Wow. Pau Gasol and a second round pick heading to LA in exchange for Kwame Brown, Jarvis Crittenton, and future first-round picks in 2008 and 2010. I’d have to say the Lakers’ shot at a championship just got a lot better.
For this president, fear is an easier political tactic than compromise. With FISA, he is attempting to rattle Congress into hastily expanding his own executive powers at the expense of civil liberties and constitutional protections. [...]
In order to defeat the violent Islamist extremists who do not believe in human rights, we need not give up the civil liberties, constitutional rights and protections that generations of Americans fought to achieve. We do not need to create Big Brother. With the administration’s attempts to erode FISA’s legal standing as the exclusive means by which our government can conduct electronic surveillance of U.S. persons on U.S. soil, this is unfortunately the path the president is taking us down.
It’s striking that at the same time Bush thinks we need to ditch the constitution and basic principles of good government in order to fight al-Qaeda, he remains totally uninterested in orienting our foreign policy toward this goal. Instead today, just as it’s been throughout his administration, the bulk of our policies reflects an unwillingness and inability to set priorities. We need to be mired in Iraq indefinitely, says Bush. We need to pick new fights with Iran, says Bush. We need missile defense and Virginia Class submarines and F-22. Nothing shall be compromised in order to better position ourselves against al-Qaeda. Nothing but the rule of law and our civil liberties.
Earlier this month, Fox News host Bill O’Reilly claimed that there aren’t “many” homeless veterans, challenging John Edwards for saying that there are 200,000 such vets. Subsequently, O’Reilly pledged to take any homeless vets under his wing:
If you know where’s a veteran, sleeping under a bridge, you call me immediately, and we will make sure that man does not do it.
Yesterday, several homeless veterans rose to this challenge, protesting outside O’Reilly’s office. MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann reports that O’Reilly “cold shouldered” the veterans and “did not even have the courage to meet them”:
Instead, a producer asked the woman, whose group provides transitional housing for 83 vets, whether they have an appointment. … The producer took them into the lobby so our cameras could not get a shot of him accepting their petition with 17,000 signatures. … Instead of meeting with those veterans, O’Reilly had [staff] tell the vets group, please leave a message, somebody will get back to you.
Watch the segment:
O’Reilly constantly brags about how much he supports the troops. But he has continually lied about the state of homeless veterans, blaming their situation on their “addiction and mental illness” and now refusing to meet with them.
Said one of the veterans snubbed by O’Reilly yesterday: “What did we fight for? Our country. I love my country. Don’t treat us like this.”
UPDATE: Check out Brave New Films’ interviews with the veterans.
I hadn’t heard about this before, but apparently it’s all the rage in some conservative circles to refer to John McCain as “Juan McCain.” It’s Glenn Beck, but it’s not just Beck by any means. The idea, it seems, is that to call someone a Spanish name is a witty and cutting insult. After all, he likes immigrants.
Meanwhile, millions of Americans have Spanish names. You can meet us in your neighborhoods or even read our blogs. It’s sad to think someone somewhere might be calling Matt Church by my name as some kind of diss.
Sources say Kennedy was privately furious at Clinton for her praise of President Lyndon Baines Johnson for getting the 1964 Civil Rights Act accomplished. Jealously guarding the legacy of the Kennedy family dynasty, Senator Kennedy felt Clinton’s LBJ comments were an implicit slight of his brother, President John F. Kennedy, who first proposed the landmark civil rights initiative in a famous televised civil rights address in June 1963.
I suppose if I were a Kennedy I, too, would feel that helping to preserve the Myth of JFK was important. But the myth is just that — a myth. Kennedy, like his immediate predecessor in the White House, was a diffident advocate of civil rights who obtained only meager results. Lyndon Johnson, by contrast, proposed and signed into law several hugely important pieces of legislation that forever changed the landscape of the United States.
I’d also say, though, that this report strikes me as odd on a psychological level. I would think that of all the people in the world to realize that Ted Kennedy has been a far more effective and important advocate of progressive causes than JFK ever was, that Ted himself would be high on that list. Would he admit publicly that his brother’s deification is largely undeserved? Of course no. But who isn’t privately painfully aware of his family members’ shortcomings?
President Bush recently issued a signing statement disregarding parts of the 2008 National Defense Authorization Act. Finally reporting on Bush’s move today, the Los Angeles Times notes that Bush issued signing statements less often in 2007. White House Press Secretary Dana Perino claims it is because “2007 was the do-nothing Congress.” As ThinkProgress has noted, Perino’s “do-nothing” charge is baseless. The 2007 Congress had 11 more bills signed by the President than did the 2006 Congress.
House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) has consistently touted reform, claiming he wants to impose a “tougher ethical standard” on the 110th Congress. In June, he forcefully called for the expulsion of Rep. William Jefferson (D-LA). More recently, he called for a moratorium on earmarks.
But Boehner is ethical only when it’s politically convenient. Boehner has donated money to pay the legal bills of Rep. John Doolittle (R-CA), who recently announced his resignation because of continuing troubles related to the Jack Abramoff corruption investigation. CQ reports:
Rep. John T. Doolittle , R-Calif., reported in a filing made available Thursday that his legal expense fund had received $5,000 from Boehner’s leadership PAC. The money was part of $36,500 kicked in by GOP colleagues to Doolittle’s legal defense between June 27, when he opened the fund, and year’s end.
Boehner made the donation because Doolittle “was a friend dating to the early 1990s, when they worked together as part of the Gang of Seven,” Boehner spokesman Kevin Smith said, referring to then-minority party back-benchers who took on majority Democrats during the House banking scandal.
At least nine other lawmakers who have given money to Doolittle, including Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA). The money was donated before Doolittle announced his retirement on Jan. 10.
Boehner has repeatedly promoted corrupt colleagues to leadership positions, and in October, ruled that Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-CA) could continue as the ranking GOP member of the Appropriations Committee while under federal investigation on ethics charges.
Via Ezra Klein, Lincoln Chaffee’s memoir really does seem pretty interesting. I think that violates some kind of rule which says that memoirs need to be written by people who obviously could shed fascinating light on important events but who then proceed to refuse to do so. Instead, here we have Linc Chaffee, who no one ever thinks about, saying interesting things. This on the Democrats, in particular, is all that surprising but still interesting to hear directly from a colleague:
Chafee was the only Republican senator to vote against prosecuting the war. “The top Democrats were at their weakest when trying to show how tough they were,” writes Chafee. “They were afraid that Republicans would label them soft in the post-September 11 world, and when they acted in political self-interest, they helped the president send thousands of Americans and uncounted innocent Iraqis to their doom. [...]
Chafee writes of his surprise at “how quickly key Democrats crumbled.” Democratic senators, Chafee writes, “went down to the meetings at the White House and the Pentagon and came back to the chamber ready to salute. With wrinkled brows they gravely intoned that Saddam Hussein must be stopped. Stopped from what? They had no conviction or evidence of their own. They were just parroting the administration’s nonsense. They knew it could go terribly wrong; they also knew it could go terribly right. Which did they fear more?”
It’s always worth remembering that not everyone took that path. Carl Levin didn’t. Russ Feingold didn’t. Robert Byrd didn’t. Lincoln Chaffee didn’t. Opposition was possible, a lot of Democrats just didn’t choose to avail themselves of the option. It’s worth recalling that a vicious cycle emerged here. Lots of politicians wanted to vote for the war for political reasons. Lots of “experts” in the think tank world who wanted to boost their own careers therefore found it expedient to likewise trim their sales and talk a lot about the “right way” to invade Iraq for no good reason rather than emphasize how unlikely this “right way” was to emerge. That, however, helped build both public and elite support for the war, which further pressured politicians to get online.
Statement from Daniel J. Weiss, Director of Climate Policy and Senior Fellow, the Center for American Progress:
In 2007, ExxonMobil made a world record profit and all we got was $3 per gallon gas. High oil and gas prices have lined ExxonMobil’s pockets, courtesy of American families paying near record gas prices.
President Bush spent his presidency defending big oil, and it has paid off. In December, he killed tax incentives for wind and solar power, alternative fuels, energy efficiency, clean coal, and cleaner cars all to prevent the elimination of a measly $1 billion in annual big oil tax loopholes. In 2007, ExxonMobil and the other big four oil companies are likely to make a combined profit of at least $120 billion. President Bush’s defense of big oil is shameful.
The Big Five are BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, and Shell. The data for the figure can be found here.
The Transportation Security Administration is having trouble with its new blog, which launched on Wednesday. The team of bloggers tried to set a friendly tone by introducing themselves with lines such as: “Hi! My name is Ethel and I’m from Wisconsin. I like music, I love ice cream, and I adore weird facts.” But by mid-day yesterday, comments had already been turned off the original “Welcome” post after “things started to get ugly.” A highlight of the comments:
– “Funny how the government stresses ‘anti-bullying’ in schools but promotes bullying by the TSA.”
– “DHS and TSA are fundamentally broken. Disband both immediately and return our civil liberties.”
– “I think TSA are idiots.”
– “I would like someone to explain the ‘liquids’ thing. It makes no sense to me.”