Friday, March 11, 2011

Friday Mashup (3/11/11)

  • I give you Christine Flowers, who of course defends Repug U.S. House Rep Peter King and his SCARY MUSLIM! hearings here…

    …the reason (King is) holding hearings on the radicalization of American Muslims is that there is no other distinct group that has been responsible for acts of terror. You can say that white males like Timothy McVeigh, the Unabomber and Bill Ayers are a suspect demographic.

    But they've been remarkably quiet lately. You can't say that for those screaming "Allahu Akbar" as they pull the trigger.
    Two things: 1) As noted here, there have been twice as many plots from non-Muslim terrorists since 9/11 as Muslim groups, and 2), Bill Ayres was never tried and/or convicted in a court of law of killing anyone (unlike McVeigh and the Unabomber – nice straw man, Christine).

    God, what a disgusting hack this woman is.

  • Also, I really hadn’t planned to say much over the latest supposed controversy involving NPR and James O’Keefe, who, the last time I checked, was either doing or trying to do something inside of office of Sen. Mary Landrieu without authorization (I think Jed Lewison at Daily Kos pretty much summed it up here).

    However, since our corporate media insists on paying attention to this human stain, it falls upon individuals such as yours truly to respond – this New York Times story, in part, tells us the following (Betsy Liley, the individual taped by O’Keefe, is an NPR fundraiser)…

    On a secretly recorded videotape that Mr. O’Keefe released on Tuesday, Ms. Liley’s then-boss, Ronald Schiller, was heard making disparaging comments about Republicans and Tea Party members. That led to the resignation of Mr. Schiller and NPR’s chief executive, Ms. Schiller (who is no relation).

    NPR also released internal e-mail correspondence it said showed that it had never come close to accepting the donation because the fake group refused to provide the necessary documents.

    Separately, nearly two dozen NPR on-air journalists released an “open letter” to listeners and supporters in which they condemned the “offensive comments” made by Mr. Schiller, saying they “violated the basic principles by which we live and work: accuracy and open-mindedness, fairness and respect.”
    So, both Schillers ended up quitting NPR because it was thought that they didn’t show the following to the “teahadists”…




    and Respect.

    I just wanted to make sure I understood that, that’s all.

  • Update 3/14/11: I wonder if Chris Wallace, while fluffing this cretin, will mention this?

  • Next, I give you last week’s Area Votes in Congress from the Philadelphia Inquirer (here, and yes, they were actually in session for a change)…


    Highway, mass-transit projects. Voting 421-4, the House sent the Senate a bill (HR 662) to provide billions of dollars in funding for road and bridge construction, mass transit, and highway safety from March 4 through Sept. 30. The programs are funded not by general appropriations but by the Highway Trust Fund, which gets its revenue from federal gasoline taxes.

    A yes vote was to pass the bill.

    Voting yes: Robert E. Andrews (D., N.J.), Robert A. Brady (D., Pa.), John Carney (D., Del.), Charles W. Dent (R., Pa.), Chaka Fattah (D., Pa.), Michael Fitzpatrick (R., Pa.), Jim Gerlach (R., Pa.), Tim Holden (D., Pa.), Frank A. LoBiondo (R., N.J.), Pat Meehan (R., Pa.), Joseph R. Pitts (R., Pa.), Jon Runyan (R., N.J.), Allyson Y. Schwartz (D., Pa.), and Christopher H. Smith (R., N.J.).

    "Bridge to nowhere." Voting 181-246, the House defeated a Democratic bid to strip HR 662 (above) of funds for building the Gravina Island Bridge linking Ketchikan, Alaska, with an airport on sparsely populated Gravina Island. This is the "bridge to nowhere" lampooned in recent years as an example of wasteful congressional earmarks. While notoriety has cost the Gravina Island project much of its anticipated federal funding since 2005, HR 662 contains $183 million in fiscal 2011 spending for it and the Knik Arm Crossing Bridge, another controversial project in Alaska. This motion sought to remove the $183 million.

    A yes vote was to defund the "bridge to nowhere."

    Voting yes: Andrews, Brady, Carney, Fattah, Holden, and Schwartz.

    Voting no: Dent, Gerlach, Fitzpatrick, LoBiondo, Meehan, Pitts, Runyan, and Smith.
    So Mikey The Beloved and his playmates support $183 million for this stinking bridge, but they refuse to support Americorps, funding for community health centers…you know, “dumb” stuff that our glorious system of private enterprise is supposed to do instead of that mean, nasty “public sector” (here – to say nothing of this; our thoughts and prayers go out to the people of Japan and those caught in this cataclysm).

    Health-law paperwork. Voting 314-112, the House passed a Republican bill (HR 4) to strip the new health law of its rule that businesses issue an IRS Form 1099 to any vendor to whom they pay at least $600 annually. The rule would raise funds for preventive care while helping the IRS catch tax cheats. But it has come under bipartisan assault as a paperwork burden on small businesses.

    A yes vote was to pass the bill.

    Voting yes: Andrews, Carney, Dent, Fitzpatrick, Gerlach, Holden, LoBiondo, Meehan, Pitts, Runyan, and Smith.

    Voting no: Brady, Fattah, and Schwartz.
    Even if by some chance the Dems had been returned to power in the House last year, this measure or something like it would have eventually passed both houses of Congress anyway; I won’t budge on 90-something percent of the health care reform law, but I’ll cut some slack for this.

    Stopgap 2011 budget. Voting 335-91, the House passed a stopgap measure (HJ Res 44) to keep the government in full operation between March 5 and March 18 while cutting spending by $4 billion over that period. The House and Senate will use the two weeks to negotiate a budget path for the last half of fiscal 2011, which ends Sept. 30. Among this bill's cuts are $650 million in highway spending and a $2.8 billion rescission of once-popular earmarks that have been abandoned by their congressional sponsors.

    A yes vote was to pass the bill.

    Voting yes: Brady, Carney, Dent, Fattah, Fitzpatrick, Gerlach, Holden, LoBiondo, Meehan, Pitts, Runyan, Schwartz, and Smith.

    Voting no: Andrews.
    When Rob Andrews ran against Frank Lautenberg in the Dem primary for Lautenberg’s senate seat awhile back, I thought Andrews was the lowest of the low. However, I have to tell you that I think he’s done a good job of cleaning up his act, as they say, and I think he deserves credit for this principled voted for reasons noted here.

    Oil-industry taxes. Voting 176-249, the House defeated a Democratic motion to HJ Res 44 (above) to suspend the oil-depletion allowance and other oil-industry tax breaks at a time when domestic programs are being cut.

    A yes vote backed the motion.

    Voting yes: Andrews, Brady, Carney, Fattah, Holden, and Schwartz.

    Voting no: Dent, Gerlach, Fitzpatrick, LoBiondo, Meehan, Pitts, Runyan, and Smith.
    The “banksters,” Big Oil, Big Pharma and Big Insurance get whatever they want, and everybody else gets it in the neck. Your Republican Party on the job, people.


    Patent-law dispute. Voting 87-13, the Senate retained "first to invent" as the U.S. standard for giving priority to competing patent applications. This stripped a patent-reform bill (S 23) of language to switch to the "first-inventor-to-file" standard used by most other industrialized countries to determine patent winners and losers. The bill remained in debate.

    A yes vote was to retain the first-to-invent standard.

    Voting yes: Thomas Carper (D., Del.), Bob Casey (D., Pa.), Chris Coons (D., Del.), Frank Lautenberg (D., N.J.), Robert Menendez (D., N.J.), and Pat Toomey (R., Pa.).
    I got into the messed-up situation Bushco left behind in the patent office here - third bullet; this legislation seems to be in response to that sorry situation.

    Stopgap 2011 budget. Voting 91-9, the Senate joined the House in passing a temporary fiscal 2011 spending bill (HJ Res 44, above) to avert a government shutdown at week's end. President Obama then signed what is the fifth 2011 stopgap appropriations bill passed by Congress since last fall.

    A yes vote was to pass the bill.

    Voting yes: Carper, Casey, Coons, Lautenberg, Menendez, and Toomey.
    This week, the House took up bills addressing the U.S. housing crisis, while the Senate resumed debate on reforming procedures for awarding patents.

  • Finally, I think it’s important to note that not everyone is Harrisburg is willing to put up with “Space Cadet” Tom Corbett’s budget, as noted here from our PA-31 Dem State House Rep Steve Santarsiero…

    This week, Gov. Tom Corbett addressed the legislature with his 2011-12 budget proposal. The governor's proposed budget short changes education, the environment and urgent infrastructure needs.

    Particularly troubling to me are the following:

  • A cut of $1.5 billion to education, K-12 plus higher education, including cuts of more than 50 percent to our colleges and universities such as Temple, Penn State and Pitt: The cuts to public schools will result either in a spike in property taxes or draconian cuts in educational programs. The cuts to our colleges and universities will result in massive tuition increases at a time when our students can least afford them. Proposed cuts to the Council Rock and Pennsbury school districts are at least $1.46 million and $1.44 million respectively.

  • Further cuts to environmental protection, while giving the natural gas industry a pass that it gets nowhere else in the United States by not calling for a natural gas drilling tax: We need the drilling tax because it will provide revenue to protect the environment and to fund our education and transportation needs.

  • No mention of our nearly $3.5 billion transportation infrastructure crisis: This is both an economic need – indeed, a dire need – as well as a public health and safety issue. Aging roads and bridges need to be rebuilt. We can no longer delay this work.

  • A proposal to allow teachers to be fired to cut budgets: After proposing to make deep cuts in state aid to our schools, the governor compounds the problem by proposing that schools be given the right to fire teachers to balance their budgets. It may do that, but it also will cause class sizes to grow, diminishing the quality of a public school education and, as a consequence, lowering the value of what is for most of us our greatest asset: our homes.

  • While I applaud the governor for his proposal to provide targeted tax cuts for research and development in the pharmaceutical and bio-tech industries and for the growing film industry in Pennsylvania, I am deeply concerned about the direction in which this budget would take our Commonwealth.
    Steve has a lot of company on that score (and to contact him, click here).

    Anonymous said...

    There is something dirty, no, lots dirty about secretly taping a private conversation and releasing it in an attempted case of "gotcha".

    Impersonating Muslims making a phony donation was for what purpose?

    The opinion of Schiller was personal, he did not speak for NPR.

    What is wrong when a personal private opinion is not protected but hate speech in a public venue like a military funeral is...or hate signs denigrating the President is...or assigning human status to a corporation for the purpose of exercising its first amendment is ?

    Each day there is a new assault from within.

    doomsy said...

    Yeah, the bit about recording someone's phone call without permission is something I wondered about too - I have a feeling that's governed legally on a state-by-state basis, but I'm not 100 percent sure.

    And of course, we'll never know how many times O'Keefe and his pals tried this garbage and had someone hang up on them; as always, all it takes is one (and again, the supposed issue is bad-mouthing the teabaggers because they're basically racist? That's like criticizing the sky because it's blue or the water because it's wet).