Archive for September 15th, 2011

15
Sep
11

the death squad

More here and here

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LA Times: The U.S. Supreme Court stopped Texas officials Thursday evening from executing a Houston murderer who was sentenced to die after jurors were told he posed a greater danger to public safety because he was black.

The justices acted on an emergency appeal after Texas Gov. Rick Perry and state judges refused to intervene.

… Duane Edward Buck, a 48-year-old auto mechanic, was sentenced to die for the 1995 shootings of an ex-girlfriend and another man. His attorneys did not dispute his guilt but argued that prosecutors should not have used his race to argue for a death sentence.

… Perry and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst did not respond to pleas urging them to grant Buck a 30-day reprieve. Perry, who is seeking the Republican presidential nomination, was campaigning in Iowa on Thursday, leaving Dewhurst to preside over the execution….

…. Last week, Perry said during a GOP presidential debate that he “never struggled” over the death penalty because “the state of Texas has a very thoughtful, very clear process in place.” During Perry’s 11 years in office, the state has carried out 235 executions.

The sentencing dispute arose because of an unusual provision in Texas’ death penalty law. Jurors were required to weigh whether a convicted murderer would pose a future danger if he were sentenced to life in prison rather than death. In a series of cases, Dr. Walter Quijano, a psychologist, testified that blacks posed a greater risk of “future dangerousness” than whites…..

Full article here

More at Mother Jones

15
Sep
11

“she’s extremely bright, she’s a great scholar”

15
Sep
11

ron paul 2012! (hic)

Thanks GovChris ;-)

15
Sep
11

‘how much more lost can these people get?’

Steve Benen: For eight years, just about every time George W. Bush was in the same room as someone with a post-graduate degree, the failed former president would tell the same joke: “I remind people that, like when I’m with Condi I say, she’s the Ph.D. and I’m the C-student, and just look at who’s the president and who’s the advisor.”

Republican crowds always cheered the line, reinforcing the anti-intellectual attitudes that too often dominate conservative thought … Rick Perry is cut from the same cloth.

… Perry made the joke during a speech yesterday at Liberty University, a school founded by crazed televangelist Jerry Falwell. The Texas governor didn’t say much about politics, but he spent a fair amount of time talking about what a lousy student he was.

Perry noted, for example, that at his small high school, “I graduated in the top 10 of my graduating class – of 13.” The crowd laughed and applauded.

…. Perry isn’t just celebrating anti-intellectualism; he’s living it. He doesn’t care what biologists, climate scientists, economists, historians, or dictionaries have to offer; Perry already has all the information he needs….

Full post here

15
Sep
11

governor o’malley

15
Sep
11

truth!

Knoller will probably dispute the odds, you know how he likes to mess with figures ;-)

15
Sep
11

grandma-in-chief

President Barack Obama shares a laugh with Jean Meyer, the grandmother of Medal of Honor recipient Dakota Meyer, second from left, as they and members of the Meyer family walk along the Colonnade of the White House, Sept. 15. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

15
Sep
11

‘obama’s chance to bounce back’

Aaron Blake and Chris Cillizza (Washington Post): It hasn’t been a good month for President Obama, but beneath it all, the American people are still ready to hear him out when it comes to his jobs plan.

And in fact, at first glance, they seem to like it.

Two new polls show more Americans like the president’s jobs plan than dislike it. A CNN/Opinion Research poll shows 43 percent favor Obama’s jobs plan, while 35 percent oppose it. And Gallup shows an even wider gap, with 45 percent in favor and 32 percent opposed.

… The CNN poll shows more people trust Obama (46 percent) than Republicans (37 percent) to deal with the economy. And it also shows Americans think job creation (65 percent) is more pressing than cutting the deficit (29 percent).

…. those numbers suggest an American public that could jump back on board with the president.

The GOP still isn’t held in as high a regard on the economy, and it appears more focused on an issue – the budget – that voters say is a lower priority. Obama, by contrast, is the one people trust more, and his White House has been focused like a laser on the people’s clear top priority, jobs, for a while now.

Full post here

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15
Sep
11

medal of honor

President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama and former Marine Cpl. Dakota Meyers walk into the East Room of the White House before the president awarded Meyers, 23, from Greensburg, Ky. the Medal of Honor

First lady Michelle Obama hugs Mike Meyer, father of Dakota Meyer, after Dakota was awarded the Medal of Honor

15
Sep
11

‘the limbaugh, moore, maher convergence on obama and race’

Adam Serwer (Mother Jones): On Wednesday, I noted that Rush Limbaugh’s latest stereotypical race parody featured President Barack Obama as blaxploitation detective John Shaft, even though just about the only two things they have in common is that they’re both black.

Ta-Nehisi Coates observes that Michael Moore and Bill Maher, in expressing their disappointment with Obama, embrace the same basic idea.

Unable to limit their criticisms to Obama’s politics, on The View, Moore repeated Maher’s statement that “I went into the polls voting for the black guy, and what I got was the white guy.”

Coates writes: I know Michael Moore and Bill Maher think this is a great line…But it really isn’t. In fact, it’s racist, and Michael Moore would do well to stop repeating it. It really is no better than the Kenyan anti-colonial bit, and in fact is good deal worse ….

What Limbaugh, Moore and Maher all have in common is a common, reductive expectation of what a “black man” is supposed to be – aggressive, belligerent, intimidating – and Obama doesn’t fit the bill…..

…. If you’re president, though, it’s much easier to just brush your shoulders off—dealing with those kind of expectations when you’re an average person is considerably more difficult. Especially when the “liberals” are the ones saying stuff like this.

Full post here

Thank you ‘africa’

15
Sep
11

‘gosh, could obamacare be working?’

Jonathan Cohn (TNR): Republicans made a lot of arguments against the Affordable Care Act. But perhaps none were as effective, or as seemingly plausible, as their contention that their new law would cripple Medicare Advantage.

New evidence suggests – surprise! – that the argument was wrong.

…. The policy rationale for Medicare Advantage is two-fold: To give seniors more options and to introduce some private-sector competition. The idea is that private insurers might be able to be more innovative or offer certain combinations of services that some seniors would prefer. But, for much of its history, the program (formerly known as Medicare-plus-choice) was also a form of corporate welfare. Non-partisan studies, by the likes of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, suggested that the government was paying the insurers too much.

The architects of the Affordable Care Act decided, quite sensibly, to reduce those extra subsidies and use the money to offset part of the law’s cost. That’s when the Republicans, and their allies, pounced. Taking money away from the insurers, they claimed, would force insurers to charge more, limit their offerings, or pull out of the market altogether.

…. new information, just released from the administration, suggests those predictions haven’t come true.

On the contrary, the Department of Health and Human Services announced on Thursday that premiums for the plans are down and enrollment is up, well above the official projections……

More here

Thank you ‘africa’

15
Sep
11

heads up – jay carney’s press briefing

15
Sep
11

hail to the chefs

AP: Encouraged by Michelle Obama’s campaign to reduce childhood obesity, the company that owns the Olive Garden, Red Lobster and four other popular restaurant chains is pledging to cut the calories and sodium in its meals and overhaul its kids’ fare. Darden Restaurants was unveiling the changes Thursday, with the first lady on hand to lend support.

The company will pledge to reduce the calories and sodium in all its meals by 10 percent over five years, and by 20 percent over 10 years… All kids’ meals will automatically come with a side of fruit or vegetables….

… Darden’s restaurants serve more than 400 million meals annually at more than 1,900 locations nationwide. Its four other restaurant chains are LongHorn Steakhouse, The Capital Grille, Bahama Breeze and Seasons 52.

Darden’s promise is part of a trend by the restaurant industry to serve healthier food ….. White House domestic policy adviser Melody Barnes said Darden’s announcement amounts to a “full-throated endorsement” of the types of changes Mrs. Obama has asked the nation’s restaurant owners and operators to make.

In a National Restaurant Association survey of chefs, two-thirds of those working in the kitchens of family dining, fine dining and fast-food restaurants said their customers were ordering healthier items and paying more attention to nutritional content than they did two years ago.

…. Mrs. Obama participation in Thursday’s announcement, scheduled for an Olive Garden restaurant in the Washington suburb of Hyattsville, Md., will be her latest appearance with retailers and others in support of her anti-obesity efforts.

Full article here

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First Lady Michelle Obama announces a new partnership between Darden Restaurants and her Lets Move! Campaign at an Olive Garden Restaurant in Hayattsville, Maryland on September 15

15
Sep
11

‘liberal sorcery’

Ta-Nehisi Coates (The Atlantic): I want to double (or triple) down on these posts by Yglesias ….  As Matt rightly notes, this obsession with the president’s want of liberalism really needs to confront the hard facts of Senators and congressmen who say things like this:

“Terrible,” Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) told POLITICO when asked about the president’s ideas for how to pay for the $450 billion price tag. “We shouldn’t increase taxes on ordinary income. … There are other ways to get there.”

“That offset is not going to fly, and he should know that,” said Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu from the energy-producing Louisiana, referring to Obama’s elimination of oil and gas subsidies. “Maybe it’s just for his election, which I hope isn’t the case.”…

Matt: … Webb and Landrieu … what strikes me about their remarks is that they’re being mean. Webb isn’t respectfully disagreeing with the administration’s proposed offsets, he’s calling them “terrible”. Landrieu is calling the sincerity of the president’s motives into question. For me, it’s difficult to imagine parallel behavior on the other side……

Coates: ….. it’s healthy, legitimate, essential and fair to ask, “What would make more progressive legislation possible?” That line of thinking has to confront the kind of statements and action by Democratic Senators who evidently feel little or no pressure from their progressive base.

…. I think liberals are much more comfortable attacking whoever seems to hold the most power ….. it’s comforting to believe in a narrative of liberal “betrayal,” to argue that the game is rigged in such a way that the Hippie-punchers always win.

It’s also pretty cynical.

Full post here

Thank you ‘africa’

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You can contact Landrieu here and Webb here – you’ll also get their office phone numbers at the list at What Is Working

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Jonathan Cohn (TNR): If you’ve read this blog lately, you’ve read a lot of criticism of Republicans for talking economic nonsense, placing their political fortunes ahead of the country’s good, or some combination of the two. But sometimes Democrats, particularly conservative Democrats, do the same things. And now is one of those times.

Mary Landrieu and Jim Webb – I’m looking at you.

…. Landrieu represents Louisiana, a very conservative state, and plans to seek reelection – so there’s some political logic to her position. Webb is another story: He’s retiring. The feeling seems to be genuine. And, as Brian Beutler reports, plenty of other conservative Democrats seem to have similar feelings.

For what it’s worth, the substantive case for this point of view is exceptionally weak. Most mainstream economists would say what Doug Elmendorf, director of the Congressional Budget Office, and Ben Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve, have been saying: Deficit spending now, to boost the economy, combined with deficit reduction later, to make federal budgets sustainable, is pretty much the ideal policy.

But put that aside. Go back and read those quotes closely: Can you imagine Republicans speaking out against their leadership, on such a top priority, in such brazen terms?

…. Fellow liberals criticize to flay President Obama for avoiding fights – and, sometimes, they are right. But they also underestimate the obstacles Obama faces because of the divided Democratic caucus.

It’s not just that conservative Democrats wield an effective veto in Congress; it’s that they are constantly, almost compulsively, disagreeing with the president and undermining the party’s message discipline……

Full article here

An update from Cohn here: Democratic sources in and around Capitol Hill say the press reports overstate the disunity.

15
Sep
11

fighting back

Mediaite: This week the Obama campaign launched a new front in the heightened information wars that come with presidential campaigns, with a starkly designed and somewhat controversial new website called Attack Watch. The site enables user-generated submissions of what Obama supporters deem to be unfair or untruthful media attacks on President Obama, his political campaign and his administration’s policy….

…. the site has so far been a big hit. A source within the Obama campaign has told Mediaite, that in just the first day, the user-generated research tool has been nothing short of an enormous success. “In less than 24 hours we’ve had over 100,000 people sign up at the website, which indicates significant interest from supporters.”….

….. the very least this digital effort did its job bit perhaps instilling a little fear in the GOP campaign efforts. It’s not difficult to imagine social media staffers at the RNC scratching their heads and saying “why didn’t we think of that?”

The essence of AttackWatch is the Obama campaign outsourcing of opposition media research to its army of loyal supporters …. In the brave new world that is political smear campaigns, leveraging the passion of one’s political base is not something that we should fear, but rather a smart and savvy political move.

Thank you Loriah

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