AMERICAblog

AMERICAblog NewsA straight-shooting look at US Politics, with a focus on the Obama administration, the religious right, and civil rights, from DC-based political strategist and writer John Aravosis.

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6 years 38 weeks ago

November 9, 2010

20:00
If everything comes off as scheduled, Lawrence O'Donnell will host Glenn Greenwald tonight on his own show, The Last Word, which airs after Rachel Maddow. If I can still add correctly, the show is live at 7pm Pacific and 10pm Eastern.

Why do we care? First, it's likely to be lively television. Very lively television.

Second, because as I explain here (which discusses Greenwald & O'Donnell's initial "conversation" on Morning Joe; click for the vid), the topic is whether the Dems need the Blue Dog–types, or need to lose them permanently. That discussion is, in my view, the key to the 2012 election. Whom progressives decide to support in 2012 will swing the election (assuming progressive decide to use their leverage, and not just stare at it).

And third, as already noted, I think Lawrence O'Donnell may be the future of MSNBC, especially now that a shot has been fired across Keith Olbermann's bow. If you care about that network, it may be wise to notice O'Donnell.

Thus the programming note — Greenwald and O'Donnell tonight on The Last Word. As prep, you might care about this post by Greenwald regarding Blue Dogs (and tangentially O'Donnell), and in this observation regarding O'Donnell's Monday promo of the Greenwald segment.

As always, stay tuned.

GP

Categories: Politics
19:21
Leave it to a Democrat to not only legitimize the racist, xenophobic far-right wing of the Republican party, but to denigrate the Democrats' own base at the same time.

Attaboy Mark!

So do the Teabaggers like you now, Senator?  No?  Funny that.

Categories: Politics
17:42
John was on MSNBC this afternoon to talk about the impending demise of the DADT repeal language. I just posted this on AMERICAblog Gay, too. It's good. John nailed it. My favorite quote: "This is going to be a disaster for the President. The gay community is not gonna take this anymore."Here's the clip:

Categories: Politics
16:10
So I've been watching Countdown in Keith Olbermann's absence and become intrigued with Thomas Roberts, the replacement host. I think he's acquitted himself well, considering the position he found himself in — a position he admitted was awkward on Friday, by the way. So I did a little research.

Turns out, Thomas Roberts has an interesting, and admirable, back-story.

Now that the Olbermann fiasco is "settled" (pending Keith's comment on it), it's good to know that the Countdown takedown of Big Money hadn't diminished while Olbermann was gone. Roberts did his part well, and not just by rote. He earned that nice, gracious Thank You from Rachel to Roberts during their "throw." Good fill-in during bad times.

GP

Categories: Politics
14:50
While we're all counting down the hours until Olbermann returns, I thought I'd answer a question that keeps coming up. Why use Core Inflation (inflation less food and energy) when talking about inflation? Why not use "real" inflation?

After all, aren't energy and food both critical to how we live? And in the case of energy, isn't that price so important that we really need to be watching it?

Well, here's the answer, courtesy of the Professor. It turns out the "which chart to watch" problem isn't one of logic, but of smoothing the graph. By way of illustration, Krugman presents this chart:


And then he comments:
So, do you believe we faced runaway inflation in early 2008, which had turned into runaway deflation by the middle of 2009, then miraculously stabilized? I don’t; I think volatile prices were volatizing, but that underlying inflation was trending steadily downward.Something to stash away the next time the conversation turns to inflation; if you want to see real trends, remove the volatile element. It's not about the logic, it's about easier-to-read graphs.

More from Krugman on the usefulness of this measure here.

And now, back to the countdown ...

GP

Categories: Politics
13:35
Hatch's convoluted logic is that anyone who votes for a temporary tax cut - i.e., a tax cut that only exists for a set period of time, and then sunsets - is really voting for a tax increase.
Hatch rejected another compromise idea that has been floated of extending the lower tax rates for so-called middle class Americans permanently, while only temporarily continuing the discounted rates for wealthier Americans.

"That's a tax increase plain and simple that would be used to fund more Washington spending and would discourage private sector job growth," he said.Well, George Bush's tax cuts, that were specifically designed to sunset at the end of this year, were therefore tax increases according to Orrin Hatch.  Here's the sunset provision in the Bush tax cuts of 2001.
SEC. 901. SUNSET OF PROVISIONS OF ACT.

(a) IN GENERAL- All provisions of, and amendments made by, this Act shall not apply--
(1) to taxable, plan, or limitation years beginning after December 31, 2010, or
(2) in the case of title V, to estates of decedents dying, gifts made, or generation skipping transfers, after December 31, 2010.
(b) APPLICATION OF CERTAIN LAWS- The Internal Revenue Code of 1986 and the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 shall be applied and administered to years, estates, gifts, and transfers described in subsection (a) as if the provisions and amendments described in subsection (a) had never been enacted.And wouldn't you know it, Orrin Hatch voted for that Bush tax increase back in 2001.
YEAs ---62
Allard (R-CO)
Allen (R-VA)
Baucus (D-MT)
Bennett (R-UT)
Bond (R-MO)
Breaux (D-LA)
Brownback (R-KS)
Bunning (R-KY)
Burns (R-MT)
Campbell (R-CO)
Carnahan (D-MO)
Chafee (R-RI)
Cleland (D-GA)
Cochran (R-MS)
Collins (R-ME)
Craig (R-ID)
Crapo (R-ID)
DeWine (R-OH)
Domenici (R-NM)
Ensign (R-NV)
Enzi (R-WY)
Feinstein (D-CA)
Fitzgerald (R-IL)
Frist (R-TN)
Gramm (R-TX)
Grassley (R-IA)
Gregg (R-NH)
Hagel (R-NE)
Hatch (R-UT)
Helms (R-NC)
Hutchinson (R-AR)
Hutchison (R-TX)
Inhofe (R-OK)
Jeffords (R-VT)
Johnson (D-SD)
Kohl (D-WI)
Kyl (R-AZ)
Landrieu (D-LA)
Lincoln (D-AR)
Lott (R-MS)
Lugar (R-IN)
McCain (R-AZ)
McConnell (R-KY)
Miller (D-GA)
Murkowski (R-AK)
Nelson (D-NE)
Nickles (R-OK)
Roberts (R-KS)
Santorum (R-PA)
Sessions (R-AL)
Shelby (R-AL)
Smith (R-NH)
Smith (R-OR)
Snowe (R-ME)
Specter (R-PA)
Stevens (R-AK)
Thomas (R-WY)
Thompson (R-TN)
Thurmond (R-SC)
Torricelli (D-NJ)
Voinovich (R-OH)
Warner (R-VA)

Categories: Politics
12:34
This makes me sick to my stomach. It's a mystery why so many people think this crowd is so valuable to society, because they are consistently a disgrace. Why is Wall Street so often above the law?
A Morgan Stanley wealth manager will not face felony charges for a hit-and-run because Colorado prosecutors don't want him to lose his job.

Martin Joel Erzinger, who manages more than $1 billion in assets for Morgan Stanley in Denver, is being accused only of a misdemeanor for allegedly driving his Mercedes into a cyclist and then fleeing the scene, Colorado's Vail Daily reports. The victim, Dr. Steven Milo, whom Erzinger allegedly hit in July, suffered spinal cord injuries, bleeding from his brain and, according to his lawyer Harold Haddon, "lifetime pain."

But District Attorney Mark Hurlbert says it wouldn't be wise to prosecute Erzinger -- doing so might hurt his source of income.Hopefully the injured cyclist takes full advantage of the "wealth manager" and his ability to continue making fistfuls of dollars, though maybe the Vail prosecutors don't think he should have to pay for his actions either. The prosecutors are as pathetic as the banker.

Categories: Politics
10:17
So why are travelers being punished with harassment, groping, radiation and general humiliation? Flying today is not the most pleasant experience not to mention the lost hours attempting to move through security, but that is somehow fine. Just a few days ago while passing through Boston, the TSA had me remove a tissue from my pocket and then handed me a tray so I could send it through for a security check. Wow, did I feel safer with that brilliant exercise. Do they actually believe that makes us safer?

Maybe it's clear to others, but I can't see how this process has been fair at all to travelers who actually have better things to do besides waiting in lines. Even worse, it's unproven and ineffective. It also leaves many feeling that the security procedures were more about maintaining a level of fear among the public (to keep them on board with the overreach) than actual security. What is especially frustrating is that neither political party seems to give a damn.
Despite knowing for decades that terrorists could sneak bombs onto planes, the U.S. government failed to close obvious security gaps amid pressure from shipping companies fearful tighter controls would cost too much and delay deliveries.

Intelligence officials around the world narrowly thwarted an al-Qaida mail bomb plot last month, intercepting two explosive packages shipped from Yemen with UPS and FedEx.Concerning the photo above, I haven't been able to locate the original English link though here is the link to the French version.

Categories: Politics
09:15
It's going to be interesting to see how this one turns out. Europe is starting to take a hard line in support of privacy though the US has not embraced the issue so far.In what labor officials and lawyers view as a ground-breaking case involving workers and social media, the National Labor Relations Board has accused a company of illegally firing an employee after she criticized her supervisor on her Facebook page.

This is the first case in which the labor board has stepped in to argue that workers’ criticisms of their bosses or companies on a social networking site are generally a protected activity and that employers would be violating the law by punishing workers for such statements.

The labor relations board announced last week that it had filed a complaint against an ambulance service, American Medical Response of Connecticut, that fired an emergency medical technician, accusing her, among other things, of violating a policy that bars employees from depicting the company “in any way” on Facebook or other social media sites in which they post pictures of themselves.

Categories: Politics
09:05
Good morning.

This morning, I was awakened to the sound of a dreadful voice from the past: George W. Bush. His new book comes out today and he did his first interview with that really tough interviewer Matt Lauer. And, let's not forget, Lauer is the co-worker of Bush's daughter, Jenna. But, apparently, even Lauer got under Bush's skin by asking basic questions that still defy rational answers. The next couple days could be awash with painful reminders of the Bush era.

We all thought we'd be so much further along once W. left DC. Not so much. It's stunning how much Bush was able to ram through Congress with smaller majorities. All we ever hear is: We don't have 60 votes. Now, we don't have the House.

Obama is in Indonesia today. I'm sure that will set off all the crazed right-wingers. Because, you know, he lived there as a kid. Conspiracy theories abound. Indonesia has had a rough couple weeks, between the earthquake that set off a tsunami and the continuing eruptions from Mount Merapi.

We'll see what else unfolds today.

Categories: Politics