Daily Archives: December 21, 2010

Top Ten Poliical Scandals of 2010

Bltwy – MSNBC

1.  John Edwards Admits Paternity, While Mistress Does Weird Photo Shoot - The former senator finally admitted that he fathered Rielle more

2.  The BP oil spill has been repeatedly called the biggest environmental disaster in American history. Leaving wildlife and the Gulf coast economy devastated, BP’s CEO only made matters worse when he said “I’d like my life back” and the proceeded to hop aboard his yacht as dead birds and economic strife filled the Gulf.

3.  New York Rep. Charlie Rangel spiced up his ethics trial by walking out, declaring he was too broke to pay for representation and throwing himself a lavish birthday party during the proceedings. The strategy didn’t go over so well as he was found guilty of 11 ethics violations, more

4.  It was a rough year for the Gore family. Not long after the former vice president separated from his wife, a masseuse accused Gore of behaving like a crazed sex poodle and fondling her inappropriately. Police eventually ruled that there wasn’t any real evidence and analysts suggested it was an empty National Enquirer fueled storyline, but the accusations left an undeniable stain.

5.  General Stanley McChrystal, the architect of the surge in Afghanistan, is likely still furious at himself for agreeing to a profile by a Rolling Stone reporter. Amid light-hearted details like McChrystal’s love of BudLight Lime, the story more

6.  One of the most powerful Republicans in the country faces the possibility of life behind bars. In November, former U.S. House Majority Leader –- and Dancing with the Stars participant — Tom DeLay was convicted of illegally funneling corporate money to Texas candidates. more

7.  Virginia Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, left a voicemail for Anita Hill, asking for an apology in October. Anita Hill, you might remember, accused Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment in 1991 (when this photograph was taken). The timing of Mrs. more

8.  Oops, I didn’t realize she wasn’t here legally? It’s an awkward revelation for any candidate, but particularly one with a strong anti-undocumented immigrant platform such as former eBay CEO and California gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman. Making matters even worse, more

9.  Shirley Sherrod got accused of racism from all sides – the NAACP, conservative commentator Andrew Breitbart and the Obama administration — and was forced out of her job at the Department of Agriculture before anyone knew what she’d actually said. more

10. It’s too soon to assess the full extent of WikiLeaks impact on the world. Regardless of whether you think Julian Assange is a terrorist or a hero, however, there’s no denying that he’s a scandal-maker. His organization’s release of thousands of confidential diplomatic cables more

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Barbour: Segregationist Citizens Councils That I Praised Were ‘Totally Indefensible’

Gov. Haley Barbour of Mississippi plans on running for President of the United States next year.  It appears he had no choice but to backtrack his endearing assessment of the “White Citizens’ Council”…

TPMDC

Gov. Haley Barbour (R-MS), the potential presidential candidate who has come under fire for comments praising the segregationist Citizen Councils that operated during his youth in the South, has now released a statement fully condemning the organizations:

“When asked why my hometown in Mississippi did not suffer the same racial violence when I was a young man that accompanied other towns’ integration efforts, I accurately said the community leadership wouldn’t tolerate it and helped prevent violence there. My point was my town rejected the Ku Klux Klan, but nobody should construe that to mean I think the town leadership were saints, either. Their vehicle, called the ‘Citizens Council,’ is totally indefensible, as is segregation. It was a difficult and painful era for Mississippi, the rest of the country, and especially African Americans who were persecuted in that time.”

In a profile in the Weekly Standard, Barbour recalled the group in positive terms:

“You heard of the Citizens Councils? Up north they think it was like the KKK. Where I come from it was an organization of town leaders. In Yazoo City they passed a resolution that said anybody who started a chapter of the Klan would get their ass run out of town. If you had a job, you’d lose it. If you had a store, they’d see nobody shopped there. We didn’t have a problem with the Klan in Yazoo City.”

More…

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The do-something Congress

In the past two years, the Democratic controlled 111th Congress has been one of the most productive in decades

MSNBC – First Read

With an approval rating in the teens, Congress right now is about as popular as Julian Assange at the State Department’s Christmas Party — or Sarah Palin at The Nation’s editorial meeting, or President Obama at a Federalist Society convention.

And, politically, the Democratic-controlled Congress took a beating from voters in November, as Republicans won back control of the House and picked up seats in the Senate.

But lost in the poll numbers and the voters’ message in November is this one unmistakable fact: This Congress, which likely will come to a close this week, accomplished more, legislatively, than any other Congress since the 1960s (the Great Society) or the 1930s (the New Deal).

In the past two years, it has:
– expanded the safety net with the health-care law;

– invested billions in the nation’s roadways, airports, schools, and green technologies with the stimulus;

– reformed the nation’s financial system with financial reform;

– passed billions in tax cuts for Americans with the stimulus and the extension of the Bush-era tax cuts

– expanded civil rights with the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

And in its final piece of business, the Senate is currently working on one of the White House’s top foreign-policy goals: ratification of the New START treaty with Russia. Then throw in all of the other legislation enacted this Congress, like credit-card reform and the Lilly Ledbetter anti-pay-discrimination act.

“I would probably rank the New Deal [Congress] first,” congressional scholar Norm Ornstein told First Read. “I think this one edges the Great Society. It is at least on par with the Great Society.”

“For all the dysfunction, it was just astonishing what they were able to get done,” Ornstein added.

Many can take credit for these accomplishments. President Obama (who spent his political capital on these legislative items, especially health care). Democratic leaders (who had to placate everyone in their party from Bernie Sanders on the left to Ben Nelson on the right).

Democratic members of Congress (many of whom cast tough votes). And, at least on the tax-cut deal, congressional Republicans (who bucked growing conservative resistance to the legislation).

What’s more, these accomplishments will likely have staying power. While Republicans campaigned, at least in part, on rolling back the agenda passed these past two years, they won’t find doing so easy as long as Democrats remain in the majority in the Senate and the president wields veto power. (However, it appears that the U.S. Supreme Court will have the final say about whether one of the key components of the health-care law is constitutional.)

Of course, the Democratic-controlled Congress biggest failure was losing 63 House seats — the most since the 1940s — and control of that chamber, as well as losing six Senate seats.

Yet as we — and others — have pointed out before, political power in Congress comes and goes. What truly matters is what you do with it when you have it.

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Filed under Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Politics

Newt Gingrich Blames Nation’s Problems On Unemployed People

Newt Gingrich

Image via Wikipedia

Gingrich continues his twisted political  logic, this time blaming those who have suffered most in the financial crisis which was spurred by power and greed on Wall Street and ignored by the Fed…

Huffington Post

Newt Gingrich, who is currently mulling a presidential bid in 2012, said at a political event in South Carolina on Thursday that most of America’s problems can be blamed on the “leftist news media,” Hollywood, tenured academics, overpaid federal workers, and unemployed people.

“I’m opposed to giving people money for doing nothing,” he told the crowd of 250 cheering GOP activists in a state with a 10.6 percent unemployment rate.

The Los Angeles Times reports:

Comparing unemployment benefits to welfare, a system he worked with former President Clinton to overhaul in the mid-1990s, Gingrich asserts that the country spent $134 billion last year on unemployment compensation “and got nothing for it.” Instead of wasting money “paying people to do nothing for 99 weeks,” he would make job training mandatory for anyone getting an unemployment check.

There are five jobless people for everyone one job opening right now, making it difficult for even the most industrious job hunters to find work, yet Gingrich’s comments echo the sentiments of a number of GOP Congressmen who believe unemployment benefits make people lazy. Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.), for instance, said jobless benefits mean people are “encouraged not to go look for work,” and Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) told South Carolina’s News 13: “We can’t just keep paying people to stay at home.”

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Filed under Newt Gingrich, The Economy, Unemployment, Unemployment Benefits

Palin’s Book A Little Fuzzy On History

Cover of "America by Heart : Reflections ...

Cover via Amazon

Here we go again

Pittsburgh Post Gazette

Book Review: “America By Heart: Reflections on Family, Faith and Flag,” by Sarah Palin

Her fans will hail her new book as another folksy and forthright Palin put-down of the liberal elite. Her critics will dismiss it as tendentious tripe.

And many people probably won’t care one way or the other.

That’s too bad, because the book does tell us a lot — some of it good, some not so good — about a woman many believe has an eye on the White House.

It tells us she’s a loving wife and mother, professes deep respect for our American ideals of equality and freedom, and voices legitimate concern about the world we’re leaving our children.

It also tells us she has the courage of her convictions for standing by her anti-choice principles and giving birth to a baby with Down syndrome, even though she admits the prospect scared her until she actually held the baby.

The political Palin who emerges is prone to unsupported generalizations, wants simple answers to complex questions, has no sympathy with bipartisanship, mistakes sarcasm for wit, prefers derision to debate and, like other zealots of both the right and the left, fails to realize that the great heart of America is moderate, alternating pragmatically between just-right-of-center and just-left-of-center

One of the most interesting things “America by Heart” reveals about Mrs. Palin is that she seems to know less than she ought about our history.

This is not a minor point, because she makes a very big deal of using the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution as warrants for her political agenda.

Without judging her platform, a reader can legitimately ask: If she doesn’t know history as well as she should, what else doesn’t she know?

The former Alaskan governor informs us twice, on Pages 110 and 189, that John Adams took part in the Constitutional Convention and was “a leading participant.”

Oops.

Adams wasn’t at the Constitutional Convention. He wasn’t even in the country; he was in England as U.S. minister to the Court of St. James’s.

This is like writing a history of early Christianity and saying that St. Peter was at the foot of the cross or St. Paul was at the Last Supper.

In another instance, Mrs. Palin gets a piece of history partly right but, misleadingly, leaves out the ending.

Casting herself as a defender of religion in the public square, which she claims is under liberal attack, the author tells us how Benjamin Franklin suggested that the Constitutional Convention begin each session with a prayer. She ends the story there, leaving the impression that the delegates adopted Franklin’s motion.

They did not.   

Nor are there simple answers when it comes to applying the great American belief that we’re all created equal, the bedrock of our national identity.

Mrs. Palin says that liberals unfairly accuse “patriotic Americans” of racism for opposing President Obama’s policies and for wanting “a smaller federal government and a return to federalism — otherwise known as states’ rights.”

Her defensiveness is understandable, but the concept of states’ rights does have a long, dishonorable and undeniable connection with racial injustice. Supporters of slavery and racial segregation routinely hid behind states’ rights.

Anyone who would have waited for the Southern states to end slavery or segregation on their own would have waited a mighty long time. The author acknowledges as much when she writes, “Ending discrimination against African Americans by some American states was one instance in which the federal government rightly stepped in and forced change.”

She then goes on to charge that “since then, advocates of increased federal authority have abused this noble cause to advance a big-government agenda.”        More…

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