Flashback – 24 Hours ago: GOP charges Liberal judicial activism – Sen. Franken demonstrates Thurgood Marshall’s brilliance

I am not sure how I missed posting this brilliant analysis from Senator Al Franken, regarding judicial activism in the current court, as well as demonstrating what a brilliant justice, Thurgood Marshall had been.  This video was taken at the Elena Kagan Confirmation Hearing yesterday.  Magnificent!



238 presidential scholars: Bush worst president of modern era, fifth worst in US history

I’m just the messenger here.  I’m not a Presidential Scholar, but to the 238 scholars that voted George W. Bush the worse president ever, I can’t bring myself to disagree with that assessment!

Raw Story

It’s one thing for a coterie of liberals at a late-night Washington soirée to say that George W. Bush was the worst president in their lifetimes.

It’s another thing when the same is said by the nation’s 238 leading presidential scholars, who have been polled annually for the last 28 years.

President Bush ranked worst among modern presidents — and the fifth worst in history, according to the poll by the Siena Research Institute. Ranking first? President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who led the country from 1933 until his death in 1945.

President Roosevelt served four terms, the longest of any president in history. US presidents became limited to two terms after US states ratified the 22nd Amendment to the US constitution in 1951.

President Barack Obama, who hasn’t yet served a full term, rated 15th.

Think Progress

Since 1982, the Siena Research Institute has polled presidential scholars on whom they view to be best and worst presidents in American history, based on a variety of issues from “integrity” to economic stewardship. This year’s poll of 238 scholars found that President Franklin Roosevelt was once again ranked on top, joined by Presidents Lincoln, Jefferson, Washington, and Teddy Roosevelt to complete the top five. However, President George W. Bush did not fare well since the last poll was conducted in 2002. He dropped 16 places to 39th, making him the worst president since Warren Harding died in office in 1923, and one of the bottom five of all time, according to the experts:

“Today, just one year after leaving office, the former president has found himself in the bottom five at 39th rated especially poorly in handling the economy, communication, ability to compromise, foreign policy accomplishments and intelligence. Rounding out the bottom five are four presidents that have held that dubious distinction each time the survey has been conducted: Andrew Johnson, James Buchanan, Warren G. Harding, and Franklin Pierce.”

Bush was rated second from the bottom on “intelligence,” “foreign policy accomplishments,” and “handling of U.S. economy.” This despite promises from Bush supporters that “history will be very kind” to the former president, as his Attorney General John Ashcroft put it. Bush’s father’s legacy “held constant” in this year’s poll, with George H.W. Bush coming in at 22nd. President Reagan “dropped two places from 16th overall in 2002 to 18th today.” President Obama was ranked 15th.

Full PDF survey here.

Hoekstra skips unemployment extension vote for country club fundraiser, even as unemployment sits at 13.6%.

I think it’s safe to say that most of the GOP in the House are out of touch with “Mainstream America”.

Think Progress

This afternoon, the House passed a bill to extend unemployment benefits for the next four months. The bill passed with bipartisan support, although 142 Republicans voted against it, along with 11 Democrats. Several members did not show up to vote however, including Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-MI), who is running for governor.

Hoekstra, who hopes to govern a state with an unemployment rate of 13.6%, the second highest in the nation, spent the afternoon instead traveling to the Muskegon Country Club for a fundraiser. If the Senate fails to pass the House’s unemployment extension, then 90,000 Michigan residents are set to lose their unemployment checks by Saturday. Hoekstra also failed to vote on the unemployment insurance extension bill brought to the floor earlier this week.

An Extremely Important Message To Conservatives & The GOP From Rachel Maddow

I have never hidden the fact that I feel Rachel Maddow is by far, the best and most well prepared commentator on television today. 

 Her doctorate in political science shows in every broadcast.  She is not cocky or full of herself.  She’s not arrogant or belligerent to her guests or in her reporting.  When Rachel sees a problem in the political spectrum, she tells her audience about it and explains what may have caused that problem. 

The following video is one such case.  Her message is directed to her base audience, but more so to those who refuse to appear on her show, mainly conservatives and members of the GOP.

Lindsey Graham: The Tea Party Movement ‘Will Die Out’

I suspect that Sen. Lindsey Graham might be on to something here…


Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has some tough words for the Tea Party movement in a new profile in the New York Times: You have no vision, and you’ll die out.

“The problem with the Tea Party, I think it’s just unsustainable because they can never come up with a coherent vision for governing the country. It will die out,” said Graham, who has come under fire from the right for being excessively moderate and compromising with Democrats.

Graham also said he challenged a group of Tea Partiers in a meeting: “‘What do you want to do? You take back your country — and do what with it?’…Everybody went from being kind of hostile to just dead silent.”

“We don’t have a lot of Reagan-type leaders in our party. Remember Ronald Reagan Democrats? I want a Republican that can attract Democrats,” Graham also said, adding: “Ronald Reagan would have a hard time getting elected as a Republican today.”

Graham better hope the Tea Party movement dies out in time for 2014, the next time he is up for re-election. A Public Policy Polling (D) survey from May found that among South Carolina Republican primary voters, only 40% approved of Graham, with 45% disapproving. And when asked whether they would support Graham or a conservative primary challenger, 57% would go for the challenger to only 32% for Graham.

If the Tea Partiers are still around in 2014, they’ll remember these new quotes.

With Millions Losing Benefits, Ben Nelson Blocks Extension Of Unemployment Insurance

Ben Nelson is a Democrat who has consistently voted against the jobs bill, giving the GOP their much needed filibuster majority to keep this bill down!  Nelson is no stranger to siding with house GOP members when it comes to fiscal issues.  It appears that the social and economic issues that the unemployed face means nothing to these cretins!

Talking Points Memo

Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) last night prevented his fellow Democrats from finally passing legislation to extend needed unemployment insurance benefits to out of work Americans. It was the third time the legislation, which has been repeatedly pared down and reshaped in the hunt for votes, has failed to overcome a filibuster. But it was the first time that success or failure rested on a single deciding vote. And because Nelson, the most conservative Democrat in the Senate, joined Republicans and blocked the bill, it will likely not pass until mid-July, after the Senate returns from Independence Day recess. By then Robert Byrd’s replacement will be seated, and Dems will have the votes they need to pass their jobs bill.

Here’s what happened.

The Senate was by all accounts done for the day, and any further attempts to extend unemployment insurance would have to wait another day. But at about 8 pm, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid decided to give it one more shot and called the vote, which had to be held open to allow Senators caught unaware to reach the chamber. When it was all said and done, the final vote was 58-38 with three Republicans not voting.

Of course, it requires 60 votes to break a filibuster, meaning Democrats were two votes shy. So why does this fall on Ben Nelson? When a cloture vote fails, the Majority Leader often switches his vote from yes to no. But he’s not joining the filibuster. It’s a parliamentary maneuver that allows him to bring the issue back to the floor easily at a later time, without having to go through the longer process of filing for cloture again.   Continue reading…

Health Reform Begins In Earnest Today

Daily Kos – DemFromCT

Not only in earnest, but in 21 states that agreed to let the feds organize their high risk pools. The states that wanted to do it themselves are lagging (and that includes big states like IL, CA and NY) but even they expect to start taking applications over the summer. From the LA Times:

The Obama administration and some state governments will begin accepting applications Thursday for new insurance programs designed to cover people who have been denied insurance because they have pre-existing medical conditions.

These so-called high-risk pools were included in the new health care law to provide relief for some of the most desperate uninsured Americans between now and 2014, when a provision of the new health care law takes effect requiring insurance companies to cover everyone regardless of medical history.

This piece from Noam N. Levey has some nice basic bullets on where, which states, how much, when and even a piece on the Boehner tax:

Who will have to pay the new tanning tax?

The law levies a 10% tax on tanning services, which salons are expected collect from consumers and forward to the federal government.

The law exempts phototherapy services provided by a medical professional for the treatment of dermatological conditions, sleep disorders and other conditions.  

Continue reading…

FDR Rated Best President In Survey Of 238 Scholars

Huffington Post

LOUDONVILLE, N.Y. — Franklin Delano Roosevelt is being ranked the top president in U.S. history by 238 scholars surveyed by Siena College.

Roosevelt has topped each of the five presidential scholar surveys conducted by the Albany, N.Y.-area college since 1982. Theodore Roosevelt came in at No. 2 in the survey released Thursday, followed by Abraham Lincoln, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.

Scholars ranked the 43 presidents on attributes such as integrity, intelligence, leadership and communication, as well as their accomplishments.

Lincoln’s beleaguered successor, Andrew Johnson, was rated the worst president.

Scarborough stands by accusation of Boehner: He is ‘not known as a hard worker.’

 Think Progress

As ThinkProgress first noted yesterday, MSNBC host Joe Scarborough said on his show that “every Republican” he talks to on the Hill tells him House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) is “not a hard worker.” He added, “Every Republican I talk to says John Boehner, by 5 or 6 o’clock at night, you can see him at bars. This morning, Scarborough addressed the issue again, clarifying that he was not making a first-hand observation, but rather reporting what other Republicans had told him. Scarborough did not back away from the accusation, however:

SCARBOROUGH: On this John Boehner issue, though, obviously Capitol Hill is very small. People know what everybody does on Capitol Hill. And John Boehner is known as a guy that likes to golf, likes to have a good time, and is not known as a hard worker. Again, I don’t know that personally. I know that, though, from talking to scores of Republicans over the past several years.

Responding to Scarborough’s comments, Boehner’s spokesman Michael Steel said “the only time he’s ‘around town’ these days is to raise money for our House Republican team. Thus far this year, he’s headlined more than 230 events and raised about $27 million. And that’s just the beginning.” As MSNBC political analyst Mark Halperin noted this morning, that statement “didn’t really deny” the reports of Boehner’s drinking habits. Moreover, the New York Times’ Gail Collins does the math on Boehner’s fundraising and concludes:

Think about that. The year is only half over, so that means Boehner is averaging about 1.25 fund-raising events per day. No wonder he looks tired. No wonder he doesn’t know that the deep-water drilling moratorium only involves deep-water drilling.