Monthly Archives: June 2010

News Hounds: Colbert Report Reveals Glenn Beck’s Moral Authority To Hold MLK Rally

News Hounds

Glenn Beck may have angered black leaders with his decision to hold a tea party rally on the anniversary and in the place of Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” speech but Stephen Colbert revealed just how Beck has the “swinging sack of moral authority” to pull it off. Father Guido Sarducci was also on hand to explain why he pulled Beck aside at The Vatican to tell him why Beck’s work is “wildly important.”

 

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Dave Weigel Becomes MSNBC Contributor

 

 

Former Washington Post conservative beat blogger/reporter Dave Weigel, who resigned last week after his private, off-the-record emails were made public, has joined MSNBC as a contributor. 

Keith Olbermann announced Weigel’s appointment during the final segment on Monday night’s “Countdown.” 

“We are very proud to announce [that Dave] is, as of like 20 minutes ago, an MSNBC contributor,” Olbermann said. “Welcome, Dave…and you thought last week was fun, wait until you see what this week holds for you.” 

Mediaite confirmed that Weigel’s role is both paid and exclusive to MSNBC. 

Weigel’s first segment as an MSNBC contributor focused on Alabama tea party congressional candidate Rick Barber. 

Olbermann defended Weigel last week, naming the outlets that published his private e-mails among his Worst Persons in the World.

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Kagan pushes back on GOP questioning | McClatchy

 

 

McClatchy 

WASHINGTON — Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan on Tuesday fought off Republicans who were trying hard to paint her as a liberal activist, saying she’d be a fair, open-minded justice and refusing to call herself a “legal progressive.” 

“I honestly don’t know what that label means,” Kagan told Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama. 

Sessions, the Senate Judiciary Committee’s top Republican, kept pressing the former Harvard Law School dean, quoting her colleagues to make the point. Kagan wouldn’t take the bait, though. 

“My politics would be, must be, have to be completely separate from my judging,” said Kagan, who was a domestic policy adviser in the Clinton administration. President Barack Obama nominated Kagan, who’s now the solicitor general, to replace retiring Justice John Paul Stevens. Since Democrats control 58 Senate seats, and none has signaled opposition to Kagan, her confirmation is expected. 

Republicans such as Sessions nonetheless hope to use this week’s hearings to raise public doubts about Kagan and the president who nominated her. In particular, they’re challenging her lack of judicial experience and her past dealings with the military. 

Foremost in early questioning Tuesday were Republican concerns about Kagan’s decision to restrict military recruiting at Harvard Law School, while she was its dean, because of the military’s policy banning gays and lesbians from serving openly. Kagan called the policy a “profound wrong” and a “moral injustice of the first order” in a 2003 e-mail. 

Under the so-called Solomon Amendment, schools that deny recruiting opportunities to the military can be cut off from federal funding. In 2005, after an appellate court ruled that the Solomon Amendment was unconstitutional, Kagan stopped providing official law school access to the military. The access later was restored, as the Supreme Court unanimously upheld the Solomon Amendment in 2006. 

Sessions noted that Kagan’s “runaround” meant that the Pentagon lost a full recruiting season. “I feel like you mishandled that. I’m absolutely confident you did,” Sessions said. 

Kagan responded that “the military had access to our students and our students had access to the military throughout my entire deanship.” 

“We wanted to make absolutely sure students had access to the military at all times, but we did have a long-standing anti-discrimination policy,” she said. 

More broadly, under softball questions from Democrats, Kagan offered her view of a justice’s responsibility, saying that the Constitution’s framers were “pretty wise men; if we always remember that, we’ll do pretty well, because part of the wisdom was that they wrote a Constitution for the ages.” 

Democrats and Republicans pressed her to elaborate, seeing her view as reflecting her judicial philosophy. 

The Constitution, Kagan said, “just says what you’re supposed to do and how things are supposed to work,” but it’s open to change. 

She used the example of the Fourth Amendment, which says there shall be no unreasonable search or seizure. “What counts as an unreasonable search and seizure?” Kagan asked. “What’s unreasonable? That’s the question.” 

Kagan wouldn’t go further with specifics on her views, though, even after Democrats asked about her 1995 view that confirmation hearings should offer more insight into a nominee’s thinking. 

Committee members were expected to continue questioning Kagan throughout the day Tuesday and probably most of Wednesday. Each member gets half an hour to engage her. The hearings, which will feature legal experts and public witnesses later in the week, are expected to end Thursday or Friday. 

Read more: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2010/06/29/96747/asked-whether-shes-a-legal-progressive.html#ixzz0sHIhuhqQ

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Takedown of Rick Barber’s “Slavery”

 

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Architects Design Amazing Sustainable Housing For Low-Income Countries

Huffington Post

Emerging Ghana is a plan for an eco-affordable single family house for the emerging middle class of Ghana. The design recently won first place in the international design competition Open Source House, a non-profit organization that aims to provide better, more sustainable housing in low-income countries.

Read the whole story: Inhabitat

 

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Sharron Angle Is Against Abortion In The Case Of Rape Or Incest: It Would Interfere With God’s ‘Plan’

It’s amazing how “teh stupid” is so prevalent in GOP politicians…

Think Progress

In a radio interview with Bill Manders on Jan. 25, Sharron Angle — the GOP candidate and Tea Party darling challenging Harry Reid for Nevada’s U.S. Senate seat — came out firmly against abortion. She even took the extreme position that women should not have control over their reproductive rights in cases of rape or incest, because it would interfere with God’s “plan” for them:

MANDERS: Is there any reason at all for an abortion?

ANGLE: Not in my book.

MANDERS: So, in other words, rape and incest would not be something?

ANGLE: You know, I’m a Christian, and I believe that God has a plan and a purpose for each one of our lives and that he can intercede in all kinds of situations and we need to have a little faith in many things.

Listen here:

Last week, Manders — who is a conservative radio host — told his listeners that in order to beat Reid, Angle has to “slide to the left a little bit, to the middle, so to speak. Not stay way over to the right.” “[T]here are things about Sharron that are annoying to the voters,” he added. Recently, former Republican congresswoman Barbara Vucanovich, the first woman from Nevada to hold federal office, said she may not even vote for Angle. “She’s very rigid and I have a little bit of trouble understanding her positions,” Vucanovich said. “So I’m not out there waving the flag. She’s a very difficult person.”

The far right has embraced Angle’s anti-choice position. She has said that while it won’t be “the most prominent issue in Nevada’s Senate race,” she “will show voters the difference between Reid and me on abortion: He flip-flops on the issues.” She added that more people are identifying as “pro-life” because the issue “has been framed in a more positive way.”

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Filed under GOP Lies, GOP Political Attacks, GOP Whine, Sharron Angle

Supreme Court Orders Review Of Siegelman Conviction By Lower Court

Now this is very good news.  My question now, is…will Karl Rove be arrested for his part in this fiasco against the former Alabama Governor, Don Siegelman.

TPM Muckraker

The Supreme Court has ordered a lower court to take a new look at the controversial conviction of former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman in the wake of its ruling last week narrowing the scope of a key public corruption statute that was used in the Siegelman case.

Siegelman was convicted in 2006 on charges of bribery and honest services fraud, the statute that was limited by the court last week. Siegelman was found to have given former HealthSouth executive Richard Scrushy a seat on a state board regulating hospitals in exchange for $500,000 in donations to a state lottery campaign.

The former governor did nine months in prison before being released pending appeal in the case, which has been plagued by allegations of prosecutorial misconduct.

This is the court’s order in full today with respect to Scrushy v. US and Siegelman v. US:

The petitions for writs of certiorari are granted. The judgment is vacated, and the cases are remanded to the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit for further consideration in light of Skilling v. United States, 561 U.S. ___ (2010).”

Siegelman’s challenge of the conviction hinges on whether prosecutors proved there was bribery versus a legal political transaction in his dealings with Scrushy. The court ruled in the Skilling case last week that the honest services fraud statute only covers explicit “bribery and kickback schemes,” not less clear-cut cases.

The Wall Street Journal notes, though, that Siegelman is not yet in the clear:

The high-court’s decision to send the cases back for further proceedings at the appeals court doesn’t necessarily mean that the men’s convictions will be affected.Messrs. Scrushy and Siegelman argued they shouldn’t have been convicted of bribery because there was no explicit promise that Mr. Scrushy would receive the board appointment in exchange for the contributions.

 TPMmuckraker’s past coverage of the case is here.

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Jeff Sessions indulges hysterical attacks on Elena Kagan during his opening arguments | Crooks and Liars

Crooks & Liars 

I’m not very excited about covering this Supreme Court nomination process, but I will point out Republican demagoguery over it. 

The gerbil-esque Republican senator from Alabam, Jeff Sessions, had quite an opening on Monday. He viciously attacked Elena Kagan on all counts and went so far as to say she was a traitor to the troops — and it was all considered OK, because conservatives can never go too far. 

SEN. JEFF SESSIONS: Ms. Kagan has less real legal experience of any nominee in at least 50 years, and it’s not just that the nominee has not been a judge. She has barely practiced law, and not with the intensity and duration from which I think a real legal understanding occurs. 

Her actions punished the military, and demeaned our soldiers as they were courageously fighting for our country in two wars overseas. Ms. Kagan has associated herself with well-known activist judges who have used their power to re-define the meaning of words of our Constitution and laws in ways that, not surprisingly, have the result of advancing that judge’s preferred social policies and agendas. 

Tweety blasted Sessions pretty well, which offended the tortured souls at Newsbusters, but this is about Sessions. Sending our troops to countries that didn’t attack us and then watching the body counts rise on all sides of the conflicts doesn’t faze Sessions. See, they could all be home or on some nice and cozy military base instead of dealing with the heat and the IED’s of Iraq and Afghanistan, building democracy from the ground up, brick by brick, body by body, person by person. It’s a task not all soldiers embrace wholeheartedly. 

Think Progress also catches Sessions with a Harriet Miers crush: 

On CNN’s American Morning, many of Sessions’ arguments were effectively demonstrated to be disingenuous by host John Roberts. Arguing that Kagan has “serious problems,” Sessions complained that Kagan has praised former Israeli Supreme Court President Aharon Barak. But Roberts noted that Justice Antonin Scalia had also praised Barak

Sessions then attacked Kagan for not having a depth of experience, but Roberts noted that Sessions had praised Bush nominee Harriet Miers, who also did not have judicial experience. Roberts said, “Just a second ago, you pointed to Harriet Miers’ White House experience as a qualifying factor, but you point to Elena Kagan’s White House experience as a potential disqualifying factor.” 

Harriet Miers was an awesome pick for Bush. Jeff Sessions said so. Doesn’t that qualify him for much bigger things in conservative-land. In movement conservatism, dumbing down government agencies and the people that work there is paramount. With Sessions, they’ve found somebody who operates at the bottom level of the not good for government chart. Or rather, he’s their kind of guy

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The Late Justice Thurgood Marshall, Enemy of The GOP

As Eschaton points out:

Since they obviously aren’t planning to derail Kagan, the GOP’s coordinated trashing of Thurgood Marshall is just some catnip for their base.

Washington Monthly

WHAT DID THURGOOD MARSHALL EVER DO TO THE GOP?…. In early May, soon after President Obama nominated Elena Kagan for the Supreme Court, we learned that Kagan had clerked for Justice Thurgood Marshall, whom she considered a personal hero. Inexplicably, the Republican National Committee considers this an area ripe for attack.

In particular, Marshall had characterized the Constitution as having been “defective” as it related to issues like slavery. Republicans hoped to use this to attack Kagan, and the RNC’s Michael Steele demanded to know whether Kagan’s reverence for Marshall included “support for statements suggesting that the Constitution ‘as originally drafted and conceived,’ was ‘defective.’”

When it appeared the RNC’s line was indirectly pro-slavery, the party quickly dropped the criticism. But for some reason, Republicans haven’t given up on their Marshall-bashing.

As confirmation hearings opened Monday afternoon, Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee took the unusual approach of attacking Kagan because she admired the late justice Thurgood Marshall, for whom she clerked more than two decades ago.

“Justice Marshall’s judicial philosophy,” said Sen. Jon Kyl (Ariz.), the No. 2 Republican in the Senate, “is not what I would consider to be mainstream.” Kyl — the lone member of the panel in shirtsleeves for the big event — was ready for a scrap. Marshall “might be the epitome of a results-oriented judge,” he said.

It was, to say the least, a curious strategy to go after Marshall, the iconic civil rights lawyer who successfully argued Brown vs. Board of Education. Did Republicans think it would help their cause to criticize the first African American on the Supreme Court, a revered figure who has been celebrated with an airport, a postage stamp and a Broadway show? The guy is a saint — literally. Marshall this spring was added to the Episcopal Church’s list of “Holy Women and Holy Men,” which the Episcopal Diocese of New York says “is akin to being granted sainthood.”

With Kagan’s confirmation hearings expected to last most of the week, Republicans may still have time to make cases against Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa and Gandhi.

 I often find Republican ideology to be rather twisted, but it simply never occurred to me that GOP senators would spend the first day of the confirmation hearings condemning one of the most venerated Supreme Court justices in American history.

But condemn they did. Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.) declared Marshall “a judicial activist.” So did Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.). Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said Marshall’s approach to the law “does not comport with the proper role of a judge or judicial method.”

Better yet, this was a coordinated attack — Republican aides circulated materials to reporters during the hearing detailing all of the things the GOP doesn’t like about Thurgood Marshall.

Christina Bellantoni put together an interesting count — while President Obama’s name came up 14 times yesterday, Thurgood Marshall’s name came up 35 times.

It’s quite a strategy Republicans have put together here, isn’t it? Unable to come up with a coherent line of attack to undermine this nominee, the GOP has decided to turn its guns on an iconic civil rights attorney and one of the more celebrated American heroes of the 20th century.

And the Republican Party’s outreach to minority communities suffers yet another setback.

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Filed under GOP, GOP Agenda, GOP Hubris, GOP Political Attacks, Justice Thurgood Marshall

Kagan says she would take a ‘modest’ approach on Supreme Court

This is obviously not good news to the millions of progressives who voted for Obama with hopes of a more progressive agenda, including choosing a progressive SCOTUS nominee, if the opportunity presented itself.

In both instances, Obama chose the easier confirmation route by choosing “moderates”, who could pass the nomination process with “ease”.  

The Washington Post

Elena Kagan told the Senate Judiciary Committee at the opening of her confirmation hearings Monday that she would bring to the Supreme Court a “modest” approach, showing great deference to the other, elected branches of government.

The day was dominated as much by a broad ideological clash between Democrats and Republicans — over judicial restraint and the proper reach of government — as by the woman who would become the 112th justice of the nation’s highest court.

Speaking in slow and deliberate tones, Kagan told the committee that her experience as a legislative aide, a White House adviser and most recently solicitor general had underscored for her the importance of a judicial branch that knows its bounds.

The democratic process, she added, “is often messy and frustrating, but the people of this country have great wisdom, and their representatives work hard to protect their interests. The Supreme Court, of course, has the responsibility of ensuring that our government never oversteps its proper bounds or violates the rights of individuals. But the court must also recognize the limits on itself and respect the choices made by the American people.”

“The Supreme Court is a wondrous institution. But the time I spent in the other branches of government remind me that it must also be a modest one — properly deferential to the decisions of the American people and their elected representatives,” she said.    Continue reading…

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