should be excluded from jobs created by the bill.

1. CBO analysis found the majority of stimulus won't take effect for a year and a half

Several media outlets and figures, including The Washington Post, CNN White House correspondent Ed Henry, and NBC senior White House correspondent Chuck Todd, have falsely suggested that a partial CBO analysis of the economic recovery plan -- reported by the Associated Press on January 20 -- was in fact a full analysis of the bill and falsely suggested that in that analysis, the CBO found that, in the words of the Post, "the majority of the money in the Democratic plan would not get spent within the first year and a half." In fact, the CBO report the AP highlighted initially conducted only a partial analysis and therefore did not reach a conclusion with respect to "the majority of the money" in the bill. Office of Management and Budget director Peter Orszag -- who formerly headed the CBO -- stated in a January 22 letter that the analysis addressed only "a component of the economic recovery proposal" and "did not address the overall package." CBO Director Douglas W. Elmendorf also wrote in a January 26 blog post that the "preliminary estimate that has been widely cited addressed only the budgetary impacts of an earlier version of the provisions contained in Division A, at the request of the House Committee on Appropriations."

The CBO subsequently released its "Cost Estimate" of H.R. 1, an analysis of the entire recovery plan as introduced in the House of Representatives, and concluded that 64 percent of the package would be spent by the end of the fiscal year 2010: "Combining the spending and revenue effects of H.R. 1, CBO estimates that enacting the bill would increase federal budget deficits by $169 billion over the remaining months of fiscal year 2009, by $356 billion in 2010, by $174 billion in 2011, and by $816 billion over the 2009-2019 period."

2. Food stamps, unemployment payments are not stimulus

On the January 27 edition of CNN's Campbell Brown: No Bias, No Bull, host Campbell Brown and CNN chief business correspondent Ali Velshi repeatedly claimed that provisions in the economic recovery bill that extend food stamps and unemployment insurance payments are, in Velshi's words, "not stimulus." But the same day, Elmendorf stated in congressional testimony: "Transfers to persons (for example, unemployment insurance and nutrition assistance) would also have a significant impact on GDP. Because a large amount of such spending can occur quickly, transfers would have a significant impact on GDP by early 2010." Additionally, in 2008 congressional testimony, Mark Zandi -- the chief economist and co-founder of Moody's, who was reportedly a McCain campaign economic adviser -- stated that "extending food stamps are [sic] the most effective ways to prime the economy's pump" and cited extending food stamps and unemployment insurance payments as having a greater "Fiscal Economic Bank for the Buck" than any other potential stimulus provision he analyzed, including temporary and permanent tax cuts.

3. The New Deal did not lower unemployment

During Fox News' coverage of Obama's January 20 inauguration, anchor Chris Wallace falsely claimed that "unemployment in 1937, 1938 was higher than it was in 1933." Wallace's assertion followed statements by numerous conservative media figures, who have responded to Obama's proposals for large-scale stimulus spending by denouncing Roosevelt's New Deal policies as ineffective or damaging. In fact, unemployment fell every year from 1933 until 1938, and according to several prominent economists, the unemployment rate rose in 1938 not because New Deal stimulus spending failed but, rather, because Roosevelt did not go far enough in pursuing those policies and because his attempts to balance the budget hindered recovery. In advancing the claim, some, including Washington Post columnist George Will and syndicated columnist Mona Charen, have cherry-picked data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) -- which, at the time, counted those employed by the New Deal's emergency work programs as unemployed -- to assert that the New Deal failed to reduce unemployment. After World War II, the BLS ceased counting those in work-relief programs as unemployed. But even without including "emergency" public employment under the New Deal, the unemployment rate in 1937 and 1938 did not surpass the 1933 unemployment rate, as Wallace claimed.

Additionally, contrary to the January 7 claim of Fox News' Brit Hume that "everybody agrees ... that the New Deal failed," Nobel laureate and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman has written that the New Deal produced "long-run achievements" that "remain the bedrock of our nation's economic stability" and that Roosevelt's short-term successes were constrained because "he was eager to return to conservative budget principles."

4. Fiscal stimulus in Japan failed during the "lost decade" of the 1990s

On the January 23 edition of Fox News' Hannity, host Sean Hannity joined the ranks of media figures who have cited Japanese fiscal policy in the 1990s in arguing against a large scale-stimulus plan to combat the current recession in the United States. Hannity claimed that "the Japanese economy was suffering, in the '90s, they had eight separate stimulus packages that created, in their history, massive debt. It was unprecedented. And it didn't work." However, as Media Matters documented, according to prominent economists, economic conditions were improving in Japan before the Japanese government temporarily abandoned fiscal stimulus policies in an attempt to reduce the deficit. And Krugman, for one, points to Japan's fiscal stimulus packages as having "probably prevented a weak economy from plunging into an actual depression."

Additionally, Adam Posen, deputy director of the Peterson Institute for International Economics, wrote in his September 1998 book, Restoring Japan's Economic Growth, that "the 1995 stimulus package ... did result in solid growth in 1996, demonstrating that fiscal policy does work when it is tried. As on earlier occasions in the 1990s, however, the positive response to fiscal stimulus was undercut by fiscal contraction in 1996 and 1997." Posen also testified before the U.S. House of Representatives that the Japanese government "way overstated the amount of fiscal stimulus in which they actually engaged." Other economists and media accounts of Japan's policies agree with Posen that the positive effects of the mid-decade stimulus packages in Japan were curtailed by attempts to scale back spending and increase taxes.

5. The economic recovery bill would amount to spending more than $200K per job created

Numerous media figures, including David Brooks, Larry Kudlow, Brit Hume, and George Stephanopoulos, have asserted that the proposed economic recovery bill would amount to spending at least $217,000 for every job created, echoing a January 15 "Stimulus Quick Facts" press release issued by the Republicans on the House Appropriations Committee. The release stated that "President-elect Obama has said that his proposed stimulus legislation will create or save 3 million jobs. This means that this legislation will spend about $275,000 per job. The average household income in the U.S. is $42,000 a year." But by calculating the per-job cost by dividing the estimated total cost of the recovery bill by the estimated number of jobs created -- and thus suggesting that the sole purpose of that package is to create jobs -- these media figures ignored other tangible benefits stemming from the package, such as infrastructure improvements and investments in education, health, and public safety.

Moreover, economists, including Center for Economic and Policy Research co-director Dean Baker and Nobel laureate Paul Krugman, have presented another criticism of the claim. In a January 24 post on The American Prospect's Beat the Press blog, Baker wrote: "The Republicans have become fond of saying that President Obama's stimulus package will cost $275,000 for every job created. The media have been typically derelict in simply reporting this number without making any assessment to evaluate it -- as though readers in their spare time are supposed to determine whether it is accurate or not." Baker continued:

Okay, let's do the reporters' work for them. First, where do the Republicans get this number? They divide the the $825 billion cost of the stimulus by 3 million jobs that President Obama had originally pledged.

Their arithmetic is right but both numbers are wrong. First, the projections from the Obama team is that their package will create 4 million jobs, not 3 million. Furthermore, it is important to note that this over 2 years, not one year.

The cost is also wrong, or at least misleading. If we assume that the stimulus will work as planned, then it will boost GDP by approximately 1.5 times the amount of spending or $620 billion a year. If GDP rises by this amount, then it will translate into roughly $155 billion a year in higher taxes/lower spending than if we didn't do the stimulus. This is money that should be subtracted from the cost to the taxpayers.

So, if net out the increased revenue from the growth generated by the stimulus we end up with a 2-year cost of $515 billion which will generate roughly 8 million job-years. That comes to about $65k per job year, less than one-fourth of the Republicans' number.

Similarly, in his January 25 New York Times column, Krugman wrote, "As the debate over President Obama's economic stimulus plan gets under way, one thing is certain: many of the plan's opponents aren't arguing in good faith. ... The true cost per job of the Obama plan will probably be closer to $100,000 than $275,000 -- and the net cost will be as little as $60,000 once you take into account the fact that a stronger economy means higher tax receipts."

6. $4.19 billion of stimulus "would go to" ACORN

On January 27, the San Francisco Chronicle reported the false claim -- which the Chronicle attributed to the group Americans for Limited Government -- that $4.19 billion of the economic recovery plan "would go to the liberal housing activist group ACORN." Later the same day, nationally syndicated radio host Rush Limbaugh repeated the claim: "[I]n the Obama stimulus package, $4.19 billion is going to ACORN. Obama's community organizing -- you -- would somebody tell me what the stimulus is in that?" Limbaugh continued: "Oh, it's not called 'ACORN,' it's called 'neighborhood stabilization programs.' Now, would somebody explain to me what in the name of Sam Hill ... $4.19 billion to a voter-fraud organization has to do with stimulus?"

In fact, the bill contains no language mentioning ACORN. The false claim is based on a misrepresentation of a provision that would appropriate $4,190,000,000 "for neighborhood stabilization activities related to emergency assistance for the redevelopment of abandoned and foreclosed homes as authorized under division B, title III of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008." The provision requires that money will be distributed through competitive processes. It states that "not less than $3,440,000,000 shall be allocated by a competition" to "States, units of general local government, and nonprofit entities or consortia of nonprofit entities." It also provides that "up to $750,000,000 shall be awarded by competition to nonprofit entities or consortia of nonprofit entities to provide community stabilization assistance."

The Chronicle's report and Limbaugh's comments echo material released by House Minority Leader John Boehner's (R-OH) office. A January 26 "fast facts" release claimed of the stimulus bill: "The legislation could open billions of taxpayer dollars to left-wing groups like the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), which has been accused of voter fraud, is reportedly under federal investigation; and played a key role in the housing meltdown." A January 23 release to which the January 26 document links stated that "the Democrats' bill makes groups like ACORN eligible for a $4.19 billion pot of money for 'neighborhood stabilization activities.' "

7. Robert Reich proposed excluding white males from recovery plan

On January 22 and January 23, Michelle Malkin, Rush Limbaugh, and Sean Hannity falsely asserted or suggested that former Labor Secretary and Obama economic adviser Robert Reich, speaking at a congressional forum, proposed that jobs created by the economic recovery package should exclude white males. In fact, while addressing concerns from women's advocacy groups and others about the composition of the proposed stimulus, Reich said then and has repeatedly stated that he favors a stimulus plan that "includ[es] women and minorities, and the long-term unemployed" in addition to skilled professionals and white male construction workers, not one that is limited to women and minorities.

During the forum, Reich stated that the jobs created should not "simply go to high-skilled people who are already professionals or to white male construction workers." Reich continued: "I have nothing against white male construction workers. I'm just saying that there are a lot of other people who have needs as well. And therefore, in my remarks I have suggested to you, and I'm certainly happy to talk about it more, ways in which the money can be -- criteria can be set so that the money does go to others: the long-term unemployed, minorities, women, people who are not necessarily construction workers or high-skilled professionals."

Could Stimulus plan be the first campaign issue of 2010?

Stimulus plan is first '10 campaign issue BY Ron Dzwonkowski FREE PRESS ASSOCIATE EDITOR

The seven Republicans who represent Michigan districts in the U.S. House stood fast with their GOP colleagues in opposing the $819-billion economic stimulus package that passed the chamber Wednesday.

They will have another opportunity to vote on the bill, since the final product is going to be a compromise between the House plan and a Senate version that already totals $888 billion. But Wednesday’s vote is likely to be the one Republicans will find themselves explaining or defending at re-election time in 2010.

The GOP House members hung together on principle. They wanted more tax cuts, less spending. And if this stimulus package turns out to be an expensive flop, as many Americans now perceive the Wall Street bailout to be, if the economy is not on the road to recovery next year and if all that federal “bridge loan” money has not kept any one of the Detroit-based automakers from failing, a Republican seeking re-election has a simple campaign slogan: “Told you so.”

But if things are picking up here and elsewhere — and who in Michigan cannot be hoping that they will be? — a Democrat trying to knock off one of the seven has an equally simple platform: “When it came time to help, you said no. You chose NOT to be part of the solution.”

Most of the GOP Seven from Michigan represent solidly Republican districts and will probably be safe seeking re-election in two years. Some, like U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra from Holland, already have said they are stepping down.

But Hoekstra could find his vote Wednesday dogging him if he seeks the Republican nomination for governor in 2010. (Hoekstra said the stimulus plan “amounts to nearly as much as the annual discretionary budget for the entire federal government. We cannot continue to simply throw money at the problem with few conditions and little accountability.” )

Lt. Gov. John Cherry, who wants to be the Democratic nominee for governor next year, already has said he thinks Republicans in general can be tarred with the opposition of GOP U.S. senators to the auto loans. Imagine what the Democrats will try to make of GOP lawmakers fighting the stimulus package in economically crippled Michigan.

U.S. Rep. Thaddeus McCotter, R-Livonia,">complained on the House floor that Obama reached out for Republican support but then rejected all the GOP ideas. McCotter told his House colleagues that in Michigan “we are living your nightmare” of an economy on the brink of depression, but described the Democrats’ stimulus as “a missed opportunity … a wasteful government spending bill.”

Since McCotter won re-election last year with just 51% of the vote against an unknown and underfinanced opponent, state Democrats have to be politically salivating at the prospect of sending him the way of Joe Knollenberg next year.

But remember, this stimulus package first has to show some signs of working. Otherwise, for McCotter and the rest of the GOP, 2010 is all about “don’t say we didn’t warn you.”

MCL comment:

I believe the Republicans are worried that if this plan works out and if it does have the desire effect there will be no need to vote Republican next year, so the more B.S. and obstruction they can put up the slower the recovery will be so therefore they can scream "see Obama isn't getting the job done so give the Rethugican party another chance". But what Obama is doing is very smart politically he's going above and beyond to include the Republicans and they're the ones acting like spoiled little kids having fits about giving millionaires and billionaires tax cuts. Which is going to make them look even worst because they will be the ones viewed as stopping things from getting better and playing politics.

HBT: In Iraq sculpture is dedicated to shoe thrower

Iraq: Sculpture is dedicated to shoe thrower ASSOCIATED PRESS

BAGHDAD — When an Iraqi journalist hurled his shoes at George W. Bush last month at a Baghdad news conference, the attack spawned a flood of Web quips, political satire and street rallies across the Arab world.

Now it’s inspired a work of art.

A sofa-sized shoe statue was unveiled today in Tikrit, the hometown of the former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

Baghdad-based artist Laith al-Amari described his fiberglass-and-copper work as a homage to the pride of the Iraqi people.

The statue also has inscribed a poem honoring Muntadhar al-Zeidi, the Iraqi journalist. Al-Zeidi was charged with assaulting a foreign leader, but the trial was postponed after his lawyer sought to reduce the charges.

Synagro contract cancel

Detroit, Synagro cancel $1.2B contract By Zachary Gorchow Free Press Staff Writer

The City of Detroit and Synagro Technologies have agreed to cancel a $1.2-billion contract the city awarded to the company to recycle sewage sludge in the wake of a former Synagro vice president’s guilty plea to bribing city officials to win approval of the deal, a city spokesman told the Free Press.

Mayoral press secretary Daniel Cherrin said the contract is terminated effective immediately and the city has arranged with another company already under contract with the city to begin handling disposal of the sewage sludge beginning as soon as Tuesday.

Former Synagro vice president James Rosendall pleaded guilty Monday to bribing city officials to secure their approval of the contract.

“Based on the guilty plea of Rosendall, they, like us, think it’s in their best interest to terminate the project and move forward,” Cherrin said. “Under the current circumstances, it’s something that had to be done.”

Cockrel is scheduled to hold a 3:30 p.m. news conference to discuss the situation.

A message was left with a Synagro spokeswoman.

Billio offers Rove a place to hide from subpoena

From Raw Story

O'Reilly offers Rove place to hide from subpoena

01/29/2009 @ 11:07 am

Filed by David Edwards and Ron Brynaert For eight years, Fox News Channel served as the go-to place for former President George W. Bush, and other administration members, any time there was a breaking scandal or controversy that they wanted to get out in front of. Almost always, the practically open quid pro quo arrangement resulted in friendly, even helpful interviews, which allowed the administration to turn the page to something new. But now that there is a new sheriff in town, the gang that could only "shoot straight" on Fox might be in need of more elaborate and protective cover. Cue Bill O'Reilly. On Wednesday's The O'Reilly Factor, former White House deputy chief of staff Karl Rove (and Fox News contributor) said that he didn't plan to testify in front of the House Judiciary Committee, despite being served with a subpoena requiring him to do so last week. The subpoena, approved by an earlier vote of the House, was issued pursuant to "authority granted in H.R. 5 (111th Congress), and calls for Mr. Rove to appear at deposition on Monday, February 2, 2009," to testify about his alleged involvement in the political prosecution of an Alabama governor and the firings of nine US Attorneys. One day after the subpoena, Rove's lawyer told the press, "It's generally agreed that former presidents retain executive privilege as to matters occurring during their term. We'll solicit the views of the new White House counsel and, if there is a disagreement, assume that the matter will be resolved among the courts, the president and the former president." Rove told O'Reilly that the only reason why he wouldn't call Conyers' investigation a "witch hunt" was because he didn't consider himself a "witch." "He's sort of like Captain Ahab, and I'm the whale," the portly Rove said of Conyers. O'Reilly offered that Conyers was only out to embarrass Rove, and said that he could hide from a Congressional subpoena at Fox News. "Now, if you need a place to hide out, we have it here at the Factor. We have all kinds of tunnels and places we can put you," O'Reilly said. "I don't need to hide," Rove said. "I don't need to hide." O'Reilly didn't really think so either, and ended the segment by calling him a "stand-up guy." This video is from Fox's O'Reilly Factor, broadcast Jan. 28, 2009.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Hey Norm, I heard your witness didn't help your case

From Crooks and Liars

This is hysterical. How do you know that Norm Coleman's chances of retaining his Senate seat are in bad, bad shape? When one of his key witnesses takes the stand and undermines his own case. TPM has the scoop:

This afternoon the Coleman team was bringing in rejected absentee voters to show that their ballots were improperly tossed. So far the court has heard from six people, most of of whom said they were contacted by the Republican Party in the last few weeks. They mostly seemed sympathetic enough, putting a human face on the disenfranchised Coleman voter -- but at least two of them appeared to have been rejected properly under the conditions of Minnesota law.

One of the voters was Douglas Thompson, who admitted under oath that his girlfriend filled out his absentee ballot application for him, signing his name with her own hand and purporting to be himself. His ballot was rejected because the signature on his ballot envelope (his own) did not match the signature on the application (his girlfriend's). The Coleman team's argument appears to be that he is still a legal voter in Minnesota, as the signature on the ballot was his own, even if admitted dishonesty was involved in getting the ballot. Keep in mind: Thompson's story came up during the direct examination by Coleman lawyer James Langdon. So the Coleman camp fully knew this information and decided to make him into a witness.

I'm with the Minnesotans who just want this drawn out process to end already, but at least we're getting some comedy out of it. That's gotta count for something.

Obama get stimulus bill passed, but no rethugs voted for it

House OKs $819B stimulus bill in win for Obama

WASHINGTON – In a swift victory for President Barack Obama, the Democratic-controlled House approved a historically huge $819 billion stimulus bill Wednesday night with spending increases and tax cuts at the heart of the young administration's plan to revive a badly ailing economy. The vote was 244-188, with Republicans unanimous in opposition despite Obama's frequent pleas for bipartisan support.

"This recovery plan will save or create more than three million new jobs over the next few years," the president said in a written statement released moments after the House voted. Still later, he welcomed congressional leaders of both parties to the White House for drinks as he continued to lobby for the legislation.

Earlier, Obama declared, "We don't have a moment to spare" as congressional allies hastened to do his bidding in the face of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.

The vote sent the bill to the Senate, where debate could begin as early as Monday on a companion measure already taking shape. Democratic leaders have pledged to have legislation ready for Obama's signature by mid-February.

A mere eight days after Inauguration Day, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the events heralded a new era. "The ship of state is difficult to turn," said the California Democrat. "But that is what we must do. That is what President Obama called us to do in his inaugural address."

With unemployment at its highest level in a quarter-century, the banking industry wobbling despite the infusion of staggering sums of bailout money and states struggling with budget crises, Democrats said the legislation was desperately needed.

"Another week that we delay is another 100,000 or more people unemployed. I don't think we want that on our consciences," said Rep. David Obey, D-Wis., chairman of the House Appropriations Committee and one of the leading architects of the legislation.

Republicans said the bill was short on tax cuts and contained too much spending, much of it wasteful, and would fall far short of administration's predictions of job creation.

The party's leader, Rep. John Boehner of Ohio, said the measure "won't create many jobs, but it will create plenty of programs and projects through slow-moving government spending." A GOP alternative, comprised almost entirely of tax cuts, was defeated, 266-170.

On the final vote, the legislation drew the support of all but 11 Democrats, while all Republicans opposed it.

The White House-backed legislation includes an estimated $544 billion in federal spending and $275 billion in tax cuts for individuals and businesses. The totals remained in flux nearly until the final vote, due to official re-estimates and a last-minute addition of $3 billion for mass transit.

Included is money for traditional job-creating programs such as highway construction and mass transit projects. But the measure tickets far more for unemployment benefits, health care and food stamp increases designed to aid victims of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

Tens of billions of additional dollars would go to the states, which confront the prospect of deep budget cuts of their own. That money marks an attempt to ease the recession's impact on schools and law enforcement. With funding for housing weatherization and other provisions, the bill also makes a down payment on Obama's campaign promise of creating jobs that can reduce the nation's dependence on foreign oil.

The centerpiece tax cut calls for a $500 break for single workers and $1,000 for couples, including those who don't earn enough to owe federal income taxes.

The House vote marked merely the first of several major milestones a for the legislation, which Democratic leaders have pledged to deliver to the White House for Obama's signature by mid-February.

Already a more bipartisan — and costlier — measure is taking shape in the Senate, and Obama personally pledged to House and Senate Republicans in closed-door meetings on Tuesday that he is ready to accept modifications as the legislation advances.

Rahm Emanuel, a former Illinois congressman who is Obama's chief of staff, invited nearly a dozen House Republicans to the White House late Tuesday for what one participant said was a soft sales job.

This lawmaker quoted Emanuel as telling the group that polling shows roughly 80 percent support for the legislation, and that Republicans oppose it at their political peril. The lawmaker spoke on condition of anonymity, saying there was no agreement to speak publicly about the session.

In fact, though, many Republicans in the House are virtually immune from Democratic challenges because of the makeup of their districts, and have more to fear from GOP primary challenges in 2010. As a result, they have relatively little political incentive to break with conservative orthodoxy and support hundreds of billions in new federal spending.

Also, some Republican lawmakers have said in recent days they know they will have a second chance to support a bill when the final House-Senate compromise emerges in a few weeks.

Rep. Randy Neugebauer, R-Texas, sought to strip out all the spending from the legislation before final passage, arguing that the entire cost of the bill would merely add to soaring federal deficits. "Where are we going to get the money," he asked, but his attempt failed overwhelmingly, 302-134.

Obey had a ready retort. "They don't look like Herbert Hoover, I guess, but there are an awful lot of people in this chamber who think like Herbert Hoover," he said, referring to the president whose term is forever linked in history with the Great Depression.

Rush ask his brain-dead listeners to repsond to Dem petition

Rush Limbaugh fights back Democrats with 'reverse petition' 01/28/2009 @ 9:24 am Filed by David Edwards and Ron Brynaert The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has launched a campaign to express their outrage at Rush Limbaugh(R-drugged out Douche) for attacking President Barack Obama, before he really even gets started. On his radio show last week Limbaugh said that he wanted Obama to fail as president. The Democrats have responded with an web advertisement and online petition and Limbaugh lashed back today with his own "reverse petition" campaign. "Last week, Rush Limbaugh actually said that he 'hopes' President Obama fails to meet America's challenges," the DCCC petition states. "Jobs, health care, our place in the world - the stakes for our nation are high and every American needs President Obama to succeed. Stand strong against Rush Limbaugh's Attacks — sign our petition, telling Rush what you think of his attacks on President Obama." Limbaugh talked about how he wants Obama to "fail," during an appearance on FOX News' Hannity last Wednesday. "I am hearing many Republicans say that — well, we want him to succeed and prominent Republicans," Limbaugh had said. "Yes, we wanted — they have laid down. They have totally — they're drinking the Kool-Aid, too." Last week, on the Daily Show, Jon Stewart posited that Limbaugh's words could be considered "arguably treasonous." Hot Air's Ed Morrissey observes that "Rush has an answer today to the DCCC. He has a headline banner linking back to the DCCC’s comment pages, asking readers to load them up with demands to stop lying about the stimulus bill and stop distorting Rush’s remarks. He has already had an effect, as this blog post at the DCCC site shows. It indicates that over 500 comments have been received, but only shows the first 300 — and I’d bet that the rest overwhelmingly support Rush. Feel free to add your own in support of Rush and in support of independent political voices." "I am greatly puzzled. Why would the Democrats petition against me if I am doing such terrible damage to the GOP?" Limbaugh wrote at his site. Limbaugh's power with the GOP was highlighted today, after a Republican congressman apologized for remarks attributed to him about the popular conservative talk show host. Politico reports, "Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Dickweed) apologized Wednesday to 'my fellow conservatives' for comments critical of talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh – saying he sees 'eye-to-eye' with Limbaugh and that his remarks defending House Republican leadership came across more harshly than intended. He also took issue with a headline on a Politico story about his comments, saying he never told Limbaugh to 'back off,' as the headline read." The DCCC petition against Rush Limbaugh is available here. This video is from Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, broadcast Jan. 26, 2009. MCL comment: Other then conservative fake outrage I just love conservative hypocrisy Rush and hacks like him spent eight years accusing every person that was critical of George Bush as anti American or they have terrorist stored away in their basement. Now Rush has come out and openly say he wants Barack Obama to fail yet the same people who were quick to label people terrorist supporters are either ducking around what Rush say or in Sean Hannity's case they're trying to spin it.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Sean Hannity caught lying(I'm shocked)

From Media Matters:

During the January 23 edition of Fox News' Hannity, while interviewing former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, host Sean Hannity repeated the false claim that "[s]ixty-one people we know now were released [from Guantánamo] and now they're back on the battlefield" to support his assertion that President Barack Obama is "an ideologue." Hannity and Giuliani also repeated the claims that fiscal stimulus packages were ineffective during the Great Depression and during Japan's "lost decade," but both those claims have been challenged by economists.

Contrary to Hannity's claim that "[s]ixty-one" detainees who have been released are "back on the battlefield," according to the Pentagon, that figure includes 43 former prisoners who are suspected of, but have not been confirmed as, having "return[ed] to the fight," as Media Matters for America has documented. Indeed, during a January 13 press conference, Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell stated: "The new numbers are, we believe, 18 confirmed and 43 suspected of returning to the fight. So 61 in all former Guantanamo detainees are confirmed or suspected of returning to the fight." Moreover, even the Pentagon's claim that it has confirmed that 18 former Guantánamo detainees have returned to the battlefield has been challenged by experts.

In addition, after Giuliani stated, "[I]f you think you're going to get your way out of this recession by all kinds of social programs, welfare programs, you're just going to make it much worse," Hannity claimed: "[T]he Japanese economy was suffering, in the '90s, they had eight separate stimulus packages that created, in their history, massive debt. It was unprecedented. And it didn't work." However, as Media Matters documented, according to prominent economists, economic conditions were improving in Japan before the Japanese government temporarily abandoned stimulus spending in an attempt to reduce the deficit. Nobel laureate and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, for one, points to Japan's fiscal stimulus packages as having "probably prevented a weak economy from plunging into an actual depression."

Moreover, Hannity allowed Giuliani to suggest that stimulus spending during the Great Depression did not work. Giuliani claimed that "the actions of the New Deal, which may have had other reasons for them, did not work from the point of view of solving the Depression. In fact, by 1936, '37, '38, the Depression was arguably just as bad as it was in 1929." But as Media Matters has documented, the suggestion that the New Deal failed has been flatly rejected by some prominent economists, including Krugman, who has said that President Franklin D. Roosevelt did not go far enough to end the crisis and that his attempts to balance the budget hindered recovery.

From the January 23 edition of Fox News' Hannity:

HANNITY: Let's start with, you know, closing down Gitmo. Is this -- I guess the simplest question is: Does this make America safer?

GIULIANI: In my personal opinion, no. I was -- I was -- as a candidate, as you remember, I was against closing Guantánamo -- several times took that position in Republican debates. I think that you shouldn't close it down until you have a real plan of what you're going to do with these people, and until then, you got to keep it there.

What are you going to do? Send them to the United States, or -- nobody wants them. You try to -- you try to send them to other countries; other countries don't want them. People that we have released from Guantánamo have gotten involved in terrorist activities again and killed other people, innocent people, Americans.

HANNITY: Sixty-one.

GIULIANI: Yeah. I mean --

HANNITY: Sixty-one people we know now were released and now they're back on the battlefield.

GIULIANI: And we know some of them have engaged in murdering Americans and other people.


GIULIANI: So you have to have a very concrete plan as to what you're going to do with them before you just announce you're going to close them. Here's my hope. My hope is that President Obama announced that campaign promise, got to get it over with, and now is just going to stay there for a long time --

HANNITY: Well, he --

GIULIANI: -- until they get the practical -- the practical plans over with.

HANNITY: But if he spent the better part of the first two days, I mean --

GIULIANI: Well, maybe they --

HANNITY: -- significantly pushing this -- but it was interesting, as I was watching the press conference with his new press secretary, where are you going to put them?

GIULIANI: Well, they don't seem to know.

HANNITY: No answer.

GIULIANI: Right. So what that might mean is this was a symbolic act rather than a real one. Let's hope that's the case. He satisfies his left-wing supporters by saying I'm closing Guantánamo, and then, you know, two years from now, it's still there.

HANNITY: All right. The big -- the other big issue that is facing this country right now is the economy. He's talking about trillion-dollar deficits as far as we can see. He's saying it's a tax cut, but people who don't pay taxes are going to get a check. Look, you dealt with welfare in New York. Is that welfare?

GIULIANI: Yes. If somebody is not paying taxes, is going to get a check from the government, then that is welfare. You haven't earned it, that's a welfare payment. I think he's going to have to abandon that in light of the economic situation.

HANNITY: Are you thinking that he's really -- he's going to abandon all these things?

GIULIANI: I think so.

HANNITY: You really do?

GIULIANI: I think, as practicality emerges, you're going to see -- I'm hoping you're going to see a very pragmatic approach. I'm not sure if President Obama is an ideologue or a pragmatist. I am hoping and praying he's a pragmatist. We can get through it if he is.

HANNITY: You know, look, I'm going to tell you, my take on it is just the opposite. I think he's an ideologue. And I'll tell you why.


HANNITY: Because, look, he's talking about anywhere from 850 billion to over a trillion dollars in a stimulus package -- trillion-dollar deficits as far as we can see. They're going to move on health care, which is --


HANNITY: -- will alter this economy dramatically. Gitmo, I think, is we are redefining the war on terrorism. And we can go straight on down the line. Instituting welfare -- the era of big government is beginning again.

GIULIANI: Right. I hope that he and his people have read The Forgotten Man, Amity Shlaes' book, came out last year. It's -- I think it's back on the best-seller list. Basically, it points out why the recession of 1929, which was a bad one, became the Great Depression of 11 or 12 years. And it became the Great Depression because of unwise government actions, first by Hoover, and then by Roosevelt.


GIULIANI: And if -- if you think you're going to get your way out of this recession by all kinds of social programs, welfare programs, you're just going to make it much worse.

HANNITY: Well, in the 10 years that the Japan -- the Japanese economy was suffering, in the '90s, they had eight separate stimulus packages that created, in their history, massive debt. It was unprecedented.


HANNITY: And it didn't work. And you're right, historically --

GIULIANI: And the actions of the New Deal, which may have had other reasons for them, did not work from the point of view of solving the Depression. In fact, by 1936, '37, '38, the Depression was arguably just as bad as it was in 1929.

HANNITY: Yeah, it's true.

GIULIANI: So now you look at that history and you look at the other countries that have tried this, what it says to you is, yes, you have to have a relief program, but it's got to be one that's targeted right to the -- right to the problem.


GIULIANI: The problem is the toxic debt that's sitting on the books of the banks. [former Treasury Secretary Henry] Paulson's first approach, which was then abandoned, probably makes the most sense, which is set up an auction for these toxic assets, the government will come in, make an offer, a low-ball offer, and then private enterprises can come in and try to buy up some of this debt.

So you can take 2 or 300 billion in government funds and you can leverage it with maybe a billion -- a trillion dollars in private funds.


Limbaugh and Hannity, the True Faces of Conservatism: Impotent, Irrelevant

From Crooks and Liars

Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity are clearly among the breed of Republicans who refuse to believe that Conservatism failed -- rather, that the GOP failed Conservatism. And so their solution for party renewal is to just go back to embracing the policies and ideas that brought the nation to the brink of economic and diplomatic ruin.

They don't seem to realize yet that the country has turned the page and moved on. And so they rage, rage against the fall of right-wing night. Last night's second part of Hannity's interview with Limbaugh really was more a pathetic display of hapless and unhappy impotence.

It has all the usual Limbaugh flourishes.

White Identity Politics:

Limbaugh: The Republican Party is making a big -- the Conservative movement, too, making a big, big mistake in planning for the future. You hear things like, well, the Republican Party needs to identify the middle class, the Wal-Mart voters, and come up with policies for them. And then we've got to come up with policies for Hispanics, because they hate us because of illegal immigration. That's the way the Democrats do it. You put people into groups and then you victimize them. And give the victims power over the majority. Because they then have grievances that are nonexistent, and the majority gets cowed into fear, because they don't want to be complained at, they don't want to be blamed, so 'OK, OK, you want health care, fine, we'll go get it."

[Did you know that minorities' grievances were actually nonexistent? Neither did I! Did you know that liberals -- and not racists and gay bashers -- actually victimize the minorities they champion? Me neither! Boy, ya learn something new from Rush each time out, dontcha?]

Malarkey Mythos:

Limbaugh: Self interest is different than selfishness. People working in their own self-interest benefits the family, the neighborhood, the community, the state, the city, the whole bit. And this is what I think the Republican Party and Conservatism has lost. The blueprint for landslide electoral victories right there, and the Republican Party and the Conservative movement has just -- they've washed it away.

Planet Bizarro-Style Projection:

Limbaugh: And the reason they [the GOP] lost huge is because in a contest of group politics, the experts are gonna always get group votes before the pretenders will. And we were pretenders trying to get the groups. We gotta get the Hispanics, we gotta be moderate, we gotta prove we can walk across the aisle, the era of Reagan is over.

I never hear Democrats talk about walking across the aisle, never see any of them praise each other or brag about the fact that they do it. They brag about the Republicans that they destroy. They brag about the Republican bills, legislation that they defeat.

Hatred of Youth/Pop Culture:

Limbaugh: The culture -- we've lost the culture, Sean. We have lost pop culture. It is unrealistic to expect the people watching MTV, going to see the rot Hollywood's putting out, listening to the rot music is today, every four years to go into a voting booth and vote Republican or conservative. And this isn't even something we have addressed in an electoral way, or a strategic way, but that's gonna have to be done as well.

Historical Revisionism:

Limbaugh: I get into arguments with people about this. To this day, FDR is a hero. And Hoover is the idiot -- Hoover is the guy that broke the country. If the media wants to prop somebody up, they will do so. Liberalism in the media -- a series of myths. ... Liberalism cannot deal with the light of truth.

Crass Hypocrisy:

Limbaugh: 'Everybody does it.' That's the constant excuse. 'Everybody has sex with their intern. Everybody leaves a stain on a blue dress. Everybody -- '

Hannity: If Rush Limbaugh did it, it would be a different story.

[Hey, everybody gets hooked on Oxycontin and uses their housekeeper as their dealer. Everybody takes 'boys' trips to the Caribbean with valises full of illegal Viagra. Everybody gets divorced three times. And it was indeed a different story when Rush Limbaugh did it.]

Outright Delusion:

Limbaugh: He [Bush] is a decent man. He had a reverence for the office. That's why he didn't get partisan. He thought it was irreverent to turn the Oval Office, or the office of the Presidency, into a partisan strategic battleplace. He just didn't want to do it, he was content to let history be the judge. I think -- I heard Rove say, I think on your network, that they miscalculated in not firing back on some of these things often enough.

It's vintage Limbaugh: such an immense avalanche of b-----t that you need a bulldozer to deal with it.

But if you listen carefully, what you hear is the desperate grasping at straws, for which Limbaugh's customary strawmen are indispensable. And you hear the rage of powerlessness -- the impotence of the obsolete.

If Conservatives indeed keep following his lead, he'll lead them all right -- into even further irrelevance. Which, when you think about it, is where they richly belong.

Conyers to send subpoenas to Rove

Invoking Obama, House Judiciary Chairman subpoenas Rove

01/26/2009 @ 5:21 pm

Filed by John Byrne Invoking President Barack Obama, House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (D-MI) has subpoenaed former Bush Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove about his alleged involved in the political prosecution of an Alabama governor and the firings of nine US Attorneys. The subpoena, approved by an earlier vote of the House, was issued pursuant to "authority granted in H.R. 5 (111th Congress), and calls for Mr. Rove to appear at deposition on Monday, February 2, 2009." Specifically, it enjoins Rove "to testify regarding his role in the Bush Administration’s politicization of the Department of Justice, including the US Attorney firings and the prosecution of former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman." "Mr. Rove has previously refused to appear in response to a Judiciary Committee subpoena, claiming that even former presidential advisers cannot be compelled to testify before Congress," Conyers' office wrote in a release. "That 'absolute immunity' position was supported by then-President Bush, but it has been rejected by U.S. District Judge John Bates and President Obama has previously dismissed the claim as 'completely misguided.'" This is the second time Conyers has subpoenaed Rove. It's uncertain whether Rove will be compelled to testify, as Obama's attorney general has not yet been confirmed. “I have said many times that I will carry this investigation forward to its conclusion, whether in Congress or in court, and today’s action is an important step along the way,” Conyers said in a release. “Change has come to Washington, and I hope Karl Rove is ready for it. After two years of stonewalling, it’s time for him to talk.” The subpoena delegates authority to US marshals to enforce, like any Congressional subpoena, and was copied to Rove's Washington, D.C. attorney, Robert Luskin.

Geithner is confirmed as treasury secretary

US Senate confirms Geithner as treasury secretary 01/26/2009 @ 7:18 pm Filed by Agence France-Presse WASHINGTON (AFP) – The US Senate voted Monday to confirm Timothy Geithner as US treasury secretary, despite misgivings over his personal tax problems and ongoing government efforts to rescue the battered US economy. Senators voted 60-34 to confirm Geithner after debate in which foes cited his failure to pay certain taxes earlier this decade and his support for government intervention in the economy while his backers stressed his expertise and the urgent need to pull the US economy out of a paralyzing recession.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Obama to add 25 billion to auto loan

WASHINGTON – Michigan’s congressional delegation asked President Barack

In a letter, the lawmakers also lobbied to keep $1 billion in grants and $3.3 billion in loans for battery development for electric and hybrid vehicles in the bill. The House is expected to take up the $850 billion bill next Wednesday, with a goal of passing the bill through Congress by Feb. 16.

The $25 billion in loans through the U.S. Energy Department would come on top of $25 billion already set aside for automakers and parts suppliers to build more fuel-efficient models. The government has received more than 70 applications for the current $25 billion, and Detroit’s automakers have said they were counting on the loans to help them pay for retooling costs.

Lawmakers said given the state’s lengthy recession and 10.6% unemployment rate in December, it should receive a larger share of federal unemployment aid.

“We feel it is critically important that additional funding be directed to those states that need it the most – those with the highest unemployment rates,” the lawmakers said.

Obama to overturn anti abortion policy oversears

Obama to end anti-abortion policy for overseas funds

01/23/2009 @ 11:19 am

Filed by Agence France-Presse />President Barack Obama is set Friday to overturn a ban on funding family planning organizations which carry out or facilitate abortions overseas, a senior White House official said. Asked if the president was to sign an order overturning the ban, an administration official said it was "likely today" (Friday). The co-called "global gag rule" cuts off US funding to overseas family planning clinics which provide any abortion services whatsoever, from the operation itself to counselling, referrals or post-abortion services. First introduced by Republican president Ronald Reagan in 1984, it has been repeatedly repealed by Democratic administrations and then reintroduced by the Republicans. Obama's move would overturn the orders of president George W. Bush, who when he came into office in 2000 immediately once again froze funds to many family planning groups working overseas.

Stewart: Rush desire for Obama to fail is arguably treasonous

Limbaugh's desire for Obama to 'fail' is 'arguably treasonous': Stewart 01/23/2009 @ 8:32 am Filed by David Edwards and Ron Brynaert After only a few days, Fox News does its "duty," and, of course, all the while, remaining "fair and balanced," finds reasons Americans should fear the Obama administration. As Comedy Central's Jon Stewart shows, the attacks on Obama - some that even the Fox hosts themselves considered ridiculous but still decided to air to sound off on - began in the first twenty-four hours of his presidency. "Holy shit! Fox News is really scared about what might happen, oblivious to what already has," exclaimed Stewart, sounding as "shocked" as Claude Rains pretended to be about gambling in Casablanca. After playing an old clip of Fox's Bill O'Reilly sounding off on the "anti-Bush liberals" ("But this hate stuff, this rooting for the administration to fail in Iraq and other areas is un-American, unbecoming, and unacceptable. Like him or not, Mr. Bush is the elected leader of this country..." said O'Reilly in March of 2007), Stewart showed conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh talking about how he wants Obama to "fail," during an appearance on FOX News' Hannity on Wednesday. "I am hearing many Republicans say that — well, we want him to succeed and prominent Republicans," Limbaugh had said. "Yes, we wanted — they have laid down. They have totally — they're drinking the Kool-Aid, too." "So I shamelessly say, no, I want him to fail," O'Reilly said later in the interview with Hannity. Not really joking, Comedy Central's Stewart asked, "Does Bill O'Reilly think Rush Limbaugh hates America?" Stewart posited that Limbaugh's words could be considered "arguably treasonous." This video is from Comedy Central's The Daily Show, broadcast Jan. 22, 2009. MCL comment: Again from a post I put up yesterday I remember anytime a person was critical of George W. Bush, Rush along his butt plug Sean Hannity and their clones in the right media would accuse George W. Bush's critics of wanting American to lose the war on terror or wanting Bush to fail even though they could not find one bit of proof to back this claim up. Now the ring leader of the right wing media went on the record saying he hopes the president fails and what does Sean Hannity do? Nods his head and repeat the RNC talking points.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Conyers may be obstacle for Obama

Conyers may be obstacle for Obama Detroit congressman refuses to let up on Bush administration By TODD SPANGLER FREE PRESS WASHINGTON STAFF

WASHINGTON – The must-read Web site for political insiders – Politico – has a list of Democrats on Capitol Hill who might prove to be troublesome for President Barack Obama and topping the list is an early and ardent supporter of the new commander in chief.

Detroit’s congressman, John Conyers.

The reason? Conyers has refused to back down – even after the election – with his intention to continue an investigation into the White House under George W. Bush, including the forced resignations of at least eight federal prosecutors. That might not mean much if Conyers was a back-bencher, but he is very much not: He chairs the House Judiciary Committee and while House Speaker Nancy Pelosi kept him from initiating impeachment hearings the last two years, she hasn’t shown much interest in stopping his overall investigation.

Obama, on the other hand, “has said he prefers to ‘look forward,’ and not rehash the past.” That’s how Politico put it.

Dope head Rush wants Obama to fail

Click the link to see the video from Media Matters I give the right a lot of credit they don't usually let little things honesty or hypocrisy get in the way of pushing in their political agenda. Here's what makes this video funny to me is that Rush, Hannity, O'Reilly and their clones in the toxic right wing media have spent the last eight years accusing anyone on the left of wanting to see George W. Bush to fail, even though the best they could do is find some obscure liberal blog and usually on that blog it's a reader that posted a comment wanting Bush to fail. While they couldn't find a progressive talk show host or mainstream liberal blog saying they want to Bush to fail, they still pushed the lie that we on the left want Bush to fail. Now you see 24 hours after Barack Obama being swore in as president the right wing lead hatchetman Rush Limbaugh and his faithful parrot Sean Hannity saying what they accused liberals of doing. Way to go right wing keep making the Republicans a minority party.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Records show Conyers own money

Records: Conyers owes Detroit pension system $5,600 for travel By Jennifer Dixon and Tina Lam Free Press Staff Writers

Detroit City Council President Monica Conyers owes the city’s pension system more than $5,600 in advances she received to travel on pension business.

Conyers, who until recently was a political appointee on the General Retirement pension board, initially owed the General Retirement System $7,371.25, according to city pension documents. But she paid $1,700 of that earlier this week, as news organizations prepared reports on her travel debts.

Pension board trustees are given cash advances before they travel and must provide receipts showing how they spent the money when the return. They must pay back the pension system any money that they cannot account for with receipts.

In Conyers’ case, she provided a June 3, 2008 Northwest Airlines printout quoting airfare to London at $8,392.23, when in fact the receipt showed the price was actually $2,652.56, according to pension documents obtained by the Free Press today under the state Freedom of Information Act.

In addition, Conyers provided no hotel receipts for trips to a pension conference on Grand Cayman Island and at the Wharton School of Business in Philadelphia.

Conyers left the pension board in December.

A phone call to her office today has not yet been returned.

Staff writer Zachary Gorchow contributed to this report.